First Translation Activities in Islamic Science History and their Contribution to Knowledge Production

Baris M. N.

CUMHURIYET ILAHIYAT DERGISI-CUMHURIYET THEOLOGY JOURNAL, vol.21, no.3, pp.1873-1904, 2017 (ESCI) identifier identifier


With economic relations and conquests, Muslims have spread to a very wide geographical area. Consequently, they have encountered many different cultures. Muslims have had great interest and curiosity towards new cultures especially those of Byzantine (Helen / Greek), Iran and partly of the Indian cultures. Especially, the conquest of cities such as Alexandria, Harran and Jundishapur and the scientific tradition in these cities had great influence on Muslims. After these conquests, Muslims not only studied Islamic sciences but also began the activities of translation into Arabic to get familiar with ancient tradition of thought and culture. These first translation activities, which are extremely important in terms of Islamic civilization and the history of science, have been studied extensively to date. However, it is observed that during the studies performed, the only information mentioned were usually the names of the translated works, the domains of study they were written for and the names of interpreters. This study aims to shed light on the first translation activities in the History of Islamic Science, as well as the fields in which these translations were done, the knowledge and the accumulation of Muslims in these fields before translation activities and the contribution of translation activities in development or change in these fields by providing examples from Muslim scientists in different centuries, whose works are also known in the West. The golden era of Muslims in science and technology between the 8th and 11th centuries and some important scientific activities carried out within this period are analyzed in three periods; "acquisition of the information", "systematization of the information" and "production of original information".