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The Gulf University and Science in the Arab Islamic Commonwealth

THE GULF UNIVERSITY AND SCIENCE IN THE ARAB ISLAMIC COMMONWEALTH Paper presented by Professor Abdus Salam at the Symposium on the “Future Outlook of the Arabian Gulf University”, on 11 May 1983, in Bahrain. “Allah is He who made (it possible) for you (to acquire) mastery over the ocean; thus (your) craft can ply thereon, with Allah’s command” — “Allah is He, who gives you subjection over all that is in Heaven and on Earth: Herein are Allah’s signs for a people given to reflection”. (The Holy Quran 45 ;12/13) Taffakur and Taskheer (Science and Technology) I have quoted these verses from the Holy Quran for they speak of the two concepts of “Taffakur” and “Taskheer” together in the same place. Taffakur is the reflection on, and discovery of, the laws of Nature (science); taskheer is the acquiring of mastery over Nature through technology. Both these, throughout the ages, have been the shared urges of mankind. It is the glory of Islam that the Holy Quran, by repeated injunctions, enjoins their pursuit as bounden obligations on the Muslim community. And as in the verses above, there is the emphasis that taffakur and taskheer (science and techno- logy) are not distinct; they form part of the same spectrum. Following these injunctions, barely a hundred years after the Prophet’s death, the Muslims had made it their task to master the then-known sciences. With feverish haste, but systematically, they translated the entire corpus of the then known knowledge in their religious language, Arabic. Founding institutes of advanced study (Bait-ul-Hikmas) and prestigious universities (like the Nizamiyya), particularly in this part of the world, they acquired an ascendancy in sciences that lasted for the next 600 years. The Level of Scientific Creation in Islam A semi-quantitative measure of this is given by George Sarton in his monumental “History of Science”. Sarton divides his story of the highest achievement in science into Ages, each lasting 50 years. With each, he associates one central figure: thus, 500 – 450 BC is the Age of Plato, followed by the Ages of Aristotle, Euclid, Archim- edes and so on. From 750 to 1100 CE, however, it is an unbroken 23 THE REVIEWOF RELIGIONS 24 succession of the Ages of Jabir, Khwarizrni, Razi, Masudi, Abu 1-Wafa, Biruni and Omar Khayam. In those 350 years, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Persians —chemists, algebraists, clinicians, geographers, mathe- maticians, physists and astronomers of the commonwealth of Islam- held the world stage of sciences. Only after 1100 CE, in Sarton’s scheme, do the first Western names begin to appear; however, for another 250 years, they only share the honours with men of Islam like Ibn Rushd, Nasir-ur-din Tusi and Ibn Nafis. To mark the level of this achievement and to emphasise the originality and calibre of science in Islam, I shall take my own subject of physics as an example. Contrary to the views of the Greeks — and I quote from H.J.J. Winter’s “Eastern Science” —”Ibn Sina (Avicenna, 980—1037 CE) regarded light as an emission by the luminous sources of particles travelling at finite speed; he understood the nature of heat and force and motion.” His contemporary, one of the greatest physicists of all time, Ibn al Haitham (Alhazen, 965 — 1039 CE), who started work at nearby Basrah and then migrat- ed to Egypt, made experimental contributions of the highest order in optics and “enunciated that a ray of light, in passing through a medium, takes the path which is the easier and ‘quicker’.” In this he was anticipating Fermat’s Principle of Least Time by many centuries. He enunciated the law of inertia, later to become Newton’s first law of motion, and described the process of refraction in mecha- nical terms, by considering the movement of “particles of light” as they passed through the surface of separation of two media, in accordance with the rectangle law of forces (an approach later rediscovered and elaborated by Newton). Al Khazini of Merv (12th Century CE) in a remarkable treatise entitled “The Book of the Balance of Wisdom”, worked out a theory of universal gravity directed towards the centre of the earth; he was also responsible for the assumption that air has weight and for original work on capillarity. Qutb-ud-Din al Shirazi (1236— 1311 CE) and his pupil Kamal-ud-Din gave the first explanation of the rainbow, stated that the speed of light is in inverse ratio to the optical, rather than the material, density of the medium; and that hyperboloidal lenses avoid spherical aberration. In assessing this work, let us not forget that most of these men were only part-time physicists. They were universalists—physicians, astronomers, lexicographers, poets and even theologians at the same time. In this recital I have not mentioned al Biruni (973— 1048 CE) who, working in Afghanistan, was a great experimenter like his 25 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS contemporary Alhazen. He was as modern and as unmedieval in outlook as Galileo, six centuries later, with whom he shares the independent (prior) discovery of the so-called Galilean invariance of the laws of Nature —the liberating statement that the same Laws of Physics apply here on earth and on the starry-orbs in the heavens. I have mentioned some of the great new ideas in physics due to the Muslims. But like all science, the bulk of the scientific work in Islam is not a record of what these universal luminaries did; it is painstaking, slow accumulation of data, supplemented with critical examination, exposition and commentary on the work of their peers. As Brian Stock has remarked in his perceptive review “Science and Technology and Economic Progress in the Early Middle Ages”, “The most remarkable feature is . . . . that science in one form or another was the part-time or full-time occupation of so large a number of intellectuals.” Consider in this respect the following extract from the entry under “Euclid” in Al-Nadim’s “Catalogue of Sciences”, the – “Fihrist”: “(The Elements) was twice translated by Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ibn Matar: one translation, the first, is known under the name of Harunian, while the other carries the label Ma’munian and is the one to be relied and depended on. Furthermore, Ishaq ibn Hunayn also translated the work, a translation in turn revised by Thabit ibn Qurra al-Harrani. Moreover, Abu ‘Uthman Al-Dimashqi translated several books of this same work; I have seen the tenth in Mosul, in the library of ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Imrani (one of whose pupils was Abul- Saqr al-Qabisi, who in turn in our time lectures on the Almagest). Al-Nayrizi also commented upon it, as did al-Karabisi . . . . Further, Al-Jawhari . . . . wrote a commentary on the whole work from beginning to end. Another commentary on book V was done by al- Mahani . . . . Furthermore, Abu Ja’far al-Khazin al-Khurasani . . . . composed a commentary on Euclid’s book, as did Abu’1-Wafa, although the latter did not finish his. Then a man by the name of Ibn Rahiwayh al-Arrajani commented on Book X, while Abu ‘1-Qasim al Antaqi commented on the whole work . . . . Further, a commentary was made by Sanad ibn ‘Ali . . . . and book X was commented upon by Abu Yusuf al-Razi . . . .” With this meticulous- ness, no wonder one of the earliest scientists to worry about Euclid’s axiom of parallels was Nasir-ud-din Tusi. As Stock remarks: ‘Al-Nadim’s catalogue is complete, . . . . However there is one aspect of Mathematics he omitted, this was the practical. Nadim did not say that the diffusion of Hindu-Arabic numerals and the decimal positional system was brought about by THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 26 trade. Nor did he mention that Muslim mathematicians, to a much greater degree than the Greeks, interested themselves in everyday problems. Masha’ allah, the noted astrologer (d. ca. 815 — 20 CE), was the author of a treatise on commodity prices. Abu’1-Wafa combined original work on Euclid and Diophantus with books bearing such titles as “What is Necessary from Geometrical Con- struction for the Artisan.” In these works the theory was old but the examples were new. One may doubt that the most refined theory penetrated commercial circles, but commerce stimulated the theorists and oriented them towards the concrete.” Such was the temper of the Islamic Society – Basic Sciences as related to their Applications to Life; Taffakur and Taskheer. In this context one may quote Sarton again: “The main, as well as the least obvious, achievement of the middle Ages was the creation of the experimental spirit and this was primarily due to the Muslims down to the 12th century.” In planning for the super University of the Gulf States, we heard yesterday at this meeting an exposition of this new institution as a possible university of technology (taskheer). To-day, I shall be emphasising the other side of the coin; the aspects of taffakur (science), which lie at the heart of all modern technology. I wish to emphasise that in the context of the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth of nations, we must also give the highest priority to the creation of sciences and I wish to outline the steps we need to take, both in regard to the evolution of the super-University at Bahrain as well as outside it, if we are to regain our rightful self-respecting place among the comity of nations. The proposed University in Bahrain is rightly placed to help achieve this pre-eminence in sciences as a pre-condition for pre-eminence in technology. Just as Bahrain has successfuly developed the highest traditions in sophisticated banking in a short span of time, I believe it also has a potential to develop sciences, through the establishment of centres of excellence at the proposed University. From ancient times, Bahrain has been at the crossroads of civilizations and cultures with a tradition of nurturing and toleration of new and venturesome ideas — a pre-requisite for the developing of sciences. The Present Picture of Sciences in Islamic Countries What is the picture of science and technology in the Islamic Commonwealth? For purposes of identification, the Arab-Islamic peoples fall into six geographical regions. First and foremost are the nine countries of the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. The second region consists of the Arab northern tier; Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, 27 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. The third region comprises Turkey, Muslim Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The fourth (most populous) region consists of Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, (plus the Muslim minorities in India and China). In the fifth region are the Arab countries of North Africa, while the sixth region would comprise the non-Arab African countries. If we consider the present enrollment in scientific and technological education in the 18-23 year age group at the Universities as an index of high scientific potential, the Islamic countries average 2% of the relevant age group compared to the norms of around 12% for the developed countries. A similar ratio of 1:6 prevails also in respect of GNP expenditures on scientific and technological research and develop- ment. No detailed statistics of numbers of those engaged in scientific research are available. However, in the Background Paper submitted to the first meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference, which was held in Islamabad during 10-13 May 1983, a figure of around 45,136 research and development scientists and engineers was given for the entire Islamic world, compared to one and a half million in the USSR and four hundred thousand in Japan. According to Zahlan, an analysis of these and similar figures reveals that so far as physics is concerned, the Arab-Islamic comm- unity is around one tenth in size and one hundredth in scientific creativity in research publication, compared to the international norms. Pakistan, which is one of the most advanced of Islamic countries in physics, has 19 universities, but only 13 Professors of Physics, and a total of 42 Physics Ph. D. teachers and researchers in all its universities —this for a population of 80 millions. To compare, the corresponding numbers at one College at one University in the United Kingdom —the Imperial College of Science and Technology —are 12 Professors and 100 researchers. These figures are dismal; what makes them more dismal is the unfortunate fact that our scientific effort is isolated from inter- national science. As a measure of this, it is amazing, but true, that with the exception of Egypt, which is a member of sixteen Unions, no other Arab or Islamic country uniformly subscribes to more than five International centres of scientific research have been created or are located within our confines; few international scientific con- ferences are organized there; very few of us, if living and working in our own countries, are privileged to travel to scientific institutions and meetings outside; such travel, as a rule, is considered wasteful luxury. The situation is a little better in Arab OPEC countries; it is dismal in non-Arab Islamic lands. It was this isolation which prompted me to propose the creation of the International Centre THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 28 for Theoretical Physics so that others do not make exiles of them- selves if they wish to keep themselves abreast in newer developments in this subject. This Centre belongs to two United Nations Agencies — IAEA and UNESCO; some one hundred and seventy five Arab and Muslim physicists (out of around 1000 from developing countries) are supported at the Centre every year. Of these, 25 are supported by the Kuwait Foundation for Science and Kuwait and Qatar Universities; the rest come with funds provided by IAEA, UNESCO or the benefactions I can secure from Italy or Sweden. To give an outside observer’s assessment, writing in the presti- gious scientific journal, “Nature”, of 24 March 1983, Francis Giles raises the question “What is wrong with Muslim science?” This is what he says: “At its peak about one thousand years ago, the Muslim world made a remarkable contribution to science, notably mathematics and medicine. Baghdad in its heyday and southern Spain built universities to which thousands flocked: rulers surround- ed themselves with scientists and artists. A spirit of freedom allowed Jews, Christians and Muslims to work side by side. Today all this is but a memory. “Expenditure on science and technology may have increased in recent years though that increase has been, perforce, limited to oil- rich countries . . . . Some of these countries are busy fighting wars which cost billions of dollars —no doubt they have little time for science. Trade structures are dominated by imported technology and most countries have economic and scientific systems geared to imitation rather than originality.” “Even the recent wealth provided by oil exports makes rela- tively little difference since policy and politics, much to the displeasure of many scientists, are closely linked in the Middle East. The region is dominated by dictatorships, benevolent or otherwise. . . further complicating any attempt to allow science to take root indigenously. Not surprisingly the brain drain to industralized countries continues to debilitate intellectual life throughout the Middle East.” The same issue of “Nature” contains another article on Research Manpower in Israel from which I quote: “The need for a substantial increase in the number of academically trained people to work in research and development is widely accepted. The National Council for Research and Development has urged that their country will need 86,700 such people in 1995,- compared with 34,800 in 1974-an increase of 150 per cent.” Compare the figure of 34,800 with 45,136 29 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS researchers in all Islamic countries (the population ratio is around 200). The article continues: “In the 1960s Professor Derek de Solla Price of Yale University developed a method for measuring scientific manpower in various countries based on the total of reserachers who had papers published in major professional journals and con- cluded that in this country there are five times as many scientists as would be expected for its population and gross national product. Price insists that ‘the situation is no different today; the country still possesses an enormous reservoir of trained people, something for which she has every reason to be grateful because her scientists and technicians more than compensate for the lack of oil and minerals.” The New Gulf University With this bleak picture of science in the Arab-Islamic Common- wealth, is it any wonder that the prospect of a Super-University in the Arab-Islamic lands excites me, first and foremost, to remedy the situation in the pursuit of the traditional basic sciences of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology at the highest levels, as a prelude to sciences in application. My vision is that of prestigious univer- sities of science arising —perhaps one in each of the six regions of Islam —the new Gulf University among them —consisting of centres of excellence, second to none in quality in the world, in one or more of the scientific disciplines, experimental and theoretical. These centres would be open internationally, their facilities would be among the finest in the world; the modalities of their operation non-bureaucratic. And there would be guaranteed financial access to these centres and their facilities for all researchers within the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth, so that the poorest faculties in the poorest of the Arab-Islamic countries can also keep in touch with living science through using these facilities. The men to staff such facilities would come internationally, but in particular from the seventh region of Arab-Islamic science. This region consists, in Zahlan’s count, of the twenty thousand researchers from the Arab-Islamic countries who are now working in Europe and America. I have the vision of these men coming to Bahrain and other super universities, at least as part-time associ- ates, to bring about the renaissance of sciences in our Commonwealth through their active contact. This will happen provided we create here the conditions which prevailed in the days of early Islamic science, particularly in this region. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 30 The reasons for Muslim Pre-Eminence in Sciences before 1000CE and for the Subsequent Decline What were the conditions which helped the Muslims develop sciences at a feverish rate in the 8th, 9th, 10th and l l t h centuries? What were the reasons for their pre-eminence? One may think of three: first and foremost, the Muslims were following the repeated injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet. According to Dr. Muhammad Aijazul Khatib of Damascus University, nothing can emphasise the importance of science more than the remark that “in contrast to 250 verses which are legislative, some 750 verses of the Holy Quran —almost one eight of it —exhort believers to study Nature-to reflect, to make the best use of reason and to make the scientific enterprise an integral part of the Community’s life.” The second reason, which is connected with the first, was the status accorded in Islam to men of knowledge and science, —the alims. The Holy Quran emphasises the superiority of the alim, the man possessed of knowledge and science, by asking: how can those who do not possess these attributes ever be equals to those who do? The Prophet of Islam said: “The quest for knowledge and science is obligatory upon every Muslim, man and woman.” He enjoined his followers to seek “ilm” even if they had to travel to far Cathay in its search. Clearly in the context of China, he was emphasising science and not religious knowledge, besides pointing out the internationalism of the scientific quest. This brings us to the third reason for the success of the scientific enterprise in Islam: its international character. The Islamic common- wealth itself cut across nations and colour; moreover early Muslim society was very tolerant of men from outside it, and of their ideas. An aspect of this reverence for the sciences in Islam was the patronage they enjoyed in the Islamic-Arabic Commonwealth. To paraphrase what H.A.R. Gibb has written about Arabic literature to the parallel situation for the sciences: “To a greater extent than elsewhere, the flowering of the sciences in Islam was conditional . . . . on the liberality and patronage of those in high positions. Where Muslim society was in decay, science lost vitality and force. But so long as, in one capital or another, princes and ministers found pleasure, profit or reputation in patronising the sciences, the torch was kept burning.” This situation did not last indefinitely, however, and after 1100 CE science in Islam started to decline. By 1350, the decline was 31 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS almost complete. Why did we in Islamic lands lose out? No one knows for certain. There were indeed external causes, like the devastation caused by the Mongols, but, grievous though it was, it was perhaps more in the nature of an interruption. Sixty years after Ghengiz, his grandson Halagu was founding an obser- vatory at Maragha, where Nasir-ud-din Tusi worked. In my view, the demise of living science within the Islamic commonwealth was more due to the internal causes of discouragement to innovation (taqlid) and of isolation of our scientific enterprise. To emphasise this, consider Imam Ghazzali’s (1058 — 1111 CE) injunctions in the first chapter of his great Ihaya ulum-ud-din “The Revival of Religious Learning.” Imam Ghazzli laid stress upon the acquiring and creating of those sciences, which are necessary for the development of Islamic society, specifically mentioning mathematics and medical sciences. He designated these sciences as Farz-e-Kefaya — an obligation for the whole community, but one which can be discharged on its behalf, by a certain number of its members, other- wise the entire community would consist of transgressors. In his Al-Munqidh min ad-Dalai the Imam says, “A grievous crime indeed against religion has been committed by a man who imagines that Islam is defended by the denial of the mathematical sciences, seeing that there is nothing in the revealed truth opposed to these sciences by way of either negation or affirmation, and nothing in these sciences opposed to the truth of religion.” These injunctions not- withstanding, soon after Imam Ghazzali wrote, the temper of the age had turned away from science, either to Sufism with its other- worldliness or to a lack of tolerance and taqlid in Sciences as in other fields of learning. To illustrate this, let me quote from Ibn Khaldun (1332- 1406 CE), one of the greatest social historians and one of the brightest intellects of all time in his field. Ibn Khaldun writes, in his Muqad- dima: “We have heared of late, that in the land of the Franks, and on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, there is a great cultivation of philosophical sciences. They are said to be studied there again, and to be taught in numerous classes. Existing systematic expositions of them are said to be comprehensive, the people who know them numerous, and the students of them very many . . . . Allah knows better, what exists there . . . . But it is clear that the problems of physics are of no importance for us in our religious affairs. Therefore, we must leave them alone.” THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 32 Ibn Khaldun displays little curiosity, no wistfulness. The apathy his words appear to convey led to isolation and, as everyone knows, isolation in the sciences and veneration for authority it engenders, spells intellectual death. In our great days in the 9th and 10th centuries, we had founded, in Baghdad and Cairo, inter- national institutes of advanced studies (Bait-ul-Hikmas), and assembled international concourses of scholars there. But from 1300 CE, no more. Any science that was cultivated was concentrated in religious seminaries, where tradition was valued more than innovation. The very encyclopaedic nature of knowledge and science in Islam was now a hindrance in an age of specialisation. The whole- some faculty of criticism, by which a young researcher questions what he is taught, re-examines it, and brings forth newer concepts, was no longer tolerated or encouraged. To complete the story, from Ibn Khaldun’s days, this intellec- tual isolation continued —even during the great empires of Islam, the empires of Osmani Turks, of the Iranian Safvis, and of the Indian Mughals. It is not that the sultans and the shah-in-shahs were not cognizant of the technological advances being made by the Europeans; they could hardly have been unaware of the intrusive superiority of the Venetians or the Genoeses in the arts of gun- founding, or of the navigational and ship-building skills of the Portuguese who controlled the oceans of the world, including all oceans bordering on Islamic lands, and even the Hajj sea routes. But they seem never to have realized that navigational skills of the Portuguese were not accidental; these had been scientifically developed and sedulously cultivated starting with the research establishment of Sagres set up in 1419 by Prince Henry the Navigator. But even while they envied and sought the technologies involved, they failed to understand the basic interrelation between science and technology. In 1799, for example, Selim III introduced the modern studies of algebra, trigonometry, mechanics, ballistics and metallurgy into Turkey —and imported French and Swedish teachers —so as to rival the European skills of gun-founding. But he failed to accent basic scientific research in these subjects, and Turkey never caught up with Europe. Thirty years later, Muhammad Ali in Egypt had his men trained in the arts of surveying and prospecting for coal and gold. But it did not strike him, or his successors, to train Egyptains long-term in the basic sciences of geology. Even to-day, when we have come to recognize that technology is the sustenance and the power, we have not appreciated that there are no short cuts to it, that basic science 33 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS and its creation must equally become part of our civilization as a precondition of a mastery of science in application and technology. If one was being Machiavellian, one might discern sinister motives among those who try to sell us the idea encapsulated in the catch- phrase “technology transfer” without “science transfer.” Science Transfer and Technology Transfer Let me elaborate on this theme, for this is central to what I want to say. I shall illustrate through some historical, as well as recent, examples of how scientific research impinges on modern technology. My first example is Faraday’s unification of electricity and magnetism, accomplished in the last century. Before Faraday, one thought of the electric and the magnetic forces as two distinct forces with no interrelation between them. Electricity was typified by the phenomenon of thundestroms; magnets were bar-magnets, deflected by the earth’s magnetism. Faraday, experimenting in his basic sciences’ laboratory at the Royal Institution in London’s Piccadilly, discovered an amazing interrelation between these two disparate forces. Move an electrically charged object in the vicinity of a magnet, and the magnet suffers deflection. The conclusion of this and similar experiments was inescapable and sensational. The magnetic force is not an independent force; electrically charged objects produce electric forces when they are stationary; they give rise to magnetic forces when moved. Electricity and magnetism had been united and unified —this was one of the greatest discoveries in physics of all times. And when Faraday was making his experiments, no one could have imagined that this simple physics discovery in a laboratory in a fashionable and dile- ttante part of London, would lead to the entire corpus of the electrical power generation. Just to emphasize how relatively useless Faraday’s work was thought to be by his contemporaries, consider the assessment of one of them, Charles Bumey, of the uses of electricity versus music. “Electricity is universally allowed to be a very entertaining and surprising phenomenon, but it has frequently been lamented that it has never yet, with much certainty, been applied to any very useful purpose (while) it is easy to point out the human and important purposes to which music has been applied . . . . Many an orphan is cherished by its influence, and the pangs of child-birth are softened and rendered less dangerous. . . .” THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 34 The story of unification of electricity with magnetism, continues with Maxwell who immediately followed Faraday. Maxwell asked himself the question: Faraday has shown that moving electric charges produce magnetic forces what would happen if electric charges were accelerated rather than moved with uniform velocity? Maxwell pondered theoretically on this question; he found Faraday’s equations were inconsistent —they had to be modified if electric charges were accelerating. By one of the greatest acts of intuition in intellectual history, he supplied the correct modification and discovered, to his amazement, that an accelerating electrically charged object must emit elecromagnetic radiation. He could compute the velocity of this radiation —again to his surprise, this velocity turned out to be identical to the velocity of light, then known with fair precision from experiment. Could light be electro- magnetic radiation, produced by accelerating electrical charges embedded inside incandescent matter? Could we accelerate electri- cally charged particles in the laboratory and produce light? Could we verify Maxwell’s theory directly in the laboratory? A few years after Maxwell’s death in 1879, Hertz in Germany, carried out such experiments with accelerating electric charges. Every one of Maxwell’s predictions was found correct; the spectrum of Maxwell’s predicted radiation consisted, not only of light waves, but also, of waves of longer wave length—radio waves—as well as waves of shorter wave length —X-rays. Thus, from a single theoretical calculation done by an obscure professor at the Cavendish Laboratory — a laboratory endowed not by the State, but by a private individual, Lord Cavendish and his family — flowed the marvels of radio, television and the modern communication systems on the one hand as well as the medical facility to see through a human body with X-rays. These discoveries, we in Arab-Islamic lands employ in our service alongwith the rest of mankind, hardly acknowledging the debt humanity owes to that modest physicist, Maxwell, and his solitary calculations. Maxwell’s hundredth anniversary fell due in 1979; some six men congregated from the University of Glasgow at his grave and that was all the homage the world paid him. My next example is that of fission. This is the breaking apart of a heavy overweight nucleus, like uranium, into two or more fragments, when impacted by a slow-moving projectile like a thermal neutron. No one was looking for it —no one suspected it. The great Italian physicist Fermi, working in the dingy laboratories of the Department of Physics at the University of Rome, could have found these fission fragments in the debris deposited in his test tube, for they were there. But he was not looking for such fragments and 35 THE REVIEWOF RELIGIONS missed them. The phenomenon was rediscovered in Germany at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for basic sciences in December 1938 — not by physicists but by two nuclear chemists, Hahn and Strasseman. In their paper, the authors said, “As nuclear chemists who are close to physicists, we are reluctant to take this step that contradicts all previous experiences of nuclear physics.” With this humble announcement began the age of nuclear energy for peace and for war. The equipment, the apparatus used, was so simple, even a humble laboratory in a poor Arab-Muslim country could have afforded it. To-day, in the context of nuclear energy, European, American, Russian, Japanese and Chinese laboratories are experi- menting with the phenomenon of fusion —the taming of the energy release in a hydrogen-explosion. These are at present laboratory experiments; as yet not commercial technology. The European nations have together created a joint laboratory —JET —at Culham in the UK. The UN Agency, IAEA, is projecting a joint device for the world; to my knowledge no Arab-Islamic nation has yet asked to join this project. With Russian help, Libya has had the foresight to set up a small Tokamak device in Tripoli for experimentation in this field, but has not yet created the modalities through which teams of experimenters from Arab-Islamic or African countries culd come and use this device. The Centre at Trieste regularly provides theore- tical workshops for this, led by men from the prestigious laboratories of the world; at present this provides one of the few entnies for Arab-Islamic physicists to this field. My next example is in the area of biotechnology. As is well- known, the modern advances in genetics started with the unravelling of the genetic code by Watson and Crick. In the synthesis it has provided in giving the basis for all known life, this has been one of the most synthesising discoveries of the 20th century, possibly of all times. This great discovery in biology was made at Cambridge in April 1953 by two contemporaries of mine, one American, the other British —working at the Cavendish Laboratory for basic physics. One of my American pupils for Ph. D. in theoretical physics, Walter Gilbert, with whom I worked on dispersion phenomena, was a neighbour of the genetic code’s American co-discoverer, J.D. Watson, in Cambridge. When Gilbert left me in 1956, after his Ph.D., both he and Watson went back to Harvard. The next time I saw my pupil, Gilbert, was in 1961 in the US. Assuming that he was still working on some problem on theoretical physics, I asked him what he was up to. He was somewhat sheepish; he said, “I am sorry, THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 36 you will be ashamed of me; I am spending my time growing bacteria.” Watson had seduced him for genetics. Gilbert soon discovered a most elegant technique for deciphering the genetic code. For this work, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980. In 1981 he left his chair at Harvard to found a company which exploits, among others, techniques of genetic manipulation to manufacture human insulin. This company is called Biogen and is registered in Switzerland. It went public recently. Apparently, Gilbert’s first investment in the company (of which he is President) was of US $4000; this is currently worth more than 14 million dollars. Notice the mutuality of science and technology. Notice that the greatest discovery in molecular biology is made in a laboratory for physics, by men trained in the use of X-rays with fairly modest equipment. Notice Gilbert’s transition from research in theoretical physics to fundamental genetics and then to practical genetic engineering. The point I am trying to make is twofold: first, science and technology go hand in hand in modern times; second there is a premium placed on excellence and brain power in our rival civili- sations. We must ask ourselves: do we provide like opportunities for our best young men, nurturing their talents for our civilisation, or do we leave them to wither away, or if they are strongly committ- ed to science, to migrate and enrich the countries of Europe and America with their talents and their contributions? Perhaps my examples appear too distant for comfort, though the biotechnological example is not all that far-fetched. Perhaps the intervening centuries of neglect of sciences have lured into us a feeling that we can never catch up in the creation of sciences, and that we need not even try. I started in my first example with Faraday’s and Maxwell’s unification of two of the fundamental forces of nature —of electricity with magnetism —in the last century. I said, from this unification flowed the age of electric power and next, the age of wireless communications. When a hundred years after Maxwell, in the nineteen sixties, my colleagues at Harvard, Glasgow and Weinberg, and myself independently took the next step of postulating a unification of two further forces of nature —of electro- magnetism with the weak nuclear force of radioactivity —even the London “Economist” took note and counselled perceptive businessmen not to ignore the likely economic consequences of this new unification. Our theory had been indirectly confirmed through its con- sequences for diverse phenomena in nuclear and atomic physics by 1978. This year, in January, the great joint European experimental 37 THE REVIEWOF RELIGIONS laboratory at Geneva provided the direct confirmation of our theory. We had predicted the existence of three mediators of the weak nuclear force W+, W” and Z°s. We had specified their expected masses as a consequence of the unification. The January experiment showed that W+ and W” indeed do exist, with precisely the predicted masses. This week the last particle, the Z°, has also been identified among the products of the collisions of protons and anti-protons in the 6 km accelerator at CERN. To obtain a beam of anti-protons the laboratory had to invent a new principle of “stochastic cooling” of anti-protons and to execute this idea with a technical brilliance of the highest order at a cost of around 50 million dollars. This same laboratory is now engaged in building a new accelerator of 27 kms circumference under the Jura mountains of Geneva for further experimentation with our theory. This will cost them half a billion dollars and will be completed by 1987. So far the only comment on these discoveries made by an Arab-Islamic journal was last month; this journal, published from London, accused me of following in my research on the unification of these fundamental forces, “the heretical Sufi doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud”! This journal has sagely counselled that we in Islam should not concern ourselves with advances in science. We should concentrate on imitative technology, assuming someone will sell it to us. This is what the Japanese are supposed to have done. We forget that the Japanese have already won four Nobel Prizes in science —three in physics and one in chemistry. Their base in fundamental sciences is as strong, or in some cases, stronger than in the West. We forget that it was this unspoken and unsung base on which they have built their innovative successes in technology. We forget that an accelerator like the one at CERN, develops sophisticated modern technology at its furthest limit. I am not advocating that we should build a CERN for Islamic countries. However, I cannot feel but envious that a relatively poor country like Greece has joined CERN, paying a subscription according to the standard GNP formula. I cannot rejoice that Turkey, or the Gulf countries, or Iran, or Pakistan seem to show no ambition to join this fount of science and get their men catapulted into the forefront of the latest technological expertise. Working with CERN accelerators brings at the least this reward to a nation, as Greece has had the perception to realise. Let me close this part of my discussion about the mutual interrelation of science and technology with an example, nearer home, from the field of solar energy. This is a field where research is being carried out by the Universities in the Gulf as well as in the North African and Middle Asian universities of the Islamic countries. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 38 The basic problems, for example, with the development of cheaper photovoltaic devices, are material sciences problems. Solar energy is collected, and converted by materials that are optically or photo- electrically suitable. An optical convertor must use as little material as possible; how little is determined by the penetration depth of the solar light, and the drift-length of the “excited state” on which the conversion is based. One can easily determine that the parameters entering these basic processes lead to thicknesses of material of the order of 1 micrometer. This then is the domain of thin films. Such films are cheap’ to make, but there is no way to make them with the perfection of a single crystal. Thin films are polycrystalline or amorphous. And they carry a large density of defects. Up to now it is these defects which have limited the thin film devices to low conversion efficiencies. Thus, before any technological amelioration can come, one must solve the problems of basic solid state physics, of classifying the major defect phenomena, their effect on electron dynamics and problems of catalysis of the growth mechanism that makes these defects harmless. What I am saying is that efficient photovoltaics do not depend on the engineers’ tinkering with solid state materials; the problem is one of solid state physics. And’i t is this problem of basic science which the Japanese solid state physicists have set themselves to solve systematically, before their counterparts in the USA or Europe. The Japanese will win this prize, not only because they are the more meticulous technologists, but also because they are the systematic physicists, with scientific facilities which, in many cases, are superior to what their rivals possess. The point I am making is that what the University of the Gulf will need, if it wishes in the long run to develop first rate research on photovoltaics, is a basic physics surface laboratory, in addition to technological support. The same sentiment was endorsed by the London “Economist” which, in its issue of 27 September 1980, has this to say on the cherished mastery of solar energy: “If solar energy is to provide the solution to the world’s fuel crisis, that solution will not emerge from low-technology roof- top radiators —(which) rely on nineteenth centry (science). A breakthrough (will) come from applying quantum physics, bioche- mistry or other sciences of the twentieth century. To-day’s technology-based industries all depend on new science.” I hope I have convinced you that in the conditions of to-day there can be no high technology without first-rate science. I suspect some of us believe that technology is neutral, while science is value- loaded; modern science can lead to rationalism, or even apostasy — 39 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS that scientifically trained men among us will “deny the metaphysical presuppositions of our culture.” To such thinking, all I can say is — Do not fight the battles of yesterday when in the 9th and the 10th centuries the so-called “rational natural philosophers”, with their irrational and dogmatic faith in the cosmological concepts they had inherited from Aristotle, found difficulties in reconciling their concepts with their faith. These battles were even more fiercely waged among the Christian schoolmen of the Middle Ages. This was inevitable as Maurice Bucaille has shown in his perceptive work “The Bible, the Koran and Science.” The problems which concerned the schoolmen were mainly problems of cosmology and metaphysics: “Is the world located in an immobile place; does anything lie beyond it; is there more than one world; are the planets and stars carried around in physical spheres? Does God move the primum mobile directly and actively as an efficient cause, or only as a final or ultimate cause? Are all the heavens moved by one mover or several? Are the spheres moved by intelligences, or by some principle inherent in matter? Do celestial movers experience exhaustion or fatigue? Are all the spheres of the same nature? Are they concentric with the earth as common centre, or is it necessary to assume eccentric and epicyclic orbs? What was the nature of celestial matter? Was it like terrestial matter in possessing an inherent substantial form and inherent qualities such as being hot, cold, moist and dry? The answers sought were either from an interpretation of the scriptures or from the authority of Aristotle”. No wonder when Galileo tried, first, to classify those among the problems which belonged to the domain of Physics, and then to find answers just to this class through physics experimentation, he was persecuted. Restitution for this is being made now three hundred and fifty years later. I attended a special ceremony the day before yesterday in the Vatican when His Holiness the Pope, in the presence of 33 Nobel Laureates and 300 other scientists, declared: ‘The Church’s experi- ence, during the Galileo affair and after it, has led to a more mature attitude . . . The Church itself learns by experience and reflection and she now understands better the meaning that must be given to freed- om of research . . . one of the most noble attributes of man . . . It is through research that man attains to Truth . . . This is why the Church is convinced that there can be no real contradiction between science and faith . . . (However), it is only through humble and assiduous study that (the Church) learns to dissociate the essentials of the faith from the scientific systems of a given age, specially when a culturally influenced reading of the Bible seemed to be linked to an obligatory cosmogony.” THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 40 In his remarks, the Pope stressed the maturity which the Church had reached in dealing with science; he could also have emphasised the converse phenomenon, the recognition by the scientists from Galileo’s times onwards, of the limitations of their disciplines-the recognition that there are questions which are beyond the ken of science. We may speculate about them, but there may be no way to verify empirically our speculations. And this empirical verification is the essence of science. We are humbler today than, for example, Ibn Rushd was. Ibn Rushd was a physician of great originality with major contributions in the study of fevers and of the retina; this is his claim to immortality in Sciences. However in a different disci- pline—cosmology—he accepted the speculations of Aristotle, with- out recognizing that these were speculations which future experi- ments may falsify. The scientist of today knows when and where he is speculating; he would claim no finality for the associated modes of thought. And even about accepted facts, we recognize that newer facts may be discovered which, without falsifying the earlier discoveries, may lead to generalisations; in turn, necessitating revolutionary changes in our concepts and our “world-view.” In Physics, this happened in the beginning of this century with the discovery of relativity and quantum theory. It could happen again; when our present constructs could appear as limiting cases of newer concepts, still more comprehensive, still more embracing. But even to know the limitations of our sciences, one must be part of living science; otherwise one will continue fighting yesterday’s philosophical battles today. Our men, through their demonstrated ability, must belong to that aristocracy of creators of science, where one is respected and all doors are opened if one deserves to belong to it. Like all aspects of human activity, what the Arab —Islamic Commonwealth needs are men —an elite class of them —who have shared in the pride of having created some parts of science. Our youth are craving to meet this challenge; it is this challenge which makes them migrate to Western universities and institutions. Trust them; they do possess the highest potential. If the new University of the Gulf will provide them with opportunities to create science — and this, by definition, is the function of a University —they will never leave. And after providing them with these facilities, do not hustle them. It takes a decade or more of stability to build traditions of living science. Steps Needed to Excel in Sciences So then, how can we turn the pages of history back, and excel in science and technology once again? How can the new Gulf 41 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS University ensure this excellence and attract these men back again? In keeping with the obligations laid on us by the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, our society as a whole, and our youth in particular, must develop a passionate commitment toward bringing about a renaissance of the sciences. We must impart hard scientific training to more than half of our manpower; we must pursue basic and applied sciences, with 1—2 per cent of our GNP spent on research and development, with at least a quarter to one third of this on pure sciences. This was done in the USSR. This was done in Japan, after the 19th century Meiji revolution. And this is what is being undertaken today—in a planned manner, at a frantic speed — b y the People’s Republic of China, with defined targets in space sciences, genetics, microelectronics, high energy physics, agriculture, and in the control of thermonuclear energy. There is a clear recognition in these societies that basic science is relevant science, that the frontier of today is tomorrow’s application and that one must remain at the frontier. They have realised that there is only one path to gaining ascendancy in science and technology —master science as a whole. These societies are not seduced by slogans of “Japanese” or “Chinese” or “Indian” science. They do not feel that the acquiring of science and technology will destroy their cultural traditions: they do not insult their own traditions by believing that these are so fragile. In this context, one may recall that the GNP of the Islamic- Arabic nations exceeds that of China, while their human resources are not significantly smaller. And China has a lead of no more than a decade or so in the sciences over the lands of Islam. Earlier, I spoke of patronage for the sciences. One vital aspect of this is the sense of security and continuity that a scientist — cholar must be accorded for his work. Like all humans, a scientist or technologist can only give of his best if he knows he will have security, respect and equality of opportunity for his work, and is shielded from all forms of discrimination, sectarian and political. I have referred throughout to a commonwealth of science for the Islamic and the Arab countries, even if there may be no political commonwealth of these countries yet in sight. Such a commonwealth of science was a reality in the great days of Islamic science, when central Asians like Ibn Sina and Al Biruni would naturally write in Arabic. In those days, their contemporary (and my brother in physics), Ibn al Haitham, could migrate from his native Basra in the dominions of the Abbasi caliph to the court of his rival, the Fatimi caliph, and be sure of receiving respect and homage— despite the THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 42 political and sectarian differences that were no less acute then than they are today. This commonwealth of science needs conscious articulation, and recognition once again, spiritually and physically, by both,us the scientists and by our governments. To-day we, the scientists from the Islamic countries, constitute a very small community —one hundredth to one tenth in size, in scientific resources, and in scientific creativity, compared to the international norms. We need to band together, to pool our resources, to feel and work as a community. We need the articulation of a compact conferring of immunity for, say, the next 25 years, during which those within this commonwealth of sciences, this Ummat-ul- Ilm, would not be discriminated against on sectarian or national grounds. To summarise, the renaissance of the sciences within an Islamic and Arab commonwealth is contingent upon five cardinal precondi- tions: passionate commitment, generous patronage, provision of security, absence of discrimination, and self-governance and inter- nationalisation of our scientific enterprises. What steps can the New Gulf University take to nucleate and sustain such an Ummat-ul-Ilm? Assuming that this will be a post-graduate University, it will strive, first and foremost, to create centres of research of interna- tional standards in basic sciences. These could emphasise mathematics, experimental solid state physics of micro-electronics and com- munications systems, and biotechnology, besides the regional disciplines of marine and desert sciences. The University will actively strive to link to it, through these centres, the best brains internation- ally, and in particular those from the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth. To facilitate these latter linkages, there will be Federation Agreements with institutes and groups of researchers in the six regions of the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth. The funds for the stay and the travel of teams of such researchers-will be provided by the Gulf University. This is the pattern we follow in Trieste (Table 1) where we have Federation links with 83 institutes in developing countries —47 of these in the Arab-Islamic world —where we assign to researchers at each institute 40—120 days of visits at our expense. We have, in addition, for eminent individual researchers, a scheme of personal Associateships based on merit; at any one time we have 200 Associates, each appointed for a six year term. During these six years an Associate may come to the Centre thrice at times of his choosing, with a minimum stay of six and a maximum stay of twelve 43 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS weeks. We pay the Associate’s fare and his expenses in Trieste, but no salary. There are no formalities. The Associate simply writes to say he is arriving. Such a scheme would be particularly valuable for men from the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth now working in the seventh region I mentioned — Europe and USA. These are the men whose presence at the campus of the Bahrain University will enrich it intellectually; they will bring it the newer ideas, newer techniques, newer trusts, with a minimum of delay. If the Gulf University can become a second home for these men, with a minimum of formality, it will have achieved a great deal. I have mentioned an international laboratory in material sciences for Bahrain, with specialisation in microelectronics and modern electronic communisations, including space satellite com- munication, to help also with the banking communications needed at Bahrain. Such a laboratory was in fact proposed for the University of Jeddah. The idea was to emphasise science transfer in addition to technology transfer and to create international laboratories, in the fields of material sciences, including surface physics and a laboratory with a synchrotron radiation light source. The facilities created would have been of the highest possible international order; the laboratories would have been open to teams of international researchers, who would congregate and work at Jeddah, just as they congregate now at the great laboratories in Hamburg, Geneva or Paris. The project apparently has not matured, mainly, I believe, because it had sponsorship of a single rather than a consortium of Universities. I would hope that the project can be revived for the new Super Gulf University, thereby making it accessible to researchers internationally, and particularly of all the Gulf, as well as all the other universities in the Arab and Islamic countries. I have also mentioned a super laboratory at Bahrain for bio- technology. In this context let me mention that the UNIDO organisation at Vienna is sponsoring an International Centre for this subject, like the Centre at Trieste. A competition is being organised for its location; six locations have offered facilities —these are Pakistan, India, Cuba, Thailand, Belgium and Italy. No Arab country has offered a location. If Lahore, in Pakistan, wins the competition, the UNIDO International Centre at Lahore would naturally have close links with the Gulf University facility at Bahrain. Finally, I have emphasised an international centre for mathe- matics, with ramifications in computing sciences. As we all know the modern tradition in mathematics originated at the institutes THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 44 in the Gulf Region, particularly in Baghdad in the 8th, 9th, 10th and l l t h centuries, with the creation of algebra, trigonometry and analytical geometry. I do not see why we cannot create the same conditions of excellence to-day in mathematics and make Bahrain a world crossroads for this subject. As you probably know, one of the leading mathematicians in the world —currently a Professor at Oxford —who was awarded the most prestigious honour any one can aspire to in mathematics (the Fields Medal) is of Arab descent. I do not see why such men should not hold joint appointments between their European places of work and Bahrain and build up a modern school of Mathematics here. Conclusions Let me conclude. Why am I so passionately advocating our engaging in this enterprise of creating knowledge? This is not just because Allah has endowed us with the urge to know, this is not just because in the conditions of to-day knowledge is power and science in application the major instrument of material progress; it is also because as part of the international world community, one feels that lash of contempt for us —unspoken, but still there- of those who create knowledge. I can still recall a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics some years ago, from a European country, say this to me: “Salam, do you really think we have an obligation to succour, aid and keep alive those nations, who have never created or added one iota to man’s stock of knowledge?” And even if he had not said this, my self-respect suffers a terrible hurt whenever I enter a hospital and find that almost every potent life-saving medicament of to-day, from penicillin to interferon, has been created without our share of inputs from any of us in the Third World, or from the Arab-Islamic lands. The 20th century has been a century of great synthesis in science —the synthesis represented by quantun theory, relativity and unification theories in physics, by the Big Bang idea in cosmology, by the genetic code in biology, by ideas of plate techtonics in geology. Likewise in technology, with the conquest of space and the har- nessing of atomic power. Just as in the 16th century when the European man discovered new continents and occupied them, the frontiers of science are being conquered one after another. Do you not feel as passionately as I do that our men in Arab-Islamic lands should also be in the vanguard of making these conquests? I wish to conclude with two appeals —one to those responsible for creating the new University, and particularly, to the scientists 45 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS among them: and the second to our rulers. First the science adminis- trators. There are few scientists in our area, on whom you can build. This, however, would not be so if we could band together in an Ummat-ul-Ilm and create a genuine community for all Arab-Islamic lands. Believe me our situation is not that desperate, particularly if conditions are created to associate those from our lands working in the Seventh Region of Europe and USA, with our enterprise. I can only say, for all our present weaknesses, let us not be the less ambitious. Let our plans for our institution building be audacious. With ambition, and with involvement, will come competence, for this is Allah’s promise to all those who strive. And finally, I wish to appeal to those responsible for our affairs and for funding this University and other projects I have spoken about. Science is important because of the underlying under- standing it provides of the world around us and of Allah’s design; it is important because of the material benefits its discoveries can give us and finally because of its universality. It is a vehicle of co- operation of all mankind and in particular for the Arab and Islamic nations. We owe a debt to international science, which in all self- respect, we must discharge. However, the scientific enterprise cannot flourish without your generous patronage as in the past centuries of Islam. I am now living and working in a small City of one quarter of one million inhabitants. In this City is a Bank-Cassa di Risparmio — which donated 1.5 million dollars for the building in which the International Centre which I created is housed. This City has now pledged from its regional resources, 40 million dollars for the proposed UNIDO Centre for Biotechnology. I feel amazed at their perceptiveness, their love of science and eventually of technology. Shall our cities and banks not rival this example? The international norms of one to two per cent of GNP I have been speaking about would mean expenditures of no more than two to four billion dollars annually for the Arab and the same amount for the rest of the Islamic world on research and development, one quarter to one third of this spent on pure sciences. In 1973, the Pakistan Government, on my suggestion, requested the Islamic Summit in Lahore to create at least one Foundation for Science for all lands of Islam equal in size to the Ford Foundation, with a capital of one billion dollars. Eight years later, in 1981, such a Foundation was at last created but with just 50 millions promised and six million dollars paid up so far. I am sure a banking community like that at Manama alone could rival Ford’s benefaction if we really are serious about Science. And this region has rich traditions in this respect. Imam Ghazzali, you may recall, paid a rich tribute in the 11th century, to the land of THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 46 Iraq, when he said: “There is no country in which it is easier for a scholar to make a provision for his children.” This was at the time when he was planning to become a recluse and to cut himself off from the world. We need not one such but a number of Science Foundations as in the West, run by the scientists themselves; we need international higher centres of learning within and without our universities, providing generous and tolerant continuity, for our men and their ideas. Let no future Gibb record that in the fifteenth century of the Hijra, the scientists were there but there was a dearth of merchants and princes with their generous patronage to provide for the facilities needed for their work. God has promised me that till the Day of Judgement He will continue to manifest my blessings so much so that kings will seek blessings from my garments. Twenty years ago, I was informed by God that I would be denied and that people would not accept me but that God would accept me and would manifest my truth through powerful assaults. God has promised me that for the purpose of repeating the light of my blessings, a person will be raised from among my progeny into whom God will breathe the blessings of the Holy Spirit. He will be characterized by inner purity and will have a close holy relation- ship with God. He will be a manifestation of the true and the High as if God had descended from Heaven. The time is coming and is near when God will spread far and wide the acceptance of this Movement. It will spread in the East and West and the North and the South and Islam will be synon- ymous with this Movement. This is not said by any man. This is revelation from God for Whom nothing is impossible. (Tohfa Golarviah, p. 90) The Promised Messiah