One hundred years after the Ottomans joined the war, this three-part series tells the story from an Arab perspective. Episode two tells the story of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the fall Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the rise of the young Turk government in his place – and the history of the Ottoman-Germany relationship which led to the Treaty of Alliance between them in August 1914.
By: Adline A Ghani
Although health and wellness may be on everyone’s minds these days, attention to wellbeing is by no means a new concept. People have been searching for ways to ‘stay in the pink’ since the dawn of civilisation. In the Islamic world, early Muslim scientists and physicians played an essential role in developing healthcare practices, tools and ethics that continue to affect our lives to this day. Among the most significant developments in healthcare brought forth by the Islamic world was the introduction of hospitals. In the 8th century, Al-Walid bin Abd Al-Malik, a Caliph (chief Muslim civil and religious ruler) of the Umayyad Caliphate (Islamic system of government of the 7th and 8th centuries ruled by Prophet Muhammad’s descendants, the Umayyad dynasty), was the first to construct a purpose-built health institution, called the bimaristan. Derived from the Persian words ‘bimar’, meaning disease, and ‘stan’, meaning place, such institutions not only looked after the sick; they also actively pioneered diagnosis, cures and preventive medicines.
Ibn Khaldun was a scholar of history, economics, sociology, and historiography. His summary of history and particularly its introduction, the Muqaddimah, is seen by many as the basis for modern historical philosophy.
“Know that the subject of history is a noble science that can be very beneficial only if it gives us a proper understanding of:
1- Previous nations’s morals and character
2- The stories of the Prophets
3- Government and politics
For whoever embarks on the study of history, they will end up in a beneficial imitation of the mindset of previous peoples in the subjects of religion and worldly matters.
This subject is dependent on studying numerous sources, understanding diverse subjects, having the best insight and analysis, and being able to verify the truth of sources as they can deviate and be filled with mistakes. Historical research must not be dependent on bare copying of all reports. It should instead be based on an understanding of local customs, politics, the nature of civilization, and the local conditions of where humans live. You must also be able to compare primary and secondary sources, as they can help you differentiate between the truth and falsehood, helping derive conclusions that are believable and honest.”
Translation by Firas Alkhateeb.
The 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan famously stated in a piece in the New York Times in 1993,
“May I offer you the advice of the 14th century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, who said: “At the beginning of the empire, the tax rates were low and the revenues were high. At the end of the empire, the tax rates were high and the revenues were low.”
And, no, I did not personally know Ibn Khaldun, although we may have had some friends in common!”1
Although one may agree or disagree with the conservative economic policies of Ronald Reagan, there is no denying the genius of the man he is quoting – Ibn Khaldun. He was centuries ahead of his time. His monumental work, the Muqaddimah, published in 1377, is hard to categorize. All at once it is a resource on history, Islam, science, sociology, economics, politics, warfare, and philosophy. One article on the entire book would be a disservice to Ibn Khaldun and the great amount of knowledge he left for subsequent generations. Instead, this article will focus only on some of his economic ideas, which centuries later form some of the basic ideas we use in government taxation today.
No war has had as big an impact on the modern Middle East as the First World War, which lasted from 1914-1918. The war signaled the end of the Ottoman Empire, a major world power since the fifteenth century, and the final victory of Western European imperialism. In the aftermath of the war, almost the entire Muslim world was occupied by foreign forces, something that had never happened before, not during the Crusades, the Mongol invasion, or the Spanish Reconquista. One of the most important (and most debated) aspects of WWI was the revolt of the Arabs against the Ottoman Empire. Was this revolt a manifestation of overwhelming Arab resistance to the Turkish Ottoman Empire, or just a small band of warriors who did not represent Arab sentiment at large?
The fennec fox or fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Arabic word فنك (fanak), which means fox, and the species name zerda comes from the Greek word xeros which means dry, referring to the fox’s habitat. The fennec is the smallest species of canid in the world. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments. In addition, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.
The fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity. Its main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl. Families of fennecs dig out dens in sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m2 (1,292 sq ft) and adjoin the dens of other families. Precise population figures are not known but are estimated from the frequency of sightings; these indicate that the animal is currently not threatened by extinction. Knowledge of social interactions is limited to information gathered from captive animals. The species is usually assigned to the genus Vulpes; however, this is debated due to differences between the fennec fox and other fox species. The fennec’s fur is prized by the indigenous peoples of North Africa, and in some parts of the world, the animal is considered an exotic pet.