8. The sciences are numerous only where civilization is

large and sedentary culture highly developed.63



The reason for this is that scientific instruction, as we have just stated, is one of the crafts. We have also stated before that the crafts are numerous only in cities. The quality and the number of the crafts depend on the greater or lesser extent of civilization in the cities and on the sedentary culture and luxury they enjoy, because (highly developed crafts) are something additional to just making a living. When civilized people have more labor available than they need for mere subsistence, such (surplus) labor is used for activities over and above making a living.64 These activities are man's prerogative. They are the sciences and the crafts.

People who grow up in villages and uncivilized (thinly populated) cities and who have an innate desire for scientific activity, cannot find scientific instruction in those places. For scientific instruction is something technical, and there are no crafts among the inhabitants of the desert, as we have stated before.65 These people, therefore, must travel and seek scientific instruction in cities where (civilization) is highly developed, as is the case with all crafts.

This may be exemplified by our previous statements 66 concerning Baghdad, Cordoba, al-Qayrawan, al-Basrah, and al-Kufah. At the beginning of Islam, the civilizations (populations) were large, and sedentary culture existed in them. The sciences were then greatly cultivated there, and the people were widely versed in the various technical terminologies of scientific instruction, in the different kinds of sciences, and in posing problems and (inventing new) disciplines. They exceeded (all) who had come before them and surpassed (all) who came after them. But when the civilization of those cities decreased and their inhabitants were dispersed, the picture was completely reversed. Science and scientific instruction no longer existed in those cities, but were transplanted to other Muslim cities.

We, at this time, notice that science and scientific instruction exist in Cairo in Egypt, because the civilization of (Egypt) is greatly developed and its sedentary culture has been well established for thousands of years. Therefore, the crafts are firmly established there and exist in many varieties. One of them is scientific instruction. This (state of affairs) has been strengthened and preserved in Egypt by the events of the last two hundred years under the Turkish dynasty, from the days of Salah-ad-din b. Ayyub on. This is because the Turkish amirs under the Turkish dynasty were afraid that their ruler might proceed against the descendants they would leave behind, in as much as they were his slaves or clients, and because chicanery and confiscation are always to be feared from royal authority. Therefore, they built a great many colleges, hermitages, and monasteries,67 and endowed them with mortmain endowments that yielded income. They saw to it that their children would participate in these en­dowments, either as administrators or by having some other share in them. (This was their intention) in addition to the fact that they were inclined to do good deeds and hoped for (a heavenly) reward for their aspirations and actions. As a consequence, mortmain endowments became numerous, and the income and profit (from them) increased. Students and teachers increased in numbers, because a large number of stipends became available from the endowments. People traveled to Egypt from the `Iraq and the Maghrib in quest of knowledge. Thus, the sciences were very much in demand and greatly cultivated there.68

"God creates whatever He wishes." 69