The development of agriculture of the Arabs

The Arabs are a nation older than its name by which it is known today; because it is more likely that the sayings are the roots of the Semitic race, from which the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Canaanites, Iraqis, and other Semitic nations that lived between the two rivers and Palestine, and what surrounds Palestine in terms of desert and urban areas, and the Abyssinian nation may relate to it through the ancient lineage, with a mixture of the Semitic and the Hamitic. 

The researchers believe that the ancestors of the Arabs enjoyed an authentic civilization, and inhabited the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, but due to the increase in the population and the exposure of that region to bad climatic changes, the inhabitants of the south were forced to leave their country in the form of successive waves, so some of them headed east to Mesopotamia, and some of them went In the north, there remained tribes in the center of the island that preserved their existence, independence, sanctity, and language.

It is obvious that the Arabs of the center of the peninsula did not care about agriculture and used to obtain the agricultural products they needed through trade and exchange of commodities, just as the palm tree was the most valuable plant for them because it grows in the oases scattered among the sand dunes, giving them the best fruits with the least effort and the least water. 

As for the residents of the outskirts of the island - especially in the Hijaz, Yemen, Iraq and the Levant - they had a great deal of experience in the affairs of agriculture, caring for fruit trees and extracting water, so the parts of Al-Yamamah were still, after Islam, famous for their vast pastures, springs, heavy rains and grassy meadows that were left behind from what It is more fertile than it and has been inhabited by humans and animals in ancient times. 

The German traveler Schoenfert noticed that wheat and barley were found in their perpetual state in Yemen and ancient Arabia before they were domesticated in Egypt and Iraq. 

In the land of Yemen, writings were discovered in the Musnad script, which are considered laws issued by Yemeni governments before Islam, according to which they regulated agricultural relations between farmers who work on land owned by the state and lease it to those who want to invest it from tribes and individuals, it also regulated the rights of watering and benefiting from water.

Muslims take care of agriculture

And on the approach of the Qur’an and the guidance of the messenger, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, the Muslims proceeded, and they left us traces that were the first spark in building the world’s civilization, including what was narrated that Yazid bin Musaylamah was planting in his land, and Omar, may God be pleased with him, said to him: “You are right, dispense with people.” I will protect your religion and honor you over them",  and it was narrated on the authority of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, may God be pleased with him, that he said: “Cultivate on the land with half of it, with a third of it, with a quarter of it  up to a tenth of it, and do not let the land be destroyed''.

It was with the spread of Islam that agreement prevailed among the Arab tribes and some of them began to settle in the vicinity of villages and cities, and the need became urgent for the availability of quantities of foodstuffs in those communities, so the Messenger, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, urged people to farm, and he said: “Seek sustenance in the secrets of the earth”,  as the farmers preached a great reward with God Almighty''.

The Rightly Guided Caliphs’ interest in agriculture

Many of the Companions worked in agriculture, and Medina was famous for its farms and orchards, and the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, allotted vast lands to men from his companions to live in, cultivate and invest in, and among these: Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him, and Umar bin Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, who was given valuable land in Khaybar,

 Among them was Rabia al-Aslami, and Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, gave agricultural land to Talha bin Obaidullah, another land to Uyaynah bin Hisn, and a third land to al-Zubayr bin al-Awam.

Omar expanded the distribution of lands for people to revive, cultivate and invest in, so he gave Saad bin Abi Waqqas, Abdullah bin Masoud, Al-Zubayr bin Al-Awam, Ali bin Abi Talib, Osama bin Zaid - may God be pleased with them - and others. And so did the caliphs after him Uthman and Ali.

And the people used to cultivate their land themselves and their families, or rent it for cultivation and planting, or give it to the farmer in a quarter and a third. Musa bin Talha said: I saw Saad, Ibn Masoud and Jabr bin Atik giving their land in a third and a quarter, and some farms and orchards were loaded twice a year, and he planted types of grain and varieties the fruits known at that time, and he goes with them to the Medina market, and the markets of nearby places.

Agriculture in the Umayyad period

In the Umayyad era, and when the matter was established for the Umayyads, he commanded the governors to survey the agricultural land in order to collect the tax and zakat, and they dug canals, repaired the sewers, and encouraged farmers to revive the barren land.

Ziyad bin Abih was famous for cutting a piece of land for a man and then giving him a period of two years, if he repaired it and invested it, it became his property, otherwise he would take it back from him. 

During the time of the Umayyads, the cultivation of grains, cotton and sugar cane increased, and the planting of fruit trees such as the vine, olive and palm trees increased.

 In the Umayyad era, gardens and orchards also began to be established. Ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi built canals and bridges, established canals, reclaimed wastelands, and increased the agricultural area in the Umayyad state. 

Agriculture in the Abbasid era

And in the Abbasid era, and for the prosperity and prosperity of life, horticultural cultivation appeared to decorate the palaces, and when Al-Mu’tasim built the city of Samarra, he did not miss, as Al-Yaqoubi says, the concern for establishing lush gardens and orchards, and the flowers of the Zindaran region.

The orientalist Rimbaud says:

 In the era of the Abbasids, nothing was more important than the profession of agriculture, the Arabs, with their skill, showed the advantages of the Persian fruits and the flowers of the Zindaran region, and they enriched science - especially the science of plants  with many new issues. 

The Arabs in the Abbasid era became the first to know about agriculture and the best workers, and the agriculture that they took from the methods of Babylon, the Levant, and Egypt became a real science for the Arabs, they took its theories from books, then expanded it with their flows and experiences, and they skillfully applied it. 

And the highest classes do not refrain from working with their hands in cultivating the land, and others despised it and considered it a professional work, Dozi narrated that Ibn al-Khatib did not acquire money other than farming, and he established construction works that the greatest tyrants of time envied.

In the Abbasid era, too, there was interest in experimental scientific farming, they did not rely only on agricultural theories, but rather followed the agricultural scientific process from beginning to end, starting with plowing, preparing the land, caring for the crops, then harvesting, storing, treating pests and diseases, then manufacturing crops, and the Arabs excelled in choosing the land and then developing water because it is the basis of agricultural work.

Arab agriculture in the Maghreb and Andalusia

Andalusia and the Arab Maghreb were lagging behind scientifically and culturally from the east of the Islamic world in the field of agriculture until the beginning of the ninth century AD.

And when Abd al-Rahman al-Nasser assumed the caliphate, he sought to remedy these shortcomings, by sending scientific missions to the Arab East to study in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and to bring books written and translated into Arabic.

Meanwhile, two schools of agricultural science emerged in Andalusia: The First was concerned with the science of drugs and medicinal plants, and among its pioneers were Ibn Jaljal, Ibn Wafid, Ibn Samjoon, Al-Ghafiqi, Ibn Maimoon and Ibn Al-Bitar.

The second school focused on the science of agriculture and botany, and among its pioneers were Ibn Bassal al-Talili, Ibn Hajjaj al-Ishbili, al-Hajj al-Gharnati, Ibn al-Awam, al-Sharif al-Idrisi, and Abu Abbas al-Nabati.


Then an unprecedented renaissance took place in Andalusia in this field, so cities flourished, good deeds abounded, and knowledge spread until there was in Cordoba alone a copying shop that used one hundred and seventy slave girls to transfer literature to students of rare books, and there were four hundred thousand books in the caliph’s palace that were classified in various sciences, all of them.

Then an unprecedented renaissance took place in Andalusia in this field, so cities flourished, good deeds abounded, and knowledge spread until there was in Cordoba alone a copying shop that used one hundred and seventy slave girls to transfer literature to students of rare books, and there were four hundred thousand books in the caliph’s palace that were classified in various sciences, all of them.










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