The golden age is dated from the mid-7th century to the mid-13th century when people affiliated to the Islam religion prospered. The golden age of Islam is associated with political leadership and produced Cultural Revolution in all areas controlled by Muslims. Therefore, the domain of the golden age of Islam is limited to central Asia, northern part of African and, most importantly, the Middle East. The leaders during the golden age of Islam were called Caliphas and they had political, social and religious power over the rest of the population.
One of the most important aspects of the golden age of Islam is the educational significance of this period. Muslim scholars attempted to collect information from all parts of the word and translate into Islam (Saliba, 2007). In that period, Muslim scholars such as Ibn Sina shone in the field of mathematics, geography, astronomy and philosophy. There were recognized Muslim scholars in all domains of learning during that time. However, this paper will focus on the effects of the Golden age of Islam on astronomy (Saliba, 2007). The Islam golden age produced significant advancements is the field of astronomy. However, it is worth noting that due to the use of the Arabian language for writing, the work produced by Muslim scholars in the golden age of Islam have produced significantly less contributions to the respective fields compared to the contributions of Greek scholars. In fact, most of the work of Muslim scholars is being discovered today.
In the golden age of Islam, the relevance and importance of education was emphasized to all Muslims. For example, at one point, an Arabic saying of ‘the ink of a scholar is more precious than the blood of a martyr demonstrated the high value of education and knowledge to Muslims during the golden age. They tried to recreate copies of knowledge into Arabic. The influence of the quest for knowledge expanded to include astronomy (Saliba, 2007).
Traditionally, Islam relied on observation. The original Islam astronomy, called Anwar, relied on such observations as the rising and setting g of certain stars. Later, the Arabs added mathematical calculations to the observations. Later. The quest for assimilation of all scholarly texts produced assimilation of texts from different civilizations (Khalid, 2013). For example, Indian astrological work and Persian were the first to be translated to Islam. The results of the adaptations were a change in the existing systems of astrological computations. For example, Islamic astronomy started using the sine system of calculation instead of the trigonometric systems used by the Greeks; the origin of the sine has been traced to India (Khalid, 2013). Another illustration is based on use of Persian astronomical methods. For example, Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi is an astronomer from Persia who made many corrections in the Ptolemy’s star list. He them formulated his own magnitude estimates of stars. AL Sufi is also one of the scientists who wrote his own book “Kitab suwar al-kawakib”. Moreover, AL Sufi did a great job of assigning Arabic terminology to constellations (Khalid, 2013).
In later years, the work of Ptolemy was accepted as having the greatest consistence. In addition, it was receptive to other ideas; hence, Muslim astronomers adopted it. They used the tables and the movements of the known planets and stars to make a calendar. A calendar was very important because of the role of time and movement of the moon to the Islamic prayer times.
During the golden age of Islam, many instruments were developed or adopted. The relevance of these instruments included displaying direction and creating charts for the stars. For example, the Astrolabes were used to predict the direction of the qibla because it is important for Muslims to face that way when they are praying. Sundials were adopted from the Greek and Persian astronomy concepts. They were used in mosques to calculate prayer times. Other instruments include the quadrants, developed from the concept of Indian astronomy, used to make charts by employing the principles of the sine.
A Muslim introduced the concept of the seven days of the week to the Chinese. In addition, Chinese emperors imported Muslim astronomers to help them create a calendar. The Chinese were receptive of the principles of Islamic calendar. For example, they were impressed by the ability of the methods of Islam astronomy to predict the onset of eclipses (Ganchy, 2009). In addition, the introduction of planets and the concept of their elevation were new to the Chinese. In addition, the Islamic calendar was used to make the eternal Chinese calendar. The influence of China on Korea implies that the Islamic astronomy principles were adopted there as well. The influence of Islam astronomy was not influential in many part of the world due to limited interactions and language barriers. For example, the differences between the Muslims and the Christians prevented the application of these principles in Europe (Ganchy, 2009).
The golden age of Islam led to advancements in the field of astronomy. Though these advancements produced little influence in the western world, they were important to the Muslims because they covered the important aspects of their religion. For example, the served the religious purposes that were very important to the Muslims. The collapse of the golden age resulted to a prolonged period of stagnation, which only ended with the advent of modern scientific methods.