Agriculture in the Islamic World
The success of classical Islamic agriculture is due to the adaptation of agrarian techniques to local needs, and this adaptation itself is due to a spectacular cultural union of scientific knowledge from the past and the present, from the Near East, the Maghreb and Andalusia. A culmination more subtle than a simple accumulation of techniques, it has been an enduring ecological success, proven by the course of human history.
In the definitions which open the Kitāb al‐filāḥah (Book of Agriculture), this function is said to be blessed by God because it has as its end the production of the sustenance of life. Agriculture consists of restoring to the earth what has been furnished by harvesting from it, by fertilizing, watering and making efforts to avoid the problems caused by excessive heat. This restoration to the soil implies a knowledge of the whole – the soils, the plants, the most suitable tools. Balance (mizān) is the aim, or reciprocity between what is taken from the earth and what...
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