Part 1 -- The background of Islamic Spain

Before start to analysis the affect of the Muslim civilization on western science and technology, that is beneficial to know the history and society of the Islamic world. Therefore, we will start this section with a tutorial on the background of the Islamic world to 1600, created by the college of Calgary.

You have to read the complying with four net sites before you start the section on Muslim contributions to Science and Technology.

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

Next, you should read the background of Spain from a Muslim point of view. ~ the reconquest of Spain through Christian forces, much of the scientific understanding that was occurred by Muslims pertained to Western Europe v Spain. Therefore, a understanding of the Muslim conquest and also loss the Spain is crucial to understanding the flow of information. Andalusia,

Last, you must read this essay the presents "certain facets of the Islamic scientific researches as checked out from the Islamic allude of view." Science and also Civilization in Islam,

Muslim contribute to Science and also Technology

While many of Europe was living in the intellectually dormant times of the middle Ages, a different instance existed in Spain. And, this difference can be traced directly to Muslim influences. Spain, even prior to the Moslem conquests, to be the step of lot fighting and territorial disputes. In the early on Middle Ages, ~ the "Fall" that the roman inn Empire, Spain was conquered by a confederation the German tribes (around 411 AD). Soon after, Spain was again conquered by the Visigoths (416 to 418 AD). Majesties from Visigoth family members ruled Spain because that the next two century until the Muslim conquest of Spain that started in 711 advertisement (Collins, 1995).Over the following 19 years, the Muslims overcame most of Spain and were threatening to overcome France until quit by Charles Martel (the grand of Charlemagne) at Poiters in 732. Click on this attach to review three different accounts ~ above the battle of Tours,

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As disputed in the college of Calgary tutorial, Spain to be ruled for 300 years by the descendents that the Umayyad ruling house. You will certainly remember indigenous the tutorial that the Abbasid revolution in 750 damaged Umayyad strength in most locations of the Islamic world. However, during the Revolution, the nephew of one of the previous caliphs escaped come Spain and collection up a kingdom that lasted until the Berbers from phibìc Africa took over in the 11th century.

Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and also philosophy flourished in Spain throughout the rule of the Umayyad. Lot of this intellectual climate can be traced to the precepts the the Qur"an (in English, we periodically refer to this together the Koran). Throughout the Qur"an, there is a strong emphasis ~ above the worth of knowledge. As listed in the tutorial, "because Muslims think that Allah is all-knowing, they likewise believe that the person world"s quest for knowledge leads to more knowing of Allah. Muslims must therefore pursue knowledge not only of God"s laws, yet of the natural human being as well, prolonging the frontiers of human knowledge. Uneven the revealed knowledge of the Qur"an, Muslims believe that person knowledge is no perfect, and also requires consistent exploration and breakthrough through research and also experimentation. According to the Qur"an, learning and also gaining knowledge is the highest form of religious activity because that Muslims, and the one i m sorry is many pleasing to God."

Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina (sometimes known in the West together Avicenna) was born in Bukhara in 980. That is arguably the many famous and influential of all the Islamic philosopher-scientists. His well known book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb ("The Canon that Medicine") was offered throughout Europe for over 600 years. In his writings, that spelled out the actions for experimentation the effectiveness of a new drug. Beyond his job-related in medicine, he additionally made significant contributions in philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, and also astronomy and also was the author of end 200 books.

Photo acquired from

In the middle ages Age, the Muslims led the human being in their pursuit of knowledge. Much of this expertise was found by Muslim researchers while other knowledge was derived from other cultures including the Greeks, Persians, Indian, and Chinese. The Muslims synthesized, elaborated, and transmitted this expertise to Spain; and eventually, come the whole Western world. In west Europe at this time, many of the understanding of the Greeks was lost. It was only through the transport of Greek expertise (including Aristotle"s philosophy, Ptolemy"s geography, Hippocrates" medicine) by Islam Spain that this information ever got to western Europe.

Historians have found that there were two significant periods of extreme scholarly work-related in the Muslim human being during the medieval Age. The very first period remained in the 9th and 10th centuries in Baghdad and the second duration was the 12th and also 13th century in Europe (primarily Spain). In both of this periods, Muslim translators first translated the Greek knowledge right into Arabic and also then right into other languages. That course, as was discussed previously, Greek expertise was magnified and broadened by Muslim scholars. Remember the primary language that Europe right now was Latin--all the romantic languages (French, Italian, etc) to be just start to be used and also were generally considered to be vulgar (According come the Encyclopedia Britannica (2000), Vulgar Latin "was generally the speech of the middle classes in Rome and also the roman inn provinces." ~ the Roman empire fell, local differences in vulgar Latin increased and also eventually ended up being the romance languages.)

"Take Aristotle, because that instance. Just a fraction of his work was recognized in Europe throughout the post-classical era, when barbaric invasions brought about the loss of so much previously culture. However most of his books were analyzed into Arabic, and also were studied and also commented on over and also over again in Baghdad and other centers. European theorists rediscovered them via these commentaries. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and also Ibn Rushd (Averroes) were renowned names in medieval philosophy and also their predecessor al-Farabi (Alfarabius) is said to have actually lectured on Aristotle"s Physics 40 times and also his Rhetoric 80 times" (Zahoor, 1997b).

Why to be this understanding lost to west Europe? an answer can be uncovered by looking at the time and events that arisen before the start of the European middle ages Age. Throughout the finishing centuries that the roman Empire, Christianity became more powerful and influential, specifically after come to be lawful under the roman Emperor Constantine (Emperor ad 324 - 337). A an effect of the dominance of Christianity to be that much less authority was offered to the pagan, "classical teachings" the the Greeks. The main preserve of Greek writing was in Egypt. However, the Library the Alexandria, one of the biggest libraries in Egypt (and the west world) was destroyed by fire in 389 AD. In this one event, numerous writings were lost. Additionally lost and also burned to be the Museum the Alexandria, a actual university, in 415 once riots incited through Christians led to its destruction.


Despite these, the scholarly legacy of the Greeks was kept in Alexandria and also at the college at Jundishahpur (Persia), wherein excommunicated Nestorian Christian scholar went in 431 and also some Greek scholars uncovered refuge ~ Plato"s Academy was closed in 529. Follow to Abdel-reheem Ead (2000), the deliver of Greek knowledge to the Muslims "was made partly through direct call in Egypt, partly through the medium of Syrian Christian translators, and also partly by way of Persia." it is clear that, once Egypt was taken over in 641 ad by the Muslims, lot Greek classic knowledge happen in this means into the Islamic culture. In 636, Persia became component of the Islamic world and Arab rulers continued to support the college at Jundishahpur. Through their translations the Greek texts, Islamic physicians were maybe to check out the functions of Hippocrates, Galen and also other Greek physicians. In contrast, after ~ the autumn of the roman Empire, all that stayed of Greek scientific research were Pliny"s Encyclopedia and also Boethius"s treatises top top logic and also mathematics (Tschanz, 1997).

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

Muslims referred to Spain together Al-Andalus. This word has several meanings. "One of castle is to come to be green after a lengthy summer or drought, and the history of the Iberian Peninsula over the periods attests come this phase when Muslims rule Spain" (Zahoor, 1997b). The affect of the Muslim human being on western science have the right to be viewed in the vocabulary of science as many of the words supplied by Muslim scientists have been retained and have entered the English language. Arabic indigenous in chemistry encompass alcohol, alkali, niter (from which word we acquire nitrate), alkahest (the universal solvent, sought by the alchemists), and alembic (a distilling flask). Huge Arabic terms incorporate almanac, zenith, and also nadir (Plambeck, 1995).

Beginning in the center Ages, guys seeking knowledge would take trip to Spain to obtain Muslim science. This might be surprising because we tend to think that the Muslim people as gift separated native Europe. But, over there were countless linkage in between these 2 societies, one being trade and the other, much more significantly education. Adelard of Bath, an brothers in the 12th century, was the very first major popularizer that Muslim science in the West. He spent a long time in Muslim Spain learning both around Greek mathematics and science as well as Muslim contributions to science. In details he introduced Euclid and aspects the astronomy to west Europe.

"As fine as an ext technical treatises, that wrote organic Questions - the selections below are native its preface and part of the body - i m sorry expresses his fundamental belief the God need to not be invoked to define what human being knowledge can." Adelard that Bath: The impact of Muslim Science. Preface come His Very daunting Natural Questions, c. 1137 from middle ages Sourcebook,

The an essential event for medieval Europe come in 1085 once the great Muslim city that Toledo fell to Christian armed forces forces. Toledo housed among the biggest libraries in the people at this time. And, this library was filled through thousands of books including Muslim translations of standard Greek philosophers. After ~ the autumn of Toledo, this city became the emphasis of a enormous translation initiative where teams of translators translated the Arabic texts right into Latin. Often, this was not a one-step process. Jewish intellectuals generally served as the translators--translating Arabic into Hebrew because that themselves and then into Spanish because that the Christians. But, because most the Europe spoke Latin, the works were then translated into Latin (often by priests or monks). One translator, Gerard of Cremona (1114-87) worked for fourty years in Spain translating, through a team, end 70 publications from Arabic originals consisting of the works of Archimedes, Galen, Hippocrates, and Aristotle (McClellan & Dorn, 1999). In enhancement to Toledo, Arab job-related was found and translated in southerly Italy and Sicily (reconquered by Norman knights in the 11th century). By 1200, Europe had recovered many of old science as well as appropriating numerous centuries the scientific, medical, and also philosophical work done by Muslim scholars.

In the remainder that this section, we will certainly look at details scientific innovations and also technologies that were moved to western Europe through Islamic Spain. The story that these innovations will present the wide range of clinical and technological innovation that developed in the Middle eras in Al-Andalus. I have separated this into three sections: mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry and also medicine.


In Europe during the medieval Age, scholars supplied the roman inn number system. For those that you that remember the roman inn number system from school, you will remember that it is not specifically use to include and subtract. And, the roman numeral system was an excellent hindrance come the economic development of Europe. The Muslim world, instead, provided a different number system--the Arabic number system that we usage today.

Although having actually the surname "Arabic number system," Arabic numerals were actually designed in India by the Hindus roughly 600 AD. You have the right to visit the website, an introduction of Indian mathematics, to get much more details around the function on indians in the history of mathematics,

A difficulty with the Hindu system is the it was composed backwards. So, the number thirty-two would be created as 23. According to the web site IslamCity (, "One of the an excellent centers of finding out was Baghdad, whereby Arab, Greek, Persian, Jewish, and also other scholars pooled their social heritages and where in 771 one Indian scholar appeared, bringing v him a treatise on astronomy utilizing the Indian number system." The Muslims embraced and changed the Hindu mechanism which subsequently came to be known together the Arabic number system.

As with most other Muslim developments, the expertise of Arabic numbers spread to Europe v Spain whereby it was evident that the Arabic number mechanism was superior to the roman number system, certain in commerce, arithmetic, and algebra. The Codex Vigilanus, written in Spain in 976, is the earliest European manuscript containing Arabic numbers. And, in the 14th century, Arabic numerals ended up being widely used by merchants in Italy. After merchants began using the brand-new number system, their usage then infect the rest of Europe.


Al-Khwarizmi is known as the founder of modern-day Algebra. The actual name of algebra comes from the title of his most renowned book, Kitab Al-Jabr wa al-Muqabilah ("The publication of Integration and also Equation"). This book on algebra, in its analyzed form, to be the principal mathematics textbook in European universities until the 16th century.

But the contributions of the Muslim people did not finish with the Arabic number system. Because the Arabic number system, our decimal system, made mathematical calculations easier, that then became easier to usage this number mechanism to explain relationships. This process of utilizing the decimal mechanism to generalize arithmetical processes and relationships progressed into what we call algebra today. This type of mathematical thinking was a leave from mathematical Greek believed (which is geometric).In mathematics, some of the Arabic terms room algorithm, algebra, and also arithmetic.

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

To conclude our conversation of the contributions of Muslim scientists to mathematics, you need to read the adhering to essays.

Arabic math : 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 developments in the field of mathematics, the Muslim world made far-reaching contributions to the ar of astronomy. In our section on clocks (under modern technology in the middle Age), we noted that the advances in Chinese clock building were influenced by Muslims. Throughout the period beginning through the Mongol occupation of China through Kublai Khan, the Chinese Mongol rulers work Muslim astronomers. These Muslim astronomers developed improved expensive instruments (McClellan & Dorn, 1999). At this time (10-12th century), many clocks were provided for astronomical and also astrological purposes rather 보다 for telling the time the day. So, the is not surprising that Muslim researchers should have been specialists both in clocks and also astronomy.

According to (The Islamic people to 1600), "Part of the factor for the Muslim interest in astronomy is distinct to the Islamic faith, and grew native the Muslim effort to solve helpful problems." The Muslim calendar is based ~ above a lunar system and the come of the brand-new moon significant the beginning and also end of every month. This was specific important during the month that Ramadan, when fasting is required throughout the day. A 2nd practical motivation for researching the stars to be to determine the direction that Mecca from any kind of location due to the fact that Muslims are compelled to face Mecca when they pray.

"These practical pertains to for Muslims led to an excellent advancements in astronomy. Observatories were very first established in the Islamic world, in significant cities such as Baghdad, Hamadan, Toledo, Maragha, Samarkand, and also Istanbul, and brand-new instruments were developed. The Muslim development of the astrolabe, for example, was among the most essential in astronomy till the creation of the telescope in the 17th century" (The Islamic people to 1600).

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

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

The astrolabe to be a critical development for both the Muslim and Western world. (A background of the astrolabe is given at And, there are number of different species of astrolabes. By far the many popular form is the planispheric astrolabe, on which the celestial sphere is projected ~ above the plane of the equator. A planispheric astrolabe consists the two flat circular disk. One of the disks has actually a map of the skies on that is face. The 2nd disk mirrors the horizon, the present of altitude for a details latitude and also the zenith (The janice is the "point that the celestial sphere that is straight over the observer and also 90 levels from every points on the person"s horizon" (Encarta, 2000)).

As you can see from the photo above, the astrolabe is mounted in a case with degrees significant around the perimeter and arms an installed in the center. To use the astrolabe, you move the moveable arms to a particular location.

"Astrolabes deserve to be supplied to deal with many expensive problems that would otherwise call for rather sophisticated mathematics. All of the day-to-day uses that the astrolabe are not known, but they were definitely used come tell time during the work or night, to uncover the time of sunrise and also sunset and, thus, the length of the day, to locate celestial objects in the sky, together a handy recommendation of celestial positions and, as astrology was a deeply embedded aspect of the cultures that supplied astrolabes, to determine elements of horoscopes. Islamic prayer times room astronomically determined, and also the astrolabe can be supplied to identify the compelled times" (Morrison, 2000).

Another type of astrolabe was a navigational astrolabe. The astrolabe permitted a seafarer to identify his latitude--the north-south position. To carry out this, the seafarer would align the horizontal axis the the astrolabe with the horizon. He then pointed it at the sun and read its place on the external disk. He could then uncover his latitude by consulting an astronomical table (usually in a book).

You have the right to read more about The Mariner"s Astrolabe in ~

This photo is taken native the WWW version of the Canadian Museum the Collection. Details about this astrolabe deserve to be found 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 an ext famous together a scientist. His most well known work remained in the locations of mathematics and also astronomy. When working for the sultan Malik-Shah Jalal al-Din, he produced the Jalali solar calendar which tho is the most accurate calendar that exists today with just an error of one day in 3330 years.


The complying with web essay will give you more details on the Muslim contribute to Astronomy.

Uses that the Astrolabe (in the center Ages),

Chemistry and Medicine

It would certainly be simplistic to look upon the Muslim human being merely as the conduit for Greek knowledge transferred come Europe. Yes, the classic works that Aristotle, Hippocrates, and also Galen were at some point transferred to Europe v Islamic Spain. However, Muslim contributions to chemistry space more far-reaching than this transfers, particularly in the locations of chemistry and medicine. The clinical knowledge accessible in the Muslim civilization was for this reason far progressed as contrasted to the medieval West. Muslim innovation and also work in chemistry and medicine thrived from around 900 - 1200 AD. ~ the translation efforts of Toledo and also other places, publications from Arab sources came to be standard medical texts in Europe.

Dioscorides to be a Greek physician in the 1st c CE; understand Abdullah Ibn-al-Fadl is the calligrapher.

Why to be the Muslim human being so far advanced in medication as contrasted to Europe? much of the answer come this inquiry relates to the various worldviews of the two societies. As we listed previously, transparent the Qur"an, there is a strong emphasis top top the worth of knowledge. And, because the quest of knowledge is perceived in a most positive light, experimentation and also discovery are encouraged and also indeed supported by the government. This worldview is in direct comparison to that existing in the Europe of the middle ages Age.

After the finish of the western roman inn Empire, the Catholic church stepped right into the void developed by the end. The Catholic church regarded all expertise as revealed with the church. Therefore, the pursuit of understanding for its own sake was viewed with suspicion. Also, the Church inserted its emphasis on the heart so clinical treatment of the human body was not valued. In fact, the hospitals of the middle ages Age, normally run through monks, were locations to take it seriously ill civilization to one of two people live or die, based upon God"s will. Throughout the middle ages Age, rather of treatment for the body, absence of care was viewed to be evidence of godliness. Mortification, the abuse the the body for spiritual reasons, was widespread during the medieval Age.

Among the various other translations, two far-reaching Arabic medical books were translated into Latin. The first, Introduction to Medicine composed by Hunain ibn Ishaq, stayed a renowned medical text in Europe because that 600 years. The second book was composed by Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina (sometimes recognized in the West as Avicenna). His book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb ("The Canon the Medicine") was used 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 how to usage sedatives, they pioneered the use of antiseptics come clean wounds, and also they likewise used sutures made from gut and also silk to bind wounds. In all locations of both practical and also theoretical medicine, they to be ahead of your colleagues in Europe, where civilization often thought about sickness to it is in the authorize of immorality, penalty from God, or "as a condition caused by supernatural forces, which can take the form of diabolical possession" (Tschanz, 1997). Among the biggest breakthroughs in clinical knowledge throughout the Medieval period came in the 13th century when a Muslim doctor, Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ilyas, uncovered how blood circulated in the body.


Click ~ above the photograph to the left to view a larger picture of an anatomical sketch from the shown Anatomy of Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ilyas, 1396. The US national Library of medication in Bethseda, MD has actually a copy the the anatomy message by Mansur ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Yusuf ibn Ilyas. There are plenty of other pictures from this historical text available at

The complying with web sites comment on the contribute of the Muslim (or Islamic) people to west chemistry and also medicine. You should read the essays in this section.

Islamic chemistry Technology,

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

Islamic culture and the clinical Arts, one online catalog to accompany an Exhibition In celebration of the 900th Anniversary that the oldest Arabic medical Manuscript In the collections of the national Library of medication by Emilie Savage-Smith, university of Oxford, national Library the Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, 1994, There are numerous sections come this online brochure. Ns recommend the you read several part so the you acquire an appreciation of the important role of Islamic scientists to the background of medicine.


This completes our section on the contribute of Muslims to science and technology. In this section, i have concentrated on four particular areas: mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and also medicine. This go not mean that Muslim scientists and also philosophers walk not add to other areas. In fact, the founder that Algebra, Al-Khwarizmi, command a team of geographers who produced the very first map that the known civilization in 830. I hope the this short introduction to the Islamic influences on Western culture and scientific research will boost your appreciation of the interactions that existed, and still exist, in between different societies.

The next section discusses the contribute of China to the development of modern technology in the West.

Chinese contributions to Technology

Technology in the center 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. Walk to and search for Zenith

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

McClellan, J. E., & Dorn, H. (1999). Science and an innovation in world History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins university Press.

See more: What Is One Half Of Two Thirds Equals, More Or Less Than One

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

Plambeck, J. A. (1995). Introductory university Chemistry I. University Chemistry: an Introduction. Through the Middle ages to Alchemy.

Vulgar Latin (2000). Encyclopedia Britannica, walk to and also search because that Vulgar Latin


Other internet Resources

Internet Islamic background Sourcebook. This internet site is component of the extensive collection that online history sources accessible from Fordham University. It is great place to look for main and second sources related to the background of Islam,

Islamic medical Manuscripts in ~ the nationwide Library that Medicine,

Medieval Islamic Medicine,