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When Arabic language made the world rich

Education 19 Feb 2021
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arabic language
© Ciaobucarest | Dreamstime.com

In today’s world, it is well known that English is the most spoken language among nations. However, the Arabic language deserves similar attention. The world needs to celebrate it due to its precious history that seems to be, somehow intentionally, neglected in nowadays TV, books, newspapers, and social media. For those who aren’t aware of the Arabic language history, roughly in the Golden age of Muslim Civilization and The European Dark age, Arabic was a universal language that contributed enormously in the field of science, art, poetry, astronomy, literature, and many more. And due to the depth of the language, it was spread across different nations. Such as the Greeks who used to translate the scientific findings originally wrote in Arabic to Greek in order to gain knowledge.

Arabic language and the field of science

To begin with, the following quote summarizes the important contributions of Arabic as a universal language in science. As George Sarton, a historian of science in Harvard University mentioned in his Introduction to the “History of Science”

“From the second half of the eight to the end of the 11th-century the Arabic language was the scientific, progressive language of mankind … When the West was sufficiently mature to feel the need for deeper knowledge, it turned its attention, first of all not to the Greek sources but to the Arabic ones.”

The Arabic sources in the field of science and medicine served as a crucial tool for many nations to understand deeper concepts. Firstly, Jabir Ibn Hayan, a known Arab chemist that served in discovering chemical reactions. These are well used and known by now, such as sublimation, calcination, solution, and crystallization. His experiments and scientific books were translated later into Spanish in Spain.

Its contributions in physics and mathematics

There are many Arabic scholars. But the greatest Al Khwarizmi is on the top of the list. Thanks to his stay in India, Al Khwarizmi was the one behind replacing the roman numerals used at that time with Hindu numerals that are used widely today. Resulting from this marvelous discovery, mathematics, physics, and other fields were highly simplified. It is important to mention that this discovery goes back to 873 CE.

Later, in the Arab edition of Isaac newton, Ibn Al Haitham provided endless knowledge in the field of physics. Specifically in optics and light rays. What was special about him was his usage of the scientific method, which was new at that time but counts as the basis of any field in the meantime.

Using the Arabic language in literature

Arabs were seen as true founders of poetry and masters of it. A long time ago, Arabic was used as the official language of poetry. And poetry counted as a tool used to spread social trends, news, scientific knowledge, and many more. Some of the well-known poets were Al Mutannabi and Al Marri. By digging deeper in the language, Arabic has endless numbers of words compared to English. It has millions and millions of synonyms. If we look at the Quran, the number of words used in English is approximately twice compared to the version written in Arabic. Therefore, the Arabic language was used extensively due to its high precision and clarity when it comes to expression.

The art and beauty expressed through the Arabic language

The world still witnesses amazing works of art by the Islamic civilization. Where the ancient abstract forms are used in architecture in today’s world. Some of these forms were Arabic calligraphy. Or as we know it the artistic lettering, combined with other geometrical patterns. This is to highlight the fact that the Arabic language was so sacred and appreciated at that time, to the extent that it was used frequently in the building’s designs and interior decorations. In the meantime, we witness some of these forms in the west. Such as in Spain where the open yard design with the hypostyle hall is present. Not to mention the famous Taj Mahal that was influenced by Islamic architecture.

What was mentioned above shows the fact that the Arab civilization generally, and the Arabic language precisely, are far deeper and meaningful than the western ones. Way before the European civilization, the Arabic language served in the fields mentioned were slowly but eventually traveling across different parts of the European continent. It is the time where attention should be diverted towards the Arabic civilization as a whole and to be appreciated due to its greatest contributions that we are benefiting from until today.

 

(Written by freelancer Yara Lotfy)