In the modern world Islam is seen as many things, but rarely is it viewed as a source of inspiration and enlightenment. Though it is a force of enlightenment and it is not only verses of the Quran that testify to that fact, but also the great body of scholarship produced during the Middle Ages. While Europe was in the midst of darkness, it was the Muslims, spurred on by the light of their new Deen who picked up the torch of scholarship and science. It was the Muslims who preserved the knowledge of antiquity, elaborated upon it, and finally, passed it on to Europe.
Although every peoples earn what they do and pass on, it is important for us to learn about and appreciate the contributions of the Islamic civilization by the early Muslims. Colonialism, the institution of the Western educational model, along with Eurocentrism often portrays Islam as backwards, incompatible with science and technology and anti-educational. Muslim school children never learn of their glorious past and often the only thing passed on to them is the inferiority complex of the generation before them. From the past we can learn from our mistakes and use the analysis of those great examples before us as role models to enrich us in the future.
In the seventh century A.D., the prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent to the people of Arabia. Within a decade of his death the Muslims had conquered all of the Arabian peninsula. Within a century, Islam had spread from Al-Andalus in Spain to the borders of China. Islam unified science, theology, and philosophy. Muslims were commanded to study, seek knowledge, and learn and benefit from others’ experiences by Allah (SWT) in the holy Quran and by the prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the Sunnah. It was this that inspired the Muslims to great heights in sciences, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, philosophy, art and architecture.
Muslim scholars began obtaining Greek treatises and started their study and translation into Arabic a few centuries after the Hijrah (622 A.D.) They critically analyzed, collated , corrected and supplemented substantially the Greek science and philosophy. After this period began what is known as the Golden Age of Islam, which lasted for over two centuries. It is here we find many of the great scientists of Islam who literally left behind hundreds and thousands of books on the various branches of science