Quotes on Islamic Civilization

Bertrand Russell

Our use of phrase ‘The Dark ages’ to cover the period from 699 to 1,000 marks our undue concentration on Western Europe… From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What was lost to christendom at this time was not lost to civilization, but quite the contrary… To us it seems that West-European civilization is civilization, but this is a narrow view. 

Bertrand Russell in ‘History of Western Philosophy,’ London, 1948, p. 419.

Phillip Hitti 

Finally how can one forget that at the same time the Mogul Empire of India (1526-1857 C.E.) was giving the world the Taj Mahal (completed in 1648 C.E.) the architectural beauty of which has never been surpassed, and the ‘Akbar Nameh’ of Abul Fazl: “That extraordinary work full of life ideas and learning where every aspect of life is examined listed and classified, and where progress continually dazzles the eye, is a document of which Oriental civilization may justly be proud. The men whose genius finds its expression in this book were far in advance of their age in the practical art of government, and they were perhaps in advance of it in their speculations about religious philosophy. 

Those poets those philosophers knew how to deal with the world or matter. They observe, classify, calculate and experiment. All the ideas that occur to them are tested against facts. They express them with eloquence but they also support them with statistics.”…the principles of tolerance, justice and humanity which prevailed during the long reign of Akbar.

Phillip Hitti in 'Short History of the Arabs.'

Napoleon Bonaparte

I hope the time is not far off hen I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness. 

Quoted in Christian Cherfils' Bonaparte Et Islam, Paris, 1914

William Drape

During the period of the Caliphs the learned men of the Christians and the Jews were not only held in great esteem but were appointed to posts of great responsibility, and were promoted to the high ranking job in the government....He (Caliph Haroon Rasheed) never considered to which country a learned person belonged nor his faith and belief, but only his excellence in the field of learning.

Sarojini Naidu

It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: ‘God alone is great’… 

S. Naidu, Ideals of Islam, Vide Speeches & Writings, Madras, 1918

Quotes about Prophet Muhammad

Washington Irving

 His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory as they would have done had they been effected by selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manner and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect was shown to him.

Washington Irving

Jules Massreman

People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Muhammad, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same.

USA Psychiatric Association

Lane Poole
He was the most faithful protector of those he protected, the sweetest and most agreeable in conversation. Those who saw him were suddenly filled with reverence; those who came near him loved him; they who described him would say, 'I have never seen his like either before or after.'He was of great taciturnity, but when he spoke it was with emphasis and deliberation, and no one could forget what he said...

Speeches and Table Talk of the Prophet

Mahatma Gandy

I wanted to know the best of one who holds today’s undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.. I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intrepidity, his
fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission….

Young India

Karen Armstrong

In defense of Prophet Muhammad

In her book, Muhammad, a Biography of the Prophet, Karen Armstrong wrote: 

"But the very idea that Muhammad would have found any thing to be optimistic about in the carnage committed in his name on September 11th is an obscenity, because, as I try to show in these pages, Muhammad spent most of his life trying to stop that kind of indiscriminate slaughter. The very word islam, which denotes the existential “surrender” of the whole being to God, which Muslims are required to make, is related to salam, “peace.” And most importantly, Muhammad eventually abjured violence and pursued a daring, inspired policy on non-violence that was the culmination of his prophetic career. In imagining that the holy war was the culmination of his career, the fundamentalists (extremists) have distorted the whole meaning of his life. 

Far from being the father of Jihad, Muhammad was a peacemaker, who risked his life and nearly lost his closest companions, because he was so determined to effect a reconciliation with Mecca. Instead of fighting an intransigent war to the death, Muhammad was prepared to negotiate and to compromise. And this apparent humiliation and capitulation proved, in the words of the Qur’an, to be a great victory (fat-‘h)....If we could view Muhammad as we do any other important historical figure we would surely consider him to be one of the greatest geniuses the world has known.

Professor Hurgronje

The league of nations founded by the Prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations.

The fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.

Professor Hurgronje

Michael H. Heart

My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

The 100, A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, Michael H. Heart, Kensington Publication, New York, N Y. 1992.

Reginald Bosworth Smith

He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.

Reverend Reginald Bosworth Smith

Alphonse De Lamar Tine

Speaking on the essentials of human greatness wonders, the historian Lamar Tine states:
If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history than Muhammad.
The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. 
This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... 
His forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; 
His endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma.
Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad.
As regards all the standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, 'Is there any man greater than he?

Alphonse De Lamar Tine, Histoire De LaTurquie, Praise, 1854 Vol. II, PP 276-277

Annie Besant

It is impossible for anyone who studies the life & character of the great Prophet of Arabia, …., to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.

The Life & Teaching of Muhammad 

Michael The Elder

Michael the Elder (Great) as Quoted in 'Michael the Elder, Chronique de Michael Syrien, Patriarche Jacobite d’ Antioche,' J.B. Chabot, Editor, Vol. II, Paris, 1901. 

"This is why the God of vengeance, who alone is all-powerful, and changes the empire of mortals as He will, giving it to whomsoever He will, and uplifting the humble beholding the wickedness of the Romans who throughout their dominions, cruelly plundered our churches and our monasteries and condemned us without pity, brought from the region of the south the sons of Ishmael, to deliver us through them from the hands of the Romans. And if in truth we have suffered some loss, because the Catholic churches, that had been taken away from us and given to the Chalcedonians, remained in their possession; for when the cities submitted to the Arabs, they assigned to each denomination the churches which they found it to be in possession of (and at that time the great churches of Emessa and that of Harran had been taken away from us); nevertheless it was no slight advantage for us to be delivered from the cruelty of the Romans, their wickedness, their wrath and cruel zeal against us, and to find ourselves at people. (Michael the Elder, Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch wrote this text in the latter part of the twelfth century, after five centuries of Muslim rule in that region. 

Click here for a relevant document sent to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai, 628 C.E

George Bernard Shaw 

 I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. 
I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.
I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.
I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.
If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam.

Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.

John Bagot Glubb

"Khalif (Caliph) Al-Ma’mun’s period of rule (813 – 833 C.E.) may be considered the ‘golden age’ of science and learning. He had always been devoted to books and to learned pursuits. His brilliant mind was interested in every form of intellectual activity. Not only poetry but also philosophy, theology, astronomy, medicine and law all occupied his time."

"By Mamun’s time medical schools were extremely active in Baghdad. The first free public hospital was opened in Baghdad during the Caliphate of Haroon-ar-Rashid. As the system developed, physicians and surgeons were appointed who gave lectures to medical students and issued diplomas to those who were considered qualified to practice. The first hospital in Egypt was opened in 872 AD and thereafter public hospitals sprang up all over the empire from Spain and the Maghrib to Persia." 

On the Holocaust of Baghdad (1258 C.E.) Perpetrated by Hulagu:
“The city was systematically looted, destroyed and burnt. Eight hundred thousand persons are said to have been killed. The Khalif Mustasim was sewn up in a sack and trampled to death under the feet of Mongol horses. 

“For five hundred years, Baghdad had been a city of palaces, mosques, libraries and colleges. Its universities and hospitals were the most up-to-date in the world. Nothing now remained but heaps of rubble and a stench of decaying human flesh.” 

Quotation Reference:
http://cyberistan.org/islamic/quote2.html

Marcel Clerge

“This is why the God of vengeance, who alone is all-powerful, and changes the empire of mortals as He will, giving it to whomsoever He will, and uplifting the humble beholding the wickedness of the Romans who throughout their dominions, cruelly plundered our churches and our monasteries and condemned us without pity, brought from the region of the south the sons of Ishmael, to deliver us through them from the hands of the Romans. 

And if in truth we have suffered some loss, because the Catholic churches, that had been taken away from us and given to the Chalcedonians, remained in their possession; for when the cities submitted to the Arabs, they assigned to each denomination the churches which they found it to be in possession of (and at that time the great churches of Emessa and that of Harran had been taken away from us); nevertheless it was no slight advantage for us to be delivered from the cruelty of the Romans, their wickedness, their wrath and cruel zeal against us, and to find ourselves at people. (Michael the Elder, Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch wrote this text in the latter part of the twelfth century, after five centuries of Muslim rule in that region.” 

Click here for a relevant document sent to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai, 628 C.E.

Thomas Garlyle

“The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only…How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades….A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world’s Maker had ordered so.”

Heroes and Heroworship

William Draper

Dr. William Draper in 'History of Intellectual Development of Europe' "During the period of the Caliphs the learned men of the Christians and the Jews were not only held in great esteem but were appointed to posts of great responsibility, and were promoted to the high ranking job in the government....He (Caliph Haroon Rasheed) never considered to which country a learned person belonged nor his faith and belief, but only his excellence in the field of learning."

Dr. William Draper in 'History of Intellectual Development of Europe'

Napoleon Bonaparte

I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age.

I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.

I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.

I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam. 

Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.