AN AMAZING FACT:  Abdul Kassem Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the 10th century, traveled with his entire library, carried on the backs of 400 camels.

During the Middle Ages, an Arab invasion into Iran resulted in sweeping changes to Persian life and culture. But some Iranian groups resisted Arabic influence and eventually regained their independence, launching a revival of Iranian national identity and culture that peaked during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Part of this cultural movement was the development of Persian literature, keeping the Persian language alive and securing its place as an important Indo-European language. Persian remains Iran’s official language today. After the 10th century, Persian literature played a formative role in Muslim civilization.

Around this time, Abdul Kassem Ismael (A.D. 938 to 995) became Grand Vizier of Persia. Legend has it that the avid reader was so enthralled with literature and learning that he never left home without his personal library. The 400-camel caravan carried 117,000 books and must have been more than a mile long! Nevertheless, Ismael’s camel-drivers were also librarians, each responsible for the books on his camel, and could locate any book almost immediately because the animals were trained to walk in alphabetical order.

The Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10) and “knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). We may, like Ismael, pursue all the knowledge of the Lord. But Paul says that if we don’t have love, we are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2). John says that when we know God, we love. (1 John 4:7, 8) True wisdom—a knowledge of God—will result in His love being embodied in us. Until then, our knowledge means nothing.


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  - 1 Corinthians 13:2