No Islam; effects on the Middle East and beyond?

Oct 2012
3,315
Des Moines, Iowa
#11
Not Persia perhaps. There was however a large indigenous segment of the middle East active in translating and studying the hellenic sciences and philosophis. They were primarily of semetic background, such as nestorian christians (syrians, iraqis, levantines) and jews. The Persian King Khosrow I also promoted the works of nestorians and jews in the empire and inviting thinkers from india.
Then where were the Sassanian-era equivalents of Ibn Sina, Ibn Haytham, or al-Farabi? I am not aware of any.

All ended when orthodox islam triumphed through the the pen of Al-Ghazali.
Yet strangely, many of the greatest Iranian mathematicians and scientists came in the centuries after al-Ghazali, such as Sharaf al-Din al-Tusi and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. It seems more likely that the successive devastation of Iran and other parts of the Middle East by Mongols, Timurids, and various other steppe nomad regimes put an end to such scholarship, rather than blaming al-Ghazali and "orthodox Islam" (as though the previous scholars were some kind of "fake Muslims"). By some estimates, up to 75% of Iran's population perished during these chaotic invasions, along with much of its cities and infrastructure, and it was not until the 19th or early 20th century that Iran recovered from this massive loss. Here is an interesting paper on the topic of Iranian decline after the 13th century: http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~ae/papers/Mongols-5-3-13.pdf
 
Likes: Futurist
Sep 2018
30
Battlefrance
#12
Then where were the Sassanian-era equivalents of Ibn Sina, Ibn Haytham, or al-Farabi? I am not aware of any.



Yet strangely, many of the greatest Iranian mathematicians and scientists came in the centuries after al-Ghazali, such as Sharaf al-Din al-Tusi and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. It seems more likely that the successive devastation of Iran and other parts of the Middle East by Mongols, Timurids, and various other steppe nomad regimes put an end to such scholarship, rather than blaming al-Ghazali and "orthodox Islam" (as though the previous scholars were some kind of "fake Muslims"). By some estimates, up to 75% of Iran's population perished during these chaotic invasions, along with much of its cities and infrastructure, and it was not until the 19th or early 20th century that Iran recovered from this massive loss. Here is an interesting paper on the topic of Iranian decline after the 13th century: http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~ae/papers/Mongols-5-3-13.pdf
Interesting study, thanks for sharing. I skimmed through it and will read it more closely later.

Let me just add a couple of points.
The middle Eastern socities were constantly evolving culturally since the first city was established in Uruk, southern Iraq.

There first developed a native culture with innovations in writing, politics, architecture, astronomy, litterature and mathemstics. I think near eastern culture reached its peak during the the achaemenid empire when a fusion was created out of all the diverse near eastern cultures. The apadana complex and other monumental buildings testify to this. Persian records also mentions the ethnic and regional backgrounds of the various workers and engineers employed in building projects, each contributing with their own area of expertise.

Then a new phase emerged when Alexander III of Macedonia conquered the Persian empire and introduceras greek civilisation in this already great mix of near eastern cultures. This was another era of great cultural output and outstanding monuments and city building, perhaps most famous the cities of Antioch and Alexandria, both of which would play a significant part in subsequent euroasian history.

Yet another peak was reached after the arabs conquered much of the former near East and integrated the former ancient hellenic and near eastern civilisations to the foundations of their empire. When the arabs joined the lands of the silk road and rising sun to the middle East even new fusions were created and fresh ideas brought in.

And so it would have continued. We can observe a steady consilidation and codification of islamic creed and orthodoxy that would set the limit to what was regarded compatible with islamic values and those that were innovations and heterodoxy.

Eventually it gained ground, convincing those in power to support it. Al-Ghazali was instrumental in this. He did not bring about this development single handedly bit certinantly contributed to it.