Europe’s “Renaissance” is Islamic
Posted by: adonis49 on: October 20, 2009
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Europe’s “Renaissance” is Islamic; (October 19, 2009)
This post will demonstrates that Europe’s “renaissance” in the scientific disciplines and scientific research methods could not have been launched without the import of Islamic scientific manuscripts and knowledge in the sciences and mathematics.
In a previous post I demonstrated that the Catholic Church of Rome was the most obscurantist religion from 400 AC (when it exercised central power to Europe) till late 16th century: no scientific manuscripts or “heretic” opinions were permitted to reach her sphere of spiritual and temporary influence. During all that period, Europe’s borders were practically opened to all kinds of trades except in two instances after the Crusaders were kicked out from the Orient about 1200 and when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in around 1450. Europe didn’t dare challenge the Papal restrictions to knowledge until Martin Luther weakened the central religious power. This qualitative shift was long due for a modern paradigm. Islam never adopted any centralized religious power and thus managed to acquire knowledge “even from China” as the Prophet Muhammad admonished the Moslems.
In the same vein, Orthodox Christian Church of Byzantium was the obscurantist central religious power in Constantinople that wasted four centuries on the Near East region to produce any worthwhile scientic advancement. This region had to wait for Islamic Empires to conquer most of the Near East from the Byzantium Empire for sciences to get a new lease on life.
This post is to demonstrate that Islam civilization had fundamentally the zest to acquiring scientific knowledge while feeling confident that the One and only God is a rational creator. Without the breakout from Papal influence Europe would have never greedily acquired Islamic scientific manuscripts and then translate them into Greek, Latin, and German and thus move on to experience renaissance. After the 17th century, Papal Rome hurried to catch up with the trend and exhibited the will to show off that the Catholic Church is the main conservator of sciences and its promoter.
As a brief post, it will refrain from being exhaustive. The medical field was highly developed. Al Razi treaties were translated as early as the 13th century by Gerard de Cremone. Ibn Sina (Avicenna), an acclaimed physician and eminent philosopher wrote many books on medicine and in pharmacopeias; his main translated medical manuscript was the basic source in Europe as late as the 18th century.
The renowned mathematician Al Khwarismi (820 AC) wrote “The beginning of algebra” (Kitab al Jabr); he developed what is known as algorithm; in his honor Europe gave this field of math his name (Algorithm). Ibn Yahya al Maghrebi wrote “The brilliance in algebra” (al baahir fil Jaber). Actually, current mathematicians have discovered that an ancient Islamic mathematician solved Fermat theorem that was stated in 1620 and which took centuries to be demonstrated lately in Europe.
The Element of Euclid in geometry was translated by Al Hajjaj in the 9th century and commented extensively by Al Tusi. Al Biruni founded the geodesic and mineralogy disciplines. Around 770 Caliphate Al Mansur hired Indian astronomers. Caliphate Al Maamun built the first observatory on mount Qassioun by Damascus around 830 and astronomy received a new impetus: Al Fazari and Yaaqub ibn Yarid adapt the Indian astronomy table Zij al Sindhind; the Almageste of Ptolemy is translated and Al Farghani wrote a compendium on the sciences of stars; Thabit ibn Qurra works on the Book of Solar Year; and Al Batani wrote the Sabean Tables.
The mathematician and astronomer Ibn Al Haytham (Alhacen) in the 11th century developed strong doubts on Ptolemy cosmology model and offered several updated models; he much further by presenting the concept that it is not productive to do astronomy and physics before acquiring firm knowledge in mathematics. Al Haytham offered a mathematical model for astronomy instead of the cosmology alternative of drawing schemas of the world with concentric circles and other schematic models. Kepler adopted this line of investigation in studying astronomy. As a matter of fact, European educational systems of sciences focus mostly on mathematics as primary disciple before venturing into studying sciences.
The newly radical Islamized Mogul invaded Damascus and were defeated by the Mamluk’s Empires of Egypt. The Mogul Hulago built the famous observatory of Maragha (Nizamiyya) in Mossul (Iraq). This observatory was the center of astronomy for thirty continuous years and graduated famous scientists. The center was directed by the eminent mathematician and jurist the Persian Kamal al Din Ibn Yunus. Among the astronomers were Al Urdi, Al Tusi, Al Shirazi, Zij Ilkhani, and Ibn al Shatir. Al Tusi proposed different cosmological models with non-concentric circles. Ibn Al Shatir synthesized the models for the Universe perfectly geocentric and completely different of Ptolemy’s. Copernicus adopted integrally Al Shatir’s cosmology; he even replaced the exact Arabic alphabet with the Latin counterparts; Copernicus didn’t need a translated version since the schema was self-evident.
Islamic Andalusia (Spain) (from 800 to 1,400) took the rationality relay as the central power in Baghdad weakened around 1050 by the arrival of newly radical converted princes from the central Asia provinces and the Caucasus. Ibn Baja, Ibn Tofail, Ibn Rushd were the prominent thinkers whose works were quickly disseminated in Spain and Padua (Italy).
Europe’s “Renaissance” was becoming receptive to knowledge after 11 centuries of the Dark Age that was imposed upon it by the Catholic Church of Rome. Albert the Great, Dietrich of Freiberg, and Master Eckhart were avid readers of Islamic scientific manuscripts of Avicenna, Maimonide, and Averroes (Ibn Rushd). The Prussian Emperor Frederic the Great was educated in Sicily and received his knowledge directly from Islamic sources.
Note: I stated historical facts; it is by no means a completely coherent model for the genesis of European civilization; it would be advisable to refrain from extrapolations at this stage.
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