Geographical Thought: Arabian Seat of Learning

Say 'Arab' to yourself and see what images it invokes - a vast, seemingly unending sea of sand, mirages, a lone bejeweled sheikh rocking back and forth on a leisurely moving camel. Perhaps nothing else would be in sight except a menacing vortex of sand. To the less visual, and better informed it might be, Osama Bin Laden, Talibans, terrorism, militancy, Islamic fundamentalism, jehad and so on. Not all images are pleasant, but then there never was a perfect civilization. The clamour of criticism seems to have drowned the voice of their invaluable achievements. The pink of it lies buried under the strokes of black. It is time for us to rip this shroud and have a peek at the golden times beneath. The prophet Muhammad, like a skilled sculptor, chiseled out a civilization from the disorderly jumble of raw tribes binding them with a thread of peace and brotherhood. His teachings came to be regarded as the word of God and soon the rulers felt the urge to propagate this surging ocean of wisdom. But, they knew no way other than conquering - thus, a streak of conquests followed to spread this wisdom. However, this worked well for the Arabs in terms of the acquisition of knowledge. Annexation of Persia in A. D. 641, and Egypt in A.D. 642, and the entire Arabian Peninsula...

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