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Title: Arab Travellers to Europe until the End of the 18th Century and their Accounts: Historical Overview and Themes
Other Titles: الرحالة العرب الى اوروبا حتى نهاية القرن الثامن عشر: لمحة تارخية عن كتاباتهم ومحتوياتهم
Authors: Newman, Daniel
Keywords: Arab Travellers
18th Century
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Balamand
Part of: Chronos
Issue: 4
Start page: 7
End page: 61
In mediaeval times, Islamic lands produced an impressive number of travellers. To some extent this was linked to religious motives. Indeed, both the Qur'ân and Hadith stress the importance of knowledge, with travel in pursuit of it (fi talab al- 'ilm) being a duty for all Muslims. The Prophet is even reported to have enjoined believers to go to China if need be (utlub al-'ilm wa law bi 'I-Sin) (Gellens 1990)! Travel was also said to be a duty since it was a way for the believer to observe and explore Creation, its wonders and the might of God. Muslim scholars were stimulated to travel and literally and figuratively broaden their horizons, with the ultimate goal being 'ilm, viz. knowledge acquired by study under famous faqîhs. At the same time, education was not really considered an end in itself, but a means to achieve taqwâ (pious conduct), as prescribed by the Prophet. Travel in the pursuit of knowledge and education remained an integral part of Muslim intellectual tradition and many scholars such as Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406) continued to point out the benefits.
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Chronos

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