It is a common knowledge that every religion has a unique civilization with its characteristics. The golden age of Islam was spanned throughout the five centuries, starting from ninth until the fourteenth. Many important technological innovations and scientific discoveries were made during that time, which became big contributors to the world intellectual heritage (Bakar, 2001). The following paper will discuss the intellectual gifts of Islam and will talk about how its culture has contributed to the era of Renaissance in Europe.
Intellectuals are very grateful for the contributions of Islam culture. The inductive scientific method, the historical sciences, the humanist movement and the Italian Renaissance founding principles were all introduced by Muslim philosophers. Islam served as a unifying principle of Persian, Turkish and Greco-Arab cultures. Its monotheistic, skeptical and revolutionary iconoclasm joined with conquered lands’ cultural environments was favorable for natural science development. Islam excelled in romantic art and mysticism, especially in paradoxical and subtle ironic expressions. Immanuel Kant spoke about Islam, as a culture that was not about having faith based only on miracles, but introduced courageous asceticism. The founder of modern sociology, Auguste Comte, speaks about Muslim religion as one, with the highest order, which brought many scientific contributions (Notas, 2002).
The Light of Islam has extinguished the ‘Dark Ages’ of Europe, and gave a birth to Renaissance. According to the historical data, the travelers in Christian circles have destroyed the cultural heritage whenever they found it by destroying the books introduced by Muslims (Smith, n.d.). After the fall of Roman Empire, Europe has created bad conditions for its scholars, as the majority of aristocrats were illiterate and almost no mathematics was applied. The abilities of Europeans to speak Latin were also low. Thereafter, all the intellectual motion was done by Islam and it was spread all over the territories that they have conquered – starting from Spain, along to Middle East, Africa and northern India. Since the days of Classical Greece, the Islamic Renaissance was the strongest thing experienced by Europeans, and it outshone them in multiple ways. Islamic scholars around 750’s discovered the works of Greek philosophers and they immediately devoured it and built enormous libraries throughout the vast civilization as well as created copies. The same job was done with Syrian, Persian, Babylonian and even Chinese texts. Moreover, scientific instruments, hospitals, observatories, mosques and universities were erased and staffed with finest professionals. The example of how serious Islamic people were about the culture is definitely the Caliph of Baghdad, Al-Mamun, who has intentionally built an institution, where professionals would look into translation of ancient texts. Another great philosophers were Al-Razi, Al-Asmai, Al-Fabari, Ibn Sina, Al-Kindi, Al-Tusi and others. They had a special Arab Attitude, as mentioned by Edward Ingram (1999) in his work “It Was Islam That Did It”.
Actually, starting from the eighth century until the eleventh century, the scientific developments by Islam were the only ones that existed. Their scholars have managed to capture the heritage of an ancient world and if not for them, the modern world would probably have different beliefs. ‘Arabic Numbers’ and introduction of ‘zero’ helped to ‘create’ algebra and develop it into a strong science. Arabs also introduced the usage of number in languages. Famous Islamic scientists wrote around 225 books on medicine, which soon were developed into zoology, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, chemistry and pharmacology. The most important medical school was located in Iran in 738.
Trade and commerce were another cultural vehicle of the Muslims. They were superior in shipbuilding, navigation, scientific measuring devices and astronomy, which gave a strong spur for the development of trade and commerce. The access of Christian religious pilgrims to Jerusalem was opened due to certain relationships of the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid and the Holy Roman Emperor, who got gifts from the Muslims. Moreover, Muslim cotton has occupied a place among most favorable commodities in the world along with the damask fabrics and Egyptian cloth.
Arab Muslim art introduced word ‘Arabesque’ to the western lexicon. Mosques that were built all around Islam serve and served not only as a place for worship and education, but a great example of wonderful architecture introduced by Muslims.
However, by no means Islamic Fundamentalism should be mixed with intended violence and Islamic political activism. Dedicated Muslims are trying hard to remain to values of the past and develop the existing culture. It is what the Islamic Fundamentalism is really about (Bassiouni, 2012).
To conclude, it is important to mention that all evidence shows that Islamic culture was the one that introduced Renaissance to Europe and introduced almost all basic sciences such as algebra and chemistry into the world. The attitude of Muslims to the discoveries of ancient scholars was very deeply filled with respect and strong believes that all should be preserved and translated into Arabic language. Moreover, the discoveries were seen through the prism of Allah intervention that was a beginning of Renaissance by learning and teaching the followers on how the new ideas and thoughts can be introduced without angering the church.
Unfortunately, the Arab terrorists now put a shadow of bad fame over the whole nation. However, before the Arab warrior was one of the most popular romantic figures in Western literature, the tales of Muhammad’s jihads and his warriors were very popular. The contribution of Islam to Western culture is immortal (Notas, 2002).