Golden age of Islam | World History | Khan Academy

Posted By on September 20, 2019

– [Instructor] In other
videos we talk about the rapid spread of Islam, and one
of the interesting things about these early Islamic empires is they preserved much
of what they inherited from the Byzantine and
the Persian empires. The infrastructure including the roads, the bureaucracy. A lot of the culture. And they also began to
collect the knowledge from within the empire
and from the peoples that they encountered on
the borders of the empire including the Indians, and the Chinese. And they did this throughout
the Umayyad dynasty. But it really came to its full fruition during the Abbasid Caliphate. Now the Abbasid Caliphate,
one of the first things they did under the Calph al-Mansur is build Baghdad and move
the capital of the empire to Baghdad. Now one of al-Mansur’s successors al-Rashid, is famous for making Baghdad a center of learning. According to the historian
John William Draper this is a sense of what life was like under al-Rashid’s rule. During the period of the
Calphs the learned men of the Christians and
the Jews were not only held in great esteem, but were appointed to posts of great responsibilities and were promoted to
the higher ranking jobs in the government. He, Calph Haroon Rasheed, never considered to which country alerted person belonged nor his faith in belief
but only his excellence in the field of learning. And to get a sense of how much learning and how advanced the knowledge began to be especially under the rulership of al-Rashid, during this time he was a contemporary of Charlemagne who was the Frankish king. He was also the first holy Roman emperor. And so it’s this region right over here. And they were trading gifts and this is a historical account Haroon al-Rashid sends Charlemagne this water clock. And it’s so foreign to the Francs to Charlemagne, that he thinks that it’s it must be some type of magic. That it can’t be explained
by just normal means. And then things really
get invested in terms of collecting knowledge as we get into the rule of al-Rashid’s son al-Ma’mun where he creates in Baghdad what is called The House of Wisdom. Which is this center of learning, of mathematics, astronomy, physics, medicine, geography, and map making, poetry, philosophy. And, over the next several hundred years these Abbasid Caliphs are going to sponsor scholars from India, learn it in Sanskrit and
the ancient Sanskrit text in Greek, Chinese, Persian
to translate as much of the knowledge and to collect it in libraries in cities, like Baghdad. To translate it into
Arabic, and to collect all of that knowledge in one place. And just to get a sense
of the type of advances that occurred during
this golden age of Islam which correlates strongly,
or is essentially during the Abbasid dynasty and it
ends with the Mongol invasion in the middle of the 13th
century right over here. There are scientists like Al-Kwarizmi. And Al-Kwarizmi is a Persian mathematician and physicist. And he’s famous for being
the father of algebra. The word algebra that we now have today the subject you can learn a
lot about on Khan Academy it comes from the Arabic word al-jabr and his book al-Kitab al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wal-muqabala which literally means, and
those of you who might speak Arabic, or Persian, or even Hindi or who might recognize Kitab as book. And then hisab is calculation. And al-jabr is an operation of completion and it’s essentially it’s
one of the operations we now do in algebra where you’re doing the same thing to both
sides of the equation Balancing is also a
very similar operation. He also brought the Indian number system or the Hindu numerals. He brought them to the Islamic empire. And that was really the
bridge to bringing it to the west. Famously Pope Sylvester the second he was educated in Catalonia with the point of acquiring knowledge that was gained from the Arabs. Remember, the Arabs were in control over the Islamic empires. It was not the Abbasids it was actually the
remnants of the Umayyads who were in control of Spain at the time. But because of that,
this area was considered a center of learning. And Pope Sylvester, who
got his education there, he’s the one that is
often given credit for being one of the first to introduce the decimal numeral system. This Hindu Arabic decimal system that we now use for our numeric system as opposed to something
like Roman Numerals. Well another very
interesting thing is not only the word algebra comes from al-jabr but the word algorithm is literally comes from his name. The name Al-Kwarizmi, Al-Kwarizmi in Latin they pronounce as algarithme. So other significant contributors to the science of all of human civilization are people like al-Marwazi. Al-Marwazi, once again, in Baghdad. And he would have been a contemporary of al-Kwarizmi. And he, if you’ve ever taken trigonometry, or if you’re about to take trigonometry, he is accredited with coming up with the core trigonometric functions. We’re talking about sine, cosine. Tangent and cotangent it might have been Marwazi or it might have been another mathematician named al-Buzjani who came a little bit after, or a lot depending on a human scale, but was also based in Baghdad. And together, they came up with the six the six trigonometric functions. They weren’t contemporaries of each other but they both made
significant contributions to what we now call trigonometry. Including many of the
trigonometric identities that we now learn in high school. Now you also have
physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, like Alhazon. And he is credited as
getting one of the more sophisticated views of how
light and vision works. These are some quotes from Alhazon. From each point of every
color body illuminated by any light issue light
and color along every straight line that can
be drawn from that point. This is a fairly sophisticated
view of how light actually works. And he’s also credited with
using and understanding the scientific method several hundred years before
the Renaissance in Europe. The duty of a man, the duty
of the man who investigates the writing of scientists. If learning the truth is his goal is to make himself an
enemy of all that he reads and attack it from every side. He should also suspect
himself as he performs his critical examination of it so that he may avoid falling
into either prejudice or leniency. And now another very
famous poet philosopher mathematician poly math of the time was Omar Khayyan. And in the west, he’s most
famous for his poetry. Most famously the work of the Rubaiyat the translation by Fitzgerald. But he was also a significant philosopher mathematician. This is a picture of some
of his work right over here. You can see that he did
his work in the 11th and the 12th centuries. And he did it from (mumbling). But he investigated Pascal’s Triangle and the binomial theorem. And keep in mind, this was over 500 years before Pascal. So maybe it should actually be called Khayyam’s Triangle. And just to get a sense of
his poetry, or a sense of the (mumbling) in general,
which I encourage you to look up and read. And this is at least
Fitzgerald’s translation of it. And that inverted bowl we call the sky where under crawling
cooped we live and die. Lift not they hands to it for help for it rolls impotently on as thou or I. So as you can imagine, this Islamic world these empires between the eighth and 13th centuries, it was
actually a very powerful bridge of human knowledge taking knowledge from
the Indians, the Chinese, the Ancient Greeks, and providing a bridge during the Dark Ages in Europe. And get a sense of that, we have some text from some historians on that time period. This is some text from this is some text from the historian Phillip Hiti. And he wrote, During all the first
part of the Middle Ages no other people made as
important a contribution to human progress as did the Arabs. If we take this term to mean all those whose mother tongue was Arabic and not merely those living
in the Arabian peninsula. For centuries, Arabic was
a language of learning, culture, and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world with the exception of the Far East. From the ninth to the 12th
century, there were more philosophical medical historical religious astronomical and geographical works written in Arabic than in
any other human tongue. And we also have a frame,
a point of view from Bertrand Russell in his
History of Western Philosophy who wrote, Our use of the phrase the Dark Ages to cover the period from 699 to 1000 marks our undue concentration on Western Europe. In China, this period
includes the time of the Tang dynasty, the greatest
age of Chinese poetry. From India to Spain, the
brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What was lost to Christendom at this time was not lost to civilization,
but quite the contrary. To us it seems that Western
European civilization is civilization, but this is a narrow view.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 100 comments

  1. Hindu Arabic decimal system was first used in India and was learnt by the arabs and they spread it all over the world that is why it is called HINDU Arabic
    the arabs called indians hindus

  2. I like him a lot. He is a very heplful person, but some videos are far from reality. I dont talk about this video by the way. All things he said are true in this video

  3. the scientific revolution improved lives and knowledge a thousand times more than the golden age of islam so why haven't you done a video on that?

  4. You will notice that the Golden Age scale, located at the top of the video, measures in centuries, and it goes no further than the 13th century, about 700 years ago.

  5. Why does Armenia and Georgia highlighted as they are in Abbasid Dynasty. Geographically they are North West of modern Iran and North East of modern Turkey.
    Armenia accepted Christianity in 310AD and Georgia later.

  6. People love to ignore how european Christian crusaders invaded north Africa and middle east in name of JC and instead pick on Muslims. שלום

  7. why are some of the commenters using the golden age as if it provides veracity to the claims of Islam? As if islam gave rise to scientific accomplishments, you may as well call the enlightenment the golden age of christianity.

  8. Hello, could anyone explain to me how on planet Earth a person disliked an educational video about history, whose only goal is to educate people and spread general and basic knowledge? Tell me one reason, just one.

  9. Great video as always, and good job listing other sources , it is nice to see that even European philosophers and histories admit to the contribution islam did. Many might argue "Islam didn't have any impact on those scholars but is just human excellence and had nothing to do with religion".
    While yes indeed people like alkhawarismi were brilliant people , Islam was their motivator. Remember the first verse that was revealed to Mohammad? It literally says "Read" , and one of Mohammad traditions that he said : "Seeking knowledge obligatory for every and each muslim".

    Just final remark, there won't have been a western Renaissance if it wasn't for the contributions of muslim scholars to the fields of Math, medicine, etc, scholars no matter their ethnicity and religion where placed at hight regard while in Europe they were regard as "blasphamey" and executed.
    let that sink in for all the butthurt people about this series.

  10. If ur Muslim like this comment because I'm a hafiz
    And to u non Muslims who don't know what a hafiz is it's a person who memorized the whole Quran

  11. Absolute Truth comes from the Middle East, comes from the center of our planet, İslam is central civilization

  12. Iterations to find solutions to equations was done by the Islamic civilization, without which programming, software engineering & computer computer science & computers would not have been possible.

  13. Muslims needed mathematics for the architecture, structures they built & Zakat calculations among other uses.

  14. Now you west people make our history hjjjjjhj
    Our golden age is the time of rashidun caliphate and our prophet is steal alive

  15. Well this was a load of crap.
    Charlegmene created more centers of learning than the first yabadaba could dream of. We know this because they still exsist. It's not all "golden" make believe stories.

  16. so since islam clearly did not hold back the middle east at this point in time, what is the primary obstacle preventing the region from reflourishing?

  17. What i'm confuse is that…. back than the era golden age of islam art including painting, manuscripts, blueprintes etc and sciene are the highest regard and what makes the muslim civilization rose up, but now in the modern day some of fatwa ban that arts and sciences that is on the rule of hadist and Quran.

    So which one is the right one ? back than or right now

  18. I don't like the exageration of Islam being responsible for ''civilisation'' in Europe, I agree that the Middle-East at that time did have a huge impact on preserving sciences from persian and greek traditions, however, Islam had nothing to do with that, in fact Islam was the one thing that held these great Middle-Eastern scientists back on there intellectual development.

    They only did research on things ALLOWED by the Islamic rule at the time, much like Europe at that time where Christianity held progress back, but at the same time Christianity was flexible enough to let progress be made slowly and steadily in the different sciences.

    However it could be that the Mongol invasion was the main reason for develpment in the Middle-East to come to a halt, I'm not ruling that out.

    So my point in short is this: there is no need to praise a religion like Islam for scientific development, instead praise the scientists who dared to think outside their religious frame of mind.

  19. Actually in Islamic golden age I think compass is used first time for finding direction. Chinese source says in 11th century " Sailors from the west" used it.

  20. Islamic golden age is nothing but just copying indian texts of knowledge and rewriting them in Arabic.
    Take the example of Al Kwarzimi
    He wrote the book named Al kitab al mukhtasar fi hisab…is on algebra and it is considered as first book on algebra that's why he is considered as father of algebra.
    But it is copied from an Indian text. Now u will ask for proof. well, in the Frist page of his book he wrote in Persian that "I am copying it from the MALYAYALI( an Indian language) text written on algebra".
    If India was not conquered then all this scientific discovery which took place in Europe would have been taken place in India.

  21. Sorry to burst your bubble the truth is , it was the golden age of Persia not Islam .
    60% of the muslim world is illiterate , muslims have only produced 3 scientists with a noble prize , and the lowest GDPs in the world.
    So what happened ?

  22. Convinced that everything before colombos is fake and schools have been lying to us, there is no possible way anyone can prove these”facts” that they are telling us.

  23. Western logic :

    Let's ignore the fact that Islam was the dominant empire in Europe for almost a thousand years, from Spain to Ottomans. They led in science and every field.

    Instead, let's claim all our success is due to a bunch of Greeks who lived thousands of years ago…yet for some reason Muslims from Arabia knew more about them than we did in our entire history.


  24. To clear up some misconceptions people seem to get…

    Muslims did not create all of Algebra or Geometry, this is not what he is getting at. Many of what we have about Mathematics in general today is a collection of many different discoveries about the Maths.

    No one culture or civilization made or came up with Math.

  25. A prominent Christian(Orthodox) saint was a close adviser(practically a prime minister) to the Caliph. If we only knew more information like these, our perception of history would have been much wider. If only our Western Christians could be more knowledgeable of the history of the Church and of actual early Church teachings, we would have less invasions of the Muslim world and less servitude to Israel.

  26. Sal @2:40, you are the al-Rashid of modern age, translating much of real-world into simple Khan-academy videos!

  27. I think you missed the part that greeks from byzantine empire were invited to baghdad house of wisdom

  28. You said " Alkwarizmi brought the Hindu Numerals to Islamic Caliphate" well this is not true the truth is
    The numbers that are used worldwide nowadays are basically Arabic numbers. They were actually developed by Arabic Muslim scientists who revised the Indian version of numbers that contains only nine numbers. That took place during the 8th century (771 A.D) when an Indian Gastronomist came to the Almansour royal palace with a book – famous at that time – about astronomy and mathematics called “Sod hanta” written by Brahma Jobta around 626 A.D. Almansour ordered to translate the book into Arabic and explore more sciences.

    There were different forms in the Indian version of numbers, Arabs kept some of these forms and changed others to create their own vision of numbers which was used in the Middle East and mainly in Baghdad. Thanks to Al Khawarizmi (Algoritmi), Arabic numbers took their final form. At the beginning, they were not widely spread but they became known in the Maghreb and Andalusia. Europe then adopted these numbers because of their practicality in comparison with Roman numbers. Now they are used worldwide.

    1 -Indian numbers:


    2-Arabic numbers:

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    In designing the Arab numbers, Al Khawarizmi based his choice of a particular form on the number of angles that each number should contain. For instance, the number one contains only one angle, number two has two angles, and number three includes three angles, ects…

    This picture clarifies the original forms of the Arab numbers, in each angle contains a dot:

    These numbers were later modified until they reached the present forms in which we use them now. But the genius invention that Muslim scientists brought to us is the zero (as it contains no angles).

    The first usage of the zero dates back to 873 A.D, but the first Indian zero was registered around 876 A.D.
    The numbers used worldwide nowadays are all Arabic numbers not only because of their beautiful forms, but also because of their practicality . Indeed, unlike Indian numbers, Arabic numbers make a clear distinction between the zero and the dot so that no confusion would be made while reading numbers.

  29. First of all there is allot of misinformation in this video . The fact that the last quote by Phillip Hitti implies that : " no other people but Arabs contributed" is nonsense since most of the scientists in the Muslim world were non-Arabs. They were Persians( Including the four you used in the video: Khwarizmi, Khayyam, Buzjani, and Marwazi , ) and they came out of the Iranian-Intermezzo period. These Persian Muslim dynasties were independent from the Abbasid Caliphs because at that time; the Arabs did not have power any more. The Persians translated works into Persian for the Iranian plateau and Central Asia and Arabic for the western half of the Muslim world. The Abbasid caliphs were maintained by Iranians and Turks as figureheads before the Mongol invasion.

    The Arabs only had political control for 158 years in the Middle East. The beginning of the Rashidun and Umayyad Dynasty lasted 89 years before being overthrown by a Persian rebel Behzadab Pur i Vandad Hormoz( known as Abu Muslim Khorasani) establishing a Persianate Abbasid dynasty. After 69 years the Abbasid were totally overthrown by native Persian dynasties culminating in many scientists and philosophers in the Islamicate Golden Age. As a matter of fact, Persian and Persiante dynasties of the Turco-Persians had the longest lasting Muslim dynasties, and throughout those times; many scientists were Persians and non Arabs.

    The Persian Samanid, Buyid, and others is the time where you see many famous Persian scientists come out of the Muslim world. You also forgot to mention the Turco-Persian Empires of the Seljuks and the Kwarazmian Empire which contradicts the fact that Arabs ruled all the way up the Mongolian invasion. The Muslim world was not primarily an Arab civilization and they did not rule long. Persians wrote in both Arabic because Arabic was the lingua franca of the western half of the Islamic world but they also wrote and used Persian as the language of science in the Persian and Persiante world as Persian was the lingua franca of that area. So to accredit Persian scientist translation of works into Arabic as an Arab achievement is disingenuous.

    The Tunisian Arab historian Ibn Khaldun even corroborates that, it is a remarkable fact that with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars…in the intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs:

    "Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih and after him, al-Farisi and Az-Zajjaj. All of them were of Persian descent…they invented rules of (Arabic) grammar…great jurists were Persians… only the Persians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the prophet becomes apparent, 'If learning were suspended in the highest parts of heaven the Persians would attain it"…The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Persians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them…as was the case with all crafts…This situation continued in the cities as long as the Persians and Persian countries, Iraq, Khorasan and Transoxiana (modern Central Asia), retained their sedentary culture.
    Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal (III, pp. 311-15, 271-4 [Arabic]; R.N. Frye (p.91). He translated the Arabic word "Ajam" into "Persians."

    Even the Abbasid Caliph Al Ma'mun said: " The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without for an hour."

    Therefore, this should be noted before posting up ridiculous quotes by Phillip Hitti that "Only Arabs" contributed to the Muslim World.
    I would also look up and read a book called:

    The golden age of Persia
    Book by Richard N. Frye

  30. Not just muslims but everyone should be informed of this golden age. Muslims should also try to understand what changed between then and now. We need a second golden age of Islam not a jihad. Islam should once again show the other religions how religion must take humans forward and not the other way around.

  31. Hey trigonometry is not a one day job ok every one contributed to make it better . Indian civilizations contributed the most it was later on continued by Arabs

  32. The comment section is literally full of people saying that all the things in the age were from another civilisations. Science does not belong to any nation, civilisation or religion. It is a property of the humanity. There was, is and will not be a single group of individuals advancing on their own. The inventions, discoveries and studies were made by Muslims, that's why the era is called ISLAMIC.

  33. the reason muslims collected the discoveries and compiled them from different civilisations, only proves how they had the ability to bring people together for the sake of humanity and progress, which no other civilisation managed to do before, shows the true tolerance and acceptence of others in islam. yet today they say islam is an intolerant religon. but history teaches us, islam were more tolerant then any other faith, or else they would not be able to compile all the knowledge, which islam did.

  34. The Muslims picked up the works of the ancients and furthered it. When they met their mongol demise the Europeans then picked up their scraps and improved upon them. Beautiful. Our brains are processors and paper is our hard drive. (Or solid state drive for us super modern folk ;)).

  35. This only represents <1% of the advancements made in the Islamic Golden Age, but a beautiful presentation nonetheless 😊

  36. European and Islamic civilisations truly are beautiful. We have such a rich history of learning, power and success.

  37. Thanks to say the truth about Persia. But I need to Add :
    First the name is Kharazmi like the city he was born in not Al Kharazmi he was not Arab. He was Persian and his name was Arabized. Like the name of Sina who has been Latinized to Avicen ( father of medicine) prevent people to understand that the roots of sciences are not European but from Iran.

    The first university in world was in Iran in 230 the name is GondiShapour. 370 years before Arab invasion.
    It’s easy to understand who brought culture to whom!
    To make it short Arabs were people of desert and totally illiterate they came in Iran or Persia ( Persia changed name in to Iran in 1935) During Arab invasion they destroyed and burned all books and tablets. Arabs attacked Byzantine empire first then Persian empire. Byzantine and Persians were weak and totally exhausted from years of battles. Persians has a 8 years old King and there were facing disagreements between local chiefs. Barmakians or Barmicides were a very famous Persian family who had made already schools for all Persian scientists. As a Persian Doctor a Member of Barmakian Family saved a Harun al Rashid family member , Harun al Rashid let the Iranian scientists working under Barmakians supervision . Arabs forced Iranians to translate their books and knowledges in to Arab. Kharazmi the famous Iranian scientist the father of Algebra and others worked in that schools in the Iranian city Ctesiphon (Real name in Farsi is Tisphoon the capital of Persian empire )all that dynamic was transferred to the city next to Ctesiphon that became Bagdad or Bay dad , bay means god in old Persian daad : give) Now days Arabs and Muslims try to use Persian scientists to furnish their empty scientific universe with (who were mostly Zoroastrien but got Arabic names by force under Killings torture and taxes like they did in North Africa with Kabyls and Berbers)check the Arab invasion atrocities in TARIKH TABARI vol 3 to 16.
    Arabs generally add "Al" before Persian names. Persians had many scientists such as Kharazmi the father of algebra and algorithm,Tusi(astrology , trigonometry) Razi,( alcohol)Banou,(mechanics) Sina named Avicenne (Medecin) Haytham ( blood circulation and relation with respiration, Rumi, kashi theorem of same name etc etc all their works and books has been translated to Arab then arrived to Europe by Arab merchants and invasion of North Africa then translated in monasteries in to Greek and Latina and used, copy by scientists Kepler,Copernic,Newton ,Descartes ,DaVinci etc. Some parts of their books are total plagia of Persian books with 100% same sketches.
    Persians had thousands of years of technological and cultural Advance so Islam or Arab invasion did not bring Sciences and Alphabet to Persia but the contras. Persians made an Alphabet to Arabs from Pahlavi so the Coran was written.
    So pls kindly go and Study exactly what happened before and propaganda about Arabs invasion and so called “golden age “. Islam and even Christianity (inquisition )were always against scientific theories and discovered.
    If Islam and Arabs were so advanced , today Arabic Peninsula Zander North Africa would be Silicon Valley.
    The Persians glory has been stopped by Arab invasion and just after Mogol invasion that left Persia knock out.


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