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Scholars at an Abbasid library, from the Maqamat of al-Hariri by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti, Baghdad, 1237.
Improvements to the astrolabe were one scientific achievement of the Golden Age.

The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th century.[1][2][3] This period is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (786 to 809) with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the world's largest city by then, where Islamic scholars and polymaths from various parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds were mandated to gather and translate all of the world's classical knowledge into Arabic and Persian.[4][5] Several historic inventions and significant contributions in numerous fields were made throughout the Islamic middle ages that revolutionized human history.

The period is traditionally said to have ended with the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate du

The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th century.[1][2][3] This period is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (786 to 809) with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the world's largest city by then, where Islamic scholars and polymaths from various parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds were mandated to gather and translate all of the world's classical knowledge into Arabic and Persian.[4][5] Several historic inventions and significant contributions in numerous fields were made throughout the Islamic middle ages that revolutionized human history.

The period is traditionally said to have ended with the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate due to Mongol invasions and the Siege of Baghdad in 1258.[6] A few scholars date the end of the golden age around 1350 linking with the Timurid Renaissance,[7][8] while several modern historians and scholars place the end of the Islamic Golden Age as late as the end of 15th to 16th centuries meeting with the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders.[1][2][3] (The medieval period of Islam is very similar if not the same, with one source defining it as 900–1300 CE.)[9]

writing system, and the introduction of paper, information was democratized to the extent that, for probably the first time in history, it became possible to make a living from only writing and selling books.[47] The use of paper spread from China into Muslim regions in the eighth century, arriving in Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) in the 10th century. It was easier to manufacture than parchment, less likely to crack than papyrus, and could absorb ink, making it difficult to erase and ideal for keeping records. Islamic paper makers devised assembly-line methods of hand-copying manuscripts to turn out editions far larger than any available in Europe for centuries.[48] It was from these countries that the rest of the world learned to make paper from linen.[49]

Education

The centrality of scripture and its study in the Islamic tradition helped to make education a central pillar of the religion in virtually all times and places in the history of Islam.[50] The importance of learning in the Islamic tradition is reflected in a number of hadiths attributed to Muhammad, including one that instructs the faithful to "seek knowledge, even in China".[50] This injunction was seen to apply particularly to scholars, but also to some extent to the wider Muslim public, as exemplified by the dictum of <

The centrality of scripture and its study in the Islamic tradition helped to make education a central pillar of the religion in virtually all times and places in the history of Islam.[50] The importance of learning in the Islamic tradition is reflected in a number of hadiths attributed to Muhammad, including one that instructs the faithful to "seek knowledge, even in China".[50] This injunction was seen to apply particularly to scholars, but also to some extent to the wider Muslim public, as exemplified by the dictum of al-Zarnuji, "learning is prescribed for us all".[50] While it is impossible to calculate literacy rates in pre-modern Islamic societies, it is almost certain that they were relatively high, at least in comparison to their European counterparts.[50]

Arabic and the Quran, either at home or in a primary school, which was often attached to a mosque.[50] Some students would then proceed to training in tafsir (Quranic exegesis) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), which was seen as particularly important.[50] Education focused on memorization, but also trained the more advanced students to participate as readers and writers in the tradition of commentary on the studied texts.[50] It also involved a process of socialization of aspiring scholars, who came from virtually all social backgrounds, into the ranks of the ulema.[50]

For the first few centuries of Islam, educational settings were entirely informal, but beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ruling elites began to establish institutions of higher religious learning known as madrasas in an effort to secure support and cooperation of the ulema.[50] Madrasas soon multiplied throughout the Islamic world, which helped to spread Islamic learning beyond urban centers and to unite diverse Islamic communities in a shared cultural project.[50] Nonetheless, instruction remained focused on individual relationships between students and their teacher.madrasas in an effort to secure support and cooperation of the ulema.[50] Madrasas soon multiplied throughout the Islamic world, which helped to spread Islamic learning beyond urban centers and to unite diverse Islamic communities in a shared cultural project.[50] Nonetheless, instruction remained focused on individual relationships between students and their teacher.[50] The formal attestation of educational attainment, ijaza, was granted by a particular scholar rather than the institution, and it placed its holder within a genealogy of scholars, which was the only recognized hierarchy in the educational system.[50] While formal studies in madrasas were open only to men, women of prominent urban families were commonly educated in private settings and many of them received and later issued ijazas in hadith studies, calligraphy and poetry recitation.[51][52] Working women learned religious texts and practical skills primarily from each other, though they also received some instruction together with men in mosques and private homes.[51]

Madrasas were devoted principally to study of law, but they also offered other subjects such as theology, medicine, and mathematics.[53][54] The madrasa complex usually consisted of a mosque, boarding house, and a library.[53] It was maintained by a waqf (charitable endowment), which paid salaries of professors, stipends of students, and defrayed the costs of construction and maintenance.[53] The madrasa was unlike a modern college in that it lacked a standardized curriculum or institutionalized system of certification.[53]

Muslims distinguished disciplines inherited from pre-Islamic civilizations, such as philosophy and medicine, which they called "sciences of the ancients" or "rational sciences", from Islamic religious sciences.[50] Sciences of the former type flourished for several centuries, and their transmission formed part of the educational framework in classical and medieval Islam.[50] In some cases, they were supported by institutions such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, but more often they were transmitted informally from teacher to student.[50]

The University of Al Karaouine, founded in 859 AD, is listed in The Guinness Book Of Records as the world's oldest degree-granting university.[55] The Al-Azhar University was another early university (madrasa). The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid caliphate. The Fatimids traced their descent to Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and named the institution using a variant of her honorific title Al-Zahra (the brilliant).[56] Organized instruction in the Al-Azhar Mosque began in 978.[57]

Juristic thought gradually developed in study circles, where independent scholars met to learn from a local master and discuss religious topics.[58][59] At first, these circles were fluid in their membership, but with time distinct regional legal schools crystallized around shared sets of methodological principles.[59][60] As the boundaries of the schools became clearly delineated, the authority of their doctrinal tenets came to be vested in a master jurist from earlier times, who was henceforth identified as the school's founder.[59][60] In the course of the first three centuries of Islam, all legal schools came to accept the broad outlines of classical legal theory, according to which Islamic law had to be firmly rooted in the Quran and hadith.[60][61]

The classical theory of Islamic jurisprudence elaborates how scriptures should be

The classical theory of Islamic jurisprudence elaborates how scriptures should be interpreted from the standpoint of linguistics and rhetoric.[62] It also comprises methods for establishing authenticity of hadith and for determining when the legal force of a scriptural passage is abrogated by a passage revealed at a later date.[62] In addition to the Quran and sunnah, the classical theory of Sunni fiqh recognizes two other sources of law: juristic consensus (ijmaʿ) and analogical reasoning (qiyas).[63] It therefore studies the application and limits of analogy, as well as the value and limits of consensus, along with other methodological principles, some of which are accepted by only certain legal schools.[62] This interpretive apparatus is brought together under the rubric of ijtihad, which refers to a jurist's exertion in an attempt to arrive at a ruling on a particular question.[62] The theory of Twelver Shia jurisprudence parallels that of Sunni schools with some differences, such as recognition of reason (ʿaql) as a source of law in place of qiyas and extension of the notion of sunnah to include traditions of the imams.[64]

The body of substantive Islamic law was created by independent jurists (muftis). Their legal opinions (fatwas) were taken into account by ruler-appointed judges who presided over qāḍī's courts, and by maẓālim courts, which were controlled by the ruler's council and administered criminal law.[60][62]

Classical Islamic theology emerged from an early doctrinal controversy which pitted the ahl al-hadith movement, led by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who considered the Quran and authentic hadith to be the only acceptable authority in matters of faith, against Mu'tazilites and other theological currents, who developed theological doctrines using rationalistic methods.[65] In 833 the caliph al-Ma'mun tried to impose Mu'tazilite theology on all religious scholars and instituted an inquisition (mihna), but the attempts to impose a caliphal writ in matters of religious orthodoxy ultimately failed.[65] This controversy persisted until al-Ash'ari (874–936) found a middle ground between Mu'tazilite rationalism and Hanbalite literalism, using the rationalistic methods championed by Mu'tazilites to defend most substantive tenets maintained by ahl al-hadith.[66] A rival compromise between rationalism and literalism emerged from the work of al-Maturidi (d. c. 944), and, although a minority of scholars remained faithful to the early ahl al-hadith creed, Ash'ari and Maturidi theology came to dominate Sunni Islam from the 10th century on.[66][67]

Philosophy

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) played a major role in interpreting the works of Aristotle, whose ideas came to dominate the non-religious thought of the Christian and Muslim worlds. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, translation of philosophical texts from Arabic to Latin in Western Europe "led to the transformation of almost all philosophical disciplines in the medieval Latin world".[68] The influence of Islamic philosophers in Europe was particularly strong in natural philosophy, psychology and metaphysics, though it also influenced the study of logic and ethics.[68]

Metaphysics

Ibn Sina argued his "Floating man" thought experiment concerning self-awareness, in which a man prevented of sense experience by being blindfolded and free falling would still be aware of his existence.[69]

Epistemology

In epistemology, Ibn Tufail wrote the novel Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and in response Ibn al-Nafis wrote the novel Theologus Autodidactus. Both were concerning Floating man" thought experiment concerning self-awareness, in which a man prevented of sense experience by being blindfolded and free falling would still be aware of his existence.[69]

EpistemologyIn epistemology, Ibn Tufail wrote the novel Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and in response Ibn al-Nafis wrote the novel Theologus Autodidactus. Both were concerning autodidacticism as illuminated through the life of a feral child spontaneously generated in a cave on a desert island.

Mathematics

Persian mathematician Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī played a significant role in the development of algebra, arithmetic and Hindu-Arabic numerals. He has been described as the father[70][71] or founder[72][73] of algebra.

Another Persian mathematician, Omar Khayyam, is credited with identifying the foundations of Analytic geometry. Omar Khayyam found the general geometric solution of the cubic equation. His book Treatise on Demonstrations of Problems of Algebra (1070), which laid down the principles of algebra, is part of the body of Persian mathematics that was eventually transmitted to Europe.[74]

Yet another Persian mathematician, Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī, found algebraic and numerical solutions to various cases of cubic equations.[75] He also developed the concept of a function.[76]

Geometry

Islamic art makes use of Another Persian mathematician, Omar Khayyam, is credited with identifying the foundations of Analytic geometry. Omar Khayyam found the general geometric solution of the cubic equation. His book Treatise on Demonstrations of Problems of Algebra (1070), which laid down the principles of algebra, is part of the body of Persian mathematics that was eventually transmitted to Europe.[74]

Yet another Persian mathematician, Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī, found algebraic and numerical solutions to various cases of cubic equations.[75] He also developed the concept of a function.[76]

Islamic art makes use of geometric patterns and symmetries in many of its art forms, notably in girih tilings. These are formed using a set of five tile shapes, namely a regular decagon, an elongated hexagon, a bow tie, a rhombus, and a regular pentagon. All the sides of these tiles have the same length; and all their angles are multiples of 36° (π/5 radians), offering fivefold and tenfold symmetries. The tiles are decorated with strapwork lines (girih), generally more visible than the tile boundaries. In 2007, the physicists Peter Lu and Paul Steinhardt argued that girih from the 15th century resembled quasicrystalline Penrose tilings.[77][78][79][80] Elaborate geometric zellige tilework is a distinctive element in Moroccan architecture.[81] Muqarnas vaults are three-dimensional but were designed in two dimensions with drawings of geometrical cells.[82]

Trigonometry

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.[83] According to the law,