February 18, 2015
AP World History
McCarthy, Period 1 Many people have misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and practices. They believe that
Muslims are ruthless killers who target any religion that is not their own. However, during the
Golden Age of Islam, from 661750 A.D., the Muslims proved to be extremely tolerant of other religious faiths. They also allowed people to practice Islam in their own way which made the
Muslims very successful in converting many to the Islam faith. The Islamic civilization made significant achievements in science, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, arts, architecture, and literature, many of which are still being used today.
Muslims were able to make such great advancements in these areas and impact the world through these contributions because of their trade and economy, their emphasis on knowledge and scholarship, and their commitment to the
The Muslims were able to make significant and lasting contributions to the world because of their trade and economy. Muslims, or the Umayyads as they were known, lived in a dry, desert area. Agriculture was not a major part of their economy because of the geographical conditions of the desert. Trade was their main priority, and through it they thrived; they were known as the “Masters of the sea” as well as of the land (D9). Through trade routes that reached far distances, they were able to spread their culture and their religion all throughout the empire.
According to Sir T.H. Holdich, “the whole world was theirs to explore.”(D9) They imported textilesgauze, cotton, and satin, natural productslike fruits and vegetables. Their trade customs
deeply influenced the commercial development of Christian countries. New vocabulary was also developed from trade particularly with Europeans. The word “traffic” which means distribution was derived from the Arabic word “tafriq”. (D10) The Islamic trade network was enormous and reached throughout the empire. Islam’s economy caused them to rise and become powerful; through trade they influenced others through commercial development and the spread of their culture and religion.
Another reason why the Muslims made such great progress in their cultural development was because because they placed a high priority on knowledge and education. The Muslims believed in adopting knowledge from the peoples they had conquered. They preserved important classical texts from Greece, India, Persia, and elsewhere and translated them into Arabic (D1).
Islamic schools and universities were considered some of the best in the world. The Islamic capital of Cordova, which was described as “the jewel of the world”, boasted 37 libraries, numerous bookstores, and 800 public schools (D2), which demonstrates how important Muslims considered scholarship to be. The Muslims made significant contributions in the areas of medicine. Muslim medical texts had great influence on European medical students. For example,
Ibn Sina’s fivevolume encyclopedia guided medical doctors of Europe and Southwest Asia for approximately six centuries. Al Qasim’s work, known as “The Method”, contained drawings of
200 medical tools that was the premier textbook on surgery in Europe.(D3) Muslims were advanced in the fields of astronomy and trigonometry. Scholars would use their knowledge of these individual subjects to study the skies and make calculations for calendars and maps.(D5)
Muslims also made great achievements in mathematics; Muslim mathematicians adopted the
Arabic numeral system from the Indians and developed the area of mathematics known as
algebra. (D4) In every area of learning, the Muslims greatly expanded and advanced the existing knowledge and impacted later cultures. Islam’s curiosity about the natural world led to the invention of the astrolabe and armillary sphere. Students all over the world study algebra even today. For many centuries European scholars studied