Published On: Sun, Oct 11th, 2015

10 inventions made by Muslims that changed the world


First of all I would like to say before even I begin this list is that this list is based on the inventions which were brought by during the Golden Age of Islam. Islam is a religion, a peaceful one – of course. But I do not want to discuss its basic tenants and rather to point out what this religion produced during its time in this world so far.
The inventions that were made during the Golden Age of Islam is countless and you clearly cannot just put it simply in a countdown list like this, in fact there’s a book entitled “1001 Inventions During the Enduring Muslim Legacy” where it goes much more in depth with the technologies and advancements that Islam produced.



I am also dividing this countdown in 3 parts; Science, Education, and Home.

Now, let’s get down the list and begin.


1. Fine Dining & Three course Meals.

Yes, Muslims did reinvent the idea of fine dining and three course meals. Thanks to a man by the name of Abdul-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Nafi, his nickname Ziryab, “the Blackbird,” because of his beautiful voice and dark complexion. He was the person who introduced the world to the concept of three course meals into Europe. He said meals should start with soup, followed by a main course of proteins (fish, meat, or fowl) and finish it off with fruits and nuts.


2. Music

Yes, MUSIC! I know it’s shocking to hear, but Muslims really did and still do enjoy Music and expanded the idea and flow of musical instruments and academies throughout the world. Al Kindi in the 9th century named the notes of a musical scale with syllables instead of letters, called solemnization. These syllables are what we are familiar to what we use today and are the basics of music.


3. Hygiene

With some of the stereotypes of Islam is that Muslims are barbaric and dirty, that is completely the opposite and Islam promoted the idea of cleanliness and that is also mandatory. Muslims made soap by mixing oil with al-qali (a salt like substance) that was left to boil and then left to harden, which is now referred to the modern day ‘soap’. A man by the name of Al-Zahrawi, a famous physician and surgeon who focused on the care and beautification of hair and skin, dental care with your teeth and gums. He also included nasal sprays, mouthwashes, hand creams, and perfumed sticks which were rolled and pressed in special molds like today’s deodorants. Oh, the list goes on!



An illustration of how the Muslim scientists discovered optics and the camera.

4. Clocks, cameras, and vision.

There would be no selfies without the advancements made by the Muslims. The 9th century polymath Al-Kindi made the unbelievable basics regarding modern day optics. Clocks are very important in our daily life, they help us keep track of time, but thanks to an engineer named Al-Jazari he made it possible for clocks to be in almost everything we own.


Related: 10 of the most inspiring and remarkable Muslim women in history

5. Fashion & Style

The BlackBird who I referred previously regarding fine dining & three course meals not only is credited to that, but also to Fashion and Style. He had such a great and stylish reputation that he loved to come up with new trends in his time. He brought ideas of hairstyle, clothing trends, and much more!



This is the oldest university in the world, University of al-Qarawiyyin.

This is the oldest university in the world, University of al-Qarawiyyin.

6. Universities & Schools

Plain and simple, Harvard and Oxford are have nothing on the long and enduring legacy which the Muslims back a thousand years ago came up with. In the time of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the mosque was the school. The mosque in his time and even after was the focal point of the community and served many purposes, including education. It was later that the community started growing and the idea of universities was needed & essential. ‘University’ in Arabic is Jami’ah. Al-Azhar University in Egypt which was founded over 1030 years ago! University of al-Qarawiyyin, it is the oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding educational institution in the world according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records and is sometimes referred to as the oldest university. Not only that, it was founded by a woman named Fatima al- Fihri.



7. Translating knowledge

With all these inventions being brought about during this time it’s no wonder how they all came. From the 8th to 13th century the Muslim scholars were advised to go out and find all of the books they could find from the Ancient learning. Putting it in easy terms; they found old books, translated them to Arabic, found the data & knowledge, verified it if it made sense, then came up with the advancements needed.


A stamp issued September 6, 1983 in the Soviet Union, commemorating al-Khwārizmī's (approximate) 1200th birthday.

A stamp issued September 6, 1983 in the Soviet Union, commemorating al-Khwārizmī’s (approximate) 1200th birthday.

8. Mathematics

This is an easy one. Al-Khwarizmi is the one who made math easy for generations to come and transformed a dull language into a universal language which made room for modern advancements into our modern day world. He came up with the idea of Algebra. Before Algebra, math was difficult to understand and to process by the common man, but Algebra changed it and simplified mathematics and the same time making it advance enough for upcoming technologies.

A page from  al-Khwārizmī's book discussing algebra.

A page from al-Khwārizmī’s book discussing algebra.




9. Fundamentals of Chemistry

Jabir ibn Hayyan or known by the West as Geber, is by unanimous consensus the founder of Chemistry. He is the one who devised and perfected sublimation, liquefaction, crystallization, distillation, purification, amalgamation, oxidation, evaporation & filtration.


10. Astronomy

This one is an easy one, I mean the Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar. With this being said- the Muslim scholars which were many helped in the field of astronomy. Al- Battani was one man among many scholars who made breakthroughs in astronomy that it is difficult to imagine if he never came up with the observations he did. His works made conclusions for: the timing of the new moons, calculation of the length of the solar and side real year, the prediction of eclipses, and the phenomenon of parallax. Al-Biruni is credited with his work by finding the different phases of the moon and much more.

An illustration from al-Biruni's astronomical works, explains the different phases of the moon.

An illustration from al-Biruni’s astronomical works, explains the different phases of the moon.


All of these inventions and advancements that I mentioned are just fragments of what the Golden Age of Islam left for the world.


About the Author

- 10 inventions made by muslims that changed the world' and '10 of the most inpsiring and remarkable muslim women in history'