The Tragedy of the Burning of the Baghdad Library Changed the Islamic World

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The golden age of Islam occurred in the 8th and 11th centuries AD or during the era of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties.

Throughout that period, many scientists and philosophers emerged whose ideas became the foundation of modern science. Call it Ibn Sina, Ibnu Khaldun, Al-Khwarizmi and so on. Then, at the same time, many cities in the Middle East emerged as centers of knowledge. One of them is Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate.

History records that the city was a silent witness to the collapse of the Abbasids, which was also the starting point for the decline of the Islamic world. The most important fragment of this period of decline was the destruction of the Baghdad Library by attacks from the Mongols.

Please note, the Baghdad Library is also known as the House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma). Quoting the site BritannicaBaghdad Library is an intellectual institution that was founded in the era Caliph Al-Ma'mun (813-833 AD). Caliph Al-Ma'mun was known as a leader who was very interested in science and offered great support to advance knowledge in various fields.

While in power, he ordered that Greek and Indian classical works be translated into Arabic. The results of the translation were placed in the Baghdad Library. Thanks to this method, the Baghdad Library has become a place for discussions by scientists across groups and religions for centuries.

Unfortunately, that all disappeared in 1257. For the record, sAt that time the Mongol Empire under the power of Mongke Khan was triumphant. Many other countries were attacked and controlled by him. One of the easy targets for Mongol attacks was the Abbasid Caliphate, which happened to be experiencing decline.

Initially, Mongke's messenger, Hulagu Khan, asked the Abbasid ruler, Al-Mustasim, to surrender. However, because Al-Mustasim didn't want to, the fighting couldn't be stopped. In the war known as the Siege of Baghdad, the Abbasid military was unable to withstand the Mongol attacks. As a result, the Mongol army was free to enter the city.

They then killed hundreds of thousands of city residents and looted all their property. Apart from that, as told The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (2011), they also vandalized, looted and burned the contents of the Baghdad Library.

This incident was caused because the Mongols prioritized wealth over the treasures of knowledge. Practically everything in the library was vandalized and destroyed. Thousands of valuable manuscripts, the result of the labors of scholars, were burned or thrown into the Tigris River.

Many stories mention it the burning and dumping of intellectual works turned the Tigris River black. In fact, there are also those who say that so many discarded books could form a bridge to cross the river.

Fernando Baez in Book Destruction From Time to Time (2013) said that the destruction of the Baghdad Library destroyed the intellectual pride of the people of Baghdad. From here, the world lost a source of knowledge that had contributed globally.

Later, the invasion of the Mongols and the various tragedies that followed were one of the triggers for the collapse of the Abbasid dynasty after 5 centuries of existence. At the same time, it also marked the decline of the Islamic world in the intellectual realm.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]