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« on: Feb 05, 2010 08:48 AM »


Muslim inventions that shaped the modern world

London, England (CNN) -- Think of the origins of that staple of modern life, the cup of coffee, and Italy often springs to mind.

But in fact, Yemen is where the ubiquitous brew has its true origins.

Along with the first university, and even the toothbrush, it is among surprising Muslim inventions that have shaped the world we live in today.

The origins of these fundamental ideas and objects -- the basis of everything from the bicycle to musical scales -- are the focus of "1001 Inventions," a book celebrating "the forgotten" history of 1,000 years of Muslim heritage.

"There's a hole in our knowledge, we leap frog from the Renaissance to the Greeks," professor Salim al-Hassani, Chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, and editor of the book told CNN.

"1001 Inventions" is now an exhibition at London's Science Museum. Hassani hopes the exhibition will highlight the contributions of non-Western cultures -- like the Muslim empire that once covered Spain and Portugal, Southern Italy and stretched as far as parts of China -- to present day civilization.

Hospitals as we know them today, with wards and teaching centers, come from 9th century Egypt
--professor Salim al-Hassani

Here Hassani shares his top 10 outstanding Muslim inventions:

1. Surgery

Around the year 1,000, the celebrated doctor Al Zahrawi published a 1,500 page illustrated encyclopedia of surgery that was used in Europe as a medical reference for the next 500 years. Among his many inventions, Zahrawi discovered the use of dissolving cat gut to stitch wounds -- beforehand a second surgery had to be performed to remove sutures. He also reportedly performed the first caesarean operation and created the first pair of forceps.

2. Coffee

Now the Western world's drink du jour, coffee was first brewed in Yemen around the 9th century. In its earliest days, coffee helped Sufis stay up during late nights of devotion. Later brought to Cairo by a group of students, the coffee buzz soon caught on around the empire. By the 13th century it reached Turkey, but not until the 16th century did the beans start boiling in Europe, brought to Italy by a Venetian trader.

3. Flying machine

"Abbas ibn Firnas was the first person to make a real attempt to construct a flying machine and fly," said Hassani. In the 9th century he designed a winged apparatus, roughly resembling a bird costume. In his most famous trial near Cordoba in Spain, Firnas flew upward for a few moments, before falling to the ground and partially breaking his back. His designs would undoubtedly have been an inspiration for famed Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci's hundreds of years later, said Hassani.

4. University

In 859 a young princess named Fatima al-Firhi founded the first degree-granting university in Fez, Morocco. Her sister Miriam founded an adjacent mosque and together the complex became the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University. Still operating almost 1,200 years later, Hassani says he hopes the center will remind people that learning is at the core of the Islamic tradition and that the story of the al-Firhi sisters will inspire young Muslim women around the world today.

5. Algebra

The word algebra comes from the title of a Persian mathematician's famous 9th century treatise "Kitab al-Jabr Wa l-Mugabala" which translates roughly as "The Book of Reasoning and Balancing." Built on the roots of Greek and Hindu systems, the new algebraic order was a unifying system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes. The same mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, was also the first to introduce the concept of raising a number to a power.

6. Optics

"Many of the most important advances in the study of optics come from the Muslim world," says Hassani. Around the year 1000 Ibn al-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. This great Muslim physicist also discovered the camera obscura phenomenon, which explains how the eye sees images upright due to the connection between the optic nerve and the brain.

7. Music

Muslim musicians have had a profound impact on Europe, dating back to Charlemagne tried to compete with the music of Baghdad and Cordoba, according to Hassani. Among many instruments that arrived in Europe through the Middle East are the lute and the rahab, an ancestor of the violin. Modern musical scales are also said to derive from the Arabic alphabet.

8. Toothbrush

According to Hassani, the Prophet Mohammed popularized the use of the first toothbrush in around 600. Using a twig from the Meswak tree, he cleaned his teeth and freshened his breath. Substances similar to Meswak are used in modern toothpaste.

9. The crank

Many of the basics of modern automatics were first put to use in the Muslim world, including the revolutionary crank-connecting rod system. By converting rotary motion to linear motion, the crank enables the lifting of heavy objects with relative ease. This technology, discovered by Al-Jazari in the 12th century, exploded across the globe, leading to everything from the bicycle to the internal combustion engine.

10. Hospitals

"Hospitals as we know them today, with wards and teaching centers, come from 9th century Egypt," explained Hassani. The first such medical center was the Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, founded in 872 in Cairo. Tulun hospital provided free care for anyone who needed it -- a policy based on the Muslim tradition of caring for all who are sick. From Cairo, such hospitals spread around the Muslim world.

For more information on muslim inventions go to: muslimheritage.com. For more information about the exhibition at London's Science Museum go to: science museum.org.uk

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/01/29/muslim.inventions/index.html?hpt=Mid
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 05, 2010 09:03 AM »

I am going to this exhibit!! Off to London on Thursday!!! Yay!

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« Reply #2 on: Feb 05, 2010 01:34 PM »

salam

I'm so glad about this.

Will take my girls inshallah next weekend.

I'm currently reading E.H. Gombrich's a little history of the world. And up till he reaches Islam, the book is fantastic, but goodness me, his hostility towards Islam and The beloved Prophet (saw) is so evident. He refuses to acknowledge that Muslims and Islam ever invented, furthered, shaped or endorsed anything good, instead citing anything Islamic as having been copied from other countries or cultures....

It's a shame because the guy clearly knows his western history, unfortunately he also expresses his own close minded bigotted views packaged as historical events, I have found myself to be the unfortunate owner of a book which misquotes bits of the Quran to prove that Islam was spread by the sword...... he concedes that Makkah was taken with no casualties but stops short of calling it a bloodless victory, and no mention of the Islamic tenets to give charity which in effect are an amazingly good way of redistributing wealth Islam doesnt do taxation except for Zakat which is a charity and both spiritually and socially beneficial....whilst in Europe we had Kings and lords holding serfdoms which was virtual slavery in everything but name andthe serfs were not allowed to better themselves in anyway!!!!!!!

We as a nation are brilliant, we have an innovative ideology and a proud and wonderful past, perhaps if we celebrated and remembered it, we would be encouraged to better it, or at the very least meet head on what we know we can achieve inshallah.




I think it is high time, someone wrote a little history of Islam.




Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 05, 2010 09:05 PM »

Quote
I think it is high time, someone wrote a little history of Islam.

Indeed Sr. Fozia, someone needs to undertake this project.

Also, yes it is sad how some books portray Islam and/or the Prophet in such books as you are reading.

Forgive me for my childish outburst in my previous post (just excited), but as you said you are glad about this, I too, also hope that the exhibit brings our rich history to light to more people, not just fellow Muslims; so it's for that reason that I am excited about this and that hopefully, it can be a starting point for something greater maybe.

Ma'salaam

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 06, 2010 02:35 PM »

salam

Don't think your excitement was childish at all. I have the advantage of having young kids to hide behind when doing wildly indulgent things!

Guess I just feel so frustrated that a book which is actually very interesting & informative is also quite spectacularly rubbish! I liked this book dammit, till he skimmed 'the history of islam' & I use the term history of Islam very loosely as it's uninformed, inaccurate & clearly hostile. Not historical in any manner except that the author is dead!!!!


Just finished the book, turns out the author was a Jew, that was my guess when I read his views (because they are just personal views not factual in any way).




Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 26, 2010 06:52 PM »

Salaam Br's and Sr's - here is my review of the exhibit! Enjoy, please comment on the blog or here - would appreciate it!
 
http://americanbrother.blogspot.com/2010/02/1001-inventions-exhibit-review.html

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 26, 2010 07:24 PM »

Hey, a few of us went to the exhibtion too Smiley.  I've also got the book, and can't wait to start reading it insha'Allaah.  I actually saw it in a bookshop a week before we went down to the exhibtion, and my husband kindly got me it as a gift. Unfortunately I still haven't had a chance to read it yet.  The exhibtion was good but I wanted more details on certain things so I'm hoping to get that from the book. There were a few things I found that I didn't know already and it just makes you ponder why in schools they don't teach you who exactly discovered certain things, rather than giving credit to someone from the West for having made a particular 'discovery'. It was really lovely seeing so many Muslims there, wanting to find out more about our history, as well as a good number of non-Muslims. In a few parts of the exhibtion there were  reminders of of how Muslims, Christians and Jews used to teach and learn from one another, and I was hoping the non-Muslims would really take note of that and hold that in mind when crazy things happen in the world, and don't believe the hype that Muslims don't want to co-exist peacefully with them Sad

This is the exhibtion's website: http://www.1001inventions.com/.  Also, this vid might be of interest: http://www.1001inventions.com/media/video/library.

Those who are thinking of going: the exhibition is currently closed and will re-open from 13th March.  Think it's stated on their website too.

'If he woke up and had enough food for the day and shelter (a roof over his head) and he does not fear for his safety, then it is as if he has been given the dunya.'
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 26, 2010 09:46 PM »

Quote
In a few parts of the exhibtion there were  reminders of of how Muslims, Christians and Jews used to teach and learn from one another, and I was hoping the non-Muslims would really take note of that and hold that in mind when crazy things happen in the world, and don't believe the hype that Muslims don't want to co-exist peacefully with them . 

Salam Sis - aww, that is so sweet of him, ma'sha'allah. He sounds wonderful  Smiley Yes, it looks like the book has much more details. I totally agree with your point here about non-Muslims seeing the real picture of Islam and Muslims form our history.

Yes, I had looked around the site beforehand and even watched that short film with Ben Kingsley that they played at the exhibit on the big projector screen. Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well Sis - though while I was there, it was mostly non-Muslims and several school groups made their way through, quite noisily at times I might add.


Yes, I too wonder why textbooks and teachers didn't teach us and others about the discoveries Muslim inventors, scientists and doctors made. Even coffee! I mean, so many things that the modern person uses today, not to mention numbers!

Anyways, good to hear from you Sis!

Ma'salaam!
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 26, 2010 09:48 PM »

salam


My girls and I went, a fortnight ago on a Saturday, the place was filled with Muslims and non Muslims alike.

My girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves, Khadeeja mostly because she liked pressing buttons, turning cranks and listening to the explanation- no actually she wasn't so much interested in listening to explanations as she was in picking up the earpieces and pressing buttons!

I loved the presentation that Sr Salaampeaceshalom put up, we saw it too, Fatima was fascinated, my youngest not so much, she kept sighing dramatically, and going 'seen it boring'! I pretended I didn't know her!!!

The kids always love  going to the science museum, so we had a great time on the whole.

I too hope that perhaps due to this exhibition, the achievements of the Islamic world will be acknowledged. But I won't hold my breath.



Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 27, 2010 03:24 PM »

Does anybody know if this exhibit is going to travel to different cities (in different countries)?  I'd love to see it, but I can exactly pop over to London...
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 27, 2010 09:52 PM »

Sis Rahma - this is from the website, which Sr. salaampeaceshalom also linked to in her post:

The 1001 Inventions exhibition will launch at the Science Museum in London in January 2010 and remain there until the end of June 2010. It will then travel to North America.
We are finalising the tour itinerary. We can confirm that we expect to visit 30 major cities over the next four years across five continents. If you would like to know when we’ll be coming to a city near you, then please sign up to our newsletter (on our website) Twitter or Facebook page


Sis Fozia - Yeah, I saw lots of school groups coming through with even older kids that were just interested in pressing and and yanking that crank you speak of - several boys were making hte piston that was attached to the wather wheel and I think without realizing it made the wheel turn faster (at least that is what I understood it was doing) . . boys, sheesh. :-)

Aww that's cute though - little Khadeeja just pressing the buttons . .  hahhaha, you pretended not to know your daughter! Funny!

As for holding your  breather Sis - I hope that this will be at least a step in the right direction, so at least maybe our grandchildren or those beyond will see a day when we are given credit and with our numbers growing, I think those future generations should make a point of making sure it happens.


Also, if you are interested in a review with pictures, check mine out - link above in my earlier comment! hehe Shameless self-promotion

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« Reply #11 on: Feb 28, 2010 06:33 AM »


as salaamu alaykum,

Quote
5. Algebra
lol - reminds me of a Daily Show clip on President Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, and how he began by acknowledging all these Muslim contributions to the modern world including Algebra... and Jon Stewart was like 'Algebra?!! Algebra!? thanks Muslm world for making high school students lives that much more torturous" lol or something to that effect

Quote
6. Optics

I still remember my European History teacher in highschool saying that Muslims in the Muslim world were performing these complex, sophisticated eye surgeries at a time when Europeans were still drilling holes in people's heads to let out the 'evil spirits' (the dark ages!)
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 01, 2010 02:26 PM »

Thanks, brother.  I swear I looked all over that website and didn't find what you did...
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 25, 2010 07:29 AM »

Just watched this cute little video that goes with this exhibition I think!!! Excellent work! -- J.

===================================

Assalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

If you haven't seen this yet...I highly recommend...if you have kids, you need to show it to them!  Ben Kingsley, impressive as usual, Masha Allah!  It's basically talking about what is commonly known as the "Dark Ages" which should really be renamed (according to the movie) as the "Golden Ages".





Oscar-winning actor and screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley has taken the starring role in a short feature film about the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation. The mini-movie, entitled 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, accompanies a global touring exhibition that this currently open to the public at the Science Museum in London


Arabic subtitles version:

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« Reply #14 on: Jan 16, 2011 03:41 PM »

Hey Sis Jannah - Don't know if you knew this, but the exhibit is now open in New York!

http://www.1001inventions.com/newyork


1001 Inventions is now open at the New York Hall of Science till April 2011.
The 1001 Inventions exhibition continues its global tour and takes its US bow at the prestigious New York Hall of Science in Queens. Launching in early December, 2010 and showcasing for five months, we expect to see over half a million visitors from all over New York descending on this eye-opening spectacle.


© Robin Fox
Hot on the heels of the record-breaking residency at the London Science Museum and Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square, New York is the first US city 1001 Inventions will be exhibiting at. The exhibition will remain in the US for at least 3 years taking in many states and prestigious venues across the continent.
The New York Hall of Science is ideal as the first venue to host the 1001 Inventions exhibition and was chosen due to its status as New York City's only hands-on science and technology centre. Since 1986, NYSCI has served more than five million children, parents and teachers. NYSCI's mission is to convey the excitement and understanding of science and technology to children, families, teachers and others by galvanizing their curiosity and offering them creative, participatory ways to learn.


7 December 2010, New York — The record-breaking 1001 Inventions exhibition has landed in North America at the world renowned New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and has already attracted several thousand visitors on its US debut. The exhibition’s US premiere was highly anticipated after it enjoyed blockbuster runs in both London and Istanbul, attracting 400,000 people in each city and thousands have already visited the attraction.
The 1001 Inventions exhibition, which highlights the scientific legacy of Muslim civilization in our modern age, made its United States debut at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) on the 4th of December 2010 at a special event attended by local media, academics and philanthropists, including Mohammed Jameel, patron of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI).



1001 Inventions reveals the forgotten history of men and women of many different faiths and backgrounds whose contributions to the advancement of scholarship and technology during the Middle Ages helped pave the way for the European Renaissance. This period of history from the 7th through 17th centuries is commonly–though, often erroneously—referred to as the “Dark Ages.”
At the launch event, Dr. Margaret Honey, President and CEO of NYSCI, said: “Science is a universal language that has a unique power to pull people together. This exhibition reveals fascinating bits of history and a shared scientific inheritance. 1001 Inventions is about scholarship, inspiration and discovery among men and women from many cultures, making NYSCI an ideal venue for the U.S. debut — a hands-on science and technology centre in the most diverse city in the country.” Dr. Honey also thanked the 1001 Inventions project and its sponsor ALJCI for opening the exhibition’s US tour at NYSCI.



Professor Salim Al-Hassani, Chairman of 1001 Inventions, said, “The New York Hall of Science is the first U.S. venue to host this global exhibition. We’re privileged to be working with such an accomplished and respected educational institution. The 1001 Inventions exhibition has had phenomenal success in London and Istanbul, with audiences of more than 400,000 people visiting the exhibition in each city. The number of visitors for the New York residency is already in the thousands and we’re aiming to reach hundreds of thousands more during the US leg of our world tour.”
The 1001 Inventions exhibition at NYSCI runs from the 4th of December 2010 to the 24th of April 2011. Admission to 1001 Inventions is free with regular NYSCI admission ($11 adults, $8 children and seniors.)
 

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