Skip links

What are we giving to India?

BY: Mufti Naveed Saif Hussami Advocate Teacher at ISLAMIC HUBB


Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi is a famous twelfth-century geographer, cartographer, scientist and author. He was born in 1100 AD in the present-day Spanish city of Ceuta, he spent his early lifetime touring countries with his grandfather, studied in the historic Islamic city of Cordoba in Andalusia. This was the time when leadership in Andalusia was in turmoil. Andalusia was in a tug-of-war between the then two ruling dynasties Almoravids and Almohads. Hence, as a result of political rivalry and unstable government in his homeland, Al-Idrisi settled in the Italian city of Sicily. At that time, this city was under the control of the famous Christian family – The Normans of France. Roger II took over the government in 1130 AD and by 1148, his rule had been extended to Africa and was considered as one of the strongest central governments of those times.

In 1138 AD, eight years after taking the reins over the kingdom, Roger II, like other great kings, came up with the idea of mapping the whole earth to determine – upto what extent his kingdom has been spread? For this subtle and deft work, Roger II looked to Al-Idrisi, a Muslim geographer of his vast empire. He selected Al-Idrisi to fulfil his dreams, in those days the memories of the first crusade (1096-1099AD) were still fresh and there were clashes between the Muslim ruler Emad al-Din al-Zangi and the Christians in Iraq, which later became the prelude to the Second Crusades. Regardless of better enmity, Roger II had no skilled person like Al-Idrisi to be entrusted with the responsibility.

On the other hand, Al-Idrisi was neither immature nor incompetent in his work. He lived upto the expectations of the ruler who belonged to other faith and started to work despite the lack of related resources.

Al-Idrisi created the masterpieces which even today’s modern world could not even forget. Fifteen years later, in 1158, after continuous hard work, struggle, research and investigation, Al-Idrisi offered three things in the service of King Roger II.
i) Silver plate overview of the Earth

ii) A detailed map of the world divided into seven regions which were further divided into seventy parts

iii) A bilingual book, “Nuzhat-ul-Mushtaq fi Ikhtraqil-Afaq“- written in both Arabic and Latin.

In his research, SP Scott has accepted the fact that, for three centuries, geographers benefited from Al-Idrisi’s maps and books (History of the Moroccan Empire). Al-Idrisi estimated the circumference of the Earth in then non-mechanical age, to be 37,000 km. In modern research, the diameter (circumference) of the earth is forty-seven thousand and Seventy-five (40,075) kilometres, which means that even after nine hundred years, the difference is less than ten percent. While preparing the map, interestingly Al-Idrisi placed the Arabian region in the middle of the map which is also the origin of the earth. From an Islamic point of view, i.e., working under the supervision of a Christian king, the Islamic spirit of Al-Idrisi never perished.

Three copies of Al-Idrisi’s book are currently available in three countries: France, England and Turkey. Turkey’s version is considered to be the complete version. In 1529, a copy of the book was translated from the Arabic language to Latin. Tourists such as Ibn Battuta (d.1369) and Ibn Khaldun (d.1406) also benefited from the book, Columbus (d.1506), who had the crown for discovering the American continent. He also set the destination by placing maps of Al-Idrisi in front of him. Vasco da Gama (d. 1525) was the first European to arrive on Indian soil through sea route. He was also influenced by Al-Idrisi’s books and maps. In 1987, Clark University of Massachusetts developed a GIS system to store geographical data named “Idrisi”, the system is used in about 180 countries. Al-Idrisi died in 1165, and the great statue of Al-Idrisi still stands in Ceuta with all its monuments.

Al-Idrisi’s life and a Christian king’s acknowledgement of his skill in an era of adversity proves that the world always values the giver, be it people or things when they lose the attribute of giving thrown away. Naturally, humans are very selfish. They value everything other than themselves as long as that thing continues to benefit them or prevent them from being harm.

Our relationship with India is the oldest, what we did not gave to this country? In eight hundred years of rule, this country became a golden sparrow, masterpieces of engineering were built here by Muslim rulers, a high order of education was set up here back then, only about a thousand educational institutions used to function in and around Delhi. Despite all these contributions, we were being deprived of profit. It seems that we have become worthless today. Until a few years ago, whose house lamps were illuminated by our treasures, today we find ourselves begging for reservations before them, whose lives were safe in our hands till yesterday, today their hands are in stain with our blood.

The question is not what we gave to India in the past? The question is, what are we currently offering to our country? The answer is very harsh; those who keep chanting that their ancestors were kings couldn’t gain anything.

The world does not ask for lineage, it asks for ability, worship of the rising sun is human nature, There is no doubt that we have been pushed back in a planned way, our abilities have been rusted in the lure of reservations and the catchy title of Minority, blindfolded us and an entire generation was left in the hope and greed that jobs would come at their doorstep. What is in our hands today? Our proportion in government jobs, our count in the Indian Army, our number in the country’s highest civil services can be counted on tip of fingers. It is worthy to mention that people rule out by saying it is a part of an alleged conspiracy theory – there is no leader, the leadership is silent, etc. But in reality, these are excuses, to run away from hard work and this is the act of putting one’s garbage on someone else’s head.

Al-Idrisi also had no leader, he was not even in his own country, but he owned – ability, skill and the expertise in his field, ability brought a Christian king to his door and it is his ability that keeps his name alive to this day.

If you are reading these lines, you will feel the intensity of these words in your heart and mind. No one is asking us today to tell the details of the independence war. No one cares how many Muslims were killed during that historical struggle. Just look at what today’s Muslims are doing, if you have the courage, put a program on the topic that after independence what we gave to India ourselves? How has the national treasury benefited from our wealth? How many educators do we gave to governments till date? How many economists do we have? How many people with high military capabilities do we have in our army? How many doctors of our community are fighting with new diseases? Publish a list of scientists, make an index of legal experts; if you can, do it; also state how many young people studying in the country’s educational institutions with government scholarships are serving in other countries; the difference will become clear.

The request from the reader of these lines is simple – do not look to the religious or political leadership, do not wait for the guidance of the scholars, do not weep over the incompetence of the elders, do not waste yourself waiting for the reservation, empower yourself, do whatever you can. Create what you need, master new subjects, become useful for our country – India.

Remember diamonds are kept in vaults and garbage is incinerated. It’s high time to decide what you want to be in your life?!

To contact the writer or to express your opinion:
+91 9966 870 275

Leave a comment

Translate »
× How can I help you?