I could not help writing this about a fellow named Mehdi Hassan. He is a blogger, an Al Jazeera journalist, and frequent guest in major media outlets, such as the BBC. Recently after the murder of British soldier Drummer Rigby on a London street by Jihadists, there was debate, hosted by Oxford Union, on the topic, “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” Mehdi Hassan was one of the participants in favor of Islam.
Oxford being one of the finest institutions in the world, one would expect debate based on concrete proof, reliable material with substance and presentation being more sophisticated. When it comes to discussing Islam, it cannot stay sophisticated. That is what I found out from the Oxford Union debate. One cannot present his or her opinion of Islam without bringing up Islam’s bloody history since its inception as well as what Islam and Islam’s followers have been doing throughout the world up until now. Obviously when truth is spoken, followers of Islam are offended and unexpectedly even the most highly educated and sophisticated ones like Mehdi Hassan.
At one point during his presentation, Mehdi Hasan cited a point about the founding of algebra or bringing algebra to Europe. He demanded that Muslims and Islam somehow have to be credited for it. This is where I cannot stop laughing. And every time I do that, I say to myself why don’t. I write this down before I forget.
Apparently 0 (zero) was founded by a Hindu pundit in ancient India named Aryabhata (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryabhata) around 500 years before birth of Christ. Zero decimal based numbering system was developed then in ancient India. Aryabhatta was a scholar in mathematics including trigonometry, algebra as well as in astronomy. Simultaneously and within few centuries, Greeks in Europe had developed sophisticated mathematical system, where further advancement of mathematical equations, trigonometry, algebra, and astronomy around 4-5 hundred years before Christ’s birth.
Islam came into the picture 600 plus years “after” Christ’s birth. If all these sophisticated developments in mathematical science have already taken place centuries before the birth of Christ in ancient India and in ancient Europe (Greece), then where does Islam come into the picture? Is this not utterly laughable? Even if let’s say Arabs practiced numbering system and mathematical formulas at that time (between time of Aryabhata, which is 500 BC and the time of Greeks during 500-400 BC). In that case, those Arabs would possibly have been of Pagan, Zoroastrian or Jewish religion. Muhammad brought Islam in 7th century, 1100 years after the development of sophisticated numbering system and mathematical science. Therefore, claiming that Islam or Muslims have deserve exclusive credit for the founding of mathematics is preposterous.
I can guess where the source of this kind of propaganda is. Islamic clerics, who are mostly madrassa educated or half-educated, have been claiming things like these just like their ridiculous baseless claims of science in the Quran. These clerics are frog of the pond. So, it is understandable of them, given their limited perimeter of knowledge. However, for someone like Mehdi Hassan, a top Oxford graduate, resonating the same baseless claims as do uneducated or half-educated Muslim clerics, especially in a debate in Oxford, is nothing less than laughable.
The claim that Muslims or Islam deserve every credit with the development of algebra or mathematics or even bringing it to Europe is absolutely baseless because Islam and Muslims did not “exist” at the time when mathematics was founded, developed and already advanced in ancient India and in good old Europe (in Greece). All that Muslims can claim is that these branches of sciences and mathematics were further advanced in the vast Islam-occupied world.