A New Cordoba Presented by: Reza Aslan IN Conversation with: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf & Alistair MacDonald
Early Islamic expansion • Political domain of Islam expanded 634-756 CE, extending from Central Asia and Sind, to Iberia • Religious interpretation understood Science to be supported by Quranic injunctions and a’hadith. • Inherited the scientific and technological legacy of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Hellenic civilizations and drew on the civilizations of China and India, providing a foundation for the intellectual capacity of the Islamic world. • Arabic was lingua franca from Bokhara to Cordoba. Even Jewish scholars (as Maimonides) and Christian scholars in Andalus and Syrian scholars in Egypt and Syria were skilled in Arabic • Transmitted knowledge allowed for the later possibility of the European Renaissance.
Deep and sustained • Patronage of ruling dynasties – large libraries, research, intellectual discussion • dar al-Hikmah in 1005 CE and later Al-Azhar, one of the first learning institutions in the worldin Cairo • al-Hakam of Andalus created library of 500,000 books
A fount of new knowledge • From 750–1100 CE explosion of scientific knowledge - Farabi, Ibn Sina, Al-Biruni, Ibn Shatir, Ibn Rushd and Ibn Khaldun • The polymaths Al Kindi, Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd were the greatest exponents of Aristotelian rationalism translation into Latin of their commentaries on Aristotle in 13th CE reignited European rationalism • Developed paper manufacturing in Samarqand, windmills in Iran, and teaching hospitals without discrimination of ethnicity or origin
Decline from the zenith • Various accounts for decline: • Seljuk ascendancy (1077-1307 CE): suppression of diversity and loss of the spirit of Islam • Mongol invasion in east (1258 CE); and Inquisition in West (1250-1500 CE) • Cultural Renaissance in East but not sustained • Ottomans: Suleymaniye Mosque • Safavids: Imperial Mosque • Moguls: Taj Mahal and Hanging Gardens
Knowledge - a Tool for Success • Knowledge is the ability to act and respond successfully in a complex, rapidly transforming environment • Necessary tools: • knowledge-capture • knowledge-creation • knowledge-transfer