November 17, 2007
Islamic Achievements made by the Muslims during the Golden Age
In less than a century after Muhammad created the Islamic faith and state, Muslims and the new cultural power of Islam controlled half of the civilized world. Expansion that started with the rule of the Rightly Guided Caliphs continued under the Umayyad Dynasty, which ruled from A.D 661 to 750. Islam gained political control and influence from Spain to the borders of China. In A.D. 750, the Abbasids replaced the Umayyad and the capital of Islam changed from Damascus in Syria to Baghdad in Iraq. Baghdad grew into the intellectual center of the Muslim world, even if the Abbasids did not maintain control over the same huge empire. From the beginning, learning was greatly valued in Islamic culture. During this period in Islamic history, education and scholarship flourished. Muslim scholars achieved many important innovations and discoveries in a wide range of studies and interests including zoology, astronomy, herbal medicine, hospitals, algebra, irrigation and polo.
Zoology is the study of animals. One of the accomplishments in this field was the famous Book of Animals, written by Al-Jahiz. An encyclopedia of seven volumes, it contained not only scientific information but also poetry, proverbs, storytelling, information from Greek sources and Al-Jahiz's personal observations of many species. Al-Jahiz's work was a model for later scholars including Al- Damari who wrote a popular Muslim book, The Great Book on the Life of Animals, in the 14th century. Another study of animals was by Ibn-Bakhtishu, a doctor, who wrote The Uses of Animals.
Astronomy is the scientific study of the skies. This was an area in which Islamic scientist made great achievements. Astronomers developed better instruments, which helped them make new discoveries. One of these instruments was the astrolabe, a device adapted from the Greeks and improved. It