Golden Age of Islam

Golden Age of Islam

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The golden age of Islam  or  Islamic revival ,  – a historical period from about the middle  of the VIII  to the middle

Inu  of the 13th century , at the beginning of which  the Arab Caliphate  was the largest state of its time. Within the framework of the caliphate, a common Muslim cultural space was formed, which continued to exist even after its collapse. Thanks to this, Islamic  scientists , writers and artists of this period made a significant contribution to the development of world science and culture. After the collapse of the Arab Caliphate, the development  of Islamic cultures are briefly picked up by the Persian state of the Samanids, and later by a series of Turkic empires of Ghazni, Karakhanids, Timurids, Seljuks, Khulaguids. Howard Turner writes: “Muslim artists and scholars, workers and princes have together created a unique culture that has direct and indirect influence on every continent.”

During the “Islamic Renaissance” mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, chemistry and other sciences developed. Islamic culture, stretching from southern Spain to China, has absorbed the achievements of scholars from a wide variety of nationalities and faiths. She developed the knowledge of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, achieving breakthroughs that paved the way for the Renaissance.


During the era of the Golden Age, Muslim scientists, artists, engineers, poets, philosophers and merchants contributed to science, economics, literature, philosophy, maritime science, agriculture, both preserving the traditions of the past and using their own inventions. During the reign of the Umayyads, and then the Abbasids, scientists enjoyed great support from the rulers. The practical importance of medicine, military technology, mathematics helped the development of the Arab Caliphate.

Arabic became the universal language of science. This precise language was ideal for scientific and technical terminology. Scientists from different countries from Cordoba to Baghdad and Samarkand had the opportunity to communicate in the same language. In the 9th century, the rulers of Baghdad held regular meetings (intellectual majlis) during which theologians, philosophers and astronomers, regardless of religious affiliation, gathered to discuss their ideas.

Universities and research centers

In the Islamic world, madrasahs were opened at mosques, where they taught not only religious, but also secular sciences. Many madrasahs eventually turned into universities. Muslim rulers organized scientific centers where scientists could accumulate, develop and exchange knowledge. The most famous of these scientific centers is the “ House of Wisdom ” (“Beit al-Hikma”), founded in   the 20s of the IX century by Caliph al-Mamun . In addition  to Baghdad , the centers of scientific activity in the  medieval  East  at different periods of its history were:  Cairo ,  Damascus ,  Bukhara ,  Ghazna , Samarkand ,  Khorezm , Isfahan ,  Cordoba  and other cities. In 859, Princess Fatima al-Fihri founded the first modern university in Fes, Morocco. The university, which admitted both men and women, had several faculties and taught many disciplines.

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The contribution of Muslim scientists to various branches of science


Astronomy is one of the areas of science that interested Muslim scientists. Observatories existed in almost all major cities of Islamic states. In 1259,  at-Tusi founded the Maragha Observatory near Tabriz , the world’s largest at that time . Islamic scholars Sharaf ad-Din At-Tusi , Nasir ad-Din At-Tusi and Ibn ash-Shatir for the first time       

They talked about the possibility of the Earth’s rotation along its axis, as well as about its rotational motion.  Muslims  have perfected an instrument for determining the location of the stars and measuring the distance between them (astrolabe). In the 9th-10th centuries  , the Musa brothers calculated the length of the Earth’s circumference. 

  • The Khorezmian scientist al-Biruni proved that the Earth rotates around its axis and around the Sun. Conducting research near the Indian city of Nandana, he was able to calculate the surface area of ​​the Earth. The method applied in this case is referred to in Europe as the “Biruni rule”.
  • The Central Asian scientist al-Fergani discovered the existence of spots on the Sun, and his works in the field of astronomy were used in Europe as a teaching aid for 700 years. He became the first scie.ntist to calculate the exact value of the curvature of the ecliptic.
  • Bettany’s calculations of the solar year are almost identical to modern ones (with an error of only 24 seconds).


  • Ibn Baytar (1190-1248) in his book described about 1400 medicinal plants and herbs. His work was considered the main scientific source in this area.


  • In the ninth section of his book “Kitab al-harakat as-samawiya wa dzhavami ilm an-nujum” (“The book on celestial movements and the code of the science of the stars”), the famous medieval geographer al-Fergani describes the seven climates of the earth.
  • One of the works of  al-Battaniy  contains a list of coordinates of 273 geographical objects. In the sixth chapter of this book, a description of the earth as a whole is given, and the seas, including the Black, Azov, and Caspian, are characterized in particular detail.
  • The Persian scholar  Ibn Sarafiyun , who called himself Sukhrab (“the poorest of people”) at the beginning of the 10th century, he wrote the work “Kitab ‘aja’ib al-akalim as-sab’a” (“The Book of the Amazing Seven Climates”), consisting of tables , in which the names of cities, seas, islands, mountains, lakes, rivers and their sources were given, distributed according to climatic features and supplied with digital data – longitude and latitude.
  • The famous Arab traveler Muhammad Ibn Battuta traveled all over the Islamic world – from Bulgar to Mombasa, from Timbuktu to China. In total, Ibn Battuta, according to some sources, covered 120,700 km, which is beyond the power of even many modern researchers.
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  • The name of the outstanding mathematician al-Khwarizmi is associated with the introduction of the decimal system of counting, fractions, trigonometric functions, and many other great achievements, without which it is impossible to imagine modern mathematics. He wrote the first book on algebra called al-Jabr wal-Mughabile. The word “al-Jabr” from the title of the book became soundArabic translation of Euclid’s “Beginnings”in the West as “Algebra”. The name of the scientist himself has become a household name and denotes a procedure that unambiguously leads to a result – an algorithm.

The medicine

The highest achievements of Muslim scientists can be noted in medicine. It was in the Arab Caliphate that hospitals and hospitals were built for the first time, and the first medical institutes arose. Muslim physicians have been at the forefront of science in the field of eye disease research for centuries. The first hospital in the Caliphate was established in 707 during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid ibn Abdul-Malik. The cost of maintaining this hospital and providing patients with food was borne by the state. In order to avoid the flight of leper patients, they were arrested.

  • According to the assumption of some researchers, Fakhruddin al-Razi (864-925) became the first physician to describe the pupillary reflex and the first to identify and describe diseases such as chicken pox and fever.
  • The famous scientist Ibn Sina (980-1037), known in the West as Avicenna, is credited with the discovery of contagious diseases, anesthesia, the connection between psychological and physical states, and many other areas of medicine. His book “The Canon of Medicine” from the 12th to the 17th century was used as a textbook in the best medical institutions in Europe.
  • The Andalusian physician Abu’l-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936–1013), known as Albucasis, was the first surgeon to introduce catgut (sheep intestine) sutures into daily practice. Among his inventions are a number of complex surgical instruments, including scalpels, syringes, forceps, and surgical needles. In his work “at-Tasrif” he illustrated and described the surgical instruments and procedures of surgical operations performed with their help. In Lectures 1 and 2, translated into Latin as Liber Thoricae, he classified 325 diseases and explained their symptomatology and treatment. The book includes the topic of dentistry, ophthalmic diseases of the ear, nose and throat, diseases of the head and neck, obstetrics, gynecology, urology and other areas of surgery.
  • Kambur Vesim (died in 1761) systematized knowledge about tuberculosis and was the first to determine the infectious nature of this disease.
  • Bakr ibn al-Qasim al-Mausiliy (X century) invented a hollow needle for removing cataracts by suction. The needle was inserted through the limbus, where the cornea is connected to the conjunctiva.
  • Ali ibn Isa (XI century) wrote the scientific work “Tazkir”, containing a description of 130 eye diseases. This book remained for centuries the most authoritative publication on ophthalmology until about the middle of the 19th century.
  • Ali ibn Abbas (d. 994) performed a surgical oncology operation. The medical encyclopedia “Kitabul-Maliky” written by him has not lost its relevance today.
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Muslims have shown interest in travel and the study of geography since ancient times. This was facilitated by the desire to spread Islam, trade, as well as the need to make a pilgrimage (hajj). The well-known word  admiral  comes from the Arabic  amir al-bahr  ( Arabic أمير البحر ‎‎). 


Borrowed production technology from China in 794 in Baghdad, the son of the vizier Harun ar-Rashid,  Ibn Fazl  built the first paper factory. After 6 years, a similar factory was built in Egypt, and in 950 in al-Andalus. The first paper that appeared in Europe was called charta damascaena, that is, Damascus scrolls , which was made from linen.


In the era of the Golden Age, Muslims were able to create an advanced irrigation system, as well as a well-thought-out crop rotation system that allows you to get a double crop in a year on the same land.


  • The Egyptian physicist and mathematician Ibn al-Haytham (965-1051), known in Europe as Alkhazen (al-Khazin), is the founder of optics, whose work The Book of Optics is put on a par with the works of I. Newton for revolutionary ideas in the discovery of optical laws. He gave a description of the structure of the eye and the correct representation of binocular vision. He suggested the finiteness of the speed of light and conducted experiments with a camera obscura (the forerunner of modern cameras), experiments on the refraction of light and experiments with various types of mirrors. The mechanism of light reflection in spherical mirrors is named after him – “al-Khazin’s problem”.
  • Abul-Izz Ismail al-Jazari (d. 1206) laid the foundations of cybernetics in his work “Kitabul-Khiyal” (“Book of Dreams”).
  •  He invented the crankshaft, designed valve pumps, water-lifting machines, water clocks, jukeboxes, etc. d..

In 880, a scientist named Ibn Firnanas for the first time designed an apparatus like an airplane. He managed to float in the air for quite some time and land smoothly.


The works of such scholars as  Ibn Rushd ,  al-Kindi  and  al-Ghazali  had a great influence on philosophical thought.


  • Jabir ibn Hayyan is considered the founder of chemistry. He described many acids and developed an early experimental method for research in chemistry. He was the first to express the idea of ​​the enormous energy hidden inside the atom and the possibility of its splitting. According to Ibn Hayyan, when splitting, a force is generated that can destroy Baghdad.

Islamic civilization

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