Islamic Voice
Jamadi Ul Akhir 1422
September 2001
Volume 15-09 No:177

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BOOK REVIEW


Compendium of Muslim Scientists
Research Centres in Islamic Countries Potential and Activities
100 Muslim Scientists

Compendium of Muslim Scientists

COMSTECH-ISESCO

Directory of Active Scientists in OIC Member States and Their Recent Scientific Publications
3 Volumes
Compiled by Ahsana Dar and
Atta-ur-Rahman COMSTECH
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad-44000, Pakistan
E-mail: comstech@isb.comsats.net.pk

Reviewed by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has 56 member-states but their total gross domestic product (GDP) is about a quarter of that of Japan. No wonder then why most Muslim countries fall under poor and developing countries. Ironically, even the rich Islamic countries are under-developed because the education and skill wise their citizens are no match to the developed world. The West’s dominance over the world is undoubtedly because of its progress and seemingly unbeatable lead, as of now, in science and technology. The Muslim world can aspire to reach that stage only by identifying its existing human resources and reaching a level of about 3000 Ph.Ds per million population. No OIC member-state has currently the wherewithal to plan for that target. However, by pooling their resources, human as well as material, they can hope to get somewhere near the target after some decades. The Islamabad based COMSTECH (OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation) and ISESCO (Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation) have together brought out in three volumes the Directory of Active Scientists in OIC Member State running into almost 1500 pages.

This is the first step towards the objective of making the coordination possible among the scientists of the Muslim world. The three volumes have so far compiled the scientists in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Comoros, Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Indoneisa, Iran and Iraq. The list of scientific papers from Egypt (between 1990-96) alone claims the entire second volume in over 600 pages. Work is in progress on active scientists from other OIC countries. The volumes provide a fund of information on the basis of scientific papers by the Muslim scientists in the field of agriculture, chemistry, metallurgy, botany, bio-tech, environmental sciences, food sciences, entomology, public health, tropical diseases, warfare diseases and water research. The effort is a marvellous one. Though the data is short and provides only a very skimpy idea, the very fact that such a need has been fulfilled is very significant.

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Research Centres in Islamic Countries Potential and Activities

ISESCO, Rabat, Morocco

Islamic countries, as a whole, have approximately 275 researchers per million population against 850 per million in the developed West. But even among the Muslim countries, there are regional imbalances. The ratio works out to only 100 researchers per million African Muslims, 445 for one million Arab population while for Asians it is 569 researchers per million people. These comparisons emerge from yet another compendium from the Rabat-based ISESCO which provides basic data on research centers in Islamic countries. It lists 1472 institutes, laboratories and specialized study centres in Islamic world to whom the questionnaire was sent to elicit information. Since only 285 (19 per cent) responded with detailed data, it carries preliminary data for the remaining ones. Largest number of entries listed are from Pakistan i.e., 260. Indonesia follows with175 and Turkey has 100. Iran with 70, Iraq 55 and Saudi Arabia 40 are in the middle rank.

The institutes pertain to four categories namely, education and teaching system, science and technology, culture and civilization and communication. It records addresses, phone nos. areas of research, courses offered and important publications and papers. The study by ISESCO reveals that the 285 research centers produced 10,927 titles in ten years, that comes to 38 for each center. In US, 4000 scientific articles were being published in a month during 1986. The study suggests Muslim countries to coordinate their efforts by avoiding duplication of efforts. Why seven countries carry out more or less identical research when experts from these countries could work in a single center and country. Why not pool scientific magazines too?

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100 Muslim Scientists

100 Muslim Scientists

100 Muslim Scientists
By Abdur Rahman Sharif,
Arsh Publications
P.O.Box: 9456, Chakala-MIDC Andheri, Mumbai-400093, India
E-mail : abdurrahmansharif@yahoo.com
Price : Not stated

Reviewed by Nigar Ataulla

Islam has made great contributions to science and technology. With Islam’s emphasis on universal education, scientific developments were hallmarks of Islamic civilization. Not many would know that there were many Muslim scientists who greatly advanced the study of science and made innumerable discoveries and inventions. 100 Muslim Scientists by Abdur Rahman Sharif presents a brief account of the life and achievements of one hundred scientists from the 7th century AD to 12th century AD. They represent more than 50 disciplines of science and technology such as physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, geography, cartography, nautical science, mineralogy, history, grammar, engineering, mechanics and music. Abdur Rahman Sharif’s painstaking effort is reflected in the neat and simple packaging of the book. What makes the book all the more attractive is its straight, to- the-point approach.

With just one page profile of each scientist, the reader is able to comprehend the information with greater ease. Amazing revelations mark the winning aspects of the book - who knew that Ibne Nafis discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood 400 years before William Harvey? Or, for that matter Ibne Umail who wrote several books on Chemistry and two of the oldest European works on chemistry were actually translations of his book. Published by Arsh Publications, Mumbai, the writer’s research on the subject has to be complimented too, as a “book of facts”, if it can be called that, definitely deserves a place of honour not just in the best libraries in India, but also is a must read for students, scholars, professionals and all those who have absolutely no idea about the brilliant contributions of these Muslim scientists to the development of science and technology.

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