In a letter to the editor at the TLS, Steven Weinberg, of the Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin, disputed the assertion of one F. Jamil Ragep, of the McGill Institute for Islamic Studies, who had disagreed with his earlier statement that after the death of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali in 1111, there was no more science worth mentioning in Islamic countries.
He then goes on and declares:-
In support, Ragep mentioned the development of trigonometry, but this was primarily the work of al-Battani (858–918) and al-Biruni (973–1048), long before al-Ghazali. He also mentioned the conception of a moving earth, and referred to mathematical and conceptual tools that were essential to the Copernican revolution. But Copernicus credited the idea of a moving earth to Pythagoras and (in a passage he subsequently deleted) to Aristarchus of Samos. The Muslim astronomer on whom Copernicus chiefly relied was alBattani, who died 200 years before al-Ghazali.
There were talented Muslim scientists after al-Ghazali, but their work found no place in Islamic society. For instance, Ragep mentioned the discovery of the pulmonary circulation of the blood. I presume that he was referring to Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1288). Al-Nafis did propose the pulmonary circulation of the blood, but his theory had no effect in the Islamic world, perhaps because for religious reasons he did not demonstrate its truth by the dissection of animals. Ragep also pointed to “the first large-scale astronomical observatories”. There were great observatories in the Islamic world, used largely for predicting prayer times and the Muslim lunar months. In 1577, Taqi al-Din built an observatory in Istanbul comparable to Tycho Brahe’s famous observatory in Denmark. But on the instigation of the Chief Mufti, al-Din’s observatory was destroyed by a squad of janissaries, and had no impact on astronomy, while Brahe’s observatory provided the data that made possible the work of Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton. It is too strong to say that there was no science at all in the Islamic world after al-Ghazali, but such science as there was led to nothing important.
Certainly the great period of Islamic science came to an end around the twelfth century. Nor has it been revived. A 2002 survey by Nature identified just three areas of science in which Islamic countries excel: desalination, falconry and camel reproduction.