The Translation Movement in the Third/Ninth Century
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This chapter leads a discussion about the situation reached by the translation movement in the third/ninth century, especially in the time of Caliph al-Ma’mūn, who is considered as one of the most prominent successors of ‘Abbasid in terms of care and interest for this movement. In his era, translation reached an unprecedented stage of growth and development, whether it was at a time of his predecessors or his successors. He was able to obtain various books and manuscripts from the original in different ways, such as diplomatic missions, or sending scholars to the places of origin of these manuscripts to purchase and collect what they could find. After fulfilling all the translation requirements, this caliph was able to obtain translations of works of foreign heritage. Above all, he was able to push the translation movement forward by his supernatural sponsorship of Bayt al-Ḥikmah/the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, which was one of the most important centres of translation, authorship, and publication in the Islamic world at the time, and made his reign very worthy to be called the Golden Age. But the translation movement, characterised by great prosperity during the age of al-Ma’mūn, will be subjected to a kind of stagnation in the period between the end of the al-Ma’mūn era and the era of his successors al-Mutawakil, al-Mu‘taṣim and al-Wāthiq. Though they did not give this movement the same attention as before, this movement continued as a result of the care of people who devoted most of their time to make the translation movement flourish, especially during al-Mutawakil era.