The seeds of empty debate amongst the Muslims…
The Caliph Ma’moun wrote to the Christian ruler of Sicily asking him to send to him, without delay, the famous Sicilian library, which was replete with philosophical works. The King, wavering before this request, assembled his ministers to seek their advice. The High Priest said, “Send it, indeed no nation has come upon this knowledge without being corrupted by it”. The King yielded to this advice and sent the library to Ma’moun, who then called Hanin b. Ishaq, a youth gifted with eloquence, and commissioned him to translate whatever he could of the books of the Greek sages into the Arabic tongue. Ma’moun paid for each and every book he translated with its weight in gold. Because of this Hanin wrote his translations in big letters, on thick paper and left plenty of space between the lines.
So the priest was right, and so came the Mu’tazalite Inquisition, the persecution and oppression of Imam Ahmed and of all the scholars in the times of Ma’moun and his immediate successors, the rise of heretical innovation and its champions, whose language was replete with philosophical terms. This could only have been the result of the translation of the Greek speculative sciences and their infusion into Muslim doctrine in order to produce what became known as “Islamic Philosophy”.
Had there been a willingness and awareness to restrict this activity to useful knowledge such as geometry, chemistry, medicine, and the like, in order that what was translated would not come into conflict with the creed and ideology of Islam then perhaps the story would have been different. Ibn Abbas had warned against just such a thing,”You must not take their sciences to account, by Allah, for we have not seen any of them ever enquire from you about what has been revealed to you” [Bukhari 13/496, #7523]
What then happened was that, according to al-Ghazali, the purity of the Islamic creed was muddied by foreign disbelief which reared its ugly head amongst the idle effete who filled their time with empty debate.
Shaykh Muhammad Saeed al-Qahtani, Al-Wala’ Wa’l-Bara