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The Golden Age Of Islamic Astronomers

Astronomical understanding, correct calendars and data of tangible geographic latitudes and longitudes had been important for all Islamic cities and cities. This physique of astronomical data was not amassed for summary scientific development however primarily for non secular obligations. Three of the Five Pillars of Islam require astronomically exact data: to find out correct hours for the decision to prayer, the time of dawn and sundown for fasting throughout Ramadan, and for monitoring the phases of the moon that marked the beginning of a brand new lunar month. The actual instructions had been mandatory particularly for the Hajj, the journey to Mecca for each in a position Muslim. The prolonged journeys via desert sands by long-stretching caravans that transported treasured material, carpets and unique spices additionally required data of the star positions and their annual cycles.

A Hajj certificate dated 602 AH /1205 AD (Mustafa-trit20/CC BY-SA 4.0)

A Hajj certificates dated 602 AH /1205 AD ( Mustafa-trit20/CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Arabic astronomers had been regularly energetic in learning the phenomena of the heavens and in bettering and refining their devices. Just as Christian communities required correct astronomical data for figuring out non secular holidays, for orienting church buildings towards the east and for figuring out correct occasions for the monastic day by day prayer, related wants confronted the Muslim communities.

Astronomical data was important for mosques be oriented towards the Ka’aba, the sacred shrine throughout the holiest metropolis. Determining a exact alignment between a mosque and Mecca required the event of mathematical and spherical geography and correct calculations of latitude and longitude which was troublesome till trendy occasions. The qibla drawback (the holy area of interest directed towards Mecca) needed to be addressed each time a brand new mosque was constructed wherever within the wide-spread Islamic world. Many mosques engaged a full-time astronomer, referred to as a muqqawit, to maintain their lunar calendars correct. They needed to have strategies for recording eclipses, comets and stellar positions. All of those important actions motivated more and more subtle and superior astronomical research and observations.

Miniature of Islamic Astronomer (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Miniature of Islamic Astronomer ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Establishing Islamic Arabic Science Centers

Science arose in Arabic-speaking international locations shortly after Islam was established. From the ninth to the fifteenth century, Islamic scientists working within the Arabic language, in a area stretching from Islamic Spain throughout North Africa and the Middle East to India, had been dominant in worldwide scientific endeavors. Leaders of the early Islamic empire, impressed by the Qur’an’s dictum to review all of God’s works, appointed students to gather Persian, Sanskrit and particularly Greek texts as a way to translate them into Arabic for examine and utility.


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Dr Marion Dolan acquired her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Medieval manuscripts, minoring in Medieval structure and historical past of astronomy. She is the writer of a number of books together with Astronomical Knowledge Transmission Through Illustrated Aratea Manuscripts and Decoding Astronomy in Art and Architecture .

Top Image : Islamic scientist at work (  Kemal/Abode Stock )

By: Dr Marion Dolan


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