The book in Islamic civilization

the book in the Islamic civilization

For the early Muslims, the book was not just a means of obtaining information or increasing culture, information, knowledge and learn about different sciences, In addition to that, it is a tool for refining the personality and making it have independent aspects of thinking Orientation, understanding and 
dialogue with others. 

  Libraries and Bookmaking

Perhaps for this reason, Arab and Islamic civilization has been described as having knowledge as its primary foundation, meaning that it is a civilization founded on values. 

Thought, science, consideration, and the application of reason and awareness from the moment of its first inception, as it is the first revelation that came down Word: (Read). 

 The establishment of libraries and the development of skilled calligraphers and bookbinders fostered a vibrant book culture. 

Civilization of books, science and knowledge

When the Swiss/German orientalist Adam Motzeb, a professor of oriental languages, confronted him, the intensity of the Muslims’ warmth caught his attention with writers, scholars, and thought, he said:

 There was a library in every major mosque, because it was the custom of scholars to place their books in mosques, and it is said that a bookcase in Merv - one of the cities of Turkmenistan - contained books, Yazdgerd, (the famous Persian emperor), because he carried them to it and left them there. 

...The kings took pride in collecting books even in the late fourth century, each of the three great Islamic kings in Egypt, Cordoba and Baghdad had a strong passion for books, so Al-Hakam bin Hisham, d. 206 AH / 822,. M., the ruler of Andalusia, sent his men to all the countries of the East to buy books for him when they first appear, and it was a catalog oh his library consisted of forty-four notebooks, each with twenty pages, and contained only the names of the books. 

As for Egypt, Caliph Al-Aziz d. 386 AH/996 AD had a large bookcase, and it was carried to him, a man bought a copy of Al-Tabari's history for a hundred dinars, so Al-Aziz ordered the librarian, and they brought out more than twenty a copy of Al-Tabari's history, including a copy in his handwriting!

 He mentioned the book Al-Jumhara by Ibn Duraid, so he took out a hundred copies of it from the closet. 

Some historians wanted to estimate the number of items contained in this treasury, so Al-Maqrizi says:

 It was it contained one thousand and six hundred thousand books, and it is reported on the authority of Ibn Abi Wasil that it had some more than one hundred and twenty thousand volumes, and Ibn al-Tuwayr said: 

The bookcase contained a number of books Shelves, and the shelves are divided by barriers, and on each barrier is a door locked with hinges... and it contains a wide variety of books, more than two hundred thousand books. 

At this time, when Muslims' passion for the book reached its peak, Europe was asleep deep, not caring about science, knowledge, or culture, even the little that it had at that time - it was through the Arab and Islamic universities in Andalusia. 

So the period that coincided with the fourth century AH and a little after that - the cathedral library in the city Ekenstanzb (a city located in the extreme south of Germany with the Swiss border) in the ninth century AD, it contained only eight hundred and fifty-six books, and they were not in the bookcase of the cathedral in the year 1130 AD, except for only ninety-six books, while the library of the Benedictine monastery (in Germany) in the year 1032 AD contained more than Just over a hundred books. 

The dead in the fields of books and science

It is rare in the history of the civilizations of nations and peoples that we know to find dead people who fell in the courtyards of libraries, and the fields of writing and science, as is the case in our civilization, as history narrates that Al-Jahiz, who was not a book would fall into his hand and he would not finish reading it, he would even rent paper shops and spend the night there to look at them. 

He died in love with books and libraries! it was narrated that he died because volumes fell on him, and it was his habit to place them like a wall surrounding him while he was he was sitting cross-legged among them, and he was sick and suffering from paralysis, so suddenly it fell on him and killed him, he is the one who described in the book in detail, no one preceded him and no one followed him. 

Perhaps what we see today among some developed nations is a passion for reading and studying in parks and public squares Even in train cars, airplanes, buses, etc., it is a relic of the Arab-Islamic civilization During the era of prosperity, Muslims were fond of reading, loved books, and carried them with them, as it is said about Al-Fath bin Khaqan, who was one of the most senior men in the Caliphate, used to attend to sit with Al-Mutawakkil, and if Al-Mutawakkil wanted to stand up for some reason, Al-Fath took out a book from his sleeve and read it in Al-Mutawakkil’s gathering until he returned to him.

 In the year 275 AH / 888 AD, Suleiman bin Al-Ash’ath Al-Sijistani, the hadith scholar known as Abu Dawud, died, he had 2 sleeves. a wide sleeve and a narrow one, he was told about that, and he said that the wide one is for books and the other one I don’t need. 

Borrowing books and their conditions in Islamic civilization

   From the interest in the book and the care for it, several systems emerged in the Arab Islamic civilization on book services, such as copying, borrowing, preparing indexes, classification...etc. 

For the book borrowing  system is a system concerned with how books are transferred from public libraries to those working in science and education, or to those who are passionate about knowledge and education. 

This matter was a matter of disagreement among the majority of the nation’s jurists and scholars, some of them have argued that it is obligatory to lend books to those in need, in implementation of many gracious Qur’anic verses and noble Prophetic hadiths. 

Which indicates that the issue of lending books has raised some jurisprudential controversy or intellectual debates, which is what...

 We find it clear in the educational, jurisprudential, and other works of many of the forefathers.

The Muslim educator Abdul Basit Al-Almawi (d. 981 AH/1573 AD) collected some of these opinions in his book Al-Mu'id in the literature on the beneficial  and the  and the beneficiaries he said: It is desirable to  lend books to those who will not be harmed by them and those who will not Harm from it, some people dislike lending them, and the first is the most correct and chosen because of its assistance to knowledge along with what is in general, Loan is of credit and reward.


It was narrated on the authority of Waki’: 

The first blessing of the hadith is lending a book, on the authority of Sufyan al-Thawri: Whoever is stingy with knowledge is afflicted with one of three things: that he forgets it, or he dies and does not benefit from it. , or his books go, a man said to Abu Al-Atahiyah: Lend me your book. He said: I hate that, so he said: Did you not know that the noble Connected to the hardship? so he loaned it.

Then Al-Almawi mentioned some etiquette that must be observed by both parties, especially from the borrower, and he said: Or if he borrowed a book, so he should not delay it without need, and if the owner asks for it, it is forbidden to keep it in custody, it was stated in condemn the delay in returning borrowed books from the predecessors, many things in verse and prose, including on the authority of Al-Zuhri: Beware of fraud. Books, which he keeps from their owners. Because of their imprisonment, no one refused to lend them.

As for contemporary Muslim scholars, they investigated the matter, and were not satisfied with what the predecessors had explained; Rather, they set controls and conditions for it, and one of them is Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in his book The Messenger and Knowledge who considers it obligatory lending books to students if they need them, but this obligation, as he said, is restricted by these conditions the mission. 

    • The person requesting the book must be in real need of it and no one else can do without it.
      • There are no public libraries that enable him to borrow books from them externally or internally
      • He cannot buy the book, because it is not available in the market, or because he is unable to buy it. 

        • He must not be a person known for negligence and for losing or damaging books.

          • The author of the book does not need it, because his need takes precedence over the need of others.

            The succinct statement in this context is that it can be said that this interest in the issue of book lending reflects another aspect It is one of the aspects of scientific honor in Arab and Islamic thinking, and it also reflects the great interest that this civilization has given to science thought, methods of obtaining it, and methods of circulating it.  

            A general passion for books

            One of the advantages of the Arab-Islamic civilization is that it did not restrict the love of books to the hearts of scholars alone, but it succeeded in seeding this love and spreading it to everyone, from all classes and levels, until it became a love of the book General description:

             The state's largest power was entrusted to a coal seller, as many historians and orientalists in the West have acknowledged with the authenticity of Islamic civilization and its distinction in dealing with the book as an instrument of knowledge and a path to knowledge and advancement.  

            The late German orientalist and researcher Sigrid Hunke says: The Arabs have become increasingly willing to acquire books, much like the passion people nowadays have for cars, refrigerators, and televisions. 

            Just as the wealth of people today is measured by the amount of luxury cars they own, for example, the value of the people - that is, the Arabs Muslims in that era, extending from the ninth century until the thirteenth century, were wealthy in terms of what they acquired from books or manuscripts, the role of books grew everywhere, and anyone could people can borrow whatever books they want, and sit in the reading rooms to read whatever they want, just like the translators used to do Authors gather in halls designated for them, arguing and discussing as happens today in the most prestigious scientific clubs.   

            The love of Arabs and Muslims for books in the days of civilizational glory reached an extent that is barely understood today, even for the most advanced and progress nations, most attached to methods of knowledge and education, this is a fixed matter, and it is a characteristic approved by all students of history, regardless of their religions, trends, and beliefs.  

            It is also noted that the state’s interest in the history of Arab-Islamic civilization in thought, science, and enlightenment was embodied particularly in interest in the library, it can even be said that the activity of the manuscript copying department during some eras Islamic - it was like the printing press many centuries before Gutenberg invented printing.

            There is no doubt that all of this clearly reflects the scientific and cognitive quality as the main foundation and solid foundation of this civilization.
























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