Widely believed to be of Ethiopian descent, the African-Arab, al-Jahiz (the more his most famous of works is Kitab al-Hayawan (Book of Animals); a pioneering . al-Jahiz’s Book of Animals: The transcendent value of disgust | Inventions. The most famous book written by Al-Jahiz is Kitab al-Hayawan (Book of Animals). This multi-volume book does not only describe more than.

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1001 Inventions and the Book of Animals

In reality, the serious scientific discussions on evolution began at least a thousand years before Charles Darwin, mainly by Muslim scholars. The Aristotelian Tradition in Islam by F. He sometimes added funny anecdotes and amusing comments in his scientific works.

Of his writings, only thirty books survive. This does not mean that he was never serious, but that in all his major works, seriousness animalls humor are inextricably mixed; it is sometimes difficult to know when he is joking and when he is not. Beautifully illustrated book for young readers taking children on an exciting journey of discovery with messages echoing those set by the campaign of the importance of respecting all creatures and caring for animals while striving to protect the environment.

He moved to Baghdad, attracted by the greater scope of the capital of the Arab Islamic Caliphate at the time, in AD, because the Abbasid Caliphs encouraged scientists and scholars and had just founded the House of Wisdom. The first-of-its-kind fun and educational production aims to celebrate and bring to life one of the oldest Arabic books on the animal kingdom. These books not only covered a specific subject as scientific textbooks, but also acted as enlightening guides just like most other early Muslim scientific books.

In difference from modern evolutionary theory, for Al-Jahiz, the will of Allah served as the antecedent or originator for all mutation and transformations. In Baghdad, al-Jahiz not only fused ov Islamic sciences to Greek rationalism, but created Arabic prose literature. Many of the stories continue to be reprinted in magazines throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Due to translation activities, Islamic knowledge of zoology and biology penetrated European universities as early as seventeenth century and provided the foundation for the development of modern disciplines of zoology and biology.


Islamic Research Institute, animaos, p. Al-Jahiz died in You are commenting using your WordPress.

al-Jahiz’s Book of Animals: The transcendent value of disgust | Inventions

His education was highly facilitated by the fact that the Abbasid Caliphate was in a period of cultural and intellectual revolution. Print this page Email to a friend Share.

Both in his subject matter amimals vocabulary, he presumes a familiarity — albeit superficial — with Aristotle and the technical terminology of scholastic theology.

He believed in the scientific method — as it was then understood — and applied reason and logic to observed phenomena. This page was last animale on 3 Decemberat His education was highly facilitated due to the fact that the Abbasid Caliphate was in a period of cultural, and intellectual revolutions. As he suggested, inanimate elevates to plant level and animals are animaos from plants. He was the student of Samuel Lee, who was well-versed in oriental sources. Al-Damiri, who lived in the 14th century and wrote a well-known encyclopedia called The Lives of the Animals, used much of the scientific and linguistic information from al-Jahiz, but eliminated the anecdotes, poetry, digressions and jokes.

FROM AL-JAHIZ (776-868) TO CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882)

He gives a detailed account of the social organization of ants, including, from his own observation, a description of how they store grain in their nests in such a way boook it does not spoil during the rainy season. Even though his family was very poor, it did not stop Al-Jahiz of seeking knowledge and boik lectures on different topics like Arabic poetry, philology and lexicography. And in this respect, men do not differ from animals, anikals with respect to others, although they do not arrive at the same extremes.

Snakes like eating rats very much. He described his style himself, saying: The drawing fits the text: Of his writings, only thirty books survive today — enough nevertheless to show the omnivorous curiosity of the author. Schools Sunni Ash’ari Maturidi Traditionalism. Mosquitos “know instinctively animls blood is the thing which makes them live” and when they see an animal, “they know that the skin has been fashioned to serve them as food”.


It prompts readers to take positive action in global nature conservation efforts. It is said that his mother bok offered him a tray full of notebooks and told him he would earn his living from writing. But the most interesting thing for me as a historian is that this idea of evolution had been widely discussed since 9th century by many Muslim scholars.

Al-Jahiz never lost sight of his readers, and developed a very personal and characteristic style, which blended anecdote, serious subjects and jokes, in an effort to hold their interest.

Amsterdam, 1 to 7 Septemberpg. Men with each other are like animals Cairo, 27 January More importantly, he communicates to us the excitement of an intelligent non-specialist confronted with radical scientific, philosophical and animaos speculations.

In fact, many adab writers were religious scholars. Highly engaging interactive exhibition with hands-on activities, bopk and digital interactives educating young people about the natural world and inspiring them to take action to strive to protect their environment.

Greek science, particularly Aristotelian thought. East African Swahili Committee. And it became the source for later books on zoology.


It is not clear how he died, but there is no doubt that his works were and still are indeed revolutionary. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

He was initiated into Islamic culture in the faculty of religion at the University of Cambridge and learnt Arabic in order to understand Islam. In keeping with his theories of planned disorder, he introduces anecdotes of famous men, snippets of history, anthropology, etymology and jokes.

Then Darwin collected evidence by observations to support this idea.