Background to the discussion: Early in its historical development, Islam, like Christianity, was very successful in attracting multitudes of followers and extending its influence politically and culturally over vast geographical areas. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, when for some centuries learning and urban life languished in western Europe, the Islamic world took a leading role in the preservation of the Classical heritage of Greece and Rome, as well as making notable advances in science, technology, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy, and reaching a high level of creative achievement in the visual arts, architecture, literature and music.
Discussion requirements: select one specific example from the creative and intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. For those interested in mathematics, science, or medicine, I recommend you explore these topics on the PBS website: “Islam Empire of Faith” (link available in online resources). Others may wish to select an example from Islamic art, architecture, literature, music, or religion. Post a discussion thread of 150-300 words, identifying and describing your choice in detail. Why did you select this particular work and how does it reflect Islam’s cultural legacy and values?
Supplemental Online Resources
- Afif Taian Oud Player from YouTube (video of actual playing)
- Oud Music from YouTube (video of background music)
- Islam: Empire of Faith
- After you go to this PBS website, begin by clicking on “Profiles” and read the biography of Islam’s founder, the prophet Muhammad. Then return to the main menu, click on “Faith” and read about Islam’s religious beliefs under the headings “God,” “Five Pillars,” “Koran and Tradition,” and “People of the Book.” Return to the main menu and click on “Culture” and “Innovation” to explore Islam’s rich legacy in art, architecture, literature, science, mathematics, and medicine.