The translation period

Islamic science was built upon the foundations laid by earlier scientists from China, India, Persia, the Byzantinians, and by the Greeks. During the 7th and 8th centuries, both Muslims and non-Muslims were encouraged to develop the sciences and translate the major scientific texts into Arabic. Translating these major works of human civilization is one of the main reasons why the Muslim empire became the dominant scientific authority of the period. Fuat Sezgin (b. 1924) the world’s most notable Islamic science historian says that Muslim scientists were able to make such advances because they were ready to build on the work of earlier scholars – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This ‘receptiveness’ enabled Muslim science to become the world dominant scientific tradition within 200 years of the beginnings of the Arab conquests.

With the control of the Silk Route and access to China, Muslims learned how to manufacture paper, which allowed Muslim scholars to produce large number of books. Muslim scholars translated medicinal works by Hippocrates, Rufus of Ephesus, Dioscurides, and Galen, upon which Muhammad ibn Al-Razi (known as Rhazes in Latin) and other great Islamic medicinal scientists made monumental new discoveries. Mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, obtained data from the Greeks and Hindus and transmitted arithmetical and algebraic knowledge, which exerted great influence upon medieval mathematics. The works of these Greek scientists was found in the Persian city of Jundishapur, and Muslims, along with Byzantine, Chinese, and Indian scientists worked together to translate these texts. In the 9th century, manuscripts of Dioscurides and Galen formed the basis for further understanding of pharmacology. New terms were created by Muslim scientists in the field of pharmacy during this period and are used still to this day. Some of them are: alkali, alcohol, elixir, and aldehydes.