Does Islam encourage Scientific advancemet?

by Saif min Suyufillah

Yes.Islam encourages it with pure intentions,with proper goals and objectives.


1.The teachings of Quran about logic and reasoning.

2.The Ahadees

3.The list of earlier Muslim scientists

4.The Muslim scientists of 20th century

5.Muslim females in the fields of science and technology

1.Quran about logic and reasoning:

See the complete list of verses asking to use logic.

Following are some verses where people are asked to use their reasoning ability,to use their logical intelligence.

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.(2:164)

Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you might use reason.(2:242)

And within the land are neighboring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, [growing] several from a root or otherwise, watered with one water; but We make some of them exceed others in [quality of] fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason(13:4)

And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason(16:12)

We have certainly sent down to you a Book in which is your mention. Then will you not reason?(21:10)

And these examples We present to the people, but none will understand them except those of knowledge(29:43)

And of His signs is [that] He shows you the lightening [causing] fear and aspiration, and He sends down rain from the sky by which He brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that are signs for a people who use reason.(30:24)

And [in] the alternation of night and day and [in] what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and [in His] directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason(45:5)

2.The Ahadees:

Following are some ahadees encouraging to acquire knowledge.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 148

The Prophet also said: “Knowledge from which no benefit is derived is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 108

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “God, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth, even ants in their hills and fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 422

The Prophet also said: “Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 107

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion. – Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1631

3.Our forefathers,the Muslim scientists:

Read from Wikipedia

Astronomers and astrophysicists

Biologists, neuroscientists, and psychologists

Further information: Islamic psychological thought

Chemists and alchemists

Further information: Alchemy (Islam)

Economists and social scientists

Further information: Islamic economics in the world

Geographers and earth scientists

Further information: Muslim Agricultural Revolution


Further information: Islamic mathematics: Biographies

Physicians and surgeons

Main article: Muslim doctors

Physicists and engineers

Further information: Islamic physics

Political scientists

Other scientists and inventors

4.The Muslim scientists of 20th century:

Ahmed Zewail

Ahmed Zewail was born in February 26, 1946, in Egypt where he grew up, Zewail received both his Bachelor of Science and his master’s degrees from Alexandria University ,Egypt.He began his professional career as an undergraduate trainee at Shell Corporation in Alexandria in 1966.

After continued studies in the U.S.A. he graduated for Ph.D. in 1974 at the University of Pennsylvania.After the completion of his Ph.D., he went to the University of California, Berkeley, as an IBM research fellow. Zewail was appointed to the faculty at Caltech in 1976 at the age of 30 as an assistant professor of chemical physics.In 1982 he was tenured, as he became a full professor, and in 1990 was honored by the first Linus Pauling Chair at Caltech.

At the age of 52, Zewail won the “Banjamin Franklin” prize after his latest scientific achievements known as the femto_second which is the smallest part of he second, he received the prize at a lavish ceremony attended by some 1,500 scientists, students, officials and figures, including former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.In 1999, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, a laser expert was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and by that he is the first Egyptian to be nominated for this honourable prize.

Dr. Zewail is the first originally Arab Muslim scientist to win such prize since Naguib Mahfouz, who won the literature prize in 1988, and late President Anwar Sadat, who shared the peace prize in 1978. But he is the first to take one of the prestigious awards for science. The Nobel carries an award of nearly one million dollars.Dr.Zewail currently holds both Egyptian and American Nationality.

He has a family of four children and is married to Dema Zewail, a physician in public health (UCLA). His scientific family over the past 20 years consists of some 150 post-doctoral research fellows, graduate students and visiting associates. He lives in San Marino, California.

Ahmed Zewail currently is the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS).Zewail’s current research is devoted to developments of ultrafast lasers and electrons for studies of dynamics in chemistry and biology. In the field of femtochemistry, developed by the Caltech group, the focus is on the fundamental, femtosecond (10-15 second) processes in chemistry and in related fields of physics and biology.

Ahmed Zewail receiving the Nobel Prize from His Majesty the King of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10, 1999.

Prof. Atta-Ur-Rahman

An elected Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences since 1988, Prof. Rahman obtained his BSc in Chemistry from Karachi University in 1963, MSc in Organic Chemistry, Karachi University (1967) and PhD in Organic Chemistry from Cambridge University (UK) in 1968. Cambridge University awarded him a doctor of science (ScD) in 1987.Prof. Rahman started out as a Lecturer at Karachi University (1964), Assistant Professor (1969), Associate Professor (1974) and became Professor at the same university in 1981.

He is an internationally known scientist who is known for his contribution to the establishment of one of the renowned Pakistani centres of natural product chemistry (HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry), where he has been Director since 1990.
Furthermore, Prof. Rahman has over 488 publications and 9 patents to his credit comprising 52 books published by major US and European Publishers as well as 59 Chapters in books and in leading international journals in several fields of organic chemistry.

He was ranked top scientist of Pakistan in the discipline of Chemistry in 1999, based on the evaluation of his published works.Prof. Rahman is Editor of 5 European science journals. He was appointed as one of two Editors-in-Chief of “Natural Product Letters,” published in Switzerland. He is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of “Current Medicinal Chemistry,” an international journal published in the Netherlands.

He is Executive Editor of “Current Pharmaceutical Design,” Netherlands, Editor of “Current Organic Chemistry,” Netherlands and Executive Editor of “Combinatorial and High Throughput Screening,” Netherlands.He was the first recipient of the award of “Scientist of the Year” (for 1985) conferred by the Government of Pakistan in 1987, and was awarded the “Islamic Organisation Prize” on behalf of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science in 1987. He has also received the First Khwarazmi Prize, Iran (1993), and the Award of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, Japan (1997).

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman has been awarded the UNESCO Science Prize (1999).He has won three Civil Awards (Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) and was also the President of the Chemical Society of Pakistan.Apart from being a Fellow of the IAS (1988), Prof. Rahman is also a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences and a member of the American Chemical Society. He is also Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London (1981), Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1982).

He was appointed Co-ordinator General, COMSTECH, in 1996.

Dr Mahbub ul Haq (1934-1998)

Originator of the Human Development Index, which turns 20 this year

Dr Mahbub ul Haq was born on 22 February 1934 in the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in undivided India. He studied at the Government College, Lahore and thereafter at King’s College and Trinity College, where he obtained a degree in economics. He then proceeded to Yale University, where he obtained a doctorate in economics.

Dr Mahbub ul Haq had a distinguished career as an academic administrator and advisor. He served as the World Bank’s Director of Policy Planning from 1970 to 1982. During his tenure he made a significant contribution to the World Bank’s approach to the philosophy and policy of development. Under his influence the Bank came to focus on people’s well-being rather than on economic indicators and consequently launched poverty alleviation programmes and made substantial allocations for social sectors such as education, nutrition and water supply.

Dr Haq joined the government of Pakistan in 1982 as Minister of Finance, Planning and Commerce and served in that capacity until 1988. As a minister he was instrumental in launching several initiatives for poverty alleviation and social spending and for the deregulation of the economy and tax reforms.The issue of human development was the closest to Dr Haq’s heart from the beginning of his career. His close association with the United Nations Human Development Programme provided him an opportunity to give a concrete shape to his ideas on human development.

He was Special Advisor to the UNDP from 1989 to 1985. His pioneering and enduring work at the UNDP was the production of the Human Development Report. As Project Director of the Human Development Report, Dr Haq gathered a team of distinguished economists, including Paul Streeten, Amartya Sen (who was his colleague at Trinity College, Cambridge and who won the Nobel Prize in 1998), Frances Steward and Richard Jolly, who were closely involved in the production of the Human Development Reports.In 1996 Dr Haq left the UNDP to establish the Human Development Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan, a policy research institute devoted to carrying out research and policy studies in the field of human development, with a special focus on South Asia.

Dr Haq died on 16 July 1998 in New York, leaving behind his wife, Khadija Haq, and two children. After his death, the Human Development Centre at Islamabad was renamed as the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre. In his honour, the UNDP instituted an Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development.

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus was born in 28th June, 1940 in the village of Bathua, in Hathazari, Chittagong, the business centre of what was then Eastern Bengal. He was the third of 14 children of whom five died in infancy. His father was a successful goldsmith who always encouraged his sons to seek higher education. But his biggest influence was his mother, Sufia Khatun, who always helped any poor that knocked on their door. This inspired him to commit himself to eradication of poverty. His early childhood years were spent in the village.

In 1947, his family moved to the city of Chittagong, where his father had the jewelery business.In 1974, Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist from Chittagong University, led his students on a field trip to a poor village. They interviewed a woman who made bamboo stools, and learnt that she had to borrow the equivalent of 15p to buy raw bamboo for each stool made.

After repaying the middleman, sometimes at rates as high as 10% a week, she was left with a penny profit margin. Had she been able to borrow at more advantageous rates, she would have been able to amass an economic cushion and raise herself above subsistence level.Realizing that there must be something terribly wrong with the economics he was teaching, Yunus took matters into his own hands, and from his own pocket lent the equivalent of ? 17 to 42 basket-weavers. He found that it was possible with this tiny amount not only to help them survive, but also to create the spark of personal initiative and enterprise necessary to pull themselves out of poverty.Against the advice of banks and government, Yunus carried on giving out ‘micro-loans’, and in 1983 formed the Grameen Bank, meaning ‘village bank’ founded on principles of trust and solidarity.

In Bangladesh today, Grameen has 2,564 branches, with 19,800 staff serving 8.29 million borrowers in 81,367 villages. On any working day Grameen collects an average of $1.5 million in weekly installments. Of the borrowers, 97% are women and over 97% of the loans are paid back, a recovery rate higher than any other banking system. Grameen methods are applied in projects in 58 countries, including the US, Canada, France, The Netherlands and Norway.

Mohammad Yunus with the Nobel Prize id=363

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan

Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan (1914-1999) – a development activist and social scientist credited for pioneering microcredit and microfinance initiatives, farmers’ cooperatives, and rural training programmes in the developing world. He also promoted rural development activities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and in other developing countries, and advocated community participation in development.

He particularly earned renown for his leading role in the establishment of a comprehensive project for rural development, Comilla Model (1959) that earned him Magsaysay Award from Philippines and honorary Doctorate of Law by Michigan State University.

In 1980s he founded a bottom up community development initiative of Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi slums. He received wide international recognition and highest honors in Pakistan for those projects and a number of programs that formed part of those projects, from microcredit to self-financed and from housing provision to family planning.

Khan, fluent in five international languages, published many scholarly books and articles, as well as his collection of poems and travelogues in Urdu language.

Mostafa A. El-Sayed

Professor Mostafa A. El-Sayed received his BSc degree at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt and his Ph.D. at Florida State University, USA. He was a Research Associate at Yale, Harvard and the California Institute of Technology. He then became a faculty member at the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA until 1994, when he moved to Georgia Tech as the Julius Brown Chair and Regent Professor.El-Sayed was the editor-in-chief of the J.Physical chemistry for 25 years and is serving now on the advisory boards of the NSF, the DOE–BESAC and for several DOE Nano-Centers across the USA. He and his group did research in many areas of chemical, bio-physical, nano-science and nanotechnology.

His group has over 590 publications in peer-reviewed journals and from the citations to their work in the past decade; Science Watch ranked number four among Academic Chemistry researchers Worldwide.

El-Sayed is an Elected Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1980), an Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1986), an Elected Associate Member of the Third World Academy of Sciences (1984); an Inaugural Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He is an elected Honorary Fellow of the Indian and the Chinese Chemical Societies.He has received the King Faisal International Prize in the Sciences (chemistry) and a number of USA national awards.

El-Sayed is the recipient of a number of honorary Doctoral Degrees from several international Universities. He has also served as a Von Humboldt senior fellow in Germany, a visiting Professor at Orsay, France, the Fairchild Professor at Cal Tech and visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley.El-Sayed received the 2007 USA National Medal of Sciences from the President of the USA in 2008 and in 2009 he received the Medal of the Egyptian Republic of the First Class from the President of Egypt.

Dr Farouk El-Baz

Dr Farouk El-Baz is Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. He received a BSc degree (1958) in chemistry and geology from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt; an MS degree (1961); and a PhD degree (1964) both in geology and both from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He taught geology at Assiut University, Egypt (1958-1960), and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1964-1966). In 1989, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire, USA.

He participated in the Apollo program from 1967 to 1972 as Supervisor of Lunar Science and of Lunar Exploration at Bellcomm Inc., Bell Laboratories, Washington DC. During these six years, he was secretary of the site selection committee for NASA’s Apollo lunar landings, chairman of the astronaut training group, and principal investigator for visual observations and photography. 1973-1983, he established and directed the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. 1982-1986, he was Vice-President for International Development and for Science and Technology at Itek Optical Systems of Lexington, Massachusetts.Dr El-Baz served on the Steering Committee of Earth Sciences of the Smithsonian Institution and the Arid and Semi-Arid Research Needs Panel of the National Science Foundation. He also served as Science Advisor to the late Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt (1978-1981).

He is known for his pioneering work in the applications of space photography to the understanding of arid terrain, particularly the location of groundwater resources and has contributed to interdisciplinary field investigations in all major deserts of the world.Dr El-Baz is President of the Arab Society of Desert Research. He has received many honors and awards including: NASA’s Apollo Achievement Award, Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and Special Recognition Award; the Certificate of Merit of the World Aerospace Education Organization; and the Arab Republic of Egypt Order of Merit – First Class. He also received the 1989 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Egyptian American Organization, and the 1992 Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received the 1996 Michael T Halbouty Human Needs Award of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.Dr Farouk El-Baz was elected a Fellow of the IAS in 1998

Dr. Hulusi Behçet.

He described a disease of inflamedblood vessels in 1937, which is named after him as the Behçet’s disease.

Dr. Hulusi Behçet (1889-1948) is a famous Turkish dermatologist. He was born in Istanbul on February 20, 1889. His father was Ahmet Behçet and his mother Ayqse Behçet was also Ahmet’s cousin. After the Turkish Republic was established and the “Family Name Law” was accepted, his father Ahmet Behçet, who was among the friends of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic, received private permission to use his father’s name Behçet.Dr. Hulusi Behçet pursued his education at Gülhane Military Medical Academy.

After he had become a medical doctor, he specialized in dermatology and venereal disease at Gülhane Military Medical Academy and he completed his specialization in 1914. His first observations on Behçet’s Disease started with a patient he met between 1924-1925. Dr. Behçet followed the symptoms of three patients whom he had had for years, then he decided that they were the symptoms of a new disease (1936). He published these cases in the Archives of Dermatology and Veneral Disease.

He died from a sudden heart attack on March 8, 1948. Today, this disease is universally called Behçet’s Disease in medical literature.

Lieutenant-General Kerim Kerimov

Lieutenant-General Kerim Kerimov, who died on Saturday aged 85, played a major part in Soviet missile development during the Second World War, then became a key figure in Russian efforts to land the first man on the Moon.

As in the case of other space pioneers, the regime refused to allow Kerimov’s name to be published. He himself took pride in being “a secret general”; it was not until 1987 that the Communist Party newspaper Pravda named him.

Kerim Kerimov was born on November 17 1917 at Baku, Azerbaijan, and entered the Soviet space programme as a young artillery officer. As the war ended in 1945, the British, Americans and Russians sent competing missions into Germany to obtain technical details of Wernher von Braun’s V2 rockets. The Americans got the lion’s share when von Braun surrendered to them, but Kerimov and Sergei Korolov, Russia’s chief scientist, gathered enough material in Germany to reconstruct the rockets.

Two years later they started launching them from Kapustin Yar, the first Soviet rocket development centre; soon they were launching dogs and other animals on sounding rockets, as the first steps towards manned space flight.

But as an artillery man, Kerimov’s first priority was military missiles, and he moved from head of the Strategic Missile Forces to become the first commander of the new Central Directorate for Space Assets. Although he and Korolov apparently got on well together, this was regarded as a setback for Korolov, who was pushing for piloted space flight on behalf of the Soviet Air Force.

However, following Korolov’s death in 1966, Kerimov was appointed head of a new “State Commission for Flight Testing of Soyuz Spacecraft”. By then eight human flights in the crude Vostok and Voshkod spacecraft had been successfully completed, and it was time to move on to docking spacecraft in orbit.

Kerimov’s new Commission made a disastrous start. While the Soviet designers were running into technical problems with the new Soyuz, America’s Nasa was mastering rendezvous and docking techniques with a rapid series of 10 two-man Gemini flights. One unmanned Soyuz exploded on the launchpad; another, after being successfully placed in orbit, crashed in the Aral Sea.

When America’s Apollo 1 caught fire during a launchpad rehearsal and three astronauts died, Kerimov forgot his own problems and commented in a radio interview that the American deaths were the result of undue haste.

Less than four months later pressure from Moscow led to Soyuz 1, the first manned flight in the series, being launched before it was ready. The unfortunate occupant, Vladimir Komarov, fought valiantly for 19 orbits to overcome major technical problems, but died during an emergency return.

Kerimov took a helicopter to inspect the still burning remains of the crashed spacecraft. In an interview years later, he admitted that there was talk of his team being held personally accountable, but he had not been fired “because Brezhnev understood the nature of these projects”.

However, that was the moment when the Soviet Union lost the race to put a man on the Moon. Kerimov’s career also survived Yuri Gagarin’s death in a flying accident and the loss of the three-man Soyuz 11 when returning from the historic first docking with the Salyut-1 space station in 1971.

Following repeated failures of the giant N1 rocket, which was even bigger than America’s Saturn 5, the grandiose plans for Moon landings and huge space stations were finally abandoned. Kerimov was abruptly demoted in May 1974 from his appointment as Chief of the “Third Chief Directorate at the Ministry of General Machine Building”. However, he clung to his chair at the State Commission for Soyuz until his retirement in 1990 at 73.

Afterwards he continued to contribute work on the more practical Mir space station and, with his identity no longer classified, wrote a history of the Soviet programme, The Way to Space.

Kerimov said that he was satisfied with his life, except that he lost his wife at 50. They had met at school, and had studied together.…m-Kerimov.html

Fazlur Rahman Khan

The Einstein of Structural Engineering

Most visible among America’s impressive list of elite engineering giants are its leading-edge structural engineers, the designers of spectacular bridges, skyscrapers, sports facilities, space-age-looking buildings and national monuments – record-setting complex structures that are often the biggest, tallest, longest and/or first. Foremost on that list is Pakistan native Fazlur R. “Faz” Khan, a structural trailblazer whose breakthroughs in structural engineering for tall and long-span buildings exerted an unprecedented and lasting influence on the profession, both nationally and internationally.

Mir M. Ali, University of Illinois professor and author of Art of the Skyscraper: The Genius of Fazlur Khan, said that in addition to being labeled as one of the greatest engineers of our time, Khan was many times referred to as the “Einstein of Structural Engineering.”

According to David Billington, coiner of the phrase “structural art,” Khan’s work exemplified that concept. Said Billington, “The first fundamental of structural art is the discipline of efficiency; a desire for minimum materials, resulting in less weight, less cost and less visual mass.” In his many notable skyscrapers, Kahn clearly mastered those objectives, often influencing the final architectural appearance of signature buildings in a major way.

Considered the father of tubular design in high-rises, Khan was a firm believer that meshing the talents of structural engineers and architects always resulted in the best solutions. According to John Zils, senior engineer and associate partner with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), “It was his unique ability to bridge the gap between architectural design and structural engineering that truly set Faz apart from other structural engineers.” Because of that, Khan became an icon in both architecture and structural engineering.

Born on April 3, 1929, in Dhaka, Bengal (then in British India), Fazlur was the son of Abdur Rahman and Khadija (Khatun) Khan. His father Abdur was a well-respected high school mathematics teacher and the author of several seminal textbooks on the subject. He eventually became the Director of Public Instruction in the region of Bengal. In addition to his father, Fazlur’s early decision to become an engineer was influenced by an older cousin who preceded him into college to study engineering.

After completing undergraduate coursework at the Bengal Engineering College, University of Calcutta, Fazlur proceeded to the University of Dhaka, where he received his bachelor’s in engineering degree in 1950, finishing first in his class. A Fulbright Scholarship, combined with a Pakistani government scholarship, brought him to the U.S. and the University of Illinois at Urbana. There, he earned two master’s degrees – one in structural engineering, and the other in theoretical and applied mechanics – followed by a PhD in structural engineering in 1955.

Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower. Courtesy of SOM and Hedrick Blessing.

Khan immediately joined the internationally known architectural and engineering firm of SOM in Chicago. By 1960, he was fast establishing his trademark of pioneering creative concepts for tall buildings framed with structural steel, concrete and/or composite systems. His “tube system,” using all the exterior wall perimeter structure of a building to simulate a thin-walled tube, revolutionized tall building design.

In 1962, while designing the 38-story, reinforced concrete Brunswick Building in Chicago, he developed methods for using shear wall and frame interaction to resist lateral forces. Later, he refined this system to come up with the “tube-in-tube concept,” initially used for the 52-story One Shell Plaza Building in Houston.

Khan’s diagonal-framed tube system, first used for the John Hancock Center in Chicago, connected widely spaced exterior columns with diagonals on all four sides of the building. The concept allowed the 1965 Hancock building to reach 100 stories, making it the tallest building in the world. The Hancock Center and Khan’s other masterpiece – the 110-story, 1974 Sears Tower with its unique “bundled tube” structural system – drew worldwide attention to the advancements that American structural engineers were making in skyscraper design. At 1,468 feet, Sears Tower remained the world’s tallest building for more than 20 years. Clad in a black aluminum skin with bronze-tinted, glare-reducing glass and with a gross area of 4.4 million square feet, the structure was impressive and massive by any standards. Only the Pentagon had more space at the time.

Khan’s portfolio of notable international structures includes the Haj Terminal Building at the Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia, an enormous tent-like structure covering nearly one square kilometer (105 acres) of area, more space than any other roof in the world when built. Kahn allowed that the pioneering design of the terminal, with its intricate fabric tension roof, was based on the union of architecture and engineering, form and function.

Zils said, “In addition to Faz being an innovator of the highest order as evidenced by his introduction to the profession of numerous innovative structural systems (tubular structural concept, tube-in-tube, braced tube, bundled tube, etc), he was the consummate team leader. You never worked for Faz, you always worked with him as an equal. Plus, his enthusiasm for whatever the task at hand or the project was contagious. His philosophy was that there was always something new and interesting about any task or project, and that it was up to us to find and pursue the issue.”

Many times, Zils observed Faz getting involved in something that appeared on the surface to be quite mundane, only to find that in the end he had discovered something unique or interesting about it. Said Zils, “I believe his ability to see the opportunities that each situation presents was a major factor in Faz’s ability to think beyond the norm, and create and innovate as he did. Working on projects with Faz was always a joy because he was always probing and challenging the norm. He always did this in a collaborative way, incorporating the entire team in the process. As a result, you always felt a part of the process, and when the task or project was complete, all who participated felt some sense of ownership in the result.” This collaboration, believed Zils, is why Khan was able to produce so many highly creative and innovative designs in his relatively short career.

Onterie Center. The strength of the building’s structural system is expressed in its facade. Courtesy of SOM.

Active in several engineering groups, Khan was a leader in many of them. He was, for instance, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat from 1979 until his death. He was also an adjunct professor at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), often teaching and working there late at night.

In addition to his participation in professional societies, and providing leadership and mentoring to young and up-and-coming engineers, Khan was active beyond engineering in his community. For many years, he served on the board of trustees for the condominium development in Chicago where he lived. And he never forgot his roots.

Khan’s homeland came to be called Pakistan in 1947. During 1971, the country was divided into East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, with its government and military centralized in West Pakistan. Because of this, the economic conditions in East Pakistan (Khan’s homeland) deteriorated so much that its people protested the unequal distribution of the country’s income and wealth. To discourage unrest, the Pakistani government sent its military into East Pakistan to terrorize the people. Ten million Bangladeshi refugees eventually made their way to India.

As a result, Khan founded a Chicago-based organization, the Bangladesh Emergency Welfare Appeal, to help the people in his homeland. The group, which met at Khan’s home, raised money for aid and for lobbying government officials. Many of the Bengalis involved (including Khan) had family and friends in Bangladesh who were in obvious danger; Khan’s group did everything it could to make it safer for them. India’s aggressive intervention finally put an end to the killing.

Fazlur’s younger brother Zillur Khan said, “My brother was not only a creative structural engineer, he was also a philosopher, visionary, educator and humanist. As my guide, he always told me, ‘Think logically and find the relationships which exist in every system, because it will help you understand nature itself, making living more meaningful and exciting.’”

Khan believed that engineers needed a broader perspective on life, saying, “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people.” Khan, himself, was an aficionado of classical music, especially Bach and Brahms. For enjoyment, he loved singing Tagore’s poetic songs in Bengali with family and friends.

John Hancock Center. Courtesy of SOM and Timothy Hursley.

Khan and his wife, Liselotte, who emigrated from Austria, had one daughter, born in 1960. A structural engineer like her father, Yasmin Sabina Khan said of her father, “He was concerned, foremost, with people and how engineering affected them. He wanted his structures to be part of a culture and society that strove to benefit its people.” In celebration of his life, she wrote an in-depth book about him and the impact of his work, Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan, published in 2004.

Brunswick Building. Courtesy of SOM and Hube Henry-Hedrick Blessing

Khan died of a heart attack while on a business trip in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 27, 1982. Only 53, he was a general partner in SOM, the only engineer holding that high position at the time. His body was returned to the U.S. and is buried in his adopted home of Chicago.

Posthumously, the city of Chicago named the intersection of Franklin and Jackson Streets, located at the foot of the Sears Tower, “Fazlur R. Khan Way” in his honor. One year later, in 1999, Engineering News-Record listed him as one of the world’s top 20 structural engineers of the last 125 years. Three decades earlier, when Khan was 41 years old, the Chicago Junior Chamber of Commerce had named him Chicagoan of the Year in Architecture and Engineering.

Khan (left) with SOM architect Bruce Graham and the John Hancock Center model. Courtesy of SOM and K&S PhotoGraphics.

Among Khan’s other honors were the Wason Medal (1971) and Alfred Lindau Award (1973) from the American Concrete Institute, Thomas Middlebrooks Award (1972) and Ernest Howard Award (1977) from ASCE, Alumni Honor Award (1972) from the University of Illinois, Kimbrough Medal (1973) from the American Institute of Steel Construction, Oscar Faber Medal (1973) from the Institution of Structural Engineers (UK), AIA Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement (1983) and Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1983) from the American Institute of Architects, and John Parmer Award (1987) from the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.

Khan was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 1973, and received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Northwestern University in 1973 and Lehigh University in 1980. In 2006, he was inducted into the Illinois Engineering Hall of Fame (sponsored by the Illinois Engineering Council).

His works and his citations are reflective of Khan’s main legacy – more than any other individual, he helped usher in a renaissance in skyscraper construction in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century. He epitomized both structural engineering achievement and the need for creative collaborative between architect and engineer. To him and his collaborators, for architectural design to reach its highest levels, it had to be solidly grounded in structural realities.▪

Hajj Terminal. Courtesy of SOM and Jay Langlois of Owens-Corning Fiberglas.

Richard G. Weingardt, P.E., is Chairman of the Board for Richard Weingardt Consultants, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Weingardt is the author of nine books. His latest, Circles in the Sky: The Life and Times of George Ferris, is the one-and-only biography of Ferris and how he built his 1893 Ferris Wheel. Mr.Weingardt can be reached at

Prof. Riazuddin

Prof. Riazuddin was awarded his BSc in Mathematics from Punjab University, Lahore, 1951; and his MA from the same university in 1953. In 1959 he was a awarded a PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics from Cambridge University, UK. Since 1999, he has been Director, National Center for Physics ,Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad. Prior to that he was sueccessively Professor, King Fahd Universityof Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran Sudia Arabia, 1982-1998; Visiting Professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1982-1981; Visiting Professor, VPI and State University Blacksburg, VA, USA, 1981-1980; Visiting Scientist, International Center for Theroetical Physics (Triest,Italy), 1979-1980; Member (Technical), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, 1973-1976; and Principal Research Associate, Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory, UK, 1972.

During 1970-1972, Dr Riazuddin was a Visiting Professor, University of Maryland, College Park,Maryland, USA. He was Professor, University of Islamabad (Now called Quaid – i – Azam University) 1966-1981. He was a Research Associate, University of Pennsylvania, Philadephia, 1965-1966; Visiting Senior Research Assciate, Univercity of Rochester, Rochester, New York, 1963-1965; and reader in Physics Punjab University, Lahore, 1959-1963. In 1968, dr Riazuddin was awarded the Gold Medal in Physical Sciences for Scientist of less than 40 years of age by the Pakistan academy of Sciences. That same academy elected him a Fellow in 1976. He was awarded Gold Medal jointly with Fayyazuddin of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences for outstanding research work in Physical Sciences, 1979.

He was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 1980, 1990 and 1999, respectively. Prof. Riazuddin was elected a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences (2000), and won the 13 Khawarizmi International award (First Prize) in 2000. In the same year he won the UNESCO Albort Einstein Gold Medal for Fundamental Science, and was elected in November 2000 a Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences. The current research interest of Professor Riazuddin is Gauge Theiries and Phenomenonlogy of Partical Interactions. He has around 200 publications to his credit including the joint authorship of three books, one of which was on Weak Interactions, published by John Wiley in 1996, and was regarded as a classic on the subject receiving over 582 citation until 1996. Prof. Riazuddin National Center for Physics, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad-Pakistan.

Prof. Abdul Qadeer Khan

After receiving his early education in Bhopal, Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1960 from the University of Karachi. He went on to study in Berlin , West Germany and achieved high competence through attending several courses in metallurgical engineering. He obtained the degree of Master of Science (Technology ) in 1967 from Delft Technological University of Leuven, Belgium. In 1976, he joined the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) in Pakistan and set up an uranium enrichment industrial plant. As a tribute to his services to Pakistan , during May 1981 , the then president of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq renamed the Engineering Research Laboratories, Kahuta, as, Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan Research Laboratories (KRL).

The scientific contributions of Dr Khan have been recognized in several ways. As an active scientist and technologist, he has published more than 188 scientific research papers in international journals of high repute. He has been editor of a large number of books on metallurgy, advanced materials and phase transformation. His academic and scholastic activities have attracted the attention of number of western countries where he has delivered more than 100 lectures. His work on Industrial Uranium Enrichment Plant for peaceful application of nuclear technology has resulted in a breakthrough in the field of metallurgy and materials science. It is entirely due to his efforts that the process of enrichment of Uranium was successfully completed in Pakistan . This breakthrough ultimately resulted in the historic explosion of six nuclear bombs in May 1998 . Not only this but a significant development was also made with the successful test firing of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles, Ghauri 1 , in April 1998 and Ghauri II in April 1999. Dr Khan has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from the University of Karachi in 1993, Doctor of Science from Baqai Medical University on (1998), Doctor of Science from Hamdard University, Karachi (1999) and Doctor of Science from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore in December 2000. For his contributions in the field of science and technology, the President of Pakistan conferred upon Dr Khan the award of Nishan-I-Imtiaz 1996 and 1998. Dr Khan is the only Pakistani to have received the highest civil award of “Nishan-I-Imtiaz’’ twice. He is also a recipient of Hilal-I-Imtiaz.

Dr Khan is a Fellow of Kazakh National Academy of Sciences, the first Asian scientist with this honour, elected Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences and Honorary Member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. He was elected unopposed to the post of President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 1997-a position that he still occupies. He is a member of many national and international professional organizations including the Pakistan Institute of Metallurgical Engineers; Pakistan Institute of Engineers; and Institute of Central and West Asian Studies.He is a Member of the Institute of Materials, London; American Society of Metals (ASM); Canadian Institute of Metals (CIM) and Japan Institute of Metals (JIM). Prof. A Q Khan sits on the Boards of Governors of numerous universities and institutes. He is a Member of the Executive Committee, GIK Institute of Engineering and Technology; Member, Board of Governors, Hamdard University; Member, Board of Governors, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology; Member Syndicate, Quaidi-I-Azam university, Islamabad ; and Member, Board of Governors, International Islamic University, Islamabad.

Prof. Abdul Quadeer Khan Chairman, Dr. Reserch, Laboratories,P.O.Box 502, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

5.Muslim Women in the field of science:


Some names of the Muslim Female scientists:

The Pioneers

1.  Dr. Sameera Moussa – The Atoms for Peace Champion, Egypt

2.  Prof. Nesreen Ghaddar, FIAS (‘07) – The Shaper of Energy Future, Kuwait and Lebanon

3. Professor Bina Shaheen Siddiqui, Fellow–TWAS (‘89) – The Plants Scientist, Pakistan

4. Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam – The Drug Safety Advocate, Saudi Arabia

The Shapers

5.  Prof. Rabia Hussain, FIAS (‘08) – The Infectious Diseases Specialist, Pakistan

6.  Prof. Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, FIAS (‘08) – The Viralogist, Malaysia

7. Dr Ismahane Elouafi – The Food Safety Champion, Morocco and Canada

8.  Prof. Ilham Al Qaradawi – The Physicist, Qatar

9. Dr. Sania Nishtar – The Policywonk, Pakistan

10. Prof. Dr Nuket Yetis – The Science Administrator, Turkey

11. Dr. Hessa Al Jaber – The Policymaker, Qatar

12. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, FIAS (‘09) – The Herbalist, Mauritius

The Emerging Champions

13. Dr. Hina Chaudhry – The Cardiac Magician, Pakistan and United States

14.  Dr. Hayat Al Sindi – The Innovator, Saudi Arabia

15.  Dr. Maryam Matar – The Humanitarian, United Arab Emirates

16. Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman – The Taboo Buster, Malaysia

17. Maryam Mirzakhani – The Esoteric Mathematician, Iran

18. Dr. Ghada Amer  – The Power Woman, Egypt

19.   Dr. Rana Dajani  – The Islamic – Feminist, Jordan

20. Dr. Rim Al Turkamani – The Accidental Historian, Syria and United Kingdom

There is an interesting article by Nidhal.

This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.

In my post last week, I tried to look at the question of Muslim Women Scholars in the Golden Age, that is whether there were a number of Muslim female scholars/scientists during that great era of intellectual activity and achievement, whether the fact that we know of so few female names says something about the culture of that time (Muslim and other), or whether we are just to some extent ignorant about small but important episodes of history. And though my piece and the comments that ensued were far from scholarly investigations, we seemed to conclude that there was an element of both (largely male culture, even among the elite, as well as ignorance of some bright spots/names in our history).

In this post, and in continuation of the theme of Muslim women and scholarship/science, I want to look at the present and focus solely on Science. As you see, I am highly interested in women’s place, role, and contribution to society, particularly in its relation to Science and education, as I think that says quite a lot about the prevailing general mindset of the society.

Indeed, this is not the first time I raise this issue and address this theme, from one angle or another. About a year ago, I posted a piece on Irtiqa titled “Science, Education, and Women in the Arab World”. And last December, I posted a piece titled “Awards for Arab Female Scientists”.

more femnales enrolling

I also mentioned the results of TIMSS 2007, TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) being an international, standardized test administered to students of Grades 4 and 8; those results, while showing pretty depressing performances by Arab/Muslim students, showed better results by the girls than by the boys, rather consistently.

Clearly, Arab/Muslim women are venturing into the sciences in large numbers these days, and they seem to be performing better than boys/young-men, though school performance is not always equivalent to scientific creativity. However, even at the PhD level, one often finds larger fractions of women. It is unclear whether that is going to translate into greater numbers of women scientists (university professors and researchers), because so far we have not seen any such phenomenon, though the trend is perhaps too recent, and one must wait some more. (In universities around me, women make up less than 10 % of the science and mathematics faculty.)

In my December piece, I mentioned the Arab Women of Science prize that the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and the Regional Bureau for Unesco have created in partnership with L’Oreal to recognize 5 Arab women for their substantial contributions in various science fields. I listed the recent winners and briefly described their fields of research. I should also refer to the ASTF’s ‘Arab Women in Science and Technology’ website.

I would also like to mention the Ahmed Badeed Prize for Arab Women of Science, which was created in 2008 to acknowledge Arab women who have chosen scientific research as a career and who have particularly distinguished themselves through their work. This prize, given out in Paris (at the Institut du Monde Arabe), was awarded to Drs. Ilham Y. Al-Qaradawi of the University of Qatar and Asmaa Abada-Zeghal of the University of Paris XI for the year 2008, and to Drs. Arifa Ali-Khan, of the University of Yemen in Taïz and Nabila Aghanim of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Orsay, for the year 2009. I don’t think it was given out for 2010, and I don’t know why.

Let me also mention a few names of women who have become famous to some extent in the Arab/Muslim world for their scientific works and achievements. (I would also like to invite our readers to remind us of or introduce us to other important female Muslim scientists of today.)

  • Professor Bina Shaheen Siddiqui made substantial contributions to medicine and agriculture through her study of indigenous plant materials. She received numerous awards and patents for anticancer constituents and biopesticides; her CV mentions 213 research articles and 77 chapters in books. The Pakistan Academy of Sciences elected her as a Fellow, and she has received many prestigious awards, including the Khwarizmi International Award of Iran and the Salam Prize in Chemistry; she co-founded the Third World Organization for Women in Science.Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam, who was nominated by UNESCO as a distinguished scientist of the world for the Year 2000, for the significant contributions she made in drug safety through her work on the Saudi profile for drug metabolism. Prof. Islam held academic leadership positions in her country as well as international posts with the World Health Organization. She spent many years working diligently to build the academic infrastructure to support women studying science in higher education in Saudi Arabia.

    Professor Farkhonda Hassan, now 80 years old but quite active (at least until very recently), is an Egyptian professor of Geology; she worked tirelessly in national and international organizations (including UNESCO and UNDP) to promote issues of Women and Science in this part of the world (served as Vice-President of the Executive Board of the Third World Organization for Women in Science); check out her article, “Islamic Women in Science”, published in Science in 2000.

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