Who are the most famous Arab scientists

Annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle / S. What happened to science in Islam?

There was a time when science set the standard in the Islamic world. Anyone who wanted to learn like the Medicus in the Middle Ages had to go to Arabia, out of Catholic Europe, which is hostile to science. It is not for nothing that we write Arabic numbers and use a number of words that came to us from Arabic: such as numeral, tariff, elixir, zenith or alcohol.
Today science no longer plays a major role in the Islamic world, says Martin Riexinger, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Aarhus (Denmark). He cited a UN report that found intellectual stagnation in the Arab world. This can be recognized, for example, by the fact that little research is done there, little is published and only a few patents are registered.

Science-skeptical currents in Islam

The UN report also gives reasons. As was to be expected, religion stands in the way of science in many regions. Martin Riexinger emphasizes that Islam as such is not hostile to research. In many places, however, there is an interpretation of religion that is hostile to innovation and that allows little science. In Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or where the Islamic State has a great influence, there is hardly any research worth mentioning. But things would look different in Lebanon.

This applies above all to the humanities, says Stefan Knost from the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Martin Luther University in Halle. "The humanities often only take place within the framework of this ideology. (...) And of course that is not a good environment for research." In the natural sciences, the situation is only slightly better. They are practical and useful, as science is often used to solve immediate problems:

As for the social sciences, the first goal is to train teachers. As far as science faculties are concerned, the first goal is to train practitioners: that is, doctors or engineers.

Stefan Knost, Institute for Oriental Studies MLU Halle / S.

Anyone who comes from the regions of the Islamic world and wants to do research goes abroad. There are many students with an Arabic background at numerous European and North American universities. You have a career there and are often enough among the best. Everything is reminiscent of the time when the medicus was looking for knowledge. Only that at the moment the knowledge transfer is the other way around.

Competition of knowledge cultures

"With the choice of topics, the Leopoldina is responding to an increasingly important discussion in science. The annual meeting is intended to help raise awareness of the competition between different knowledge cultures, to identify obstacles in intercultural dialogue and to discuss strategies for overcoming them," said Jörg Hacker, President the Leopoldina, at his opening address at the annual meeting. "A reflective stance on the topic is necessary, not least against the background of economic, political and religious conflicts in a globalized world," said Hacker.