The Jewel of Ancient Islam
Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, is home to one of the greatest collections of history and intelligence in all of the Islamic world. It is located near the Tigris River and today has a population of nearly 3.8 million. In the mid7thcentury, during the Golden Age of ancient Islam,
Baghdad became the center of all learning and intelligence. It is often referred to as the “House of Wisdom”. This great city established a foundation for future learning and an infrastructure for future discoveries and inventions that helped shape the world we live in today. Baghdad would not have been the great city it is now if it weren’t for the mathematicians, medics, astronomers, architects and artists that lived throughout this period of time. Scholars truly made Baghdad the jewel of the Muslim world.
Baghdad was a community where all forms of intelligence could thrive and flourish. It served as a major center of study. One of them being mathematics. In a 2010 article, written in
The Story of Mathematics, writer Luke Mastin includes essential information on the rise of mathematics in the ancient Islamic civilization. Mastin writes that “the outstanding Persian mathematician Muhammad AlKhwarizmi was an early Director of the House of Wisdom in the
9th Century, and one of the greatest of early Muslim mathematicians. Perhaps AlKhwarizmi’s most important contribution to mathematics was his strong advocacy of the Hindu numerical system (1 9 and 0)” (1) AlKhwarizmi revolutionized Islamic mathematics in not only
Baghdad, but in the entire Muslim nation, and later in Europe as well. He emphasized Baghdad's rich culture of intelligence and understanding of the world. Additionally, this city grasped a better understanding of the cosmos as well. The House of Wisdom attracted scientists from all
over the world to discuss and doubt past astronomers. The heritage of astronomy dates back thousands of years, but was revolutionized in Baghdad. Scholars from ancient Greece inspired
Muslims to seek out new information of the world beyond earth. An article in the
examined how scholars of ancient Islam refined the the works of Ptolemy. Author Martyn
Shuttleworth discusses that “perhaps the best known of all the Islamic astronomers and mathematicians was AlBattani, whose findings and books found their way into Europe and would influence Kepler, Galileo, and Tycho. He wrote many books about astronomy and mathematics, with his most famous book, ’The Zij’, improving upon the work of Ptolemy’s
Almagest . . . Other advances attributed to him were the discovery that the solar apogee is not fixed, but slowly moves; that the ecliptic is inclined; and that precession occurs at a different rate than the Greeks believed” (1). Such intelligence is priceless, and was well respected by future astronomers in Baghdad and throughout the world. AlBattani was capable of changing people perspective of space and of our importance in it. Because of these great scholars, Baghdad thrived in knowledge and of great success.
As different health concerns began to arise during Medieval Islam, more and more people were becoming interested in medicine and the study of the human body. Since Muslims believed highly in taking care of the sick, the advancements of medicine began to arise during this era.
AlRazi, known as the Father of Islamic Medicine, “produced over 200 books about medicine and philosophy. . .Rhazes was also famous for his work on refining the scientific method and promoting experimentation and observation. His most famous achievement, was finding a place suitable for a hospital in Baghdad. . . He served as the director of this hospital for a large part of his career and performed most of his research that defined Islamic medicine” (Islamic Medicine,
Shuttleworth). AlRazi created a frontier for the future of medicine in Baghdad. He inspired doctors to seek out