Nobel Prize:Why Are We Not A Part Of The Bandwagon


Out of 7 billion people, there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the entire world. It is claimed that by 2020 Muslim population will increase up to 2.5 billion. Most of the Middle Eastern parts of the world are occupied by Muslims. A huge chunk of African and Asian continent is home to Muslims. Many parts of European countries and Americas are filled with immigrant Muslim population, alone UK has 5 million Muslims which is more than the entire population of Switzerland.

These facts about Muslim population are noted  here to illuminate the prospect of the dominance Muslims can have over the world in terms of science and technology, education, economy and prosperity albeit show only numerically. Looking at the number of Muslims world has, one would establish a concept that Muslims may be superior in terms of science and technology, arts and literature and medicine and every other progressive field. Alas, rather Muslims have fallen behind virtually in every sphere. Every year best people in their specific fields are nominated and bestowed with coveted awards and accolades, surprisingly very less percentile of Muslims even make it to the nominations.

However, Muslims have a treasure to boast about, indeed rightfully. The Golden age of Islam and its vast contributions to the world of science and culture can never be negated. The period is associated with Abbasid caliphate and the seat of learning was Bagdad during that era.  We have certainly heard of Rasis, his actual name was Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi who was a  great  physician and alchemist. Al Zawhari  is known for modern surgery ,Al Khawarizimi invented Algebra, Ibn aI- Haytham was known as father of modern optics and not to forget Jabir bin Hayyan. Besides, the institutions like hospitals and Academies too were founded during that era. This was done during when European civilizations were still struggling with dark ages and unenlightenment.

Nobel Prize is one of the most coveted and cherished prizes in fields of science, medicine, economics and literature. Out of 1.6 billion Muslims only ten Muslims have succeeded in getting this prize. Literature has only two  Muslim Nobel prize laureates ,Orhan Pamuk and Nagoub Mahfouz, science has two and peace has 6 laureates, late Yaser Arafat and  an outspoken young lady Tawakal Karman being part . Another noble prize was added to this collection with Malala Yousafzai’s victory. The youngest ever noble laureate unfortunately too had to face spiteful criticism. 

What is it that is holding today’s Muslim back in spite of having many opportunities handy. Islam as a religion can never be held responsible for regression as many critics and bashers of Islam religiously aim to do. Instead it is during the expansion of Islamic empire that most inventions and progress was at zenith. In retrospect of Islamic history, it was during the second caliph Omer ibn al Khattab that the records of state officials and military personnel were kept. He was the first to keep a police force to discipline people during disorders and enforce peace in land. Moreover many Muslim women were appointed as officials. 

It is believed that colonialism has had great impact on progress of Muslim countries. During colonialism most of the Muslim nations were dominated by European nations for instance Egypt once a great and oldest civilization was subjugated by Britain. These countries were bereft of their natural resources, religion and culture was rendered disrupted, and economy was scandalized. It’s been only more than hundred years since the independence of these countries. Therefore Muslim countries also with other colonized nations were grappling with the internal disturbances created by colonizers and made recovery and survival priority rather than indulgence in science and technology. Even during the colonization of Indian sub-continent great Muslim poet Sir Iqbal and great writer and academician Sir Sayed were contributing enormously towards Muslim society. So colonization and such other policy imperialism cannot be wholly and blatantly held accountable for Muslims’ falling off.

Why are Muslims left behind then? Is it war and devastation in their homelands? Is it every day dosage of Islamophobia that a Muslim has to face covertly or overtly or is it religious extremism? Or are Muslims simply too lazy and self-complacent to think of progress and contribution. Such questions are often raised, answers are demanded, though no answer seems to virtually satisfy your raison d’être and intellect. Maybe Islam requires a good public relation (PR) as believed by many great people. Or maybe answer lies in Muslim youth. Maybe! 

Author is a student at Jamia Millia Islamia. 

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