Islamic Contributions and Achievements

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Document 8

The standard for Arabic literature and poetry is the Quran, which influenced Sufi poets. Rumi is one of the great spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mawlawi Sufi order, a leading mystical brotherhood of Islam. If there is any general idea underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute love of God. Rumi had a profound influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam.

In the name of the Merciful and Compassionate God. That is the Book! There is no doubt therein. . . God, there is no God but He! He will surely assemble you on the resurrection day . . . Qu'ran
As salt resolved in the ocean

I was swallowed in God's sea . . .

Jalal al-Din Rumi --- Persian Poems

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. As the Prophet said, 'The faithful are mirrors to one another'.


Sources: Breathing Truth Quotations from Jalaluddin Rumi

Muriel Maufroy, (1997)

The Arabian Nights (Arabic: alf laila walaila (“the thousand and one nights”)) is the most famous literary product of a classical Islamic civilization that was formed through a merging of Arabic culture (especially religion) and “the great imperial traditions of the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian empire of the Sassanians” (Mack 1351).  Ironically, though, the work was not widely accepted as serious literature by the intellectual and literary elite of the Islamic world.  This rejection reflects the Koran’s condemnation of fictional narratives as “lying”; most traditional Arabic narrative was didactic or religious – history, useful knowledge, moral instruction.  Imagination and fantasy were more commonly expressed in poetry, which had a tradition in Arabic life pre-dating Islam and was not constrained by religious concerns.  The Arabian Nights has often been banned by Arab governments, even as recently as 1989 when Egypt issued a ban (Mack 1514).
This excerpt, by Professor Waller Hastings at give some insight into Muslim literature.

Document 9

Between 750 and 1350, the Muslim merchants built a trade network throughout their empire, as this excerpt from The Gates of India by Sir T. H. Holdich (London: MacMillian, 1910) explains.

Masters of the sea, even as of the land, the Arabs spread throughout the geographical area. The whole world was theirs to explore . . .their ships sailed across the seas even as they moved across the land [Sahara Desert into West Africa]. The might of the sword of Islam carved the way for the slave owner and the merchant to follow.

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