Monday, June 8, 2009

Prophet Muhammad, the Most Influential Persons in History

The 100, a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History
by Michael H. Hart
My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive. The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca, in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the centers of trade, art, and learning. Orphaned at age six, he was reared in modest surroundings. Islamic tradition tells us that he was illiterate. His economic position improved when, at age twenty-five, he married a wealthy widow. Nevertheless, as he approached forty, there was little outward indication that he was a remarkable person. Most Arabs at that time were pagans, who believed in many gods. There were, however, in Mecca, a small number of Jews and Christians; it was from them no doubt that Muhammad first learned of a single, omnipotent God who ruled the entire universe. When he was forty years old, Muhammad became convinced that this one true God (Allah) was speaking to him, and had chosen him to spread the true faith. For three years, Muhammad preached only to close friends and associates. Then, about 613, he began preaching in public. As he slowly gained converts, the Meccan authorities came to consider him a dangerous nuisance. In 622, fearing for his safety, Muhammad fled to Medina (a city some 200 miles north of Mecca), where he had been offered a position of considerable political power. This flight, called the Hegira, was the turning point of the Prophet's life. In Mecca, he had had few followers. In Medina, he had many more, and he soon acquired an influence that made him a virtual dictator. During the next few years, while Muhammad's following grew rapidly, a series of battles were fought between Medina and Mecca. This was ended in 630 with Muhammad's triumphant return to Mecca as conqueror. The remaining two and one-half years of his life witnessed the rapid conversion of the Arab tribes to the new religion.
When Muhammad died, in 632, he was the effective ruler of all of southern Arabia. The Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia had a reputation as fierce warriors. But their number was small; and plagued by disunity and internecine warfare, they had been no match for the larger armies of the kingdoms in the settled agricultural areas to the north. However, unified by Muhammad for the first time in history, and inspired by their fervent belief in the one true God, these small Arab armies now embarked upon one of the most astonishing series of conquests in human history. To the northeast of Arabia lay the large Neo-Persian Empire of the Sassanids; to the northwest lay the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople. Numerically, the Arabs were no match for their opponents. On the field of battle, though, the inspired Arabs rapidly conquered all of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. By 642, Egypt had been wrested from the Byzantine Empire, while the Persian armies had been crushed at the key battles of Qadisiya in 637, and Nehavend in 642. But even these enormous conquests, which were made under the leadership of Muhammad's close friends and immediate successors, Ali, Abu Bakr and 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, did not mark the end of the Arab advance. By 711, the Arab armies had swept completely across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean There they turned north and, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, overwhelmed the Visigothic kingdom in Spain.

For a while, it must have seemed that the Moslems would overwhelm all of Christian Europe. However, in 732, at the famous Battle of Tours, a Moslem army, which had advanced into the center of France, was at last defeated by the Franks. Nevertheless, in a scant century of fighting, these Bedouin tribesmen, inspired by the word of the Prophet, had carved out an empire stretching from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean-the largest empire that the world had yet seen. And everywhere that the armies conquered, large-scale conversion to the new faith eventually followed. Now, not all of these conquests proved permanent. The Persians, though they have remained faithful to the religion of the Prophet, have since regained their independence from the Arabs. And in Spain, more than seven centuries of warfare, finally resulted in the Christians reconquering the entire peninsula. However, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the two cradles of ancient civilization, have remained Moslem, as has the entire coast of North Africa. The new religion, of course, continued to spread, in the intervening centuries, far beyond the borders of the original Moslem conquests. Currently it has tens of millions of adherents in Africa and Central Asia and even more in Pakistan and northern India, and in Indonesia. In Indonesia, the new faith has been a unifying factor. In the Indian subcontinent, however, the conflict between Moslems and Hindus is still a major obstacle to unity.
How, then, is one to assess the overall impact of Muhammad on human history? Like all religions, Islam exerts an enormous influence upon the lives of its followers. It is for this reason that the founders of the world's great religions all figure prominently in this book. Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Moslems in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons for that decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament. Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam. Moreover, he is the author of the Moslem holy scriptures, the Koran, a collection of certain of Muhammad's insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah. Most of these utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad's lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Koran therefore, closely represents Muhammad's ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words. No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived. Since the Koran is at least as important to Moslems as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammad through the medium of the Koran has been enormous. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity.
On the purely religious level, then, it seems likely that Muhammad has been as influential in human history as Jesus. Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time. Of many important historical events, one might say that they were inevitable and would have occurred even without the particular political leader who guided them. For example, the South American colonies would probably have won their independence from Spain even if Simon Bolivar had never lived. But this cannot be said of the Arab conquests. Nothing similar had occurred before Muhammad, and there is no reason to believe that the conquests would have been achieved without him. The only comparable conquests in human history are those of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, which were primarily due to the influence of Genghis Khan. These conquests, however, though more extensive than those of the Arabs, did not prove permanent, and today the only areas occupied by the Mongols are those that they held prior to the time of Genghis Khan. It is far different with the conquests of the Arabs. From Iraq to Morocco, there extends a whole chain of Moslem nations united not merely by their faith in Islam, but also by their Arabic language, history, and culture.
The centrality of the Koran in the Moslem religion and the fact that it is written in Arabic have probably prevented the Arab language from breaking up into mutually unintelligible dialects, which might otherwise have occurred in the intervening thirteen centuries. Differences and divisions between these Arab states exist, of course, and they are considerable, but the partial disunity should not blind us to the important elements of unity that have continued to exist. For instance, neither Iran nor Indonesia, both oil-producing states and both Islamic in religion joined in the oil embargo of the winter of 1973-74. It is no coincidence that all of the Arab states, and only the Arab states, participated in the embargo. We see, then, that the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history. ( - -

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mao Tse-tung

Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung; máo zé dōng)(December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) was a Chinese military and political leader. Mao led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against the Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War, and was the leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Chairman Mao has been regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He is officially held in high regard in China where he is portrayed as a great revolutionary, political strategist, and military genius who defeated Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese Civil War, and then through his policies transformed the country into a major world power. Additionally, Mao is viewed by many in China as a poet, philosopher, and visionary.
However, Mao remains a controversial figure to this day, with a contentious and ever evolving legacy. Critics blame many of Mao's socio-political programs, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy, and foreign relations of China, as well as a probable death toll in the tens of millions. (wikipedia)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl, founder of political Zionism

Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl (1860-1904), founded the Zionist political movement. He was born in Budapest in 1860, and educated in the spirit of the German ¬ Jewish Enlightenment, as a secular Jew, though his grandfather had been a friend of Rabbi Yehudah Alkalai, a proto-Zionist of an earlier era. In 1878 the Herzls moved to Vienna, where Theodor Herzl studied law in the university of Vienna, graduating in 1884. However, rather than studying law, Herzl became a writer, a playwright and a journalist, acting as Paris correspondent for influential liberal Vienna newspaper Neue Freie Presse.
Herzl probably first experienced anti-Semitism while studying at the University of Vienna (1882). He thought of the Jewish problem as a social issue and wrote a play, The Ghetto (1894), in which assimilation and conversion are rejected as solutions. He hoped that The Ghetto would lead to debate and ultimately to a solution, based on mutual tolerance and respect between Christians and Jews. (By (Picture www,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Isaac Newton, the foremost scientific intellects of all time

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727), mathematician and physicist, one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time. Born at Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, where he attended school, he entered Cambridge University in 1661; he was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1667, and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1669. He remained at the university, lecturing in most years, until 1696. Of these Cambridge years, in which Newton was at the height of his creative power, he singled out 1665-1666 (spent largely in Lincolnshire because of plague in Cambridge) as "the prime of my age for invention". During two to three years of intense mental effort he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) commonly known as the Principia, although this was not published until 1687.
As a firm opponent of the attempt by King James II to make the universities into Catholic institutions, Newton was elected Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge to the Convention Parliament of 1689, and sat again in 1701-1702. Meanwhile, in 1696 he had moved to London as Warden of the Royal Mint. He became Master of the Mint in 1699, an office he retained to his death. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1671, and in 1703 he became President, being annually re-elected for the rest of his life. His major work, Opticks, appeared the next year; he was knighted in Cambridge in 1705. (By (Picture

Louis Pasteur, the greatest biologist of the nineteenth century

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895): Ilmuwan Terkemuka dan Penentang Teori Evolusi.
Setiap kali membuka lemari es dan mengeluarkan botol atau dos susu, kita seharusnya mengingat ilmuwan Prancis terkemuka, Louis Pasteur. Pasteur menemukan bahwa susu terasa asam karena kemasukan organisme hidup yang terlalu kecil untuk dilihat dengan mata. Untuk mematikan organisme ini tanpa mengubah rasa atau nilai gizi makanan, dia menemukan satu cara, yakni memanaskan makanan itu secara perlahan-lahan. Proses ini, dinamai "pasteurisasi" sebagai penghargaan bagi penemunya, hanyalah salah satu dari sekian banyak sumbangan besar Pasteur bagi umat manusia. (By

Prophet Muhammad saw, the Prophet for all mankind

Prophet Muhammad (s) was born in 570 CE in Makkah (Bakka, Baca, Mecca). His father, Abdullah, died several weeks before his birth in Yathrib (Medinah) where he went to visit his father's maternal relatives. His mother died while on the return journey from Medinah at a place called ‘Abwa’ when he was six years old. He was raised by his paternal grandfather 'Abd al Muttalib (Shaybah) until the age of eight, and after his grandfather’s death by Abu Talib, his paternal uncle. 'Abd al Muttalib's mother, Salma, was a native of Medinah and he was born and raised as a young boy in Medinah before his uncle Muttalib brought him to Makkah to succeed him. Many years before Muhammad's birth, 'Abd al Muttalib had established himself as an influential leader of the Arab tribe ‘Quraish’ in Makkah and took care of the Holy sanctuary ‘Ka’bah’. Makkah was a city state well connected to the caravan routes to Syria and Egypt in the north and northwest and Yemen in the south. Muhammad was a descendant of Prophet Ismail through the lineage of his second son Kedar.
Ka'bah is the first house of worship built on earth for the worship of Allah, the One True God. It was re-built (raised from the existing foundation) by Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael). Allah is the proper name of the One True God, creator and sustainer of the universe, who does not have a partner or associate, and He did not beget nor was He begotten. Unlike the word god, the word Allah does not have a plural or gender. (By (Picture

Barack Hussein Obama, the first African American for USA

The first black President of USA
Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk huːˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago prior to earning his law degree, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the United States Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. During his tenure as Senator, he served on several committees, including the Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, Veterans' Affairs, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
After a particularly close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary against rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination as a candidate for president, becoming the first major African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009. (By Wikipedia) (Picture

Albert Einstein, the best known for his theory of relativity

Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich, where he later on began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was unable to find a teaching post, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree.
During his stay at the Patent Office, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable work and in 1908 he was appointed Privatdozent in Berne. In 1909 he became Professor Extraordinary at Zurich, in 1911 Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague, returning to Zurich in the following year to fill a similar post. In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and Professor in the University of Berlin. He became a German citizen in 1914 and remained in Berlin until 1933 when he renounced his citizenship for political reasons and emigrated to America to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton*. He became a United States citizen in 1940 and retired from his post in 1945. (By (Picture

Alexander Graham Bell, Antonio Meucci

Bell bukan penemu telepon. Antonio Meucci, seorang Italia, konon telah mulai merancang piranti telefoni pada 1834 di Milano. Bermigrasi ke Amerika, ia teruskan perangkatnya menjadi sistem yang berjalan baik pada 1850. Saat istrinya lumpuh di tahun 1855, Meucci memasangkan sistem interkom dari rumahnya ke tempat kerjanya tak jauh dari situ. Namun saat giliran Meucci yang sakit, istrinya menjual prototip telefon itu ke agen barang bekas seharga US$6 (baca buku Laura Ingalls kalau ingin merasakan nilai US$6 saat itu). Meucci memang selalu hidup dalam kemiskinan. Ia mengajukan paten telefon pada 1871. Tetapi pemrosesan di negara kapitalis itu lama dan terus memerlukan uang. Meucci membayarnya per tahun. Tahun 1874, Meucci tak sanggup lagi membayar biaya pemrosesan patent. Dan pada tahun 1876, Alexander Graham Bell memperoleh paten untuk telefon. Tentu saja kemudian Meucci memprotesnya. Tetapi secara ajaib, berkas2 Meucci hilang, sehingga klaim Meucci tak dapat diperkuat. Pengadilan digelar. Di sana, Meucci memaparkan penemuannya secara meyakinkan, sehingga diyakini Meucci akan memenangkan sidang. Tapi ia tetap kalah. Lebih dari 100 tahun kemudian, di tahun 2002, barulah Meucci diakui sebagai penemu telefon.
Kasus Meucci ini jelas mencoreng nama Bell sebagai kapitalis. Tapi tidak sebagai penemu. Banyak pihak meyakini bahwa penemuan Bell sama sekali tidak mencontek Meucci (atau Elisha Gray, atau Thomas Alva Edison). Sejak muda, Aleck terbiasa menyelidik soal transmisi suara. Saat ibunya mulai tuli, Aleck sadar bahwa ia tetap bisa bicara dengan ibunya dengan menempelkan bibir ke kepala ibunya sambil bicara — dan dengan demikian menggetarkan tulang2 di dalamnya. Ia menggetarkan dawai piano di sebuah ruang dan mengamati dawai yang senada di piano di ruang lain ikut bergetar. Lalu ia memanfaatkan gelaja elektromagnetik untuk meneruskan model resonansi ini bersama asistennya, Thomas Watson (kebetulan bukan Watson yang sama dengan pakar behaviorisme atau asisten Sherlock Holmes). Dan jadilah telefon ciptaan Bell.
Tapi Bell tak berhenti di situ. Bahkan sebelum Nikola Tesla mencobai transmisi suara tanpa kabel (dengan gelombang radio), Bell sudah mencobai telefon nirkabelnya pada tahun 1880. Dengan nama photophone, telefon nirkabel Bell ini menggunakan transmisi cahaya.
Bagaimana caranya? Bell memproyeksikan suara melalui perangkatnya sehingga menggetarkan sebuah cermin. Sinar matahari yang dipantulkan oleh cermin itu turut membentuk pola getar suara. Sisi penerima menerima pantulan cahaya yang gemeletar itu, dan mentransformasikan kembali ke bentuk suara. Tentu belum praktis. Tapi bayangkan: wireless phone, dan komunikasi optik, pada tahun 1880. (By (Picture

John Locke, the first of the British empiricists

JOHN LOCKEThis is our presentation for g/h 20. We were assigned to relate an english philosopher from the age of reason, to modern day pop culture. After researching some philosophers, we chose John Locke, becuase of the similarities with the character John Locke, off the popular tv show LOST. Some of the similarities they share are their views concerning destiny, nature vs. nurture and the tabula rasa theory.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, non- violence philosophy

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi listen (help•info) (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી, IPA: [moɦən̪d̪äs kəɾəmʧən̪d̪ gän̪d̪ʱi]) (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā or "Great Soul", an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore) and in India also as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu or "Father"). He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. (By Wikipedia) (Picture

Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor 1847-1931 for the world

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison originated the concept and implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories - a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power plant was on Manhattan Island, New York. (By Wikipedia) (Picture

Prophet Musa (Moses), received the Ten Commandments

Nabi Musa (Arabic: نبي موسى‎, meaning the "Prophet Moses", also transliterated Nebi Musa) is the name of a site in the Judean desert that popular Palestinian folklore associates with Moses. It is also the name of a seven-day long religious festival that was celebrated annually by Palestinian Muslims, beginning on the Friday before Good Friday in the old Orthodox Greek calendar. Considered "the most important Muslim pilgrimage in Palestine," the festival centered around a collective pilgrimage from Jerusalem to what was understood to be the Tomb of Moses, near Jericho. (By Wikipedia) (Picture