It is a clich now to say that Islamic history is filled with examples of people, who were intellectual geniuses and who not only contributed to Islamic intellectual history, but whose works were of unforgettable proportions in a global context. Whereas this statement is completely true in and of itself, it can still lead to a misrepresented view of Islamic intellectual history, if taken out of context. Yes, the Islamic civilisation has been the home to philosophical, scientific and intellectual giants. But, they should not be seen as sidelined geniuses, who were fighting for the survival of rationality against a mainstream un-rationalistic, orthodox mullahism in medieval times. As any serious student of history would know, these categories of rationality, orthodoxy and mullahism cannot be applied to the medieval Islamic world in such a simplistic manner. One has to be extremely careful while labelling historical phenomena with later, or inaccurate, categories of thinking. As opposed to this viewpoint that the medieval Islamic world was intellectually dominated by a group of people, who followed overly strict interpretations of core Islamic sources such as the Quran and the Sunnah, the historically more viable truth, as is now being shown by several mainstream academics, is that this period in Islamic civilisation was dominated by a culture of religious tolerance, harmony, intellectual curiosity and a system of rigorous reception and dissemination of knowledge. It is the intellectual milieu, the socio-political and economic modalities and the culture in medieval Islam that is to be given the credit, because many of the great Islamic thinkers of that period were a product of that civilisational tour de force. Most of us do not realise the importance of the medieval Islamic civilisation for the intellectual history of the world. Whereas we must have heard about the Muslim military conquests of earlier centuries, most among us do not know about the massive intellectual contributions of this vibrant Islamic civilisation to the world at large. Of course, we have heard about the glories of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. But most among us do not know about the translations and commentaries of the Greek philosophical and scientific tradition into Arabic. It is a phenomenon known as the Graeco-Arabic translation movement that, from roughly the 8th till the 10th century, had translated much of the Greek intellectual corpus in both the scientific and the philosophical domain into Arabic. The Islamic civilisation of that time - which included Muslims as well as many non-Muslims - had acquired almost the entire Greek philosophical and scientific legacy which they then translated into Arabic. Here, it is important to mention that they not only translated, but rather expanded, revised and rectified many of the ideas discussed therein. This translation movement into Arabic was to change the course of the entire world This is because after Muslims had Arabised the Greek tradition, it was mainly this Arabised tradition that was to then create an impact on Medieval Europe. This is what we call the European Renaissance - the re-discovery by Europe of the classical intellectual tradition of rational inquiry as initiated primarily by the Greeks. And the important historical fact to keep in mind here is that this re-discovery of the Greek tradition was mostly through the Arabic sources, and in many cases not the original Greek sources. This translation movement, known as the Arabo-Latin translation movement gave medieval Europe access to what by that time had become Arabic philosophy and science. Historically speaking then, it was due to the medieval Islamic civilisation that the West had seen the light of the Renaissance. In other words, the modern world, especially in intellectual terms, is as much a product of the medieval Islamic civilisation as it is of Medieval Europe. But unfortunately, many of us have been kept ignorant of our own history This historical narrative cuts right through the entire discourse of the clash of civilisations. This shows that the dichotomy of Islam versus the West is merely a functional dichotomy that has been propagated for geopolitical reasons. This dichotomy has no historical bases. Once we accept this, the entire discourse about Islam and the West starts to drift away from a confrontational mode. This is our intellectual history and tradition, and we must be aware of it. Only then can we realise our place in todays world. This is important not only for the sake of our present, but also for the sake of our future The writer is head teaching assistant of the Islamic Studies core course at LUMS.