SRSP 11-16 Topic 3 Unit 1c – The Golden age of Islam


This module examines what is termed the Golden Age of Islam and its contribution to scientific ideas. It also attempts to show how the religion of Islam could lend itself to support scientific thinking. This module offers a clear example of how the religious and scientific worldviews of many Muslims were in harmony during the ‘Golden Age.’ The periods we cover in this module are the 9th and the 10th – 13th centuries.

The rise of Islam is one of the most important events in world history. In the 7th century, Mohammed’s intention was to unite the divided Arabs through a new religion. A century after his death, he’d succeeded in producing a medieval superpower. The Arabs and Moors had spread through Spain towards the Pyrenees. Cordoba became renowned as one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in Europe. Moorish cities such as Toledo and Seville were famed for their new culture and universities. This empire flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries and was a single vast unifying power.

This unit consists of 3 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 13 to 16 years.


Key Questions

  • What scientific developments characterised this period ?
  • What contributions did the ‘Golden Age’ make to scientific development?
  • Does this period teach us anything about how religion and science can be mutually supportive?
  • Are religion and science generally supportive or generally in conflict?

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Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Muslim attitudes to science (Word)

Student Resource Sheet: A quotation from the Qur’an (PDF)

Student Worksheet 1: Some passages from the Qur’an (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: Investigating some chemical reactions (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: What do Muslim scientists think? (Word)


An interview with Khalil Chamcham

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Student Resource Sheet 1: A brief history of the golden age of Islam (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2a: An interview with Khalil Chamcham (less able) (PDF)

Student Resource Sheet 2b: An interview with Khalil Chamcham (more able) (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 3: What does the Qur’an suggest about knowledge and Science? (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Causes and consequences (Word)

Student Worksheet 2:The Muslim declaration on Nature [Assisi 1986] (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Why did the Golden Age decline? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: What happened to Islamic science after the ‘Golden Age?’ (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Does the religion of Islam encourage science? (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)