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Muslim inventors who changed the world!

There was a time when Muslim scientists were known for their inventions. However later they distance themselves from science and technology. When Shahjahan was spending people’s treasure on building Taj Mahal the others were spending their time and energy on science and technology. Thus Muslims today lagged behind in every field.

Here is a list of some Islamic inventors changed the world:

An Arab named Khalid discovered coffee. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. He worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room).

A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. He created the first parachute. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules.

In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi’s book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses.

The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

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