Have you ever wondered why Muslim-majority countries consistently trail the rest of the civilized world in producing scientific advances, technological achievements, educational insights and new fields of study? The answer is fairly simple — Islam.
Muslims believe, as doctrine of the first order, that the Qur’an contains all the truth needed for human felicity, and that Allah sent Muhammad into the world in part to be the perfect exemplar for all human beings to emulate. Therefore, a Muslim’s time is best spent memorizing and reciting the Qur’an in Arabic — even if one does not understand the Arabic language the hope is that somehow its “truth” will penetrate the believer’s heart and the reciter will please Allah, perhaps meriting divine rewards — and poring over the authoritative Hadith literature to learn how to imitate the Arabian prophet in all matters, from how to defecate correctly to what to do when a fly lands in your tea. All other studies pale in comparison to Allah’s revelation. One anecdotal, perhaps apocryphal, story drives home the mindset inculcated by Islamic orthodoxy. fFirst recorded in print by the Muslim historian al-Qifti (lived 1172-1248) in his book Ta’rikh al-hukama’ (History of Learned Men), the account details the destruction of the famed Alexandrian Library of Egypt after the conquest of that city in 641 by the invading Arab Muslim army. When its general, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (my purported ancestor), learned of the trove of knowledge preserved in scrolls and books, and was asked by an Alexandrian named Yahya (John) to transfer them to non-Muslim control, al-‘Aas responded, “I cannot make any order without first asking the permission of the Prince of the Believers [i.e., Caliph] ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb.”
So he wrote off to his Master for instructions, and in time received this reply from the Caliph, according to historian al-Qifti:
“As for the books you mention, if there is in it what complies with the Book of God [Qur’an], then it is already there and is not needed and if what is in these books contradict the Book of God there is no need for it. And you can then proceed in destroying them.”
Not one to let resources go to waste, al-‘Aas ordered that the vast collection of books be parceled out among the public bathhouses and burned in the furnaces used to heat their water. Al-Qifti concludes with this note:
“…it is said that they had enough heating for six months.”
So, here’s the axiom for Islamic learning: If the Muslim revelatory sources already contain some truth, one need not search for it elsewhere; if they don’t contain it, it is irrelevant or worse, and should be disposed of. As a result, Muslim academics are always playing catch-up with the rest of the world, but with both hands tied behind their backs. They can’t acknowledge the truths of the scientific and epistemological disciplines unless they first comb through their religious tomes to find some obscure statement which they can ingeniously twist to accommodate the realities of modern-day life.
Here is a sadly illuminating example from a March 25th interview on Kuwaiti Scope TV featuring Dr. Mariam al-Sohel, a “human development advisor” with an honorary doctorate in “Sex Management” from the International Union of Universities in Turkey (which itself is not a university and was founded, as far as I can tell, in 2016).
Sohel claims that based on “the prophetic medicine” of Muhammad, meaning his recorded statements or actions having anything to do with health matters (such as drinking a mixture of camel’s milk and urine, or making sure to immerse a fly fully in one’s drink if it lands there since one wing contains disease and the other its cure), she has discovered the cure for homosexuality and has developed suppositories (exactly the same for both genders but color-coded so as not to mix them up, for some reason) which will stem these faulty sexual urges.
Her medical wisdom is based on a supposed Hadith text (which I have not been able to locate in the ancient sources) dealing with an anal condition troubling ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Muhammad’s close companion who would later become Islam’s second Caliph. Muhammad is said to have counseled Umar that his condition needed to be treated with sperm. Apparently the reason for this is that he had contracted anal worms which feed on human sperm. It’s possible that Sohel learned this through a fellow Kuwaiti, the firebrand Shi’ite imam Yasser al-Habib who never shies from showing disdain for the “rightly-guided caliphs” of Sunni Islam and all their spiritual descendants. Al-Habib declares:
It is told [in the hadith] that Omar Ibn Al-Khattab had an anal disease, which could be cured only by semen. One should know that this is a well-known medical condition, which is also mentioned in sacred texts. Someone who, God forbid, has been penetrated in the anus – a worm grows within him, due to the semen discharged in him… A disease develops in his anus, and as a result, he cannot calm down, unless… That’s right, it becomes like an addiction, and he cannot calm down unless he is penetrated again and again.
Based on this “prophetic Arab medicine”, Sohel has developed suppositories meant to kill the anal worms in both homosexuals and lesbians (though she never explains how the worms would first have entered females interested solely in same-sex encounters. Since these worms, ever hungry for sperm, control human desires for anal sex, their eradication will as a result cure any human being from same-sex urges. It’s as simple as that — and we have the prophet of Islam to thank for showing us the way to rid the world of homosexuality. No more need to bind up gay men and throw them off tall buildings — just plant some suppositories in their backsides and watch them become normal heterosexuals! Muhammad must indeed be “a mercy to all the worlds” (Q 21:107).
You can hear her for yourself in this clip, courtesy of Memritv.org:
The purpose of pointing this out is not to make fun of Islam but to warn Western society that the greater the place we give to Islam in our educational institutions and in the determination of the moral fiber of our culture, the more we can expect a pull backwards to a 7th century pre-scientific and anti-Judeo-Christian worldview. For orthodox Muslim adherents, there can be no questioning of the assertions of the Qur’an and Sunnah traditions. As Islam gains ascendancy, Western curricula will increasingly feature memorization of the Qur’an, study of its contents, degrees in Hadith “science” and the casting away of Western arts and sciences as well as the academic freedom to pursue truths wherever they lead. Such pursuits are after all just so much flotsam and jetsam from the days of jahiliyya — the times of ignorance before the dawning of Islam and the reframing of the world.