Myths about the Islamic Golden Age

The European Middle Ages have historically been known as the Dark Ages, while the Muslim world during the same period is popularly depicted as scientifically advanced. However, the difference between them has been exaggerated greatly, and pop history is full of myths about the Islamic Golden Age.

These videos examine a wide range of myths about the Islamic Golden Age, using commentary from relevant scholarly literature.

Abbas, Tahir. Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics the British Experience. London; New York: Routledge, 2011.

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Adamson, Peter. “Arabic Translators Did Far More than Just Preserve Greek Philosophy – Peter Adamson | Aeon Ideas.” Aeon, 4 November 2016.

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Albertson, David. Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres. Oxford Studies in Historical Theology. Oxford ; New York City: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Albinali, HA Hajar. “Arab or Islamic Medicine?” Heart Views 14.1 (2013): 41.

Alghamdi, Malak A., Janine M. Ziermann, and Rui Diogo. “An Untold Story: The Important Contributions of Muslim Scholars for the Understanding of Human Anatomy.” The Anatomical Record 300.6 (2017): 986–1008.

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Al-Khalili, Jim. “Jim Al-Khalili: It’s Time to Herald the Arabic Science That Prefigured Darwin and Newton.” The Guardian, 30 January 2008, § Opinion.

———. Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science. Penguin UK, 2010.

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Bakker, Paul J. J. M., Cristina Cerami, Jean-Baptiste Brenet, Dag Nikolaus Hasse, Silvia Donati, Cecilia Trifogli, Edith Dudley Sylla, and Craig Martin, eds. Averroes’ Natural Philosophy and Its Reception in the Latin West. Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. Series 1 L. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2015.

Ballan, Mohamad. “Beyond ‘Tolerance’ and ‘Intolerance’: Deconstructing the Myth of the Islamic Golden Age.” Jadaliyya – جدلية, 3 April 2014.

Berg, Herbert. “Mythmaking in the African American Muslim Context: The Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, and the American Society of Muslims.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73.3 (2005): 685–703.

Blåsjö, Viktor. “A Critique of the Arguments for Maragha Influence on Copernicus.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 45.2 (2014): 183–95.

———. “A Rebuttal of Recent Arguments for Maragha Influence on Copernicus.” Studia Historiae Scientiarum 17 (2018): 479–97.

Bobrick, Benson. The Caliph’s Splendor: Islam and the West in the Golden Age of Baghdad. Simon and Schuster, 2012.

Boyer, Carl B. “Mathematics in the Time of Copernicus.” The Polish Review 18.3 (1973): 25–30.

Bulliet, Richard W. “The Crisis within Islam.” The Wilson Quarterly (1976-) 26.1 (2002): 11–19.

Burnett, Charles. “The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Program in Toledo in the Twelfth Century.” Sci Context 14.1–2 (2001): 249–88.

———. “Translation and Transmission of Greek and Islamic Science.” The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 2. Edited by David C Lindberg. New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013.

Burri, Alberto. “The Roman Classics in the Middle Ages” (n.d.): 263.

Carter, T. “The Dissemination of Anthrax from Imported Wool: Kidderminster 1900–14.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 61.2 (2004): 103–7.

CHANDE, ABDIN. “Islam in the African American Community: Negotiating between Black Nationalism and Historical Islam.” Islamic Studies 47.2 (2008): 221–41.

Cinquanta, Leanna. “Theology and Modern Physics” (n.d.).

Clagett, Marshall. “William of Moerbeke: Translator of Archimedes.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 126.5 (1982): 356–66.

Cohen, Sheldon G, and Ana Maria Saavedra-Delgado. “Through the Centuries with Food and Drink, for Better or Worse VII.” Allergy Proceedings 11.4 (1990): 179–87.

Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy. A&C Black, 1999.

Couvalis, George. “John Philoponus: Closeted Christian or Radical Intellectual?” Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) 15 (2011): 207–19.

Crombie, Alistair Cameron. Robert Grosseteste and the Origins of Experimental Science, 1100-1700. Clarendon Press, 1971.

Dahanani, Alinoor. Ghazali, Al-. Edited by Thomas F. Glick and Steven Livesey. Routledge, 2014.

D’Ancona, Cristina. “Greek into Arabic: Neoplatonism in Translation.” The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Edited by Peter Adamson and Richard C Taylor. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005.

———. “Greek Sources in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Winter 2017. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2017.

Daneshgar, Majid. “An Approach to Science in the Qurʾān: Re-Examination of Ṭanṭāwī Ǧawharī’s Exegesis.” Oriente Moderno 95.1/2 (2015): 32–66.

Deming, David. Science and Technology in World History/ Volume 2, Early Christianity, the Rise of Islam, and the Middle Ages. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publ., 2010.

Dod, Bernard G. “Aristoteles Latinus.” The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Edited by Arthur Hilary Armstrong. Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Dronke, Peter. “Thierry of Chartres.” A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy. Edited by Peter Dronke. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Dutton, Paul Edward. “William of Moerbeke.” Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Thomas F. Glick and Steve Livesey. Routledge, 2014.

Edriss, Hawa, Brittany N. Rosales, Connie Nugent, Christian Conrad, and Kenneth Nugent. “Islamic Medicine in the Middle Ages.” The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 354.3 (2017): 223–29.

El Cheikh, Nadia Maria. Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs. Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs 36. London: Harvard University Press, 2004.

El-Halaby, Sherif, and Khaled Hussainey. “Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars to Originality of Bookkeeping-System.” COC 13.3 (2016): 543–60.

Estela, María, J. J. Lagowski, and María Elisa. “AL-KÎMIYÂ’: From Baghdad to Al-Andalus ‘The Arab Contribution to the Development of Chemistry in Europe’ An Overview of a Research Project,” 1983.

Fadel, Hossam. “Obstetrics in Islamic Medicine: An Historical Perspective.” Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America 28 (2001).

Fielden, Tom. “BBC – Today: Tom Feilden: The ‘golden Age’ of Arabic Science,” 13 November 2010.

Freely, John. Aladdin’s Lamp. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2009.

———. Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe. New York, NY: Overlook Duckworth, 2013.

———. Light from the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam Helped to Shape the Western World. I.B.Tauris, 2015.

French, Roger. “A Note on the Anatomical Accessus of the Middle Ages.” Medical History 23.4 (1979): 461–68.

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———. The Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon: With Memoirs of His Life and Writing Composed by Himself, Illustrated from His Letters with Occasional Notes and Narrative. Vol. 5. B. Blahe, 1837.

Gofas, Andreas. “‘Old’ vs. ‘New’ Terrorism: What’s in a Name?” (n.d.): 17.

Goyens, Michèle, Pieter de Leemans, and An Smets. Science Translated: Latin and Vernacular Translations of Scientific Treatises in Medieval Europe. Leuven University Press, 2008.

Grant, Edward. God and Reason in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

———. “The Fate of Ancient Greek Natural Philosophy in the Middle Ages: Islam and Western Christianity.” The Review of Metaphysics 61.3 (2008): 503–26.

———. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional and Intellectual Contexts. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Griffel, Frank. Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.

Guessoum, Nidhal. “Copernicus and Ibn Al-Shatir: Does the Copernican Revolution Have Islamic Roots?” The Observatory 128 (2008): 231–39.

Guicciardini, Niccolò. Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method. MIT Press, 2009.

Gulevich, Tanya. Understanding Islam and Muslim Traditions: An Introduction to the Religious Practices, Celebrations, Festivals, Observances, Beliefs, Folklore, Customs, and Calendar System of the World’s Muslim Communities, Including an Overview of Islamic History and Geography. Detroit, Mich.: Omnigraphics, 2004.

HABIB, S. IRFAN. “ISLAMIC SCIENCE OR SCIENCE IN ISLAMIC CIVILISATION?” India International Centre Quarterly 40.1 (2013): 45–56.

Habib, S. Irfan. “Viability of Islamic Science: Some Insights from 19th Century India.” Economic and Political Weekly 39.23 (2004): 2351–55.

Haddad, Simon, and Hilal Khashan. “Islam and Terrorism: Lebanese Muslim Views on September 11.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 46.6 (2002): 812–28.

Hajar, Rachel. “The Air of History Part III: The Golden Age in Arab Islamic Medicine An Introduction.” Heart Views 14.1 (2013): 43–46.


Haq, Imran, and Humayun A. Khatib. “Light through the Dark Ages: The Arabist Contribution to Western Ophthalmology.” Oman J Ophthalmol 5.2 (2012): 75–78.

Hasan, Moiz, and Pablo Ruiz de Olano. “The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance.” American Journal of Physics 80.7 (2012): 648–49.

Hassan, Mohammad Hannan. “Where Were the Jews in the Development of Sciences in Medieval Islam? A Quantitative Analysis of Two Medieval Muslim Biographical Notices.” Hebrew Union College Annual 81 (2010): 105–26.

Heck, Paul L. “The Crisis of Knowledge in Islam (I): The Case of al-ʿĀmirī.” Philosophy East and West 56.1 (2006): 106–35.

Hodgson, Peter E. Theology and Modern Physics. 1st ed. Routledge, 2017.,

Huff, Toby E. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West. Cambridge (GB): Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Ierodiakonou, Katerina. “Introduction.” Byzantine Philosophy and Its Ancient Sources. Edited by Katerina Ierodiakonou. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.

Infusino, Mark H, Dorothy Win, and Ynez Violé O’Neill. “Mondino’s Book and the Human Body.” Vesalius 1.2 (1995): 50.

Iqbal, Muzaffar. “Islam and Modern Science: Formulating the Questions.” Islamic Studies 39.4 (2000): 517–70.

Iqbāl, Muẓaffar. Science and Islam. Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007.

Islam, Arshad. “The Contribution of Muslims to Science during the Middle Abbasid Period (750-945).” Revelation and Science 1.01 (2011).

Islam, Jaan. “Understanding Christian–Muslim Scholarly Cooperation under ‘Abbāsid Rule from 800–1000 CE.” Journal of Early Christian History 7.1 (2017): 46–61.

Janssens, Jules. “Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Latin Translations Of.” Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy: Philosophy Between 500 and 1500. Edited by Henrik Lagerlund. Springer Science & Business Media, 2010.

Jolivet, Jean. “The Arabic Inheritance.” A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy. Edited by Peter Dronke. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Karagözoğlu, Bahattin. “Contribution of Muslim Scholars to Science and Technology.” Pages 137–84 in Science and Technology from Global and Historical Perspectives. Edited by Bahattin Karagözoğlu. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017.,

Karić, Amir. Myth of Bosniak Pan-Islamism. Translated by Amila Karahasanović. Sarajevo: Sarajevo Center for Advanced Studies, 2015.

Kenny, Joseph. Philosophy of the Muslim World: Authors and Principal Themes. Washington: The council for research in values and philosophy, 2003.

Khalidi, Hala, and Basma Ahmad Sedki Dajani. “Facets from the Translation Movement in Classic Arab Culture.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 205 (2015): 569–76.

Khan, Arshad. Islam, Muslims, and America: Understanding the Basis of Their Conflict. New York: Algora Pub., 2003.

Knysh, Alexander. Islam in Historical Perspective. Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Kuiper, Matthew J. “Joshua’s Jihad? A Reexamination of Religious Violence in the Christian and Islamic Traditions.” Transformation 29.2 (2012): 149–69.

Lagowski, J. J., Maria Estelaa Jardim, and Maria Elisa Maia. “Al-Kîmiyâ’ : From Baghdad to al-Andalus ‘the Arab Contribution to the Development of Chemistry in Europe’ an Overview of a Research Project | eMarefa.” Jordan Journal of Chemistry 3.1 (2008): 99–102.

Laird, Walter Roy. “Change and Motion.” The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 2. Edited by David C Lindberg. New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013.

Lewis, Bernard. The Muslim Discovery of Europe. New York; London: W.W. Norton, 2001.

Livingston, John W. The Rise of Science in Islam and the West: From Shared Heritage to Parting of The Ways, 8th to 19th Centuries. Routledge, 2017.

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Martin, Richard C. “The Uses and Abuses of Criticism in the Study of Islam: A Response to Aaron Hughes.” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 24.4/5 (2012): 371–88.

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———. “Muslim Science Must Join the 21st Century.” SciDev.Net, n.d.

———. “Nigerian Science Fund ‘Should Inspire Muslim World.’” SciDev.Net, n.d.

———. “Recreating the Golden Age of Islamic Science.” SciDev.Net, n.d.

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———. “Science and Art:: Anatomical Illustrations in Early Islamic Optics.” Pages 19–38 in Ilm. Edited by Samer Akkach. Science, Religion and Art in Islam. University of Adelaide Press, 2019.

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