Short Description“At their best, these historians excel in the scope of their enterprise and their interests; they properly combine geography and history and nothing human is alien to them
The excellent historians
“At their best, these historians excel in the scope of their enterprise and their interests; they properly combine geography and history and nothing human is alien to them. They are far superior to the contemporary historians in Christendom.”
The Moslems labored for such an understanding
“The topics that fill the pages of Moslem historians, fascinating to their countrymen, seem aridly remote from the natural interests of occidental readers who have not realized how the economic interdependence of peoples ominously demands a mutual study and understanding of East and West. In those lusty centuries of Islamic life, the Moslems labored for such an understanding.”
The movement of translating sciences
“The Umayyads wisely left unhindered the Christian, Sabaean or Persian colleges at Alexandria, Beirut, Antioch, Harran, Nisibis and Jundi-Shapur; and in those schools the classics of Greek science and philosophy were preserved, often in Syriac translations. Moslems learning Syriac or Greek were intrigued by these treatises and soon translations were made into Arabic by Nestorian Christians or Jews. Umayyad and Abbasid princes stimulated this fruitful borrowing. Al-Mansûr, al-Ma’mûn and al-Mutawakkil dispatched messengers to Constantinople and other Hellenistic cities -sometimes to their traditional enemies, the Greek emperors - asking for Greek books, especially in medicine or mathematics. In this way Euclid's Elements came to Islam.”
The House of Wisdom
“In 830 A.D., al-Ma'mûn established in Baghdad, at a cost of 200,000 dinars ($950,000), a "House of Wisdom" (Bayt al-Hikmah) as a scientific academy, an observatory and a public library; here he installed a corps of translators and paid them from the public treasury. To the work of this institution, thought ibn Khaldûn, Islam owed that vibrant awakening which in causes - the extension of commerce and the rediscovery of Greece - and results - the flowering of science, literature and art - resembled the Italian Renaissance.”
They are credited with saving Greek books from obliteration
“From 750 to 900 A.D., this fertilizing process of translation continued from Syriac, Greek, Pahlavi and Sanskrit. At the head of the translators in the House of Wisdom was a Nestorian physician, Hunayn ibn Is-hâq (809-73 A.D.) (John son of Isâc). By his own account, he translated a hundred treatises of Galen and the Galenic school into Syriac and thirty-nine into Arabic. Through his renderings, some important works of Galen escaped destruction. … al-Ma'mûn endangered the treasury by paying Hunayn in gold the weight of the books he had translated.”
The Arabic tongue assimilated all sciences
“By 850 A.D., most of the classic Greek texts in mathematics, astronomy and medicine had been translated.”
The brightest threads in the skein of history
“The continuity of science and philosophy from Egypt, India and Babylonia through Greece and Byzantium to Eastern and Spanish Islam, and thence to northern Europe and America, is one of the brightest threads in the skein of history.”
Al-Khwarizmi and algebra
“Algebra, which we find in the Greek Diophantes in the third century, owes its name to the Arabs who extensively developed this detective science. The great figure here - perhaps the greatest in medieval mathematics - was Muhammad ibn Mûsa (780-850 A.D.), called al-Khwarizmi from his birthplace Khwarizm (now Khiva), east of the Caspian Sea. Al-Khwarizmi … in his Calculation of Integration and Equation gave analytical and geometrical solutions of quadratic equations. This work, now lost in its Arabic form, was translated by Gerard of Cremona in the twelfth century, used as a principal text in European universities until the sixteenth century and introduced to the West the word algebra (al-jabr - "restitution," "completion").”
“Chemistry as a science was almost created by the Moslems; for in this field, where the Greeks (so far as we know) were confined to industrial experience and vague hypothesis, the Saracens introduced precise observation, controlled experiment and careful records.”
“The Moslems established the first apothecary shops and dispensaries, founded the first medieval school of pharmacy and wrote great treatises on pharmacology. Moslem physicians were enthusiastic advocates of the bath, especially in fevers and in the form of a steam bath. Their directions for the treatment of smallpox and measles could scarcely be bettered today.”
“The outstanding figure in this humane dynasty of healers was Abu Bakr Muhammad ar-Râzi (844-926 A.D.), famous in Europe as Rhazes. … His Kitab al-Hawi (i.e. Comprehensive Book) covered in twenty volumes every branch of medicine. Translated into Latin as Liber continens, it was probably the most highly respected and frequently used medical textbook in the white world for several centuries. It was one of the nine books that composed the whole library of the medical faculty at the University of Paris in 1395. His Treatise on Smallpox and Measles was a masterpiece of direct observation and clinical analysis. It was the first accurate study of infectious diseases and the first effort to distinguish the two ailments. We may judge its influence and repute by the forty English editions printed between 1498 and 1866.”
“We could hardly exaggerate the influence of ibn al-Haytham on European science. Without him, Roger Bacon might never have been heard of. Bacon quotes or at least refers to him at almost every step in that part of the Opus maius which deals with optics and Part VI rests almost entirely on the findings of the Cairene physicist. As late as Kepler and Leonardo, European studies of light were based upon al-Haytham's work.”
‘Abbâs ibn Firnâs
“According to al-Maqqari, ibn Firnâs of Cordoba, in the ninth century, invented spectacles, complex chronometers and a flying machine.”
“Muhammad ash-Shahrastâni, in a Book of Religions and Sects (1128 A.D.), analyzed the leading faiths and philosophies of the world and summarized their history. No contemporary Christian could have written so learned and impartial a work.”
Durant admires the Muslim traveler and geographer, Yaqût al-Hamawi, so much that he says about him: “Seldom has any man so loved the earth.”
 Ibid. vol. 4, 313.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 313.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 313-314.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 314.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 314.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 314-315.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 315.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 316.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 320.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 322.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 323.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 377.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 390.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 418.
 Ibid. vol. 4, 430.