Islamic Heritage: Discover the Golden Age of the Muslim Civilization

Dina Essawy

22 Jan 2018

Few people know the extent that Islamic heritage reached in terms of culture, arts, and sciences. Islamic heritage and civilization spread throughout the world over 1400 years ago, reaching citizens far and wide, from the far east to the west.

The fact that numerous verses from the Quran and Hadith urge Muslims to seek and acquire knowledge has encouraged scholars throughout history to do so. They travelled all over the globe and interacted with scientists and philosophers from different kingdoms around the world, lending their expertise and in turn learning from their foreign counterparts.

Labelled as one of the largest empires in history, the Muslim empire reached its peak from the 8th to the 13th century A.D with the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate in modern-day Iraq, during which Muslim scholars made notable contributions to all fields of knowledge, including medicine, engineering, art, philosophy, astronomy, literature and sociology.

The work produced during that era is considered so valuable that renowned institutions such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt are attempting to reissue the classics of the Islamic heritage.

Many Islamic scholars were fluent in different languages, such as the Greek language, which led to a massive translation movement that was spawned after the establishment of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad by Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Originally constructed for his private use, the House of Wisdom gradually became an intellectual center where scholars of all religions and backgrounds studied and conducted their research. An interest in education spread throughout Muslim countries, and thus universities such as the University of Al Karaouine and Al-Azhar University were established.

Contact between Greek and Muslim scholars is quite notable through the work of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes). Both renowned scholars played a major role in saving the works of Aristotle. The work of Islamic philosophers equally influended the west, in regards to psychology and metaphysics.

Many of the disciplines we know today we largely developed by Muslim scholars. For example, the name Algebra is originally derived from the book Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala by Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, who is considered to be the Father of Algebra. Furthermore, one cannot forget the great constributions made by Ibn al-Haytham, who established the foundations for the theory of optics.

Islamic heritage does not only include contributions in fields of science, but it has also delved into the realm of literature and poetry. The Book of One Thousand and One Nights was compiled during the Abbassid Caliphate. The collection of folk tales is still popular to this day and has spawned many continuations and spin-offs.

The rise of the Abbasid Caliphate also led to the spread of the Arabic language. As the Abbasid kingdom grew and its conquests became more and more frequent, the Arabic language became the official language used in the daily lives of the people that were under the rule of the Abasid kingdom.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Islamic heritage is rich in stories of success and contributions to all fields of knowledge. Muslim scholars throughout history have proved that Islam, as a religion and as a culture, advocates the right to seek and gain knowledge in order to disseminate Islamic heritage and culture all over the world.

 

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