S&T, Ummah’s past legacy

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IT is rightly said that present civilisation owes a tremendous debt to the Muslim world for a number of groundbreaking scientific and technological advances that were pioneered during the Golden Age of Muslim civilisation between the seventh and 17th centuries. Muslim scholars made numerous important scientific and technological advances in mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, metallurgy, architecture, textiles, medicines and agriculture but then Muslims quit this course for mere worldly pleasures and were pushed back to oblivion.
In this backdrop, it is encouraging that at long last the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation thought it appropriate to consider the issue of Science and Technology development at the summit level. The summit was originally to be held in Islamabad in April 2015 but in a diplomatic blow to the country its venue was shifted to Astana after Islamabad twice postponed the mega event citing security reasons. Anyhow, it is important that after all the summit was successfully held, positive deliberations took place and the participants agreed on a roadmap, which, if implemented, could lead to renaissance of Science and Technology in the Islamic world. The potential is there as individually many Muslim countries have either material resources or human resource capable of making a difference and what we needed is mutual collaboration and a commitment to excel. President Mamnoon Hussain, who led Pakistan’s delegation to the summit, urged the Muslim world to work collectively for the development of Science and Technology in order to meet the challenges of present times. His counselling that the Islamic world should focus on higher education and research in emerging areas of Science and Technology could provide sound and solid foundation for meaningful development of S&T and resultantly economic growth and prosperity of the Muslim world. We believe that if the Islamic world is to again prosper and flourish, far greater investment — in people, cultural attitudes as well as in physical and intellectual infrastructure — must be encouraged individually and collectively. Islamic world is presently identified with extremism and terrorism and a greater focus on education, research and development can bring about a change not only in perception but also on the ground. Apart from mutual collaboration, international collaboration must also be sought for realisation of this noble objective.