Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883): Al-Andalus Historian from the Netherlands

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883): Al-Andalus Historian from the Netherlands

Article excerpt


This article presents a biography of a Dutch historian, Reinhart Dozy and discusses his authority as a scholar of al-Andalus history. Standing among great Orientalists of the 19th century, Dozy studied Islamic history and civilization and wrote books on them. His scholarship is evident in his works and articles encompassing the fields of history and literature. The objective of this study was to showcase his background and his authority as a scholarly figure on the history and civilization of al-Andalus. A qualitative study approach was employed via historical study and content analysis methods by analyzing primary and contemporary sources. This study argues that Dozy was a meticulous historian who carefully selected his sources of reference in writing his works. In fact, his works attained recognition of other Western Orientalist scholars apart from being reference for researchers of the Islamic history and civilization, in particular the Islamic history and civilization in al-Andalus.

Keywords: Reinhart Dozy, Dutch orientalist, historian, al-Andalus

1. Introduction

The Islamic history and civilization in al-Andalus were among the most interesting history of Islam, often becoming a point of attraction of historians, Muslims and Western alike, because it was the first site of an Islamic government in Europe. The arrival of the Muslim army to al-Andalus was on the invitation of Julian, the governor of Cueta, to topple the Visigoth ruler, King Roderick in 711AD, consequently enabling the expansion of the Muslim territory into the Iberian Peninsula until 1492AD. The uniqueness and the distinction of the civilization of al-Andalus can be observed politically and intellectually with brilliant innovations during the Islamic rule. Islamic politics in al-Andalus was unique in the sense that its leadership frequently changed from one to another and that it had to endure confrontation from the Christians of northern Iberian Peninsula. The political aspect of al-Andalus has been studied by many historians including its interaction with Muslim kingdoms of North Africa (Jamsari, 2006; Jamsari, Ashari, Kamaruzaman, & Sulaiman, 2012; Jamsari, Ashari, Sidik, & Nor, 2012). Intellectually, Andalusian rapid progress was so evident that ideas and thoughts in Islamic world reached Europe. Many aspects of progress in al-Andalus have been studied by numerous researchers, such as economic progress (Yusuf & Jamsari, 2013), women's contribution to Andalusian civilization (Sidik, Arshad, & Abu Bakar, 2013) and good governance (Jamsari, Sulaiman, Jusoff, Yaakub, Mujani, Wan Hussain, Zainol, & Ashari, 2011). Meanwhile, the long list of Muslim technological innovations requires no special mention here. Suffice to say that the innovations have far reaching effects such as the invention of surgical tools by al-Zahrawi and the flying device by Ibn Firnas, just to name a few (Amr & Tbakhi, 2007; Jamsari, Mohd Nawi, Sulaiman, Sidik, Zaidi, & Ashari, 2013).

It is no wonder that the history and civilization of Andalusians have always been the focus of attention of many Muslim and Western historians. Among the Muslim historians who studied Islamic history of al-Andalus were al-Dabbi (d.599AH/1024AD), Ibn Faradi (d.430AH/1013AD), Ibn Hayyan (d.469AH/1076AD), Ibn al-Khatib (d.776AH/1374AD) and Ibn al-Qutiyyah (d.367AH/779AD). Famous Western historians included Jose Antonio Conde (1765-1820AD), Pascual de Gayangos (1809-1897AD), Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883AD), Evariste Levi-Provencal (1894-1956AD) and Jose Millas Vallicrosa (1897-1970AD). Much had been written by them on the history of al-Andalus concerning its political, social, economic, intellectual and civilizational aspects. Reinhart Dozy was among the most prolific Orientalist historians whose authorship of many works on the Islamic history in al-Andalus is recognized by historians, Muslim and Western alike.

This article presents a study on Reinhart Dozy as a scholarly figure. …

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