Monthly Archives: November 2010

Al-Jazari: The Mechanical Genius

Al-Jazari: The Mechanical Genius

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani *

Al-Jazari was the
most outstanding mechanical engineer of his time. His full name was
Badi’ al-Zaman Abu-‘l-‘Izz Ibn Isma’il Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. He lived
in Diyar-Bakir (in Turkey) during the 6th century H (late 12th
century-early 13th century CE).

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Figure 1: Wash-basin in the form of a peacock described by Al-Jazari in Kitab fi Ma’rifat al-Hiyal al-Handisayya. Manuscript copied in Sha’ban 6002/ March 1205. (Source).

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Figure 2 a-b:

He
was called Al-Jazari after the place of his birth, Al-Jazira, the area
lying between the Tigris and the Euphrates in Mesopotamia. Like his
father before him, he served the Artuqid kings of Diyar-Bakir for
several decades (at least between 570 and 597 H/1174-1200 CE) as a
mechanical engineer. In 1206, he completed an outstanding book on
engineering entitled Al-Jami’ bayn al-‘ilm wa-‘l-‘amal al-nafi’ fi sinat’at al-hiyal in Arabic. It was a compendium of theoretical and practical mechanics. George Sarton writes: “This treatise is the most elaborate of its kind and may be considered the climax of this line of Muslim achievement” (Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, vol. 2, p. 510).

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Figure 3:
Model of a blood letting device as described by Al-Jazari and
reconstructed in 1977. It measured the blood lost during phlebotomy
(blood-letting) sessions, a popular therapy in the Islamic medieval
world. Two scribes are seated above the device and their actions
describe the amount of blood to be let. Currently on display in The Science and Art of Medicine (inventory number : 1981-1710). (Source).

Al-Jazari’s
book is distinctive in its practical aspect because the author was a
competent engineer and skilled craftsman. The book describes various
devices in minute detail, providing hence an invaluable contribution in
the history of engineering. British charter engineer and historian of
Islamic technology Donald R. Hill (1974) who held a special interest in
Al-Jazari’s achievements wrote:

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Figure 4:
Al-Jazari’s water powered scribe clock brought back to life after 800
years by FSTC. The clock stands 1 metre high and half a metre wide; the
scribe with his pen is synonymous to the hour hand of a modern clock. Click here to see the animation. (Source).

“It
is impossible to over emphasize the importance of Al-Jazari’s work in
the history of engineering, it provides a wealth of instructions for
design, manufacture and assembly of machines.”

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Figure 5: Picture of the internal structure of an automata for dispensating liquids. © JC Heuden at Virtual Worlds. (Source).

Al-Jazari described fifty mechanical devices in six different categories, including water clocks, hand washing device (wudhu’
machine) and machines for raising water, etc. Following the “World of
Islam Festival” held in the United Kingdom in 1976, a tribute was paid
to Al-Jazari when the London Science Museum showed a successfully
reconstructed working model of his famous “Water Clock.”

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Figure 6:
The original drawing of the double action or reciprocating pump from
Al-Jazari’s manuscript. Topkapi Palace Museum Library, Ahmet III, MS
3472. (Source).

Donald
R. Hill translated into English Al-Jazari’s book in 1974, seven
centuries and 68 years after it was completed by its author. Al-Jazari’s
encyclopedic treatise includes six main categories of machines and
devices. Several of the machines, mechanisms and techniques first appear
in this treatise, later entering the vocabulary of European mechanical
engineering. Among these innovations, we mention the double acting pumps
with suction pipes, the use of a crank shaft in a machine, accurate
calibration of orifices, lamination of timber to reduce warping, static
balancing of wheels, use of paper models to establish a design, casting
of metals in closed mould boxes with green sand, etc. Al-Jazari also
describes methods of construction and assembly in scrupulous detail of
the fifty machines to enable future craftsmen to reconstruct them.

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Figure 7: 3D model recreated by FSTC of the double action pump of Al-Jazari. Click here to view the animation. ©FSTC 2009.

And
he was successful in that, for many of his devices were constructed
following his instructions. The work by Al-Jazari is also unique in the
way that other writers often fail to give sufficient details, because –
amongst other factors – they were not craftsmen themselves, or kept
their secrets, or if they were craftsmen, they could have been
illiterate. Al-Jazari in this respect was unique, and this gives his
work immense value. His book, Hill states, is an absolute wealth of
Islamic mechanical engineering.

In their paper on “Mechanical Engineering during the Early Islamic Period” (published in I. Mech. E, The Chartered Mechanical Engineer,
1978, pp. 79-83), C. G. Ludlow and A. S. Bahrani have raised the
important point that it is more than likely that there is more on the
subject in some of the thousands of Arabic manuscripts in the world
libraries which have not yet been inspected closely, and obviously
require looking into.

Hill, too, constantly raises the two major
issues with respect to the history of engineering in general, and that
of fine technology in particular. He first states the fact that the
field, which is absolutely immense, is yet largely unexplored.

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Figure 8: View of The Elephant Clock: Leaf from a manuscript of Al-Jazari’s Kitab fi macrifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya dated 715 H/1315 CE. (Source).

The
other issue is related to fine technology. One of his concluding points
states that “it is hoped that, as research proceeds, firmer evidence
for the transmission of Islamic fine technology into Europe can be
provided.” Hill also offers some hints for such transmission. The most
likely route was Spain. Such fine technology could have followed the
same route as the astrolabe (itself part of this fine technology.) Apart
from Spain, there were other possible lands of transfer: Sicily,
Southern France, Italy, Byzantium and Syria during the Crusades. Hill is
also right on a further account, that what will be seen in this work is
just a fraction of the whole process, which, as with much else has
hardly been explored.

The animation presented in figure 7 shows a
virtual model of one of Al-Jazari’s water raising pumps. The details of
this unique pump were obtained from his manuscript and Hill’s diagrams.
We see two suction pumps in synchronous motion driven by a paddle wheel,
which is driven by a water stream.

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Figure 9: 3D model recreated by FSTC of the Elephant clock. Click here to view the animation. ©FSTC 2009.

The
other animation is for a 3D model recreated from the description of the
elephant clock as described by Al-Jazari (see below fig. 9). Full
details of this animation are given in the works authored by the author
and his collaborators published in the book 1001 Inventions: The Muslim Heritage in Our World (chief editor Salim al-Hassani, Manchester: FSTC, 2006) and in articles that can be consulted online on www.MuslimHeritage.com (see especially the two special folders devoted to Islamic technology: Al-Jazari and Taqi al-Din).

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Figure 10:
A table device automaton designed by Al-Jazari. Manuscript dated from
the early 14th century (1315), copied in Syria by Farrukh ibn Abd
al-Latif. Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper. © The Smithsonian
Institution, Washington. (Source).

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Figure 11:
A large ewer held by a kneeling female attendant in a domed pavilion
designed by Al-Jazari: once the bird whistles, water pours into a basin
below; a duck then drinks the used water and releases it through its
tail into a container hidden under the platform. © The Smithsonian
Institution, Washington. (Source).

*
Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester and Chairman of The
Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Manchester,
UK.

by: Professor Salim Al-Hassani, Fri 09 February, 2001

Related Articles:

The List of Al-jazari Articles Published on MH.com by: FSTC Limited
Some
800 years in the past, in 1206, a brilliant Muslim scholar died : Badi?
al-Zaman Abu al-‘Izz ibn Isma?il ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. He was one of
the most important inventors and mechanical engineers in the history of
technology. His magnum opus book of mechanics, the famous Al-Jami? bayn
al-?ilm wa ‘l-?amal al-nafi? fi sina?at al-hiyal (A Compendium on the
Theory and Useful Practice of the Mechanical Arts) was the most
significant treatise of the Islamic tradition of mechanical engineering
and a ground breaking work in the history of mechanics.

Al-Jazari: 800 Years After by: FSTC Limited
Some
800 years in the past, in 1206, a brilliant Muslim scholar died : Badi?
al-Zaman Abu al-‘Izz ibn Isma?il ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. He was one of
the most important inventors and mechanical engineers in the history of
technology. His magnum opus book of mechanics, the famous Al-Jami? bayn
al-?ilm wa ‘l-?amal al-nafi? fi sina?at al-hiyal (A Compendium on the
Theory and Useful Practice of the Mechanical Arts) was the most
significant treatise of the Islamic tradition of mechanical engineering
and a ground breaking work in the history of mechanics.

Al-Jazari’s Castle Water Clock: Analysis of its Components and Functioning by: Professor Salim T. S. Al-Hassani
The first machine described by al-Jazari in his famous treatise of mechanics Al-Jami‘ bayn al-‘ilm wa ‘l-‘amal al-nafi‘ fi sina‘at al-hiyal (A Compendium on the Theory and Useful Practice of the Mechanical Arts) is a monumental water clock known as the castle clock.

Al-Jazari’s Third Water-Raising Device: Analysis of its Mathematical and Mechanical Principles by: FSTC Limited
Five pumps or water-raising machines are described by al-Jazari in his monumental treatise of mechanics Al-Jami’ bayn al-‘ilm wa ‘l-‘amal al-nafi’ fi sina’at al-hiyal
(A Compendium on the Theory and Useful Practice of the Mechanical
Arts). The following long article is a detailed study of the third of
these water-raising devices. The study presents a detailed analysis of
the mathematical and mechanical principles of this sophisticated machine
and explains its functioning. Further, the various components of the
pump are reconstructed via computer assisted design. A profusion of 3D
graphics and 3D animations show the device in different angles and helps
in viewing it in operational mode.

Al-Muqaddasi and Human Geography: An Early Contribution to Social Sciences by: FSTC Research Team

FSTC Research Team

Recent
scholarly interest in the genesis of social sciences in Islamic culture
is a noteworthy shift. Until recent times, the development of these
fields was credited exclusively to the modern Western tradition,
especially to the 19th century birth of humanities. The ground breaking
contribution of Ibn Khaldun was recognized; however, the author of the
Muqaddima stands as an isolated genius. In the following article, an
attempt is made to broaden the field by highlighting the contributions
of several other scholars in laying the foundation of social sciences in
Islamic culture. After a short survey on Al-Biruni and Al-Raghib
al-Isfahani, the focus of the article is dedicated to the 10th-century
Palestinian geographer Al-Muqaddasi, who touched on various subjects of
interest to the social sciences in his book Ahsan al-taqasim fi ma’rifat al-aqalim.

Resources:

Al-Jazari’s Water Pump, by: FSTC
The
animation shows a virtual model of one of al-Jazari’s water raising
pumps. The details of this unique pump were obtained from his manuscript
and D.Hill diagrams. We see two suction pumps in synchronous motion
driven by a paddle wheel.

References:

The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices of Al-Jazri by: Donald Hill
Al-Jazri Mechanical Devices, First published in 1974

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Transfer of Technology from East to West

About FSTC News & Events

The Transfer of Science Between India, Europe and China via Muslim Heritage

Professor Charles Burnett

Abstract | Short biography

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 1-2:Professor Charles Burnett presenting his lecture in the “1001 Inventions” conference. © FSTC 2010.

The Islamic realms served as a crucible for scientific learning from the ancient Greek world in the West and from China, India and Iran, in the East. Western Europe in turn benefited from the transmission of Arabic science into Latin, just as Chinese culture was indebted to Arabic texts travelling eastwards. There was a vast network of transmission over centuries and over continents. Today I would like to tell three stories.

1. The first story concerns astronomy

In 1160 CE, a Hebrew sage from Tudela in the valley of the Ebro, Abraham ibn Ezra, when introducing a commentary written by a Spanish Muslim, Ibn al-Muthanna’, on al-Khwarizmi’s procedures for observing and predicting the movement of the stars and the planets, gave the following account:

In ancient days, neither wisdom nor religion was found among the Arabs who dwelt in tents, until Muhammad arose and gave them a new religion from his heart. After him came wise men who composed many books on their religious law, until there arose a great king of the Arabs whose name was al-Safaah. He heard that in India there were many sciences, and so he ordered that a wise man be sought, fluent in both Arabic and the language of Indian, who might translate one of the books of their widsom for him. … (He found a Jew) and gave him money so that he might travel to the city of Arin on the equator under ths signs of Aries and Libra, where day is equal to night throughout the year, neither shorter nor longer, thinking ‘perhaps he will succeed in bringing one of their wise men to the king’. So the Jew went, and after many subterfuges, persuaded one of the wise men of Arin to agree to go the king…The scholar, whose name was Kanka, was brought to the king, and he taught the Arabs the basis of numbers, i.e. the nine numerals. Then from this same scholar, an Arabic named Jacob b. Sharah translated a book containing the tables of the seven planets..the rising times of the zodiac signs, …the arrangement of the astrological houses, knowledge of the higher stars, and the eclipses of the luminaries (and it goes on in this way).

There are several elements in this story which sound like the stuff of legend, and Ibn Ezra clearly wishes to make some claim for Jewish participation in the transmission of knowledge. But in reality, what the text he translates introduces are Indian methods of plotting the movements of the planets and fixed stars scientifically. These had been brought to their most advanced form by Brahmagupta in Sanskrit in the Brahmasphutasiddanta in the late 7th century. These Sanskrit astronomical tables and their canons (descriptions of procedures) had been brought to Baghdad soon after its foundation at the beginning of the Abbasid era, in the time of the caliph al-Mansur (754-75). This was also the time when chess (Arabic shitranj) and a set of moralizing stories (Kalila wa-Dimna) concerning animals based on the Indian Pancatantra entered Islamic culture (also referred to in Ibn Ezra’s account).

The astronomical tables, known as Sindhind, formed the basis of al-Khwarizmi’s tables and canons in the early 9th century. These were brought to the Islamic Spain, al-Andalus, and adapted to the meridian of Cordoba by Maslama al-Majriti in the late 9th century, and translated into Latin by Adelard of Bath in the early 12th century, as the first complete set of astronomical tables and their canons in Christendom They paved the way for other sets, improvements, developments, and commentaries, including that of Ibn al-Muthanna, which was also translated into Latin by Hugo of Santalla in Tarazona, a couple of decades after Adelard’s translation.

But that is not the entire story. In a Latin text on Arabic numerals, we find that they are described as being ‘especially useful for astronomy’ (Liber ysagogarum in artem astronomiam). It may be no accident that the same al-Khwarizmi wrote the authoritative book on ‘calculating with Indian numerals’. For Arabic numerals are, indeed, Indian numerals—originally Sanskrit symbols brought over to the Arabic world, probably with the astronomical texts (as Ibn Ezra implies), and diffused, like the tables and their canons via Muslim Spain to the Latin West. The new way of calculation, with pen and paper (or rather quill and parchment), using symbols with place value, was quite appropriately called the ‘algorism’—named after al-Khwarizmi himself, the transmitter both of the numerals and the astronomical tables.

Two hundred and fifty years later, in the early years of the Ming dynasty, two sets of Arabic astronomical tables were translated into Chinese. The following words are found in the preface of one set:

In the autumn of 1382, the emprer T’aitsu … ordered this translation, saying: ‘The Western people are very good at observing astronomical phenomena. They have an ingenious method for the computation of the movements of the planets, which we have nothing comparable to’.

In the postscript to the other set of tables we read:

There has been no such book in our country since older times. In the eighteenth year of the Hunwu Era (i.e. 1385), a barbarian came from the Far West and he became naturalized in China. He offered to the emperor a set of astronomical tables written in Arabic numerals. It gave predictions of the occultations of the Moon and five planets. It was turned into Chinese numerals for the first time.

By this time, an Islamic observatory had been active in Beijing for over one hundred years. It had been set up under the Mongols, by Kublai Khan in 1271, who gave the directorship to a certain Jamal al-Din, and it lasted until 1656. To it were brought not only texts on astronomy and astrology, and Euclid’s Elements, the basic textbook on geometry that any prospective astronomer had to start by studying, but also astronomical instruments: astrolabes, quadrants, armillary spheres.

2.The second story concerns medicine

There is a Tibetan legend that a doctor called ‘Galenos’ settled in Lhasa during the reign of Sron-bcan sgam-po (i.e. during the 7th century). The legend tells us that Galenos arrived with the Yellow Emperor of Chinese medicine and the rishi (‘sage’) Bharadhvaja of India. Although this cannot be substantiated, it does provide an origin-myth for the three major strands that can be recognized in Tibetan medicine: Greco-Arabic, Chinese and Indian, and an indication that these arrived in Tibet in ‘imperial times’, when the Tibetan empire rivalled in size and importance the Abbasid Empire, founded in 750, on its Western border, and Tang China (618-907), with its capital of Chang-an (Xi’an), on its Eastern border.

The Arabic influence can be seen in certain Tibetan medical doctrines (especially in the humoral system and the importance of diagnosis by pulse and by urine) and in terminology: kur kum for saffron or turmeric from Arabic kurkum, bad kan for ‘phlegm’ from balgham, and dar yak an from tiryâq (theriake) for a wonder medicine made of multiple ingredients. With the Mongol conquest of the whole of Asia from China to the borders of Hungary, and the consequent revitalizing of the Silk Roads, the spread of medical knowledge became even more remarkable. Rashid al-Din (1247-1318), at the court of the Ilkhanid Mongol Ghazan (who had converted to Islam), translated into Persian a Chinese medical book under the title Tansuqname.

In the contrary direction, Islamic medicine was adopted by the Mongols. As Paul Buell has written, “For the Mongolian world of the 13th and 14th centuries ‘Muslim’ medicine became the mainstream, both in the Mongol east and in the west, but particularly in China. There it briefly superseded Chinese medicine in importance, at least at the court level.” Buell shows that this ‘Muslim’ medicine was transmitted mainly by Tibetans, who had an important role at the Mongol courts, as spiritual advisers and doctors. One result of this was a book known as the Huihui yaofang, literally ‘Muslims’ Medicinal Recipes’, an encyclopaedia once consisting of some 3200 pages (only a fragment remains). In this text, the Arabic names of the medicines are given both in Chinese script and the original Arabic script. Some recipes purport to go back to Galen himself. I quote:

An ointment of Jâlînuus: It is especially good for paralysis on the left hand side of the body, numbness on the right, weakness of the body, the preponderance of phlegm associated with an evil wind, etc.

The ingredients that follow are all Arabic terms, sometimes with explanations in Persian and/or Chinese: Ghârîquun (agaric), ishqîl (‘this is mountain onion; you roast it’), ushaq (gum ammoniac), saqamûniyaa (scamony), harbaq aswad (black hellebore), etc.

3. The third and last example concerns philosophy

In 1642, John Selden, the English Jurist, Legal Historian and Arabist, wrote:

The liberal and correctly taught sciences were formerly for a long time called by the English ‘the studies of the Arabs’—the studia Arabum—as if called from the race and the places were they were then alone seriously cultivated. This is clear also from the preface to his Natural Questions of Adelard the monk of Bath, which he wrote when bringing the sciences back to England from the schools of the Arabs.

He is referring to the opening of the popular dialogue on Natural Questions, written by Adelard, a scholar and teacher at Bath (no evidence that he was a monk), the scholar who translated al-Khwarizmi’s astronomical tables, in which he says that he has gone abroad to pursue the studies of the Arabs. After seven years, he returned to England and there he meets his nephew and they engage in a kind of intellectual competition in which Adelard espouses Arabic studies, and the nephew draws on his French studies. Adelard characterises Arabic studies as being new and exciting and French studies as being traditional and boring. But the main point of contrast is that the Arabs use their brains (they use ‘ratio’–‘reason’), whereas the French rely on authority. To quote Adelard’s own words:

I have learnt one thing from my Arab masters, with reason as guide, but you another: you follow a halter, being enthralled by the picture of authority. For what else can authority be called other than a halter? As brute animals are led wherever one pleases by a halter, but do not know where or why they are being led, and only follow the rope by which they are pulled along, so the authority of written words leads many people into danger, since they just accept what they are told, without question. So what is the point of having a brain, if one does not think for oneself?… If I am going to talk to you, you must give and provide rational arguments.

One may quote another anecdote, by a scholar of the generation after Adelard, Daniel of Morley, who tells us that, like many young scholars, he left England with the intention of studying at the university of Paris (which was now replacing the cathedral schools as the main centre for advanced study), but found that the professors there were more like donkeys than men; they spent their time engaged in minutiae and had no interest in science. But then he heard that Arabic learning concentrated on the mathematical sciences (using the terminology of the time, he calls these the ‘quadrivium’, the four-fold path to wisdom, consisting of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy), and that it was possible to study this in Toledo. So he hastened there and was not disappointed. He studied both with the greatest of the translators of Arabic science and philosophy, Gerard of Cremona, and with his Arabic colleague, Ghalib, a Christian from al-Andalus. This allowed him to write a book about how the universe functioned (‘On the natures of the heavens and the earth’), in which he begs his readers to accept the ‘simple and clear opinions of the Arabs’ rather than the obscure statements of Latin scientists who ‘veil their ignorance under a blanket of unintelligibility’.

The liberal arts that John Selden was referring to were the mathematical sciences of the quadrivium. These, together with the three ‘arts of speech’ of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric and logic), made up the curriculum of ‘philosophy’ which Adelard described in another work, called ‘On the Same and the Different’. As the 12th century progressed, the mathematical sciences were incorporated into another philosophical scheme, by being added to works by, or deriving from, Aristotle in natural science and metaphysics. Many of the central texts of this new philosophy were translated from Arabic, and to the original works of Aristotle, were added the paraphrases, re-writings and commentaries of al-Farabi, Avicenna, Algazel and Averroes. These Arabic-Latin translations were incorporated into the curricula of the nascent European universities, in Oxford, Bologna, and Paris.

Bearing in mind the emphasis in Arabic learning on reasoned argument, one scholar, Christopher Beckwith, has recently put forward evidence that the scholastic method pursued in the West according to quite strict rules of procedure, owed its structure to that used in Islamic madrasas. These, in turn, may have been modelled on central Asian Buddhist viharas in which the same method was pursued. Whether or not this can be substantiated, the reputation of Arabs for rationality and pre-eminence in the mathematical and natural sciences persisted in the West, and remained strong until at least the 17th century. Fortunately, that reputation is being revived today through the work of the FSTC.

Brief Bibliography:

The stories come respectively from:

For (1), see:

  • B.R. Goldstein, Ibn al-Muthanna’s Commentary on the Astronomical Tables of al-Khwarizmi, New Haven, 1967.
  • Charles Burnett, ‘Common Sources of Astrology and Astronomy in West and East’, in The Mutual Encounter of East and West, 1492–1992, ed. P. Milward, Tokyo, 1993, pp. 81-87.
  • W. Hartner, ‘The Astronomical Instruments of Cha-ma-lu-ting: their Indentification, their relations to the instruments of the observatory of Maragha’, reprinted in Oriens-Occidens, Hildesheim, 1968, pp. 215-226.
  • Benno van Dalen, ‘Islamic and Chinese Astronomy under the Mongols: a Little-Known Case of Transmission’, in From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas, eds Y. Dold-Samplonius, Joseph W. Dauben etc., Stuttgart, 2002, pp. 327-356.

For (2), see:

  • Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, ‘Islam and Tibet, Cultural Interactions—an Introduction’, and Paul D. Buell, ‘Tibetans, Mongols and the Fusion of Eurasian Cultures’, in Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes, eds Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, Farnham (forthcoming in 2010).

For (3), see:

  • Charles Burnett, The Introduction of Arabic Learning into England, London, 1997.
  • Adelard of Bath, Conversations with his Nephew, ed. Charles Burnett et al., Cambridge, 1998.

by: Professor Charles Burnett, Thu 15 July, 2010


Related Articles:
The Stellar and Lunar Keys to Medieval Muslim Agriculture by: Dr. Zohor Idrisi
Dr Zohor Idrisi

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

In this short note, Dr Zohor Idrisi, an expert on the history of Islamic agriculture, explores the interaction between some folk astronomical knowledge and the agricultural practice in Islamic civilisation. Taking examples from the al-anwa’ literature, she focuses on the famous Calendar of Cordoba written in 961 CE under the title Kitab al Anwa’ and translated into Latin as Liber anoe.

Statement of HH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan in the Opening Session by: HH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan
HH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

In this excellent statement addressed by HH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of El Hassan Science City and President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, in the opening sessions of the international conference “1001 Inventions: Discover Muslim Heritage in Our World”, issues of the past glory of Muslim science are evoked in the perspective of innovative projects that are being developed in the present. HH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan alluded particularly to the current collaboration between The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization and scientific institutions in Jordan to develop an iconic brand in the spirit of our ingenious forebears.

Statement of HE Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in the Opening Session by: Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

In this elogious statement addressed to the international conference organised by Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization (FSTC) in London, HE Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and a world class historian of science expresses his admiration for the efforts deployed by FSTC to promote the knowledge about Muslim heritage and outlines the salient traits of the contribution of Muslim civilisation to world history and culture.

Heritage Research for Cultural Inter-Appreciation in the Balkans by: Sali Shahsivari
Sali Shahsivari

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

In this vibrant plea for cultural inter-appreciation in the Balkan, Sali Shahsivari outlines the role that may be played by heritage research in the case of this tormented region. Departing from his detailed knowledge of the cultures and histories of the South-East Europe, he states that the world has never been before in more need of understanding and cultural coexistence than today. Arguing that much of the current dialogue between nations and groups is mainly confined to Inter-Faith and Inter-Political dialogue, he indicates that there is a dire necessity to search for a new dimension of dialogue, that of cultural dialogue, developed on our shared common heritage, with its multiple dimensions rooted in the past and the present of the different communities.

Environment on the Edge by: Sir Crispin Tickell
Sir Crispin Tickell

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

In this concentrated and well written article, Sir Crispin Tickell addresses one of the most urgent and challenging issues of our times, that of environment. Beyond our actual social and economic problems, the biggest crisis that surrounds us regards the condition of the global environment and its future prospects. In the last period, awareness of environmental issues has entered our daily concerns. However, we still need to think about all the implications of this vast issue. Arguing that our environment is at present on the edge, Sir Crispin Tickell outlines what certainly will be our biggest preoccupation in a near future.

Status of Research in the History of Astronomy in the Arab World by: Professor Hamid M. K. Al-Naimy
Professor Hamid M. K. Al-Naimy

[Proceedings of the conference 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World organised by FSTC, London, 25-26 May 2010].

The aim of this paper is to introduce the status of research and studies on the history of astronomy in some Arab countries, in regard to research, studies, translations and manuscript editing, including the research activities in Sharjah (UAE). The focus is laid on a proposal for establishing an International Foundation for the History of Islamic Sciences, as an independent international, non profit and legal foundation whose headquarters are suggested to be hosted at the University City of Sharjah.

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Amidst Islamophobic Brouhaha, Americans Protest Mosque That’s Actually A Church

Amidst National Islamophobic Upheaval, Arizonans Protest Mosque That’s Actually A Church

In an era saturated with absurd moments of anti-Muslim fear-mongering, mosques have become a touchstone for Islamophobia. Even unbuilt mosques have set off a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in Tennessee, Texas, California, and most notably, New York. Not to be outdone, the people of Pheonix, AZ were quick to call foul over the appearance of a dome-like structure along an interstate. But in the clamor over the impending Muslim takeover, these Arizonans missed one small detail — the building is not a Mosque, it’s a church:

A new dome-like structure near 19th Avenue along Interstate 10 in Phoenix is the Light of the World church, a nondenominational Christian church hoping to modernize traditional worship services, a church spokesman said

Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who’ve mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque.

On Wednesday, church officials hung a sign reminding people they’re Christian congregation. “We’re trying to let people know that we’re Christian and our churches are modern,” said Uzieo Martinez.

Watch a report from KPNX-TV:

“It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque,” said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter. But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?

The Dalai Lama calls Islam one of the great religions

The Dalai Lama Tuesday hailed Islam as one of the great religions of the world, saying true jihad was about fighting “negative emotions” within oneself.

Speaking after receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters (D. Litt)
degree from Delhis Jamia Millia Islamia university, the Tibetan
spiritual leader said that some mischievous elements were bringing a bad
name to Islam.

“I defend Islam,”
the Dalai Lama said, “we should not generalize Islam due to few
mischievous people. Such mischievous people are there among Hindus,
Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and all religions”.

“Islam is one of the very important religions for many centuries, in
the past, present and future it is the hope of millions of people,” he
said.

“Some Muslims in this country (India) told me genuine Islam
practitioner must extend love and compassion to all creatures. If a
person creates bloodshed they are not Muslims,” he said adding, “the
meaning of jihad is a struggle within ourselves against all negative
emotions like anger, hatred, attachment, that creates problem in the
society”.

He said though he received similar honour from many universities
around the world, he was particularly honoured to receive it from a
renowned Islamic institution of higher learning in India.

Indo-Asian News Service

Vatican offers Islamic finance system to Western Banks

The Vatican says Islamic finance system may help Western banks in crisis as alternative to capitalistm.
Friday, 06 March 2009 15:10World Bulletin / News Desk


The Vatican offered Islamic finance principles to Western banks as a solution for worldwide economic crisis.

Daily Vatican newspaper, ‘L’Osservatore Romano, reported that Islamic banking system may help to overcome global crisis, Turkish media reported.
The Vatican said banks should look at the ethical rules of Islamic finance to restore confidence amongst their clients at a time of global economic crisis.

“The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service,” the Vatican’s official newspaper Osservatore Romano said in an article in its latest issue late yesterday.

Author Loretta Napoleoni and Abaxbank Spa fixed income strategist, Claudia Segre, say in the article that “Western banks could use tools such as the Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, as collateral”. Sukuk may be used to fund the “‘car industry or the next Olympic Games in London,” they said.

They also said that profit share, gained from sukuk, may be an alternative to the interest. They underlined that sukuk system could help automotive sector and support investments in infrastructure area.

Islamic sukuk system is similar to bonos of capitalist system. But in sukuk, money is invested concrete projects and profit share is distributed to clients instead of interest earned.

Pope Benedict XVI in an Oct. 7 speech reflected on crashing financial markets saying that “money vanishes, it is nothing” and concluded that “the only solid reality is the word of God.” The Vatican has been paying attention to the global financial meltdown and ran articles in its official newspaper that criticize the free-market model for having “grown too much and badly in the past two decades.”

The Osservatore’s editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, said that “the great religions have always had a common attention to the human dimension of the economy,” Corriere della Sera reported today.

The banking woes of an “excluded” community

The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : The banking woes of an “excluded” community

The banking woes of an “excluded” community

Vidya Subrahmaniam

Banks have designated red zones where the vast majority of Muslim clusters fall. This fact is confirmed by the rash of banking-related complaints received by the National Commission for Minorities.

A little over a year ago, Ali Arshad, a resident of Okhla in Delhi, went to a well-known private sector bank to open a bank account. He thought his case would be fast-tracked because he had a banking background, he worked with a well-known investment and brokerage company and he had the necessary documents: A passport, a pan card and a house rent agreement notorised on stamp paper.

He still has not heard from the bank. The manager of the branch informally told him that his passport showed a Patna address and the bank did not accept rent agreement as proof of residence. The Hindu checked the website of the bank and found that the bank did accept house rent agreement as proof of residence. A call placed to the bank confirmed that a passport (proof of identity) and a rent agreement (proof of residence) were enough to start a bank account.

Mr. Arshad finally opened a salary account with a bank that had his company’s corporate account. “The bank could not refuse me because I came as a package,” Mr. Arshad says. He attributes his banking difficulties to the fact that he stays in Muslim-concentrated Okhla, an unofficial red zone for banks. Indeed, in the Muslim belt of Okhla, Zakir Nagar and Batla House stories abound of residents not being able to open bank accounts and of banks turning down their loan applications. The situation, residents say, has got worse after the September 2008 killing of two alleged terrorists in Batla House. “Landlords here refuse to give residence proof documentation for fear of being tracked down,” says Hasan Shuja, editor of Urdu daily Sahafat. Mr. Shuja, who has gone from bank to bank looking for a loan to expand his business, says, “I gave them all possible documentation but to no avail. But not just Delhi, you will hear the same thing wherever Muslims are in large numbers.”

The sense of “exclusion” among Mr. Shuja and others has only heightened with recent reports that in Andhra Pradesh alone as many as 90,000 Muslims students were unable to open bank accounts to deposit their scholarship cheques. The complaints were received by the State Minorities Commission which, in turn, referred them to the National Commission for Minorities in Delhi. The Ministry of Minorities has since taken up the matter with the State’s Chief Secretary. The puzzling thing here is that banks have shown the audacity to turn away students despite a standing RBI circular instructing them to open basic, no-frills accounts for people from deprived categories.

At the NCM, officials cannot cope with Muslim complaints relating to banking. The Commission receives an average of five banking complaints a day from across the country, with most complainants recording specific details of discrimination. The NCM recently intervened to have a dismissed Muslim official of a leading private sector bank reinstated. The official was found to have been falsely accused of fraud.

Up until the Sachar Committee report, which conclusively established unacceptable levels of Muslim deprivation, there were not many takers for Muslim-specific banking complaints which were typically dismissed as an exaggeration. The other commonly held perception was that Muslims were averse to banking because of religious injunctions against receiving interest.

Several significant findings emerged in the investigations of the Sachar Committee which analysed access to Priority Sector Advances (farm sector, small-scale industries and small advances to weaker sections) across Socio Religious Communities. To start with, banks confirmed the existence of “red zones” where they offered minimal services. Says Abusaleh Shariff, who was member-secretary with the committee: “We did not use the term discrimination in the report but we did find banks to be unacceptably insensitive. They accepted that they don’t like to provide services in the red zones. Unfortunately, most of the areas where Muslims live fall in the red zones.”

The committee was also able to bust the myth that Muslims were against banking. Muslims held a 12 per cent share in PSA bank accounts which was rather low considering the high concentration of Muslims in socially and economically deprived sections. Nonetheless, as Mr. Shariff points out, the figure established that given a chance Muslims opened bank accounts.

The committee’s third major finding was that Muslims did not easily get loans. The community’s share of outstanding PSAs was pathetic — only 4.6 per cent as against a population share of 13.4 per cent. The ratio of loans to population was even worse in the Minority Concentration Districts. In 44 such districts, where the Muslim share of the population was 33 per cent, their share of PSAs was an abysmal 7.9 per cent. The share of other minorities, who together constituted two per cent of the population, was 3.7 per cent. In 11 of these districts, where the Muslim share of the population was 51.4 per cent, their share of PSAs was 12.9 per cent. With a 1.2 per cent share of the population in the same districts, other minorities received 3. 4 per cent of PSAs while Hindus, who formed 47.4 per cent of the population, got a PSA share of 63.1 per cent. Over all, other minorities fared twice as well as Muslims in the priority sector.

When the UPA government came to power in 2004, one of its early priorities was to address the “development deficit” among Muslims. It recast the old 15-point Minority Welfare Programme and established a time-frame for programme-specific interventions. It set up a Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA), following it up with the first-ever exhaustive study of the community’s social, economic and educational status. Simultaneously, it started a programme of financial inclusion through the Reserve Bank. The RBI’s charter, reiterated through repeated circulars, included expanding access to banking through “nil balance, no frills” accounts as well as smoothening credit flow to Muslims.

Six years later, the government, and the MMA in particular, are still battling systemic resistance to minority welfare. This situation is despite the ministry’s exemplary commitment and overall vision. Ministry sources say that with each year, they are getting closer to reaching the target, exceeding it in some programmes such as the award of scholarship. And yet it has been literally a case of inching forward. Take the National Minorities Development And Finance Corporation established 17 years ago. In all this time, it has disbursed loans only to 5.39 lakh minority beneficiaries. A drop in the ocean for a Muslim population of over 130 million.

The MMA points out that as against this dismal figure, the corporation achieved a target of 1.46 beneficiaries in 2009-2010. However, the ministry had to move mountains for this, as the States, with some exceptions, simply would not cough up their share of 26 per cent to the scheme. For instance, Uttar Pradesh has so far contributed only 7 per cent (Rs. 7 crore) of its share of 26 per cent (Rs. 44 crore). The Ministry offered to set up a separate fund for strengthening the state channels for disbursal. “Not one State has responded to our offer,” said a top ministry source. In the 90 Minority Concentration Districts, too, progress has been uneven, with development plans going back and forth and the States not being quick with their feedback.

Need to black list errant banks

The MMA was patting itself on the back for its success in the scholarship scheme when reports came in of banks refusing to open scholarship accounts for Muslim students. The ministry has swiftly moved to address the problem but the news has understandably upset the community. As politician Abdul Khaliq remarked: “This situation will not change unless Muslim representation in banking staff goes up. And government must black list errant banks and punish the guilty officers.”

Is Islamic Finance the new challenge to Wall Street?

Is Islamic Finance the new challenge to Wall Street?

Sunday, November 7, 2010
By Andrew Sheng

I was in Kuala Lumpur in October attending the Global Islamic Finance Forum, organized by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre. The whole glitterati of the Islamic world was here, and coincidentally, the HSBC Asia Board also held their meeting here, so it was also good time to catch up with all the Hong Kong good and great, including the incoming taipans at the Bank.

In the 1990s, Islamic finance was a fledgling fringe industry. But today, its size has grown from roughly US$150 billion to about US$1 trillion in size. This is of course still small relative to some of the largest global fund managers and universal banks, who manage more than US$1 trillion each. But the double-digit growth and potential size of the market cannot be ignored. Some pundits think that the market size will reach US$2 trillion within the next five years.

There are roughly 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, with 138 million in India and roughly 30 million in China. These are growing markets in terms of income and wealth. As the Muslim community seeks to invest in interest-free banking, Islamic funds have been growing in leaps and bounds. Today, there are roughly US$800 billion in Islamic banking funds, US$100 billion in the sukuk (or Islamic bond) market and another US$100 billion in takaful (Islamic insurance) and fund management business. Hong Kong, of course, introduced the Hang Seng Shariah Compliant China Index Fund in 2008 to attract Muslim investors.

As oil prices continue to remain at high levels, the Middle East oil-producers will continue to generate surpluses that must be parked somewhere. With the Western markets and economies under pressure, some of that money has moved Eastwards.

Will Islamic finance be a serious challenge to traditional Wall Street finance? That is a question that deserves a good answer.

First of all, thanks to the good work of Bank Negara Malaysia and the Gulf central banks, the infrastructure for Islamic finance has been laid, with the establishment of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AOFFI), the Islamic accounting standards authority, the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the international Islamic financial regulatory standard-setting organisation and the Institute for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). The International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) also provides an invaluable website that is increasingly the transparent source for shari’ah interpretations on what is considered acceptable under Islamic law.

For people unfamiliar with Islamic finance, the basic principle of Islamic banking is the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of usury. Simply put, interest is prohibited, but profit sharing is not. A cynic can say that with zero interest rate policies adopted by advanced country central banks today, they are also practicing Islamic banking.

The distinctive elements of Islamic finance are its ethical element (the prohibition of usury and exploitation of the borrower), the preference for trading in real assets (rather than synthetic products), partnership between the investor and investee and its governance structure (requiring a Shariah council).

The point to remember in Islamic finance is that there is no Islamic global reserve currency. Although Islamic banks are growing rapidly, there is no assurance that they are not subject to the problems of non-performing loans and bank runs that are endemic in commercial banking.

What has been most innovative was the launching this week of an International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) aimed to assist institutions offering Islamic financial services in addressing their liquidity management in an efficient and effective manner. This institution addresses one of the fundamental problems of Islamic financial institutions — the provision of adequate liquidity in times of stress. Once there is an international lender of last resort facility (to supplement and not to replace national facilities), there would be better confidence in the liquidity of the Islamic financial services industry.

The IILM is expected to issue high quality Shariah-compliant financial instruments at both the national level and across borders to enhance the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial markets.

The signatories of the IILM Articles of Agreement are the eleven central banks or monetary agencies of Indonesia, Iran, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector are the multilateral organizations participating in the initiative.

Islamic finance has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go, since US$1 trillion is still small relative to US$232 trillion in conventional financial assets (excluding derivatives).

The real test with any challenger to Wall Street finance is whether Islamic finance will be more efficient, more ethical and more stable. Islamic finance fulfills the needs of the Islamic customer. Ethics aside, there are two crucial problems in finance — information asymmetry and the principal-agent problem. Because markets are not completely transparent and information is unequal amongst market participants, we tend to rely on trusted agents, such as banks, to act on our behalf. Financial institutions are fiduciary agents on behalf of the principals, the real sector savers and borrowers.

What this Wall Street crisis has demonstrated is that complex financial engineering enabled very smart bankers to make profits at the expense of the public purse, because they have become larger (five times greater than GDP). When they fail, the public bears the losses because they are too large and too powerful to fail. This is not the level playing field that is a pre-condition of free markets.

The real question is that under information asymmetry, how do the principals know that the risks of the agents (the banks) have shifted to principals through moral hazard? Islamic finance faces exactly the same dilemma.

If Islamic finance theoreticians can solve this problem, they would be doing a great service to the rest of the world. Then we would truly have an alternative to Wall Street.

Andrew Sheng is author of the book “From Asian to Global Financial Crisis.” He is also Adjunct Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing and University of Malaya. He was formerly the Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong.

www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/the-china-post/special-to-the-china-post/2010/11/07/278933/Is-Islamic.htm

Indian corporates foray into Islamic finance – Arab News

Indian corporates foray into Islamic finance – Arab News

Indian corporates foray into Islamic finance

By MUSHTAK PARKER | ARAB NEWS

Published: Nov 14, 2010 22:55 Updated: Nov 14, 2010 22:55

THE launch by India’s Tata Group of its debut Islamic equity fund two weeks ago sees the entry of another major Indian asset management company in the Islamic finance space. This follows the establishment by the rival Reliance Anil Dhirubahi Ambani Group of a dedicated Islamic asset management company in Malaysia, Reliance Asset Management Malaysia Sdn Bhd, in late 2009 to spearhead its global Islamic asset management activities.

While Reliance seems to be a bit over-cautious, Tata in October 2010 launched the Tata Indian Shariah Equity Fund (TISEF) through its Tata Asset Management (Mauritius) Private Limited (TAMM), which is also the fund manager. According to TAMM, the offering is a diversified open-ended equity fund investing in Shariah-compliant equity or equity-equivalent listed Indian companies. The minimum subscription is $5,000 and the benchmark is the Standard & Poor’s CNX Nifty Shariah Index.

The stock universe of the (TISEF) comprises such luminary corporates as Cummins India, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation and others, whose stocks are deemed to be Shariah-compliant and therefore satisfy the various Shariah screens relating to business activity and financial ratios. The fund asset allocation is 31 percent equities and 69 percent cash and other asset classes such as sukuk.

The choice of Mauritius as the fund domicile is not surprising. Mauritius over the last few years has been promoting itself as an offshore banking center and an Islamic capital markets hub. To underline its commitment to developing the island state as an international Islamic capital markets center, Port Louis has acceded to membership of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and last month in Kuala Lumpur became a founding participant together with nine other central banks and two multilateral agencies in the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) with a $5 million equity subscription.

Tata’s entry into the Islamic asset management space virtually coincided with the official visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Malaysia at the end of October 2010.

India has had a strange relationship with the Islamic finance industry over the last few years. At a political level, despite the fact that Manmohan Singh since his days as finance minister has been a strong supporter of facilitating Islamic finance in India, the government has been very slow to react to the global growth of Islamic finance.

Given that India has the world’s largest Muslim minority at almost 200 million, the introduction of enabling legislation to facilitate Islamic finance would have advanced financial inclusion especially for the above minority and millions of others who are interested in ethical and socially-responsible financial services.

Whether for political or religious reasons, those opposed to the introduction of enabling legislation to allow Islamic financial products, tend to see Islamic finance as an extension of political Islam, which is both incorrect and misleading. While Islamic finance has a definitive faith-based ethos, some of whose values are also found in other faiths including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, it is considered especially in non-Muslim jurisdictions as an alternative system of financial management. In the UK legislation, for instance, sukuk are regarded under the Finance Act 2010 as Alternative Financial Investment Bonds. Even in Muslim countries such as Turkey, Islamic banks are called Participation Banks in the Banking Act 2007.

Another difficulty in India is at the sate level, where communist-inspired legislatures and administrations, for instance, are against the introduction of Islamic banking for ideological reasons. This does not detract from the fact that they do allow conventional banks, the very epitome of the market-based capitalism, supposedly the sworn enemy of socialism. Not surprisingly, in April this year the Kerala High Court directed the state government and its institutions not to promote and invest in the Kerala State Islamic Development Corporation, a Shariah-compliant finance company, aimed at developing infrastructure in the state and attracting inward investment from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

India’s inertia effectively is a lost opportunity cost because Islamic finance could be a valuable savings mobilization vehicle and also contribute to the country’s huge development and infrastructure needs. Of course there are those who argue that if the UK can authorize five Islamic banks, and countries such as Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius and others also have licensed Islamic banks, why can’t India do the same?

India has had some Islamic finance activity mainly through brokerage and finance companies such as Al-Falah, Parsoli and Barakat. These have largely been disappointing and ineffectual because of the lack of a serious business model and transparency. The first two were embroiled in various allegations of fraud and/or mismanagement. The Saudi-owned Dallah Al-Baraka Group was one of the first overseas groups to venture into India establishing the Al-Baraka Finance House Merchant Bank in the 1990s with participation of the local Oomer Group. The latter eventually bought out Al-Baraka’s shares and changed the name to Al-Barr Finance House, which is still operating out of Mumbai.

Over the last few years however prominent Indian Muslim businessmen, bankers and professionals have been lobbying the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the banking regulator, to consider introducing a legal and regulatory framework to facilitate the introduction of Islamic financial products in India.

“There have been from time to time demands for experimenting (with) Islamic banking. I would certainly recommend to RBI, which is looking into the question, to look at what is happening in Malaysia in this regard,” stressed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Kuala Lumpur where he had talks with his Malaysian counterpart Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is a very proactive supporter of the Islamic finance industry.

The global Islamic finance industry has seen steady growth over the last three decades with estimated assets under management totaling $1.2 trillion with the potential to rise to $4 trillion over the next few years.

There are signs that State Bank of India (SBI) is starting to warm to Islamic finance. According to Indian asset management industry sources, SBI circulated a White Paper earlier this year on Islamic finance inviting comments from the public on whether the RBI should open the market to Islamic financial services companies based in India to offer products in the local market. However, realistically, given the notorious bureaucracy in Indian state institutions including the government apparatus, the progress toward the introduction of Islamic financial products in India through enabling legislation will take some time. Unless, of course Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government fast tracks such legislation as a policy priority. This, however, would require a much more proactive engagement between RBI, the financial services industry and professional Muslim groups in India. Similarly, India could also seek cooperation with organizations such as the Islamic Development Bank, the IFSB and counterpart regulatory authorities such as Bank Negara Malaysia and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).

Sharia is abiding by the law of the land

Muslim explains faith’s Sharia law

BY BARBARA HOBEROCK – Tulsa World

Published: November 14, 2010

The man behind a lawsuit seeking to overturn a controversial ballot measure has a passion for the law and his Islamic faith.
Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter on the Council
for American-Islamic Relations, filed suit last week in federal court to
overturn State Question 755. The measure bans state courts from the use
of Sharia and international law in deciding cases. It passed Nov. 2
with slightly more than 70 percent of the vote.

http://iqsoft.co.in

Sharia law is not used in state courts, but supporters said SQ 755 was needed as a preventive measure.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange granted a temporary restraining
order putting implementation on hold. A hearing for an injunction is
set for Nov. 22.

Awad, who has been on the job with the council’s Oklahoma chapter since
Oct. 14, said Sharia law could never replace federal or state laws.

Adoption of a constitutional amendment referencing Sharia law voices the
state’s official disapproval and condemnation of Islam, he said.

And that raises constitutional issues on its own with respect to the
government being able to approve or disapprove of religion, Awad said.
It involves my standing as a Muslim in the political community.

When news of the lawsuit spread, his organization got a lot of hate mail, but it has also received encouragement, Awad said.

Our organization has gotten more donations from non-Muslims in the past
week than we have from Muslims, he said. This has really been a sign
of Oklahomans, I think, realizing that no matter what disagreement we
have here, there is still a need to remain rational and let the courts
consider what is being presented.

Daily guidance

Sharia law is guidance for Muslims on how to practice and interpret their faith in daily interactions and in society, Awad said.

It touches on things that are even beyond law, he said. Simply me
refraining from eating pork is part of following Sharia. Me not drinking
alcohol is part of following Sharia. Me marrying is part of Sharia. So,
Sharia encompasses so many things beyond the law.

He said Sharia changes and is not applied the same in all countries.

One of the main aspects of Sharia is abiding by the law of the land,
Awad said. As a Muslim, I am mandated to abide by the law of the land I
live in.

He said it is disingenuous for critics to point to how Sharia is
followed in other countries. While polygamy is permissible in his faith,
it is not legal in the United States, he said.

Awad said politicians are profiting from the fear of Islam.

I know this element of hate is definitely a fringe element, he said.
So, I don’t actually live my life in fear of someone attacking me or
misunderstanding me.

Why Are You Here?

Robert Lanza, M.D.

Robert Lanza, M.D.

Scientist, Theoretician

Posted: November 12, 2010 08:48 AM

Why Are You Here? A New Theory May Hold the Missing Piece

Biocentrism, a new theory of everything, provides the missing piece.

Although classical evolution does an excellent job of helping us
understand the past, it fails to capture the driving force. Evolution
needs to add the observer to the equation. Indeed, Niels Bohr, the great
Nobel physicist, said, “When we measure something we are forcing an
undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are
not ‘measuring’ the world, we are creating it.” The evolutionists are
trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. They think we, the
observer, are a mindless accident, debris left over from an explosion
that appeared out of nowhere one day.

Cosmologists propose that the universe was until recently a lifeless

collection of particles bouncing against each other. It’s presented as a
watch that somehow wound itself up, and that will unwind in a
semi-predictable way. But they’ve shunted a critical component of the
cosmos out of the way because they don’t know what to do with it. This
component, consciousness, isn’t a small item. It’s an utter mystery,
which we think has somehow arisen from molecules and goo.

How did inert, random bits of carbon ever morph into that Japanese guy who always wins the hot-dog-eating contest? In short, attempts to explain the nature of the universe, its

origins, and what’s really going on require an understanding of how the
observer, our presence, plays a role. According to the current paradigm,
the universe, and the laws of nature themselves, just popped out of
nothingness. The story goes something like this: From the Big Bang until
the present time, we’ve been incredibly lucky. This good fortune
started from the moment of creation; if the Big Bang had been
one-part-in-a-million more powerful, the cosmos would have rushed out
too fast for the galaxies and stars to have developed. If the
gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars (including the Sun)
wouldn’t have ignited. There are over 200 physical parameters like this
that could have any value but happen to be exactly right for us to be
here. Tweak any of them and you never existed.

But our luck didn’t stop with the laws, forces, and constants of the universe. Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus anamensis, A. afarensis, Kenyanthropus platyops, A. africanus, A. garhi, A. sediba, A. aethiopicus, A. robustus, A. boisei, Homo habilis, H. georgicus, and H. erectus

— among other hominid species — all went extinct. Even the
Neanderthals went extinct. But alas, not us! Indeed, we happen to be the
only species of Hominina that made it.

Our special luck continues in the present time. Asteroids could

strike Earth at any time, producing a surface-charring blast of heat,
followed by years of dust that would freeze and/or starve us to death.
Nearby stars could go supernova, their energy destroying the ozone layer
and sterilizing the Earth with radiation. And a supervolcano could
shroud the Earth in dust. These are just a few (out of billions) of
things that could go wrong.

The story of evolution reads just like “The Story of the Three

Bears,” In the nursery tale, a little girl named Goldilocks enters a
home occupied by three bears and tries different bowls of porridge; some
are too hot, some are too cold. She also tries different chairs and
beds, and every time, the third is “just right.” For 13.7 billion years
we, too, have had chronic good luck. Virtually everything has been “just
right.”

It’s a fascinating story to tell children, but claiming that it’s all

a “dumb” accident is no more helpful than saying “God did it.” Loren
Eiseley, the great naturalist, once said that scientists “have not
always been able to see that an old theory, given a hairsbreadth twist,
might open an entirely new vista to the human reason.” The theory of
evolution turns out to be the perfect case in hand. Amazingly, it all
makes sense if you assume that the Big Bang is the end of the chain of physical causality, not the beginning.

Indeed, according to biocentrism, it’s us, the observer, who create

space and time (which is the reason you’re here now). Consider
everything you see around you right now. Language and custom say it all
lies outside us in the external world. Yet you can’t see anything
through the vault of bone that surrounds your brain. Your eyes aren’t
just portals to the world. In fact, everything you experience, including
your body, is part of an active process occurring in your mind. Space
and time are simply the mind’s tools for putting it all together.

Theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow recently stated:There is no way to remove the observer — us — from our perceptions of the world … In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as a

definite series of events, but according to quantum physics, the past,
like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of
possibilities.”

If we, the observer, collapse these possibilities (that is, the past

and future) then where does that leave evolutionary theory, as described
in our schoolbooks? Until the present is determined, how can there be a
past? The past begins with the observer, us, not the other way around
as we’ve been taught.

The observer is the first cause, the vital force that collapses not

only the present but the cascade of past spatio-temporal events we call
evolution. “If, instead of identifying ourselves with the work,” said
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “we feel that the soul of the workman streams
through us, we shall find the peace of the morning dwelling first in our
hearts, and the fathomless powers of gravity and chemistry, and, over
them, of life, pre-existing within us in their highest form.”

“Biocentrism” (co-authored with astronomer Bob Berman) lays out Lanza’s theory of everything.

Yusuf Islam in Kuala Lumpur

Alhamdulillah, inshaAllah, there will be a concert by Yusuf Islam or formerly known as Cat Stevens in Kuala Lumpur next year.

Fudzail is planning and organizing this event of the year, announcement soon by Yusuf in Kuala Lumpur. It will be one of concerts as part of KL as an entertainment hub.

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, the son of a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner and Swedish mother, he grew up in a flat above the family shop in London’s theatre district, situated at the northernmost junction of Shaftesbury Avenue and New Oxford Street, near the heart of the West End. The back streets and alleyways of this cosmopolitan district became Steven’s concrete playground and a place of learning. Full of bright lights, famous theatres and cinemas, strip clubs and musical instrument stores, this busy part of the city throbbed with excitement and entertainment. At night, musicals would echo from Drury Lane just across the road and drift up through his window; he would oftentimes be found hanging around in coffee bars, where the latest hit singles were continuously playing. 


Early on, Steven developed a natural love for art and music. At 15, he managed to get his father to buy him a guitar for £8. He began penning his own songs almost immediately, and it soon became clear to his family and friends that he had a unique talent to paint as well as sing. That talent separated him from the rest. He didn’t have many friends, so he became something of a loner. On most evenings, he would climb high up to the rooftops and gaze at the noisy city below; allowing for moments of peaceful and elevated detachment under the capital’s night sky. As a child, he was naturally inquisitive (“I used to look up into the heavens and wonder: where does the night end?”). 

While studying at Hammersmith Art College, he was auditioned by Mike Hurst, a record producer formerly of the pop-folk trio the Springfields. Hurst was about to emigrate to America when he decided to record this handsome young discovery. The results, “I Love My Dog” and “Portobello Road,” impressed Decca Records so much that the young artist—now to be known as Cat Stevens—was selected to launch the new Deram label, which also signed new British talent such as David Bowie and the Moody Blues. 

Power-played by pirate radio stations, in November 1966 “I Love My Dog” reached No. 28 on the U.K. charts. His next hit, “Matthew and Son,” went to No. 2, stopping behind the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.” Stevens’ earnings jumped from 2 pounds a week to 300 pounds per night. At nineteen, he was getting a reputation for Top Ten hits. His song “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun” reached number six. He was also a popular songwriter: the Tremeloes covered “Here Comes My Baby” which went to No. 4, and P.P. Arnold, a former Ikette from the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, cut a version of “The First Cut Is The Deepest” which reached No. 18. Many years later Rod Stewart made the song a worldwide smash hit. 

Clean cut, in sharp, black velvet Carnaby Street suits, Stevens was a prime sixties recording artist at a time when the music business was in its infancy and singers weren’t heavily targeted to any one audience. He regularly appeared on what would have been highly unusual tours by today’s standards—alongside the Walker Brothers, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Jimi Hendrix Experience! 

As Stevens’ debut album Matthew and Son climbed to No. 7 in 1967, he was now keeping to a rigorous promotion schedule of live performances, television appearances and record store signings and was regularly locked away in the studio. With a producer and musical director, it was not unusual to record three tracks in one session. 

While his late-sixties material had a distinctive orchestrated sound—easy to remember, odd lyrics, quirky and infectious—Stevens preferred sitting cross-legged and relaxed on the floor, and plucking his guitar like the folk-blues artists he admired and listened to at his favourite Soho hang-out, Les Cousins, a dank basement club where Paul Simon and Al Stewart occasionally played. These were the early days of a new tradition that used folk idioms in melodic acoustic ballads, the roots of the seventies singer-songwriter movement, which would produce performers like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. 

Despite the growing underground popularity of acoustic music, all of Stevens’ attempts to change his style were met with resistance by his record company. The young singer was caught in a sound-trap. Cat Stevens soon found that he didn’t like personal appearances either. This frustration, added to the whirlwind rounds of double gigs, smoking thirty cigarettes a day, drinking and late nights, finally took its toll. In the winter of 1968 he caught a cold that grew progressively worse. Eventually he was hospitalised with tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. 

The nearly yearlong convalescence probably saved his life. This was his chance for peace and meditation. Stevens remembered, “To go from the show business environment and find you are in hospital, getting injections day in and day out, and people around you are dying, it certainly changes your perspective. I got down to thinking about myself. It seemed almost as if I had my eyes shut.” When he did emerge, he was a chastened and bearded young man. 

The most profound transformation, however, was musical. He began to write a string of deeply inspiring songs. Many of the unreleased demos he recorded away from the spotlight during this experimental period like “I’ve Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old” reflected his new, unique folk-pop style. Stevens’ lyrics became more subtle and intuitive; his inner strength was now beginning to show and he was also now beginning to explore Eastern religions. In a 1973 interview with Paul Gambaccini in Rolling Stone, he analysed his early singles. “In the old days, I was more concerned with melody. Now it’s what I have to say. I do realise I am using more words. And sometimes I stop the melody, I stop singing… and make a statement.” 

A more honest style, imbued with emotion, was nurtured by his new producer Paul Samwell-Smith, formerly of the Yardbirds. With guitarist Alun Davies, bassist John Ryan and drummer Harvey Burns and, featuring on one song, a nervous Peter Gabriel on flute, intimate acoustic playing characterised Stevens’ first rock album, Mona Bone Jakon (April, 1970). Stevens preferred laying down many of the songs live, either with a guitar or at the piano. The madrigal-inspired “Lady D’Arbanville” zoomed to No. 8 and now America was listening more attentively. 

From 1970 to 1974 he recorded and released the albums that would establish him as a leading singer-songwriter of his generation. His next major album, Tea for the Tillerman, from winter 1970, went gold in the U.S. with such songs as “Wild World,” “Hard Headed Woman,” “Where Do the Children Play” and “Father & Son,” which re-orbited as a massive hit in the ‘90s for the young Irish band, Boyzone. But no doubt it was Teaser and the Firecat (September, 1971) that made him a megastar. The album became a staple in teenage girls’ record collections on both sides of the Atlantic, earning him the reputation as the voice of the bed-sitters in the U.K. and college dorms in the U.S. Climbing to No. 22 on the U.K. singles chart, “Moonshadow” made Billboard Magazine’s U.S. Top Ten, along with “Peace Train” and “Morning Has Broken,” a traditional hymn Stevens rediscovered in the religious section of a London bookstore. 

With curly black hair and a trim beard, the handsome Greek-looking young composer/singer replaced the sharp sixties suits with jeans and T-shirts. When questioned, he had difficulty explaining his musical appeal, “I’m just like a mirror, and you see yourself in me.” Stevens had at this time also started to investigate Zen Buddhism, vegetarianism, numerology and astrology. There were still many mysteries to life and these he reflected in his increasingly personal lyrics. 

Stevens’ music for the classic film Harold and Maude (1971) became source nourishment for the West Coast generation. It contained several tracks from his first three albums. The songs “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” from that highly successful cult film were never officially released until 1984’s compilation, Footsteps In The Dark. 

His next album, Catch Bull At Four (September, 1972) was named after Kakuan’s Ten Bulls, a twelfth century Zen Buddhist treatise about the steps to self-realisation. “Sitting” and “Can’t Keep It In” are both from the album, the latter reaching No. 13. By now, Stevens had become a skilful musician. Along with singing, writing songs, composing and arranging music, he played a variety of instruments on his records: from acoustic, electric and Spanish guitar to electric mandolin, piano, organ, synthesizer, penny whistle, drums and bass. 

During the seventies it was de rigueur to sit at the feet of a guru, but Stevens was too elusive to pin down to any dogma or cult and continued to earnestly seek a spiritual home. The combination of success and notoriety from selling 23 million records worldwide pushed him deeper into self-seclusion and made him more devoted to his search. His first encounter with Islam was in a market in Marrakech, Morocco, where he’d gone in the early seventies to gain inspiration and write. “I heard singing,” he recalls, “and will never forget: I asked, ‘What kind of music is that?’ and they told me, ‘That’s music for God.’ I’d never heard anything like that before in my life. I’ve heard of music for praise, for applause, for money, but this was music seeking no reward except from God. What a wonderful statement.” 

The next album, Foreigner, released during summer 1973, was less a musical statement than how he perceived himself. After living the nomadic, sometimes unstable life of a rock star, from black limousines to stadium gigs and unfamiliar hotels night after night, he found himself suffering from the post-modern condition of social alienation. In one interview he said, “The public expected me to do things expected of me being who I was. I tried to change that at certain points in my career, and I think perhaps when it comes to Foreigner, you might find that was a complete break.” 

Subsequently, he returned to a more accustomed style. His next hit singles included “Oh Very Young,” from 1974’s Buddha And The Chocolate Box, and a cover of one of his favourite Sam Cooke songs, “Another Saturday Night,” a non-LP single from the summer of 1974 that reached No. 19. 

In 1975, Stevens moved to Rio de Janeiro for tax reasons, travelling home to see his family for short periods. He donated liberally to charities and organisations, including UNICEF. But life had become fragmented. By the mid-seventies he had recorded an album in twelve different countries. He was a regular draw at large U.S. festival and stadium gigs; Stevens’ popularity was unquestioned. The Los Angeles Times once wrote, “He is an exceptional singer and artist, able to combine strength, and fragility and sometimes mystery in his highly personal compositions.” 

Stevens’ gradual antipathy for show business seemed to coincide with his changing moods and philosophy; his spiritual explorations at that time still had not come to any conclusion. After experiencing the good life, he was still hungry for something better. He commented, “One of the most dominant news of man is material. The motto of this concept is ‘Eat, drink and be merry.’ The problem was that I had eaten, I had drunk—I wasn’t merry.” 

His next albums, beginning with the November 1975 release, Numbers, featuring the melodic “Majik of Majiks,” were not as popular as his earlier material. By now, Stevens’ inimitable songwriting and recording technique were more diverse, influenced by his globe wandering life style. Cat Stevens’ last Top 10 charting album, 1977’s Izitso (produced by Stevens and David Kershenbaum), included the hit “(Remember the Days of the) Old School Yard,” which harked back to his early childhood in the West End. 

Another change came in the form of a near-death experience. Stevens had gone swimming at the house of Jerry Moss, his American record boss, at Malibu Beach, and after a half-hour could barely stay afloat in the perilous currents of the Pacific Ocean. He attempted to swim to land, but the sea was too strong. He realised he was going to drown and he called out to God. Miraculously the tide swiftly turned, a sudden wave lifted him and he swam easily back to shore. 

His inner faith revealed itself further when his elder brother David gave him a copy of the Qur’an. It provided the key to the answers he had been looking for: “It was the timeless nature of the message,” he said, “the words all seemed strangely familiar yet so unlike anything I had ever read before.” Privately, Stevens started applying Islam’s spiritual values to his own life: he began praying directly to God and gradually cut down drinking, clubs and parties. He retreated from the music business and finally embraced Islam in 1977, changing his name to Yusuf Islam. He was still contracted to deliver one more album. But his attitude towards the music business now resounded more clearly in his lyrics: “Just Another Night,” from 1978, appeared on his very last rock album, appropriately entitled Back To Earth, for which the singer again teamed up with Paul Samwell-Smith. 

While some fans were baffled and dismayed by his decision, his close family respected him for his spiritual conviction and were relieved. According to Yusuf, “The moment I became a Muslim, I found peace.” With the advent of his marriage and the birth of his first child, Hasanah, he turned his attention to education. Yusuf opened and funded the Islamia Primary School in London, which, fifteen years later, made history by becoming the first government funded Muslim school in England.

As a multimillionaire he could have spent the rest of his life in luxurious obscurity, except that his concern for humanitarian and charitable causes took him back into the public spotlight. During the African famine in 1984, he helped establish Muslim Aid, an international relief organisation. Today, Yusuf still donates vast amounts of his royalty income to charity. He has for almost three decades concerned himself with education and fundraising for the plight of those much less fortunate. His U.K. and United Nations registered charity, Small Kindness, provides humanitarian relief as well as social and educational programs to countless orphans and needy families in the Balkans, Iraq, Indonesia and other regions. 

Ending his successful music career, even with all his travels and charitable projects, and being appointed to various community organisations, did not, however, mean a total end to creative writing. One of the first songs he wrote as Yusuf Islam, after the birth of his daughter in 1981, was entitled “A is for Allah”. His intention was to shift attention from “apples” to the Creator of apples. “I earnestly believe there is a need for strengthening the moral base of education,” Yusuf stated, “the horrors which are happening more and more in schools: murders, teenage pregnancies, drugs, the lack of respect, violence, bullying, racism. Surely kids deserve a better start and chance in life?” 

Following the torrent of controversy surrounding the publication of The Satanic Verses, Yusuf was dismayed at the misunderstanding around the figure of the Prophet Muhammad whose words were often misunderstood and exaggerated by the media. He saw this as a sign of how extremists on both sides attempted to use Islam as a combatant in a global struggle. “It may come as news to some, but the word Islam itself derives from the word peace,” he pointed out. “That is the heart and soul of God’s religion and is what I’ve always followed.” 

So in 1995, in an unexpected move after a silence of eighteen years, Yusuf returned to the recording studio to make the spoken word album, The Life of the Last Prophet, on his own label, Mountain of Light. It included some pleasing songs which brought the singing and poetry of the Islamic world and culture to many ears for the first time. The former star had kept his lilting voice and joyful sense of rhythm, which brought smiles of recognition from old Cat Stevens fans. 

Spurred by the encouragement from music lovers for more recordings following the Bosnian genocide, Yusuf wrote and sang some new songs accompanied only by drums, and began recording a charity album, I Have No Cannons That Roar. One of the new compositions was a song dedicated to the children of Sarajevo and Dunblane entitled “The Little Ones.” 

Yusuf realised there was an important role he could play in using his talents to educate through his songs, and a fresh wave of inspiration carried him into the new millennium. His first work in 2000 was an encyclopaedic project, A is for Allah, based on the original lullaby he wrote for his daughter. The production included a spoken word explanation of Islam through the letters of the alphabet, several new songs, accompanied by a seventy page, beautifully designed colour book. He has released eight albums to date under the Mountain of Light label, mostly for children, the latest being I Look I See 2. 

In 2001, Yusuf sought new horizons and opened an office and established a home in Dubai, the sparkling new enterprise of futuristic thinking Muslim rulers in the Gulf region. He was impressed with the balance of this Arab state, leading the way towards a tolerant and modern society while maintaining an unshakable love of Islamic culture.

At that time, his son, Muhammad, presented him with a life altering dilemma. He bashfully showed his father a proud new possession: a guitar! Yusuf was forced to reflect again on the issue of music and instruments. After years of inquiry and soul searching, Yusuf’s doubts about the use of music within Islamic history and culture had lessened. He reached the conclusion that the evidence for banning instruments failed to meet Islamic Law’s requirements for unquestioning acceptance. He wrote an article that explained his understanding of how the evidence allowed for different views on this issue. The Qur’an does not ever actually mention the word “music” or “instruments.”

It was clear to him that the objective of branding music as makruh (disliked) or haram (forbidden) was based on juristic interpretation, probably in the desire to avoid frivolous and immoral songs, which were very much a reflection of what has universally come to be known as “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.” And although Yusuf had been famously associated with various aspects of that capacious culture during his flamboyant career, yet most of his music and lyrics explored the paths to peace and universal understanding – a far cry from that “wild world”. 

As a result, Yusuf lent full support to his son’s ambition to make an album of his own songs, and arranged for him to record in South Africa. Gradually, Yusuf became relaxed about the block he had placed on his creative ideas and began to expand his writing with the trusty help of his son’s Spanish guitar. “When I picked up the guitar again it was like a floodgate, Yusuf said. “Ideas and melodies floated in without effort. The novelty of the whole process, searching for forgotten chords, inspired me; it was like the simple joy of being back as an amateur, with nothing much to lose.” 

Yusuf performed at a number of major charity concert events including Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS benefit concert in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa, and the United Nations’ “Voices for Darfur” concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004. Also in 2003, he was awarded the “World Social Award” for his humanitarian relief work around the world. Previous recipients of the award included the late Pope John Paul II and Steven Spielberg. 

But on a day in September 2004 his world seemed to turn upside down. While on a flight to Nashville, Yusuf was refused entry into the United States. No official reason was given for the action. “The drama I found myself in was like some horrible Hollywood B-movie. And I was the star. But nobody ever told me the plot, let alone the lines.” The deportation led British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to complain personally to Secretary of State Colin Powel at the United Nations. Two years later, Yusuf was admitted without incident for several radio performances and interviews and has visited the country several times since then. 

In November 2004 he was honoured with the “Man for Peace” award by a committee of Nobel peace laureates. The following year, in January 2005, he flew with his wife to take part in a fundraising concert in Jakarta to aid the victims of the tsunami. The song he composed for that occasion, “Indian Ocean”, was the first official song Yusuf wrote and recorded with instruments after a break of twenty six years! In May of the same year, at the Adopt-A-Minefield gala, his contribution included a duet with Paul McCartney. 

Also in 2005, he was asked by the U.K. Home Office to convene a working group on education to advise the government on tackling extremism and disaffection among Muslim youth. He advised the government to review their foreign policy when dealing with Muslim countries and to adopt a more inclusive position regarding Islam’s historical contribution to Western civilization through the scientific, educational and cultural influence of the early period of Islam in Spain and the Ottoman Empire. His role as an ambassador of the Muslim community in Britain earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief. 

After what felt like a lifetime away, Yusuf got together with Rick Nowels and returned to the studio to produce his first album in almost thirty years. The critically acclaimed, An Other Cup, released in late 2006, coincidentally arrived on the 40th anniversary of his first Cat Stevens’ record, I Love My Dog, in November 1966. The millions who bought the records he made as Cat Stevens back in the ’60s and ’70s had hoped that one day the world would again hear his mellow voice and intimate, thought-provoking songs. The long wait was over and their wishes had come true. 

With the aim of inspiring bridge-building and understanding across cultures and faiths, the album touched the hearts of many old as well as new fans and attained Gold and Platinum status across Europe. As Yusuf puts it, “Much has changed, but today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the West and the West can see Islam. It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross.” 

In May 2007, Yusuf was awarded the Ivor Novello award for “Outstanding Song Collection.” The same year the University of Exeter bestowed on him a second honorary doctorate in recognition of his humanitarian work and for improving understanding between Islamic and Western cultures. 

In July, Yusuf performed as a special guest at Live Earth, Hamburg, closing the show with a five song set. Live Earth initiated a three year campaign to combat climate change. The worldwide concerts brought together more than 150 musical acts. He supported with conviction the ‘One Planet’ theme he had championed for many years with songs like “Where Do The Children Play” and “Ruins.” 

The power of Yusuf’s musical legacy and ongoing creative writing will hopefully be raised again in the form of a new musical scheduled to open in Europe in 2010. He is working on a stage production entitled Moonshadow, based on the story of a young man’s (his!) spiritual journey. It will include many of his best loved songs from his Cat Stevens repertoire, as well as new, original material especially written for the show. 

Ultimately, the reason for Yusuf’s return to music and performing is simple, he explains. “The language of song is simply the best way to communicate the powerful winds of change which brought me to where I am today, and the love for peace still passing through my heart. I feel gifted to have that ability still within me. I never wanted to get involved in politics because that essentially separates people; whereas music has the power to unify, and is so much easier for me than to give a lecture.” 

At this he smiles knowingly. “You can argue with a philosopher, but you can’t argue with a good song. And I think I’ve got a few good songs.”

Yusuf Islam in Kuala Lumpur

Alhamdulillah, inshaAllah, there will be a concert by Yusuf Islam or formerly known as Cat Stevens in Kuala Lumpur next year.

Fudzail is planning and organizing this event of the year, announcement soon by Yusuf in Kuala Lumpur. It will be one of concerts as part of KL as an entertainment hub.

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, the son of a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner and Swedish mother, he grew up in a flat above the family shop in London’s theatre district, situated at the northernmost junction of Shaftesbury Avenue and New Oxford Street, near the heart of the West End. The back streets and alleyways of this cosmopolitan district became Steven’s concrete playground and a place of learning. Full of bright lights, famous theatres and cinemas, strip clubs and musical instrument stores, this busy part of the city throbbed with excitement and entertainment. At night, musicals would echo from Drury Lane just across the road and drift up through his window; he would oftentimes be found hanging around in coffee bars, where the latest hit singles were continuously playing. 


Early on, Steven developed a natural love for art and music. At 15, he managed to get his father to buy him a guitar for £8. He began penning his own songs almost immediately, and it soon became clear to his family and friends that he had a unique talent to paint as well as sing. That talent separated him from the rest. He didn’t have many friends, so he became something of a loner. On most evenings, he would climb high up to the rooftops and gaze at the noisy city below; allowing for moments of peaceful and elevated detachment under the capital’s night sky. As a child, he was naturally inquisitive (“I used to look up into the heavens and wonder: where does the night end?”). 

While studying at Hammersmith Art College, he was auditioned by Mike Hurst, a record producer formerly of the pop-folk trio the Springfields. Hurst was about to emigrate to America when he decided to record this handsome young discovery. The results, “I Love My Dog” and “Portobello Road,” impressed Decca Records so much that the young artist—now to be known as Cat Stevens—was selected to launch the new Deram label, which also signed new British talent such as David Bowie and the Moody Blues. 

Power-played by pirate radio stations, in November 1966 “I Love My Dog” reached No. 28 on the U.K. charts. His next hit, “Matthew and Son,” went to No. 2, stopping behind the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.” Stevens’ earnings jumped from 2 pounds a week to 300 pounds per night. At nineteen, he was getting a reputation for Top Ten hits. His song “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun” reached number six. He was also a popular songwriter: the Tremeloes covered “Here Comes My Baby” which went to No. 4, and P.P. Arnold, a former Ikette from the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, cut a version of “The First Cut Is The Deepest” which reached No. 18. Many years later Rod Stewart made the song a worldwide smash hit. 

Clean cut, in sharp, black velvet Carnaby Street suits, Stevens was a prime sixties recording artist at a time when the music business was in its infancy and singers weren’t heavily targeted to any one audience. He regularly appeared on what would have been highly unusual tours by today’s standards—alongside the Walker Brothers, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Jimi Hendrix Experience! 

As Stevens’ debut album Matthew and Son climbed to No. 7 in 1967, he was now keeping to a rigorous promotion schedule of live performances, television appearances and record store signings and was regularly locked away in the studio. With a producer and musical director, it was not unusual to record three tracks in one session. 

While his late-sixties material had a distinctive orchestrated sound—easy to remember, odd lyrics, quirky and infectious—Stevens preferred sitting cross-legged and relaxed on the floor, and plucking his guitar like the folk-blues artists he admired and listened to at his favourite Soho hang-out, Les Cousins, a dank basement club where Paul Simon and Al Stewart occasionally played. These were the early days of a new tradition that used folk idioms in melodic acoustic ballads, the roots of the seventies singer-songwriter movement, which would produce performers like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. 

Despite the growing underground popularity of acoustic music, all of Stevens’ attempts to change his style were met with resistance by his record company. The young singer was caught in a sound-trap. Cat Stevens soon found that he didn’t like personal appearances either. This frustration, added to the whirlwind rounds of double gigs, smoking thirty cigarettes a day, drinking and late nights, finally took its toll. In the winter of 1968 he caught a cold that grew progressively worse. Eventually he was hospitalised with tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. 

The nearly yearlong convalescence probably saved his life. This was his chance for peace and meditation. Stevens remembered, “To go from the show business environment and find you are in hospital, getting injections day in and day out, and people around you are dying, it certainly changes your perspective. I got down to thinking about myself. It seemed almost as if I had my eyes shut.” When he did emerge, he was a chastened and bearded young man. 

The most profound transformation, however, was musical. He began to write a string of deeply inspiring songs. Many of the unreleased demos he recorded away from the spotlight during this experimental period like “I’ve Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old” reflected his new, unique folk-pop style. Stevens’ lyrics became more subtle and intuitive; his inner strength was now beginning to show and he was also now beginning to explore Eastern religions. In a 1973 interview with Paul Gambaccini in Rolling Stone, he analysed his early singles. “In the old days, I was more concerned with melody. Now it’s what I have to say. I do realise I am using more words. And sometimes I stop the melody, I stop singing… and make a statement.” 

A more honest style, imbued with emotion, was nurtured by his new producer Paul Samwell-Smith, formerly of the Yardbirds. With guitarist Alun Davies, bassist John Ryan and drummer Harvey Burns and, featuring on one song, a nervous Peter Gabriel on flute, intimate acoustic playing characterised Stevens’ first rock album, Mona Bone Jakon (April, 1970). Stevens preferred laying down many of the songs live, either with a guitar or at the piano. The madrigal-inspired “Lady D’Arbanville” zoomed to No. 8 and now America was listening more attentively. 

From 1970 to 1974 he recorded and released the albums that would establish him as a leading singer-songwriter of his generation. His next major album, Tea for the Tillerman, from winter 1970, went gold in the U.S. with such songs as “Wild World,” “Hard Headed Woman,” “Where Do the Children Play” and “Father & Son,” which re-orbited as a massive hit in the ‘90s for the young Irish band, Boyzone. But no doubt it was Teaser and the Firecat (September, 1971) that made him a megastar. The album became a staple in teenage girls’ record collections on both sides of the Atlantic, earning him the reputation as the voice of the bed-sitters in the U.K. and college dorms in the U.S. Climbing to No. 22 on the U.K. singles chart, “Moonshadow” made Billboard Magazine’s U.S. Top Ten, along with “Peace Train” and “Morning Has Broken,” a traditional hymn Stevens rediscovered in the religious section of a London bookstore. 

With curly black hair and a trim beard, the handsome Greek-looking young composer/singer replaced the sharp sixties suits with jeans and T-shirts. When questioned, he had difficulty explaining his musical appeal, “I’m just like a mirror, and you see yourself in me.” Stevens had at this time also started to investigate Zen Buddhism, vegetarianism, numerology and astrology. There were still many mysteries to life and these he reflected in his increasingly personal lyrics. 

Stevens’ music for the classic film Harold and Maude (1971) became source nourishment for the West Coast generation. It contained several tracks from his first three albums. The songs “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” from that highly successful cult film were never officially released until 1984’s compilation, Footsteps In The Dark. 

His next album, Catch Bull At Four (September, 1972) was named after Kakuan’s Ten Bulls, a twelfth century Zen Buddhist treatise about the steps to self-realisation. “Sitting” and “Can’t Keep It In” are both from the album, the latter reaching No. 13. By now, Stevens had become a skilful musician. Along with singing, writing songs, composing and arranging music, he played a variety of instruments on his records: from acoustic, electric and Spanish guitar to electric mandolin, piano, organ, synthesizer, penny whistle, drums and bass. 

During the seventies it was de rigueur to sit at the feet of a guru, but Stevens was too elusive to pin down to any dogma or cult and continued to earnestly seek a spiritual home. The combination of success and notoriety from selling 23 million records worldwide pushed him deeper into self-seclusion and made him more devoted to his search. His first encounter with Islam was in a market in Marrakech, Morocco, where he’d gone in the early seventies to gain inspiration and write. “I heard singing,” he recalls, “and will never forget: I asked, ‘What kind of music is that?’ and they told me, ‘That’s music for God.’ I’d never heard anything like that before in my life. I’ve heard of music for praise, for applause, for money, but this was music seeking no reward except from God. What a wonderful statement.” 

The next album, Foreigner, released during summer 1973, was less a musical statement than how he perceived himself. After living the nomadic, sometimes unstable life of a rock star, from black limousines to stadium gigs and unfamiliar hotels night after night, he found himself suffering from the post-modern condition of social alienation. In one interview he said, “The public expected me to do things expected of me being who I was. I tried to change that at certain points in my career, and I think perhaps when it comes to Foreigner, you might find that was a complete break.” 

Subsequently, he returned to a more accustomed style. His next hit singles included “Oh Very Young,” from 1974’s Buddha And The Chocolate Box, and a cover of one of his favourite Sam Cooke songs, “Another Saturday Night,” a non-LP single from the summer of 1974 that reached No. 19. 

In 1975, Stevens moved to Rio de Janeiro for tax reasons, travelling home to see his family for short periods. He donated liberally to charities and organisations, including UNICEF. But life had become fragmented. By the mid-seventies he had recorded an album in twelve different countries. He was a regular draw at large U.S. festival and stadium gigs; Stevens’ popularity was unquestioned. The Los Angeles Times once wrote, “He is an exceptional singer and artist, able to combine strength, and fragility and sometimes mystery in his highly personal compositions.” 

Stevens’ gradual antipathy for show business seemed to coincide with his changing moods and philosophy; his spiritual explorations at that time still had not come to any conclusion. After experiencing the good life, he was still hungry for something better. He commented, “One of the most dominant news of man is material. The motto of this concept is ‘Eat, drink and be merry.’ The problem was that I had eaten, I had drunk—I wasn’t merry.” 

His next albums, beginning with the November 1975 release, Numbers, featuring the melodic “Majik of Majiks,” were not as popular as his earlier material. By now, Stevens’ inimitable songwriting and recording technique were more diverse, influenced by his globe wandering life style. Cat Stevens’ last Top 10 charting album, 1977’s Izitso (produced by Stevens and David Kershenbaum), included the hit “(Remember the Days of the) Old School Yard,” which harked back to his early childhood in the West End. 

Another change came in the form of a near-death experience. Stevens had gone swimming at the house of Jerry Moss, his American record boss, at Malibu Beach, and after a half-hour could barely stay afloat in the perilous currents of the Pacific Ocean. He attempted to swim to land, but the sea was too strong. He realised he was going to drown and he called out to God. Miraculously the tide swiftly turned, a sudden wave lifted him and he swam easily back to shore. 

His inner faith revealed itself further when his elder brother David gave him a copy of the Qur’an. It provided the key to the answers he had been looking for: “It was the timeless nature of the message,” he said, “the words all seemed strangely familiar yet so unlike anything I had ever read before.” Privately, Stevens started applying Islam’s spiritual values to his own life: he began praying directly to God and gradually cut down drinking, clubs and parties. He retreated from the music business and finally embraced Islam in 1977, changing his name to Yusuf Islam. He was still contracted to deliver one more album. But his attitude towards the music business now resounded more clearly in his lyrics: “Just Another Night,” from 1978, appeared on his very last rock album, appropriately entitled Back To Earth, for which the singer again teamed up with Paul Samwell-Smith. 

While some fans were baffled and dismayed by his decision, his close family respected him for his spiritual conviction and were relieved. According to Yusuf, “The moment I became a Muslim, I found peace.” With the advent of his marriage and the birth of his first child, Hasanah, he turned his attention to education. Yusuf opened and funded the Islamia Primary School in London, which, fifteen years later, made history by becoming the first government funded Muslim school in England.

As a multimillionaire he could have spent the rest of his life in luxurious obscurity, except that his concern for humanitarian and charitable causes took him back into the public spotlight. During the African famine in 1984, he helped establish Muslim Aid, an international relief organisation. Today, Yusuf still donates vast amounts of his royalty income to charity. He has for almost three decades concerned himself with education and fundraising for the plight of those much less fortunate. His U.K. and United Nations registered charity, Small Kindness, provides humanitarian relief as well as social and educational programs to countless orphans and needy families in the Balkans, Iraq, Indonesia and other regions. 

Ending his successful music career, even with all his travels and charitable projects, and being appointed to various community organisations, did not, however, mean a total end to creative writing. One of the first songs he wrote as Yusuf Islam, after the birth of his daughter in 1981, was entitled “A is for Allah”. His intention was to shift attention from “apples” to the Creator of apples. “I earnestly believe there is a need for strengthening the moral base of education,” Yusuf stated, “the horrors which are happening more and more in schools: murders, teenage pregnancies, drugs, the lack of respect, violence, bullying, racism. Surely kids deserve a better start and chance in life?” 

Following the torrent of controversy surrounding the publication of The Satanic Verses, Yusuf was dismayed at the misunderstanding around the figure of the Prophet Muhammad whose words were often misunderstood and exaggerated by the media. He saw this as a sign of how extremists on both sides attempted to use Islam as a combatant in a global struggle. “It may come as news to some, but the word Islam itself derives from the word peace,” he pointed out. “That is the heart and soul of God’s religion and is what I’ve always followed.” 

So in 1995, in an unexpected move after a silence of eighteen years, Yusuf returned to the recording studio to make the spoken word album, The Life of the Last Prophet, on his own label, Mountain of Light. It included some pleasing songs which brought the singing and poetry of the Islamic world and culture to many ears for the first time. The former star had kept his lilting voice and joyful sense of rhythm, which brought smiles of recognition from old Cat Stevens fans. 

Spurred by the encouragement from music lovers for more recordings following the Bosnian genocide, Yusuf wrote and sang some new songs accompanied only by drums, and began recording a charity album, I Have No Cannons That Roar. One of the new compositions was a song dedicated to the children of Sarajevo and Dunblane entitled “The Little Ones.” 

Yusuf realised there was an important role he could play in using his talents to educate through his songs, and a fresh wave of inspiration carried him into the new millennium. His first work in 2000 was an encyclopaedic project, A is for Allah, based on the original lullaby he wrote for his daughter. The production included a spoken word explanation of Islam through the letters of the alphabet, several new songs, accompanied by a seventy page, beautifully designed colour book. He has released eight albums to date under the Mountain of Light label, mostly for children, the latest being I Look I See 2. 

In 2001, Yusuf sought new horizons and opened an office and established a home in Dubai, the sparkling new enterprise of futuristic thinking Muslim rulers in the Gulf region. He was impressed with the balance of this Arab state, leading the way towards a tolerant and modern society while maintaining an unshakable love of Islamic culture.

At that time, his son, Muhammad, presented him with a life altering dilemma. He bashfully showed his father a proud new possession: a guitar! Yusuf was forced to reflect again on the issue of music and instruments. After years of inquiry and soul searching, Yusuf’s doubts about the use of music within Islamic history and culture had lessened. He reached the conclusion that the evidence for banning instruments failed to meet Islamic Law’s requirements for unquestioning acceptance. He wrote an article that explained his understanding of how the evidence allowed for different views on this issue. The Qur’an does not ever actually mention the word “music” or “instruments.”

It was clear to him that the objective of branding music as makruh (disliked) or haram (forbidden) was based on juristic interpretation, probably in the desire to avoid frivolous and immoral songs, which were very much a reflection of what has universally come to be known as “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.” And although Yusuf had been famously associated with various aspects of that capacious culture during his flamboyant career, yet most of his music and lyrics explored the paths to peace and universal understanding – a far cry from that “wild world”. 

As a result, Yusuf lent full support to his son’s ambition to make an album of his own songs, and arranged for him to record in South Africa. Gradually, Yusuf became relaxed about the block he had placed on his creative ideas and began to expand his writing with the trusty help of his son’s Spanish guitar. “When I picked up the guitar again it was like a floodgate, Yusuf said. “Ideas and melodies floated in without effort. The novelty of the whole process, searching for forgotten chords, inspired me; it was like the simple joy of being back as an amateur, with nothing much to lose.” 

Yusuf performed at a number of major charity concert events including Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS benefit concert in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa, and the United Nations’ “Voices for Darfur” concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004. Also in 2003, he was awarded the “World Social Award” for his humanitarian relief work around the world. Previous recipients of the award included the late Pope John Paul II and Steven Spielberg. 

But on a day in September 2004 his world seemed to turn upside down. While on a flight to Nashville, Yusuf was refused entry into the United States. No official reason was given for the action. “The drama I found myself in was like some horrible Hollywood B-movie. And I was the star. But nobody ever told me the plot, let alone the lines.” The deportation led British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to complain personally to Secretary of State Colin Powel at the United Nations. Two years later, Yusuf was admitted without incident for several radio performances and interviews and has visited the country several times since then. 

In November 2004 he was honoured with the “Man for Peace” award by a committee of Nobel peace laureates. The following year, in January 2005, he flew with his wife to take part in a fundraising concert in Jakarta to aid the victims of the tsunami. The song he composed for that occasion, “Indian Ocean”, was the first official song Yusuf wrote and recorded with instruments after a break of twenty six years! In May of the same year, at the Adopt-A-Minefield gala, his contribution included a duet with Paul McCartney. 

Also in 2005, he was asked by the U.K. Home Office to convene a working group on education to advise the government on tackling extremism and disaffection among Muslim youth. He advised the government to review their foreign policy when dealing with Muslim countries and to adopt a more inclusive position regarding Islam’s historical contribution to Western civilization through the scientific, educational and cultural influence of the early period of Islam in Spain and the Ottoman Empire. His role as an ambassador of the Muslim community in Britain earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief. 

After what felt like a lifetime away, Yusuf got together with Rick Nowels and returned to the studio to produce his first album in almost thirty years. The critically acclaimed, An Other Cup, released in late 2006, coincidentally arrived on the 40th anniversary of his first Cat Stevens’ record, I Love My Dog, in November 1966. The millions who bought the records he made as Cat Stevens back in the ’60s and ’70s had hoped that one day the world would again hear his mellow voice and intimate, thought-provoking songs. The long wait was over and their wishes had come true. 

With the aim of inspiring bridge-building and understanding across cultures and faiths, the album touched the hearts of many old as well as new fans and attained Gold and Platinum status across Europe. As Yusuf puts it, “Much has changed, but today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the West and the West can see Islam. It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross.” 

In May 2007, Yusuf was awarded the Ivor Novello award for “Outstanding Song Collection.” The same year the University of Exeter bestowed on him a second honorary doctorate in recognition of his humanitarian work and for improving understanding between Islamic and Western cultures. 

In July, Yusuf performed as a special guest at Live Earth, Hamburg, closing the show with a five song set. Live Earth initiated a three year campaign to combat climate change. The worldwide concerts brought together more than 150 musical acts. He supported with conviction the ‘One Planet’ theme he had championed for many years with songs like “Where Do The Children Play” and “Ruins.” 

The power of Yusuf’s musical legacy and ongoing creative writing will hopefully be raised again in the form of a new musical scheduled to open in Europe in 2010. He is working on a stage production entitled Moonshadow, based on the story of a young man’s (his!) spiritual journey. It will include many of his best loved songs from his Cat Stevens repertoire, as well as new, original material especially written for the show. 

Ultimately, the reason for Yusuf’s return to music and performing is simple, he explains. “The language of song is simply the best way to communicate the powerful winds of change which brought me to where I am today, and the love for peace still passing through my heart. I feel gifted to have that ability still within me. I never wanted to get involved in politics because that essentially separates people; whereas music has the power to unify, and is so much easier for me than to give a lecture.” 

At this he smiles knowingly. “You can argue with a philosopher, but you can’t argue with a good song. And I think I’ve got a few good songs.”

SEO Secrets (2)

SEO Secrets

There is no greater force driving your Search Engine Position than your content. If the content on your site is unique and informative, in no time, your site ranking for keywords related to that content steadily increases to top position.

 

Speed of this rise is proportional to the particular search engine’s crawling rate.

 

  • Google Bot accesses your site on the average twice per week
  • Yahoo Bot accesses your site on the average twice per week
  • Baidu Bot (Chinese) accesses your site on the average thrice per week
  • Alexa Bot accesses your site on the average once per week
  • Bing Bot (Microsoft) accesses your site on the average once per week

 

 

To allow all search bots entry to all pages in your site, create a text file named “robots.txt” using notepad.exe and upload it to your site root. (Directory “public_html” if your site is hosted on a linux server and “wwwroot” if it is on a windows server)

 

The file should have just these two lines shown below the stars.

User-agent: *

Allow: /

 

 

If you would like to restrict the bot from accessing files in specific directories, add a line

Disallow: /directory full path/

 

Where “directory full path” gives the full path of the directory you want to hide from visitors. (Don’t forget the colon!)

You nay also allow and disallow specific bots by writing their name instead of “*” in the code line

User-agent: *

 

What you should do NOW!!

  1. Create a robots.txt and upload it to your site.
  2. Submit your site to Google at http://www.google.com/addurl.html. Gmail ID not required.
  3. Visit Google Webmaster Tools at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. Gmail ID required.
  4. Create a sitemap and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. Gmail ID required.

 

 

Sitemaps help the search bots index pages that are not otherwise visible to them. A sample sitemap for Google is given below.

 

 

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9&#8243;

        xmlns:image=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1&#8243;

        xmlns:video=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1″&gt;

  <url>

    <loc>http://www.example.com/foo.html</loc&gt;

    <image:image>

       <image:loc>http://example.com/image.jpg</image:loc&gt;

    </image:image>

    <video:video>    

      <video:content_loc>http://www.example.com/video123.flv</video:content_loc&gt;

      <video:player_loc allow_embed=”yes” autoplay=”ap=1″>http://www.example.com/videoplayer.swf?video=123</video:player_loc&gt;

      <video:thumbnail_loc>http://www.example.com/thumbs/123.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc&gt;

      <video:title>Grilling steaks for summer</video:title> 

      <video:description>Get perfectly done steaks every time</video:description>

    </video:video>

  </url>

</urlset>

 

And that was a single entry for a URL that includes an image and a video!!!

 

Don’t worry if this looks a bit complex. I can create sitemaps for your site content in a few hours and send it to you by email (if you want).

 

What NOT to do:

 

If you want to control what Google does, you’re going to have to gain a profound understanding of the algorithms they use and keep up to date as the code changes. You’re contending with some of the shrewdest computer scientists in the world.

 

Just for fun I’ve included links to Google’s own PageRank algorithm by Sergei Brin & Lawrence Page and the Hilltop algorithm by Krishna Bharat to get you started. Be warned that if you’re caught you’ll be black-listed by Google and will have to crate a new website. But it may be fun reading if you are a hacker.