How Islamic Science Led To Develop Oxford University (2)

Published: 28 June 2023

Eid Special


By Shofi Ahmed


One of the key contributions of Muslim science to Salamanca was the transmission of knowledge through the translation movement. Muslim scholars, driven by their insatiable thirst for knowledge, diligently translated and preserved ancient Greek, Roman, and Persian texts. These translations included works on various scientific disciplines, such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and philosophy. The availability of these translated texts opened new horizons for scholars in Salamanca, allowing them to access and study the vast wealth of knowledge accumulated by ancient civilizations.

The incorporation of Arabic language and Islamic sciences into the curriculum of Salamanca also played a pivotal role in its intellectual development. Arabic, the language of scholarship during the Muslim period, became an important medium of instruction. Salamanca embraced the study of Arabic, enabling scholars to delve into Islamic philosophy, theology, and scientific treatises. The teachings of Muslim scholars profoundly influenced the academic discourse in Salamanca, expanding the horizons of knowledge and broadening the intellectual perspectives of its students and faculty.


Moreover, the spirit of intellectual curiosity and open exchange fostered during the Muslim period had a lasting impact on the development of Salamanca and its subsequent influence on Oxford University. Scholars from different cultural and religious backgrounds converged in Salamanca, engaging in rigorous intellectual debates and exchanging ideas. This vibrant atmosphere of intellectual discourse and cross-cultural dialogue nurtured a culture of innovation, critical thinking, and intellectual openness, which would later shape the academic ethos of Oxford.


When the University of Oxford was founded in the 12th century, it inherited and embraced the inclusive approach to knowledge that was characteristic of the Muslim period. Oxford became a beacon of intellectual exploration, transcending disciplinary boundaries and incorporating various fields of study. The early curriculum at Oxford drew inspiration from the Islamic scientific tradition, with a strong emphasis on mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy.

The translation movement, initiated by Muslim scholars, played a crucial role in Oxford’s development. The translated texts on Islamic sciences and the works of ancient Greek philosophers became foundational sources of knowledge for Oxford scholars. The availability of these translated works enriched the intellectual landscape of Oxford, enabling scholars to engage with a wide range of ideas and perspectives.


Furthermore, the intellectual connections between Muslim scholars and European scholars, facilitated by the exchange of knowledge and ideas, had a profound impact on the development of both Salamanca and Oxford. Scholars from Oxford travelled to Salamanca and other centres of learning, interacting with Muslim scholars and bringing back knowledge that influenced the academic discourse at Oxford. This intellectual exchange bridged cultural divides, promoted understanding, and contributed to the growth of knowledge in both institutions.


In conclusion, Muslim science played a crucial role in the development of Salamanca and its subsequent influence on the intellectual landscape of Oxford University. The transmission of knowledge through translations, the incorporation of Arabic language and Islamic sciences into the curriculum, and the spirit of intellectual curiosity and open exchange all shaped the trajectory of these institutions. The contributions of Muslim scholars during the Muslim period left an indelible mark on the development of both Salamanca and Oxford, establishing them as renowned cantres of knowledge and fostering a tradition of intellectual exploration and inclusivity that endures to this day.

Shofi Ahmed studied Literature at Oxford University