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Golden Age of Islamic Civilization

The world of Islam covered Spain, Sicily, Palestine, Syria and North Africa mainly Egypt. Islam was the center of the vibrant civilization accompanied by great scientific discoveries, philosophic and artistic culture that took place between 7th and 12th centuries. Islamists neither spoke Greek nor Latin, but they borrowed and integrated elements of culture of other tribes into their own culture. Its religious beliefs and practices were adopted from religious practices of Christians, Jewish and Pagans.

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Muslims were very ready to protect their language, law and religion from external influence and would only allow other religious groups to their territories only if they recognized Muslim faith. Initially, Islam was not politically unified hence had no centralized government.

Muhammad, born in Mecca is said to be the key agent in unifying Islamic civilization. He claimed that he had received from God which required all Arabs to surrender to God’s will. “Islam means submission to God’s will” (Gaudiosi 1240).

The social and economic conditions of Mecca influenced the growth and spread of Mohammad religion. Mohammed believed that he was the last prophet to be sent by God and Jesus was a prophet and was not son of God. People refused to be converted into his faith and as result, Mohammad fled to Medina where he established the Islamic community.

Muhammad and his group started raids known as jihad (striving in way of God) against their enemies. The Persians were the first to flee from the area, then Syria surrendered by 1640 and ten years later, the Muslim had conquered the whole of Persia Empire, Egypt and Spain.

In 8th century to 13th century Islamic civilization entered a golden age. During this period “the, artists engineers, scholars and philosophers in Islamic world contributed much to the arts, agriculture, economics, science and technology both by preserving and building upon earlier traditions and adding invention and innovation of their own”( Kuran 787). During this period the Muslims significantly build and advanced on the knowledge gained from the Greek, Egyptians, Persians and Romans civilization.

A major innovation was paper resulting in paper mills being build in Persian cities and Baghdad. As result libraries developed, thousands of book bidding shops were also established. There was freedom of religion which helped cultural networks. Muslims, Christians and Jewish intellectuals come together to share ideas thereby helped the spawn of the greatest period of philosophical creativity.

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Educational and scientific institutions were established. The first to be established was a public hospital to replace healing temples, then public libraries, universities which awarded degrees and finally research institutions. Universities initially issued medical diplomas to students of Islamic medicine who qualified to be practicing doctors of medicine. Innovation in industrial sector led to establishment of industries which used hydro power, fossil energy, tidal power and wind power. Some of the industries were paper mills, saw mills, steel mills and sugar mills.

The Islamic civilization saw the transformation of agriculture where new plants such as sorghum from Africa, mangoes and rice from India etc and new farming techniques diffused through the Islamic world. The economy was based on capitalism and free market. A monetary economy was created which introduced a common currency this eased international trade. On labor matters, people were employed on basis of their ethnicity and religious background with both women and men being involved in diverse occupation and economic activities.

Ibn ai-Hayat was the pioneer of experimental physic in 11th century. The most vital development of the scientific methods was the use of experiment to quantify scientific theories. The study of astronomical bodies started and was achieved by the Maraga schools. (The Maraga schools revolution). Chemistry was pioneered by Geber, which saw the introduction of experimental scientific methods within the field. Chemical processes such as pure distillation, filtration, purification etc were pioneered.

In mathematics, development in algebra, algorithms and invention of trigonometry were main achievements. Development in Architecture helped in construct ion of strong and stylish great Muslim mosque. For example the great mosque of samara combined architecture of rows supporting a flat base above which a huge sparing minaret was constructed. The Islamic art lasted between 750 to the 16th centaury and ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles etc flourished. The golden age of Islamic civilization ended during the Mongolian invasion in 13th century. During this period Mongols conquered much of Eurasia, slaughtered many people, destroyed cities transforming completely the Islamic world.

Works cited

Gaudiosi, Monica M. “The Influence of the Islamic Law of War on the Development of the Trust in England: The Case of Merton College”, University of Pennsylvania Law Review.136, 1988: 1231-1261.

Kuran Timur “The Absence of the Corporation in Islamic Law: Origins and Persistence”, American Journal of Comparative Law. 53 (2005): 785-834.

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