Gleanings from the Islamic Contribution in Agriculture

The Islamic tradition of agriculture, whether in the form of the outstanding progress in agriculture production or as a large corpus of farming manuals written in Arabic, is nowadays a subject of interest for historians of science and of economic and social history. The following article, translated from Arabic, by Dr. Jaser Abu Safieh describes some salient aspects of this tradition and shows how it intertwined with Islamic culture and the various forms of Islamic learning. Focusing on its achievements as a revolution in production of agricultural products, the article shows also the various aspects of the interest in plants taken in Islamic history: the linguistic aspect, the use of herbs and plants products in medicine and the development of agriculture science properly.

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Dr. Jaser Abu Safieh*

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Agriculture and plants in linguistic and medicine
3. Aspects of the Islamic agricultural tradition
3.1. Soils in lexicography
3.2. Irrigation engineering
3.3. Fertilizers
3.4. Art of planting
3.5. Contention of the agricultural diseases
3.6. The art of naturalizing trees
3.7. Fruits and agricultural products preservation
3.8. Industrialization of the agricultural products
3.9. Gardening and other arts
3.10. Spreading of agricultural products
4. Articles on agriculture and related fields on www.Muslim.Heritage.com

* * *

1. Introduction

From the beginning, Islam encouraged the practice of agriculture. Several verses in the Quran are connected to agriculture, as a part of the creation process and life on earth. Likewise, the hadiths that encouraged Muslims to practice agriculture are abundant. Within the same conception, Muslim rulers paid much attention to agriculture as it constituted a major economical activity and a pillar of the Islamic treasury then. Therefore, a continuous effort was directed towards reforming lands for cultivation, digging rivers and irrigation channels and, wherever appropriate, pieces of land were attributed to those who did not have, to cultivate. That became a recorded history [1].

Figure 1a-b: Two views from Kitab al-filaha of Ibn al-Awwâm: (a) manuscript page (Source) and front cover of the edition and Spanish translation by Joseph Antonio Banqueri (Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1802). (Source). The Kitab al-Filahah al-Andalusiyah (The Book of Andalusian Agriculture) by Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn al-Awwam al-Ishbili (d. 1185) consists of 35 chapters dealing with agronomy, cattle and poultry raising, and beekeeping. It deals with 585 plants; explains the cultivation of more than 50 fruit trees; and includes many valuable observations on soils, manures, plant grafting, and plant diseases.

In addition, agriculture was considered to be a feature of the human settlement on earth, as whenever people started plowing the earth, planting crops, taking care and cultivating the same would be obliged to settle down and leave the nomadic life. That reason probably incited Omar ibn al-Khattab to initially forbid his soldiers abroad from taking agriculture as a profession so as not to resort to rest, feel calm and leave struggle, but later on he permitted part of them to do so [2].

In the following article, focus will be laid on three aspects of interest in plants taken in Islamic history: the linguistic aspect, the use of herbs and plants products in medicine and the development of agriculture science properly.

2. Agriculture and plants in linguistic and medicine

Linguists paid a special attention to collect and record names of plants and technical terms related to agriculture. This endeavour supplied a rich treasure of vocabulary reflected in several specialized dictionaries, such as Al-Mukhassas (The Specialized) of Ibn Sîdah. Who has the chance to have a look at those linguistic essays on agriculture and cultivation will be completely amazed of its punctuality and comprehensive information, particularly in what regards what we call now "Plant Anatomy Science".

In these essays, one can read (in Arabic) a precise description for the plant throughout all its stages of growth. As an evidence for the punctuality of the Arabic language on this topic, let us read the following paragraph from Al-Mukhassas: "When initially planted and that it starts to grow, the palm tree is called al-naqîra' (throb); al-naqîra is the umbilicus pip. The throb, the linguist Abu Zaid explained, is the tiny hole on the back of the pip from where the palm tree starts its growth. The next phase is the herp (najîma), then the thorn, then the plaitwork then another one and another one; when the palm becomes a tree, it is called mat (al-farsh), when the plaitworks are numerous and widened, it is called the sharp (al-safîfî), then the stripe ('asîb), then sap (al-nasigha) and finally the pronchial (sha'îb)" [3].

Figure 2a-b: (a) Manuscript page from the treatise of agriculture by Ibn Luyun (Almería, dated 740 H/1348 CE, Maghribi script, hosted in the Escuela de Estudios Arabes in Granada) (Source); (b) front cover of the book Ibn Luyun: tratado de agricultura by Joaquina Eguaras Ibáñez (Granada: Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife, 1988).

In medicine, Muslims concentrated on caring about the plant with respect to its characteristics and medical features. Dâwûd b. 'Umar Al-Antaki said about the wild thyme: "A wild fine leaves almost black plant. There is one kind of it called 'Donkey or Mountain thyme', wider in leaves, less in bitterness, but the garden thyme is planted like the mint. It is an antidote medicine against colic and almost all types of poisons. It gives a good taste for all foods and refines blood [4]."

3. Aspects of the Islamic agricultural tradition

The core of the Islamic agricultural traditions lies in what is called in Arabic "zira'at al-'ardh" (land cultivation) in the wide sense, which is the main subject of this research. Therefore it would be more appropriate here to refer to Ibn Al-`Awwam who explained that "land cultivation means fixing the land, planting trees, growing cereals and grains and taking care of the same, in addition to a good knowledge of the fertile, semi fertile and useless land. Further, the knowledge of each kind of trees and plants to be planted in a given earth, and the choice of the best kind and proper time, water, insecticides and fertilizer for each kind of plants and trees are essential. How to store the production is also included [5]."

This wide range of agricultural knowledge needs more than a brief survey. Therefore, in the following we will only shed a light on some aspects.

3.1. Soils in lexicography

In his famous Kitab al-filaha (Book of agriculture), the Andalusian scholar Ibn Al-'Awwam state: "The first thing to know about agriculture is the earth itself, whether good for planting or not. Who is not well aware of that will not succeed [in agriculture] [6]." The statement specifies clearly that agriculturalists should have a vast knowledge about the earth, its nature, kind, plants and trees which should be planted in this or that one but also its coldness, heat, degree of humidity, desiccation and the impact of all that on the plants [7].

In spite of the variety and differences among the nature of lands, they could be listed as to their kinds as follows: Mild, hard, mountain, sandy, black, white, yellow, red, rough and reddish [8].

Among other factors, knowledge should be obtained of the reason for tree decay, which is related to the type of soil, so it is recommended that the earth should be changed as agronomists do today; in addition, it is also recommends that the earth of the ornamental trees and plants should be changed each six months [9].

3.2. Irrigation engineering

Some of the methods of irrigation that were followed by Muslims were simple, while the others were complicated. These methods varied from one country to the other. In Yemen, the historian Al-Hamdani said about Al-Samman (a famous water source): "The water there was so deep, ranged from 70 to 100 spread arms [bâ', 4 bâ'-s are equal to 3 m]; there also were artificial wells and small size lakes for water gathering and storage coated on the sides by hard stones [10]."

The irrigation engineers of Khumarawayh designed a strange method for irrigation. They coated the trunks of the trees with goldish brass; in between the brass and the tree trunk lead spouts from where the water flows to ready channels spread through the garden [11].

The geographer Al-Istakhri reported in his book Al-Masalik wa-'l-mamalik (routes and kingdoms): "In Marw, (now in Khurasan, Iran) there was an organized department specially established for water management of 10,000 staff [12]."

Figure 3: Front cover of Kanz al-Fawa'id fi Tanwi' al-Mawa'id: Medieval Arab-Islamic Culinary Art, edited by Manuela Marin and David Waines (Beirut: in Kommission bei Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart, 1993). An anonymous medieval Arabic cookbook, possibly of Egyptian provenance, compiled sometime during the Mamluk period (1250 - 1517). The book contains more than 800 recipes for the preparation of dishes, sweets, drinks, medicines, etc. from different regions in the Middle East with frequent health references attached to them.

The irrigation legislation and methods inherited from Islamic history were so efficient that their remnants survived the course of time and are still enforced and in use in some parts of Andalusia in present day Spain. The Water Court of Valancia is still holding its sessions weekly on Thursdays as it used to do during the ancient Islamic rule [13].

Further evidence on the well advanced irrigation engineering science of the Muslims is the building substance found in Fowkhara Gate on the bank of Al-Nahrawan River, near Samarra, Iraq. Having analyzed that material, a scholar reported that the material which was found in the cylinder from where the water was running is made of pure mud and clay as a cofactor for melting. When the cylinder was melted on an initial melting degree of 1050 c., it was transformed to another anti corrosion substance [14].

In each agricultural book, we may find a description for the water kinds and to what range they are suitable for the different kinds of plants. A detailed explanation is also given on how to discover ground water, the way of drilling and how to conduct tests to find hidden water [15].

Arab scientists were able to well out the water of the bubbling springs by means of lead pipes; they also used engineering devices to measure the height of the land and to dig irrigation channels underneath the surface of the earth [16]. Finally, they invented machines to measure the levels of the rivers water [17].

3.3. Fertilizers

Ibn Al-Hajjaj said: " You should know that if the earth is not fertilized, it becomes weak but if over fertilized it will be burnt" [18]. This theory indicates a farsighted point of view and a shrewd mind. With time, plants exhaust their food stored in the earth and that should be replaced, but not in surplus quantities. For that reason agronomists recommend that that the manufacturers' instructions labeled on the fertilizers containers should be strictly followed.

Figure 4: This illustration of sugar cane is from an Arabic manuscript on natural history. (Source).

Due to the importance of the fertilizers, Ibn Bassal, Ibn Hajjaj and Ibn Al-'Awwam explained in detail about the types of fertilizers and their suitability for certain kinds of earth and plants. They also talked about the use of the trees leaves for the soil [19] and about the compost fertilizers. Ibn Bassal divided that kind to three types, one of them being just a mixture of grass, hay and ash to be placed in a hole and water to be poured over then left to be rotten [20]. Using fertilizers is restricted only on the reform of the earth and plants. Ibn Bassal said that the pumpkin is first planted on fertilizer benches then moved, when it is strong enough, to the normal soil [21].

3.4. Art of planting

It is not an exaggeration to say that the instruction concerning the art of planting in the old Arabic manuals are still valid today. Their authors compiled them from practice and observation of the basic principle of botany and agronmy. Having studied the earth and selected the kinds of plants provided to suit that earth, they used to prepare the soil.

In this respect, Ibn Bassal said on planting pumpkin: "In cold countries like Al-Andalus, pumpkin should be planted during January in benches covered with fertilizers, then in April when it got strong enough, it should be moved to its permanent soil [22]." As to how to plant with the fertilizer, he adviced: "The fertilizer is to be leveled, small holes are to be made with almost 20 cm separating each hole from the other, and four to five seeds with their narrow edges up towards the air are to be placed in each hole. When this is done, the seeds are to be covered by fertilizer five cm thick, then completely covered with cabbage leaves one after the other. The cabbage leaves work as condenser; the heat of the fertilizer goes up, condensed by the leaves, then returns back to the plants as drops of water for irrigation. When the plant grows to a good limit, it will be moved to patches of land surrounded by dikes to rest finally [23]." This complicated process reminds us of the modern drip irrigation and green houses [24].

Figure 5: The digital library of the Princeton University Library includes this Arabic botanical manuscript from the 15th century that is from the Robert Garrett Collection donated to the University in 1942. Princeton University Library Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Work on botany in Arabic, Page images. (Source).

Out of the features of the advancement of the art of planting is that they planted some vegetables as spinach around the year [25]. Ibn Al-Faqih Al Hamadhani stated that in Iraq you can find any kind of fruits of vegetables at any time throughout the year [26].

3.5. Contention of the agricultural diseases

The Arabic experts in agriculture focused on following up the diseases of the plants and wrote about them thoroughly. Even a lexicographer, Ibn Sidah wrote a complete chapter in Al-Mukhassas devoted to the reasons that prevent a plant from growing well [27]. He also wrote a chapter about the corrosion disease that affects the plant leaves [28], and a third chapter about the diseases that affect the plants, palm trees and the trunks of the trees [29].

Plant owners were interested in curing their plants to improve production. Whoever reads the Arabic books of agriculture will realize that they followed a strict method in protecting the trees and plants, but sometimes mixed that with superstitions [30].

To substantiate that, it will be enough to refer here to two methods of treatment that Ibn Bassal reported. The first is the fungus which hits the trunk of the pumpkin and dries it. The treatment consists in burying the diseased part inside the soil, hoping that a new one will grow. The second one was described by Ibn Al-'Awwam, who quoted from the text of Ibn Hajjaj. He said: "If you see a tree of little production and weak branches with worms inside the fruits and drops the same down more than usual for years, that means that the soil is improper. To treat that you have to dig around the roots 2.5 m away from the main trunk, remove the soil and fill the hole that you dug, with a new one taken from the surface of another soil then press it heavily with wooden sticks. If you find the roots almost rotten, cut those roots then add natural fertilizer, if you found the roots spoiled by worms, add ash to the fertilizer. If you found the soil is so moist, fill the hole with dry red soil or sea (or river) sand mixed with old fertilizer" [31].

Ibn Hajjaj continued his explanation on the disease probabilities by giving a detailed description of how to contend that disease. It is also worth to state here that the Muslim experts were aware of the importance of the ash in killing the worms and insects which are produced from the fertilizer rottenness [32].

3.6. The art of naturalizing trees

The process of naturalizing the trees, namely changing their wild nature or kind to a domestic one, was not randomly made. It should be made in accordance with precise rules. This is what we learn from the introduction of Ibn Bassal on naturalization. He said: "Naturalization needs research and observation as the misfortunes are numerous. The naturalization on the other hand is useful as it speeds the production of the tree. You should know the nature and age of the tree and choose the proper time for naturalization" [33].

Figure 6: Table of contents of the electronic edition of 'Ilm al-milaha fi 'ilm al-filaha, a book on agriculture written by Abdel-Ghani b. Isma'il al-Nablusi, a Syrian writer (1050H-1143 H/1641-1730) (read online here).

Muslim scientists did not only state the rules, techniques and types of naturalization, but also naturalized the odd kinds of trees [34], like naturalizing the fig with the olive and rose with grapes, apple and almond [35]. The art of naturalizing in Toledo was so advanced that the historian Ibn Sa'id said that he saw so many kinds of fruits on one tree [36].

3.7. Fruits and agricultural products preservation

There are different ways of preserving fruits and agricultural products. We will mention hereafter the most odd ones. Ibn Hajjaj said that the apple, pomegranate, quince, pear, citron and grapes can be preserved on trees by means of glass pots with narrow mouths but wide from inside, enough to contain the fruit when ripen. The fruit is to be inserted in the glass pot in flowering stage and the pot should be tied firmly to the branch to be saved from the wind. If the fruit is to be kept for long in the glass pot, then the pot should be bunched from down to let the air in [37].

If fruits are immerged in honey, they will be preserved for a long time with no change [38]. Ibn Bassal said that apple can be preserved in special pot floored with pieces of linen cloth where the apples are to be arranged. When the first row is completed, other linen pieces are to be put, then a second layer of apples is to be placed, and so on till the pot is filled. Finally it is sealed with linen and clay and stored in a cool place [39]. From our modern experience, isn't this is the basic idea for preserving apples in refrigerators?

Ibn Al Hajjaj also stated many methods of protecting the wheat from the woodworm and licorice, by mixing it with pomegranate leaves and galls and a quantity of oak lumber ashes [40].

3.8. Industrialization of the agricultural products

It was a widely followed rule that each Arabic agricultural book must include even a brief description on the industrialization of agricultural products, for example how to prepare raisins, dried fig, vinegar, pickles, jam, sugar, cotton, oils and perfumes.

Ibn Hajjaj described how to make raisins. He directed the garden owner to twist the grape ripen bunches for two or three consecutive nights and leave them to dry. If he likes to preserve raisins, he has to keep the dried bunches in jars covered with dried grape leaves, and when filled up, to cover them with other layers of dried leaves, clays and to keep them in a cool place with no smoke or humidity [41].

Yemen was famous in producing carrot, citron, pumpkin and peach jams. The solid hadouri honey was a specialty of Yemen and deemed to be a precious present in Mecca and Iraq [42]. The honey in Yemen was prepared by drying it in the sun and keeping it in cans for few days till it becomes so hard, then the canes are sealed [43].

In Marw (Khurasan, Iran), water melon was shredded and exported to Iraq. Olive pickle was made of honey, oil, vinegar, thyme and coriander for good taste [44].

The interest of classical agronomists of the Arabic tradition in flowers and roses made the perfumes industry an advanced one. The city of Jur was famous in manufacturing and exporting various kinds of perfume [45]. The twelfth chapter of Al-Nuwayri's book Nehayatu al-'arab (the most desired) detailed many recipes for preparing perfumes and scents by the way of distillation.

3.9. Gardening and other arts

Islamic culture did not neglect the aesthetical side in plants and so the attention of the mankind was brought to the marvelous beauty of nature that in turn reminds us with the glory of God. Therefore, a special interested was paid to gardens, where different kinds of roses, plants and flowers were planted. The famous historian Al-Maqrizi said, in describing the garden of Khumarawayh: "He planted various kinds of trees in his garden. He planted palm trees of different heights. A standing man can reach the fruit of some trees while a sitting man can reach some others. The taste was even different. Roses and saffron were also planted, in addition to other plants and a garden keeper was also appointed to take a good care of them [46]."

Out of the other agricultural arts that attract attention in the Arabic tradition of agriculture was the production of a kind of grapes with no seeds [47], and an ever flowering kind of roses and another similar kind of apples [48]. They were also able to control the color of roses and flowers [49]; finally they raised oranges in basins surrounded by water tanks so it looked as if it was planted inside these tanks [50].

Muslim scholars scored other marks of success to be registered in their glorious register. Having taken into consideration the climate conditions and the kind of their natural soil, they tamed some wild plants and raised them in gardens. Those plants were first planted in special pots at different times of the year and in different kinds of soil [51].

3.10. Spreading of agricultural products

In a series of noteworthy research results published since 1974, Andrew M. Watson, from Toronto University, recorded the history of the radical transformation of agriculture production in the Islamic world and the spreading of the agricultural products in the geographical sphere with which Muslims traded [52]. The author also indicated the role of Muslim agriculture in acclimatizing the tropical plants but moving them to the territories of the Middle East, the development of new kinds of corn and other citrus fruits in order to fit the hot climate. The author listed 726 plants that were given Latin names derived from Arabic origins [53].

The investigation of A. M. Watson set the stage for a paradigmatic shift in considering the real impact the Islamic agricultural tradition had on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) during a long period, until the 13th century. The author named this shift as the Medieval Green Revolution (transformed later to "Muslim Agricultural Revolution", "Islamic Agricultural Revolution" and "Islamic Green Revolution") [54]. All those expressions correspond to the same reality postulating a fundamental transformation in agriculture from the 8th century to the 13th century in the Muslim lands [55].

Watson argued that the economy established by the traders of the Muslim world across the Old World enabled the diffusion of many crops and farming techniques 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 Africa such as sorghum, crops from China such as citrus fruits, and numerous crops from India such as mangos, rice, cotton and sugar cane, were distributed throughout Islamic lands, which, according to Watson, previously had not grown these crops. Watson listed eighteen such crops being diffused during the Islamic period. Some writers have referred to the diffusion of numerous crops during this period as the "globalization of crops" [56]. Watson argues that these introductions, along with an increased mechanization of agriculture, led to major changes in economy, population distribution, vegetation cover, agricultural production and income, population levels, urban growth, the distribution of the labour force, linked industries, cooking, diet and clothing in the Islamic world [57].

In a limited scope, we mention also the flowers which were moved to Europe by the Arabs : Jasmine, blue and yellow roses and the red and white camellia and others [58]. As evidence of the impact of the Arabs on spreading the plants, Mustafa Al-Shehabi confirmed the existence of a number of roses and plants names in the French language [59].

Finally, it may be interesting to conclude by the story we find in some Chinese ancient documents dating from the 13th century. Unearthed by Hui-lin li, a professor of botany in the American University of Pennsylvania, these documents state that navigators coming from the Islamic world reached America before Christopher Columbus, where they brought various kinds of plants. That theory was the fruit of 9 years of research Dr. Li spent in tracing all over the world. The aforesaid documents confirm that Muslims brought and raised the papaya, pineapple, pumpkin and the Indian corn in a region named "Molan-pi", which may correspond to some part of the Americas [60].

4. Articles on agriculture and related fields on www.Muslim.Heritage.com

– Al-Hassani, Salim, Filling the Gap in the History of Pre-Modern Industry: 1000 Years of Missing Islamic Industry.
– FSTC Research Team, Agriculture in Muslim civilisation: A Green Revolution in Pre-Modern Times.
– FSTC, Figs in Muslim Spain.
– FSTC, Muslim Contribution to Spanish Agriculture.
– FSTC, The Globalisation of Crops.
– FSTC, Farming Manuals.
– FSTC, Al-Dinawari Advances Botany.
– FSTC, Muslim Heritage Interview Series - Interview 3: Dr. Zohor Idrisi.
– FSTC, The Scholars of Malaga.
– FSTC, Water Management and Hydraulic Technology.
– FSTC, Dam Construction in the Islamic Civil Engineering.
– FSTC, Introduction of Wind Power.
– FSTC, Ibn Al-Awwam (12th century).
– FSTC, Aspects of Influence of Muslim Science on the West.
– FSTC, Ottoman Palace Cuisine of the Classical Period.
– FSTC, The Influence of Islamic Culinary Art on Europe.
– FSTC, Turkish Cuisine: A Book Review.
– FSTC, A Wealth of Scholarship: Recent Publications in Islamic Art, Culture and History
– Idrisi, Zohor, The Muslim Agricultural Revolution.
– Saoud, Rabah, FSTC, The Coffee Trail: Origins of the Muslim beverage.
Sari, Nil, Food as Medicine in Muslim Civilization.
– Tickell, Sir Crispin, Environment and the Muslim Heritage.

Footnotes

[1] See for example Al-Baladhuri, Futuh al-Buldan, Cairo, 1957, pp. 291,351-353, 356, 359f; Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, Cairo, third edition, 1382 H, pp. 57, 94; Falih Hussain, Al-Hayat al-Ziraiyyah fi Belad al-Sham fi al-Asr al-Umawi, Amman, 1978, pp. 43-63; Mustafa Abbas al-Musawi, Al-'Awamil al-Tarikhiyyah Li-Nash'at wa-Tatawwur al-Mudun al-Islamiyyah, Baghdad, 1982, pp. 300-320; Awwad Majid Al-Azami, Al-Zira'a wa-'l-Islah al-ZiraI fi 'Sadr al-Islam wal-Khilaphah al-Umawiyyah, Baghdad, 1978, pp. 30 ff., 53,73, 79, 123, 144.

[2] Al-Baladhuri, op. cit., p. 346.

[3] Ibn Sidah, Al-Mukhassas, Dar al-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut, n. d., vol. 11, p. 102.

[4] Dawud b. 'Umar Al-Antaki, Tadhkirat uli al-Albab, Beirut, n. d., vol. 1, p. 223.

[5] Ibn al-Awwam, Kitab al-Filaha al-Andalusiyyah, manuscript in the British Museum, p. 3.

[6] Ibid, p. 15.

[7] Ibn Bassal, Kitab al-Filaha, edited and translated, J. M. Millas Vallicrosa y M. Aziman, Tetuan, 1955, p. 41.

[8] Ibid, p. 15.

[9] Ibn al-Awwam, Kitab al-Filaha al-Andalusiyyah, manuscript in the British Museum, p. 222.

[10] Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Ahmad b.Yaqub al-Hamdani, Sifat Jazirat al-Arab, edited by Muhammad b. Abdullah b. Balhid al-Najdi, Cairo, 1953, p. 138.

[11] Al-Maqrizi, Al-Khitat, Cairo, p. 316.

[12] Al-Istaskhri, Al-Masalik wa-'l-Mamalik, Tehran, p. 261 ff.

[13] See Faysal Dabdub, "Balansiyah: Anzimat al-Rayy wa Mahkamat al-Miyah fiha", Al-Arabi (Kuwait), n° 157, December 1971, pp. 124-130; Muhammad Abdullah Anan, "Mahkamat al-Miyah fi Balansiyah", Al-Arabi, n° 151, June 1971, pp. 92-95.

[14] Ahmad Susah, Rayy Samurra' fi 'Ahd al-Khilafah al-Abbasiyyah, Baghdad, 1949, 4th supplement, p. 636.

[15] Abu Bakr Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Hasib al-Karkhi, Inbat al-miyah al-khafiyyah, Haydarabad al-Dikn, 1359 H, p. 22 ff.

[16] Ibid, pp. 131f.

[17] Al-Maqrizi, Al-Khitat, op.cit., vol. 1, p. 76; Adam Mitz, Al-Hadarah al- Islamiyyah, Arabic translation by Muhammad Abd al-Hadi Abu Raidah, Beirut-Cairo, 1967, 4th edition, pp. 2-36.

[18] Ibn Hajjah al-Ishbili, Al-Muqni' fi al-Filahah, edited by Salah Jarrar and Jaser Abu Safieh, Amman, 1982, p. 10.

[19] Ibn al-Awwam, Kitab al-Filaha al-Andalusiyyah, manuscript in the British Museum, p. 50.

[20] Ibn Bassal, Kitab al-Filaha, op. cit., p. 51.

[21] Ibid, p. 131 ff.

[22] Ibid, p. 131.

[23] Ibid, p. 132.

[24] Ibid, p. 134.

[25] Ibid, p. 154.

[26] Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani, Baghdad Madinat al-Salam, edited by Ahmad Salih al-'Ali, Baghdad, n. d., p. 103.

[27] Ibn Sîdah, Al-Mukhassas, op.cit. vol. 10, p. 206.

[28] Ibid, vol.10, p. 223.

[29] Ibid, vol.11, pp. 57, 119 ff.

[30] Ibn Bassal, op. cit., p. 132.

[31] Ibn al-Awwam, op. cit, p. 222.

[32] Ibid, p. 62; Ibn Bassal, op. cit., p. 173; Al-Muqni', op.cit., p. 112 ff.

[33] Ibn Bassal, op.cit., p. 91.

[34] Ibid, p. 105.

[35] Ibid, p. 105 ff.

[36] Ibn Sa'id, Al-Mughrib fi Hula al-Maghrib, edited by Shawqi Dhayf, Cairo, 1964, vol. 2, p. 9.

[37] Al-Muqni', op. cit., p. 48.

[38] Ibid, p. 48.

[39] Ibn Bassal, op. cit., p. 179.

[40] Al-Muqni', op. cit., p. 17.

[41] Ibid, p. 3 ff.

[42] Sifat Jazirat al-Arab, op. cit., p. 198.

[43] Al-Masalik wa-'l-Mamalik, op. cit., p. 262.

[44] Al-Muqni', op. cit., p. 57.

[45] Abu al-Qasim al-Nissibi Ibn Hawqal, Kitab Surat al-Ardh, Beirut, n. d., p. 260 ff.

[46] Khitat, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 316.

[47] Ibn al-'Awwam, op. cit., p. 235; Al-Muqni', op. cit., p. 30.

[48] Ibn al-'Awwam, op. cit., p. 236.

[49] Ibid, p. 235 ff.

[50] Ibid, p. 238.

[51] Ibn Bassal, op. cit., p. 173 ff.

[52] Andrew M. Watson (1974), "The Arab Agricultural Revolution and Its Diffusion, 700–1100", The Journal of Economic History, vol. 34 (1), pp. 8-35; 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, edited by A. L. Udovitch. Princeton, NJ: The Darwin Press, (Princeton Studies on the Near East), pp. 29-58; A. M. Watson (1983), Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World: The Diffusion of Crops and Farming Techniques, 700-1100, Cambridge University Press; Andrew M. Watson, Al-Ibda al-Zirai fi Bedayat al-alam al-Islami, translated by Ahmad al-Ashqar, Aleppo University, 1985.

[53] Muhammad Nadhir Sankari, "Dirasah fi Intishar Mahasil Jadidah fi al-Ayyam al-,ula li-'l-'alam al-Islami", Al-Arabi, n° 298, September 1983, pp. 175-183.

[54] See Zohor Idrisi (2005), The Muslim Agricultural Revolution and its influence on Europe; Michael Decker, "Plants and Progress: Rethinking the Islamic Agricultural Revolution", Journal of World History (University of Hawaii Press), vol. 20, n° 2 (2009), pp. 187-206; Edmund Burke, "Islam at the Center: Technological Complexes and the Roots of Modernity", Journal of World History, vol. 20, n° 2, June 2009, pp. 165-186.

[55] The fundamental hypothesis of A. M. Watson was an extension of an earlier hypothesis of an agricultural revolution in Islamic Spain proposed much earlier in 1876 by the Spanish historian Antonia Garcia Maceira. See D. Fairchild Ruggles (2003), "Botany and the Agricultural Revolution", Gardens, landscape, and vision in the palaces of Islamic Spain, Penn State University Press, pp. 15-34.

[56] FSTC, The Globalisation of Crops, introduction to a longer article: Introduction to Musilm Agriculture.

[57] Andrew M. Watson, "The Arab Agricultural Revolution and Its Diffusion, 700–1100", op. cit.

[58] See Ibrahim Muhammad al-Fahham, "Al-Arab Naqalu Azhar al-Sharq wa-Rayahinuh ila Urubba", Al-Arabi, n° 73, November 1964, pp. 50-55; F. J. Simont, Glosario de Ibercos y Latinas Usadas entre los Mozarabes, Madrid, 1888, p. 362.

[59] Mustafa Al-Shihabi, "Ta'thir al-Arab fi al-Filahah al-Urubbiyyah", Majallat Majma' al-Lughah al- Arabiyyah bi Dimashq", vol. 36, part 2, April 1961, pp. 177-186.

[60] Hui-lin Li (1960-1961), "Mu-lan-p'i: A Case for Pre-Columbian Transatlantic Travel by Arab Ships", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Harvard-Yenching Institute) vol. 23, pp. 114-126. On this theory, see Joseph Needham & Colin A. Ronan (1986), The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3, pp. 119-20; Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, New York, 2003, pp. 233-256; and Leo Viener, Africa and the Discovery of America, Philadelphia, 1922, vol. 1, pp. 117 ff., vol. 2, pp. 1-82.

* Arabic Language Department, Faculty of Arts, Jordan University, Amman, Jordan.

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