The Impact of Arabic in Islamic Civilization on Various Islamic Cultures – Page 3

However, the introduction of paper to the Islamic civilization had a significant impact on the development of a book culture and the accessibility of knowledge. The availability of paper enabled the bureaucracy to grow and as it grew, the scribal class transformed into an elite class . As paper became more widely available, the use of carbon ink and a new style of Arabic script grew, which led to the proliferation of books because the new style of Arabic script was easier and faster to write with, paper became more accessible and the carbon ink was easier to prepare and did not damage the surface of the paper . Hence the Islamic civilization was transforming into a book culture .

The Umayyad caliphs encouraged limited types of literature like poetry and hadiths, while under the Abbasid caliphate, books and book based knowledge, such as theology, hadith and Islamic law, was encouraged in the Islamic society. Moreover, doctrinal differences within the Muslim community resulted in books produced on Quranic exegesis and philosophical literature. In addition to that, the need to identify the Muslims who transmitted the hadiths orally led to the composition of biographies . Consequently, writers expected to be paid well with honours, gifts and cash . Moreover the democratization of Islam began because now knowledge was available to the masses in multiple languages . More importantly, the availability of paper encouraged the medieval Islamic society to transition from a culture based on memory to a culture founded on written records .

Arabic shaped various Islamic cultures in several ways. It was the lingua franca of the Islamic world which consisted of lands from Spain to Central Asia. As a community, the diverse populations were united linguistically by Arabic . As a result, trade within the vast regions also benefited by the standard use of Arabic. Islamic attitude towards merchants was positive and it was also considered a religiously sanctioned profession. Long distance caravan trade flourished, especially under Mongol rule along the Silk Route. This led to the invention of the astrolabe for navigation and the discovery of European maritime lands. Moreover some languages like Persian, Turkic, Ottoman and Urdu adapted a modified version of the Arabic script . In addition to the script, these languages also incorporated religious, philosophical, and scientific terminologies. The use of Arabic was so profound that even non Muslims carried their daily activities in Arabic, for example, the Jews spoke Arabic but they wrote it in their Hebrew script.

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