Scince and Religion Essay on Islamic Astronomy

Scince and Religion Essay on Islamic Astronomy - In the...

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In the words of the great Physicist, Albert Einstein, “ Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.” Although conflict continues to exist between the worlds of science and religion, the idea that they are each completely separate, far removed entities that cannot co-exist is a great misconception. From the 8 th to the 14 th century one religious group devoted itself to the pursuit of Science and the improvement of scientific discovery. This group of people, to the surprise of many, was the Muslims and their great Islamic Scholars of old. This interval of time, perceived by many as the “Dark Ages” when science and technology withered away, was a time of great scientific activity in places like the Middle East, North Africa, and Moorish Spain. As Owen Ginerich, professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, states, “While Europe languished in the dark ages, the torch of ancient scholarship had passed into Muslim hands. Islamic scholars kept it alight and from them it passed to Renaissance Europe.” With this, the Islamic faith is one strongly connected to science and discovery. Throughout the Muslim Holy Book, The Quran, God commands his worshippers to think, ponder, and speculate the many miracles of the universe documented within its 114 chapters. This speculation, which is known as Tafakur, defined by Georgetown University’s Hossein Nasr, as “…intellection, or knowledge, or observation” , is and was a direct command. It was also a great impetus towards the advancement of science, especially astronomy, in the intellectual Muslim world. Not only was the pursuit of science, and more specifically astronomy, propelled by this godly command, It was also propelled to a large extent by Muslims’ desire to ascertain the lunar calendar, and the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for prayer purposes. Because of these practical needs, science became a necessity in the Islamic world. Contrary to popular belief, science and religion were entities that needed one another and coexisted peacefully by working together for the sake of societies advancement. At the time of the Abbasid Dynasty in Baghdad, around 762 AD, the Muslim Caliphate began to sponsor translations of the major scientific works of antiquity. Under the leadership of Caliph Al- Ma’mun, academies like “The House of Wisdom” in Baghdad, flourished and the Muslim world studied and translated and worked off of the works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Archimedes, and many more. Many of the early research
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HONORS 525 taught by Professor Dr.morrison during the Fall '07 term at Rutgers.

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Scince and Religion Essay on Islamic Astronomy - In the...

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