Monday, August 04, 2008

Encyclopedia of Islam and Iran

Ali Akbar Velayati, (2008), The Encyclopedia of Islam and Iran: Dynamics of Culture and the Living Civilisation, Petaling Jaya: MPH Publishing.

Ali Akbar Velayati is an interesting person. He is the Professor of Medicine in the University of Tehran since 1974. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1981-1997. He is also a historian. I love people who wears many hats and do many different things that interest them.

This book gives an interesting perceptive on the development of Islamic civilisation and the development the sciences in Islamic civilisation. Europe was in the dark ages and many of the sciences and philosophies would have been lost if to due to scholars and thinkers of the Islamic countries. Not only did they receive the sciences (mathematics, astrology, physics and mechanics, medicine, alchemy, geography and literature), they studied and improved on it.

This book, while not really an encyclopedia (there are many sections which I have hope he will expand upon) is a good introduction to Islamic civilisation. This reminds me of a course on Islamic civilisation I had to take during my first year in the university.

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