Dr Lim Ren Chong
The Islamic world in the period between 133AH and 655AH (750AD – 1258AD) is marked by rapid technological advancements stemming from the ability of its community to preserve, adapt, and build on already existing ideas and techniques assimilated from others. There was a culture highly creative in its approach to drive technological progress, which in turn, led to valuable innovations and accumulation of vast wealth. More importantly, these innovations were valuable in assisting the community to achieve different Maqāṣid. Leadership, stable rules of law, common trade rules, effective administration, and strong institutions are example ingredients which gave rise to a culture of technological creativity for these innovations to flourish. However, one ingredient often under-appreciated lies in the deployment of information, rather than in the generation of new knowledge or understanding. New knowledge or understanding codified as information in journal articles and book chapters is only useful when it is efficiently deployed and delivered to the community, so that the information can be immediately acted upon. There were many agents at work with regard to the deployment and production of information during this period, of which, the role of non-Muslim members within the community cannot be underestimated.