During the 10th through the 14th centuries, various professionals from the then Islamic world contributed immensely to the growth and development of Europe. Through preserving earlier traditions and making inventions of their own, the Muslim artistes, scientists, thinkers, princes, and laborers, brought various changes in astronomy, math, philosophy, agriculture, and sanitation.
Consequently, they made remarkable contributions to the European Renaissance in which many new inventions and beliefs were instituted. The age of Islamic civilization started when Muslim conquests led to the establishment of the Caliphate, or Islamic Empire, during the 8th to 10th century.
Consequently, the Muslim world was recognized as the epicenter of all knowledge. In astronomy, Islamic civilization in Spain made important discoveries. Since they had to know the direction of Makka, they invented valuable astronomical instruments to assist them in this (Mottaleb, para. 7). Due to this, the Muslim astronomers discovered several new things, such as the invention that the celestial spheres are not solid, the idea that the heavens are less dense than air and the possibility of the earth rotating on its own axis.
In math, the Islamic thinkers made significant contributions by developing algebra, algorithms, as well as several other advances in arithmetic, calculus, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus, which did not exist among the Greek (Hughes, Part I). In addition, they are also responsible for the addition of decimal point notation to numbers.
Muslim philosophers of Spain played a major role towards preserving the ideologies of Aristotle, whose opinions were widely embraced by those who did not embrace Christianity and the Islamic faith.
The Arab philosophers also welcomed other ideas from other places such as China and India, which increased their knowledge from their own studies. Their philosophies were highly influential among the Muslims and Christians of the region.
In Spain, the ideas of the influential Muslim philosophers were translated to other languages such as Hebrew and Latin, which enhanced their spread. It is said that the translation assisted in the development of the modern European philosophy. The Islamic civilization witnessed many advances in agriculture. Muslim traders introduced different crops from other parts of the world that could not grow in the Islamic lands. Crops such as sorghum, rice, cotton, citrus fruits, and sugar cane were introduced in the lands.
Improved farming techniques, such as cash cropping, crop rotation, and irrigation were also introduced. Lastly, the rise of Islam brought fundamental changes in sanitation both in Spain and in Europe. The Muslim scientists discovered the cause of various maladies and taught the people to maintain high standards of hygiene in order to avoid falling sick. In addition, waste management was being undertaken in the various major Islamic towns.
During the Spanish Inquisition, Muslims were ordered to convert to the Catholic faith or risk being persecuted because of their faith. This had devastating effects on them. During the early years of the Inquisition, several Muslims were executed. Consequently, because of the resultant panic, many Spanish Muslims left the nation (“Spanish Inquisition,” para. 3). Most of them were traders, physicians, and academics.
This migration enabled them to take their knowledge in other parts of Europe. More so, because of the Inquisitions, many of the Muslims lost their lives, which drastically reduced their influence in the region. The censorship of Islamic material and the limitation of the entrance of students studying overseas, to prevent them from bringing Islamic ideas into the nation, and the general atmosphere of fear limited the growth of Islam in Spain during the Inquisition.
Hughes, Bettany. “The Islamic roots of Modern civilization and the construction of European identity.” Spiritualchange.blogsome.com. Spiritual Change, n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. http://spiritualchange.blogsome.com/alandalus
Mottaleb, Abdul. “The Influence of Civilization on European Civilization during the Renaissance Period in the Field of Medicine or its Allied Subject. “ Islamset.com. Islamset, n.d. Web. 2 Feb 2011. http://www.islamset.com/hip/i_medcin/mottaleb.html
“Spanish Inquisition.” Spanish-fiestas.com. Spanish Fiestas, n.d. Web. 2 Feb 2011.