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Islam and History

Posted on March 18th, 2009


Written by paman


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  I   was wondering if you had any ideas or comments on how to start and write an essay that was assigned and is due on 12/15. Thanks:




Write a 5 paragraph essay that addresses the following question: How did the Islamic Empire influence the development of world history? Choose 3 areas of advancement and discuss their advancements in each area. Also explain how these advancements are important to our world today.




Culture of Traders


The Arabs had been traders for centuries before their empire developed. Muhammad himself had been a trader. It is not surprising, then, that trade was important to Muslim culture. The empire was at the center of a world trade network that linked Europe, Asia, and Africa. India and China sent goods to ports in Syria and Egypt.

As trade grew, other cultures increasingly demanded the quality goods that Muslims produced, such as textiles manufactured from silk, cotton, and wool, as well as beautiful woven tapestries and carpets. Muslims also made metal products from gold and silver. Steel swords from Damascus and from the Spanish city of Toledo became world famous. Luxuries such as jewelry, perfumes, and spices were in great demand. Muslim artisans produced pottery and glassware. Artisans in North Africa and Spain made fine leather goods. All this trade made the Islamic Empire wealthy.

Muslims exchanged ideas with other cultures as well. Both Córdoba and Toledo in Spain were famous centers of learning. Christian and Jewish scholars carried Muslim ideas from Spain into western Europe. Sicily under the Muslims was known for its astronomers and geographers. They, too, influenced Europeans. Many Europeans, in fact, viewed the Muslim world as a source of advanced knowledge in many scientific areas and in banking and commerce.


Government and Society


Under Arab rule, the Muslim Empire was organized into provinces. At first one caliph headed the government. Disagreement over succession to the position developed, however. In time, these disputes led to the breakup of the empire into three areas, or caliphates. The caliphates were ruled by caliphs in Baghdad, Cairo, and Córdoba.

Muslims throughout the Islamic Empire lived according to the Qur'an. It guided both their religious life and daily life—there was no separation. The Qur'an gave detailed instructions about how society should be organized and how people should live. All Muslims were expected to follow the Islamic laws in public and private life.

Slavery was common in Arabia. The Qur'an urged Muslims to free their slaves. Those who chose to keep slaves were required to treat them humanely. No free Muslim could be enslaved, and the children of a female slave and her master were free.

The family was the core of Muslim daily life. Muslims showed concern for all members of their family—parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They particularly respected the elderly. In Islamic families everyone had specific roles and duties. Men were responsible for the family's needs.


Parents usually arranged marriages for their children. However, the Qur'an gave a woman the right to refuse the arrangement. The groom was required to give his bride a marriage gift of property or money.

It was common in Arabia for a man to have several wives. The Qur'an restricted a Muslim man to four wives, and he had to treat them equally. In fact, the Qur'an gave women more rights than they had received under traditional Arab law. For example, if a woman got divorced, she kept her own money and was free to remarry. She could also inherit money and own property. Muslim women enjoyed more freedom than most women at the time. Later, however, women began to be secluded and lost some rights.

The government supported schools and libraries. The family and the mosque also took responsibility for education. A person who could speak and write well was thought to be educated. Students attended religious study groups at the mosque. Advanced students could attend schools established for the study of science, mathematics, or law.


Medicine. Some of the most important contributions that Muslims made were to medical science. They studied the work of the famous Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen. Then they added to what the Greeks had done.

Scientific advances in the use of herbs, foods, and prepared drugs added to the Islamic world's vast store of medical knowledge. Some of this early Muslim work in the development and preparation of pharmaceutical drugs is still in use today. In some cases, techniques such as distillation that were first used by Muslim scientists to prepare medical drugs are also followed by today's manufacturers.

Muslim doctors achieved great progress in the techniques of dissection to study anatomy. They also developed improved surgical instruments and processes. The Muslim surgeon Abu al-Qasim, for example, practiced in Islamic Spain, in the city of Córdoba. His work did much to




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Posted on March 18thThe Islamic Empire influenced the development of world history. As Muslims of the Islamic Empire expanded their empire, they were open to the ideas and customs of the people they conquered. Along with these ideas and customs were those from Greece, Rome and Asia which influenced and became a part of Muslim culture. Each conquered civilization had its own importance to the development of the Islamic Empire and how it made major advancements. The developments and advancements in science made during the time of the Islamic Empire include medicine, geography and mathematics. The Islamic Empire influenced the development of world history.

In the Islamic Empire, Muslims made significant contributions to medical science by studying the Greek physicians. After the Muslims had studied the works written by the main Greek physicians, Hippocrates and Galen, they added their findings to the Greeks’ works. Muslims used herbs and foods to develop and prepare drugs. They used and created techniques, such as the process of distillation, which are still used today to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs. Muslim doctors learned through dissection and the study of anatomy. Surgical standards, ideas of personal hygiene and how to correctly diagnose illnesses rose during the Islamic Empire. In the Islamic Empire, the first exams in order to legally practice medicine were given to insure doctors had medical knowledge. The first school of pharmacy and an encyclopedia of drugs were created in the Islamic Empire. A doctor, in the Islamic Empire, Ibn Sina wrote. the encyclopedic Canon of Medicine, which was used into the 1650s. As the Islamic Empire spread, Muslims’ knowledge of medical science also spread. Medicine

is as important in the modern world today as it was in the Islamic Empire years ago. Medicine has enabled us to inoculated and vaccinate against diseases, advances more and more through research, such as complex surgeries, such as organ transplants, to be completed successfully and as a direct result the saving of a life. Medicine, through the study of anatomy, has allowed us to learn more and more about the human body.

In the Islamic Empire, many Muslims were traders; therefore, they traveled in the empire and explored distant lands. Because of the need for navigation advancements, Muslims took interest in astronomy, navigation, and maps and developed advancements. Muslims in the Islamic Empire first used and studied maps drafted by the Greeks and later, as they learned more about the land they conquered, they added improvements and constructed more maps. The Muslim geographers were they first to use measurements and scales to make the most accurate maps. A geographer of the Islamic Empire, al-Idrisi, was the first to combine maps of past and present findings which included the geographic features. A Greek invention adopted by the Muslims was the astrolabe, a small instrument called which allowed observers to chart the positions of the stars and thus calculate their own position on Earth. Muslim enhanced the astrolabe. Astronomy, navigation, and maps are as important in the modern world today as it was in the Islamic Empire years ago. Without navigation methods and maps traveling distances accurately would be near impossible. Because of advancements in navigation as well as in transportation, traveling has been made easier, faster and more affordable.

In the Islamic Empire, Muslims learned a number system from Inda. The number system had ten fugures, which included zero which meant an empty place value. It was Muslims in the Islamic Empire who first mixed the Indian number system with the Greek science of mathematics. Europeans called this system “Arabic”. This Arabic numeral system is used today. Muslims also borrowed the idea of decimals from India. Algebra, which is known as al-jabr meaning “restoring”, is a worldwide concept that is taught as a part of the arithmetic curriculum in schools. Mathematics is as important in the modern world today as it was in the Islamic Empire years ago. Mathematics paved the path for other branches of science and provide an accuracy that otherwise wouldn’t be avalible. Mathematics is a stable, unchanging concept that is necessary in everyday life, such as counting, telling time and exchange of money and goods.

It is evident that the advancements made in the Islamic Empire influenced the civilizations that followed and its remains (developments and advancements) are a part of our modern world today. The Islamic Empire influenced the development of world history. The civilizations conquered by the Muslims had important influences on the development and advancements of the Islamic Empire. The developments and advancements in science made during the time of the Islamic Empire included medicine, geography and mathematics.

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