Dr Salah Eddin Arkadan, Assistant Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Gulf University of Science and Technology in Kuwait, delivered a seminar entitled “The Influence of Islamic Civilisation on the Modern Age” at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education on 3 February 2010.
In his address Dr Arkadan explained why it was important for human civilisation to look at history to be able to plan our future development. He said that the Islamic civilisation which had lasted over 1000 years influenced all aspects of life today. The basis of the Islamic civilisation was the monotheistic belief as guided by the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. He went on to discuss the importance of the Arabic language which was the medium used for transferring knowledge from previous civilisations to the modern world.
Dr Arkadan then spoke about how the Islamic civilisation encouraged and facilitated critical thinking and analysis which brought about the development and innovation in knowledge. Thinkers were also encouraged to propagate knowledge and share it with others so that it could be of benefit to the whole society. He then elaborated on the system of education that existed at the time which reflected the saying of the Prophet ‘seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave’ and mirrored the system of education that exist today.
He then went on to give examples of the contribution made by the Islamic civilisation in the fields of medicine and surgery, mechanics and engineering, astronomy, mathematics, geography and architecture. What made the presentation special was that, Dr Arkadan included his own personal experiences, anecdotes and stories that gave a personal dimension to the presentation.
The seminar, which was well attended by students, staff and a number of prominent guests, was concluded with a lively interactive question and answer session.