How Islam Won, and Lost, the Lead in Science

While Europe was lost in the superstition of the Middle Ages, science reigned in the Muslim world as thinkers strove to understand the workings of Allah. The Koran was at once a source of inspiration for studying natural phenomena and comprehending them. Thus, astronomy, math, and other sciences flourished across the Islamic belt for centuries until science, for many reasons, began to decline. The Spaniards re-conquered the Iberian Peninsula and the Arab world soon began to contract in terms of territory and wealth. Their intellectual legacy, however, served as a strong foundation for European scholars to advance the depth and scope of knowledge. Less than 1% of scientists today are Muslim, though Muslims make up about 20% of the world population. Some claim that Islam and modern science are incompatible, but as the ‘golden age’ of Islam shows, they do not necessarily have to be antagonistic. – YaleGlobal

How Islam Won, and Lost, the Lead in Science

Dennis Overbye
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

© 2001 The New York Times Company

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