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Science and Islam: A History

(Icon Science)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Today it is little acknowledged that the medieval Islamic world paved the foundations for modern science and the scientific institutions that now form part of our everyday world. The author provides an enlightening and in-depth exploration into an empire's golden age, its downfall and the numerous debates that now surround it. ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2010 by Icon Books, Ltd. (first published May 15th 2006)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Ayman Fadel
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ehsan Masood (Twitter) produced a BBC documentary on Islam and science. This book is its companion. It's excellent as a survey introduction to this topic in the history of science. It discusses multiple causes of historical phenomenon and the predominant historiography and its dissenters.

As in any work of history presented to the public, the academic academician, or even the humble ABD history student such as myself, can find weaknesses. But the wider public is not reading and watching our fasci
Nuruddin Azri
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, science
A good light reading on the history of science in Islam. Masood briefly brings the readers to the main figures and ideas that painted the canvas of Islamic Civilisation and propose a thesis that one of the crucial factor that slow down the development of science in Muslim countries is due to the lack of the governmental support and infrastructures.

Masood take examples like Nasir al-Din al-Tusi who is supported by Hulagu Khan, Ibn Haytham by al-Hakim in Egypt and other scholars by Sultan al-Ma'mu
Leesya Nazman
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If science is to return to the nations of Islam, it must do so without interfering in people's freedom to believe."

As a history buff, I really loved this book! Short and simple yet so detailed! It's an easy reads as well for someone who rarely reads non fictions.
I loved reading about Islamic history and I would totally recommend this book!
It's not only revolved around Science in Islam, but it also talked about how religions, politics, wars affected scientific revolution. It started from the bi
Cat Evans
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting survey of the topic, but trying to cover eight centuries of history and thought in a single, compact hardcover means that it can only ever skim the surface of of the subject as a whole and the topics within it.

I read this book as research/inspiration for a fiction project but because it's so frantically trying to convey names and dates it doesn't have time to really get much further, so didn't get me thinking as much as I'd have liked. The most interesting section in that respect
Mo F
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
The premise of the book was a lot better than the execution, unfortunately.
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good introductory book, very easy and pleasant to read.
Adi Farhud
To answer author’s questions at the end of the book:

Does science need Islam?

Does Islam need science?
Extremely yes.

I was born and raised in Malaysia. You mentioned Malaysia a number of times in a book. You wrote that Malaysia is that one Muslim country other Muslim countries should emulate.

I’m writing to tell you that you’re wrong. Malaysia should be the last country in the list. Our education system compels all Muslim kids to learn Islamic Studies. For 12 years. Primary and secondary. It's a
Catherine Lee
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s the best book I could encounter after reading a few books of non-fiction science by Writers not of the Islam faith. I always wonder why their introduction on science mention so little of the Golden Age of Islamic Empire but mention a lot of the Greek inventor, philosopher that came before. It puzzle me but this book have enlightened me abit on the issue.

Also, from this book, I realised that translated texts of Arabic to Latin may have deviate the Inventor/Scientist/Philosopher/etc. names t
Jemima Pett
A swift overview of the science credentials of Islam during its height, before the Mongols invaded... bookended with discussions of the interactions between government, religion and scientific education/support. I'd have like more in the middle of the sandwich. Maybe that's the difficult part to find adequate citations for. ...more
Mohan Rao
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Why did science stagnate in islamic cultures?
Aja Baajour
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The books had some amazing facts, But it was too hard for me to read. I may reread someday but not now
Shahzod Turgunboev
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ehsan Masood shines a light on the scientific achievements and breakthroughs of Muslim scholars during the “dark age” by also crediting Greek, Indian, Roman intellectuals.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
try to read up to page six and see whether you'd like it or love it.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good short book on contribution of Islam/ Muslims to Science. Must read!
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
A very short and easy read, meant to accompany a BBC short series. As such, it is not very impressive academically and if you are a little knowleadgeble in the field, you won't find a lot of new info. If have no idea about the topic of Islamic science, it will give you a taste of it, albeit superficially. The last chapter is good for asking some interesting questions, but the attempt to answer them is half-hearted at best. Anyway, the book does not pretend or aim to be more than it is - a long p ...more
Zen Cho
Apr 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this but it didn't really go into depth on anything -- jumped between periods and subject matter in a way I found a bit confusing. Its strength was anecdotes. Worth reading if you need convincing that Islamic scholars came up with brilliant scientific innovations, and as an introduction to the subject, but for a proper history of science and Islam I think you'd need to look elsewhere. ...more
Robin Marwick
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
I got this out of the library after catching the tail end of the TV series of the same name. It's an interesting and engaging read but somewhat lightweight. Maybe that's inevitable given the huge scope of the topic, but I often found myself wishing for more depth and detail on the many fascinating scientists and discoveries mentioned. ...more
Evander v
As it is a companion to a television series, it wasn't as in depth as I would have liked, in sections, but it was very informative nonetheless, and does much to combat the view that the Dark Ages produced nothing of academic merit. Everyone who knows the names of scientists like Newton and Copernicus should also know those of al-Khwarizmi, al-Tusi, Hunayn, and ibn al-Haytham. ...more
Noran Azmy
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A short, well-written, objective and incredibly interesting history of Islam and cultural/scientific progress in the Muslim Golden Age. It's not very involved, but I think that's a good thing for beginners like me. I think even the most history-averse will still enjoy this book. ...more
Razi Shaikh
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Not exactly comprehensive or scholarly. If you're looking for a very brief overview, this book may suffice. But that's about it. For a more detailed perspective, the accompanying documentary or perhaps Jim Al-Khalili's book and his Al-Jazeera series would be better. ...more
Karib Karib
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read Indonesian version...
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just a hint of new paradigm (again)
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it
A good book but only skims over the facts ,would have liked it go into more depth.v
Robin Rivers
An excellent examination of the scientific advances made in Islamic culture during the European Dark Ages.
Sehar Moughal
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An eye opener. Whoever thinks that no progress was made during the 'Dark Ages', please read this book. ...more
Jam Tangan
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Must read for even beginner level self described scientist of the Muslim world.
Mills College Library
297.265 M412 2009
Treena Sengupta
Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Very informative and well researched book. Gives you a flavour of; apart from the centuries of rise and spread and development of Islam; also about clear directions and intent of all works and research done by Islamic and other Scientists of those years, also known as Dark ages, for some inexplicable reason.
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