Every scholar’s dream, Muslim or non-Muslim, was to join Baghdad to be part of al-Ma’mun’s project, especially with the very generous treatment of translators by the Caliph. It was said that if a scholar translated any book from its original language into Arabic, he would be given that book’s weight in gold. Thus, translators and scholars from all faiths and regions flocked to Baghdad.
The translator Hunayn ibn Ishaq, for instance, was Christian; the mathematician Thabit ibn Qurra belonged to the Sabian religion; the Sindhi scientist Sind ibn Ali was born in what is now modern day Pakistan; the mathematician Al-Khwarizmi was from Persia; the Banu Musa brothers were from Persia; and Al-Kindi, who is considered today the father of Arab philosophy was from Iraq. This mosaic of cultures and religions coexisting and living together in the House of Wisdom confirms the idea that creativity never sprouts or blossoms in uniform climates. It is in our diversity that we are stronger. We all bring different skills, ideas and perspectives to the table.
The idea of scholars working together to develop and discuss ideas was very central to Baghdad's success. Working together in collaboration is a central pillar of advancing knowledge. If there was ever a case for Muslims to unite and work together, this would be it!
It is interesting to note that scholars working together to broaden and extend the boundaries of human knowledge became an established concept during the Golden Age of Islam. With such radical open-mindedness where ideas could be nurtured and creativity would be fostered, it is certainly not a coincidence why that era became known as our Golden Age.
A lifelong learner, avid reader and passionate writer, I am the founder of KNOW and a serial entrepreneur.
I am a huge believer in personal development and am also the co-founder of Muslim CEO.