- Oct 2012
- Des Moines, Iowa
Then where were the Sassanian-era equivalents of Ibn Sina, Ibn Haytham, or al-Farabi? I am not aware of any.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.
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.pdfAll ended when orthodox islam triumphed through the the pen of Al-Ghazali.