Islam – a Journey from a Golden Past towards a Persecuted Present


With the term Islam the first thing that comes in mind is terrorism, populous with low literacy rate, migrants and the present ongoing wars in middle east region.
Have you ever wondered why only these came in our mind whenever we talk about of Islam? Answer is simple, these are the things we are told day by day and this is what we read and watch everyday about the followers of Islam. But let me tell you, whatever we are made to tune in about Islam is anything but an entire reality, at that point a conspicuous inquiry will come in your mind “What’s the Truth”. In fact the most persecuted community at this time is Muslim community, for example The United Nations has called the Rohingya the world’s most persecuted minority group and described the atrocities by Myanmar’s authorities as ethnic cleansing. This scenario of persecution is similar in most of the Islamic countries be it Iraq, Syria, Libya or Yemen etc.  In order to comprehend the present situation we should initially comprehend its history, so lets begin our voyage from couple of hundreds of years back.

A brief Introduction to Islamic Golden Age.

Islamic Golden Age(8th to 14th century) referred to as Muslim Renaissance. During this Golden Age of Islam the libraries in Baghdad-Iraq(Bait al-Hikma), Cordoba-Spain(The Royal Mosque), Timbuktu-Mali(Sankoré), Damascus-Syria(al-Zahiriyah) and Cairo-Egypt(Dar al-Hikmah) contained more books, writings, manuscripts and literature than in the entire Greek world. Islamic scholars went on to become polymaths, they extensively studied spherical trigonometry, agriculture, physics, medicine, using astrolabes to gauge the height of stars while setting up engineered galactic astronomical observatories.

House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma) pic credit: Wikimedia Commons

During this Islamic Golden period, Europe was diminishing away from the Dark Ages and the Church and other religious bodies in Europe were busying itself to replace science with superstitions. During this time Islamic scholars were setting up hospitals for psychiatric patients, treating Ptolemy, mathematically calculating the circumference of the Earth while Scholar Al-Razi(known as Rhazes in west) produced sulfuric acid(sulphuric acid- H2SO4) and established medical science expertise to distinguish whether you had smallpox, chicken pox or measles.  Scholar Abulcasis was a gynecologist/dentist and pharmacy shops begans to open for public in Egypt, some famous hospitals were the Qalawun Hospital in Cairo. Islamic Scholars became known throughout history as the Father of Algebra, Algorithm, Mechanics, and their tremendous revolutionary work in medical science.

“The ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr” : Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)

Islam and Pursuit of knowledge – Timeline of some notable scientific achievements

In 622, Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) departed from Mecca for Medina, and that year marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Chief Muslim leaders (after Prophet Muhammad’s(pbuh) death) were referred to as Caliphs. The era of the Abbasid Caliphs’ construction and rule of Baghdad(the heart of the Caliphate) was an era when scholarship flourished. The growth of Islam in the 7th century sparked a golden age of scientific inventions and discoveries.

Eighth Century:

Caliph Harun al-Rashid founded the Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) in Baghdad.

House of Wisdom during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid (786 to 809). Pic credit:

Establishment of hospitals – Hospitals were widely constructed during this period. The Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, a super specialty hospital, was built-in Cairo between 872 and 874. The highly esteemed hospital built-in Cairo Egypt by Sultan Qalawun in year 1285, was Al-Mansuri Hospital.

Durind same era,much prasied book Ethics of the Physician was written by Ishaq bin Ali al-Rahwi (854–931) of al-Raha in Syria.

During 8th Century, Islamic scholar al-Khwarizmi Developed the “calculus of resolution and juxtaposition” (hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala), more briefly referred to as al-jabr, or Algebra.[ref] Around 820 AD Al-khwarizmi was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.

Statue of Al-Khwārizmī, Uzbekistan pic credit:

During 820, mathematical book Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing ( الكتاب المختصر في حساب الجبر والمقابلة‎ al-Kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wal-muqābala) was written by Al-Khwarizmi. The term “algebra” is derived from the name al-jabr described in this book. His work was not limited to Algebra only, his notable works are in field of Arithmetic, Astronomy, Trigonometry, Geography etc. His work on Geography Kitāb Ṣūrat al-Arḍ, is kept at the Strasbourg University Library. A Latin translation is kept at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid.

To further read about Al-Khwārizmī refer to links [1], [2]

Another scholar of this era, Jabir ibn Hayyan (also referred to as Geber) is considered the father of early chemistry, for introducing the experimental scientific method for chemistry, such as alembic, still, retort, pure distillation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation, and filtration. He was born in Iran, and later moved to Yemen and Kufa where he lived most of his life.

Jabir ibn Hayyan (Father of early chemistry), a 15th century European portrait. Pic credit: wikipedia

In total, nearly 3,000 treatises, books and articles were authored by Jabir ibn Hayyan. He was the first chemist known to produce sulfuric acid, as well as many other chemicals and instruments. Technical Arabic terms introduced by Jabir, such as alkali, have discovered their way into different European dialects and have progressed toward becoming piece of scientific vocabulary. He wrote on adding color to glass by adding small quantities of metallic oxides to the glass, such as manganese dioxide which was a new advancement in glass industry. His works include The Elaboration of the Grand ElixirThe Chest of Wisdom in which he writes on nitric acid, Kitab al-istitmam (translated to Latin later as Summa Perfectionis) and others. His lots of works were later translated into English and still studied througout the world.

To read more about Jabir ibn Hayyan refer to links here [1], [2]

Mansour Zalzal was a performer (luth) and writer of the Abbasid period. Contributed melodic scales that were later named after him (the Mansouri scale) and presented positions (interims) inside scales, for example, the wasati-zalzal that was equidistant from the alwasati alqadima and wasati al-fors who made upgrades on the plan of the luth instrument and planned the Luth.

Ninth Century:

Al-Razi (Rhazes) a Physician, chemist, and teacher, he writes many important medical works which were later translated into Latin and Greek.

List of few much acclaimed books published by Islamic scholar Al-Razi(Rhazes)during this era:

Al-Kitab al HawiThis 23-volume set medical textbooks contains the establishment of gynecology, obstetrics and ophthalmic medical procedure and surgey.

The Virtuous Life (al-Hawi الحاوي): This monumental elaborated medical encyclopedia in 9 volumes, also known in Europe as “The Large Comprehensive” or “Continens Liber” (جامع الكبير)

The Diseases of Children: This book was the first monograph to deal with pediatrics as an independent field of medicine.

The statue of Al Razi in United Nations(UN) Office in Vienna, Austria. Pic Credit: wikipedia

Some much acclaimed books and articles in medicine during this era are listed below (partial list of only famous books):

  • Isbateh Elmeh Pezeshki (Persian اثبات علم پزشكى), (“Proving the Science of Medicine”)
  • Dar Amadi bar Elmh Pezeshki (Persian در آمدى بر علم پزشكى) (“Outcome of the Science of Medicine”)
  • Rade Manaategha ‘tibb jahez
  • Rade Naghzotibbeh Nashi
  • The Experimentation of Medical Science and its Application
  • Kenash
  • Guidance
  • The Great Book of Krabadin
  • Royal Medicine
  • For One Without a Doctor (من لايحضره الطبيب)
  • The Book of Simple Medicine
  • The Classification of Diseases
  • The Little Book of Krabadin
  • The Book of Taj or The Book of the Crown
  • The Book of Disasters
  • Food and its Harmfulness
  • al-Judari wa al-Hasbah, Translation: A treatise on the Small-pox and Measles[48]
  • Ketab dar Padid Amadaneh Sangrizeh (Persian كتاب در پديد آمدن سنگريزه) (“The Book of Formation of small stones (Stones in the Kidney and Bladder)”)
  • Ketabeh Dardeh Roodeha (Persian كتاب درد روده‌ها) (“The Book of Pains in the Intestine”)
  • Ketab dar Dard Paay va Dardeh Peyvandhayyeh Andam (Persian كتاب در درد پاى و درد پيوندهاى اندام) (“The Book of Pains in Feet/Legs and Pains in Linked Limbs”)
  • Ketab dar Falej
  • The Book of Tooth Aches
  • Dar Hey’ateh Kabed (Persian در هيأت كبد) (“About the Liver”)
  • Dar Hey’ateh Ghalb (About Heart Ache) (Persian در هيأت قلب) (“About the Heart”)
  • About the Nature of Doctors
  • About the Earwhole
  • Dar Rag Zadan (Persian در رگ زدن) (“About Handling Vessels”)
  • Seydeh neh/sidneh
  • Ketabeh Ibdal
  • Food For Patients
  • Soodhayeh Serkangabin (Persian سودهاى سركنگبين) or Benefits of Honey and Vinegar Mixture
  • Darmanhayeh Abneh
  • The Book of Surgical Instruments
  • The Book on Oil
  • Fruits Before and After Lunch
  • Book on Medical Discussion (with Jarir Tabib)
  • Book on Medical Discussion II (with Abu Feiz)
  • About the Menstrual Cycle
  • Ghi Kardan or vomiting (Persian قى كردن)
  • Snow and Medicine
  • Snow and Thirst
  • The Foot
  • Fatal Diseases
  • About Poisoning
  • Hunger
  • Soil in Medicine
  • The Thirst of Fish
  • Sleep Sweating
  • Warmth in Clothing
  • Spring and Disease
  • Misconceptions of a Doctor’s Capabilities
  • The Social Role of Doctors

Few other notable books and articles on medicine (in English) by Al-Razi includes:

Islamic scholar Al Razi statue in Tehran, Iran. pic credit:
  • The Book of Experiences
  • The Cause of the Death of Most Animals because of Poisonous Winds
  • The Physicians’ Experiments
  • The Person Who Has No Access to Physicians
  • The Big Pharmacology
  • The Small Pharmacology
  • Gout
  • Al Shakook ala Jalinoos, The Doubt on Galen
  • Kidney and Bladder Stones
  • Ketab tibb ar-Ruhani, The Spiritual Physik of Rhazes.
  • Mofid al Khavas, The Book for the Elite.

List of Books on Alchemy, mostly in Persian:

  • Modkhele Taalimi
  • Elaleh Ma’aaden
  • Isbaate Sanaa’at
  • Ketabeh Sang
  • Ketabe Tadbir
  • Ketabe Aksir
  • Ketabe Sharafe Sanaa’at
  • Ketabe Tartib, Ketabe Rahat, The Simple Book
  • Ketabe Tadabir
  • Ketabe Shavahed
  • Ketabe Azmayeshe Zar va Sim (Experimentation on Gold)
  • Ketabe Serre Hakimaan
  • Ketabe Serr (The Book of Secrets)
  • Ketabe Serre Serr (The Secret of Secrets)
  • The First Book on Experiments
  • The Second Book on Experiments
  • Resaale’ei Be Faan
  • Arezooyeh Arezookhah
  • A letter to Vazir Ghasem ben Abidellah
  • Ketabe Tabvib

Partial list of books on Philosophy during this 9th Century era.

  • The Small Book on Theism
  • Response to Abu’al’Qasem Braw
  • The Greater Book on Theism
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Dar Roshan Sakhtane Eshtebaah
  • Dar Enteghaade Mo’tazlian
  • Delsoozi Bar Motekaleman
  • Meydaneh Kherad
  • Khasel
  • Resaaleyeh Rahnamayeh Fehrest
  • Ghasideyeh Ilaahi
  • Dar Alet Afarineshe Darandegan
  • Shakkook
  • Naghseh Ketabe Tadbir
  • Naghsnamehyeh Ferforius
  • Do name be Hasanebne Moharebe Ghomi
  • Spiritual Medicine
  • The Philosophical Approach (Al Syrat al Falsafiah)
  • The Metaphysics

10th Century:

During this era, Surgeon Al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), Inventor of more than 200 medical surgical instruments, he writes the first illustrated surgical book Al-Tasrif. He is considered as “Father of modern surgery“.[ref]

Al-Zahrawi Father of modern Surgery, pic credit: Wikimedia Commons

Islamic Scholar Al-Zahrawi, also known as Abulcasis, compiled the Al-Tasrif (The Method of Medicine) a 30-volume encyclopedia that documented treating the sick and injured: surgical instruments, operating techniques, pharmacological methods to prepare tablets and drugs to protect the heart, surgical procedures used in midwifery, cauterizing and healing wounds, and the treatment of headaches.

Later this medical encyclopedia was translated into Latin in the 12th century, this encyclopedia was a foundational medical text in Europe.

Al-Zahrawi concocted an extensive variety of instruments: pliers, surgical tools, burnings, forceps, catheters, lancets and specula all painstakingly outlined in his works. One of his most noteworthy advancements was the utilization of catgut for sewing up patients after an operation, a practice that is still being used today. Al-Zahrawi likewise pioneered neurosurgery and neurological diagnosis. He is known to have performed careful medications of head injuries, skull fractures, spinal injuries, hydrocephalus, subdural effusions and headache. The main clinical depiction of an agent strategy for hydrocephalus was given by Al-Zahrawi who obviously portrays the clearing of superficial intracranial fluid in hydrocephalic children.

During this era, physician Al-Mawsili developed a hollow syringe to remove cataracts via suction(revolutionary treatment to treat cataracts). The technique has improved as the time passes, but the basic principle of the procedure remains sound to this day.

Ibn Isa, a tenth century researcher from Iraq, composed maybe what was the most complete book of eye ailments, the Notebook of the Oculist, enumerating 130 conditions. The book was later converted into Latin in 1497 pursued by a few more dialects, enabling it to fill in as a legitimate work for a considerable length of time.

11th Century

In Baghdad, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) composes the Canon of Medicine( a five-volume work) including all known restorative learning of the time. A specialist doctor at age 18, his masterpiece volume “Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb” ended up a standout among the most popular therapeutic works ever. His work was studied by European doctors until the eighteenth century.

A page from “Book of Optics” by Ibn al-Haytham. pic credit: ResearchGate

Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) in the eleventh century, who is viewed as a pioneer of experimental physics, his utilization of experimentation and evaluation to distinguish between competing scientific theories is seen as an innovation in scientific technique. Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) composed the Book of Optics, in which he fundamentally changed the field of optics, exactly demonstrated that vision happened in view of light beams entering the eye, and developed the camera obscura to exhibit the physical idea of light rays. Ibn al-Haythm created the primary Camera and could shape a clarification of how the eye sees. Ibn al-Haytham has additionally been portrayed as the “first scientist” for his improvement of the logical technique, and his spearheading pioneering work on the psychology of visual perception is viewed as a forerunner to psychophysics and exploratory brain research.

Ibn Muʿādh al-Jayyānī is one of several Islamic mathematicians to whom the law of sines is attributed; he wrote his The Book of Unknown Arcs of a Sphere in the 11th century. This formula relates the lengths of the sides of any triangle, rather than only right triangles, to the sines of its angles.[reference]According to the law,

where ab, and c are the lengths of the sides of a triangle, and AB, and C are the opposite angles

Al-biruni statue, Iran. pic credit:

12th Century

Ibn Rushd (Averroës),  physician, Philosopher and astronomer, writes a medical encyclopedia known as the Colliget in Latin.

The Syrian Al-Nuri Hospital in Damascus was one of the main medicinal schools of its time, complete with a great library given by the ruler Nur al-Din ibn Zangi. Much like therapeutic medical studies of today, researchers gained from mentoring by experienced specialists. Clinics included huge address lecture halls where discussion, lectures and readings of exemplary original copies would be held.

14th Century

Ottoman Serefeddin, a surgeon, he makes outlined works demonstrating the propelled methods of Muslim medicine. He workded at the hospital in Amaysa(Turkey). IN 1466,  he presented the Ottoman Sultan  MEHMED II with THE MEDICAL ATLAS IMPERIAL SURGERY, which contains 140 miniature depicting procedures such as Cauterization, incisions and setting fractures.

Muslim Spain was additionally experiencing a time of insightful improvement. By the tenth century, Córdoba was the greatest, most refined city in Europe, portrayed by some as “the Ornament of the World”.  The city was likewise an extraordinary focal point of study and investigation.

Doctor and philosopher Avicenna wrote the Canon of Medicine which helped doctors analyze hazardous maladies, for example, cancer. By AD 900, hundreds of shops came into existence employing scribes and binders for books in Baghdad and public libraries began established. From here paper-production spread west to Morocco and afterward to Spain and from that point to Europe in the thirteenth century.

Scientific and Educational Institutions

islam-contribution-to-scienceA number of important educational and scientific institutions already obscure in the antiquated world have their birthplaces in the early Islamic world, with the most striking precedents being: the public hospital and psychiatric hospital, the public library and lending library, the academic degree-granting university, and the astronomical observatory as a research institute instead of a private observation post.

The first universities which issued diplomas were the Bimaristan Medical  University-Hospitals of the medieval Islamic world, where medical diplomas were issued to students of Islamic medicine who were qualified to be practicing doctors of medicine from the ninth century.

The Guinness Book of World Records perceives the University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its establishing in 859 CE. Al-Azhar University, founded in Cairo, Egypt in the 975 CE, offered a variety of academic degrees, including postgraduate degrees, and is often considered the first full-fledged university. The origins of the doctorate also dates back to the ijazat attadris wa ‘l-ifttd (“license to teach and issue legal opinions”) in the medieval Madrasahs which taught Islamic law.
The Library of Tripoli is said to have had as many as three million books before it was wrecked and destroyed by Crusaders.


Jābir ibn Hayyān (Geber) is considered a pioneer of chemistry, as he was responsible for introducing an early experimental scientific method within the field, as well as the alembic, still,retort, and the chemical processes of pure distillation, filtration, sublimation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation and evaporation.
The alchemists’ claims about the transmutation of metals were rejected by Al-Kindi, followed by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Avicenna, and Ibn Khaldun.

Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī stated a version of the law of conservation of mass, noting that a body of matter is able to change, but is not able to disappear. Alexander von Humboldt and Will Durant consider medieval Muslim chemists to be founders of chemistry.


Among the achievements of Muslim mathematicians during this period include the development of Algebra and Algorithms by the Islamic mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, the invention of spherical trigonometry, the addition of the decimal point notation to the Arabic numerals introduced by Sind ibn Ali, the invention of all the trigonometric functions besides sine, Al-Kindi’s introduction of cryptanalysis and frequency analysis, Al-Karaji’s introduction of Algebraic Calculus and proof by mathematical induction, the development of analytic geometry and the earliest general formula for infinitesimal and integral calculus by Ibn al-Haytham, the beginning of Algebraic Geometry by Omar Khayyam, the first refutations of Euclidean geometry and the parallel postulate by Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, the first attempt at a non-Euclidean geometry by Sadr al-Din, the development of symbolic algebra by Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī, and numerous other advances in algebra, arithmetic, calculus, cryptography, geometry, number theory and trigonometry.


Muslim physicians made many significant contributions to medicine in the fields of anatomy, experimental medicine, ophthalmology, pathology, the pharmaceutical sciences,physiology, surgery, etc. They also set up some of the earliest dedicated hospitals, including the first medical schools and psychiatric hospitals.

Al-Kindi wrote the De Gradibus, in which he first demonstrated the application of quantification and mathematics to medicine and pharmacology, such as a mathematical scale to quantify the strength of drugs and the determination in advance of the most critical days of a patient’s illness.

Al-Razi (Rhazes) discovered measles and smallpox, and in his Doubts about Galen, proved Galen’s humorismfalse.

Abu al-Qasim (Abulcasis) helped lay the foudations for modern surgery, with his Kitab al-Tasrif, in which he invented numerous surgical instruments, including the surgical uses ofcatgut, the ligature, surgical needle, retractor, and surgical rod.

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) helped lay the foundations for modern medicine, with The Canon of Medicine, which was responsible for the discovery of contagious disease, introduction of quarantine to limit their spread, introduction of experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, randomized controlled trials, efficacy tests, and clinical pharmacology, the first descriptions on bacteria and viral organisms, distinction of mediastinitis from pleurisy, contagious nature of tuberculosis, distribution of diseases by water and soil, skin troubles, sexually transmitted diseases, perversions, nervous ailments, use of ice to treat fevers, and separation of medicine from pharmacology.

Book-of-Optics-Ibn al-Haytham
Book of Optics by Ibn al-Haytham pic credit: ResearchGate

Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) was the earliest known experimental surgeon. In the 12th century, he was responsible for introducing the experimental method into surgery, as he was the first to employ animal testing in order to experiment with surgical procedures before applying them to human patients. He also performed the first dissections and postmortem autopsies on humans as well as animals.
Ibn al-Nafis laid the foundations for circulatory physiology, as he was the first to describe the pulmonary circulation and coronary circulation, which form the basis of the circulatory system, for which he is considered “the greatest physiologist of the Middle Ages.” He also described the earliest concept of metabolism, and developed new systems of physiology and psychology to replace the Avicennian and Galenic systems, while discrediting many of their erroneous theories on humorism, pulsation, bones, muscles, intestines, sensory organs, bilious canals, esophagus, stomach, etc.

Ibn al-Lubudi rejected the theory of humorism, and discovered that the body and its preservation depend exclusively upon blood, women cannot produce sperm, the movement ofarteries are not dependent upon the movement of the heart, the heart is the first organ to form in a fetus’ body, and the bones forming the skull can grow into tumors. Ibn Khatima and Ibn al-Khatib discovered that infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms which enter the human body. Mansur ibn Ilyas drew comprehensive diagrams of the body’s structural, nervous and circulatory systems.


The experimental scientific method was soon introduced into mechanics by Biruni, and early precursors to Newton’s laws of motion were discovered by several Muslim scientists. The law of inertia, known as Newton’s first law of motion, and the concept of momentum were discovered by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) and Avicenna. The proportionality between forceand acceleration, considered “the fundamental law of classical mechanics” and foreshadowing Newton’s second law of motion, was discovered by Hibat Allah Abu’l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi, while the concept of reaction, foreshadowing Newton’s third law of motion, was discovered by Ibn Bajjah (Avempace).

Theories foreshadowing Newton’s law of universal gravitation were developed by Ja’far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir, Ibn al-Haytham, and al-Khazini.

Theologus Autodidactus, written by the Arabian polymath Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288), is an early example of proto-science fiction.

End of the Golden Age

Mongol invasion

When the light(Baghdad) of Islam almost vanished, Mongol Invasion. pic credit:

After the Crusades from the West that resulted in the instability of the Islamic world during the 11th century, a new threat came from the East during the 13th century: the Mongol invasions.

In 1258, the Mongols sacked Baghdad and destroyed the House of Wisdom. Legend holds that so many books were thrown into the Tigris River that it ran black with ink. They executed the remaining Abbasid family members, destroyed the city, and most of its architectural, religious and literary monuments, including the original Sumerian irrigation system that had initiated the region’s prosperity. They invaded very wide parts of the Islamic world and a series of bloody wars was going on until the middle of 17th century. Due to the lack of a powerful leader after the Mongolian invasion and Turkish settlement, some local Turkish kingdoms appeared in the Islamic world and they were in war and fighting against each other for centuries.

During Mongol invasion, five centuries of knowledge accumulated by Islamic scholars and compilation of works from every literate civilization and contained in the world’s largest libraries was reduced to ashes. Many of humanity’s greatest centers of education, commerce and culture became nothing more than killing fields.

Crusade,a series of religious wars (continued for 3 centuries) sanctioned by the Latin Church over Islamic ruled countries. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont. To understand further details of Crusades watch the documentary video below.


There were total 9 crusades wars that completely shaken the Islamic world. Traditionalist Muslims at the time, including the polymath Ibn al-Nafis, believed that the Crusades and Mongol invasions were a divine punishment from God against Muslims deviating from the core religious beliefs.

Crusaders, pic credit:

Eventually, the Mongols and Turks that settled in parts of Persia, Central Asia, Russia and Anatolia converted to Islam, and as a result, the Ilkhanate, Golden Horde and Chagatai Khanates became Islamic states. By the time the Ottoman Empire rose from the ashes, the Golden Age is considered to have come to an end. Despite a brief respite with the new Ottoman rule, the decline apparently continued until its eventual collapse and subsequent stagnation in the 20th century. The main views on the causes of decline comprise the following: political mismanagement after the early Caliphs, foreign involvement by invading forces and colonial powers (11th century Crusades, 13th century Mongol Empire, 15th century Reconquista, 19th century European colonial empires).

The Black Death desolated a great part of the Islamic world in the mid-fourteenth century. Foundations of science containing Islamic colleges, libraries (including the House of Wisdom), observatories and hospitals, were later obliterated and wiped out completely by  intruders like the Crusaders and especially the Mongols, and were rarely promoted again in the devastated regions. Not only was not new publishing equipment accepted but also wide illiteracy overpowered the crushed terrains, particularly in Mesopotamia.


Present Situation

House of Wisdom, a book by Jonathan Lyons. 

The current situation is far worse and alarming than the situation that was during the era of wars, still more than half of the Islamic countries are suffering from wars and other forms of oppression. In the name of terrorism many Islamic countries have been bombarded and destroyed. The rich history of scholars and scientific achievements seems to be non-achievable task now by looking into present scenarios. Currently lots of unreasonable sanctions have been put on Iran as they fear the Persian renaissance may arise again. In-spite of all this, the Muslim world keeps on contributing just 0.2 percent of their GDP on science, education and research.There are a not more than even five hundred colleges in the whole Islamic countries, while not a solitary advanced educational institute has been highlighted in the Top 100 Ranking Universities of the World. Since 1901, just two Muslims have ever been granted the Nobel Prize in Science. The present literacy rates for men in Islamic countries group are shocking, running from 43 percent in Afghanistan, 58 percent in Pakistan and 70 percent in Egypt to 30-40 percent all through Mali, Senegal and Guinea. I can continue writing on the present shocking and alarming situation but this current situation is already known to all of us. So I would like to conclude here with a couplet of Allama Iqbal which inspires us to achieve again what we have lost.

Agar Usmaniyon Par Koh-E-Gham Toota To Kya Gham Hai
Ke Khoon-E-Sad Hazar Anjum Se Hoti Hai Sahar Paida

If a mountain of grief collapsed upon the Ottomans, then why lament?
For the dawn arises from the blood of a hundred thousand stars.

Makan Fani, Makeen Ani, Azal, Tera, Abad Tera
Khuda Ka Akhiri Pegham Hai Tu, Javidan Tu Hai

Space is transient; its inhabitants are transitory, but the beginning of time is yours; its end is yours.
You are the final message of God; you are eternal.

Hina Band-E-Uroos-E-Lala Hai Khoon-E-Jigar Tera
Teri Nisbat Baraheemi Hai, Mamaar-E-Jahan Tu Hai

The blood of your heart is the henna which decorates the tulip‐bride.
You belong to Abraham; you are the builder of the world.

Sabaq Phir Padh Sadaqat Ka, Adalat Ka, Shujaat Ka
Lia Jae Ga Tujh Se Kaam Duniya Ki Imamat Ka

Read again the lesson of truth, of justice and valour!
You will be asked to do the work of taking on responsibility for the world.

Tu Raaz-E-Kun Fakan Hai, Apni Ankhon Par Ayan Ho Ja
Khudi Ka Raazdan Ho Ja, Khuda Ka Tarjuman Ho Ja

You are the secret of creation, see yourself in your eyes;
Share the secret of your own self, become the spokesman of God.

Yehi Maqsood-E-Fitrat Hai, Yehi Ramz-E-Muslamani
Akhuwat Ki Jahangeeri, Mohabat Ki Farawani

This is the destiny of nature; this is the secret of Islam—
World‐wide brotherhood, an abundance of love!

Sir-E-Khak Shaheeday Barg Haye Lala Mee Pasham
Ke Khawinsh Banihal-E-Millat Ma Saazgar Amad

I scatter the pearls of tulips upon the dust of the martyrs,
For their blood has proved to be effective for the saplings of the community.


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  • Thank you for asking me to comment on your post on the golden age of Islam.
    Congratulations for a comprehensive and well researched paper. You should
    publish it in a journal or expand it in a book or in a kindle or similar format.
    I disagree with the assumption of orientalists that that the golden age of Islam began in the 8th and ended in the 13th century. I am of the opinion that it began in the 7th century and ended around the 18th century when the occupation of Muslim regions by non-Muslim powers began. It is true that the Mongols caused millions of deaths and destruction of libraries, institutions of learning and mosques east of Egypt but part of Syria, Egypt, North Africa, Mali and Spain etc., remained untouched. It did bring about an end of the Abbasid Caliphate. However soon after their fall the Ottoman Empire emerged and became the patron of art, science and education, and so did the Mongols after their conversion to Islam in their ruled areas and Khanates. It is true there was decadence at the end of Ottoman rule but the end of the other empires was the same. Colonial occupation sniffed out all the creative energies and since then very little or no recovery has taken place. It is worthy of note that the quality of life of an average person in the Muslim regions was much higher that the life in the occupier countries.
    A few years ago I suffered a vision loss and therefore have to keep my comments short. I use a reader but it has limitation. Please note that I have an another blog at
    It is the same as WordPress but I update the blogger more often.
    Warm regards;
    Khaliq M Khan

  • by the early 15 century, Muslim civilisation had experienced attacks from both the crusaders campaigns in Spain, Turkey and Palestine and the famous Mongol invasion of Persia, Iraq and Syria. The famous libraries and learning of the Muslim world came under catastrophic threat during these times of conflict.

    When Baghdad was invaded in 1258, the attacking Mongol armies destroyed countless manuscripts, while in Cordoba the vast majority of the city’s 600,000 Islamic books were destroyed.

    Having lost Spain and Sicily, the Muslim world then suffered the onslaught of Timur known as Tamerlane, these devastations together started the decline and eventual fall of islamic civilisation, and the end of this bright period of classical Muslim scholarship.

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