Islam: More than just a religion
Islam was the major catalyst which enabled Baghdad to reach its glorified stature. In addition to encouraging the gathering of knowledge and the use of reasoning, Islam was more than just a religion. Being a “way of life”, it was not confined to the mosque but was apparent in everyday activities of people. The Muslims of Baghdad refined astronomy as a science in order to offer their five daily prayers at accurate times, to predict when the crescent moon will appear, to find the direction to Mecca for prayers; in the process, and to achieve these aims, they perfected the astrolabe.
The Quran specified with clarity that God’s Universe was not random, a mere chance, but was created with wisdom and purpose. This led many scientists to consider the entire world as their research field, resulting in numerous astronomical, mathematical, and geographical discoveries. [Read more: Physics and Quran]
Islam also taught human beings that they were free from Original Sin, leading Muslims to believe in the inherent goodness of humans; this modern outlook enabled scientists to study disease in a matter-of-fact manner. Therefore, as explained by Michael Hamilton Morgan in Lost History, “disease [had] specific, scientifically based physical causes. It [was] not a punishment visited on men from God.”
Furthermore, the Quran declares, “O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you.” (49:13) This universalism of Islam allowed it to expand its borders. Muslim scientists were eager to learn from people of other cultures and faiths, which is apparent in the prolific translations which took place during this period. On the whole, their faith facilitated them and provided them with a strong foundation which propelled them to reach new heights in their chosen fields. [Click here to learn more about the relationship between Quran and science.]