Though the scientific method has roots going back to the Greek era, its first true exponents were Muslims from the Golden Age of Islam. While the rest of the world was plunged into the Dark Ages after the fall of the Greek and Roman Empires, these scholars formed a bridge of knowledge from earlier civilisations to the Renaissance in Europe. Muslims today desperately need to channel the spirit and intellectual curiosity of their academic forefathers to liberate themselves from their status as Third World occupants of the planet.

The eye according to Hunain ibn Ishaq. This manuscript, dated circa 1200CE, is kept at the Cairo National Library. Wikimedia.

The importance of knowledge and its relentless pursuit simply cannot be overstated when it comes to the success and proliferation of a civilisation and its survival. Throughout history, we have witnessed the dominance of those civilisations where intellectual curiosity was given free reign and questions regarding science, medicine, philosophy, and religion were welcomed, studied, and debated. Time and again we have seen civilisations flourish on the backs of academics and intellectuals. There were civilisations which provided a safe space for intellectuals to carry out their research and pluck out of the general public more men and women of the same calibre, who were characterised by their reasoning intellect, boundless imagination, and raging curiosities.

We have witnessed this in the rise of the Greeks, the domination of the Romans, the Golden Age of Islam, and in the Renaissance in Europe that transformed the world. In the contemporary era, we have seen the United States of America achieve total domination based on the power derived from their intellectuals and a plethora of world-class educational institutions. They have continued this hegemonic rise by attracting intellectuals and pioneering academics from all over the world, providing them with the freedom to express themselves and achieve their true potential. It is this open and tolerant environment that all curious intellectuals flock to that is lacking in the Muslim world of today. Therefore, for the Muslim world to catch up to Western civilisation, we need to reintroduce the tolerance and curiosity so powerfully wielded by our forefathers from the Golden Age.

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Education in Pakistan


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