Can "religion" spark a scientific revolution? Can science develop just in order to respond to the growing needs of religion? Such statements will sound bizarre to the modern mind who is conditioned to think that science is the greatest opponent to religion. And maybe there is some truth to that statement when it comes to western Christianity and science. But when it comes to Islam - it was the QURAN THAT USHERED IN THE FIRST GLOBAL SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION. And that can be very well proved by reading Middle Ages scientific texts.
Modern Astronomy owes its origin and methodology to Islamic Astronomy. This is now explicitly proved in original texts of Renaissance Scientists. But the Question is what led to the Scientific Revolution in the Muslim World in the Middle Ages? You would be surprised to know that it was the simple evening prayer-Asr that led to Islamic Astronomy. Just to compute the most crucial parameters to determine the time of Asr and the direction of Mecca, Muslim astronomers ended up correcting all the Greek notions of Astronomy and inventing brand new disciplines like Trigonometry, Mathematical geometry and state of the art observatories in Samarqand and Iran , the daunting structures of which are a testament to the glorious scientific revolution in the Muslim world.
George Saliba is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University, New York, USA, where he has been since 1979.
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