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Chronology of Islamic civilization

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    Chronology of Islamic civilization

    just thought the chronology was kind of interesting. the article included information prior to 660, but i didn't include it for lack of space. some interesting bits of info - who knew that the first statement on animal rights was forumlated by Ibn abd as-Salam circa 1250, or that M. Iqbal published a poem (Complaint and Answer) "asking God to explain the reasons behind the lamentable state of Muslim people"?

    Key moments of Islamic civilization, Illustrated by Zafar Malik, New Internationalist, May 2002

    661-680 ... The Muslim world begins to fragment. Caliph Ali is murdered. Disputes arise between those who want political leadership to be elected and those who want political and religious authority to reside within the family of the Prophet. Hussain, the Prophet's grandson and son of Caliph Ali, is killed at the battle of Karbala which becomes the formative event in the emergence of the Shi'a tradition, splitting the Muslim community into two groups – the Sunnis and the Shi'as.

    The Umayyad dynasty is established in Syria.

    700-750 ... Islam extends into India. Muslims enter Spain and reach the borders of France. The advance of Muslims is halted at the Battle of Tours on the Loire river in France in 732. The battle becomes a seminal event in shaping European stereotypes of Muslims.

    In Baghdad the Abbasid dynasty is established.

    The paper industry emerges and Iraqi jurist Al-Shaybani publishes his famous work, The Concise Book of International Law.

    751-800 ... A sophisticated book trade evolves, backed by a thriving publications industry.

    The great compilers of hadith – al-Bukhari, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Maja and al-Nasai – publish their works and 'authenticate' the sayings of the Prophet. Ibn Ishaq publishes the first biography of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) is codified and six 'Schools of Thought' emerge as the orthodoxy. A massive project to translate works of Greek thought and learning into Arabic begins. The Rationalist school of philosophy (the Mutazila) emerges. The Spanish Umayyad dynasty is established in Cordoba and the Arabian Nights stories make a first appearance. Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari publishes The Book of Plants.

    800-850 ... Al-Kindi becomes the first Muslim philosopher, Jabir ibn Hayan establishes chemistry as an experimental science. Al-Khwarizmi invents Algebra. Ibn Qutayba, an 'Inspector of injustices' in Basra, publishes his seminal The Book of Etiquette. Translation of the works of Greece, Babylonia, Syria, Persia, India and Egypt reaches its peak. Muslims conquer Sicily.

    851-900 ... Muslim astronomers measure the circumference of the earth and Iraqi scientist Ibn Hawkal publishes The Book of the Shape of the Earth. Al-Farghani publishes his Elements of Astronomy and al-Battani publishes On the Science of Stars. The Musa Brothers, who are engineers, publish the Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. Philosopher al-Farabi publishes his celebrated commentary on Plato, The Perfect State. Afghani scholar and advisor to administrators, Al-Harawi, publishes his pioneering work, The Book of Public Finance.

    901-950 ... Philosopher and physician al-Razi publishes his observations on smallpox and measles and Al-Tabari, publishes his history of the world, Annals of Apostles and Kings. The Postmaster General of Baghdad, Ibn Khurdadhbih, publishes The Book of Routes and Kingdoms, a comprehensive work on the distribution of post throughout the Muslim world. Mystic Al-Hallaj causes controversy by declaring, in a state of ecstasy, 'I am the Truth'. And theologian Al-Ashari establishes the anti-philosophical Asharite movement.

    951-1000 ... Physicist Al-Haytham publishes his monumental study Optics containing the basic formulae of reflection and refraction and announces that experiment and empirical investigation is the foundation of all scientific work. Al-Baruni publishes his Determination of the Co-ordinates of the Cities and travels to South Asia to study Hinduism and yoga. Philosopher and physician Ibn Sina publishes Canons of Medicine, the standard text for the next 800 years. Al-Azhar University, the first in the world, is established in Cairo. Humanist Al-Masudi lays the foundation of human geography and philologist Ibn Faris publishes his linguistic masterpiece, The Law of the Language.

    1050-1100 ... Intellectual war breaks out between theologians, philosophers and Muslim mystics or Sufis. Thinker and theologian, Al-Ghazali laments the decline of Muslim civilisation, publishes The Revival of Religious Sciences in Islam and launches a monumental attack on Greek philosophy, The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Iraqi political scientist, Al-Mawardi, publishes his Rules of Sovereignty in the Governance of an Islamic Community and Libyan scientist Al-Ajdabi publishes his great work on meteorology, Seasonal Periods and Atmospherics. The Crusades, a series of Christian wars against the Muslims, begin with the first crusade in 1095.

    1100-1150 ... Sicilian geographer Al-Idrisi produces his map of the world and Sufi psychologist Ibn Bajja publishes psychological masterpiece, The Knowledge of the Self. Spanish philosopher Ibn Tufail publishes The Life of Hayy, a philosophical novel and prototype of Robinson Crusoe; and Moorish physician Ibn Zuhr brings out The Book of Practical Treatments and Precautionary Measures. Mutazalite philosopher Ibn Rushd answers Al-Ghazali with an equally monumental defence of philosophy, The Incoherence of the Incoherence.

    1150-1200 ... Timbuktu is established as a great centre of learning and book production. It's the furthest point of the Muslim Empire and home of Sankore University.

    Geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi publishes his great Geographical Dictionary and Spanish horticulturist Ibn Al-Awwam brings out The Book of Agriculture. Iraqi engineer Al-Jazari publishes his great illustrated work on mechanics, Integration Between Theory and Practice in the Application of Mechanics.

    The Kurdish Salahuddin Ayyubi ('Saladin') takes on the Crusaders.

    1150-1200 ... Al-Hariri publishes his linguistic masterpiece, The Assemblies and Fakh al-Din al-Razi tries to reconcile philosophy and religious thought in his book The Substance of the Ideas of Classical and Later Philosophers and Theologians.

    Persian philosopher and mystic, Al Suhrawardi, tries to establish an Islamic basis for philosophy in his work Philosophy of Illumination.

    1200-1250 ... Al-Zarnuji publishes his celebrated pedagogical work, The Method of Learning and Spanish physician Ibn al-Baytor publishes The Comprehensive Books of Drugs and Diets. Fakhr al-Din Razi publishes his great Encyclopaedia of Science and biographer Abu Khallikan establishes philosophy of history as a distinct discipline. Mystic Jalal-al-Din Rumi publishes Masnavi, his influential anthology of mystical poetry and anecdotes. Spanish thinker Ibn Saad publishes his ideas on multiculturalism in the Introduction to the Classes of Nations and Moorish Spain is fully established as a multicultural society. Ibn abd as-Salam formulates the first statement of animal rights.

    1250-1300 ... Mongols sack Baghdad and burn down the great House of Wisdom and the city’s other 36 public libraries with their vast store of manuscripts. Abbasid Caliphate ends but the Ottoman Empire is established.

    Biologist Ibn Nafis accurately describes the circulation of blood and Iraqi musician Al-Urmawi publishes his great Book of Musical Modes.

    Astronomer Nasir al-Din Tusi completes his major work Memoirs of the Science of Astronomy at the Maragha observatory, Persia, setting forward a comprehensive structure of the universe; and develops the 'Tusi couple' enabling mathematical calculations to establish a heliocentric worldview.

    After the eighth crusade, when the last Christian city, Acre, falls to the Muslims, the Crusades come to an end.

    1300-1400 ... Ibn Khaldun establishes sociology as a distinct discipline and publishes his celebrated Introduction to History. Ibn Battuta travels the globe and describes his adventures in Travels of Ibn Battuta. Al-Damiri develops the idea of zoological taxonomy in The Comprehensive Book of Animal Life and Egyptian vet Al-Baytar brings out The Complete Compendium on the Two Arts of Veterinary Practice and Horse Training.

    Syrian jurist, Al-Jawziyyah, publishes his great work on jurisprudence, Methods of Judgment in the Administration of Islamic Law and ibn al-Ukhuwwah brings out his book on The Clear Exposition of the Principles of (Public) Accountability.

    The religious scholars close the 'gates of ijtihad' ('reasoned struggle'); and establish taqlid (blind imitation) as the dominant mode of thought, leading to ossification in science, learning and innovation.

    1400-1500 ... The Ottoman Empire expands after the fall of Constantinople.

    Muslims are expelled from Spain after the fall of Granada. Jewish refugees from Spain take refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Persian mathematician Al-Kashi publishes his theory of numbers in The Key to Arithmetic; and Cheng Ho, Muslim admiral of Ming China, leads voyages of discovery to Africa.

    Arabian navigator Ibn Majid publishes The Book of Instructions in Principles of Navigation and Regulations and pilots Vasco de Gama from Africa to the Indian coast.
    1500-1600 The Moghal dynasty is established in India. Ottoman architect Sinan builds the Blue Mosque complex in Istanbul. Turkish jurist Tashkopruzade publishes his elaborate classification of knowledge, The Key to Highest Attainment and Light of Leadership and Egyptian jurist Ibn Nujaym brings out his celebrated work of legal logic and reasoning, Similars and Parallels: Analogues and Precedents.

    1600-1700 ... The Taj Mahal is completed in Agra, while the Ottomans lay siege to Vienna.

    Persian mystical thinker Mulla Sadra publishes his work on mystical philosophy, The Signs of Divine Grace. Europe embraces Islamic humanism whole-heartedly.

    1700-1800 ... European imperial powers begin to colonize the Muslim world.

    Universities and institutions of higher learning are closed; Islamic medicine is banned; and Muslims are barred from pursuing higher education.

    Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab establishes the Wahhaby movement in Arabia, Syria and Iraq, insisting on a literalist interpretation of the Qur'an.

    1800-1900 ... The 'Mutiny' in India is crushed. Indian educationalist, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan establishes the Aligarh University to 're-educate' the Muslims.

    1900-1950 ... Reformer Jamal al-Din Al-Afghani, together with the Mufti of Egypt, Muhammad Abduh, establish the pan-Islamic movement for reform and ijtihad ('reasoned struggle').

    After eight centuries, the Ottoman Empire collapses. In the Arabian peninsular, Ibn Saud brings warring tribes together to establish Saudi Arabia.

    Philosopher and 'Poet of the East', Muhammad Iqbal publishes his epic poem Complaint and Answer asking God to explain the reasons behind the lamentable state of Muslim people.

    Pakistan is established as the first 'Islamic state'.

    1950-2000 ... Muslim states in Asia and Africa obtain their independence.

    Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan become the main components of a global Islamic movement. The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is established as a 'Muslim United Nations' and great hope is pinned on the emergence of OPEC as a global player.

    'East Pakistan' breaks from 'West Pakistan' and becomes Bangladesh. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, six new Muslim countries emerge in central Asia. The revolution in Iran is hailed as the first 'Islamic revolution' but soon leads to despair and pessimism. The 'Taliban', a group of semi-literate students, take over Afghanistan.

    2001-2050 ... Two possible futures. Crisis after crisis leads Muslim cultures to the edge of chaos – and over. Alternatively, Islam is reformulated, Muslims redefine modernity in terms of their own categories and concepts, and Islam re-emerges as a dynamic, thriving civilization.

    Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest ~ XIII.28

    Yes, Nadia_H, I know about Iqbal's two poems, Shiqwa (Complaint) and Jawab-e-Shiqwa (Answer to Complaint). Infact, somebody was telling me that when Iqbal published the poem Complaint, he was branded a kafir cuz he had put complaints against God why he was treating the Muslims the way He was, but then when he published the Jawab-e-Shiqwa everybody realized he was a true Muslim. In Jawab-e-Shiqwa he highlighted how Muslims were suffering due to their neglect of the true path shown by Allah.

    [This message has been edited by sallu123 (edited June 05, 2002).]
    "When one bright intellect meets another bright intellect, the light increases and the Way becomes clear." - Rumi


      >>>Alternatively, Islam is reformulated, Muslims redefine modernity in terms of their own categories and concepts, and Islam re-emerges as a dynamic, thriving civilization.

      One hopes.

      It is interesting to note that despite the increasingly fragmented Muslim World (poilitically) from 700 to 1700, the Muslim Civilisation still held sway because of the open-minded interpretations (i.e. Ijtihad ) of the various branches of science / knowledge.

      Nadia, Iqbal's vision and fore-sight are amazing. His poems, called Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa, (similar to Milton's Paradise Lost in some ways) is a heartfelt call for Muslims to wake up out of their slumber and to recognise the Humanity in Islam.

      My favourite verse from Jawab-e-Shikwa:
      Harme-e-paak bhi, Allah bhi, Qur'an bhi aik
      Kuch bari baat thi hotay jo musalman bhi aik.

      Firqa bandi hai kaheen zaatain hain!
      Kiyaa zamanay mein panapnay key yehi bata'in hain?

      It just epitomises the detrimental situation of Muslims is simply due to the fact they aren't united. To them class and sect is more important than being Muslim.


        Sallu and Khairun Nisa, many thanks for your replies. hehe...I'm the only one who didn't know about Iqbal's Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa
        For today's state of the Muslim world, it only makes sense for Iqbal to lay the blame upon Muslims ourselves. Reading some of the achievements in the chronology, you can't help but be struck by how far we have regressed. Al-Damiri with his zoological taxonomy; al-Din Tusi working at his Maragha observatory; Al-Jawziyyah with his studies on jurisprudence; Ibn Saad on multiculturalism, Iraqi musician al-Urmawi ... there is no comparison with today's plethora of Muslim dictatorships, divisiveness, and intolerance.

        Khairun Nisa, uff those are amazing couplets! I really like the first one in particular. What amazing insight he had.
        How true his words are - don't we see this amongst many Muslims (including Pakistanis).. regionalism and nationalism superceding religion.

        [This message has been edited by Nadia_H (edited June 05, 2002).]