The Fate of Islamic Science Between the Eleventh and Sixteenth Centuries: A Critical Study of Scholarship from Ibn Khaldun to the Present

Mohamad Abdalla, Martin Bridgstock, University, My
2018
The aim of this thesis is to comprehensively survey and evaluate scholarship, from Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) to the present, on the fate of Islamic science between the eleventh and sixteenth-centuries, and to outline a more adequate scholarly approach. The thesis also assesses the logic and empirical accuracy of the accepted decline theory, and other alternative views, regarding the fate of Islamic science, and investigates the procedural and social physiological factors that give rise to
more » ... ive rise to inadequacies in the scholarship under question. It also attempts to construct an intellectual model for the fate of Islamic science, one that examines the cultural environment, and the interactions among different cultural dynamics at work. Drawing upon Ibn Khaldun's theory and recent substantial evidence from the history of Islamic science, this thesis also entails justifying the claim that, contrary to common assumptions, different fates awaited Islamic science, in different areas, and at different times. For the period of Ibn Khaldun to the present, this thesis presents the first comprehensive review of both classical and contemporary scholarship, exclusively or partially, devoted to the fate of Islamic science for the period under study. Based on this review, the thesis demonstrates that, although the idea that Islamic science declined after the eleventh century has gained a wide currency, and may have been established as the preferred scholarly paradigm, there is no agreement amongst scholars regarding what actually happened. In fact, the lexicon of scholarship that describes the fate of Islamic science includes such terms as: "decline," "decadence," "stagnation," "fragmentation," "standstill," and that Islamic science "froze," to name just a few. More importantly, the study shows that six centuries ago, the Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun provided a more sophisticated and complex theory regarding what happened to Islamic science, which was not utilised except in the work of two scholars. The thesis tests the adequacy of the dif [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/2281 fatcat:6oollrbwlzavtny3dsakpp4zaq