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Contribution of Muslims in the development of paper industry

When paper production began in Baghdad about 1100 years ago, it became accessible to the general public, and paper began to be widely used. Muslims have taught people in Africa and Europe how to use paper
Paper is very necessary in people’s daily life. Whose role in the development of modern civilization is immeasurable. It is thought that paper production was first introduced in China. However, the modern paper industry was started by Muslims.

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When paper production began in Baghdad about 1100 years ago, it became accessible to the general public, and paper began to be widely used. Muslims have taught people in Africa and Europe how to use paper.
Paper in the Muslim World: In 651 AD, the Abbasid Caliph fought a war with the Han King of China. It was called the Battle of Talas because it took place on the banks of the river Talas. Among the Chinese prisoners of war were two skilled paperworkers. Through which Muslims can know the process of making paper.

Use of Paper: After learning the process of paper production from the Chinese, Muslims focus on paper production and its quality improvement. The Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur (654-65 AD) was the first to instruct the use of paper in all bureaucratic tasks of the state. The first paper mill in the Muslim world was established at Samarkand in 694 AD during the reign of Caliph Harunur Rashid. Harunur Rashid handed over the responsibility to his prime minister, Fazl ibn Yahya. It was the first paper call outside of China. Later, paper mills were gradually established in Damascus, Tripoli, Cairo, Cordoba, Hama, Manbij and other cities.

Paper in Europe and Africa: The Muslim rulers of Egypt established the first paper mill in Africa in Cairo in 650 AD and the paper mill established in Muslim Spain in 950 AD was also the first paper mill in European soil. In fact, no book written on paper existed in Europe before the twelfth century. Evidence of the first use of paper is found in Europe in the eleventh century. Paper has long been known in Europe as the Charta demascena, meaning the paper of Damascus.

After the defeat of the Muslims in the First Crusade (1098-1099 AD) and the capture of Jerusalem, the Europeans had the opportunity to use the first paper mill. However, when Spain occupied Yativa in 1244, it gained full control of the paper mill and adopted the technique of making paper from Muslim artisans. In addition, when the Sicilian Muslims in Italy lost their hands, the Italians learned the technique of making paper from the paper mill set up there.

Source of the best paper: Samarkand’s superiority in paper production has been claimed in the book ‘Hududul Alam’ written in the tenth century. According to the author, the most advanced paper of the contemporary Muslim world was produced in Samarkand and from there was exported to various countries of the world. After Samarkand, Damascus was the second largest producer of paper. The main source of European paper was Damascus.

Paper for Enlightenment: Before paper production began in Baghdad, parchment was the mainstay of knowledge and writing in the Muslim world. Of course, papyrus was used in ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations. After the establishment of the paper mill in Baghdad, the widespread use of paper in the pursuit of knowledge began. Allama Ibn Khaldun said that the use of parchment in the study of knowledge became rare in the eighth century AD. It was the Muslims who first started producing paper-bound, one-sided and one-sided books. The 500-page piece of paper called ‘rim’ also comes from the Arabic word ‘rizma’. The Holy Qur’an and Hadith books were also written on paper like ordinary books. The earliest known paper copy of the Qur’an ever discovered was made by Ali ibn Sadan al-Razi in 961 AD.

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