The notion of “the miracle of Arabic science” circulated most unfortunately by Sarton, the Historian of medieval science, is false. The explanation of the “phenomenon” of the sudden birth of Islamic science lays down in the living Islamic ethos of those times; its dogmas and its gamut of culture; the all- pervading Islamic law which forged strong bonds of social co-operation among the Muslims, and between the Muslims and non-Muslims, citizens and resident aliens of the vast Islamic society of bewildering religious, ideological, national, racial and linguistic diversity. This Islamic ethos in action rekindled the dying embers of the pre-Quranic ancient sciences and world-wide civilization. The Muslims absorbed the best in the existing sciences and civilizations consistent with Islam and developed them, thanks to the intensely developed Islamic consciousness and conditioning, based on a remarkable Islamic system of education. There was great flexibility in horizontal and vertical mobility of people as nationalistic and hedonistic evils were held in check. Prerequisites for science and civilization were there: invention and innovation based on original thought; social mindedness and utilitarianism of individual efforts as well as in the organization of state and its educational and other programs; political stability, the rule of law and constitutionalism. All these mechanisms and conditions are necessary for the genesis, development, diffusion and application of science and technology. These mechanisms operate only in a cultural and political milieu of propitious dogmas, laws, values, cosmological doctrines, attitudes and efforts, all of which existed in the progressive period of medieval Islamic civilization.
I would like to emphasize the Islamic origins of modern science and civilization, and the ascendancy of Islamic science and learning in the world for more than 600 years (eighth to thirteenth centuries AD/second to seventh AH at least).
The West has generally maintained a conspiracy of silence regarding its medieval rejuvenation through Islamicization (the imitative-innovative assimilation of Islamic culture by non-Muslims - Islamization being the adoption of ideal Islamic culture and religion in the behavioral culture).
In more recent times a large number of Western scholars, together with Muslim scholars writing in Western languages, have been bringing out the diffusion of Islamic science, philosophy, and other aspects of Islamic culture in medieval West.
However, such researches have not been incorporated in the Western education system and culture, in the manner and to the extent necessary for fostering the proper appreciation of the ideal and historical patterns of Islamic culture. Therefore the West portends and strives for Westernization of the Muslim world because of what is considered to be the backwardness of contemporary Muslim behavioral culture pattern and the denyial of the existence and validity of ideal Islamic culture pattern. Therefore we can see the reactionary Muslim responses through polemics, xenophobia, historical romanticism, zealotism, fanaticism, extremism, even terrorism. Which are in fact a far cry from the creative adaptation indispensable for contemporary rejuvenation.
The consequences of the denial, falsification and neglect of this historical fact have been extremely serious: the denigration of Islam in the eyes of Muslims and non-Muslims; the identification of Islam and its culture with ignorance and backwardness and of “modernity” and progress with Western civilization; the creation of xenophobia and arrogance in Western mind, and the perpetration of ideological and politico- economic Western imperialism against Muslim people; the imposition of an inferiority complex among Western educated “modern” Muslims, and the bitter social and political cleavages between the “modern” and the “traditional” Muslim elites.
This fact of medieval Islamicization of the West needs to be fully researched, accepted and incorporated in specialized works and in the teaching materials of schools and colleges around the world. The consequences of this will be far reaching in understanding the socio-cultural rejuvenation and modernization of the developing nations, in building up a genuine and universally acceptable theory of social action, and in ridding sociology of ethnocentrism; in removing the burdens of historical romanticism and apologetics imposed upon the underdeveloped nations and suppressed minorities as a reaction to the cultural arrogance of nations and ethnic groups which are highly developed today but had their own dark ages at some other time and in promoting international understanding and co-operation for development and world peace.