Recap previous study about the Golden Age of Islam, including some of the key figures of this period and their areas of work.
Ask students to suggest some reasons why this successful period of scientific development might have come to an end. Make a list on the board together of some possible reasons – war, for example, or lack of funds, or something to do with the Islamic faith itself……
Read Student Resource Sheet 1: What happened to Islamic science after the Golden Age? Ask the class in groups or pairs to think about these questions:
How might some of the new scientific ideas of the Golden Age been used for practical purposes?
What religious objections might there have been to some of the ‘scientific’ work being done during the Golden Age?
Who were the ‘mutazilites’ and how did their views affect thinking during the Golden Age?
What might some Muslims have been suspicious of during the period of the Golden Age? What, more than anything else, did they find a threat to their faith?
Speculate on these questions:
What might have happened in Europe if the Islamic empire had encouraged scientific thinking after the 13th century? Bear in mind what scientific discoveries were about to take place.
Do you think Christian Europe and the Islamic empire would have worked together on scientific activities?
Hand out to the class Student Resource Sheet 2: Does Islam encourage science? As a class, work through the five summary points A to E, discussing and checking for understanding as you go. Ask students to consider the impact of each one upon the relationship between Islam and faith and then number them in order of importance.
Ask students to write a bullet-pointed answer to the following question, after a class discussion has aired a good selection of ideas which they might include.
In what ways did the Muslim Empire provide the best soil for the growth of scientific discovery during the so-called Golden Age?
Science and Religion in Schools – 3c: The Golden Age of Islam