[Nonfiction Wednesday] Celebrating the Roots of Modern Civilization in Bryn Barnard’s “The Genius Of Islam”

nfwed

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

I got this book from Katie Day’s collection which I have been featuring for my book hunting expedition posts during the past two weeks. When I saw this title, I immediately put it aside, knowing that I would feature it for our current reading theme.


The Genius Of Islam: How Muslims Made The Modern World

Text and Art by: Bryn Barnard
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
ISBN: 0375840729 (ISBN13: 9780375840722)
Obtained a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I have always known that the Islam civilization is one of the most ancient in the world. This book clearly highlights how Islamic culture and innovations created centuries ago successfully paved the way for modern conveniences that we enjoy now.

As noted in the first part of the book:

The Quran esteems learning, saying, “God will raise up in rank those of you who.. have been given knowledge.” Two adages attributed to the Prophet Muhammad underscore this idea: “Seek knowledge, even if be in China” and “The quest for learning is a duty for every Muslim.” Many scholars followed this advice to investigate and build on “foreign knowledge” – the centuries of learning of non-Muslim cultures, the common heritage of all humanity.

It was here that Islam would make some of its greatest contributions to the improvement of the human condition. In the hands of the open-minded and curious, Islam became a vehicle for unprecedented intellectual discovery.

As can be seen in the pages above, this title is quite text-heavy. The young reader would definitely need some scaffolding from an adult to fully comprehend the marvels found within. This book clearly shows how Islamic civilization is way ahead of its time when it comes to engineering, literature, mathematics, architecture, and in caring for the ill and infirm, the latter being one of the things that really caught my eye and interest.

Their health-care model is so sophisticated that their “place of the ill” even had a convalescent area, a pharmacy, a retirement home, libraries, special surgical theatres, courtyards with fountains and music to aid in the healing process. Rather than being billed, the sick people were even provided a stipend when they are discharged.

What broke my heart, though, is the ending, whereby much of the Arabic contribution to civilization has been systematically eradicated from history, until they were nothing but “barely a memory to all but scholars of the obscure.”

This is truly an interesting title that deserves some kind of discussion in your classrooms and would be a good addition to your library.

2 Comments on [Nonfiction Wednesday] Celebrating the Roots of Modern Civilization in Bryn Barnard’s “The Genius Of Islam”

  1. Clearly those in power manage to erase the history they do not want to live. It is sad that Islam now has only one meaning to many, violence. Thanks for this, Myra. I hope I can find it!

    Like

  2. That’s really neat! I will see if my library has this. 🙂

    Like

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