Now in this 4th 100 Milad Mubarak post, let us take into account, some of the causes, which led to the advent of the ‘dark age’ when knowledge acquired through the Centuries was deemed lost, and more importantly, when it resurfaced, it was wrongly assumed to be, largely on account of the intellectual pursuit of Western Nations, as a result of Renaissance and Industrial Revolution.
It was not so, as clearly shown in my previous post. Please permit to quote an erudite scholar Syyed Ameer Ali from his book – ‘ The Spirit of Islam’
‘ Such was the glorious achievement of the Moslems in the field of intellect; and all was due to the teachings of one man ( Nabi Mohammad – S.A) ... Afflicted humanity awoke into new life. Whilst the barbarians of Europe, who have overturned an effete empire, were groping in the darkness of ignorance and brutality, the Moslems were building up a great civilization. During the centuries of moral and intellectual desolation in Europe, Islam led the vanguard of progress. Christianity had established itself on the throne of the Caesars, but it failed to regenerate the nations of the earth....From the schools of Salerno, of Bagdad, of Damascus, of Cordova, of Granada, of Malaga, the Moslems taught the world the gentle lessons of the philosophy and practical teachings of Science’
I also quote a Christian author of a blog aptly describing the result of the meeting of two diverse cultures: ‘ The Christians were brought face to face with a civilization superior to their own; their eyes were dazzled by the light of Arabian learning; and the mental ferment which succeeded in Europe led to the cultivation of science and literature, the foundation of universities, the study of the immortal classics of Greece and Rome, the growth of philosophy and skepticism, the Renaissance in Italy, and the Reformation in Germany. And these movements, in turn, led to the French Revolution, which sounded the death-knell of Feudalism, and to the Free thought of Voltaire, which pierced the heart of Superstition.
Just recently the world has witnessed the horrible tragedy resulting out of a combination of earthquake and Tsunami, that has devastated the most technologically advanced Nation of Japan. My profound and heartfelt sympathy are with the Japanese people, who are basically very stoic, and as in the past, they will surely overcome this tragedy, of which I am sure.
Likewise a most barbaric and damaging episode erupted – an earthquake on the fertile plains of Islamic Intellectual and morally uplifting landscape, in the last part of the 10th Century. The cause was the rallying call made, to save Christianity from the infidels (Muslims) - after a meeting called by Pope Urban II. As a result of which, the Crusades began in 1097 and continued for 3 centuries.
First Crusades 1097 –1099
Second Crusades 1147- 1149
Third Crusades 1187- 1192
The Crusades burst among the Muslim empire, at a most crucial moment in its history. I shudder to mention the barbaric acts, which occurred at Ma’arra al Numan, following the capitulation of Antioch. Peter the Hermit, Walter nicknamed ‘penniless’ – Godeschal - the German monk perpetrated inhuman atrocities.
Millions perished in battle, hunger or disease and the Crusaders disgraced the Cross, for the protection of which they had issued forth. It is very ironic, and how misguided were their clergy, as the Muslims also beleived in One Supreme Being- Allah. They fought the holy wars to rid the world of the infidels. This only shows how misguided they were, and the real causes were far too malicious and deep.
A Muslim view fully borne out by the atrocities committed by the Crusaders
The object of the Crusades was inhuman. They were launched against Islam by those who were suffering from mental rigidity, prejudice, wrong conceptions, class ¬distinctions, intellectual stagnation, educational back¬wardness and medieval fossilization. These wars were started with a view to oppose a new religion and a world system which believed in human values and had replaced discrimination and inequality by justice and equality and put the firm belief in one God in the place of complex heathenism. The result was tremendous bloodshed, large scale destruction and many ignoble incidents which continued for over a century.
The brilliance of Islamic teaching and moral code, made an impression on many moderate and thinking Christians, many converted to Islam, as things settled down. Many Christians and Jews were holding important administrative posts, and were exerting influence in the Fatimid Courts. In the previous post, I have already dwelt on the brilliance and quest of Intellectual achievements, encouraged and fostered by our most reverred Fatemi Imams (SA)
However, unfortunately Islam was to suffer more devastation in the form of a Tsunami, that originated from the vast steppes of Mongolia, in the form of Chengiz or Jingis Khan. In the year 1218 AD the Mongol issued forth from the steppes , with a savage following of a million and moved upon Farghana.
Centers of knowledge and culture like Herat, Balkh, Bokhara, Samarkand were reduced to ashes. A general massacre was ordered in all these cities. This Mongol invasion put an end to the intellectual life of Central Asia.
More destruction and savagery was witnessed when 50 years later Halaku, the grandson of Chengiz Khan sacked Bagdad. For three days the streets ran with blood, and the water of the Tigris was dyed red for miles along its course. The horrors of rapine, slaughter and outraged humanity, lasted for six weeks.
The reckless assassination of thousands of scholars, poets, writers and the destruction of libraries and colleges wrought irreparable disaster upon the Muslim civilization, which had flourished for centuries with remarkable vitality.
What deepened the somber effects of the tragedy was the fact, with the extermination of men of learning, the spirit of enquiery and original research, so distinctly associated with Arabic learningas practically destroyed.
However, in the midst of all this horrors, there was a silver lining. More than a hundred years before the Mongols sacked Central Asia, Moulana Imam Taiyyeb (SA) had gone in seclusion, In the beginning of the 12th Century Moulana Lamak (RA) had come in the hazrat Imamiyah Mustansiryah to seek the raza. We mumineen are very familiar with the historical evidence that transpired.
Here I quote from one of my earlier post on the Glorious Fatimid Empire - Part 3.
'The period of 454 A.H. to 459 A.H.,was a period of chaos and famine, but of far reaching and significant consequence for the Fatemi Taiyyebi Dawah. Sy. Al- Mu'yyad (AQ) passed these four years in conference with Dai Lamak at Dar-ul- Ilm, and thus although the Nile had dried up, the Fatemi Uloom flowed in torrents towards Yemen.
Syedna Mu'yyad (AQ)remained in charge of the entire Dawah until his death in 470 A.H. He wrote most of his works, in the last year of his life.'
So long before the Mongols had destroyed everything in sight, the true learning (I’lm of A’le Mohammad, encompassing all branches of knowledge) found a very safe and secure haven, to be diligently pursued and revitalized, in the fortified forts (hisn haseen) of Yemen.