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The Development of Science in the Abbasid Period

The Development of Science in the Abbasid Period


The Abbasid dynasty ruled for five centuries, namely 132-656/750-1258 AD, replacing the Umayyad State which had ruled for 92 years (40-132 H/660-750 AD). With the fall of the Umayyads, power passed to the Abbasid dynasty.


The name of the Abbasid dynasty was ascribed to the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad SAW Abbas bin Abdul Mutholib because the founders and caliphs were descendants of him. The caliph who first occupied the position was Abdul Abbas Asy Syafah who ruled from 132-136 H/750-753 AD. During that period, the Abbasid dynasty was led by 37 caliphs.


The last caliph was Al Mu'tazim who came to power in 124 H/1258 AD and was killed by the Mongol forces led by Hulogu Khan. Hulogu Khan is the grandson of Genghis Khan.


The great caliphs during the Abbasid dynasty were Abu Abbas As Safa, Abu Jafar al-Mansyur, Harun ar-Rashid, Al Makmum, Al Mu'tazim, and Al Watsik. They are the caliphs who have ushered in the peak of the heyday and golden age of the Abbasid dynasty. After that, there were almost no more great caliphs. This is because they are more preoccupied with worldly things and fighting for power.


The reign of the Abbasid dynasty experienced its heyday, from its establishment to the reign of Caliph Al Watsik Billah in 232 H/879 AD. This period was a glorious time, it can even be said that the golden age and glory for Muslims in almost all fields, especially in the fields of science, became the center of world civilization.


In the activities of his government, the Abbasid dynasty took the center of activity in the city of Baghdad and at the same time served as the state capital. From here, all activities, whether political, social, economic, power, knowledge, cultural, and others are carried out.


The city of Baghdad was made an open-door city, meaning that anyone could enter and live in the city. As a result, all nations that adhere to various religions and beliefs are allowed to live in it. Baghdad also became a very busy international city and in it gathered various elements, such as Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Roman, Qibthi, and so on.



The Development of Science during the Abbasid Dynasty


During the Abbasid dynasty, the life of Islamic civilization was very advanced, so at that time it was said to be the golden age of Islam. The Muslims have reached the peak of glory and wealth, be it in the fields of power, politics, economics, and in the fields of culture and science, both knowledges of religion and general science have progressed very rapidly. Various sciences have been born in that era. This is because among other things:


Various kinds of research and studies on science were carried out by the Muslims themselves, the activities of translating books in foreign languages such as Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and others into Arabic were very intense. The translated books include medical science, chemistry, natural science, mantiq (logic), algebraic philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, art, and others. The translation and research were generally carried out during the caliphate of Abu Ja'far, Harun ar-Rashid, al-Makmum, and Mahdi.


Caliph Harun ar-Rashid was very concerned about advancing this knowledge. He founded a scientific institution named "BAITUL HIKMAH" as a center for translation, research, and study of library science and educational institutions (Universities).


The fruit of this attention is that Muslims can learn various sciences in Arabic. And as a result, great Muslim scholars have emerged from various disciplines who are very well known as well as great scholars who are very famous such as Imam Abu Hanafi-Imam Malik-Imam Syafei-Imam Hambali, Imam Bukhari, and Imam Muslim.


Science is seen as something very important and noble. The caliphs and other dignitaries opened up the greatest opportunities for the advancement and development of science. The caliphs themselves are generally scholars who love knowledge, respect scholars, and glorify poets.


They respect science, they apply the substance of practicing Islamic law: that the level and dignity of a person depends on the amount of knowledge he has in addition to his piety to Allah SWT. Allah SWT. says in Q.S al-Mujaddalah / 58: 11: Meaning: "Surely Allah will raise (degrees) those who believe among you and those who are given knowledge by several degrees. (Q.S al-Mujlah/58:11)


The caliph's given science appreciate and glorify it. Therefore, they open the widest opportunities for the development of knowledge to all students, both from Islam and other circles. The caliphs themselves were generally scholars who loved knowledge, respected scholars, and poets. Freedom of thought is highly respected. Scholars (ulama) are freed for ijtihad to develop their intellectual power and free from the shackles of taqlid. This makes general science or religion develop very high. As evidence, among others:


The Ulama Corps was formed whose members consisted of various countries and religions in charge of translating, discussing, and compiling remnants of ancient cultures, so that at that time Muslim figures emerged who spread Islam and produced great works.


Baitul Hikmah was established as a center for translation, research, and study of science, both religious and general.


Established 'Majelis Munazarat' which is a gathering place for Muslim scholars, to discuss science, Muslim scholars are given the freedom to think about science.




Results of the Development of Islamic Science during the Abbasid Dynasty


The progress and development of Islamic science during the Abbasid dynasty was very rapid, so several Islamic sciences were born, including the following.


a. Hadith Science


Hadith science is the study of hadith from circumcision, narrators, content, etc. At that time, great and well-known hadith experts appeared, and their works, including:


Imam Bukhari, born in Bukharo 194 H in Baghdad, his famous book is al-Jami'us sahih and is known as Sahih Bukhari.

Imam Muslim died in 216 H in Naisabur. His book is Jami'us and is known as 'Sahih Muslim'.

Abu Dawud with his book of hadith entitled "Sunan Abu Dawud".

Ibn Majah with his hadith book Sunan Ibn Majah.

At-Tirmidhi as his book 'Sunan Tirmidhi'.


b. Tafsir


The science of interpretation is the science that explains the meaning/content of the verses of the Qur'an. The reasons for the revelation of the verse / Asbabun nuzul, the law, and others. The famous commentators at that time included:


Abu Jarir at-Tabari with his interpretation of the Qur'anul Azim as many as 30 juz.

Abu Muslim Muhammad bin Bahr Isfahany (mu'tazilah), his commentary is 14 volumes.


c. Jurisprudence


The science of jurisprudence is the study of Islamic laws (everything that is required, forbidden, permitted, and forbidden by Islam).


d. Islamic philosophy


Islamic philosophy is knowledge and inquiry with reason regarding the nature of everything that exists because its legal origin or provisions are based on the Qur'an and hadith. The benefit of Islamic philosophy is to discover the nature of all things as God's creation and as evidence of His greatness. Allah SWT. said: Meaning: "Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs (of Allah's greatness) for people of understanding." (Q.S. Ali-'Imran/3: 190)


e. Sufism


Sufism is a science that teaches ways to cleanse the heart, mind, and speech of despicable traits so that a sense of taqwa grows and is close to Allah SWT. To be able to achieve eternal happiness (clean physically and mentally). Muslims who live the life of Sufism are called Sufis.


f. History


History is the study of various past events which include the time and place where they occurred, the perpetrators, the events, and arranged systematically. By studying history, one can take lessons, benefits, and lessons from these events. Allah SWT. said in Surah Yusuf verse 111: Meaning: "Indeed, in their stories, there is a teaching for people who have a reason." (Q.S. Yusuf/12: 111)


g. Medical


During the Abbasid dynasty, medicine experienced development and progress, especially during the reign of Harun ar-Rashid and the great caliphs after him. At that time medical colleges were established so that many medical graduates were printed.


h. Mathematics


The characters include:


Al-Khwarizmi (194-266 H). He had compiled a book of Algebra and discovered the number zero (0). The numbers 1-9 come from Hinduism, which has been developed by Muslims (Arabs).

Omar Khayam. His book is Treatise On Algebra and it has been translated into French.


 i. Astronomy


Astronomy is the study of the journey of the sun, earth, moon, and other stars and planets. The characters include:

  • Abu Mansur al-Falaqi
  • Jabir al-Batani was the creator of the first telescope.


Scientist/Islamic Figures during the Abbasid Dynasty


a. Islamic Philosophers include:


Al-Kindi (185-252 H/805-873 AD), known as the 'Arabic Philosopher', translated foreign books into Arabic. He studied various sciences, especially philosophy. Al-Kindi was not only a philosopher, but also an expert in mathematics, astronomy, pharmacology, and so on.


Al Farabi (180-260 H/780 – 863 AD), translate foreign books into Arabic. Al Farabi wrote many books on logic, mathematics, physics, metaphysics, chemistry, ethics, and so on. His philosophy of logic, among others, in his book "Shakh Kitab al Ibarah Li Aristo", explains that logic is the science of guidelines that can uphold the mind and can show it the truth. He was given the title of the second professor, after Aristotle who became the first professor. Many of his works have been translated into European languages.


Ibn Sina (Abdullah bin Sina) (370 - 480H/980 - 1060 AD). In Europe, it is known as Avicenna. Since childhood, he has studied Arabic, geometry, physics, logic, Islamic theologians, medical and Islamic sciences. He is a doctor in the city of Ramazan, Persia, who is actively researching various types of diseases. He is also famous for his ideas on the notion of omnipresence or wahdatul existence, as well as a physicist and a psychiatrist. At the age of 17, he was very famous. There are more than two hundred books by Ibn Sina, the famous ones include 1. Asy Syifa, this book is a philosophy book, consisting of four parts, namely logic, physics, mathematics, and metaphysics. 2. Al-Qanun or Canon of Medicine. According to western names, this book was translated into Latin and was the standard book for European Universities until the end of the 17th century.


Ibn Rushd. Born in Cardova in 250 AH/1126 AD and died in 675 AH/1198 AD. He is known in Europe as Averroes. He is a philosopher who is known as the father of rationalism. He is also an expert in life sciences, physics, astronomy, morals and medicine, and jurisprudence. His works include: a. Fasul Maqal fima Baina al Hikmati Wasyari'at Minal Ittisal. b. Bidayatul Mujtahid c. Tahafutut Tahafud d. fiqh. His writings are still often found in European and American libraries.


b. Muslim Medical Expert


Hunain Ibn Iskak was born in 809 AD and died in 874 AD. He is an ophthalmologist, his workbooks on various diseases, and he has translated many medical books in Greek into Arabic.


Ibn Sina, besides being a philosopher as well as a medical figure, his very famous book in the field of medicine is Al-Qanun Fi Al-tib which is used as a medical manual in European universities and Islamic countries.


c. Historian


Ibn Qutaibah (828 AD - 889 AD) with his work Uyun Al Akhbar which contains the political history of Islamic countries. At-Tabari (839 AD – 923 AD) wrote about the history of the apostles and kings. Ibn Khaldun's (1332 AD - 1406 AD) work Al Ihbar has 7 volumes and each volume contains 500 pages.


d. Jurisprudence


Imam Abu Hanifah (80 - 150 H / 700 - 767 AD) compiled his school, namely the Hanafi school.

Imam Malik Bin Anas, born in Medina in 93 H/788 AD and died in the Hijaz in 170 H/788 AD, composed the Maliki school of thought.

Imam Syafii's full name is Muhammad bin Idris bin Syafi'i (150 – 204 H/767 – 802 AD), when he was 7 years old, he memorized the Quran and compiled his school, namely the Shafi'i school.

Imam Hambali (164 – 241 H/780 – 855 AD), compiled his school, namely the Hambali school.

The mujahidin devote all their abilities to obtaining practical knowledge in Islamic law so that Muslims can easily implement them.


e. Sufism expert


Rabi'ah Adawiyah (born in Baghdad in 714 AD Sufism teachings are called 'Mahabbah'.

Abu Hamid bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Ghozali (1059–111 AD) - his famous work is 'Ihya Ulumuddin'.

Abdul Farid Zunnun Al Misri, born in 156 H/773 AD – 245 H/860 AD), can read Hieroglyphs that were left in the Pharaoh's time (Egypt).

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