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Famous Agnostic Sheds Light on Islamic Golden Age

It was a moment in history when the Islamic civilization opened its doors to new ideas from the East and from the West. In fact, the confident Muslims took these ideas and remolded them in a uniquely Islamic mold.

Out of this caldron came Islamic art, architecture, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, music, philosophy and ethics. The Islamic Caliphate had welded together a broad arc of the earth extending from China, bordering India and Byzantium through the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean.

Herein men, materials and ideas flowed freely across continental divides. However, Muslim Caliphates are remembered not for the empire building, but for building the edifice of a brilliant civilization.

It wasn’t the fabulous wealth of the empire or the fairy tales that made it a golden age. In fact, it was the strength of its ideas and its contributions to human thought.

As the empire had grown, it had come into contact with ideas from the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Indian, and Chinese civilizations. The process of translation and understanding of global ideas was well under way. In fact, Muslim Caliphates have established a school of translation Baitul Hikmah (The House of Wisdom) and surrounded themselves with scholars.

As a matter of fact, the administration was in the hands of ministers of exceptional capabilities. The courtiers included great jurists, doctors, poets, musicians, logicians, mathematicians, writers, scientists, men of culture and scholars of Fiqh.

What gave the Muslims the confidence to face other civilizations was their faith. With a confidence firmly rooted in revelation, the Muslims faced other civilizations. They absorbed that which they found valid and transforming it in the image of their own belief.

The Qur’an invites men and women to learn from nature, to reflect on the patterns therein, to mold and shape nature so that they may inculcate wisdom: {We shall show them our Signs on the horizon and within their souls until it is manifest unto them that it is the Truth} [Surah Fussilat 41: 53].

Acknowledged Contributions

In this lecture, Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about the Islamic Golden Age. He also explains why he addresses Muslims and calls for a new scientific era.

Tyson is a famous American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. He’s the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City. In 1997, Tyson founded the Department of Astrophysics of the American Museum of Natural History.


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