Contributions of Muslim Scholars to Economic Thought and Analysis
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Highlighting the importance of economic teachings prevailing in Medieval Europe, O’Brien observes; ‘No study of modern European economic thought can be complete or satisfactory unless it is based upon a knowledge of the economic teaching which was accepted in the Medieval Europe’ (O’Brien, 1920, p. 1). We have tried to present well-documented evidence about historical linkages between the Arab-Islamic world and Medieval Europe, through the scholastic scholars. No study of economic teaching of Medieval Europe can be complete without acknowledging the contribution of the Muslim scholars. We have already noted Schumpeter’s statement that Medieval Europe had to start in social sciences ‘from little or nothing’ (Chapter 7, section 7.3). Watt (1972, p. 2) is not hesitant to declare: ‘For our indebtedness to Islam, we Europeans have a blind spot. We sometimes belittle the extent and importance of Islamic influence in our heritage, and sometimes overlook it altogether.’ He reiterates: ‘When about 1100 Europeans became seriously interested in the science and philosophy of their Saracen enemies, these disciplines were at their zenith; and the Europeans had to learn all they could from the Arabs, before they themselves could make further advances’ (Watt, 1972, p. 43). Another scholar admits: ‘What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the methods of experiment, observation, and measurement, of the development of mathematics, in a form unknown to the Greeks.
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