Islamic Golden Age

Islamic Golden Age

The Islamic Golden Age, also sometimes known as the Islamic Renaissance, [Joel L. Kraemer (1992), "Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam", p. 1 & 148, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004072594.] was traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century C.E., [Matthew E. Falagas, Effie A. Zarkadoulia, George Samonis (2006). "Arab science in the golden age (750–1258 C.E.) and today", "The FASEB Journal" 20, p. 1581-1586.] but has been extended to the 15th and 16th centuries by recent scholarship. During this period, artists, engineers, scholars, poets, philosophers, geographers and traders in the Islamic world contributed to the arts, agriculture, economics, industry, law, literature, navigation, philosophy, sciences, sociology, and technology, both by preserving and building upon earlier traditions and by adding inventions and innovations of their own.Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam", p. 270 (book cover, last page), University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-78149-0] Howard R. Turner writes: "Muslim artists and scientists, princes and labourers together made a unique culture that has directly and indirectly influenced societies on every continent."


During the Muslim conquests of the 7th and early 8th centuries, Rashidun armies established the Islamic Empire, which was one of the ten largest empires in history. The Islamic Golden Age was soon inaugurated by the middle of the 8th century by the ascension of the Abbasid Caliphate and the transfer of the capital from Damascus to the Persian city of Baghdad illustrating the strong Persian presence in the Abbasid Caliphate. The Abbassids were influenced by the Qur'anic injunctions and hadith such as "The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of martyrs" stressing the value of knowledge. During this period the Muslim world became the unrivalled intellectual centre for science, philosophy, medicine and education as the Abbasids championed the cause of knowledge and established a "House of Wisdom" (Arabic:بيت الحكمة) in Baghdad; where both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars sought to translate and gather all the world's knowledge into Arabic. Many classic works of antiquity that would otherwise have been lost were translated into Arabic and later in turn translated into Turkish, Persian, Hebrew and Latin. During this period the Muslim world was a cauldron of cultures which collected, synthesized and significantly advanced the knowledge gained from the ancient Iraqi, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Persian, Egyptian, North African, Greek and Byzantine civilizations. Rival Muslim dynasties such as the Fatimids of Egypt and the Umayyads of al-Andalus were also major intellectual centres with cities such as Cairo and Córdoba rivaling Baghdad.Vartan Gregorian, "Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith", Brookings Institution Press, 2003, pg 26-38 ISBN 081573283X]

A major innovation of this period was paper - originally a secret tightly guarded by the Chinese. The art of papermaking was obtained from prisoners taken at the Battle of Talas (751), resulting in paper mills being built in the Persian cities of Samarkand and Baghdad. The Arabs improved upon the Chinese techniques of using mulberry bark by using starch to account for the Muslim preference for pens vs. the Chinese for brushes. By AD 900 there were hundreds of shops employing scribes and binders for books in Baghdad and even public libraries began to become established, including the first lending libraries. From here paper-making spread west to Fez and then to al-Andalus and from there to Europe in the 13th century.Arnold Pacey, "Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History", MIT Press, 1990, ISBN 0262660725 pg 41-42]

Much of this learning and development can be linked to topography. Even prior to Islam's presence, the city of Mecca served as a centre of trade in Arabia. The tradition of the pilgrimage to Mecca became a centre for exchanging ideas and goods. The influence held by Muslim merchants over African-Arabian and Arabian-Asian trade routes was tremendous. As a result, Islamic civilization grew and expanded on the basis of its merchant economy, in contrast to their Christian, Indian and Chinese peers who built societies from an agricultural landholding nobility. Merchants brought goods and their faith to China, India (the Indian subcontinent now has over 450 million followers), South-east Asia (which now has over 230 million followers), and the kingdoms of Western Africa and returned with new inventions. Merchants used their wealth to invest in textiles and plantations.

Aside from traders, Sufi missionaries also played a large role in the spread of Islam, by bringing their message to various regions around the world. The principal locations included: Persia, Ancient Mesopotamia, Central Asia and North Africa. Although, the mystics also had a significant influence in parts of Eastern Africa, Ancient Anatolia (Turkey), South Asia, East Asia and South-east Asia.cite web
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title = Sufism
author = Bülent Þenay
accessdate = 2007-06-26
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title = Muslim History and the Spread of Islam from the 7th to the 21st century
publisher = The Islam Project
accessdate = 2007-06-26


Many medieval Muslim thinkers pursued humanistic, rational and scientific discourses in their search for knowledge, meaning and values. A wide range of Islamic writings on love poetry, history and philosophical theology show that medieval Islamic thought was open to the humanistic ideas of individualism, occasional secularism, skepticism and liberalism. [Lenn Evan Goodman (2003), "Islamic Humanism", p. 155, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195135806.] [Joel L. Kraemer (1992), "Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam", Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004072594.]

Religious freedom, though society was still controlled under Islamic values, helped create cross-cultural networks by attracting Muslim, Christian and Jewish intellectuals and thereby helped spawn the greatest period of philosophical creativity in the Middle Ages from the 8th to 13th centuries. Another reason the Islamic world flourished during this period was an early emphasis on freedom of speech, as summarized by al-Hashimi (a cousin of Caliph al-Ma'mun) in the following letter to one of the religious opponents he was attempting to convert through reason: [citation|first=I. A.|last=Ahmad|contribution=The Rise and Fall of Islamic Science: The Calendar as a Case Study|title=Faith and Reason: Convergence and Complementarity|publisher=Al Akhawayn University|date=June 3, 2002|url= |accessdate=2008-01-31]

The earliest known treatises dealing with environmentalism and environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic treatises written by al-Kindi, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Abd-el-latif, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid waste mishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities. [L. Gari (2002), "Arabic Treatises on Environmental Pollution up to the End of the Thirteenth Century", "Environment and History" 8 (4), pp. 475-488.] Cordoba, al-Andalus also had the first waste containers and waste disposal facilities for litter collection. [S. P. Scott (1904), "History of the Moorish Empire in Europe", 3 vols, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.
F. B. Artz (1980), "The Mind of the Middle Ages", Third edition revised, University of Chicago Press, pp 148-50.
(cf. [ References] , 1001 Inventions)


A number of important educational and scientific institutions previously unknown in the ancient world have their origins in the medieval Islamic world, with the most notable examples being: the public hospital (which replaced healing temples and sleep temples) and psychiatric hospital, [Ibrahim B. Syed PhD, "Islamic Medicine: 1000 years ahead of its times", "Journal of the Islamic Medical Association", 2002 (2), p. 2-9 [7-8] .] the public library and lending library, the academic degree-granting university, and the astronomical observatory as a research institutePeter Barrett (2004), "Science and Theology Since Copernicus: The Search for Understanding", p. 18, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 056708969X.] (as opposed to a private observation post as was the case in ancient times). [citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=992–3, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=985-1007]

The first universities which issued diplomas were the Bimaristan medical university-hospitals of the medieval Islamic world, where medical diplomas were issued to students of Islamic medicine who were qualified to be practicing doctors of medicine from the 9th century. [John Bagot Glubb (cf. [ Quotations on Islamic Civilization] )] The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859 CE. ["The Guinness Book Of Records", Published 1998, ISBN 0-5535-7895-2, P.242 ] Al-Azhar University, founded in Cairo, Egypt in the 975 CE, offered a variety of academic degrees, including postgraduate degrees, and is often considered the first full-fledged university. The origins of the doctorate also dates back to the "ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifttd" ("license to teach and issue legal opinions") in the medieval Madrasahs which taught Islamic law.citation|last=Makdisi|first=George|title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West|journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society|volume=109|issue=2|date=April-June 1989|pages=175–182 [175–77] |doi=10.2307/604423]

By the 10th century, Cordoba had 700 mosques, 60,000 palaces, and 70 libraries, the largest of which had 600,000 books. In the whole al-Andalus, 60,000 treatises, poems, polemics and compilations were published each year.Dato' Dzulkifli Abd Razak, [ Quest for knowledge] , "New Sunday Times", 3 July 2005.] The library of Cairo had two million books, [Patricia Skinner (2001), [ Unani-tibbi] , "Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine"] while the library of Tripoli is said to have had as many as three million books before it was destroyed by Crusaders. The number of important and original medieval Arabic works on the mathematical sciences far exceeds the combined total of medieval Latin and Greek works of comparable significance, although only a small fraction of the surviving Arabic scientific works have been studied in modern times. [N. M. Swerdlow (1993). "Montucla's Legacy: The History of the Exact Sciences", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 54 (2), p. 299-328 [320] .]

A number of distinct features of the modern library were introduced in the Islamic world, where libraries not only served as a collection of manuscripts as was the case in ancient libraries, but also as a public library and lending library, a centre for the instruction and spread of sciences and ideas, a place for meetings and discussions, and sometimes as a lodging for scholars or boarding school for pupils. The concept of the library catalogue was also introduced in medieval Islamic libraries, where books were organized into specific genres and categories. [citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=988–991 in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=985-1007]

Several fundamental common law institutions may have been adapted from similar legal institutions in Islamic law and jurisprudence, and introduced to England by the Normans after the Norman conquest of England and the Emirate of Sicily, and by Crusaders during the Crusades. In particular, the "royal English contract protected by the action of debt is identified with the Islamic "Aqd", the English assize of novel disseisin is identified with the Islamic "Istihqaq", and the English jury is identified with the Islamic "Lafif"." Other legal institutions introduced in Islamic law include the trust and charitable trust (Waqf), [Harv|Gaudiosi|1988] [Harv|Hudson|2003|p=32] and the agency and aval (Hawala), [citation|title=Islamic Law: Its Relation to Other Legal Systems|first=Gamal Moursi|last=Badr|journal=The American Journal of Comparative Law|volume=26|issue=2 - Proceedings of an International Conference on Comparative Law, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 24-25, 1977|date=Spring, 1978|pages=187–198 [196–8] |doi=10.2307/839667] and the lawsuit and medical peer review. [Ray Spier (2002), "The history of the peer-review process", "Trends in Biotechnology" 20 (8), p. 357-358 [357] .] Other English legal institutions such as "the scholastic method, the license to teach," the "law schools known as Inns of Court in England and "Madrasas" in Islam" and the "European commenda" (Islamic "Qirad") may have also originated from Islamic law. These influences have led some scholars to suggest that Islamic law may have laid the foundations for "the common law as an integrated whole".Harvard reference|last=Makdisi|first=John A.|title=The Islamic Origins of the Common Law|journal=North Carolina Law Review|year=1999|date=June 1999|volume=77|issue=5|pages=1635-1739]


Another common feature during the Islamic Golden Age was the large number of Muslim polymath scholars, who were known as "Hakeems", each of whom contributed to a variety of different fields of both religious and secular learning, comparable to the later "Renaissance Men" (such as Leonardo da Vinci) of the European Renaissance period. [Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam", p. 21, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-78149-0] During the Islamic Golden Age, polymath scholars with a wide breadth of knowledge in different fields were more common than scholars who specialized in any single field of learning.Karima Alavi, [ Tapestry of Travel] , Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.]

Notable medieval Muslim polymaths included al-Biruni, al-Jahiz, al-Kindi, Avicenna, al-Idrisi, Ibn Bajjah, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Tufail, Averroes, al-Suyuti, [citation|first=Ziauddin|last=Sardar|author-link=Ziauddin Sardar|date=1998|contribution=Science in Islamic philosophy|title=Islamic Philosophy|publisher=Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy|url=|accessdate=2008-02-03] Geber, [ [ Bio-Bibliographies] , United States National Library of Medicine.] Abbas Ibn Firnas, [Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", "Technology and Culture" 2 (2), p. 97-111 [100-101] .] Alhacen, [Sami Hamarneh (March 1972), "Review: Hakim Mohammed Said, "Ibn al-Haitham", "Isis" 63 (1), p. 118–119.] Ibn al-Nafis, [Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi, [ Ibnul-Nafees As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World".] Ibn Khaldun, [Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar (2003), "The Middle East and Islamic World Reader", p. 54, Grove Press, ISBN 0802139361.] al-Khwarizmi, al-Masudi, al-Muqaddasi, and Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, among others.


Age of discovery

The Islamic Empire significantly contributed to globalization during the Islamic Golden Age, when the knowledge, trade and economies from many previously isolated regions and civilizations began integrating due to contacts with Muslim explorers, sailors, scholars, traders, and travelers. Some have called this period the "Pax Islamica" or "Afro-Asiatic age of discovery", in reference to the Muslim South-west Asian and North African traders and explorers who travelled most of the Old World, and established an early global economy across most of Asia and Africa and much of Europe, with their trade networks extending from the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Indian Ocean and China Sea in the east.Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), p. 79-96.] This helped establish the Islamic Empire (including the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates) as the world's leading extensive economic power throughout the 7th-13th centuries.John M. Hobson (2004), "The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation", p. 29-30, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521547245.] Several contemporary medieval Arabic reports also suggest that Muslim explorers from al-Andalus and the Maghreb may have travelled in expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean between the 9th and 14th centuries. [S. A. H. Ahsani (July 1984). "Muslims in Latin America: a survey", "Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs" 5 (2), p. 454-463.]

Agricultural Revolution

The Islamic Golden Age witnessed a fundamental transformation in agriculture known as the "Muslim Agricultural Revolution" or "Arab Agricultural Revolution". [Thomas F. Glick (1977), "Noria Pots in Spain", "Technology and Culture" 18 (4), p. 644-650.] Due to the global economy established by Muslim traders across the Old World, this enabled the diffusion of many plants and farming techniques between different parts of the Islamic world, as well as the adaptation of plants and techniques from beyond the Islamic world. Crops from Africa such as sorghum, crops from China such as citrus fruits, and numerous crops from India such as mangos, rice, and especially cotton and sugar cane, were distributed throughout Islamic lands which normally would not be able to grow these crops. Some have referred to the diffusion of numerous crops during this period as the "Globalisation of Crops", [ [ The Globalisation of Crops] , FSTC] which, along with an increased mechanization of agriculture (see Industrial growth below), led to major changes in economy, population distribution, vegetation cover, [Andrew M. Watson (1983), "Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World", Cambridge University Press, ISBN 052124711X.] agricultural production and income, population levels, urban growth, the distribution of the labour force, linked industries, cooking and diet, clothing, and numerous other aspects of life in the Islamic world.Andrew M. Watson (1974), "The Arab Agricultural Revolution and Its Diffusion, 700-1100", "The Journal of Economic History" 34 (1), p. 8-35.]

During the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, sugar production was refined and transformed into a large-scale industry by the Arabs, who built the first sugar refineries and sugar plantations. The Arabs and Berbers diffused sugar throughout the Islamic Empire from the 8th century.Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part II: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering] ]

Muslims introduced cash cropping and the modern crop rotation system where land was cropped four or more times in a two-year period. Winter crops were followed by summer ones, and in some cases there was in between. In areas where plants of shorter growing season were used, such as spinach and eggplants, the land could be cropped three or more times a year. In parts of Yemen, wheat yielded two harvests a year on the same land, as did rice in Iraq. Muslims developed a scientific approach to agriculture based on three major elements; sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigation techniques, and the introduction of a large variety of crops which were studied and catalogued according to the season, type of land and amount of water they require. Numerous encyclopaedias on farming and botany were produced, containing accurate, precise detail. [Al-Hassani, Woodcock and Saoud (2007), "Muslim heritage in Our World", FSTC publishing, 2nd Edition, p. 102-123.]

Market economy

Early forms of proto-capitalism and free markets were present in the Caliphate, ["The Cambridge economic history of Europe", p. 437. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521087090.] where an early market economy and early form of merchant capitalism was developed between the 8th-12th centuries, which some refer to as "Islamic capitalism". [Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), p. 79-96 [81, 83, 85, 90, 93, 96] .] A vigorous monetary economy was created on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency (the dinar) and the integration of monetary areas that were previously independent. Innovative new business techniques and forms of business organisation were introduced by economists, merchants and traders during this time. Such innovations included early trading companies, credit cards, big businesses, contracts, bills of exchange, long-distance international trade, early forms of partnership ("mufawada") such as limited partnerships ("mudaraba"), and early forms of credit, debt, profit, loss, capital ("al-mal"), capital accumulation ("nama al-mal"), circulating capital, capital expenditure, revenue, cheques, promissory notes, [Robert Sabatino Lopez, Irving Woodworth Raymond, Olivia Remie Constable (2001), "Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World: Illustrative Documents", Columbia University Press, ISBN 0231123574.] trusts ("waqf"), startup companies, [Timur Kuran (2005), "The Absence of the Corporation in Islamic Law: Origins and Persistence", "American Journal of Comparative Law" 53, p. 785-834 [798-799] .] savings accounts, transactional accounts, pawning, loaning, exchange rates, bankers, money changers, ledgers, deposits, assignments, the double-entry bookkeeping system, [Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), p. 79-96 [92-93] .] and lawsuits. [Ray Spier (2002), "The history of the peer-review process", "Trends in Biotechnology" 20 (8), p. 357-358 [357] .] Organizational enterprises similar to corporations independent from the state also existed in the medieval Islamic world. [Said Amir Arjomand (1999), "The Law, Agency, and Policy in Medieval Islamic Society: Development of the Institutions of Learning from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century", "Comparative Studies in Society and History" 41, p. 263-293. Cambridge University Press.] [Samir Amin (1978), "The Arab Nation: Some Conclusions and Problems", "MERIP Reports" 68, p. 3-14 [8, 13] .] Many of these early proto-capitalist concepts were adopted and further advanced in medieval Europe from the 13th century onwards.Jairus Banaji (2007), "Islam, the Mediterranean and the rise of capitalism", "Historical Materialism" 15 (1), p. 47-74, Brill Publishers.]

The systems of contract relied upon by merchants was very effective. Merchants would buy and sell on commission, with money loaned to them by wealthy investors, or a joint investment of several merchants, who were often Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Recently, a collection of documents was found in an Egyptian synagogue shedding a very detailed and human light on the life of medieval Middle Eastern merchants. Business partnerships would be made for many commercial ventures, and bonds of kinship enabled trade networks to form over huge distances. Networks developed during this time enabled a world in which money could be promised by a bank in Baghdad and cashed in Spain, creating the cheque system of today. Each time items passed through the cities along this extraordinary network, the city imposed a tax, resulting in high prices once reaching the final destination. These innovations made by Muslims and Jews laid the foundations for the modern economic system.

Though medieval Islamic economics appears to have been closer to proto-capitalism, some scholars have also found a number of parallels between Islamic economic jurisprudence and communism, including the Islamic ideas of zakat and riba. [Bernard Lewis (1954), "Communism and Islam", "International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-)" 30 (1), p. 1-12.]

Industrial growth

:"Further information: and Inventions in the Muslim world"

Muslim engineers in the Islamic world made a number of innovative industrial uses of hydropower, and early industrial uses of tidal power, wind power, steam power, [Ahmad Y Hassan (1976). "Taqi al-Din and Arabic Mechanical Engineering", p. 34-35. Institute for the History of Arabic Science, University of Aleppo.] fossil fuels such as petroleum, and early large factory complexes ("tiraz" in Arabic). [Maya Shatzmiller, p. 36.] The industrial uses of watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled and vertical-wheeled water mills were both in widespread use since at least the 9th century. A variety of industrial mills were being employed in the Islamic world, including early fulling mills, gristmills, hullers, paper mills, sawmills, shipmills, stamp mills, steel mills, sugar mills, tide mills and windmills. By the 11th century, every province throughout the Islamic world had these industrial mills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. [Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1), p. 1-30 [10] .] Muslim engineers also invented crankshafts and water turbines, employed gears in mills and water-raising machines, and pioneered the use of dams as a source of water power, used to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. Such advances made it possible for many industrial tasks that were previously driven by manual labour in ancient times to be mechanized and driven by machinery instead in the medieval Islamic world. The transfer of these technologies to medieval Europe had an influence on the Industrial Revolution. [Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1), p. 1-30.]

A number of industries were generated due to the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, including early industries for agribusiness, astronomical instruments, ceramics, chemicals, distillation technologies, clocks, glass, mechanical hydropowered and wind powered machinery, matting, mosaics, pulp and paper, perfumery, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, rope-making, shipping, shipbuilding, silk, sugar, textiles, water, weapons, and the mining of minerals such as sulphur, ammonia, lead and iron. Early large factory complexes ("tiraz") were built for many of these industries, and knowledge of these industries were later transmitted to medieval Europe, especially during the Latin translations of the 12th century, as well as before and after. For example, the first glass factories in Europe were founded in the 11th century by Egyptian craftsmen in Greece. [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part 1: Avenues Of Technology Transfer] ] The agricultural and handicraft industries also experienced high levels of growth during this period.


:"Further information: Muslim Agricultural Revolution - Labour

The labour force in the Caliphate were employed from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, while both men and women were involved in diverse occupations and economic activities. [Maya Shatzmiller, p. 6-7.] Women were employed in a wide range of commercial activities and diverse occupationsMaya Shatzmiller, p. 400-401.] in the primary sector (as farmers for example), secondary sector (as construction workers, dyers, spinners, etc.) and tertiary sector (as investors, doctors, nurses, presidents of guilds, brokers, peddlers, lenders, scholars, etc.). [Maya Shatzmiller, p. 350-362.] Muslim women also had a monopoly over certain branches of the textile industry.


A significant number of inventions were produced by medieval Muslim engineers and inventors, such as Abbas Ibn Firnas, the Banū Mūsā, Taqi al-Din, and most notably al-Jazari.

Some of the inventions believed to have come from the Islamic Golden Age include the camera obscura, coffee, soap bar, shampoo, pure distillation, liquefaction, crystallization, purification, oxidisation, evaporation, filtration, distilled alcohol, uric acid, nitric acid, alembic, crankshaft, valve, reciprocating suction piston pump, mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, combination lock, quilting, pointed arch, scalpel, bone saw, forceps, surgical catgut, windmill, inoculation, smallpox vaccine, fountain pen, cryptanalysis, frequency analysis, three-course meal, stained glass and quartz glass, Persian carpet, celestial globe, Paul Vallely, [ How Islamic Inventors Changed the World] , "The Independent", 11 March 2006.]


:"Further information:

As urbanization increased, Muslim cities grew unregulated, resulting in narrow winding city streets and neighbourhoods separated by different ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations. These qualities proved efficient for transporting goods Fact|date=May 2008 to and from major commercial centres while preserving the privacy valued by Islamic family life. Suburbs lay just outside the walled city, from wealthy residential communities, to working class semi-slums. City garbage dumps were located far from the city, as were clearly defined cemeteries which were often homes for criminals. A place of prayer was found just near one of the main gates, for religious festivals and public executions. Similarly, Military Training grounds were found near a main gate.

Muslim cities also had advanced domestic water systems with sewers, public baths, drinking fountains, piped drinking water supplies, [Fiona MacDonald (2006), "The Plague and Medicine in the Middle Ages", p. 42-43, Gareth Stevens, ISBN 0836859073.] and widespread private and public toilet and bathing facilities. [Tor Eigeland, "The Tiles of Iberia", "Saudi Aramco World", March-April 1992, p. 24-31.] By the 10th century, Cordoba had 700 mosques, 60,000 palaces, and 70 libraries.


The traditional view of Islamic science was that it was chiefly a preserver and transmitter of ancient knowledge. [Bertrand Russell (1945), "History of Western Philosophy", book 2, part 2, chapter X] For example, Donald Lach argues that modern science originated in Europe as an amalgam of medieval technology and Greek learning. [Lach, Donald (1977), Asia in the Making of Europe. A Century of Wonder, Vol. 2, Book 3, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-46734-1, p. 397: quote|"Modern science originated in Europe during the sixteenth century as an amalgam of medieval technology, Greek learning, medicine, and mathematics."] These views have been disputed in recent times, with some scholars suggesting that Muslim scientists laid the foundations for modern science, [Robert Briffault (1928). "The Making of Humanity", p. 191. G. Allen & Unwin Ltd.] [Fielding H. Garrison, "An Introduction to the History of Medicine: with Medical Chronology, Suggestions for Study and Biblographic Data", p. 86] [Muhammad Iqbal (1934, 1999). "The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam". Kazi Publications. ISBN 0686184823.] for their development of early scientific methods and an empirical, experimental and quantitative approach to scientific inquiry.cite journal |last=Gorini |first=Rosanna |title=Al-Haytham the man of experience. First steps in the science of vision |journal=Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine |volume=2 |issue=4 |pages=53–55 [55] |date=October 2003 |url= |format=pdf |accessdate=2008-09-25] Some scholars have referred to this period as a "Muslim scientific revolution", [Abdus Salam, H. R. Dalafi, Mohamed Hassan (1994). "Renaissance of Sciences in Islamic Countries", p. 162. World Scientific, ISBN 9971507137.] George Saliba (1994), "A History of Arabic Astronomy: Planetary Theories During the Golden Age of Islam", p. 245, 250, 256-257. New York University Press, ISBN 0814780237.] [Abid Ullah Jan (2006), "After Fascism: Muslims and the struggle for self-determination", "Islam, the West, and the Question of Dominance", Pragmatic Publishings, ISBN 978-0-9733687-5-8.] [Salah Zaimeche (2003), [ An Introduction to Muslim Science] , FSTC.] a term which expresses the view that Islam was the driving force behind the Muslim scientific achievements, [Ahmad Y Hassan and Donald Routledge Hill (1986), "Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History", p. 282, Cambridge University Press.] and should not to be confused with the early modern European Scientific Revolution leading to the rise of modern science. [Thomas Kuhn, "The Copernican Revolution", (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Pr., 1957), p. 142.] [Herbert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science, 1300-1800.] [R. Hooykaas, “The Rise of Modern Science: When and Why?”, The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 20, No. 4. (Oct., 1987), pp. 453-473] Edward Grant argues that modern science was due to the cumulative efforts of the Hellenic, Islamic and Latin civilizations. [Edward Grant (1996), "The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]

cientific method

:"Further information: "

Early scientific methods were developed in the Islamic world, where significant progress in methodology was made, especially in the works of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) in the 11th century, who is considered the pioneer of experimental physics.David Agar (2001). [ Arabic Studies in Physics and Astronomy During 800 - 1400 AD] . University of Jyväskylä.] The most important development of the scientific method was the use of experimentation and quantification to distinguish between competing scientific theories set within a generally empirical orientation. Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) wrote the "Book of Optics", in which he significantly reformed the field of optics, empirically proved that vision occurred because of light rays entering the eye, and invented the camera obscura to demonstrate the physical nature of light rays. [David C. Lindberg (1968). "The Theory of Pinhole Images from Antiquity to the Thirteenth Century", "Archive for History of the Exact Sciences" 5, p. 154-176.] [R. S. Elliott (1966). "Electromagnetics", Chapter 1. McGraw-Hill.]

Ibn al-Haytham has also been described as the "first scientist" for his introduction of the scientific method, [Bradley Steffens (2006). "Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist", Morgan Reynolds Publishing, ISBN 1599350246.] and his pioneering work on the psychology of visual perception [Bradley Steffens (2006). "Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist", Chapter 5. Morgan Reynolds Publishing. ISBN 1599350246.] [ Reynor Mausfeld, "From Number Mysticism to the MauBformel: Fechner's Pyschophysics in the Tradition of "Mathesis Universalis", Keynote Address International Symposium in Honour to G.Th. Fechner, "International Society for Pyshophysics" 19-23, October 2000, University of Leipzig. [] ] is considered a precursor to psychophysics and experimental psychology.Omar Khaleefa (Summer 1999). "Who Is the Founder of Psychophysics and Experimental Psychology?", "American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences" 16 (2).]

Peer review

The earliest medical peer review, a process by which a committee of physicians investigate the medical care rendered in order to determine whether accepted standards of care have been met, is found in the "Ethics of the Physician" written by Ishaq bin Ali al-Rahwi (854–931) of al-Raha in Syria. His work, as well as later Arabic medical manuals, state that a visiting physician must always make duplicate notes of a patient's condition on every visit. When the patient was cured or had died, the notes of the physician were examined by a local medical council of other physicians, who would review the practising physician's notes to decide whether his/her performance have met the required standards of medical care. If their reviews were negative, the practicing physician could face a lawsuit from a maltreated patient. [Ray Spier (2002), "The history of the peer-review process", "Trends in Biotechnology" 20 (8), p. 357-358 [357] .]

The first scientific peer review, the evaluation of research findings for competence, significance and originality by qualified experts, was described later in the "Medical Essays and Observations" published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1731. The present-day scientific peer review system evolved from this 18th century process. [Dale J. Benos et al., 145">Dale J. Benos et al.: “The Ups and Downs of Peer Review”, Advances in Physiology Education, Vol. 31 (2007), pp. 145–152 (145): Scientific peer review has been defined as the evaluation of "research findings" for competence, significance, and originality by qualified experts. These peers act as sentinels on the road of scientific discovery and publication.]


Some have referred to the achievements of the Maragha school and their predecessors and successors in astronomy as a "Maragha Revolution", "Maragha School Revolution" or "Scientific Revolution before the Renaissance". Advances in astronomy by the Maragha school and their predecessors and successors include the construction of the first observatory in Baghdad during the reign of Caliph al-Ma'mun, [cite book |last=Nas |first=Peter J |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Urban Symbolism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year=1993 |month= |publisher=Brill Academic Publishers |location= |language= |isbn=9-0040-9855-0 |oclc= 231455705 27813590|doi= |id= |pages=350 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ] the collection and correction of previous astronomical data, resolving significant problems in the Ptolemaic model, the development of universal astrolabes, [cite book |last=Krebs |first=Robert E. |title=Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance |year=2004 |publisher=Greenwood Press |isbn=0-3133-2433-6 |pages=196 |oclc=52726675 55587774 77758825] the invention of numerous other astronomical instruments, the beginning of astrophysics and celestial mechanics after Ja'far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir discovered that the heavenly bodies and celestial spheres were subject to the same physical laws as Earth, [George Saliba (1994). "Early Arabic Critique of Ptolemaic Cosmology: A Ninth-Century Text on the Motion of the Celestial Spheres", "Journal for the History of Astronomy" 25, p. 115-141 [116] .] the first elaborate experiments related to astronomical phenomena and the first semantic distinction between astronomy and astrology by Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, [S. Pines (September 1964). "The Semantic Distinction between the Terms Astronomy and Astrology according to al-Biruni", "Isis" 55 (3), p. 343-349.] the use of exacting empirical observations and experimental techniques, [Toby Huff, "The Rise of Early Modern Science", p. 326. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521529948.] the discovery that the celestial spheres are not solid and that the heavens are less dense than the air by Ibn al-Haytham, [Edward Rosen (1985), "The Dissolution of the Solid Celestial Spheres", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 46 (1), p. 13-31 [19-20, 21] .] the separation of natural philosophy from astronomy by Ibn al-Haytham and Ibn al-Shatir, [Roshdi Rashed (2007). "The Celestial Kinematics of Ibn al-Haytham", "Arabic Sciences and Philosophy" 17, p. 7-55. Cambridge University Press.] the first non-Ptolemaic models by Ibn al-Haytham and Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi, the rejection of the Ptolemaic model on empirical rather than philosophical grounds by Ibn al-Shatir, the first empirical observational evidence of the Earth's rotation by Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī and Ali al-Qushji, and al-Birjandi's early hypothesis on "circular inertia."F. Jamil Ragep (2001), "Tusi and Copernicus: The Earth's Motion in Context", "Science in Context" 14 (1-2), p. 145–163. Cambridge University Press.]

Several Muslim astronomers also considered the possibility of the Earth's rotation on its axis and perhaps a heliocentric solar system. [Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1964), "An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines," (Cambridge: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press), p. 135-136] It is known that the Copernican heliocentric model in Nicolaus Copernicus' "De revolutionibus" was adapted from the geocentric model of Ibn al-Shatir and the Maragha school (including the Tusi-couple) in a heliocentric context, [George Saliba (1999). [ Whose Science is Arabic Science in Renaissance Europe?] Columbia University.
The relationship between Copernicus and the Maragha school is detailed in Toby Huff, "The Rise of Early Modern Science", Cambridge University Press.
] and that his arguments for the Earth's rotation were similar to those of Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī and Ali al-Qushji.


Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan) is considered a pioneer of chemistry, [citation|first=Zygmunt S.|last=Derewenda|year=2007|title=On wine, chirality and crystallography|journal=Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography|volume=64|pages=246–258 [247] |doi=10.1107/S0108767307054293] [John Warren (2005). "War and the Cultural Heritage of Iraq: a sadly mismanaged affair", "Third World Quarterly", Volume 26, Issue 4 & 5, p. 815-830.] as he was responsible for introducing an early experimental scientific method within the field, as well as the alembic, still, retort,Paul Vallely, [ How Islamic Inventors Changed the World] , "The Independent", 11 March 2006.] and the chemical processes of pure distillation, filtration, sublimation, [Robert Briffault (1938). "The Making of Humanity", p. 195.] liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation and evaporation.

The study of traditional alchemy and the theory of the transmutation of metals were first refuted by al-Kindi, [Felix Klein-Frank (2001), "Al-Kindi", in Oliver Leaman & Hossein Nasr, "History of Islamic Philosophy", p. 174. London: Routledge.] followed by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, [Michael E. Marmura (1965). "An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines. Conceptions of Nature and Methods Used for Its Study by the Ikhwan Al-Safa'an, Al-Biruni, and Ibn Sina" by Seyyed Hossein Nasr", "Speculum" 40 (4), p. 744-746.] Avicenna, [Robert Briffault (1938). "The Making of Humanity", p. 196-197.] and Ibn Khaldun. In his "Doubts about Galen", al-Razi was the first to prove both Aristotle's theory of classical elements and Galen's theory of humorism false using an experimental method. Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī stated an early version of the law of conservation of mass, noting that a body of matter is able to change, but is not able to disappear. [Farid Alakbarov (Summer 2001). [ A 13th-Century Darwin? Tusi's Views on Evolution] , "Azerbaijan International" 9 (2).] Alexander von Humboldt and Will Durant consider medieval Muslim chemists to be founders of chemistry.Dr. Kasem Ajram (1992). "Miracle of Islamic Science", Appendix B. Knowledge House Publishers. ISBN 0911119434.] Will Durant (1980). "The Age of Faith (The Story of Civilization, Volume 4)", p. 162-186. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671012002.]


Among the achievements of Muslim mathematicians during this period include the development of algebra and algorithms by the Persian and Islamic mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, [Solomon Gandz (1936), "The sources of al-Khwarizmi's algebra", Osiris I, p. 263–277: "In a sense, Khwarizmi is more entitled to be called "the father of algebra" than Diophantus because Khwarizmi is the first to teach algebra in an elementary form and for its own sake, Diophantus is primarily concerned with the theory of numbers."] [Serish Nanisetti, [ Father of algorithms and algebra] , "The Hindu", June 23, 2006.] the invention of spherical trigonometry, [cite book |last=Syed |first=M. H. |title=Islam and Science |year=2005 |publisher=Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. |isbn=8-1261-1345-6 |pages=71 |oclc=52533755] the addition of the decimal point notation to the Arabic numerals, the discovery of all the trigonometric functions besides sine, al-Kindi's introduction of cryptanalysis and frequency analysis, al-Karaji's introduction of algebraic calculus and proof by mathematical induction, the development of analytic geometry and the earliest general formula for infinitesimal and integral calculus by Ibn al-Haytham, the beginning of algebraic geometry by Omar Khayyam, the first refutations of Euclidean geometry and the parallel postulate by Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, the first attempt at a non-Euclidean geometry by Sadr al-Din, the development of symbolic algebra by Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī, [MacTutor Biography|id=Al-Qalasadi|title= Abu'l Hasan ibn Ali al Qalasadi] and numerous other advances in algebra, arithmetic, calculus, cryptography, geometry, number theory and trigonometry.


Muslim physicians made many significant contributions to medicine, including anatomy, experimental medicine, ophthalmology, pathology, the pharmaceutical sciences, physiology, surgery, etc. They also set up some of the earliest dedicated hospitals,George Sarton, "Introduction to the History of Science".
(cf. Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq (1997), [ Quotations From Famous Historians of Science] , Cyberistan.] including the first medical schoolscitation|last=Sir Glubb|first=John Bagot|author-link=John Bagot Glubb|year=1969|title=A Short History of the Arab Peoples|url=|accessdate=2008-01-25] and psychiatric hospitals. [Harvard reference |first1=Hanafy A. |last1=Youssef |first2=Fatma A. |last2=Youssef |first3=T. R. |last3=Dening |year=1996 |title=Evidence for the existence of schizophrenia in medieval Islamic society |journal=History of Psychiatry |volume=7 |pages=55-62 [57] ] Al-Kindi wrote the "De Gradibus", in which he first demonstrated the application of quantification and mathematics to medicine and pharmacology, such as a mathematical scale to quantify the strength of drugs and the determination in advance of the most critical days of a patient's illness. [ Felix Klein-Frank (2001), "Al-Kindi", in Oliver Leaman and Hossein Nasr, "History of Islamic Philosophy", p. 172. Routledge, London.] Al-Razi (Rhazes) discovered measles and smallpox, and in his "Doubts about Galen", proved Galen's humorism false.G. Stolyarov II (2002), "Rhazes: The Thinking Western Physician", "The Rational Argumentator", Issue VI.]

Abu al-Qasim (Abulcasis) helped lay the foudations for modern surgery, [A. Martin-Araguz, C. Bustamante-Martinez, Ajo V. Fernandez-Armayor, J. M. Moreno-Martinez (2002). "Neuroscience in al-Andalus and its influence on medieval scholastic medicine", "Revista de neurología" 34 (9), p. 877-892.] with his "Kitab al-Tasrif", in which he invented numerous surgical instruments, including the first instruments unique to women,Bashar Saad, Hassan Azaizeh, Omar Said (October 2005). "Tradition and Perspectives of Arab Herbal Medicine: A Review", "Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" 2 (4), p. 475-479 [476] . Oxford University Press.] as well as the surgical uses of catgut and forceps, the ligature, surgical needle, scalpel, curette, retractor, surgical spoon, sound, surgical hook, surgical rod, and specula, [Khaled al-Hadidi (1978), "The Role of Muslim Scholars in Oto-rhino-Laryngology", "The Egyptian Journal of O.R.L." 4 (1), p. 1-15. (cf. [ Ear, Nose and Throat Medical Practice in Muslim Heritage] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization.)] and bone saw. Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) made important advances in eye surgery, as he correctly explained the process of sight and visual perception for the first time in his "Book of Optics".

Avicenna helped lay the foundations for modern medicine, [Cas Lek Cesk (1980). "The father of medicine, Avicenna, in our science and culture: Abu Ali ibn Sina (980-1037)", "Becka J." 119 (1), p. 17-23.] with "The Canon of Medicine", which was responsible for introducing systematic experimentation and quantification in physiology, [Katharine Park (March 1990). "Avicenna in Renaissance Italy: The Canon and Medical Teaching in Italian Universities after 1500" by Nancy G. Siraisi", "The Journal of Modern History" 62 (1), p. 169-170.] the discovery of contagious disease, introduction of quarantine to limit their spread, introduction of experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, [David W. Tschanz, MSPH, PhD (August 2003). "Arab Roots of European Medicine", "Heart Views" 4 (2).]
randomized controlled trials, [Jonathan D. Eldredge (2003), "The Randomised Controlled Trial design: unrecognized opportunities for health sciences librarianship", "Health Information and Libraries Journal" 20, p. 34–44 [36] .] [Bernard S. Bloom, Aurelia Retbi, Sandrine Dahan, Egon Jonsson (2000), "Evaluation Of Randomized Controlled Trials On Complementary And Alternative Medicine", "International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care" 16 (1), p. 13–21 [19] .]
efficacy tests, [D. Craig Brater and Walter J. Daly (2000), "Clinical pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Principles that presage the 21st century", "Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" 67 (5), p. 447-450 [449] .] [Walter J. Daly and D. Craig Brater (2000), "Medieval contributions to the search for truth in clinical medicine", "Perspectives in Biology and Medicine" 43 (4), p. 530–540 [536] , Johns Hopkins University Press.] and clinical pharmacology, [D. Craig Brater and Walter J. Daly (2000), "Clinical pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Principles that presage the 21st century", "Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" 67 (5), p. 447-450 [448] .] the first descriptions on bacteria and viral organisms, [ [ The Canon of Medicine] , The American Institute of Unani Medicine, 2003.] distinction of mediastinitis from pleurisy, contagious nature of tuberculosis, distribution of diseases by water and soil, skin troubles, sexually transmitted diseases, perversions, nervous ailments, use of ice to treat fevers, and separation of medicine from pharmacology.

Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) was the earliest known experimental surgeon. [Rabie E. Abdel-Halim (2006), "Contributions of Muhadhdhab Al-Deen Al-Baghdadi to the progress of medicine and urology", "Saudi Medical Journal" 27 (11): 1631-1641.] In the 12th century, he was responsible for introducing the experimental method into surgery, as he was the first to employ animal testing in order to experiment with surgical procedures before applying them to human patients. [Rabie E. Abdel-Halim (2005), "Contributions of Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) to the progress of surgery: A study and translations from his book Al-Taisir", "Saudi Medical Journal 2005; Vol. 26 (9): 1333-1339".] He also performed the first dissections and postmortem autopsies on humans as well as animals. [ [ Islamic medicine] , "Hutchinson Encyclopedia".]

Ibn al-Nafis laid the foundations for circulatory physiology, [Chairman's Reflections (2004), "Traditional Medicine Among Gulf Arabs, Part II: Blood-letting", "Heart Views" 5 (2), p. 74-85 [80] .] as he was the first to describe the pulmonary circulation [S. A. Al-Dabbagh (1978). "Ibn Al-Nafis and the pulmonary circulation", "The Lancet" 1: 1148.] and coronary circulation, [Husain F. Nagamia (2003), "Ibn al-Nafīs: A Biographical Sketch of the Discoverer of Pulmonary and Coronary Circulation", "Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine" 1, p. 22–28.
Quotes Ibn al-Nafis, "Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon": quote|"The notion (of Ibn Sînâ) that the blood in the right side of the heart is to nourish the heart is not true at all, for the nourishment of the heart is from the blood that goes through the vessels that permeate the body of the heart."
] [Matthijs Oudkerk (2004), "Coronary Radiology", "Preface", Springer Science+Business Media, ISBN 3540436405.] which form the basis of the circulatory system, for which he is considered "the greatest physiologist of the Middle Ages." [George Sarton (cf. Dr. Paul Ghalioungui (1982), "The West denies Ibn Al Nafis's contribution to the discovery of the circulation", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait)
(cf. [ The West denies Ibn Al Nafis's contribution to the discovery of the circulation] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World")
] He also described the earliest concept of metabolism, [Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. [ Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").] and developed new systems of physiology and psychology to replace the Avicennian and Galenic systems, while discrediting many of their erroneous theories on humorism, pulsation, [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 3 & 6, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [] ] bones, muscles, intestines, sensory organs, bilious canals, esophagus, stomach, etc. [Dr. Sulaiman Oataya (1982), "Ibn ul Nafis has dissected the human body", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. [ Ibn ul-Nafis has Dissected the Human Body] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").]

Ibn al-Lubudi rejected the theory of humorism, and discovered that the body and its preservation depend exclusively upon blood, women cannot produce sperm, the movement of arteries are not dependent upon the movement of the heart, the heart is the first organ to form in a fetus' body, and the bones forming the skull can grow into tumors. [L. Leclerc (1876), "Histoire de la medecine Arabe", vol. 2, p. 161, Paris.
(cf. Salah Zaimeche, [ The Scholars of Aleppo: Al Mahassin, Al Urdi, Al-Lubudi, Al-Halabi] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation)
] Ibn Khatima and Ibn al-Khatib discovered that infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms which enter the human body. [Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D. (2002). "Islamic Medicine: 1000 years ahead of its times", "Journal of the Islamic Medical Association" 2, p. 2-9.] Mansur ibn Ilyas drew comprehensive diagrams of the body's structural, nervous and circulatory systems.H. R. Turner (1997), p. 136—138.]


The study of experimental physics began with Ibn al-Haytham, [Rüdiger Thiele (2005). "In Memoriam: Matthias Schramm", "Arabic Sciences and Philosophy" 15, p. 329–331. Cambridge University Press.] a pioneer of modern optics, who introduced the experimental scientific method and used it to drastically transform the understanding of light and vision in his "Book of Optics", which has been ranked alongside Isaac Newton's "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" as one of the most influential books in the history of physics, [ H. Salih, M. Al-Amri, M. El Gomati (2005). "The Miracle of Light", "A World of Science" 3 (3). UNESCO.] for initiating a scientific revolution in optics [citation|last1=Sabra|first1=A. I.|author1-link=A. I. Sabra|last2=Hogendijk|first2=J. P.|title=The Enterprise of Science in Islam: New Perspectives|pages=85–118|publisher=MIT Press|isbn=0262194821|year=2003|oclc=237875424 50252039] and visual perception. [Citation |last=Hatfield |first=Gary |contribution=Was the Scientific Revolution Really a Revolution in Science? |editor1-last=Ragep |editor1-first=F. J. |editor2-last=Ragep |editor2-first=Sally P. |editor3-last=Livesey |editor3-first=Steven John |year=1996 |title=Tradition, Transmission, Transformation: Proceedings of Two Conferences on Pre-modern Science held at the University of Oklahoma |page=500 |publisher=Brill Publishers |isbn=9004091262 |oclc=19740432 234073624 234096934]

The experimental scientific method was soon introduced into mechanics by Biruni, [Mariam Rozhanskaya and I. S. Levinova (1996), "Statics", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., "Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, p. 614-642 [642] . Routledge, London and New York.] and early precursors to Newton's laws of motion were discovered by several Muslim scientists. The law of inertia, known as Newton's first law of motion, and the concept of momentum were discovered by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) [Abdus Salam (1984), "Islam and Science". In C. H. Lai (1987), "Ideals and Realities: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam", 2nd ed., World Scientific, Singapore, p. 179-213.] [Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "The achievements of Ibn Sina in the field of science and his contributions to its philosophy", "Islam & Science", December 2003.] and Avicenna.Fernando Espinoza (2005). "An analysis of the historical development of ideas about motion and its implications for teaching", "Physics Education" 40 (2), p. 141.] [Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "Islamic Conception Of Intellectual Life", in Philip P. Wiener (ed.), "Dictionary of the History of Ideas", Vol. 2, p. 65, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1973-1974.] The proportionality between force and acceleration, considered "the fundamental law of classical mechanics" and foreshadowing Newton's second law of motion, was discovered by Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi, [cite encyclopedia
last = Shlomo Pines
title = Abu'l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī, Hibat Allah
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 26-28
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

(cf. Abel B. Franco (October 2003). "Avempace, Projectile Motion, and Impetus Theory", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 64 (4), p. 521-546 [528] .)
] while the concept of reaction, foreshadowing Newton's third law of motion, was discovered by Ibn Bajjah (Avempace). [Shlomo Pines (1964), "La dynamique d’Ibn Bajja", in "Mélanges Alexandre Koyré", I, 442-468 [462, 468] , Paris.
(cf. Abel B. Franco (October 2003). "Avempace, Projectile Motion, and Impetus Theory", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 64 (4), p. 521-546 [543] .)
] Theories foreshadowing Newton's law of universal gravitation were developed by Ja'far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir, [Robert Briffault (1938). "The Making of Humanity", p. 191.] Ibn al-Haytham, [Nader El-Bizri (2006), "Ibn al-Haytham or Alhazen", in Josef W. Meri (2006), "Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopaedia", Vol. II, p. 343-345, Routledge, New York, London.] and al-Khazini. [Mariam Rozhanskaya and I. S. Levinova (1996), "Statics", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., "Encyclopaedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, p. 622. London and New York: Routledge.] Galileo Galilei's mathematical treatment of acceleration and his concept of impetus [Galileo Galilei, "Two New Sciences", trans. Stillman Drake, (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Pr., 1974), pp 217, 225, 296-7.] was enriched by the commentaries of Avicenna and Ibn Bajjah to Aristotle's "Physics" as well as the Neoplatonist tradition of Alexandria, represented by John Philoponus. [Ernest A. Moody (1951). "Galileo and Avempace: The Dynamics of the Leaning Tower Experiment (I)", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 12 (2), p. 163-193 (192f.)]

Other sciences

Many other advances were made by Muslim scientists in biology (anatomy, botany, evolution, physiology and zoology), the earth sciences (anthropology, cartography, geodesy, geography and geology), psychology (experimental psychology, psychiatry, psychophysics and psychotherapy), and the social sciences (demography, economics, sociology, history and historiography).

Other famous Muslim scientists during the Islamic Golden Age include al-Farabi (a polymath), Biruni (a polymath who was one of the earliest anthropologists and a pioneer of geodesy), [Akbar S. Ahmed (1984). "Al-Beruni: The First Anthropologist", "RAIN" 60, p. 9-10.] Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī (a polymath), and Ibn Khaldun (considered to be a pioneer of several social sciences [Akbar Ahmed (2002). "Ibn Khaldun’s Understanding of Civilizations and the Dilemmas of Islam and the West Today", "Middle East Journal" 56 (1), p. 25.] such as demography,H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", "Cooperation South Journal" 1.] economics, [I. M. Oweiss (1988), "Ibn Khaldun, the Father of Economics", "Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses", New York University Press, ISBN 0887066984.] cultural history, [Mohamad Abdalla (Summer 2007). "Ibn Khaldun on the Fate of Islamic Science after the 11th Century", "Islam & Science" 5 (1), p. 61-70.] historiography [Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). "A Dictionary of Muslim Names". C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1850653569.] and sociology),Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", "Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture" 12 (3).] among others.

Other achievements


The Great Mosque of Xi'an in China was completed "circa" 740, and the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq was completed in 847. The Great Mosque of Samarra combined the hypostyle architecture of rows of columns supporting a flat base above which a huge spiraling minaret was constructed.

The Spanish Muslims began construction of the Great Mosque at Cordoba in 785 marking the beginning of Islamic architecture in Spain and Northern Africa (see Moors). The mosque is noted for its striking interior arches. Moorish architecture reached its peak with the construction of the Alhambra, the magnificent palace/fortress of Granada, with its open and breezy interior spaces adorned in red, blue, and gold. The walls are decorated with stylized foliage motifs, Arabic inscriptions, and arabesque design work, with walls covered in glazed tiles.

Another distinctive sub-style is the architecture of the Mughal Empire in India in the 15-17th centuries. Blending Islamic and Hindu elements, the emperor Akbar constructed the royal city of [ Fatehpur Sikri] , located 26 miles (42 km) west of Agra, in the late 1500s and his grandson Shah Jahan had constructed the mausoleum of Taj Mahal for Mumtaz Mahal in the 1650s, though this time period is well after the Islamic Golden Age.

In the Sunni Muslim Ottoman Empire massive mosques with ornate tiles and calligraphy were constructed by a series of sultansincluding the Süleymaniye Mosque , Sultanahmet Mosque, Selimiye Mosque, and Bayezid II Mosque


The golden age of Islamic (and/or Muslim) art lasted from 750 to the 16th century, when ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, and woodwork flourished. Lusterous glazing became the greatest Islamic contribution to ceramics. Manuscript illumination became an important and greatly respected art, and portrait miniature painting flourished in Persia. Calligraphy, an essential aspect of written Arabic, developed in manuscripts and architectural decoration.


The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was "The Book of One Thousand and One Nights" ("Arabian Nights"), which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade. The epic took form in the 10th century and reached its final form by the 14th century; the number and type of tales have varied from one manuscript to another.John Grant and John Clute, "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy", "Arabian fantasy", p 51 ISBN 0-312-19869-8] All Arabian fantasy tales were often called "Arabian Nights" when translated into English, regardless of whether they appeared in "The Book of One Thousand and One Nights", in any version, and a number of tales are known in Europe as "Arabian Nights" despite existing in no Arabic manuscript.

This epic has been influential in the West since it was translated in the 18th century, first by Antoine Galland. [L. Sprague de Camp, "Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy", p 10 ISBN 0-87054-076-9] Many imitations were written, especially in France.John Grant and John Clute, "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy", "Arabian fantasy", p 52 ISBN 0-312-19869-8] Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba. However, no medieval Arabic source has been traced for Aladdin, which was incorporated into "The Book of One Thousand and One Nights" by its French translator, Antoine Galland, who heard it from an Arab Syrian Christian storyteller from Aleppo. Part of its popularity may have sprung from the increasing historical and geographical knowledge, so that places of which little was known and so marvels were plausible had to be set further "long ago" or farther "far away"; this is a process that continues, and finally culminate in the fantasy world having little connection, if any, to actual times and places. A number of elements from Arabian mythology and Persian mythology are now common in modern fantasy, such as genies, bahamuts, magic carpets, magic lamps, etc. When L. Frank Baum proposed writing a modern fairy tale that banished stereotypical elements, he included the genie as well as the dwarf and the fairy as stereotypes to go. [James Thurber, "The Wizard of Chitenango", p 64 "Fantasists on Fantasy" edited by Robert H. Boyer and Kenneth J. Zahorski, ISBN 0-380-86553-X]

Ferdowsi's "Shahnameh", the national epic of Iran, is a mythical and heroic retelling of Persian history. "Amir Arsalan" was also a popular mythical Persian story, which has influenced some modern works of fantasy fiction, such as "The Heroic Legend of Arslan".

A famous example of Arabic poetry and Persian poetry on romance (love) is "Layla and Majnun", dating back to the Umayyad era in the 7th century. It is a tragic story of undying love much like the later "Romeo and Juliet", which was itself said to have been inspired by a Latin version of "Layli and Majnun" to an extent. [ [ NIZAMI: LAYLA AND MAJNUN - English Version by Paul Smith] ]

Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) and Ibn al-Nafis were pioneers of the philosophical novel. Ibn Tufail wrote the first fictional Arabic novel "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" ("Philosophus Autodidactus") as a response to al-Ghazali's "The Incoherence of the Philosophers", and then Ibn al-Nafis also wrote a fictional novel "Theologus Autodidactus" as a response to Ibn Tufail's "Philosophus Autodidactus". Both of these narratives had protagonists (Hayy in "Philosophus Autodidactus" and Kamil in "Theologus Autodidactus") who were autodidactic feral children living in seclusion on a desert island, both being the earliest examples of a desert island story. However, while Hayy lives alone with animals on the desert island for the rest of the story in "Philosophus Autodidactus", the story of Kamil extends beyond the desert island setting in "Theologus Autodidactus", developing into the earliest known coming of age plot and eventually becoming the first example of a science fiction novel. [Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. [ Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").] [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 95-101, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [] ]

"Theologus Autodidactus", written by the Arabian polymath Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288), is the first example of a science fiction novel. It deals with various science fiction elements such as spontaneous generation, futurology, the end of the world and doomsday, resurrection, and the afterlife. Rather than giving supernatural or mythological explnations for these events, Ibn al-Nafis attempted to explain these plot elements using the scientific knowledge of biology, astronomy, cosmology and geology known in his time. His main purpose behind this science fiction work was to explain Islamic religious teachings in terms of science and philosophy through the use of fiction.Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. [ Ibnul-Nafees As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").]

A Latin translation of Ibn Tufail's work, "Philosophus Autodidactus", first appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke the Younger, followed by an English translation by Simon Ockley in 1708, as well as German and Dutch translations. These translations later inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe", regarded as the first novel in English. [Nawal Muhammad Hassan (1980), "Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature", Al-Rashid House for Publication.] [Cyril Glasse (2001), "New Encyclopedia of Islam", p. 202, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0759101906.] Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", "Journal of Religion and Health" 43 (4): 357-377 [369] .] Martin Wainwright, [,12084,918454,00.html Desert island scripts] , "The Guardian", 22 March 2003.] "Philosophus Autodidactus" also inspired Robert Boyle to write his own philosophical novel set on an island, "The Aspiring Naturalist". The story also anticipated Rousseau's "" in some ways, and is also similar to Mowgli's story in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" as well as Tarzan's story, in that a baby is abandoned but taken care of and fed by a mother wolf. [ [ Latinized Names of Muslim Scholars] , FSTC.]

Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy", considered the greatest epic of Italian literature, derived many features of and episodes about the hereafter directly or indirectly from Arabic works on Islamic eschatology: the "Hadith" and the "Kitab al-Miraj" (translated into Latin in 1264 or shortly beforeI. Heullant-Donat and M.-A. Polo de Beaulieu, "Histoire d'une traduction," in "Le Livre de l'échelle de Mahomet", Latin edition and French translation by Gisèle Besson and Michèle Brossard-Dandré, Collection "Lettres Gothiques", Le Livre de Poche, 1991, p. 22 with note 37.] as "Liber Scale Machometi", "The Book of Muhammad's Ladder") concerning Muhammad's ascension to Heaven, and the spiritual writings of Ibn Arabi. The Moors also had a noticeable influence on the works of George Peele and William Shakespeare. Some of their works featured Moorish characters, such as Peele's "The Battle of Alcazar" and Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", "Titus Andronicus" and "Othello", which featured a Moorish Othello as its title character. These works are said to have been inspired by several Moorish delegations from Morocco to Elizabethan England at the beginning of the 17th century. [Professor Nabil Matar (April 2004), "Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Stage Moor", Sam Wanamaker Fellowship Lecture, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (cf. Mayor of London (2006), [ Muslims in London] , pp. 14-15, Greater London Authority)]


A number of musical instruments used in Western music are believed to have been derived from Arabic musical instruments: the lute was derived from the "al'ud", the rebec (ancestor of violin) from the "rebab", the guitar from "qitara", naker from "naqareh", adufe from "al-duff", alboka from "al-buq", anafil from "al-nafir", exabeba from "al-shabbaba" (flute), atabal (bass drum) from "al-tabl", atambal from "al-tinbal", [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=137] the balaban, the castanet from "kasatan", sonajas de azófar from "sunuj al-sufr", the conical bore wind instruments, [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=140] the xelami from the "sulami" or "fistula" (flute or musical pipe), [Harv|Farmer|1988|pp=140-1] the shawm and dulzaina from the reed instruments "zamr" and "al-zurna", [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=141] the gaita from the "ghaita", rackett from "iraqya" or "iraqiyya", [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=142] the harp and zither from the "qanun", [cite web|author=Rabab Saoud|title=The Arab Contribution to the Music of the Western World|url=|publisher=FSTC Limited|date=March 2004|accessdate=2008-06-20]
canon from "qanun", geige (violin) from "ghichak", [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=143] and the theorbo from the "tarab". [Harv|Farmer|1988|p=144]

A theory on the origins of the Western Solfège musical notation suggests that it may have also had Arabic origins. It has been argued that the Solfège syllables ("do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti") may have been derived from the syllables of the Arabic solmization system "Durr-i-Mufassal" ("Separated Pearls") ("dal, ra, mim, fa, sad, lam"). This origin theory was first proposed by Meninski in his "Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum" (1680) and then by Laborde in his "Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne" (1780). [Harv|Farmer|1988|pp=72-82] [citation|title=Guido d'Arezzo: Medieval Musician and Educator|first=Samuel D.|last=Miller|journal=Journal of Research in Music Education|volume=21|issue=3|date=Autumn 1973|pages=239–45|doi=10.2307/3345093] See as well the gifted Ziryab ("Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘").


Arab philosophers like al-Kindi (Alkindus) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Persian philosophers like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) played a major role in preserving the works of Aristotle, whose ideas came to dominate the non-religious thought of the Christian and Muslim worlds. They would also absorb ideas from China, and India, adding to them tremendous knowledge from their own studies. Three speculative thinkers, al-Kindi, al-Farabi, and Avicenna (Ibn Sina), fused Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism with other ideas introduced through Islam, such as Kalam and Qiyas. This led to Avicenna founding his own Avicennism school of philosophy, which was influential in both Islamic and Christian lands. Avicenna was also a critic of Aristotelian logic and founder of Avicennian logic, and he developed the concepts of empiricism and tabula rasa, and distinguished between essence and existence.

From Spain the Arabic philosophic literature was translated into Hebrew, Latin, and Ladino, contributing to the development of modern European philosophy. The Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, Muslim sociologist-historian Ibn Khaldun, Carthage citizen Constantine the African who translated Greek medical texts, and the Muslim Al-Khwarzimi's collation of mathematical techniques were important figures of the Golden Age.

One of the most influential Muslim philosophers in the West was Averroes (Ibn Rushd), founder of the Averroism school of philosophy, whose works and commentaries had an impact on the rise of secular thought in Western Europe.Majid Fakhry (2001). "Averroes: His Life, Works and Influence". Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851682694.] He also developed the concept of "existence precedes essence". [citation|first=Jones|last=Irwin|title=Averroes' Reason: A Medieval Tale of Christianity and Islam|date=Autumn 2002|journal=The Philosopher|volume=LXXXX|issue=2]

Another infuential philosopher who had a significant influence on modern philosophy was Ibn Tufail. His philosophical novel, "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan", translated into Latin as "Philosophus Autodidactus" in 1671, developed the themes of empiricism, tabula rasa, nature versus nurture, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] condition of possibility, materialism, [Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān", pp. 38-46, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001.] and Molyneux's Problem. [Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Tufayl and Léon Gauthier (1981), "Risalat Hayy ibn Yaqzan", p. 5, Editions de la Méditerranée. [] ] European scholars and writers influenced by this novel include John Locke, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-239, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] Gottfried Leibniz, Melchisédech Thévenot, John Wallis, Christiaan Huygens, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 227, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] George Keith, Robert Barclay, the Quakers, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 247, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] and Samuel Hartlib.G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.]

Al-Ghazali also had an important influence on Jewish thinkers like Maimonides [ [ H-Net Review: Eric Ormsby on Averroes (Ibn Rushd): His Life, Works and Influence ] ] [ [ The Influence of Islamic Thought on Maimonides (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) ] ] and Christian medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas [Margaret Smith, "Al-Ghazali: The Mystic" (London 1944)] and René Descartes, who expressed similar ideas to that of al-Ghazali in "Discourse on the Method".citation|title=The Place and Function of Doubt in the Philosophies of Descartes and Al-Ghazali|first=Sami M.|last=Najm|journal=Philosophy East and West|volume=16|issue=3-4|date=July-October 1966|pages=133–41|doi=10.2307/1397536] However, al-Ghazali also wrote a devastating critique in his "The Incoherence of the Philosophers" on the speculative theological works of Kindi, Farabi and Ibn Sina. The study of metaphysics declined in the Muslim world due to this critique, though Ibn Rushd (Averroes) responded strongly in his "The Incoherence of the Incoherence" to many of the points Ghazali raised. Nevertheless, Avicennism continued to flourish long after and Islamic philosophers continued making advances in philosophy through to the 17th century, when Mulla Sadra founded his school of Transcendent Theosophy and developed the concept of existentialism. [citation|title=Mulla Sadra's Transcendent Philosophy|first=Muhammad|last=Kamal|year=2006|publisher=Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.|isbn=0754652718|pages=9 & 39|oclc=224496901 238761259 61169850]

Other influential Muslim philosophers include al-Jahiz, a pioneer of evolutionary thought and natural selection; Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen), a pioneer of phenomenology and the philosophy of science and a critic of Aristotelian natural philosophy and Aristotle's concept of place (topos); Biruni, a critic of Aristotelian natural philosophy; Ibn Tufail and Ibn al-Nafis, pioneers of the philosophical novel; Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, founder of Illuminationist philosophy; Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, a critic of Aristotelian logic and a pioneer of inductive logic; and Ibn Khaldun, a pioneer in the philosophy of history and social philosophy.

End of the Golden Age

Mongolian invasion

After the Crusades from the West that resulted in the instability of the Islamic world during the 13th century, a new threat came from the East during the 12th century: the Mongol invasions. In 1206, Genghis Khan from Central Asia established a powerful Mongol Empire. A Mongolian ambassador to the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad is said to have been murdered, [ [ talk then walk ] ] which may have been one of the reasons behind Hulagu Khan's sack of Baghdad in 1258.

The Mongols conquered most of the Eurasian land mass, including both China in the east and parts of the old Islamic Caliphate and Persian Islamic Khwarezm, as well as Russia and Eastern Europe in the west, and subsequent invasions of the Levant. Later Mongol leaders, such as Timur, though he himself became a Muslim, destroyed many cities, slaughtered thousands of people and did irreparable damage to the ancient irrigation systems of Mesopotamia. These invasions transformed a civil society to a nomadic one.

Traditionalist Muslims at the time, including the polymath Ibn al-Nafis, believed that the Crusades and Mongol invasions may have been a divine punishment from God against Muslims deviating from the Sunnah. As a result, the falsafa, some of whom held ideas incompatible with the Sunnah, became targets of criticism from many traditionalist Muslims, though other traditionalists such as Ibn al-Nafis made attempts at reconciling reason with revelation and blur the line between the two.Fancy, p. 49 & 59]

Eventually, the Mongols that settled in parts of Persia, Central Asia and Russia converted to Islam, and as a result, the Ilkhanate, Golden Horde and Chagatai Khanates became Islamic states. In many instances, Mongols assimilated into various Muslim Iranian or Turkic peoples (for instance, one of the greatest Muslim astronomers of the 15th century, Ulugh Beg, was a grandson of Timur). By the time the Ottoman Empire rose from the ashes, the Golden Age is considered to have come to an end.

Causes of decline

The Islamic civilization which had at the outset been creative and dynamic in dealing with issues, began to struggle to respond to the challenges and rapid changes it faced during the 12th and 13th centuries onwards towards the end of the Abbassid rule. Despite a brief respite with the new Ottoman rule, the decline continued until its eventual collapse and subsequent stagnation in the 20th century.

Despite a number of attempts by many writers, historical and modern, none seem to agree on the causes of decline. The main views on the causes of decline comprise the following: political mismanagement after the early Caliphs (10th century onwards), closure of the gates of ijtihad (12th century), institutionalisation of taqlid rather than bid'ah (13th century), foreign involvement by invading forces and colonial powers (11th century Crusades, 13th century Mongol Empire, 15th century Reconquista, 19th century European colonial empires), and the disruption to the cycle of equity based on Ibn Khaldun's famous model of Asabiyyah (the rise and fall of civilizations) which points to the decline being mainly due to political and economic factors.Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Factors Behind the Decline of Islamic Science After the Sixteenth Century] ]

Tolerance about different ideas reduced and faded, with some seminaries systematically forbidding speculative philosophy, while polemic debates also appear to have been abandoned after the 13th century. A significant intellectual shift in Islamic philosophy is perhaps demonstrated by al-Ghazali's late 11th century polemic work "The Incoherence of the Philosophers", which lambasted metaphysical philosophy in favor of the primacy of scripture, and was later criticized in "The Incoherence of the Incoherence" by Averroes. Institutions of science comprising Islamic universities, libraries (including the House of Wisdom), observatories, and hospitals, were later destroyed by foreign invaders like the Crusaders and particularly the Mongols, and were rarely promoted again in the devastated regions. [Erica Fraser. [ The Islamic World to 1600] , University of Calgary.] Not only wasn't new publishing equipment accepted but also wide illiteracy overwhelmed the devastated lands, especially in Mesopotamia.

Recent scholarship has come to question the traditional picture of decline, pointing to continued astronomical activity as a sign of a continuing and creative scientific tradition through to the 15th and 16th centuries, with the works of Ibn al-Shatir, Ulugh Beg, Ali Kuşçu, al-Birjandi and Taqi al-Din considered noteworthy examples. [David A. King, "The Astronomy of the Mamluks", "Isis", 74 (1983):531-555] [George Saliba, "Writing the History of Arabic Astronomy: Problems and Differing Perspectives (Review Article), "Journal of the American Oriental Society", 116 (1996): 709-718.] This was also the case for other fields, such as medicine, notably the works of Ibn al-Nafis, Mansur ibn Ilyas and Şerafeddin Sabuncuoğlu; mathematics, notably the works of al-Kashi and al-Qalasadi; philosophy, notably Mulla Sadra's Transcendent Theosophy; and the social sciences, notably Ibn Khaldun's "Muqaddimah" (1370), which itself points out that though science was declining in Iraq, al-Andalus and Maghreb, it continued to flourish in Persia, Syria and Egypt during his time.



*Harvard reference
first=Monica M.
title=The Influence of the Islamic Law of Waqf on the Development of the Trust in England: The Case of Merton College
journal=University of Pennsylvania Law Review
date=April 1988

*cite book | last=Graham | first=Mark | title=How Islam Created the Modern World | publisher=Amana Publications | year=2006 | isbn=1-59008-043-2 | oclc=66393160
*Donald Routledge Hill, "Islamic Science And Engineering", Edinburgh University Press (1993), ISBN 0-7486-0455-3
*Harvard reference
title=Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science

*Harvard reference
title=Equity and Trusts
publisher=Cavendish Publishing

*George Sarton, "The Incubation of Western Culture in the Middle East", A George C. Keiser Foundation Lecture, March 29, 1950, Washington DC, 1951
*Shatzmiller, Maya (1994), "Labour in the Medieval Islamic World", Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004098968
* [ Shoja-e-din Shafa] , " [ Rebirth] " (1995) (Persian Title: "تولدى ديگر")* [ Shoja-e-din Shafa] , " [ After 1400 Years] " (2000) (Persian Title: "پس از 1400 سال")

ee also

*Islamic studies
**Inventions in the Islamic world
**Islamic science
**Muslim Agricultural Revolution
**Timeline of science and technology in the Islamic world
*List of Islamic studies scholars
**List of Muslim scientists
**List of Arab scientists and scholars
**List of Iranian scientists and scholars
*Muslim conquests
**List of Muslim empires
**Global empire
*Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain
*Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe
**Latin translations of the 12th century

External links

* [ Golden age of Arab and Islamic Culture]
* [ The Story of Islam's Gift of Paper to the West]
* [ Gaston Wiet, "Baghdad: Metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate"] , Chapter 5
* [ Al-Zahrawi (Albucasis) - A light in the middle ages in Europe] - Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal
* [ The Influence of Islamic Philosophy and Ethics on The Development of Medicine During the Islamic Renaissance] - By Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal

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