Why Muslims don’t win Nobel Prizes


While the West invested in innovation, Muslims did not

“All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though”.

When I read this headline from an article by Richard Dawkins, I realised that he was at his Islam bashing best. I was at first offended, thinking that perhaps this was yet another attempt at denigrating Islam. However when considered that it is a fact that cannot be denied, then perhaps one should look deeper into the cause of such a lapse in the educational achievements between the Islamic culture versus the West.

The last bit was rather patronising, but unfortunately factual.

Over the last millennia the Muslims were way ahead of the west in their culture, and education. And stayed ahead till the renaissance, when art and science took root, in Europe. Till that time the West were hunter gatherers too busy in just surviving. After the Renaissance, the Europeans picked up the pace, and their interest and investment in education grew.

Then the invention of the steam engine by James Watt and then Stephenson in 1830 was used by the coal industry, and by steamers. This source of power was used in industry, textiles was the first to go from spinning wool by hand to spinning machines, designed and operated by engineers in the midlands. There was a close link between the inventors and the engineers —- education. The quantum leap was after steam power was applied to Industry, and—as they say, the rest is history. The discovery of oil, made the engine mobile, and the automobile was on its way. Aeroplanes were not far behind, in fact aircraft and automobiles were invented at the same time. After the induction of oil as the supply of power, and the mobility of oil as a power source.

In these years the west kept increasing their investment in education, adding to their inventions. Indeed Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and went on to make his fortune, and then created his Nobel Prize to benefit inventors, and thinkers. This is an example of the benefits of money being passed on to deserving recipients. There is no comparable example in the Muslim world.

In the same period, the Ottoman Empire built many beautiful mosques, but no schools of higher learning. The Muslims were kept at their primitive level of education, and even the great libraries of Baghdad were routinely destroyed. The value of education that the Holy Prophet had prescribed was ignored and wantonly destroyed. The west continued on its march of progress while the Muslims carried on in their pursuit of pleasure, spending their amassed wealth in frivolous and wanton excesses.

In the 19th century, with the advent of the automobile and aeroplanes, the pace of growth was exponential, with Nobel prizes a yearly addition acknowledging invention and innovation.

The two World Wars changed the players, catapulting the Americans and Russians to the front with the Cold War fuelling a cutthroat competition. While the huge amounts of oil money that came the Arab way was mostly frittered away into the pursuit of physical comforts and carnal pleasures, not much was put into education. In fact a lot of money was invested in the colleges of the US like Harvard and MIT which have huge endowments from the Arab oil wealth.

Now, of course just the invention and spread of the internet has created probably the biggest leap in man’s knowledge – more than all the years preceding it. It is education alone that can expand the human horizon, into the huge unknown, creating knowledge for the coming generations. The internet has also freed mankind from all religious constraints.


  1. Religions often attempt to keep their adherents ignorant – an ignorant mass is easier to control Most Christians weren't allowed to read the Bible for very long time until the printing press. Islam is still showing it is against much education. They'll never improve that way.

  2. Why keep looking backwards even today nothing seems to be changing. The kind of education being provided is absolutely useless. The rulers who hold money strings are money grabbers and will not spend money on providing people with proper education. The Ottomans, the Mughals, the Zardaris and Sharif bratheran are all the same holding the money strings tightly giving "bakhsheesh" to whom they please.As regards our other source of educaters i.e. Madrassas they only believe in learning backwards. I have been pleading with some to try introduce teaching languages such as Chinese or English which could benefit their students and make huge difference to their lives but that would according to them displease Allah Subhan Ta-alla

  3. The modern muslims are just thick and spend time arguing about pointless things and spend little time trying to improve their education systems.

  4. its true Muslims did loose their glory in education and research, author failed to look far from Ottomon empire, he forgot the how some of the basic sciences got their names from Al Gebra(Algebra), Al Chemia(Chemistry), along with founders of concepts and research that is now base of modern day science. sorry Nobel prize didnt exist at the time!

    Apart from that they also have reason for not getting such prizes because they are Muslims. While Obama get the noble prize for literally nothing, Abdul Sattar Edhi would have won this prize years ago if he was doing this work somewhere else or he wasnt a muslim.

  5. I think he was referring to Nobel prizes in science. The fact is that muslims lack the advanced intelligence to win these prizes. I cant think of single thing muslims have invented in the last 300 hundred years and with the state of the Ummah it doesn't look like they we will invent anything for the next 300 years. I know its painful but the Kaffir was right.

  6. No nation deeply invoved in religion has ever excelled in philosophy, logic, science and technology. It is difficult to learn from unkown, but Muslims dont learn from history and events infront of them. they are getting worse day by day. most of muslim scholars and their writings tend to block muslims mind and they are happy.

  7. There is plenty wrong with our Education system. However, Muslims are still doing amazing things. It was Pakistani software experts who were lead programmers for Microsoft Excel and Windows. Muslim Indian, Iranian and Egyptian scientists are even now working with NASA and other American agencies – expanding the frontiers of science. But these Muslims do not talk about their religion and many do not even practice their religion. So its not just our education that is our problem.

    Muslims have forgotten our religion. We have become complacent. We have started thinking that just because we have a Muslim name – we will be going to heaven! We need to go back to the Quran and Sunnah. Our Mideaval predecessors who were so successful in Science and Maths and all fields of knowledge studied the Quran and extracted knowledge from there. Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala has provided immense knowledge in the Quran. Its up to us to study and analyse and utilise the knowledge to advance ourselves. May Allah SWT guide us all and shower His blessings and mercy upon us all. Ameen. May Allah SWT protect all Muslims and grant us peace and happiness. Ameen.

  8. We cant mention a single invention by muslims in application today by their name. Nations are known by what they are today, no one bothers past. We are confused between religion and science. Reason and believes.

  9. Sure a noble for waging war,jihad,killing innocent people, forcible conversion,rape, Taliban, pakistan etc etc

  10. Mr straight, what you are indicating are not teachings of Islam .you should remember we are victim of wars which are fought for more then two decades

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