Within the context of the leading educational and enlightening role of Qatar, as well as in the context Doha the Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021, the Qatari libraries and publishing houses are playing an important role in promoting the Islamic culture and spreading knowledge locally and globally.
The libraries in the Islamic world rely on a historical legacy. In the light of Islamic civilization, the libraries were characterized by several names, including: House of Wisdom, Al-Khazana, House of Science. Libraries were the method used in the past for the dissemination of science, and when it was impossible for some to acquire books because they were expensive manuscripts, libraries were established in which books were collected, and their doors were opened to the general public. The libraries in the Islamic world were like scientific institutes in the modern era.
From this point of view, Qatar’s interest and its firm belief in science and knowledge as a basic pillar in building and developing the state was to spread knowledge not at the local level, but rather to seek to spread knowledge and Islamic sciences on wider horizons since the era of the founder Sheikh Jassim bin Muhammad bin Thani, to increase the interest after that with more than 180 libraries, including academic, governmental, specialized, school and specialized libraries, the most important of which are: Qatar National Library, Ministry of Culture and Sports Library, Al-Khansaa Library, Public Library of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, in addition to university libraries, school libraries and private libraries scattered throughout the country, then the Qatari publishing houses that came to contribute, in turn, to the dissemination of the Islamic knowledge.
Abeer Saad Al-Kuwari, Director of Research Affairs and Learning Services at Qatar National Library, confirmed to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that Qatar’s interest in spreading Islamic culture and knowledge is a historical interest.
She said: “We do not exaggerate if we say that the books in particular are the heart of any culture. This was evident in the historically consistent interest of the rulers of Qatar in libraries and books. When Sheikh Jassim bin Muhammad bin Thani (founder of Qatar) began his project for the advancement of the country, he built mosques and schools, hosted scholars, printed jurisprudence books at his expense, and he ordered to distribute it inside Qatar, and in other countries”. She pointed out that the great interest of the subsequent rulers of Qatar in science and knowledge, which was manifested in the building of many libraries in various parts of the country.
On the role of the Qatar Library in disseminating Islamic culture at present, especially in light of Doha the Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021, she explained that the heritage library represents the jewel in the Qatar National Library’s holdings of Islamic culture books, as it is filled with the holdings of the former rulers of Qatar of books in various arts and sciences and literature, especially the sciences of jurisprudence and belief.
She stressed that the library is keen to play a prominent role within the celebration of Doha the capital of culture in the Islamic world, by organizing several events, including those dealing with the history of writing the Holy Quran, its arts through different times, also the scientific applications for preserving Islamic documentary heritage, and other topics. Qatar National Library also supports the Islamic culture through its pioneering efforts in digitizing and publishing Islamic manuscripts, whether through the Qatar Digital Library or through the digital repository”.
She added :”The library has also entered into many partnerships and agreements with local authorities to enhance education and knowledge exchange, support research and studies, hone skills, organize joint events and exhibitions, and preserve Islamic cultural heritage, as well as with many regional and international agencies to obtain a digital copy of all manuscripts and documents related to Islamic culture, the most prominent of these partnerships are the British Library, in addition to memoranda of understanding with the Turkish National Library, the Ottoman Archives, the Netherlands National Library, the Dutch National Archives, the Azerbaijan National Library, the National Library of China, New York University, and the Boris Yeltsin Library The Presidential Office of Russia, the French National Library, and New York University”.
From her part, Dr. Imtenan Al-Smadi, professor of Arabic literature, said that one of the most important roles of public and private libraries is to give the new generation the opportunity to learn about the Islamic culture in a distinctive way, especially if the major events are exploited, such as Doha the capital of culture in the Islamic world 2021.
The writer Khawla Mortadawi, an academic researcher in civilization and media, head of Media and Publication Department at Qatar University, said that Qatar has a good number of public and private libraries that contain thousands of information vessels carrying the ancient Islamic heritage, which in itself is an essential and effective pillar in shaping and directing the culture of society as well.
She pointed out that this goal is achieved through libraries playing the required marketing role and preparing programs and activities, and that the concerned authorities play the greatest role in drawing the public’s attention in the great digital and media era we live in today, by designing events that mimic the spirit of the age.
In light of Doha the capital of culture in the Islamic world 2021, Mortadawi called on local libraries to pay attention in the remaining period of this year, draw the attention of the public and present interactive programs and activities that would contribute to the establishment and mobilization of Islamic culture in minds, and allow the participation of different age groups, in an informative, entertaining, dynamic way, to be the most important educational and cultural outputs to planting the foundations of Islamic culture and the heritage.
Qatari publishing houses contribute to the promotion and dissemination of Islamic culture. Dr. Talal Abdullah Al-Emadi, founding director of Qatar University Press and professor of oil and gas law, says that Qatar University publishing house is working to promote and publish books and research in many areas of knowledge. All of this contributes to the consolidation of knowledge and rational policy-making.
He added that the publishing houses in universities made it a priority to create a societal awareness that is interested in authorship, but rather its mission to create those future elites, and this was evident, for example, in Qatar University Publishing House, in diversifying publishing methods and the areas of publications concerned with publishing, which include specialized and reference books, achieving heritage, and simplified educational and cultural books that address issues of interest to wide segments of readers in society, as well as the house’s interest in the field of translation, which is a true crossing of cultures and an influential factor in the cross-fertilization of civilization.
For her part, Dr. Aisha Jassim Al-Kuwari, CEO of Rosa Publishing House, said that the house encourages the books that enrich the Islamic and Arabic library, and since its inception in 2017, it has been keen to include publications that carry religious values in an innovative way, whether for children or young adults, and it also adopts the issuance of Islamic studies. .
She added that one of the main ways to promote Islamic culture is that Doha is the capital of culture in the Islamic world 2021. The house, within the Publishers Fellowship Program, patched a partnership with the most important publishing houses in Istanbul to translate and print a number of Turkish books in Arabic, and this is one of the goals that we are keen to achieve, which is the principle cultural exchange between Islamic cities and partnership in spreading Islamic values among Muslims through translation and publication of distinguished works.
In turn, Fatima Al-Refai, director of production and distribution at Lusail Publishing House, said that the publishing houses in Qatar bear the banner of Islamic culture. She stressed that Doha is making distinguished efforts in activating and promoting the spread of culture, especially the Islamic culture, so it deserves to be the capital of culture in the Islamic world.