Muslim Statistics (Science)

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This page contains statistics concerning science among Muslims. For further statistics of a related nature, see Education and Employment.

Scientific Contributions[edit]


The absolute size of the Islamic scientific community is incredibly small. According to estimates made at the Islamic Conference (held in Islamabad) in 1983, the Muslim nation as a whole had a total of around 46,000 research and development scientists and engineers. Although such figures are subject to compilation criteria, one may contrast these with the corresponding figures for a typical developed country. The numbers should be one hundred times larger for a similar population. Likewise the spending on science and technology with us, does not begin to approach the 1% of GNP suggested by UNESCO as the minimum for healthy science and technology (as contrasted to 2-3% of GNP spent by USA, USSR, Western Europe and Japan).
. . .

...scientific output in any country is proportional to the GNP - the higher the product, the higher the quantum of research'. This law apparently applies to the USA, to all European countries - to China, India, and to a number of developing countries, but not to the lands of Islam - which are way, way below the norm.
. . .
...barring one or two exceptions, there are no great university research departments or research institutes of any world-calibre in any Islamic country.
. . .
...examine any issue of the multidisciplinary science weekly Nature. Note the overwhelming, overpowering, inexorable march of scientific research in unravelling Allah's design and in creating new knowledge in all fields. Note also the paucity of contributions, from any in the Islamic countries. This is truly frightening for its future implications.
. . .
...the study for desertification - a problem peculiarly severe in Muslim countries - there simply does not exist anywhere in Islamic countries a world-class research institute.
. . .

...the number of active scientists in the Islamic countries is sub-critical.[1]
...almost every potent life-saving medicament of today, from penicillin upwards, has been created without our share of input from any of us from the Muslim world.[2]
OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers and technicians per 1,000 population as compared to 40.7 of world average and 139.3 for OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries. The contribution of Muslim countries to world science literature is also meagre. Forty-six Muslim countries contribute 1.17 percent to world science literature as compared to 1.66 percent by India and 1.48 percent by Spain. Twenty Arab countries contribute 0.55 percent as compared to 0.89 percent by Israel alone.[3]
April 1997
From within 1.4 billion Muslims Abdus Salam and Ahmed Zewail are the only two Muslim men who won a Nobel Prize in physics and chemistry (Salam pursued his scientific work in Italy and the UK, Zewail at California Institute of Technology). Dr Salam in his home country is not even considered a Muslim.

Over the past 105 years, 1.4 billion Muslims have produced eight Nobel Laureates while a mere 14 million Jews have produced 167 Nobel Laureates. Of the 1.4 billion Muslims less than 300,000 qualify as 'scientists', and that converts to a ratio of 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The United States of America has 1.1 million scientists (4,099 per million); Japan has 700,000 (5,095 per million).[4]
November 2005
The Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Western nations spend around five per cent of GDP on producing knowledge.[5]
May 2007
No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven centuries now.
. . .

No Muslim leader has publicly called for separating science from religion.
. . .
On average, the 57 OIC states spend an estimated 0.3% of their gross national product on research and development, which is far below the global average of 2.4%.
. . .
...the number of available scientists, engineers, and technicians. Those numbers are low for OIC countries, averaging around 400–500 per million people, while developed countries typically lie in the range of 3500–5000 per million.
. . .
According to a recent survey, among the 57 member states of the OIC, there are approximately 1800 universities. Of those, only 312 publish journal articles. A ranking of the 50 most published among them yields these numbers: 26 are in Turkey, 9 in Iran, 3 each in Malaysia and Egypt, 2 in Pakistan, and 1 in each of Uganda, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Azerbaijan.
. . .
No OIC university made the top-500 "Academic Ranking of World Universities" compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (see
. . .
In the Islamic world, opposition to science in the public arena takes additional forms. Antiscience materials have an immense presence on the internet, with thousands of elaborately designed Islamic websites, some with view counters running into the hundreds of thousands. A typical and frequently visited one has the following banner: "Recently discovered astounding scientific facts, accurately described in the Muslim Holy Book and by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 14 centuries ago." Here one will find that everything from quantum mechanics to black holes and genes was anticipated 1400 years ago.
. . .
About 80% of the world's scientific literature appears first in English
. . .

According to a 2002 United Nations report written by Arab intellectuals and released in Cairo, Egypt, "The entire Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth the number that Greece translates." The report adds that in the 1000 years since the reign of the caliph Maa'moun, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in just one year.[6]
August 2007
Internationally, Muslim achievement in academia in general is poor. Not one university from a Muslim country, rich or poor, appears in the annual QS World University Rankings list of the top 200 universities. It cannot be argued that this is because most Muslim countries belong to the developing world. There are universities in the top 200 from only partly developed nations: South Korea (2), Israel (3), India (2), Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Greece, South Africa, or small countries like Ireland (2), Italy, Belgium (5), and the Netherlands (6). Some Muslim countries are endowed with vast wealth and could easily compete with nations like Italy or Argentina.[7]
February 2009
...figures indicate that OIC member countries, on average, fall well behind the world average in terms of researchers per million people: 649 vs. 2,532, respectively. The gap is much larger when compared to the EU that has an average of 6,494 researchers per million people and some other developed countries like New Zealand, Japan, and Republic of Korea
. . .

...available data show that OIC member countries’ spending on R&D activities is significantly lower than the world average
. . .
R&D intensity for the OIC member countries averages 0.41%, which is quite lower than the EU average of 1.76% and the world average of 1.78%
. . .
The average [R&D expenditures per capita] for all OIC countries with available data is calculated as $23.3, which is well below the world average of $194 and the EU average of $524. In Japan, this figure reaches up to $1,555, higher than GDP per capita values of ten OIC countries.
. . .

  • There are 10 countries that published less than 20 [Scientific] articles in 2009.
  • The number of countries having published less than 100 articles is 24.
  • On average, OIC member countries produced only 15 articles
    . . .

Two of the widely used measures of knowledge and technology are the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) and Knowledge Index (KI)

  • Half of the bottom 50 countries for which the KEI was calculated are OIC members.
  • 22 of the bottom 50 countries for which the KI can be calculated are OIC members.
    . . .

...the OIC members, individually or as a group, lag far behind the rest of the world, particularly the developed countries
. . .
...the 57 OIC member countries produced fewer scientific articles than England in 2009.

Available data on 25 OIC member countries indicated that patent applications are below the world average and mostly filed by non-residents...[8]
April 2010


...chemistry publications by Iranian scientists tripled in five years, from 1040 in 1998 to 3277 in 2003. Many scientific papers that were claimed as original by their Iranian chemist authors, and that had been published in internationally peer-reviewed journals, had actually been published twice and sometimes thrice with identical or nearly identical contents by the same authors. Others were plagiarized papers that could have been easily detected by any reasonably careful referee.[6]
August 2007


...the total number of Physics teachers in all the (nineteen) universities of Pakistan is 86, of which only 46 have PhDs. Contrast this with one College (Imperial College of Science and Technology) in one University (London) in the UK - the corresponding numbers are 150.
. . . its 100 years of existence - the Punjab University at Lahore has not produced one single Ph.D in Mathematics and only three in Physics (1982 figures).[1]
According to official statistics, Pakistan has produced only eight patents in the past 43 years.
. . .
When the 2005 earthquake struck Pakistan, killing more than 90 000 people, no major scientist in the country publicly challenged the belief, freely propagated through the mass media, that the quake was God's punishment for sinful behavior. Mullahs ridiculed the notion that science could provide an explanation; they incited their followers into smashing television sets, which had provoked Allah's anger and hence the earthquake.[6]
August 2007



More than 90 per cent of Muslims worldwide, according to impeccable research, reject the science of evolution out of hand. Indeed, Islamic Creationists in Turkey are funding a huge campaign to important bogus “altases of Creation” into European schools.[9]
August 2008
A recent survey of public acceptance of evolution in 34 countries did include one Muslim country, Turkey. The study found that about 25% of adults in Turkey agree with the statement, “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals,” well below the United States (at 40%). The result is all the more worrisome, because Turkey is one of the most educated and secular of Muslim countries. A recent sociological study analyzing religious patterns in Muslim countries (Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan) included a question about evolution as an example of an idea that challenges a “fundamental religious belief widely held by Muslims”. The respondents were asked: “Do you agree or disagree with Darwin’s theory of evolution?” Only 16% of Indonesians, 14% of Pakistanis, 8% of Egyptians, 11% of Malaysians, and 22% of Turks agree that Darwin’s theory is probably or most certainly true (see chart, page 1637). The former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, already showing differences in religious patterns with other countries in the study, had the highest fraction that accepted evolutionary theory. In fact, only 28% of Kazakhs thought that evolution is false,[10]
December 2008

United Kingdom[edit]

“The experience of my Turkish publisher of The God Delusion was that he was threatened with arrest for blasphemy. He may even have been arrested, and my website has been banned in Turkey. I feel amused really. There’s something to be said for being suppressed, it makes people want to read you.”

While most non-fundamentalist Christian traditions have largely accepted evolution, Islam was still much more hostile, he said. “It’s the fact that Islam teaches the Koran is the literal word of God, unlike most Christian sects, which say the Bible is largely symbolic. That could well be the cause.”

Professor Dawkins added that Islamic influence is the likely explanation for the growing popularity of creationist beliefs in Britain, where a recent poll found that 30 per cent of teenagers accept the rebranded idea of “intelligent design”.

“I think that’s pretty clear,” he said. “I hear that from colleagues at the coalface of teaching. There has been a sharp upturn in hostility to teaching of evolution in the classroom and it’s mostly coming from Islamic students.[11]
August 2009

United States[edit]

Survey of religious (and irreligious) American physicians conducted by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Social and Religious Research at The Jewish Theological Seminary and HCD Research in Flemington, New Jersey:

Survey of American physicians 2005.JPG

May 2005

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Salam, Abdus. Ideals and Realities: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam. World Scientific. pp. 345-347, 1989. 
  2. Salam, Abdus. Renaissance of Sciences in Islamic Countries. World Scientific. p. 68, 1994. 
  3. Anwar, M.; Abu Bakar, A. (1997-09-09) - Current state of science and technology in the Muslim world - Scientometrics Volume 40, Number 1, 23-44, DOI: 10.1007/BF02459260 (full text)
  4. Dr Farrukh Saleem - What went wrong? - The News International, November 8, 2005
  5. Husain Haqqani - Reasons for decline of the Muslim world - Gulf News, May 2, 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, "Science and the Islamic world - The quest for rapprochement", Physics Today, vol. 60, iss. 8, p. 49, August 2007 (archived from the original), 
  7. Denis MacEoin, "Music, Chess and other Sins", Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society London, p. 40, February 2009 (archived), 
  8. "Research and Scientific Development in OIC Countries", Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), pp. 1, 3-4, 10, 13-14, 16-17, April 1, 2010 (archived from the original), 
  9. Damian Thompson - Richard Dawkins' attack on Islamic Creationism is long overdue - The Telegraph, August 5, 2008
  10. Salman Hameed - Bracing for Islamic Creationism - (, Science Vol 322 December 12, 2008
  11. Mark Henderson, Science Editor - Professor Richard Dawkins wants to convert Islamic world to evolution - The Times Online, August 22, 2009
  12. Majority of Physicians Give the Nod to Evolution Over Intelligent Design - HCD Research, May 23, 2005
  13. Q6. Do you agree more with the evolution or more with intelligent design? - HCD Research, May 23, 2005