Continuation of posts introducing a few scholars of the *Golden age of Islam (8th to 13th century), by giving a short overview and a sample of their work
Shaikh Saadi, (1184-1283) a thinker, teacher and a Sufi was born in Shiraz in Iran. Maulana Rumi (1207-1273) was his most famous contemporary. They experienced and survived the turmoil, death and destruction inflicted by Mongols and continued their work after the defeat of the Mongols in 1260 by Mamelukes of Egypt.
He received his higher education, at then famous, Al Nizamya center of knowledge* in Baghdad (Bait ul Hikma or House of Wisdom and knowledge*). He studied Science, Law, History, Arabic literature, Philosophy, Logic, Religious studies and Governance.
Saadi is best known for his books Bostan(The Orchard) completed in 1256 and Gulistan(The Rose Garden) completed in 1258. Bostan is entirely in verse and consists of stories illustrating the virtues justice, liberty and modesty. Gulistan is mainly in prose, short poems, advice and humorous reflections.
Thusly has Creation put the Base;
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace**.
Al-Azhar in Cairo is the oldest university in the world. It was established in 970. Two other institutions of advanced learning were, Ez Zaitona in Tunisia, which started in 737 and Al Quaraouiyine in Morocco established in 859. They are both universities now. In Europe the University Bolojana is the oldest was established in 1088 and Oxford received its charter in 1248.
*Al Nizamya center of knowledge, was an institution of advanced learning and research in Baghdad that started in 790 under the rule of Haron Al Rashid. All teaching institutions were called Madrasas. There were 3 categories of madrasas and they provided free education from primary to advanced levels throughout the Muslim world. The first category had 8 grades (from age 6 to 14) and the other 2 levels were of a 6 year duration each. For students before the age 6 was Maktab, where they learned basic Arabic and were able to read and memorize verses (Sura of Quran) that are recited in the daily prayers.
**Mace, a hammer-like weapon of the past.