Religion, otherwise termed as organised spirituality by some, has been the source of wars over the span of mankind. Throughout man’s transition from his primitive form to what we call modern man, religion has undergone a series of transformation. The world has witnessed the coming and going of many gods among whom are Sango, Oluku, Zeus, and Apollo to mention a few. Mankind has transformed from the belief in the co existence of many gods to a more widely accepted belief in the existence of one true God, irrespective of what he is called by the numerous religions today.
Amongst these religions, Islam attracts controversial views from different angles,including those that view Islam as synonymous with ‘terrorism’. This generalization is of course erroneous as Islam simply represents those who have surrendered themselves 100% to the laws of God. Even, Pope John Paul II on numerous occasions expressed his respect for Islam and even believed rather than confronted, that Christians and Muslims should see themselves as allies in the struggle against what the Church and religious institutions stand for.
Many, of course, do not see it as so. An example being Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who is currently being blasted for alleged hate speech against Islam and for calling the Koran a “fascist book”, and Islam “a retarded culture”
Nothing good came out of Islam? For anyone to make such a comment rather shows the ignorance of the speaker. Such a comment would come out of bias rather than balanced thinking, especially considering the contribution Islam has bestowed to World Civilization. A clear example is the university system in higher learning, which takes its roots from Islam with the founding of the Al Karaouine University in Morocco as well as the Al-Azhar University of Cairo in Egypt, as the world’s first and second universities respectively. Another great higher institution of learning is the Great University of Timbouktu in Mali. It must also be noted that the term University of Timbuktu is erroneous as it was simply called Sankore University. Timbouktu, the city in which Sankore University existed had 2 other universities co-existing at the time.
Several scholars have studied under the Islamic structure of education. One of such greats is the Jewish philosopher and theologian Moses Maimonides, also known as Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, who studied under Abdul Arab Ibn Muwashah.
Besides the Islamic contributions to higher education, Islam has been a major contributor to global exploration since maps of the cartographer Mohammed al-Idrisi aided European exploration in the Renaissance. Other institutions that we can’t imagine we could live without like hospitals and public libraries were conceptualized in ancient Islamic World. Islamic civilization laid foundation to many scientific inventions we are enjoying today. The list is long. Algebra , Chemistry and science of mechanics find their origins in Islamic civilization. Great invention of Camera Obscura and paper making are among the many creations that the Muslim world contributed.
Islam is by no means a religion that calls for the understanding of all mankind. It is a religion from God as biblical and Islamic accounts show that the Blessing given to Ishmael was meant to be passed onto his offspring hence, God would not have sent the descendants of Ishmael a fake religion. It thus follows the condemnation of Islam by any Christian clergy will imply the disbelief in the bible as such runs contrary to the promise of God to look after the Arabs.
In addition, the attack on Christianity by Muslims is a clear attack on the seat of the most high as the disbelief of one prophet is the disbelief of all as “an attack by Muslims on Jesus Christ, his mother or his message will be tantamount to disbelief”. This might thus imply that all those who embrace the true teachings of God 100% can be grouped as Muslims and all who are for Christ and not against him are Christians. Hence, both share the same foundation in the existence of one God. Our understanding of him might differ, but his commandments are shared by both. Prominent Roman Catholic Cardinals such as Angelo Scola of Venice and Arinze of Nigeria have advocated an alliance with Islam with a view of stimulating one another in good works in line with the commandments of God, thus contributing to global peace.