The stage of translation and collection of cultures

When the authority of the Muslims expanded and their state was strengthened, they emptied themselves to spread the Islamic sciences and took up the causes of civilization with abundant luck, they longed to see the previous sciences and relied on the interpretation of the hadith (talks) of the Prophet, which says that the misguided wisdom of the believer takes it from whoever hears and does not care from which container it came out Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim, male and female, seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, and seek knowledge even in China, although they did not apply for it all at once, rather they sought it gradually.

The state of the science among the Arabs before Islam

And the oldest among the Arabs who worked with these sciences was Al-Nadhr Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Kaldah Al-Thaqafi, and he was the son of his maternal uncle of the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, and he had gone to Persia and elsewhere. 

Al-Harith, a well-known physician in the era of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, met with scholars, lived with rabbis and monks, and obtained great things from ancient sciences, he learned about philosophy and wisdom, and learned from his father the medical profession.

The first attempt of Arab translation 

However, consideration was limited to reading from those sciences, and nothing of it was transferred to Arabic, the first person to work in translating it was Khalid bin Yazid al-Umayyad, who died in the year 85 AH, the grandson of Muawiya, the eldest, and he was greedy for succession after the death of his brother Muawiya the Second, and Marwan Ibn al-Hakam prevailed over that, the house of Abu Sufyan to the house of Marwan, and when Khalid despaired of the caliphate, his mind turned to gaining glory through knowledge.

The chemistry industry was in vogue at that time in the Alexandrian school, using a group of them, a Roman monk named Marianus, who asked him to teach him the chemistry industry, and when he learned it, he ordered it to be translated into Arabic, so a man named Mustafan al-Qadim transmitted it to him, and this is the first transfer in Islam from one language to another.

Translation in the era of the Abbasids

The Arabs transmitted medicine from the natural sciences during the days of Caliph Al-Mansur, and the reason for that was that Al-Mansur stricken him at the end of his days in the year 148 AH with a stomach ailment.


And the healers at his service were treating him, and their treatment was of no use, so he gathered them one day and told them.  

Do you know him among the doctors in other cities as a skilled doctor? they said, “There is no one in our time at this time who resembles Gergerius, the chief physician of Gundishapur, the most famous medical school in those days'',  Al-Mansur sent a request for him in a hurry so he accompanied two of his students and rode to Baghdad. 

When he arrived, Al-Mansur brought him to him, so he entered and bid farewell to him in Persian and Arabic, so he sat him in front of him and asked him some questions, and answered them calmly.         prevented him from returning to his countr

Gergerius was a lover of writing, and he knew Greek, Syriac, Persian, and Arabic. When he saw that Al-Mansur trusted him, he transmitted medical books to him from the Greek.

Al-Mansur was the first to take great care in translating ancient books, but he limited them to astrology, geometry, and medicine.

In the era of al-Rasheed, ideas had matured and minds had increased interest in the sciences of the ancients, as doctors and scholars from the Syriacs, Persians and Indians were trickling into Baghdad, and they were people of civilization and knowledge, and they used to learn Arabic and associate with Muslims.

And at that time, they were non-Muslims who tended to be lovers of philosophy and logic, and on the other hand, they used to serve the caliphs.

And they sit with them and live with them as if they were some of their family, and this led to the caliphs coalescing in mentioning philosophy and science, and they became that if they conquered a country and found books in it, they did not order them to be burned or destroyed, but rather they were ordered to carry them to their capital and keep them in order to transmit them to their languages.

as Al-Rashid agreed during his war in Ankara, Amoria and other countries of the Romans, because there he found  many books that he carried to Baghdad, and he ordered his doctor, John Ibn Ma Sawa, to translate them, but they are not from philosophy at all, but rather from Greek medicine.

In the days of Al-Rashid, Euclid's book on geometry was first translated by al-Hajjaj Ibn Matar, and it was re-translated into Arabic again during the reign of al-Ma'mun.

Al-Mamoon the son of  Harun Al-Rasheed was one of the glories of the Abbasid state in knowledge, virtue, politics, and nobility, his father taught him, so he mastered his education, and raised him, so he raised him well, and raised him at the hands of the great scholars and imams of the era, so he grew up a polite scholar, loving research and looking into the books of the early ones, eloquent in tongue, quick wits, strong argument, fond of controversy.

After assuming the caliphate, he directed his attention to knowledge and held councils to debate it, he honored the scholars and the highest of their councils. 

There was strife and fighting between the Muslims and the people of Cyprus during the era of al-Rashid, and when the caliphate returned to al-Ma’mun, he made peace with its king and courted him to send him the treasury of Greek books that were in his house.


Then al-Ma'mun made peace with the emperor  of the Romans to bring out the ancient books from them, and sent an envoy from the trustworthy Muslims to copy what the king of the Romans guaranteed to bring out from the books.

So Al-Mamoon collected for a great treasury above what was carried to him from the east and the west, and he called it the House of Wisdom. 

His zeal was devoted to transferring books of philosophy, science, and industries from the Greek, Persian, Syriac, and Indian languages into Arabic, and he attributed that to one of his best deeds, desiring for the sake of his nation.

Al-Mamoon exerted his efforts in using translators to transfer these books and others, and he used to spend generously for this purpose, until he gave the weight of what he translated for in gold. 

And he was most careful about transmission, putting his mark on every book he translated for him, and he was inciting people to read those books and forcing them to learn them.

Many of the people of his state and a group of people of prestige and wealth in Baghdad followed the example of al-Ma’mun, so translators from Iraq, the Levant and Persia fought for it, and the Romans translated from the Greek.














Post a Comment