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It is becoming clear to many in the west that during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus and Cordoba took on the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India and China, developing what we would call "modern" science. New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture.

Muslim scientists and inventors, including Arabs, Persians and Turks, were probably hundreds of years ahead of their counterparts in the European Middle Ages. They drew influence from Aristotelian philosophy and Neo-Platonists, as well as Euclid, Archimedes, Ptolemy and others. The Muslims made innumerable discoveries and wrote countless books about medicine, surgery, physics, chemistry, philosophy, astrology, geometry and various other fields.

Today’s article discusses the most famous wonderful inventions by the Muslim's inventors.

Algebra

While many secondary school students struggling through math classes may not particularly appreciate the importance of algebra, it is one of the most important contributions of the Muslim Golden Age to the modern world. It was developed by the great scientist and mathematician, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi, who lived from 780 to 850 in Persia and Iraq.

In his monumental book, Al-Kitab al-mukhtaṣar fi ḥisab al-jabr wa-l-muqabala (English: The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing), he set forth the basic principles of algebraic equations. The name of the book itself contains the word “al-jabr”, meaning “completion”, from which the Latin word algebra is derived. In the book, al-Khawarizmi explains how to use algebraic equations with unknown variables to solve real-world problems such as zakat calculation and inheritance division. A unique aspect of his reasoning for developing algebra is the desire to make calculations mandated by Islamic law easier to complete in a world without calculators and computers.

Al-Khawarizimi’s books were translated into Latin in Europe in the 1000s and 1100s, where he was known as Algoritmi (the word algorithm is based on his name and his mathematical works). Without his work in developing algebra, modern practical applications of math, such as engineering, would not be possible. His works were used as math textbooks in European universities for hundreds of years after his death.

Surgery

If we journeyed back into the 10th century, we could look over the shoulder of a cutting-edge surgion called Abul Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbad al-Zahrawi, a man known in the West as Abulcasis. He wrote al-Tadrif, his medical encyclopedia which included a treatise called “On Surgery”. This held a staggering collection of over two hundred surgical tools. Using instruments for surgery was a revolutionary concept because it enabled science to change from being speculative to something experimental. This was the first treatise in the history of medicine to illustrate the use of surgical instruments. In fact, their design was so accurate that they have had only a few changes in a millennium.

He also invented methods for surgically treating diseases of the urethra, the ear and the esophagus, and was the first person to describe an ectopic pregnancy. So great was his influence that he was still being quoted by leading European physicians in the 16th century. His ideas shaped modern surgery. It were these illustrations that laid the foundations for surgery in Europe.

Optics

"Many of the most important advances in the study of optics come from the Muslim world," says Hassani. Around the year 1000 Ibn-Haitham proved that humans see objects by light reflecting off of them and entering the eye, dismissing Euclid and Ptolemy's theories that light was emitted from the eye itself.

Ibn al-Haitham revolutionized optics, taking the subject from one being discussed philosophically to an actual science based on experiments. He rejected the Greek idea that an invisible light emitting from the eye caused sight, and instead rightly stated that vision was caused by light reflecting off an object and entering the eye.

By using a dark room with a pinhole on one side and a white sheet on the other, he provided the evidence for his theory. Light came through the hole and projected an inverted image of the objects outside the room on the sheet opposite. He called this the “qamara”. It was the world’s first camera obscura.

Cleanliness

A Muslim’s faith is based on purity and cleanliness, whether it is in its physical or spiritual form. In the Islamic world of the 10th century, the products found in bathroom cabinets and hygiene practices could compete with those we have today. In the 13th century, the same engineer, al-Jazari, wrote a book describing mechanical devices, including “wudhu” machines. This machine was mobile, and it was brought in front of a guest. The guest would then tap the head and water would ensue in eight short bursts, providing enough water for ablution. This method also conserved water.

Muslims wanted to be really clean and not just splash themselves with water, so they made soap by mixing oil (usually olive oil) with “al-qali”, a salt-like substance. This was then boiled to achieve the right mix, left to harden and used in the hammams, the bath houses.

Al-Kindi also wrote a book on perfumes called “Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations”. He was best known as a philosopher, but was also a pharmacist, ophthalmologist, physicist, mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and chemist. His book contained more than a hundred recipes for fragnant oils, salves and aromatic waters. The centruries-old tradition of perfume-making was all made possible by Muslim chemists and their methods of distillation: they distilled plants and flowers and made perfumes and substances for therapeutic pharmacy.

Crank-shaft

The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

In conclusion, the Muslim Worlds in the medieval centuries were well shining with knowledge, glory and great achievements in different branches of science. The stated is just an epitome of contribution of Islamic scholars that shaped the modern world. This is Muslim Worlds in the medieval centuries were well shining with knowledge, glory and great achievements in different branches of science.

References:

1 . http://mvslim.com/10-things-you-use-every-day-that-are-invented-by-muslims/

2 . https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/most-famous-muslim-scientists-inventions-ahmad-sanusi-husain

3 . http://islam.ru/en/content/story/5-muslim-inventions-changed-world

4 . https://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/feb/01/islamic-science

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