Question: Does modern science benefit from Islamic scholarship hundreds of years ago?
"Absolutely" says Yusuf Estes, former U.S. Muslim Chaplain, "Just think of the major contributions Muslims gave the whole world over the last 1,400 years.."
Muslim Contributions to the West
They let Andalusia and produced a great civilization far ahead and advanced than the rest of Europe.
This caused Andalus to rise in a great many intellectual giants. Islamic Spain produced philosophers, physicians, scientists, judges, artists, and the like. Ibn Rushd, (Averroes) Ibn Sina, (Avicenna) Ibn Zuhr, (Avenzoar), Al-Kwarizmi, (Algorizm) and Al-Razi, (Razes) to name a few, were all Muslims educated in Andalus.
Aquinas attempted to refute Ibn Rushd's ideas because they placed a great deal of emphasis on human reason over faith, a "threat" to Christian beliefs.
Dante himself was familiar with Muslim figures. It is reported by countless historians, including William Phipps, in his book, Muhammad and Jesus: A Comparison of the Prophets and their Teachings, the theme of Divine Comedy was inspired by the "Miraj" or ascension of Muhammad, peace be upon him, into heaven from upon the rock sitting below the Dome of the Rock in Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
In any case, the list of contributions from the Andalusian Muslims is endless.
The Islamic civilization reached its peak in 10th century, and by 1100, the number of Muslims rose to almost 6 million.
There existed in Cordoba alone, 200,000 houses, 600 mosques, 900 public baths, 10,000 lamps, 50 hospitals, and lighted and paved streets.
Muslims introduced public baths because of their need to to wash in preparation for their 5 daily prayers.
Libraries and research institutions grew rapidly in Muslim Spain, meanwhile the rest of Europe remained illiterate and stagnet.
In Muslim Spain, knowledge from Greece and Rome was preserved. Arab scholars produced encyclopedias on medicine and astronomy in 11th century, also including astrology, psychology, zoology, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc. Christian scholars couldn't wait to get them (and translate them).
Toledo, in Spain, thrived essentially because of its Muslim rule and practice. It became the "Cradle of Learning," and the chief point of interaction between the Muslims, Christians and Jews.
From the first time Muslims set foot in Spain in 711 until 1084 (a year before Toledo was taken) Muslim Spain had become an area unique to the entire world.
Muslim artisans mastered remarkable skills and their architecture and design and made beautiful Mosques and palaces.
The Alhambra Palace, and The Great Mosque of Cordoba, are just two of the most famous magnificent architectural masterpieces of the Muslims, still seen today. Of the Alhambra, it is called, "a utopia, the brightest memory of a lost golden age of pleasure, poetry, tolerance, art, and learning."
One Muslim poet wrote: "A sun dwells in this place and even its shadow is blessed. In this palace a multitude of pleasures capture the eye and suspend the intellect. Here a crystal world teaches marvels. Everywhere Beauty is carved, opulence is manifest."
Islamic architecture in Spain is so elaborate and decorative with intricate designs. Stone, and stucco, plaster for coating exterior walls, were widely favored. Later, brick replaced stone. The "Mezquita" or Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra of Granada are two Islamic monuments utilizing this design.
Most Muslims abstained from painting figures of people and animals, the Islamic art and beauty, did not lack anything in style and form.
Muslim scribes in Spain developed calligraphy into art form. Islamic art is known for its repetitious patterns, a constant reminder of the uniqueness of God.
Calligraphical, floral, arabesque, and geometric designs flourished in the Muslim world.
Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever makes images of living creatures in this world (i.e., human, animal) will be charged with putting a soul in it which he will never be able to do."
So, Muslim artists avoided making images of living creatures and concentrated on the oneness of God. Paintings of inanimate objects, trees and flowers were permitted. Islamic ideology teaches that the making of images can lead to idolatry.
Also, praising of one's own work, destroys humility and humbleness, important virtues stressed in Islam. This can lead to neglect of remembering Allah, and neglecting what Allah has given us in the way of talents, ideas, discoveries and wealth.
It can also compete with our love for Allah, who is the sole creator of the Universe and all it's inhabitants.
NOTE: Some might blame the Catholic Church for the Crusades and later the Inquistion, laying waste to most of the beauties and destroying the beautiful structures, well known in Muslim Spain (and killing anyone who would not say, "Three gods"). But the truth is Allah, and ONLY Allah is the ultimate Planner, Designer and Guide. So, everything is from Allah (EVERYTHING). It may be the Muslims were getting arrogant, showing off or fighting among themselves.