Islamic Contribution To The West Essay

5594 words - 22 pages

Islamic Contributions to the WestIntroductionIn this talk I would like to give an idea about the cultural contribution of the Islamic civilization to the West, the Islamic origins of modern science and civilization and the ascendancy of the Islamic science and learning for about 600 years in the world.Therefore I'll talk about the beginning of the Islamicization of the West, of the Influence of Muslims on Western philosophy, rationalism, experimental method, sciences, commerce, material life and arts of gracious living.Islamicization of the West."Islamicization of the West", I will use this word for the diffusion and assimilation of Islamic culture in the West. This is distinct from Islamization which means the conscious acceptance and implementation of the ideal Islamic cultural patterns by non-Muslims and nominal Muslims. Islamicization is sociologically similar to, though not identical with, Westernization subject to the limits and conditions of imitative- innovative social change.The Islamicization of the Medieval West, occurred, first, during the period ending around the middle of the eleventh century before systematic translations from Arabic into Western languages began; secondly during the age of Arabic translations coinciding with the little Renaissance of the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries; and third, during the Catholic-Protestant Reformation and Renaissance of the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries.The very presence of Muslims on Western soils (Spain, Sicily) was creating a complex situation. On the one hand, Islamic civilization on Western land was allowing a different way of living and thinking much superior to that one existing in the rest of Europe. On the other hand, it was giving bad feelings to the Christians towards those Muslims inhabiting Latin neighboring countries.The transformation of the West during these centuries until the sixteenth, passed through several stages of contact and conflict with Islamic culture. The West resorted to various strategies vis-à-vis "the problem of Islam" (R.W. Southern, Western Views of Islam). Until about the end of the eleventh century, the Western views of ideal Islam and its cultural and military triumphant civilization were fostered by sheer ignorance, fanaticism, hatred toward Islam and the Muslims, Biblical exegesis, and relative intellectual and physical isolation. This led to the expected apogee of Western Zealot type response: the Crusades of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The extensive contacts with the superior Islamic culture and Muslims during the Crusades ushered in a new era in Western self-consciousness, and awakened responses to Islamic culture. The highest intellectual achievements of the West during these two centuries, twelfth and thirteenth, comprised the imitation of Islamic science and learning. Universities were found in the West patterned on the Muslim universities to assimilate the new knowledge made available by translations of the works in...

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