Part 1 -- The background of Islamic Spain

Before start to analysis the impact of the Muslim human being on west science and also technology, it is valuable to understand the background and society of the Islamic world. Therefore, we will begin this ar with a tutorial on the history of the Islamic civilization to 1600, developed by the college of Calgary.

You have to read the adhering to four internet sites before you begin the section on Muslim contributions to Science and also Technology.

The first site you should visit is The background of Islam by Professor john Voll the Georgetown University. Originally a ten page post published in the Encyclopedia the Politics and Religion, ed. Robert Wuthnow; then put online by congressional Quarterly, Inc.. Http://

Next, you need to read the history of Spain native a Muslim suggest of view. After ~ the reconquest the Spain by Christian forces, much of the scientific understanding that was occurred by Muslims pertained to Western Europe through Spain. Therefore, a knowledge of the Muslim conquest and loss of Spain is an important to expertise the circulation of information. Andalusia,

Last, you have to read this essay that presents "certain facets of the Islamic sciences as checked out from the Islamic point of view." Science and also Civilization in Islam,

Muslim contributions to Science and Technology

While many of Europe to be living in the intellectually dormant time of the center Ages, a different case existed in Spain. And, this distinction can be traced straight to Muslim influences. Spain, even before the Moslem conquests, to be the step of much fighting and territorial disputes. In the early on Middle Ages, after ~ the "Fall" that the roman Empire, Spain was dominated by a confederation that German tribes (around 411 AD). Quickly after, Spain to be again dominated by the Visigoths (416 to 418 AD). Kings from Visigoth households ruled Spain because that the next two hundred years until the Muslim occupation of Spain that began in 711 ad (Collins, 1995).Over the next 19 years, the Muslims overcame most of Spain and were threaten to overcome France until quit by Charles Martel (the grand of Charlemagne) in ~ Poiters in 732. Click on this link to review three different accounts on the fight of Tours,

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As debated in the university of Calgary tutorial, Spain to be ruled for 300 years by the descendents the the Umayyad judgment house. You will certainly remember native the tutorial that the Abbasid change in 750 damaged Umayyad strength in most locations of the Islamic world. However, during the Revolution, the grandson of among the previous caliphs escaped come Spain and collection up a kingdom the lasted until the Berbers from north Africa took end in the 11th century.

Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and philosophy flourished in Spain throughout the rule of the Umayyad. Lot of this intellectual climate deserve to be traced to the precepts of the Qur"an (in English, we periodically refer to this as the Koran). Transparent the Qur"an, there is a solid emphasis on the value of knowledge. As provided in the tutorial, "because Muslims think that Allah is all-knowing, they also believe the the human world"s search for knowledge leads to additional knowing of Allah. Muslims must for this reason pursue understanding not only of God"s laws, however of the natural civilization as well, extending the frontiers of human knowledge. Unequal the revealed understanding of the Qur"an, Muslims think that person knowledge is no perfect, and also requires continuous exploration and development through research and experimentation. According to the Qur"an, learning and gaining expertise is the highest kind of religious activity for Muslims, and also the one which is most pleasing come God."

Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina (sometimes known in the West as Avicenna) was born in Bukhara in 980. That is maybe the most famous and also influential of all the Islamic philosopher-scientists. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb ("The Canon that Medicine") was supplied throughout Europe for over 600 years. In his writings, he spelled out the steps for testing the performance of a brand-new drug. Past his work in medicine, he also made far-ranging contributions in philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy and was the writer of over 200 books.

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In the medieval Age, the Muslims led the people in their quest of knowledge. Lot of this expertise was found by Muslim researchers while other expertise was derived from other societies including the Greeks, Persians, Indian, and also Chinese. The Muslims synthesized, elaborated, and also transmitted this knowledge to Spain; and also eventually, to the entire Western world. In western Europe in ~ this time, most of the understanding of the Greeks was lost. It was only through the carry of Greek understanding (including Aristotle"s philosophy, Ptolemy"s geography, Hippocrates" medicine) through Islam Spain the this information ever before got to west Europe.

Historians have uncovered that there were two major periods of intense scholarly job-related in the Muslim human being during the middle ages Age. The very first period was in the 9th and 10th centuries in Baghdad and the second period was the 12th and 13th century in Europe (primarily Spain). In both of these periods, Muslim translators first translated the Greek knowledge into Arabic and also then right into other languages. Of course, as was discussed previously, Greek knowledge was enhanced and increased by Muslim scholars. Mental the main language that Europe at this time was Latin--all the romantic languages (French, Italian, etc) were just start to be used and were generally thought about to it is in vulgar (According come the Encyclopedia Britannica (2000), Vulgar Latin "was mainly the speech of the center classes in Rome and also the roman inn provinces." after the Roman empire fell, local differences in vulgar Latin increased and eventually became the romantic languages.)

"Take Aristotle, because that instance. Only a fraction of his work-related was recognized in Europe during the post-classical era, when barbarian invasions caused the ns of for this reason much earlier culture. But most of his books were analyzed into Arabic, and also were studied and commented on over and over again in Baghdad and also other centers. European philosophers rediscovered lock via this commentaries. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and also Ibn Rushd (Averroes) were famed names in medieval philosophy and also their predecessor al-Farabi (Alfarabius) is stated to have lectured on Aristotle"s Physics 40 times and also his Rhetoric 80 times" (Zahoor, 1997b).

Why to be this knowledge lost to west Europe? response can be found by looking in ~ the time and events that developed before the begin of the European middle ages Age. Throughout the finishing centuries the the roman inn Empire, Christianity became much more powerful and influential, particularly after become lawful under the roman Emperor Constantine (Emperor ad 324 - 337). A consequence of the rule of Christianity was that much less authority was provided to the pagan, "classical teachings" that the Greeks. The main preserve that Greek writing remained in Egypt. However, the Library that Alexandria, one of the biggest libraries in Egypt (and the western world) was ruined by fire in 389 AD. In this one event, countless writings were lost. Additionally lost and burned was the Museum the Alexandria, a real university, in 415 as soon as riots incited through Christians brought about its destruction.


Despite these, the scholarly legacy of the Greeks was preserved in Alexandria and also at the university at Jundishahpur (Persia), where excommunicated Nestorian Christian scholars went in 431 and some Greek scholars uncovered refuge ~ Plato"s Academy to be closed in 529. According to Abdel-reheem Ead (2000), the deliver of Greek knowledge to the Muslims "was made partly through direct call in Egypt, partially through the tool of Syrian Christian translators, and also partly by method of Persia." that is clear that, as soon as Egypt to be taken over in 641 ad by the Muslims, much Greek classic knowledge pass in this means into the Islamic culture. In 636, Persia became part of the Islamic world and Arab rulers continued to assistance the college at Jundishahpur. With their translations that Greek texts, Islamic medical professionals were may be to review the functions of Hippocrates, Galen and also other Greek physicians. In contrast, after ~ the loss of the roman Empire, all that continued to be of Greek science were Pliny"s Encyclopedia and also Boethius"s treatises ~ above logic and also mathematics (Tschanz, 1997).

The Islamic love the knowledge can be checked out in their cities. Every major Islamic city in middle ages times had substantial library; in Cordoba and also Baghdad the libraries insurance claim to have had over 400,000 books. We have the right to compare this come the largest libraries in west Europe that had only thousands of books. Even into the 14th century, the library in ~ the university of Paris only had around 2,000 publications (McClellan & Dorn, 1999).

Muslims described Spain as Al-Andalus. This word has actually several meanings. "One of lock is to come to be green after ~ a long summer or drought, and also the history of the Iberian Peninsula end the ages attests come this phase as soon as Muslims ruled Spain" (Zahoor, 1997b). The influence of the Muslim human being on west science have the right to be checked out in the vocabulary of science as many of the words provided by Muslim scientists have been retained and have gone into the English language. Arabic words in chemistry include alcohol, alkali, niter (from which indigenous we acquire nitrate), alkahest (the universal solvent, sought by the alchemists), and alembic (a distilling flask). Huge Arabic terms include almanac, zenith, and nadir (Plambeck, 1995).

Beginning in the center Ages, males seeking knowledge would take trip to Spain to acquire Muslim science. This may be surprising due to the fact that we have tendency to think that the Muslim world as gift separated native Europe. But, there were many linkage in between these 2 societies, one being trade and the other, an ext significantly education. Adelard of Bath, an englishman in the 12th century, was the very first major popularizer of Muslim scientific research in the West. He spent a long time in Muslim Spain finding out both around Greek mathematics and science and also Muslim contributions to science. In certain he introduced Euclid and also aspects the astronomy to western Europe.

"As well as much more technical treatises, the wrote organic Questions - the selections below are native its preface and part of the body - i beg your pardon expresses his an essential belief that God should not be invoked to describe what person knowledge can." Adelard of Bath: The impact of Muslim Science. Preface come His Very challenging Natural Questions, c. 1137 from middle ages Sourcebook,

The crucial event for medieval Europe come in 1085 when the great Muslim city the Toledo fell to Christian army forces. Toledo housed among the largest libraries in the civilization at this time. And, this library to be filled with thousands of publications including Muslim translations of classic Greek philosophers. After the loss of Toledo, this city ended up being the focus of a huge translation initiative where groups of translators interpreted the Arabic texts into Latin. Often, this was not a one-step process. Jewish intellectuals typically served as the translators--translating Arabic into Hebrew because that themselves and also then into Spanish because that the Christians. But, because most of Europe speak Latin, the functions were then interpreted into Latin (often by priests or monks). One translator, Gerard the Cremona (1114-87) functioned for forty years in Spain translating, v a team, over 70 publications from Arabic originals including the works of Archimedes, Galen, Hippocrates, and Aristotle (McClellan & Dorn, 1999). In addition to Toledo, Arab occupational was found and also translated in southerly Italy and Sicily (reconquered by Norman knights in the 11th century). Through 1200, Europe had recovered many of ancient science and also appropriating number of centuries of scientific, medical, and philosophical occupational done by Muslim scholars.

In the remainder that this section, we will look at certain scientific innovations and also technologies that were transferred to western Europe v Islamic Spain. The story that these modern technologies will present the wide variety of clinical and technical innovation that arisen in the Middle periods in Al-Andalus. I have split this into three sections: mathematics, astronomy, and also chemistry and medicine.


In Europe throughout the middle ages Age, scholars used the roman number system. For those that you that remember the roman number system from school, you will certainly remember the it is not an especially use to include and subtract. And, the roman numeral device was an excellent hindrance to the economic breakthrough of Europe. The Muslim world, instead, supplied a different number system--the Arabic number device that we usage today.

Although having the surname "Arabic number system," Arabic numerals to be actually designed in India by the Hindus roughly 600 AD. You can visit the website, an introduction of Indian mathematics, to get an ext details around the function on indians in the background of mathematics,

A difficulty with the Hindu device is the it was created backwards. So, the number thirty-two would certainly be composed as 23. Follow to the web site IslamCity (, "One that the great centers of learning was Baghdad, whereby Arab, Greek, Persian, Jewish, and other scholars pooled their social heritages and also where in 771 one Indian scholar appeared, bringing v him a writing on astronomy using the Indian numerical system." The Muslims embraced and adjusted the Hindu mechanism which subsequently came to be known as the Arabic number system.

As with most other Muslim developments, the understanding of Arabic numbers spread to Europe with Spain where it was evident that the Arabic number system was exceptional to the roman number system, specific in commerce, arithmetic, and also algebra. The Codex Vigilanus, written in Spain in 976, is the oldest European manuscript containing Arabic numbers. And, in the 14th century, Arabic numerals became widely offered by merchants in Italy. After merchants began using the new number system, their usage then spread to the rest of Europe.


Al-Khwarizmi is recognized as the founder of contemporary Algebra. The actual name of algebra comes from the location of his most famous book, Kitab Al-Jabr wa al-Muqabilah ("The book of Integration and also Equation"). This publication on algebra, in its translated form, was the principal math textbook in European universities until the 16th century.

But the contribute of the Muslim world did not end with the Arabic number system. Due to the fact that the Arabic number system, ours decimal system, do mathematical calculations easier, it then became easier to usage this number device to describe relationships. This process of utilizing the decimal mechanism to generalize arithmetical processes and relationships developed into what we speak to algebra today. This type of mathematical thinking was a departure from mathematics Greek believed (which is geometric).In mathematics, few of the Arabic terms are algorithm, algebra, and also arithmetic.

"The noted Arab mathematician AL-KHAWARIZMI (Muhammad b. MusaAL-KHAWARIZMI ca. 875) created a textbook top top the subject which now exists only in a variety of Latin versions. In these a point is used for zero. In ca. 952 Abu"l-Hasan-al-Uqlidisi composed the Book that the parts of Indian Arithmetic which consists of an explanation and application of decimal fractions...In 1202 Leonardo of Pisa (also recognized as Fibonacci) released his Liber Abaci, a book of arithmetic and algebraic information. AL-KHAWARIZMI"s publication was a significant influence top top Fibonacci" (Gans, 2000).

To finish our discussion of the contributions of Muslim researchers to mathematics, you must read the adhering to essays.

Arabic mathematics : forget brilliance? through J J O"Connor and also E F Robertson,

Abu Ja"far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi"s contributions to the development of algebra,


In addition to their advancements in the ar of mathematics, the Muslim civilization made far-reaching contributions come the ar of astronomy. In our section on clocks (under modern technology in the center Age), we detailed that the breakthroughs in Chinese clock structure were influenced by Muslims. During the period beginning through the Mongol conquest of China by Kublai Khan, the Chinese Mongol rulers employed Muslim astronomers. This Muslim astronomers occurred improved expensive instruments (McClellan & Dorn, 1999). At this time (10-12th century), most clocks were used for astronomical and also astrological purposes rather 보다 for informing the time the day. So, that is not surprising the Muslim scientists should have been experts both in clocks and also astronomy.

According to (The Islamic human being to 1600), "Part that the factor for the Muslim interest in astronomy is distinct to the Islamic faith, and also grew indigenous the Muslim attempt to solve useful problems." The Muslim calendar is based top top a lunar system and also the come of the new moon significant the beginning and also end of each month. This was particular important during the month of Ramadan, once fasting is required during the day. A 2nd practical motivation for examining the stars was to identify the direction of Mecca from any location because Muslims are compelled to challenge Mecca once they pray.

"These practical comes to for Muslims led to good advancements in astronomy. Observatories were very first established in the Islamic world, in significant cities such as Baghdad, Hamadan, Toledo, Maragha, Samarkand, and Istanbul, and new instruments to be developed. The Muslim creation of the astrolabe, because that example, was among the most important in astronomy till the creation of the telescope in the 17th century" (The Islamic world to 1600).

Artist Name: Umayyad cotton Artist Dates: (661 - 1031, ) Title: Astrolabe. Creation Date: 10 c Style: Umayyad Repository: Krak�w. Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego. Ascede #: exp01002

an Astrolabe is a vertical angle measuring device. Lugged from Spain come Krakow in the 15th century. Used by Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish astronomer 1473-1543).

The astrolabe was a an essential development for both the Muslim and also Western world. (A history of the astrolabe is provided at And, over there are several different species of astrolabes. By far the most popular type is the planispheric astrolabe, on i m sorry the celestial ball is projected ~ above the airplane of the equator. A planispheric astrolabe consists that two flat circular disk. Among the disks has actually a map the the sky on that face. The 2nd disk reflects the horizon, the present of altitude for a certain latitude and the janice (The janice is the "point of the celestial ball that is straight over the observer and also 90 degrees from every points on the person"s horizon" (Encarta, 2000)).

As you can see native the photograph above, the astrolabe is an installed in a case with degrees marked around the perimeter and also arms an installed in the center. To usage the astrolabe, you move the moveable eight to a certain location.

"Astrolabes can be provided to fix many expensive problems that would certainly otherwise call for rather advanced mathematics. Every one of the day-to-day uses the the astrolabe are not known, yet they were absolutely used to tell time throughout the day or night, to uncover the time that sunrise and also sunset and, thus, the size of the day, to locate celestial objects in the sky, together a handy recommendation of celestial positions and, as astrology to be a deeply embedded aspect of the societies that used astrolabes, to determine facets of horoscopes. Islamic prayer times are astronomically determined, and also the astrolabe could be supplied to identify the required times" (Morrison, 2000).

Another kind of astrolabe to be a navigational astrolabe. The astrolabe enabled a seafarer to recognize his latitude--the north-south position. To execute this, the sailor would align the horizontal axis of the astrolabe through the horizon. He then pointed it at the sun and read its place on the external disk. He might then find his latitude through consulting an astronomical table (usually in a book).

You deserve to read more about The Mariner"s Astrolabe at

This picture is taken native the WWW version of the Canadian Museum that Collection. Details around this astrolabe deserve to be uncovered at

Many of you have actually probably heard the Omar Khayyam v his famous publication of poetry, the Rubaiyat. But, in his time and until the 19th century, Omar Khayyam was much much more famous as a scientist. His most famed work remained in the areas of mathematics and also astronomy. Once working because that the sultan Malik-Shah Jalal al-Din, he developed the Jalali solar calendar which quiet is the many accurate calendar the exists today with just an error of at some point in 3330 years.


The following web essay will give you an ext details top top the Muslim contributions to Astronomy.

Uses of the Astrolabe (in the middle Ages),

Chemistry and Medicine

It would be simplistic come look ~ above the Muslim civilization merely together the conduit because that Greek knowledge transferred come Europe. Yes, the timeless works of Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen were eventually transferred to Europe through Islamic Spain. However, Muslim contribute to chemistry are more significant than this transfers, particularly in the locations of chemistry and also medicine. The clinical knowledge available in the Muslim world was for this reason far progressed as compared to the middle ages West. Muslim innovation and work in chemistry and also medicine grew from around 900 - 1200 AD. After ~ the translation initiatives of Toledo and other places, books from Arab sources ended up being standard medical texts in Europe.

Dioscorides was a Greek doctor in the first c CE; understand Abdullah Ibn-al-Fadl is the calligrapher.

Why was the Muslim people so far progressed in medicine as contrasted to Europe? lot of the answer come this question relates to the various worldviews that the two societies. As we detailed previously, transparent the Qur"an, there is a solid emphasis on the worth of knowledge. And, since the quest of expertise is regarded in a most positive light, experimentation and discovery are encouraged and indeed sustained by the government. This worldview is in direct comparison to that existing in the Europe of the medieval Age.

After the end of the western roman Empire, the Catholic church stepped right into the void produced by that end. The Catholic church viewed all understanding as revealed with the church. Therefore, the pursuit of understanding for its very own sake was perceived with suspicion. Also, the Church put its focus on the heart so medical treatment the the human body was not valued. In fact, the hospitals of the middle ages Age, generally run by monks, were locations to take it seriously ill people to either live or die, based top top God"s will. During the middle ages Age, rather of treatment for the body, lack of care was watched to be proof of godliness. Mortification, the abuse that the body for spiritual reasons, was widespread throughout the medieval Age.

Among the various other translations, two significant Arabic medical books were interpreted into Latin. The first, Introduction to Medicine created by Hunain ibn Ishaq, continued to be a renowned medical text in Europe for 600 years. The second book was composed by Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina (sometimes known in the West as Avicenna). His book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb ("The Canon the Medicine") was supplied in both Europe and the Islamic human being from the 11th come the 17th centuries and was reprinted at least 35 time in Europe.

Muslim physicians learned exactly how to use sedatives, lock pioneered the use of antiseptics come clean wounds, and they additionally used sutures make from gut and silk to bind wounds. In all locations of both practical and theoretical medicine, they were ahead of your colleagues in Europe, where human being often taken into consideration sickness to it is in the authorize of immorality, penalty from God, or "as a condition caused by mythological forces, which can take the kind of diabolical possession" (Tschanz, 1997). One of the best breakthroughs in medical knowledge throughout the Medieval age came in the 13th century as soon as a Muslim doctor, Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ilyas, discovered how blood circulated in the body.


Click ~ above the photo to the left to view a larger picture of an anatomical sketch from the illustrated Anatomy of Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ilyas, 1396. The US national Library of medicine in Bethseda, MD has actually a copy that the anatomy message by Mansur ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Yusuf ibn Ilyas. There are countless other photos from this historic text available at

The adhering to web sites talk about the contribute of the Muslim (or Islamic) civilization to western chemistry and also medicine. You have to read the essays in this section.

Islamic chemical Technology,

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (973-1037): On medication (primary text from the medieval Sourcebook),

Islamic society and the clinical Arts, one online directory to accompany an Exhibition In solemn event of the 900th Anniversary that the oldest Arabic clinical Manuscript In the collections of the national Library of medicine by Emilie Savage-Smith, college of Oxford, nationwide Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, 1994, There are numerous sections come this virtual brochure. Ns recommend the you read several sections so the you get an evaluation of the important duty of Islamic researchers to the background of medicine.


This completes our section on the contribute of Muslims come science and also technology. In this section, ns have focused on four specific areas: mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and also medicine. This does not mean that Muslim scientists and philosophers walk not add to other areas. In fact, the founder the Algebra, Al-Khwarizmi, directed a team the geographers who created the first map of the known civilization in 830. I hope the this short development to the Islamic impacts on Western culture and science will increase your evaluation of the interactions the existed, and also still exist, between different societies.

The following section discusses the contribute of China come the development of modern technology in the West.

Chinese contribute to Technology

Technology in the middle Ages

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Abdel-reheem Ead, H. (2000). Alchemy in Islamic Times. Http://

Collins, R. (1995). Early middle ages Spain (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan Press.

Zenith. (2000). Encarta. Go to and search because that Zenith

Gans, P. (2000). Arabic Numerals. Http://

McClellan, J. E., & Dorn, H. (1999). Science and modern technology in human being History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins university Press.

See more: Which Of The Following Is The Probability Of Rolling An Even Number

Morrison, J. E, (2000). Uses that the Astrolabe.

Plambeck, J. A. (1995). Introductory college Chemistry I. College Chemistry: one Introduction. With the Middle periods to Alchemy.

Vulgar Latin (2000). Encyclopedia Britannica, go to and search for Vulgar Latin


Other web Resources

Internet Islamic history Sourcebook. This net site is part of the comprehensive collection the online background sources available from Fordham University. The is fantastic place to look for main and secondary sources pertained to the history of Islam,

Islamic medical Manuscripts in ~ the national Library the Medicine,

Medieval Islamic Medicine,