Scholarship and Learning

Highly Valued in Islamic Culture

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Acceptance of the Arabic language

The acceptance of the Arabic language helped promote learning. Beginning in the 8th , Arabic became the language of scholarship and science throughout Islamic lands. A shared language and love of learning allowed scholars in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to exchange ideas and build on one another’s work.A shared language and love of learning allowed scholars in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to exchange ideas and build on one another’s work.

Schools, Collage, and Libraries

Muslim rulers built schools, colleges, libraries, and other centers of learning. One city that was the center of learning was the city of Baghdad. Baghdad grew into one of the world’s largest cities. It became a major center of learning, where Persian influences combined with the Arabic heritage of Islam. Scholars from many lands gathered there to do research and to translate texts from Greece, Persia, India, and China.Scholars and ordinary people could visit its library to read books. In Spain, the Muslim capital, Cordoba, became a large and wealthy city. Jews, Christians, and Muslims worked and studied there together. That city’s huge library held as many as 400,000 volumes. Buyers traveled far and wide to purchase books for its shelves.

How did Muslim philosophers follow the example of Greek scholars?

Among the texts studied were the works of ancient Greek thinkers, such as the philosophers Plato (PLAY–toh) and Aristotle. Following the example of the Greeks, Muslim philosophers used reason and logic to try to prove important truths.

Like thinkers in Europe, thinkers in the Islamic world sometimes wondered how to make reason and logical proof agree with their faith. Al–Kindi, a 9th–century Arab philosopher, tried to resolve this issue. Humans, he said, had two sources of knowledge: reason and revelation by God. People could use reason to better understand the teachings of faith. Some truths, however, could be known only through God’s word. For example, no one could prove that there would be a resurrection, or rising from the dead, on the day of judgment.