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of nature itself. Religion has become divorced from morality, it becomes a mere outward thing, a


round of unmeaning rites and ceremonies, of prayers in an unknown tongue, of pilgrimages to the shrines of dead1 men, a means of hindering progress, of degrading and not of elevating humanity, of separating man from and not of binding him to the GOD of Holiness, of Justice, and of Love.

§ 3. It is claimed by some that, however true this may be with reference to political and


religious life, yet Islam has ever been on the side of learning and science. To the Arabs, we are told, we owe the preservation of Greek learning and philosophy during the Dark Ages. Draper,2 and to a less degree Gibbon,3 have extolled the exploits of Arabian scientists, the munificence of such royal patrons of art and science as Al Ma'mun, the advanced civilization that reigned in the Muslim courts at Cordova and at Baghdad, and contrasted

1 In the case of the vast majority of Muslims everywhere, their religion in practice (as distinguished from theory) consists almost wholly in the worship of pirs or saints. This may be accounted for in part by the fact that the fixed prayers in Arabic are unintelligible to most Muhammadans, and also partly by the feeling, inculcated by the Qur'an, that GOD is not our Father, and is separated from human nature by an unfathomable abyss. No mediator is provided by the theoretical religion, but human nature by saint-worship asserts its deep need of one.
2 "Conflict between Religion and Science."
3 "Decline and Fall," cap. 50.

all this marvellous picture with the squalor and ignorance that then brooded over the greater part of Christian Europe. And there is truth1 in what they say, though their enthusiastic descriptions savour of poetic fancy rather than of plain and unvarnished fact. But certain considerations must occur to every thoughtful student of the question, which make him pause before attributing all these brilliant results to Islam and Islam alone. No great civilization, no scientist of note, no renowned school of philosophy has ever arisen upon purely Muhammadan ground. The lands where Muslim culture reared itself most proudly were precisely those that had long been the seats of learning and civilization. Astronomy (or perhaps we might more correctly call

to Greeks, &c.

it astrology) had reigned in Mesopotamia ages, nay, millennia, before Al Ma'mun's time. Egypt had her learned men and her philosophers, Greece her sages, her physicians, and historians, long before their Arabian conquerors were even capable of learning from them something of what they had to teach. Galen lived before Avicenna2 (Abu 'Ali Husein Ibn Sina), Plato and Aristotle3 before their Muslim

1 V. Dozy, "Histoire des Maures en Espagne"; Bar Hebraeus, "Chron.," under A1 Ma'mun; &c. &c.
2 Concerning whom vide Bar Hebraeus, "Chronicon," dyn. x., pp. 231-233.
3 Syrian scholars taught their Arabian conquerors to value the writings of the Greek philosophers, and to the present day Aflatun (Plato) and Aristu (Aristotle) are far better known by fame in all Muhammadan lands than any of their Muslim imitators.

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