I'm sorry, but when making claims about history the times and places are not "minor" facts. They matter. Good verifiable information can support a person's ideas while errors will not. Dates and places are some of the important facts that are needed to establish what truely happened when and where. They are part of the context that is necessary to understand the larger picture.
Meaning no offense to you, but having a "macro perspective" of history sounds vague. If I were to make some claim about history of an event I would have to give some checkable information for other people to use to find out (if they wanted) that such a situation was True. Just because there was some idea that I liked doesn't mean that it is the truth.
I'm sorry Ebor, but what I meant, was that when it comes to history, I pay more attention to the lessonsthat can be learned and less about specific dates, places, ...etc. I believe our thinking process is different, and we place emphasis on different things. I suggest you read about left-brain vs right-brain thinking.... I know that I'm more of a right-brain thinker, so that's why I said "macro perspective".
I mean no offense to you in this, but you are making assumptions on my thinking and understanding if you are under the impression that I do not find "lessons" in history, but only facts. Sometimes it may be the case that a "lesson" might be drawn that is not, in fact, based on real situations or facts.
A case in point: as a Muslim you esteem the Quran and claimed that "the original" has been preserved in totality but that this is not the case for either the Jewish or Christian scriptures. This seemed to have the meaning, or lesson if you will, that there is something superior to Islam because of this preservation. However, the reality and fact of the manuscript and its history from what I found is that 1) there is only about 1/3 of it left and 2) there is more than one as Uthmar had five copies made and then burned all of the versions that had variations which, it was noted with a reference, were usually minor. So there is no exisiting complete "original copy" of the Quran either.
If I misunderstood the lesson that you were trying to get across I apologize. I am also aware of the left/right brain theories and the human brain has different areas of functioning in the different halves. But was there a particular person's/group's ideas that you are thinking of, please?
I apologize for any unintended offense, but I know more of the subject than you seem to think that I do. And I disagree with your idea as to what brought the Golden Age to an end. In Spain/Al-Andaluz for example there was suppression of the thought and philosophy of other Muslims under the Almohad rulers. I suppose that one might say that that was a change in the "political system" but it wasn't along the lines that you described above. Here is the wiki link on the Almohad reforms though I can find other material on this if desired. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almohad_reforms
Wikipedia can be a good starting place but deeper understanding comes from the sources and cited materials.
Now I'm not denying it wasn't all peaceful in the early years. Muslims were being harmed by hypocritical Muslims all the time... remember the story of Karbala where Hussein (the prophet's grandson) and his community was struggling to find peace because they didn't go along with evil monarchs who wanted to use the religion as a political force. So just like there were problems in Spain, there were problems in the mideast
From your view as a Shia Muslim, those who slaughtered Hussein and his followers (I am familiar with the history of the early years of Islam) were hypocritical and evil. From the Sunni side they were rebelling against the right way and were dealt with albeit with violence. My point is that there is more than one "side" or view of events.
But overall it was a peaceful time (golden age) and science/tech was advancing fast in that region. The reason why, is because the religion educated the general public what human rights are. To free slaves, to not kill female children, to be peaceful with others, to be generous, to not deceive one another in the marketplace...etc. Once freedom and human rights were recognized, then the region started to prosper.
Just to understand, when you refer to a particular "region" you mean the area of Persia/Iran? There was a vast area beyond that which was conquered by forces under the banner of Islam beyond that land and the Arabian Peninsula.
The prosperity ended when evil political changes happened, which restricted freedom in some way... that's when economic changes happened. This is what the devil does.... as the quran says 'he threatens you with poverty'. The devil took over and everything good faded... people let it happen when they didn't take the religion seriously.
Would you please give some more specific information about the times and events that you are thinking of here? What political changes in the Middle East and who wasn't taking the religion seriously? Thank you.
I'm sure you know more about this topic than I do. But when I studied a subject like optics, I rarely find Al Hazen's name in the text..... you see only Newton (who did add a lot of original ideas...someone I admire), but the book should at least have a few sentences on Al Hazen.
Similar thing with Algebra/Trigonometry texts, you always see bios of European scientists like Euler, Gauss, Euclid, ...etc.... but no mention of the Muslim scholars.
Same thing with Robotic textbooks.... no mention of al-Jazari, who is really the father of robotics.
Well, one question is: Is it the function of the book to refer to everyone who may have been historically involved in a subject or is it focused on a narrower field? Why should any book on optics have a few sentences on Al-Hazen? What about references to the ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans who did things with Optics? From my point should I expect that the English Bishop Robert Grosseteste or Roger Bacon be mentioned in optics texts because they did work in that area? If the purpose of a text is to instruct on a particular subject technically, the writer(s) may not think that historical background is necessary.
It could be that there is less documentation of earlier persons in any particular field. Or how available are some people's works in other languages? Were Al-Hazan's and Al-Jazari's writings translated into any European languages and made widely available? That is one thing that the 'net is good for: making obscure or historical sources widely available. Euclid and Hipparchus are much earlier than the the start of Islam and what we know of them and their works is in Greek and Latin. Newton wrote in Latin and English. How available are a person's works in other languages and if copies survive can also contribute to knowing about them.
It should also be noted that the persons you mentioned were drawing in many cases on the earlier work of the Greeks and other cultures. That was one significant action when Muslims spread to the Persian area: some rulers preserved the libraries and documents that were found and these were then translated and drawn upon by others.
I would not give Al-Jazari the title of "father of Robotics" when there were automata of various kinds in many places and times that pre-date him. There are accounts of them from ancient China, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Technology is more of a continuum with people building on what came before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automata
One can try to see history with wide view that encompasses many cultures and times as well as focusing on a particular period and area.