The Muslim community expanded rapidly after the Prophet's death. Within a few decades, the territory under Muslim rule had extended onto three continents--Asia, Africa and Europe. Over the next few centuries this Empire continued to expand and Islam gradually became the chosen faith of the majority of its inhabitants. Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine--Islam calls for faith in only One God worthy of worship. Islam also repeatedly instructs human beings to use their powers of intelligence and observation.
As Muslim civilization developed, it absorbed the heritage of ancient civilizations like Egypt, Persia and Greece, whose learning was preserved in the libraries and with the scholars of its cities. Some Muslim scholars turned their attention to these centers of learning and sought to acquaint themselves with the knowledge taught and cultivated in them. They, therefore, set about with a concerted effort to translate the philosophical and scientific works available to them, not only from the Greek and Syriac languages (the languages of eastern Christian scholars), but also from Pahlavi, the scholarly language of pre-Islamic Persia, and even from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language.