Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.
Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science – there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis.
For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili this is also a personal journey and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, he pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.
Almost 80% of species in Madagascar are unique to the island and are not found else where. As a result this largest island is a witness for evolution, which for our purposes means, a common lineage of all life forms on our planet earth. The uniqueness of Madagascar species is a proof for the theory of evolution, rather than of the theory of separate creation of individual species. Theory of evolution means that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and this inference blows away the dogma of Original Sin, a hallmark of Christianity. In this sense Madagascar becomes an Exhibit and a key Witness for Islam against Christianity! As you enjoy the scenic beauty of Madagascar in an hour long documentary, through the eyes of legendary, Sir David Attenborough, it becomes a 587,041 square kilometers Exhibit for the truth of Islam against the dogma of Original Sin, which is linked to atonement through the vicarious sacrifice of alleged literal son of God, Jesus Christ!
As you enjoy the beauty of the oldest and the largest island, Madagascar, in the company of the world famous narrator and BBC producer David Attenborough, you could also bask in the thought that Sir Charles Darwin spent a life time to propose his theory, highlighting the common ancestry of all plants and animals, Attenborough spent a life time collecting beautiful video clips of different life forms, and I by the Grace of Allah, in a few lines can utilize their monumental work, as a grand victory of Islam over Christianity! How come?
The concept of Original Sin is completely incompatible with the fundamental laws of biology including the principles of gene inheritance and the facts supporting the theory of evolution, which is the reason why Christianity has fought the theory of evolution tooth and nail for more than a century now. My article on the issue of Original Sin was first published in Summer 2008 volume of Muslim Sunrise, the oldest Muslim publication of North America.
For a detailed answer see one of my popular Google knols, Biogeography: One of the best proofs for Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution.
For further details about, Evaluating Original Sin against scientific discoveries, click here.
Watch a National Geographic documentary about Madagascar.
Buy the high definition BBC documentary, in Amazon.com
It’s a television first, claims the BBC Press Office. OK they would say that wouldn’t they but I think it might be the first time in decades – if not ever – that a British network has screened a programme, let alone a series, about Muhammad. According to the blurb it charts the “extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than 20 years, changed the world forever”. The series as a whole raises questions about some of the more contested areas of Islam such as women, religious tolerance and conflict.
The three hour documentary proceeds in a chronological fashion based on the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the third part has a fairly detailed discussion on Sharia and polygamy.
Were the series not interesting enough – even critics of Islam and religion generally are sure to find something in it – the backdrop to it is also fascinating. I’ve been asking BBC executives for years when they planned to show such a series – first asking its director general Mark Thompson, then its head of religion Aaqil Ahmed (more about him later) and then most recently BBC One controller Danny Cohen. After years of nagging, lo! It has come to pass. Read more in Guardian UK:
A good place for the non-Muslims to start learning about the Holy Prophet Muhammad is this movie named the Message: Mohammed: Messenger of God
(1976) Rated PG.
After a non-Muslim seeker has watched this and a few other documentaries, I propose three further stages of study to getting to know the Greatest of the sons of Adam!
The Making of Islam: Empire of Faith
by Robert Gardner, Producer
The production of Islam: Empire of Faith was a big challenge from the beginning, simply because it covered more than a thousand years of history and culture, and a very large part of the world.
But we really wanted to push beyond the conventional form of historical documentaries, which have depended on pans and tilts of still pictures, supplemented with landscapes and interviews. We wanted to find a way to use the visual techniques usually reserved for fiction motion pictures to tell a story of great scope that took place in pre-photographic history. This meant the project would require very large scale costumed re-enactments and equipment far beyond the ordinary documentary production package of camera, zoom lens, tripod and small light-kit.
We knew that we had to find a way to present images of cultural history — both re-enacted scenes and contemporary scenes of Islamic architecture and city life — in a way that would evoke the past, but maintain a sense of authenticity. The scenes would be dream-like and impressionistic but would still give viewers a sense that what they were seeing was accurate in historical terms.
We designed a production package that included a robotic crane with an 18-foot reach (Jimmi-jib), allowing us to fly the camera through architectural spaces, and a Steadicam that would allow for smooth camera moves through buildings at ground level — even mounting it on a truck to shoot running horses at full speed. We took a wide selection of lenses from extremely wide to telephoto and we also brought a high-speed camera for true slow-motion (500 frames per second) allowing us to slow an action down that actually took one second to fully twenty seconds on-screen. All of these taken together would provide an extraordinarily production palette. But it also meant that we had to travel with more than 40 cases of equipment — and do so in seven different countries. The logistics were severe. Read further:
It has tonnes of evidence put together in a very constructive way.
Day by day we are moving towards uncovering the mask of the false dogma of Christianity.
The documentary suggests DNA testing as further research to advance the theory that Jesus is buried in Kashmir. Perhaps it could be checked against DNA from the Shroud of Turin. If the two match the conclusion will be inescapable that both belong to Jesus, may peace be on him, and he did not die on the cross!