By: Alex Bellos
To paraphrase Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.
Well, if you like art and interiors, there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and palaces around the world.
Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.
The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.
Islamic design is based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.
Dust off your old geometry set, and let’s see how.
By: Yvonne Ridley
Coca-Cola is building a factory in Gaza, but before you applaud such an investment in an area where the economy is shattered and unemployment ranks among the highest in the world, let’s examine the deal more closely. Who will actually benefit from this? It’s a rhetorical question really, because the Palestinians living there will be the long-term losers while the neighbouring State of Israel will count the shekels rolling in.
The first of the materials to build the factory came via Israel with a convoy of 10 trucks carrying assembly line machines through the Yitzhak Rabin border terminal; from there the lorries were processed by the Israeli military into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing last week. This, in itself, is amazing, since only 130,000 tons of construction materials have been allowed into Gaza since the latest Israeli blitz; five million tons are needed to try to rebuild the factories bombed to destruction by Israel in its last two wars against the civilians of Gaza.
Thousands of families are still without homes in the depths of a Gaza winter and some of the dead are still buried under the tons of rubble where tower blocks stood before the Israeli military destroyed them. Despite international promises of humanitarian aid and a massive rebuilding programme nothing of any substance has happened because of the ongoing siege of the territory led by Israel and Egypt.
By: Omar Suleiman
Forget about the poverty, corruption, and institutional racism in the Middle East, they’re clearly making progress. I mean check out these buildings and the price tags on them:
Mile High Tower, Jeddah: 13.6 billion USD
Burj khalifa, Dubai: 1.5 billion USD
Burj al Arab, Dubai: 2 billion USD
Abraj al bayt, Makkah: 2 billion USD
Rose Tower, Dubai: 180 million USD
Aspire Tower: 173 million USD
Kingdom Center, Riyadh: 453 million USD
“Of the signs of the hour is that you will see barefoot bedouins competing with the construction of tall buildings.” – Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
By: Abdullah Hakim Quick
Did you know? “• In the 9th Century AD, The Caliph Mamun of the Abbasid Dynasty in Baghdad, needed a means of solving problems of inheritance, land divisions, finances, Zakat, construction, agriculture, navigation and booty distribution. So the great Muslim Scholar Muhammad ibn Musa, Al-Khawarizmi, wrote a book called “Kitab al-Mukhtasar fi Hisab Al-Jabr (Algebra) wa al-Muqabalah” (The Abbreviated Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”. This was the basis of Modern Algebra and is still studied today. Muslims need to return to positive, broad minded thinking that connects us with the Creator and enables us to handle the challenges around us. Look at this design that was part of a Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. SubhaanAllah, Focus your eyes on it and see the different levels of design. This is how life is!!! Allahu Akbar (Allah Is the Greatest).
While Gaza war rages, Israel quietly speeds up settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem
By: Hakeem Muhammad
Over $12 billion was spent on the preparation and construction of the World Cup despite the fact that 1 in 12 people in Brazil live on less than a dollar a day – these are people mired in poverty. To make matters worse, the construction that went into the World Cup resulted in the displacement and systemic eviction of many low-income Brazilians. These great injustices, where so much wealth is being poured into the financing of a mere frivolous sporting event without any regard for the economic plight of the poor, says much about the corrupt state of the world and the misplaced priorities of the elite. The Qu’ran informs us that wealth should not merely circulate among the wealth of society. M. Bugaje notes that:
Of all beliefs, ideologies and civilizations, Islam stands out distinct and unique in its resilience. No matter the damage it suffers, no matter the opposition and obstacles, no matter the length of time, it always reasserts itself. Islam has consistently and persistently stood on the side of the weak and the oppressed, checked the excesses of the corrupt and the strong and insisted on the establishment of justice, equity and fairness in human society. It has thus offered the weak and the oppressed the only real and lasting hope and the corrupt and the unjust the only real and unflinching check.
Islam once played a key role in motivating people to fight for social justice in Brazil against the abhorrent shackles of plantation slavery, and in the midst of modern forms of slavery it is time for Islam to reassert itself against social injustices. Before discussing the Islamic Heritage of Brazil, it is necessary to discuss the history of Islam in Africa. Uthman Dan Fodio was a prominent scholar and political leader who had firmly established Islam in Hausaland, and his army consisted of disciplined Islamic scholars, many of whom had committed the Qur’an to heart. However, in battles that were lost, captured soldiers would be sold off to Europeans through the transatlantic slave trade by the existing corrupt elite.
These followers of Uthman Dan Fodio would eventually end up in the Western Hemisphere (in Brazil, more precisely) and they would bring with them their religion: Islam. The Portuguese described the Muslims as “exceedingly spirited and resolute individuals” as well as “the most intellectual.” The Europeans would eventually learned that they tried to make the wrong people slaves. Two years before the death of Uthman Dan Fodio, his Hausa followers in the Western Hemisphere began their rebellion.