- Muslim Agricultural Revolution
Islamic Golden Agefrom the 8th centuryto the 13th centurywitnessed a fundamental transformation in agricultureknown as the Arab Agricultural Revolution, Medieval Green Revolution, [A. M. Watson (1981), "A Medieval Green Revolution: New Crops and Farming Techniques in the Early Islamic World", in "The Islamic Middle East, 700-1900: Studies in Economic and Social History"] or Muslim Agricultural Revolution.Zohor Idrisi (2005), [http://www.muslimheritage.com/uploads/AgricultureRevolution2.pdf The Muslim Agricultural Revolution and its influence on Europe] , FSTC] The global economyestablished by Araband other Muslimtraders across the Old World, enabled the diffusionof many crops and farmingtechniques among different parts of the Islamic world, as well as the adaptation of crops and techniques from and to regions beyond the Islamic world. Crops from Africasuch as sorghum, crops from Chinasuch as citrus fruits, and numerous crops from Indiasuch as mangos, rice, and especially cottonand sugar cane, were distributed throughout Islamic lands, which previously had not grown these crops. Some writers have referred to the diffusion of numerous crops during this period as the Globalizationof crops. [ [http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=229 The Globalisation of Crops] , FSTC] These introductions, along with an increased mechanizationof agriculture (see Industrial growth below), led to major changes in economy, population distribution, vegetationcover, [Andrew M. Watson (1983), "Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World", Cambridge University Press, ISBN 052124711X.] agricultural production and income, populationlevels, urban growth, the distribution of the labour force, linked industries, cooking, diet and clothingin the Islamic world.Andrew M. Watson (1974), "The Arab Agricultural Revolution and Its Diffusion, 700–1100", "The Journal of Economic History" 34 (1), pp. 8–35.]
Age of discovery
The earliest forms of
globalizationbegan emerging during the Islamic Empireand the Islamic Golden Age, when the knowledge, tradeand economies from many previously isolated regions and civilizations began integrating due to contacts with Muslim explorers, sailors, scholars, traders, and travelers. Some have called this period the "Pax Islamica" or "Afro-Asiatic age of discovery", in reference to the Muslim Southwest Asian and North African traders and explorers who travelled most of the Old World, and established an early global economyacross most of Asiaand Africaand much of Europe, with their trade networks extending from the Atlantic Oceanand Mediterranean Seain the west to the Indian Oceanand China Seain the east.Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), p. 79-96.] This helped establish the Islamic Empire(including the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasidand Fatimid caliphates) as the world's leading extensive economic power throughout the 7th-13th centuries.John M. Hobson (2004), "The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation", p. 29-30, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521547245.] Several contemporary medieval Arabic reports also suggest that Muslim explorers from al-Andalusand the Maghrebmay have travelled in expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean, possibly even to the Americas, between the 9th and 14th centuries. [S. A. H. Ahsani (July 1984). "Muslims in Latin America: a survey", "Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs" 5 (2), p. 454-463.]
cash cropping and the modern crop rotationsystem where land was cropped four or more times in a two-year period. Winter crops were followed by summer ones, and in some cases there was in between. In areas where plants of shorter growing season were used, such as spinachand eggplants, the land could be cropped three or more times a year. In parts of Yemen, wheat yielded two harvests a year on the same land, as did ricein Iraq. Muslims developed a scientific approach based on three major elements; sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigationtechniques, and the introduction of a large variety of cropswhich were studied and catalogued according to the season, type of landand amount of waterthey require. Numerous encyclopaedias on farmingand botanywere produced, with highly accurate precisionand details.Al-Hassani, Woodcock and Saoud (2007), "Muslim heritage in Our World", FSTC publishing, 2nd Edition, pp. 102–23.] The earliest cookbooks on Arab cuisinewere also written, such as the " Kitab al-Tabikh" ("The Book of Dishes") of Ibn Sayyiir al-Warraq (10th century) and the "Kitab al-Tabikh" of Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi(1226). [David Waines (1987), "Cereals, Bread and Society: An Essay on the Staff of Life in Medieval Iraq", "Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient" 30 (3), pp. 255–85 [276, 278, 282] .]
Advanced agricultural systems
As early as the 9th century, an essentially modern agricultural system became central to economic life and organization in the Arab caliphates, replacing the largely export driven Roman model. The great cities of the Near East, North Africa and Moorish Spain were supported by elaborate agricultural systems which included extensive irrigation based on knowledge of
hydraulicand hydrostaticprinciples, some of which were continued from Roman times. In later centuries, Persian Muslims began to function as a conduit, transmitting cultural elements, including advanced agricultural techniques, into Turkic lands and western India. The Muslims introduced what was to become an agricultural revolution based on four key areas:
* Development of a sophisticated system of
irrigationusing machines such as norias, water mills, water raising machines, dams and reservoirs. With such technology they managed to greatly expand the exploitable land area.
* The adoption of a scientific approach to farming enabled them to improve farming techniques derived from the collection and collation of relevant information throughout the whole of the known world. Farming manuals were produced in every corner of the Muslim world detailing where, when and how to plant and grow various crops. Advanced scientific techniques allowed leaders like
Ibn al-Baitarto introduce new crops and breeds and strains of livestock into areas where they were previously unknown.
* Incentives based on a new approach to
land ownershipand labourers' rights, combining the recognition of private ownership and the rewarding of cultivators with a harvest share commensurate with their efforts. Their counterparts in Europe struggled under a feudal system in which they were almost slaves ( serfs) with little hope of improving their lot by hard work.
* The introduction of new crops transforming private farming into a new global industry exported everywhere, including Europe, where farming was mostly restricted to wheat strains obtained much earlier via central Asia. Spain received what she in turn transmitted to the rest of Europe; many agricultural and fruit-growing processes, together with many new plants, fruit and vegetables. These new crops included sugar cane, rice, citrus fruit, apricots, cotton, artichokes, aubergines, and saffron. Others, previously known, were further developed. Muslims also brought to that country lemons, oranges, cotton, almonds, figs and sub-tropical crops such as bananas and sugar cane. Several were later exported from Spanish coastal areas to the Spanish colonies in the New World. Also transmitted via Muslim influence, a silk industry flourished, flax was cultivated and linen exported, and
espartograss, which grew wild in the more arid parts, was collected and turned into various articles.
Economic and social reforms
Caliphateunderstood that real incentives were needed to increase productivityand wealth, thus enhancing tax revenues, hence they introduced a social transformation through the changed ownershipof land, where any individual of any gender[Maya Shatzmiller, p. 263.] or any ethnicor religiousbackground had the right to buy, sell, mortgageand inheritland for farmingor any other purposes. They also introduced the signing of a contractfor every major financial transactionconcerning agriculture, industry, commerce, and employment. Copies of the contract was usually kept by both parties involved.
The two types of
economic systems that prompted agricultural development in the Islamic world were either politically-driven, by the conscious decisions of the central authority to develop under-exploited lands; or market-driven, involving the spread of advice, education, and free seeds, and the introduction of high value cropsor animals to areas where they were previously unknown. These led to increased subsistence, a high level of economic securitythat ensured wealthfor all citizens, and a higher quality of lifedue to the introduction of artichokes, spinach, aubergines, carrots, sugar cane, and various exotic plants; vegetables being available all year round without the need to dry them for winter; citrusand oliveplantations becoming a common sight, market gardens and orchards springing up in every Muslim city; intense cropping and the technique of intensive irrigationagriculture with land fertilityreplacement; a major increase in animal husbandry; higher quality of wooland other clothingmaterials; and the introduction of selective breedingof animals from different parts of the Old Worldresulting in improved horsestocks and the best load-carrying camels.
During the Muslim Agricultural Revolution,
sugarproduction was refined and transformed into a large-scale industryby the Arabs. The Arabs and Berbersdiffused sugar throughout the Arab Empirefrom the 8th century.
Many other agricultural innovations were introduced by Muslim farmers and engineers, such as new forms of
land tenure, improvements in irrigation, a variety of sophisticated irrigation methods, [Elias H. Tuma (1987), "Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World: The Diffusion of Crops and Farming Techniques, 700–1100" by Andrew M. Watson", "The Journal of Economic History" 47 (2), pp. 543–4.] the introduction of fertilizers and widespread artificial irrigation systems, the development of gravity-flow irrigation systems from rivers and springs, the first uses of noriaand chain pumps for irrigation purposes, the establishment of the sugar caneindustry in the Mediterraneanand experimentation in sugarcultivation, [J. H. Galloway (1977), "The Mediterranean Sugar Industry", "Geographical Review" 67 (2), pp. 177–94.] numerous advances in industrial milling and water-raising machines (see Industrial growth below), and many other improvements and innovations.
During the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, Muslim scientists laid the foundations of
agricultural science, which included significant advances in the fields of agronomy, astronomy, botany, earth science, environmental philosophy, and environmental science. In particular, the experimental scientific methodwas introduced into the field in the 13th century by the Andalusian-Arab botanist Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, the teacher of Ibn al-Baitar. Al-Nabati introduced empiricaltechniques in the testing, description and identification of numerous materia medica, and he separated unverified reports from those supported by actual tests and observations. [Citation
title=The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West
Cambridge University Press
The earliest known work dedicated to the study of agriculture was
Ibn Wahshiyya's "Nabatean Agriculture", which also dealt with the related field of botany and was also an early cookbook. The early Arab lexicographs were the first known works to separate the two disciplines of agriculture and botany, though both were considered part of the medical sciences due to agriculture's primary role being to feed and botany's primary role being to heal. The agricultural sciences were known by the Arabic term "filaha", which had a dual-meaning, to both care for the Earth and to take care of plants. Many of the early Islamic authors on botany were often philologists, due to their role in the translation of ancient scientific texts. [citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=813, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52] This was also the case with early Arabic zoology, like with al-Jahizfor example. Al-Asma'iwas the earliest known Arab biologist, botanist and zoologist; his works include the "Book of Distinction", "Book of the Wild Animals", "Book of the Horse", and "Book of the Sheep".
Muslim agriculturists demonstrated advanced agronomic, agrotechnical and
economicknowledge in areas such as meteorology, climatology, hydrology, soiloccupation, and the economyand managementof agricultural enterprises. They also demonstrated agricultural knowledge in areas such as pedology, agricultural ecology, irrigation, preparation of soil, planting, spreading of manure, killing herbs, sowing, cutting trees, grafting, pruning vine, prophylaxis, phytotherapy, the care and improvement of microbiological cultures and plants, and the harvestand storage of crops. [Toufic Fahd (1996), "Botany and agriculture", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., " Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 3, pp. 813–52  . Routledge, London and New York.] Ibn Wahshiyya's "Nabatean Agriculture" was an early Arabic work on agronomy and agriculture. The following eight chapters of the book are dedicated to waterin the context of agriculture: [citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=841, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52]
#Research of water and related technical knowledge
wells and increasing their flow using proven artifices and techniques
Artifices used to increase water in a well
#Making water rise up a very deep well
Augmenting the quantity of water in wells and sources
#Modifying and improving the taste of water
#"On the difference in nature and action of the water according to its position" close of far away "with regard to the
The "Nabatean Agriculture" then goes on to discuss a number of other complex issues on agriculture, including the management of an agricultural
enterpriseand the duties of the owner regarding his enterprise and workers; the official("wakil") in charge of the management of the enterprise, his obligation towards the farmers, and applying the instructions he receives from his boss; the weather forecastingof atmospheric changes and signs from the planetary astral alterations; signs of rain based on observation of the lunar phases, nature of thunder and lightning, direction of sunrise, behaviour of certain plants and animals, and weather forecasts based on the movement of winds; the recognition of plant tissue cultures which succeed in certain years; a list of work to be done in each month of year; the position of the moon relative to the Earth; the required knowledge of a farmer and the owner of an agricultural enterprise; pollenized airand winds; and formation of winds and vapours. [citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=842, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52]
Other agricultural topics discussed in the "Nabatean Agriculture" include the causes of the corruption of plants and of torrential rain; the nature of
soils and their different flavours; the manure; how to get rid of bad herbs and how to cut plants which need to be cut; and a number of other agricultural topics. [citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=842, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52]
In 12th century
al-Andalus, Ibn al-'Awwamal-Ishbili wrote the "Kitab al-Filaha" which synthesized his own agricultural knowledge with that of the "Nabatean Agriculture" and his other Arabic predecessors. This work also described 585 microbiological cultures, 55 of which concern fruit trees. This work was influential in Europe after it was translated into Spanish by Banqueri in Madridin 1801 and into French by Clement-Mullet in Parisin 1864. [citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=848-9, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52]
Astronomy and meteorology
Another innovation during this period was the application of astronomy to agriculture and botany. As
weather forecastingpredictions and the measurement of timeand the onset of seasons became more precise and reliable, farmers became informed of these advances and often employed them in agriculture. They also benefited from the compilation of calendars with information on when to plant each type of crop, when to graft trees, when and how to fertilizecrops, when to harvest, and what to eat and what to avoid at each time of year. These advances made it possible for farmers to plan the growth of each of their crops for specific markets and at specific times of the year.
al-Dinawari's "Book of Plants" deals with the applications of astronomy and meteorologyto agriculture. It describes the astronomical and meteorological character of the sky, the planets and constellations, the sunand moon, the lunar phases indicating seasons and rain, the "anwa" (heavenly bodies of rain), and atmospheric phenomena such as winds, thunder, lightning, snow, floods, valleys, rivers, lakes, wells and other sources of water.
Muslims developed a scientific approach to
botanyand agriculture based on three major elements; sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigationtechniques, and the introduction of a large variety of cropswhich were studied and catalogued according to the season, type of landand amount of waterthey require. Numerous encyclopaedias on botanywere produced, with highly accurate precisionand details.
The 9th century botanist
al-Dinawariis considered the founder of Arabic botany. He wrote a botanical encyclopedia entitled "Kitab al-Nabat" ("Book of Plants"), which consisted of six volumes. Only the third and fifth volumes have survived, though the sixth volume has partly been reconstructed based on citations from later works. In the surviving portions of his works, 637 plants are described from the letters "sin" to "ya". He also discusses plant evolutionfrom its birth to its death, describing the phases of plant growthand the production of flowers and fruit.citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=815, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52]
In the early 13th century,
Ibn al-Baitarpublished the "Kitab al-Jami fi al-Adwiya al-Mufrada", which is considered one of the greatest botanical compilations and pharmaceutical encyclopedias, and was a botanical authority for centuries. It contains details on at least 1,400 different plants, foods, and drugs, 300 of which were his own original discoveries. The "Kitab al-Jami fi al-Adwiya al-Mufrada" was also influential in Europeafter it was translated into Latinin 1758,Russell McNeil, [http://www.mala.bc.ca/~mcneil/baitart.htm Ibn al-Baitar] , Malaspina University-College.] where it was being used up until the early 19th century.Diane Boulanger (2002), "The Islamic Contribution to Science, Mathematics and Technology", "OISE Papers", in "STSE Education", Vol. 3.]
Muslim scientists made a number of contributions to the
Earth sciences. Alkindusintroduced experimentation into the Earth sciences.Plinio Prioreschi, "Al-Kindi, A Precursor Of The Scientific Revolution", "Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine", 2002 (2): 17-19.]
al-Dinawari's "Book of Plants" deals with the Earth sciences in the context of agriculture. He considers the Earth, stone and sands, and describes different types of ground, indicating which types are more convenient for plants and the qualities and properties of good ground. Biruniis considered the father of geodesyfor his important contributions to the field,Akbar S. Ahmed (1984). "Al-Beruni: The First Anthropologist", "RAIN" 60, p. 9-10.] [H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", "Cooperation South Journal" 1.] along with his significant contributions to geographyand geology.
Among his writings on geology, Biruni wrote the following on the
geology of India:
John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson write in the "
MacTutor History of Mathematics archive":
geology, Avicennahypothesized on two causes of mountains in " The Book of Healing". In cartography, the Piri Reis mapdrawn by the Ottoman cartographer Piri Reisin 1513, was one of the earliest world maps to include the Americas, and perhaps the first to include Antarctica. His map of the world was considered the most accurate in the 16th century.
Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of
natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haramand himaand early urban planningwere expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacityand to preserve the natural environmentas an obligation of khalifaor "stewardship". [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.] Muhammadis considered a pioneer of environmentalismfor his teachings on environmental preservation. His hadiths on agricultureand environmental philosophywere compiled in the "Book of Agriculture" of the " Sahih Bukhari", which included the following saying: [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129 [119-129] , Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.]
Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the
Qur'an, such as the following: [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129 [111-119] , Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.]
The earliest known treatises dealing with
environmentalismand environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic medical treatises written by al-Kindi, Qusta ibn Luqa, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid wastemishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities. [L. Gari (2002), "Arabic Treatises on Environmental Pollution up to the End of the Thirteenth Century", "Environment and History" 8 (4), pp. 475-488.] Cordoba, al-Andalusalso had the first waste containers and waste disposalfacilities for littercollection. [S. P. Scott (1904), "History of the Moorish Empire in Europe", 3 vols, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.
F. B. Artz (1980), "The Mind of the Middle Ages", Third edition revised,
University of Chicago Press, pp 148-50.
cf.[http://www.1001inventions.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.viewSection&intSectionID=441 References] , 1001 Inventions)]
:"Further information: and
zoologyfield of biology, Muslim biologists developed theories on evolutionand natural selectionwhich were widely taught in medieval Islamic schools. John William Draper, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, considered the "Mohammedan theory of evolution" to be developed "much farther than we are disposed to do, extending them even to inorganic or mineralthings." According to al-Khazini, ideas on evolution were widespread among "common people" in the Islamic world by the 12th century. [ John William Draper(1878). "History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science", p. 154-155, 237. ISBN 1603030964.]
The first Muslim biologist to develop a theory on evolution was
al-Jahiz(781-869). He wrote on the effects of the environment on the likelihood of an animal to survive, and he first described the struggle for existence and an early form of natural selection. [Conway Zirkle (1941). Natural Selection before the "Origin of Species", "Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society" 84 (1), p. 71-123.] [Mehmet Bayrakdar (Third Quarter, 1983). "Al-Jahiz And the Rise of Biological Evolutionism", "The Islamic Quarterly". London.] Al-Jahiz was also the first to discuss food chains, [Frank N. Egerton, "A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 6: Arabic Language Science - Origins and Zoological", "Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America", April 2002: 142-146  ] and was also an early adherent of environmental determinism, arguing that the environment can determine the physical characteristics of the inhabitants of a certain community and that the origins of different human skin colors is the result of the environment. [Lawrence I. Conrad (1982), "Taun and Waba: Conceptions of Plague and Pestilence in Early Islam", "Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient" 25 (3), pp. 268-307  .] Ibn al-Haythamwrote a book in which he argued for evolutionism(although not natural selection), and numerous other Islamic scholars and scientists, such as Ibn Miskawayh, the Brethren of Purity, al-Khazini, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Nasir al-Din Tusi, and Ibn Khaldun, discussed and developed these ideas. Translated into Latin, these works began to appear in the West after the Renaissanceand appear to have had an impact on Western science. Ibn Miskawayh's "al-Fawz al-Asghar" and the Brethren of Purity's " Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity" ("The Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa") expressed evolutionary ideas on how species evolved from matter, into vapor, and then water, then minerals, then plants, then animals, then apes, and then humans. These works were known in Europe and likely had an influence on Darwinism. Muhammad Hamidullahand Afzal Iqbal (1993), "The Emergence of Islam: Lectures on the Development of Islamic World-view, Intellectual Tradition and Polity", p. 143-144. Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad.]
Capitalist market economy
Capitalismdeveloped much earlier in Islamic regions than in the Occident. Subhi Y. Labib argues the reason for this was the growing trade economy of the Muslim world, and security from Barbarian invasions. The first market economyand earliest forms of merchant capitalismtook root between the 8th–12th centuries in the Caliphate, which are referred to as "Islamic capitalism". [Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), pp. 79–96 [81, 83, 85, 90, 93, 96] .] A vigorous monetary economywas created on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency(the dinar) and the integration of monetaryareas that were previously independent. Innovative new businesstechniques and forms of business organisationwere introduced by economists, merchants and traders during this time. Such innovations included the earliest trading companies, big businesses, contracts, bills of exchange, long-distance international trade, the first forms of partnership("mufawada") such as limited partnerships ("mudaraba"), and the earliest forms of credit, debt, profit, loss, capital ("al-mal"), capital accumulation("nama al-mal"), circulating capital, capital expenditure, revenue, cheques, promissory notes, [Robert Sabatino Lopez, Irving Woodworth Raymond, Olivia Remie Constable (2001), "Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World: Illustrative Documents", Columbia University Press, ISBN 0231123574.] trustsand charitable trusts (see " Waqf"), startup companies, [Timur Kuran (2005), "The Absence of the Corporation in Islamic Law: Origins and Persistence", "American Journal of Comparative Law" 53, pp. 785–834 [798–9] .] savings accounts, transactional accounts, pawning, loaning, exchange rates, bankers, money changers, ledgers, deposits, assignments, the double-entry bookkeeping system, [Subhi Y. Labib (1969), "Capitalism in Medieval Islam", "The Journal of Economic History" 29 (1), pp. 79–96 [92–3] .] and lawsuits. [Ray Spier (2002), "The history of the peer-review process", "Trends in Biotechnology" 20 (8), p. 357-358  .] Organizational enterprises similar to corporations independent from the statealso existed in the medieval Islamic world, while the agency and avalinstitutions (see " Hawala") was also introduced. [Said Amir Arjomand (1999), "The Law, Agency, and Policy in Medieval Islamic Society: Development of the Institutions of Learning from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century", "Comparative Studies in Society and History" 41, pp. 263–93. Cambridge University Press.] [Samir Amin (1978), "The Arab Nation: Some Conclusions and Problems", "MERIP Reports" 68, pp. 3–14 [8, 13] .] Many of these early capitalist concepts were adopted and further advanced in medieval Europefrom the 13th century onwards.Jairus Banaji (2007), "Islam, the Mediterranean and the rise of capitalism", "Journal Historical Materialism" 15 (1), pp. 47–74, Brill Publishers.]
The systems of
contractrelied upon by merchants was very effective. Merchants would buy and sell on commission, with money loaned to them by wealthy investors, or a joint investmentof several merchants, who were often Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Recently, a collection of documents was found in an Egyptian synagogueshedding a very detailed and human light on the life of medieval Middle Eastern merchants. Business partnerships would be made for many commercial ventures, and bonds of kinshipenabled trade networks to form over huge distances.
cropswere diffused throughout the Islamic world and beyond as a result of the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, some of which include artichokes, bananas, coconut palms, colocasia, cotton, eggplants, hard wheat, lemons, limes, mangos, plantains, rice, sorghum, sour oranges, spinach, sugar cane, and watermelons, [Andrew M. Watson (1974), "The Arab Agricultural Revolution and Its Diffusion, 700–1100", "The Journal of Economic History" 34 (1), pp. 8–35  .] among hundreds of other crops.
Muslim engineers in the Islamic world were responsible for numerous innovative industrial uses of
hydropower, early industrial uses of tidal power, wind power, and fossil fuels such as petroleum, and the earliest large factorycomplexes ("tiraz" in Arabic). [Maya Shatzmiller, p. 36.] The industrial uses of watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled and vertical-wheeled water mills were both in widespread use since at least the 9th century. A variety of industrial mills were first invented in the Islamic world, including fullingmills, gristmills, hullers, paper mills, sawmills, shipmills, stamp mills, steel mills, sugar mills, tide mills, and windmills. By the 11th century, every province throughout the Islamic world had these industrial mills in operation, from al-Andalusand North Africato the Middle Eastand Central Asia.Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1), pp. 1–30  .] Muslim engineers also invented crankshafts and water turbines, first employed gears in mills and water-raising machines, and pioneered the use of dams as a source of water power, used to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. Such advances made it possible for many industrial tasks that were previously driven by manual labourin ancient timesto be mechanized and driven by machinery instead in the medieval Islamic world. The transfer of these technologies to medieval Europe later laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolutionin 18th century Europe.
Many industries were generated due to the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, including the earliest industries for
agribusiness, astronomical instruments, ceramics, chemicals, distillationtechnologies, clocks, glass, mechanical hydropowered and wind powered machinery, matting, mosaics, pulp and paper, perfumery, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, rope-making, shipping, shipbuilding, silk, sugar, textiles, water, weapons, and the miningof minerals such as sulfur, ammonia, leadand iron. The first large factorycomplexes ("tiraz") were built for many of these industries. Knowledge of these industries were later transmitted to medieval Europe, especially during the Latin translations of the 12th century, as well as before and after. For example, the first glass factories in Europe were founded in the 11th century by Egyptian craftsmen in Greece. [ Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%207.htm Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part 1: Avenues Of Technology Transfer] ] The agriculturaland handicraftindustries also experienced high levels of growth during this period.
chemical industryand petroleum industrywere established in the 8th century, when the mineral acids (such as sulfuric acid) were first produced through dry distillation, and when the streets of Baghdadwere paved with tar, derived from petroleumthrough destructive distillation. In the 9th century, oil fields were exploited in the area around modern Baku, Azerbaijan, to produce naphtha. These fields were described by Masudiin the 10th century, and by Marco Poloin the 13th century, who described the output of those oil wells as hundreds of shiploads. [K. Ajram (1992). "Miracle of Islamic Science", Appendix B. Knowledge House Publishers. ISBN 0911119434.] Petroleum was distilled by al-Raziin the 9th century, producing chemicals such as kerosenein the alembic, which he used to invent kerosene lamps for use in the oil lampindustry. [Zayn Bilkadi ( University of California, Berkeley), "The Oil Weapons", " Saudi Aramco World", January–February 1995, pp. 20–7.]
An early industrial use of
steam powerdates back to the perfumery industry established by Muslim chemists such as Geber, al-Razi, and Avicenna, who pioneered and perfected the extraction of fragrances and essential oils through steam distillation, introduced new raw ingredients, and developed cheap methods for the mass productionof perfumery and incenses. Both the raw ingredients and distillationtechnology significantly influenced Western perfumery. Muslim traders had wide access to a variety of different spices, herbs, and other fragrance materials. In addition to trading them, many of these exotic materials were cultivated by the Muslims such that they could be successfully grown outside of their native climates. Two examples of this include jasmine, which is native to South Asiaand Southeast Asia, and various citrus fruits native to East Asia. Both of these ingredients are still highly important in modern perfumery.
The first industrial complex for
glassand potteryproduction was built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, in the 8th century. Extensive experimentation was carried out at the complex, which was two kilometres in length, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass were developed there. [citation|first1=J.|last1=Henderson|first2=S. D.|last2=McLoughlin|first3=D. S.|last3=McPhail|year=2004|title=Radical changes in Islamic glass technology: evidence for conservatism and experimentation with new glass recipes from early and middle Islamic Raqqa, Syria|journal=Archaeometry|volume=46|issue=3|pages=439–68]
Muslim engineers pioneered two solutions to achieve the maximum output from a
water mill. The first solution was to mount them to piers of bridges to take advantage of the increased flow. The second solution was the shipmill, a unique type of water millpowered by water wheels mounted on the sides of ships moored in midstream. This was first employed along the Tigrisand Euphratesrivers in 10th century Iraq, where large shipmills made of teakand ironcould produce 10 tons of flour from corn every day for the granaryin Baghdad. Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", "Scientific American", May 1991, pp. 64–9. ( cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [http://home.swipnet.se/islam/articles/HistoryofSciences.htm Mechanical Engineering] )] Industrial water mills were also employed in the first large factorycomplexes built in al-Andalusbetween the 11th and 13th centuries. Fulling mills, paper mills, steel mills, and other mills, spread from Islamic Spain to Christian Spain by the 12th century. [Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1), pp. 1–30  .] Windmills were first built in Sistan, Afghanistan, from the 7th century. These were vertical axlewindmills, which had long vertical driveshafts with rectangle shaped blades. [ Ahmad Y Hassan, Donald Routledge Hill(1986). "Islamic Technology: An illustrated history", p. 54. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42239-6.] The first windmill was built by the Rashidun caliph Umar(634–44). [Dietrich Lohrmann (1995). "Von der östlichen zur westlichen Windmühle", "Archiv für Kulturgeschichte" 77 (1), pp. 1–30 (8).] Made of six to twelve sails covered in reed matting or clothmaterial, these windmills were used to grind cornand draw up water, and were used in the gristmilling and sugarcane industries. Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", "Scientific American", May 1991, pp. 64–9. ( cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [http://home.swipnet.se/islam/articles/HistoryofSciences.htm Mechanical Engineering] )]
paperwas introduced into the Islamic world by Chinese prisoners following the Battle of Talas, Muslims made significant improvements to papermakingand built the first paper mills in Baghdad, Iraq, as early as 794. Papermaking was transformed from an art into a major industry as a result. [ [http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=329 The Beginning of the Paper Industry] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.] This allowed the manufacturingof paper in the Islamic world to be performed using water power rather than manual labour. The first fullingmills were later invented in the 10th century, followed by the first stamp mills and steel mills in the 11th century. [Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1), pp. 1–30 [10–1] .]
gristmills were invented by Muslim engineers in the Islamic world, and were used for grinding cornand other seeds to produce meals, and many other industrial uses such as fullingcloth, husking rice, papermaking, pulping sugarcane, and crushing metalic ores before extraction. Gristmills in the Islamic world were often made from both watermills and windmills. In order to adapt water wheels for gristmilling purposes, cams were used for raising and releasing trip hammers to fall on a material. The first water turbine, which had water wheels with curved blades onto which waterflow was directed axially, was also first invented in the Islamic world, and was described in a 9th century Arabic text for use in a watermill.
labor forcein the Caliphatewere employedfrom diverse ethnicand religiousbackgrounds, while both men and women were involved in diverse occupations and economicactivities. [Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 6–7.] Women were employed in a wide range of commercial activities and diverse occupations in the primary sector (as farmers for example), secondary sector (as construction workers, dyers, spinners, etc.) and tertiary sector (as investors, doctors, nurses, presidents of guilds, brokers, peddlers, lenders, scholars, etc.). [Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 350–62.] Muslim women also held a monopolyover certain branches of the textile industry, the largest and most specialized and market-oriented industry at the time, in occupations such as spinning, dying, and embroidery. In comparison, female property rightsand wage labourwere relatively uncommon in Europeuntil the Industrial Revolutionin the 18th and 19th centuries. [Maya Shatzmiller (1997), "Women and Wage Labour in the Medieval Islamic West: Legal Issues in an Economic Context", "Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient" 40 (2), pp. 174–206 [175–7] .]
division of labourwas diverse and had been evolving over the centuries. During the 8th–11th centuries, there were on average 63 unique occupations in the primary sector of economic activity( extractive), 697 unique occupations in the secondary sector( manufacturing), and 736 unique occupations in the tertiary sector(service). By the 12th century, the number of unique occupations in the primary sector and secondary sector decreased to 35 and 679 respectively, while the number of unique occupations in the tertiary sector increased to 1,175. These changes in the division of labour reflect the increased mechanizationand use of machinery to replace manual labourand the increased standard of livingand quality of lifeof most citizens in the Caliphate. [Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 169–70.]
An economic transition occurred during this period, due to the diversity of the service sector being far greater than any other previous or contemporary society, and the high degree of
economic integrationbetween the labour force and the economy. Islamic society also experienced a change in attitude towards manual labour. In previous civilizations such as ancient Greeceand in contemporary civilizations such as early medievalEurope, intellectuals saw manual labour in a negative light and looked down on them with contempt. This resulted in technological stagnation as they did not see the need for machinery to replace manual labour. In the Islamic world, however, manual labour was seen in a far more positive light, as intellectuals such as the Brethren of Puritylikened them to a participant in the act of creation, while Ibn Khaldunalluded to the benefits of manual labour to the progress of society.Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 400–1.]
Noriaand chain pump(saqiya) machines became more widespread during the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, when Muslim engineers made a number of improvements to the device.Thomas F. Glick (1977), "Noria Pots in Spain", "Technology and Culture" 18 (4), pp. 644–50.] These include the first uses of noria and chain pumps for irrigationpurposes, and the invention of the flywheelmechanism, used to smooth out the delivery of power from a driving device to a driven machine, which was first invented by Ibn Bassal (fl. 1038–75) of al-Andalus, who pioneered the use of the flywheel in the saqiya and noria. [ Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%204.htm Flywheel Effect for a "Saqiya"] .]
al-Jazariinvented a variety of machines for raising water, which were the most efficient in his time, as well as water wheels with cams on their axleused to operate automata. He invented the crankshaftand connecting rod, and employed them in a crank-connecting rod system for two of these water-raising machines. His invention of the crankshaft is considered the most important single mechanical invention after the wheel, as it transforms continuous rotary motion into a linear reciprocating motion, and is central to modern machinery such as the steam engineand the internal combustion engine. [ Ahmad Y Hassan. [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%203.htm The Crank-Connecting Rod System in a Continuously Rotating Machine] .] Al-Jazari's most sophisticated water-raising machine featured the first suctionpipes and suction pump, the first use of the double-action principle, the first Reciprocating suction piston pump, the earliest valveoperations, and the use of a water wheel and a system of gears. This invention is important to the development of modern machinery, including the steam engine, modern reciprocating pumps, [ Ahmad Y Hassan. [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%202.htm The Origin of the Suction Pump - Al-Jazari 1206 A.D.] ] internal combustion engine, [ Donald Routledge Hill(1998). "Studies in Medieval Islamic Technology" II, pp. 231–2.] artificial heart, [ [http://store.aetv.com/html/product/index.jhtml?id=101300 Ancient Discoveries: Machines of the East DVD] , The History Channel.] bicycle, bicycle pump, etc. [" What the Ancients Did for Us", Episode 1, "The Islamic World", BBC& Open University.]
In 1551, after the decline of the golden age, the
Egyptian engineer Taqi al-Dindescribed an early practical steam turbineas a for rotating a spit. A similar device appeared later in Europe a century later. [ Ahmad Y Hassan(1976). "Taqi al-Din and Arabic Mechanical Engineering", pp. 34–5. Instiute for the History of Arabic Science, University of Aleppo.]
A significant number of inventions and technological advances were made in the Muslim world, as well as adopting and improving technologies centuries before they were used in the West. For example,
papermakingwas adopted from China many centuries before it was known in the West. [Huff (2003), p. 74] Iron was a vital industry in Muslim lands and was given importance in the Qur'an. [cite quran|57|25|style=ref] [Hobson (2004), p. 130] The knowledge of gunpowderwas also transmitted from China to Islamic countries, where Muslim chemists were the first to purify saltpeterto the weapons-gradepurity for use in gunpowder, as potassium nitratemust be purified to be used effectively. This purification process was first described by Ibn Bakhtawayh in his "Al-Muqaddimat" in the early 11th century. [ Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%202.htm Potassium Nitrate in Arabic and Latin Sources] ] [ Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%203.htm Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries] ] Gunpowder weapons were employed by Muslim armies against Christianarmies during the Crusadesand Byzantine-Ottoman wars. [Phillips (1992), p. 76] Knowledge of chemical processes ( alchemyand chemistry) and distillation( alcohol, keroseneand other chemical substances) also spread to Europe from the Muslim world. Numerous contributions were made in laboratory practices such as "refined techniques of distillation, the preparation of medicines, and the production of salts." [Levere (2001), p. 6] Advances were made in irrigationand farming, using technology such as the windmill. Crops such as almonds and citrusfruit were brought to Europe through al-Andalus, and sugarcultivation was gradually adopted by the Europeans. [Mintz (1986), pp. 23–9] Fielding H. Garrisonwrote in the "History of Medicine":
A significant number of other inventions were also produced by medieval Muslim scientists and engineers, including inventors such as
Abbas Ibn Firnas, Taqi al-Din, and especially al-Jazari, who is considered the "father of robotics" and "father of modern day engineering". [ [http://www.mtestudios.com/news_100_years.htm 1000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered at Ibn Battuta Mall] , MTE Studios.]
Some of the other inventions and advances during the Muslim Agricultural Revolution include the
camera obscura, coffee, hang glider, flight controls, soap bar, shampoo, pure distillation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation, filtration, distilled alcohol, uric acid, nitric acid, alembic, crankshaft, valve, reciprocating suction piston pump, mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, programmable humanoid robot, combination lock, quilting, pointed arch, scalpel, bone saw, forceps, surgical catgut, windmill, inoculation, smallpox vaccine, fountain pen, cryptanalysis, frequency analysis, three-course meal, stained glassand quartz glass, Persian carpet, modern cheque, celestial globe, explosive rockets and incendiary devices, torpedo, and artificial pleasure gardens.Paul Vallely, [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20060311/ai_n16147544 How Islamic Inventors Changed the World] , " The Independent", 11 March 2006.]
There was a significant increase in
urbanizationduring this period, due to numerous scientific advances in fields such as agriculture, hygiene, sanitation, astronomy, medicine and engineering. This also resulted in a rising middle classpopulation. [Avner Greif (1989), "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders", "The Journal of Economic History" 49 (4), pp. 857–82 [862, 874] .]
As urbanization increased, Muslim cities grew unregulated, resulting in narrow winding city
streets and neighborhoods separated by different ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations. These qualities proved efficient for transporting goods to and from major commercial centers while preserving the privacy valued by Islamic family life. Suburbs lay just outside the walled city, from wealthy residential communities, to working class semi-slums. City garbage dumps were located far from the city, as were clearly defined cemeteries which were often homes for criminals. A place of prayer was found just near one of the main gates, for religious festivals and public executions. Similarly, Military Training grounds were found near a main gate.
While varying in appearance due to climate and prior local traditions, Islamic cities were almost always dominated by a
merchantmiddle class. Some peoples' loyalty towards their neighborhood was very strong, reflecting ethnicity and religion, while a sense of citizenship was at times uncommon (but not in every case). The extended family provided the foundation for social programs, business deals, and negotiations with authorities. Part of this economic and social unit were often the tenants of a wealthy landlord.
State power normally focused on Dar al Imara, the governor's office in the
citadel. These fortresses towered high above the city built on thousands of years of human settlement. The primary function of the city governor was to provide for defence and to maintain legal order. This system would be responsible for a mixture of autocracy and autonomy within the city. Each neighborhood, and many of the large tenement blocks, elected a representative to deal with urban authorities. These neighborhoods were also expected to organize their young men into a militia providing for protection of their own neighborhoods, and as aid to the professional armies defending the city as a whole.
The head of the family was given the position of authority in his household, although a
qadi, or judge was able to negotiate and resolve differences in issues of disagreements within families and between them. The two senior representatives of municipal authority were the qadi and the muhtasib, who held the responsibilities of many issues, including quality of water, maintenance of city streets, containing outbreaks of disease, supervising the markets, and a prompt burial of the dead.
Another aspect of Islamic urban life was
waqf, a religious charity directly dealing with the qadiand religious leaders. Through donations, the waqf owned many of the public baths and factories, using the revenue to fund education, and to provide irrigationfor orchards outside the city. Following expansion, this system was introduced into Eastern Europeby Ottoman Turks.
While religious foundations of all faiths were tax exempt in the Muslim world, civilians paid their taxes to the urban authorities, soldiers to the superior officer, and landowners to the state treasury. Taxes were also levied on an unmarried man until he was wed. Instead of
zakat, the mandatory charity required of Muslims, non-Muslims were required to pay the jizya, a discriminatory religious tax, imposed on Christians and Jews. During the Muslim Conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries conquered populations were given the three choices of either converting to Islam, paying the jizya, or dying by the sword.
Animals brought to the city for slaughter were restricted to areas outside the city, as were any other industries seen as unclean. The more valuable a good was, the closer its market was to the center of town. Because of this, booksellers and goldsmiths clustered around the main mosque at the heart of the city.
dams, acequiaand qanat water supplysystems, and "Tribunal of Waters" irrigationsystems, were built during the Islamic Golden Age and are still in use today in the Islamic world and in formerly Islamic regions of Europe such as Sicilyand the Iberian Peninsula, particularly in the Andalusia, Aragonand Valencia provinces of Spain. The Arabic systems of irrigation and water distribution were later adopted in the Canary Islandsand Americasdue to the Spanish and are still used in places like Texas, Mexico, Peru, and Chile. Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%2071.htm Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part II: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering] ]
Muslim cities also had advanced
domestic water systems with sewers, public baths, drinking fountains, piped drinking watersupplies, [Fiona MacDonald (2006), "The Plague and Medicine in the Middle Ages", pp. 42–3, Gareth Stevens, ISBN 0836859073.] and widespread private and public toiletand bathingfacilities. [Tor Eigeland, "The Tiles of Iberia", " Saudi Aramco World", March-April 1992, pp. 24–31.] By the 10th century, Cordoba had 700 mosques, 60,000 palaces, and 70 libraries, the largest of which had 600,000 books, while as many as 60,000 treatises, poems, polemics and compilations were published each year in al-Andalus. [Dato' Dzulkifli Abd Razak, [http://www.prn2.usm.my/mainsite/bulletin/article/29dar05.html Quest for knowledge] , "New Sunday Times", 3 July 2005.] The library of Cairohad more than 100,000 books, while the library of Tripoli is said to have had as many as three million books. The number of important and original Arabic works on science that have survived is much larger than the combined total of Greek and Latinworks on science. [N. M. Swerdlow (1993). "Montucla's Legacy: The History of the Exact Sciences", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 54 (2), pp. 299–328  .]
Islamic cities also had an early public
health careservice. "The extraordinary provision of public bath-houses, complex sanitarysystems of drainage(more extensive even than the famous Roman infrastructures), fresh water supplies, and the large and sophisticated urban hospitals, all contributed to the general health of the population." [citation|title=Medieval Islamic Medicine|first1=Emilie|last-2=Savage-Smith|first2=Peter E.|last2=Pormann|publisher= Edinburgh University Press|year=2007|isbn=1589011600 |url=http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?TaxonomyTypeID=111&TaxonomySubTypeID=139&TaxonomyThirdLevelID=-1&ArticleID=676 |accessdate=2008-01-29]
Donald Routledge Hill, "Islamic Science And Engineering", Edinburgh University Press (1993), ISBN 0-7486-0455-3
Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science
George Sarton, "The Incubation of Western Culture in the Middle East", A George C. Keiser Foundation Lecture, March 29, 1950, Washington DC, 1951
*Maya Shatzmiller (1994), "Labour in the Medieval Islamic World",
Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004098968
*Watson, Andrew. "Agricultural innovation in the early Islamic world".
Cambridge University Press.
Inventions in the Muslim world
Timeline of science and technology in the Islamic world
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