Found this website by accident – MuslimHeritage.com. Shows what Muslims were in the past – rahmatan lil ‘alamin, a blessing for all.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case now. Not yet, I hope.
Note: If you’re a Muslim (or not) blogger, please help spread the word. Link to this article (or the website), so others may find it as well.
We may not have the money and facilities of the big media, but together, we can bring back the balance. Thank you.
A few interesting articles :
The conquest of Mecca :
as Scott says: `with a magnanimity unequalled in the annals of war, a general amnesty was proclaimed and but four persons, whose offences were considered unpardonable, suffered the penalty of death.’
Unequalled indeed, as the norms was as below :
…in 1098, during the first crusade (begun in 1096), when the Crusaders took Ma’arrat an’Numan, the slaughter never stopped for three days so that the Franks killed more than 100,000 people.
“‘Our men’ said the pious and charitable chronicler (Lebon’s words) `walked through the roads, places, on the roofs, and feasted on the slaughter just like a lioness who had her cubs taken from her. They cut into pieces, and put to death children, the young, and the old crumbling under the weight of the years. They did that in groups… Our men grabbed everybody who fell into their hands. They cut bellies open, and took out gold coins. Oh detestable cupidity of gold! Streams of blood ran on the roads of the city; and everywhere lay corpses. Oh blinded nations and destined to death; none of that multitude accepted the Christian faith. At last Bohemond brought out all those he had first invited to lock themselves in the tower of the place. He ordered that all old women be put to death, and also old men, whose age had rendered useless; then all the rest he ordered to be taken to Antioch to be sold as slaves. This massacre of the Turks took place on 12 December; on Sunday; but on this day not all work could be accomplished; so the following day our men killed all the rest.” — Robert the Monk
Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.“
And yet, even when Muslims were slaughtered en masse, still they found reserves of unequalled humanity. Finucane tells how in 1221, the defeated Christians were visited by their (Muslim) enemies, who brought them food to save them from starvation.
“Be valiant; die rather than yield; be merciful; slay neither old men, nor women, nor children. Destroy no fruit trees, grain, or cattle. Keep your word even to your enemies.” — Caliph Abu Bakr
That’s how jihad is really done.
Bus bombings, bali bombings, civilian killings – it’s now clear that those are not jihad. Very contrary to what the media / propaganda machines tells us nowadays, isn’t it.
About tolerance :
“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Glubb
Muslims, Christians, Jews living together — an absurd and crazy idea ?
Definitely not. And it has been done, when Muslims were in charge and practiced the true Islam :
Araya Goubet, too, notes how `religious tolerance, Islamic inspiration, permitted the harmonious coexistence of Christians, Moors, and Jews until the end of the fifteenth century. The dominance of the Christian clergy led to the gradual exclusion, subjugation, and expulsion of the other religious groups, starting in 1492 but culminating in 1567 when Philip II published a decree forbidding Moriscos [Christianised (ex) Muslims] from using Muslim names and the Arabic language. The Moriscos were finally expelled in 1609. Ultimately the history of the Iberian people can be summed up as `living togetherness’ until ‘its breaking apart beginning in the fifteenth century.
In this article I’d like also to call my brothers & sisters in Islam to start washing away their kafir-phobia.
There are bad kuffars (kafir/kuffar = non-muslim) indeed, but there are much more of the good ones (although most of them are silent). It’s injustice to sentence them all as bad, and Islam abhors injustice.
We can live together in peace. Deal with the bad ones, and live peacefully with the rest of them.
In Cordoba, there were eight hundred public schools frequented alike by Moslems, Christians and Jews, where instruction was imparted by lectures. The doors of the college were open to students of every nationality, and the Andalusian Moor, Scott adds, received the rudiments of knowledge at the same time and under the same conditions as the literary pilgrims from Asia Minor and Egypt, from Germany and France and Britain.
In this very field of scholarship, doors were open to all scholars whether they were Chinese, Indians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, and all thrived. Some of Islam’s earliest and most prominent scientists at the Abbasid court, Ishaq Ibn Hunayn and Hunayn Ibn Ishaq were Nestorian Christians. Thabit ibn Qurrah, the astronomer, was a Sabean. The Bakhishtu family who held most prominent positions in the court in the ninth century were Christians, too. And so were the historian-physicist Abu’l Faraj; ‘Ali ibn Ridwan, the Egyptian, who was the al-Hakem’s Doctor; Ibn Djazla of Baghdad, and Isa ibn ‘Ali, another famed physicist; and so on. The Jews had the most glorious pages of their civilisation under Islam, too. If one just sifts through the hundreds of pages of Sarton’s Introduction to the History of Science, one is amazed at the many names of Jewish scholars who worked in the midst of Islamic civilisation on all subjects. Some were not only scholars, but even occupied some of the most trusted positions in the Islamic jurisdictions. Maimonides (philosopher-physicist) was Salah Eddin Al-Ayyubi’s doctor, and Hasdai ibn Shaprut, followed by his sons, held some of the most prominent positions in Muslim Spain. Nearly all Muslim envoys to Christian powers were Jews; and most Muslim trade was in the hands of the Jews.
Even when Islamic land was threatened by both Crusaders and later the Mongols (mid-thirteenth century) so that much of the population was wiped out (800,000 deaths in Baghdad alone in 1258), minorities, whether Jewish or Christian (even if allies of the Crusaders) still survived under Islamic rule to our present day with all their powers, privileges and wealth intact. This fact is surely a far cry from the stereotyped image of Islam as the religion of intolerance. Which highlights the true character of Islamic civilisation, a character that has remained completely alien to their successors. The Muslims did not attack the faith and practice of others. Difference of faith is a state with which Muslims could, and can live.
In regard to race / skin colors :
In Islam, simply, and for fourteen centuries, no person was stigmatised for their colour. The offspring of a non-white mother and white father was entitled and admitted to full equality, and was not excluded from high office. From 946 to 968, Egypt was governed by Kafur, a Negro born in slavery. Whether in tenth century, or today, says Levi Provencal, there is no lack of coloured people in the ranks of aristocracy or the merchant classes: this has always been an essential feature of Muslim worldview.
I love the idea of Muslims as a group of colour-blind people :
“….the colour-blindness of the Muslim world’s religious society and the colour blindness of the Muslim human society: these two influences had each been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my former way of thinking.” — Malcolm X
In Mecca there were `no segregationists-no liberals’; indifference to colour was spontaneous, and for Malcolm X this was evidently a shattering experience:
`I shared true, brotherly love with many white complexioned Muslims who never gave a thought to the race, or to the complexion, of another Muslim.‘
Do you think only westerner millionaires give inheritance to WWF or other animal-welfare causes ? Think again :
Thevenot noted persons who leave enormous wealth to feed cats and dogs.
Thevenot also observes that the charity of the Turks extends to animals and birds. On market days many people buy birds which they soon set free.
Benevolence was a form of charity which was commended by the Prophet as the first of all virtues; a benevolence which, indeed, is extended to all animals.
The very mention of Timbuktu will give an image of a place so desolate, so remote, no one will go there except Donald Duck (even then just when he owe big to his Uncle Scrooge / when he need to disappear after messed something up real bad)
But do you know that way back to 989, Timbuktu used own a world-class university, with students coming from all over the world to study there ? Bet you didn’t know that (me neither).
The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque in exact dimension of the Ka’abah in holy Makkah. A wealthy Mandika lady then financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and Askia Dynasty (1493-1591).
The inventor of intellectual freedom in modern universities ?
The University of Sankore had no central administration; rather, it was composed of several entirely independent schools or colleges, each run by a single master (scholar or professor). The courses took place in the open courtyards of mosque complexes or private residences. The primary subjects were the Qur’an, Islamic studies, law and literature. Other subjects included medicine and surgery, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, language and linguistics, geography, history and art. The students also spent time in learning a trade and business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation etc. It prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world.
It was claimed that the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Western Universities was inspired from universities like Sankore and Qurtuba (Muslim Spain) universities.
International students ? They’ve had it centuries ago :
Like all other Islamic universities, its students came from all over the world. Around the 12th century, it had an attendance of 25,000 students, in a city of 100,000 people. The university was known for its high standards and admission requirements. It produced world-class scholars recognised by their publications and graduates.
Quoting the French author Felix Dubois in his book, Timbuctoo the Mysterious:
“The scholars of Timbuctoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing, to the saints in the sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis, and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men of Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore.” — Felix Dubois
Unfortunately, 10 centuries later, the Sankore University fell into darkness. Most, again including me, never heard about it. It’s waiting the Muslims to regain their glory again.
And there are tons of other excellent articles there. You can spend a whole day there and still not finished with it. Go now and take a look.