It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The Islamic Golden Age

page: 1
3

log in

join
share:

posted on Nov, 28 2017 @ 07:06 PM
link   
There is a lot of debate around the topic that is called the Islamic Golden Age(IGA). For some people it really was a golden age of knowledge, science, tolerance, and the standard of living was the highest of its time. For some other people, it is just partly true, and it has been embellished greatly, because all they did was to pass on the Greek knowledge that they found without adding to it anything of significance. And for one last group of people, it is just a total lie, and the Muslims of this era just kept killing, enslaving, stealing and destroying.

Some adversaries of the IGA even use arguments that make no sense, like for example counting the number of Nobel prizes awarded to modern Muslims or Arabs in order to discredit an IGA. As if someone counted the number of Nobel prizes awarded to modern Greeks in order to discredit Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, etc., all the great minds of antique Greece. It doesn't make sense at all.

It is very hard to look at this objectively due to the current political and geopolitical state of things. You never know if the person speaking has prejudices or not, and this goes both ways. And the thing is that it is not new. I have for example read a book "The World of Islamic Civilization" by Gustave Le Bon, written in 1884, in which he already specifically states that what he has found and written goes against the cultural paradigm of his time. And in his time, the Muslim world was represented by the Ottoman empire which was already in decline but was still powerful.

One other thing to keep in mind is that for centuries to this day, every European scholar who defended an IGA was/is almost always suspected of being anti-Christian, suspected of aggrandizing another religion/culture in order to attack the one in which he lives, in this case Christianity. A "self-hating Christian" of sorts. One could argue that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the pond, but I have read a good number of those scholars and what they say generally looks well thought, is logically sound and is sourced.

Some say that if there was indeed an IGA, it is only through military conquest and bloodshed. Well, who can cite one empire that didn't come to exist through military conquest, especially during the middle ages ? I can't really think of one. It is also said that the European chivalric code of conduct (honor in combat, defense of the weak against the strong, respect for the defeated, etc.) originated for the most part from Muslim Spain through Arabic poetry and literature. Here is a quote from wikipedia regarding this topic :

The influence of Arabic literature on European writers is proven by what Reinhart Dozy quoted on his book "Spanish Islam: History of Moslems in Spain", of the Spanish writer AlGharo, who deeply regretted the neglect of Latin and Greek and the acceptance of the language of the Muslims, he said "The intelligent and eloquent people are bewitched by the sound of Arabic and they look down on Latin. They have started to write in the language of those who defeated them". A contemporary of his, who was more influenced by nationalistic feelings, expressed his bitterness when he said, “My Christian brothers admire the poetry and chivalry stories of the Arabs, and they study the books written by the philosophies and scholars of the Muslims. They do not do that in order to refute them, but rather to learn the eloquent Arabic style. Where today – apart from the clergy – and those who read the religious commentaries on the Old and New Testaments? Where are those who read the Gospels and the words of the Prophets? Alas, the new generation of intelligent Christians do not know any literature and language well apart from Arabic literature and the Arabic language. They avidly read the books of the Arabs and amass huge libraries of these books at great expense; they look upon these Arabic treasures with great pride, at the time when they refrain from reading Christian books on the basis that they are not worth paying attention to. How unfortunate it is that the Christians have forgotten their language, and nowadays you cannot find among them one in a thousand who could write a letter to a friend in his own language. But with regard to the language of the Arabs, how many there are who express themselves fluently in it with the most eloquent style, and they write poetry of the Arabs themselves in its eloquence and correct usage.”


And even if we take the point of view of those who think that all they did was pass on knowledge, one has to realise that doing such thing is not a given for any civilisation.

I will stop here for the moment. I think there is enough meat in this OP to start a discussion on the subject. There are of course many more things to say and we could write a dozen books on the subject and it wouldn't be enough. I could list names of scholars of that time, and dates and places, things that have been invented during that time, make the difference between Muslim Spain and the Middle-east (Baghdad, Damascus), etc., but it would be a waste of time and energy because you can already find all these things on wikipedia and other places. Feel free to talk about these things, and please refrain from posting one liners punchlines that don't add anything to the discussion. Thanks.




posted on Nov, 28 2017 @ 07:44 PM
link   
No ....by definition islam is the bias on all the intellectual subjects

and man it's got bias



posted on Nov, 28 2017 @ 10:19 PM
link   
a reply to: gosseyn

Interestingly, there are some Muslims who are open to the idea of extraterrestrial life around this time. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church will silence anyone who espouses the idea.

Here's a thread by Skyfloating regarding Islam and Extraterrestrials.

www.abovetopsecret.com...
edit on 11/28/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 06:18 AM
link   
Iran has made huge contributions to science over the centuries:

Science and technology in Iran

And:

Persia Cradle of Science, Technology



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 06:37 AM
link   


This video is 6 min long but it gives a great overview of the intellectual fall of Islam and the reasons why, in the soothing tones of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Edit: A look at the Silk Route/Road during this time shows that Baghdad was at the center of an important cross roads and a hotbed for the discussion and sharing of ideas, believed by a lot of people to have been the cause of this intellectual golden age in the area.
edit on 29/11/2017 by BelowLowAnnouncement because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 06:54 AM
link   

Through this combination of acquisition and influx of knowledge, the Arabians became the curators of the scientific knowledge of the world.
"The growth of physical science", James Jeans, 1947.
Professor Jeans touches on their work in chemistry, optics, and mathematics. Our numbers are called Arabic, because they reached the West via the Muslim world. The word "Algebra" has an Arabic origin. The star Algol has an Arabic name.
Islamic Spain and north-west Africa had renown in philosophy. The man known in the West as Averroes systematised the thinking of Aristotle in a way which became popular in Western universties, making it necessary for Thomas Aquinas to respond by Christianising the philosopher.

Howver, it should be pointed out that these were achievements of people brought up in the Islamic world, not the achievements of Islam as such. There was much intellectual dispute between Islamic philosophers and the Islamic theologians.

edit on 29-11-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 03:57 PM
link   

originally posted by: BelowLowAnnouncement


This video is 6 min long but it gives a great overview of the intellectual fall of Islam and the reasons why, in the soothing tones of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Edit: A look at the Silk Route/Road during this time shows that Baghdad was at the center of an important cross roads and a hotbed for the discussion and sharing of ideas, believed by a lot of people to have been the cause of this intellectual golden age in the area.


Thanks, I had already seen this video. It is true that there was a controversy at that time about knowing whether the sciences of nature led to god or not. But it is not the only factor that led to the decline of the IGA. Another factor, which is common to all empires, is the fact that the more it grows, the harder it becomes to manage. "Governors" that are supposed to rule in stead of the king/emperor/leader, when they have a lot of military and financial power and are far away from the capital, tend to want to become their own master. Another factor is the fact that the more you add different cultures/peoples to the empire, the more the original sentiment/idea/motivation that led to the rise of the empire gets diluted. As an example, the same happened for antique Rome. It worked great until the empire grew too much and anyone could become a citizen, then very few were willing to give their life to "the Glory of Rome". And when that happens, the empire is ripe for the taking by any outside force. The same happened in Islamic Spain, because at the same time that the Christian armies were marching on Spain, there were self-proclaimed Muslim "kings" that kept fighting among themselves, as if they didn't care.

As for the Silk road, it sure was a big factor, but it is an incomplete explanation because it doesn't explain what happened in North Africa and Spain. Rome too was at a crossroad, of Egypt and Greece and North Africa and Northern Europe. It had all of the Mediterranean sea as a playground. I think that if there is something that we can say for sure, is that what leads to the rise of an empire is being at the right place and perhaps more importantly the right time.



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:04 PM
link   

originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: gosseyn

Interestingly, there are some Muslims who are open to the idea of extraterrestrial life around this time. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church will silence anyone who espouses the idea.

Here's a thread by Skyfloating regarding Islam and Extraterrestrials.

www.abovetopsecret.com...


And interestingly, there's no doubt that it was the Catholic Church that created Islam.



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:54 PM
link   

originally posted by: DISRAELI

Through this combination of acquisition and influx of knowledge, the Arabians became the curators of the scientific knowledge of the world.
"The growth of physical science", James Jeans, 1947.
Professor Jeans touches on their work in chemistry, optics, and mathematics. Our numbers are called Arabic, because they reached the West via the Muslim world. The word "Algebra" has an Arabic origin. The star Algol has an Arabic name.
Islamic Spain and north-west Africa had renown in philosophy. The man known in the West as Averroes systematised the thinking of Aristotle in a way which became popular in Western universties, making it necessary for Thomas Aquinas to respond by Christianising the philosopher.

Howver, it should be pointed out that these were achievements of people brought up in the Islamic world, not the achievements of Islam as such. There was much intellectual dispute between Islamic philosophers and the Islamic theologians.

You ask an interesting question, which is : how should we call it ? Islamic Golden Age, Arabic Golden Age, or even Abbasid Golden Age which has been proposed by some people ? The language used was Arabic throughout the empire, there is no questioning that. It played a role similar to Latin in Europe. It was the scholarly language just like Latin was. Persians were using it, Christians, Jews, Berbers, etc.. It is also remarkable that the capital of the empire was never in the Arabian peninsula. And when you think of it : how could a nomadic people from a desert land, with no particular background or history, could build an empire that stretched far and wide, and how could their language become the scholarly language throughout this empire, and all that in such a short period of time ? It's mind-boggling. Languages of that era that could represent abstract concepts with nuances were very few. And it is to be noted the Arabic language was for a large part developed in order to express all the nuances of the Quran. For these reasons, the Quran and the Arabic language are closely tied. And for these reasons also, the Arabic language was well adapted to the pursuit of nuanced knowledge, like philosophy, physics, etc..

So if we summarize, they brought 2 things with them during their conquest, their language and their religion. And we could add to that a third thing which is their values as a nomadic people living in harsh desert conditions, which include values like hospitality, a minimum of cooperation, an interest and a curiosity for everything that is foreign and unknown, some sort of magnanimity towards the weak or the defeated. And this links to another interest of mine which is the life of nomadic hunter-gatherers in the pre-neolithic era, but that's for another topic. I often think about what would have happened to America if the Europeans never discovered it and if the Natives could have entered modernity by usual commercial and intellectual exchanges..

I don't look at the Quran as a divine book, but as a work of men that contains and expresses the social values of the time. Of course no religion has legs and arms to cut wood and build bridges by itself. It's all about humans.

As a side note, I remember some years ago that the president of France went to Sub-Saharan Africa(I don't remember which country, I could look it up but it's not important), and he said something that created controversy. He said that "it was time for Africa to enter History". Many took that as an insult. I remembered this some days ago as I was researching stuff. And I thought to myself that in a way it is true because they didn't invent a doctrine, a religion, or a set of ideas that could have unified them all under one banner and one ideal, just like Europe with Christianity, or Arabs with Islam, or India with Hinduism, or China, etc..

How would you call it if not Islamic Golden Age or Arab(ic) Golden Age ?
edit on 29-11-2017 by gosseyn because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-11-2017 by gosseyn because: (no reason given)




top topics



 
3

log in

join