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Chapter 10: Contributions of Muslims to World Civilization (Teacher Notes)
10.1 Introduction
A. By 750 C.E., Muslims ruled Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, and much
of Central Asia.
B. For 500 years, many cultural influences blended, Arabs, Persians, Turks, and
C. You will explore Muslim contributions to world civilization
10.2 The Flowering of Islamic Civilization
A. By 750 C.E., a family called the Abbasids wrested power form the Umayyad
B. The Umayyad dynasty fled to Spain and set up a separate caliphate in
C. In 762 C.E., the Abbasids made Baghdad the capital of the Islam
D. In the 10th century, the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt built a capital city, Cairo.
E. Ideas and goods traveled along the Muslim trade routes.
1. Paper making from China passed through the Muslims to the
10.3 City Building and Architecture
A. The City of Baghdad
1. Caliph al-Mansur moved the Muslim capital from Damascus to
2. 100,000 workers spent four years building the new capital.
3. The palace and the grand mosque were at the center of the city
B. The Mosque
1. A mosque is the Muslim house of worship.
2. Mosques had a minaret (tower) for the muezzin to call to prayer
3. Inside the mosque was the prayer room.
4. The mihrab was the niche that indicated the qibla (the direction) of
5. Mosques expressed the religious faith and the artistic heritage of their
10.4 Scholarship and Learning
A. Scholarship and learning were valued in Islamic culture.
B. Arabic became the language of scholarship and science
C. Muslim rulers built schools, colleges, and libraries
1. Baghdad, Persia ~ House of Wisdom in 830 C.E.
2. Cairo, Egypt ~ Hall of Wisdom in 10th century
3. Cordoba, Spain ~ a huge library
D. Muslim philosophers
1. Al-Kindi, an Arab philosopher of the 9th century
a. Humans have two sources of knowledge: reason, and revelation
by God.
2. Ibn Sina, a Perisan, called Avicenna in Europe wrote in early 11th
a. All knowledge came from God and that truth could be known
through both revelation and reason.
b. He presented an argument that the soul was immortal.
10.5 Science and Technology
A. Zoology
1. Muslim scholars wrote books describing the structure of animals’
2. They explained how to make medicines from animals
B. Astronomy
1. Compasses and astrolabes could be used to locate the direction of
2. Astronomers figured out exact time for prayer and the length of the
month of Ramadan.
C. Irrigation and Underground Wells
1. Muslims’ land was dry and hot, water was scarce.
2. Muslims built dams and aqueducts
3. They used water wheels to bring water up from canals and reservoirs
10.6 Geography and Navigation
A. Muslim scholars divided the world into climate zones
B. They calculated the Earth’s circumference within nine miles of its correct
C. Muslims created accurate maps of the world to improve trade routes
D. The compass came from China, but the Muslims improved it
E. The astrolabe was probably invented by the Greeks, but the Muslims improved
10.7 Mathematics
A. Muslim scholars studied mathematics from Greece and India and added their
own contributions.
B. Al-Khwarizimi is known as “the father of algebra”
C. Muslims learned writing numbers, fractions and decimals from Indian
D. Arabic numbers became popularized in Europe.
E. Muslims also spread the Indian concept of zero.
10.8 Medicine
A. Muslim scholars learned medicine from Greeks, Mesopotamians, and
Egyptians and then improved on the practices.
B. Muslim doctors established the world’s first hospitals.
C. Muslim doctors helped to spread medical knowledge
1. al-Razi, a Persian doctor, helped doctors diagnose and treat deadly
2. Ibn Sina wrote, The Canon of Medicine, that explored the treatment of
10.9 Bookmaking and Literature
A. In the 8th century, Muslims learned the art of making paper from the Chinese
B. Books became a big business in the Muslim world.
C. A famous collection of stories was called, A Thousand and One Nights, also
known as Arabian Nights.
D. Muslim literature was enriched by Sufism, or Islamic mysticism
10.10 Art and Music
A. Geometric and Floral Designs
1. Muslims rejected the use of images of humans or animals in their
visual art; because they believed only God could create something that is alive.
2. Arts used shapes and patterns found in nature and geometry to create
designs and decorations.
3. Arabesque took its beauty from the natural world
B. Calligraphy
1. The highest form of decorative art was calligraphy.
2. The Qur’an was written in calligraphy
3. Verses of the Qur’an were used to decorate mosques
C. Textiles
1. Manufactured cloths were important to the Arab people as practical
items and as trade goods.
2. Clothes showed rank and served as status symbols in the Muslim world
D. Music in Muslim Spain
1. In Cordoba, Spain music style developed blending elements of Arab
and native Spanish cultures
2. Ziryab, a musician and singer, settle in Cordoba in 822.
a. established Europe’s first conservatory
10.11 Recreation
A. Polo
1. Muslims learned polo from the Persians and helped to popularize it
B. Chess
1. The game may have been invented in India
2. Muslims helped popularize and introduce the game to Europe
10.12 Chapter Summary
A. By the 7th and 8th centuries, Arab conquests created a vast Muslim empire.
B. Muslim scholars learned from other cultures and helped to spread knowledge
to other parts of the world.
C. By the 11th century, much of Christian Europe saw Islam as an enemy, which
led to a series of wars between Christians and Muslims, the Crusades
1. Abbasid – member of a Muslim ruling family descended from Abbas, an uncle of
2. Fatimid dynasty – a Muslim ruling family in Egypt and North Africa that was
descended from Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter
3. immortal – able to live forever
4. zoology – the scientific study of animals
5. evolution – the process by which different kinds of animals and other living
things develop
6. astronomy – the science of the stars, planets, and other objects in the universe
7. astrolabe – an instrument used to observe and measure the position of the sun and
other heavenly bodies
8. circumference – the distance around a circle or sphere
9. algebra – a branch of mathematics that solves problems involving unknown
10. pharmacist – a person who prepares medications for use in healing
11. mysticism – a form of religious belief and practice involving sudden insight and
intense experiences of God
12. calligraphy – the art of beautiful handwriting
13. conservatory – an advanced school of music