Published On: Fri, Feb 5th, 2016

11 Inventions that relate to Muslims



Contemporary era considered as modern because of new inventions but a very few knows that these were invented by Muslims in the past. From algebra to life-saving surgeries, here’s a look at the remarkable contribution by Muslims.

  1. Coffee

This daily essential was made by Muslims which was invented in Yemen in the 9th century. This was first employed by Sufis because they needed the caffeine to wake at late nights for worship. After Yemen, it traveled to Cairo and then extended across the empire. Until the 16th century it was unknown by the other world then a Venetian trader brought coffee beans to Italy, that Europe caught up.

  1. Hospitals

Professor Salim al-Hassani, Chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation and editor of book 1001 inventions, said in an interview that “Hospitals as we know them today, with wards and teaching centers, come from 9th century Egypt.” Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital was the initial medical centre which was launched in 872 in Cairo and its aim was to give free medical help to everyone who required it.

  1. Toothbrush

The toothbrush was derived from miswak and it was used by Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) to clean his teeth and freshen his breath with.

Hassani told that the Prophet (pbuh) used a twig from the miswak tree for his dental hygiene, and matters akin to miswak are yet employed to make contemporary day toothpaste.

  1. Algebra

Some people like and some don’t like it but since its introduction, it has helped scientists all across the globe.

Persian mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, developed the modern day algebra. He has initially launched the concept of raising a number to a power.

  1. University

Fatima al-Firhi, who was the Muslim princess, first founded the degree-granting university in Fez, Morocco in 859 CE. It was basically a madrasa which is currently recognized as the University of Qarawiyyin. After 1,200 years this university is still running and Hassani expects that this will carry on to stir juvenile women across the globe. Sometimes it is called as the “world’s oldest university”.

  1. Medicine

1000 years before, al-Zahrawi, who was an Arab physician and surgeon, cited a 1,500 page demonstrated encyclopedia of surgery and Europe employed it as a reference almost for five centuries.

Al-Zahrawi invented the initial duo of forceps, and also performed the initial cesarean operation.

  1. Musical instruments

Muslims have invented many musical instruments and reached Europe from the Middle East. The lute and rubab, which are the ancestor of the violin and the guitar, were invented by Muslims.

  1. Optics

Hassani claims, “Many of the most important advances in the study of optics come from the Muslim world.”

Ibn al-Haitham negated theories of Euclid and Ptolemy before 1001 years which asserted that light was released from our eyes in the way for us to see.

His theory later helped in developing the camera and discovered the connection amid the optic nerve and the brain.

  1. Flying

Hassani also told that “Abbas ibn Firnas was the first person to make a real attempt to construct a flying machine and fly,” in the 9th century he developed winged apparatus which looked like a bird and Firnas and Leonardo Da Vinci inspired by his flying machine designs.

  1. Carpet weaving

In the 2nd-3rd BC, Muslims have weaving skills which resulted in carpet weaving. Medieval Muslims believed that carpets were a part of Paradise.

  1. Fountain Pen

In 953, a pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt that prevents the leaking on his hands and clothes.

About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.

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