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    Default Islam centuries ahead of the world

    How Muslim inventors changed the world

    By Paul Vallely

    From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we in the West take for granted. Here are 20 of their most influential innovations:

    (1) The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry.

    He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Makkah and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645.

    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".

    (2) The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. Thefirst person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham.

    He invented the first pin-hole cameraafter noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word "qamara" for a dark or private room).

    He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

    (3) A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe — where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century — and eastward as far as Japan. The word "rook" comes from the Persian "rukh", which means chariot.

    (4) 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. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts.

    He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries.

    In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing — concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

    (5) Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why theyperfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade.

    But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash.

    Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

    (6) Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today— liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration.

    As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

    (7) 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 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206) 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.

    (8) Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China.

    However, it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders' metal armour and was an effective form of insulation — so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

    (9) The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings.

    Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's — with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. The architect of Henry V's castle was a Muslim.

    (10) 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. Muslim doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

    (11) The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

    (12) The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

    (13) The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

    (14) 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.

    (15) 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 (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas).

    (16) Carpets were regarded as part of paradise by mediaeval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art.

    In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

    (17) 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.

    (18) By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo.

    The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40, 253.4km — less than 200km out. Al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

    (19) Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders.

    By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo — a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

    (20) Mediaeval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

    Last edited by Muslim; Mar-21-2010 at 09:51 AM.

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    Last edited by Muslim; Mar-21-2010 at 09:49 AM.

    “Say: O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (39:53)

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    Setting the Record Straight: The Miracle of Islamic Science

    Excerpted from: Appendix B of 'The Miracle of Islamic Science' by Dr. K. Ajram, Copyright © 1992

    The concept that the sciences are exclusively the products of Western minds remains unquestioned by most individuals. A review of any of the standard texts or encyclopedias regarding the history of science would support this view. As these books are perused, it becomes evident that the only contributors given significant mention are Europeans and/or Americans. It is hardly necessary to repeat the oft-mentioned names: Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Newton, Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, etc. The unavoidable conclusion is that major contributions to the development of the modern sciences by other cultures is minimal. Most texts give little or no mention of the advancements made by ancient Indian, Chinese or, particularly, Muslim scholars.

    Western civilization has made invaluable contributions to the development of the sciences. However, so have numerous other cultures. Unfortunately, Westerners have long been credited with discoveries made many centuries before by Islamic scholars. Thus, many of the basic sciences were invented by non-Europeans. For instance, George Sarton states that modern Western medicine did not originate from Europe and that it actually arose from the (Islamic) orient.

    The data in this section concerning dates, names and topics of Western advances has been derived from three main sources: World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica and Isaac Asimov's 700 page book, Chronology of Science and Discovery. Supportive data for the accomplishments of Islamic scholars is derived from the miscellaneous references listed in the bibliography of this book.

    What is Taught: The first mention of man in flight was by Roger Bacon, who drew a flying apparatus. Leonardo da Vinci also conceived of airborne transport and drew several prototypes.

    What Should be Taught: Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain invented, constructed and tested a flying machine in the 800's A.D. Roger Bacon learned of flying machines from Arabic references to Ibn Firnas' machine. The latter's invention antedates Bacon by 500 years and Da Vinci by some 700 years.

    What is Taught: Glass mirrors were first produced in 1291 in Venice.

    What Should be Taught: Glass mirrors were in use in Islamic Spain as early as the 11th century. The Venetians learned of the art of fine glass production from Syrian artisans during the 9th and 10th centuries.

    What is Taught: Until the 14th century, the only type of clock available was the water clock. In 1335, a large mechanical clock was erected in Milan, Italy. This was possibly the first weight-driven clock.

    What Should be Taught: A variety of mechanical clocks were produced by Spanish Muslim engineers, both large and small, and this knowledge was transmitted to Europe through Latin translations of Islamic books on mechanics. These clocks were weight-driven. Designs and illustrations of epi-cyclic and segmental gears were provided. One such clock included a mercury escapement. The latter type was directly copied by Europeans during the 15th century. In addition, during the 9th century, Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain, according to Will Durant, invented a watch-like device which kept accurate time. The Muslims also constructed a variety of highly accurate astronomical clocks for use in their observatories.

    What is Taught: In the 17th century, the pendulum was developed by Galileo during his teenage years. He noticed a chandelier swaying as it was being blown by the wind. As a result, he went home and invented the pendulum.

    What Should be Taught: The pendulum was discovered by Ibn Yunus al-Masri during the 10th century, who was the first to study and document its oscillatory motion. Its value for use in clocks was introduced by Muslim physicists during the 15th century.

    What is Taught: Movable type and the printing press was invented in the West by Johannes Gutenberg of Germany during the 15th century.

    What Should be Taught: In 1454, Gutenberg developed the most sophisticated printing press of the Middle Ages. However, movable brass type was in use in Islamic Spain 100 years prior, and that is where the West's first printing devices were made.

    What is Taught: Isaac Newton's 17th century study of lenses, light and prisms forms the foundation of the modern science of optics.

    What Should be Taught: In the 1lth century al-Haytham determined virtually everything that Newton advanced regarding optics centuries prior and is regarded by numerous authorities as the "founder of optics. " There is little doubt that Newton was influenced by him. Al-Haytham was the most quoted physicist of the Middle Ages. His works were utilized and quoted by a greater number of European scholars during the 16th and 17th centuries than those of Newton and Galileo combined.

    What is Taught: Isaac Newton, during the 17th century, discovered that white light consists of various rays of colored light.

    What Should be Taught: This discovery was made in its entirety by al-Haytham (1lth century) and Kamal ad-Din (14th century). Newton did make original discoveries, but this was not one of them.

    What is Taught: The concept of the finite nature of matter was first introduced by Antione Lavoisier during the 18th century. He discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same. Thus, for instance, if water is heated to steam, if salt is dissolved in water or if a piece of wood is burned to ashes, the total mass remains unchanged.

    What Should be Taught: The principles of this discovery were elaborated centuries before by Islamic Persia's great scholar, al-Biruni (d. 1050). Lavoisier was a disciple of the Muslim chemists and physicists and referred to their books frequently.

    What is Taught: The Greeks were the developers of trigonometry.

    What Should be Taught: Trigonometry remained largely a theoretical science among the Greeks. It was developed to a level of modern perfection by Muslim scholars, although the weight of the credit must be given to al-Battani. The words describing the basic functions of this science, sine, cosine and tangent, are all derived from Arabic terms. Thus, original contributions by the Greeks in trigonometry were minimal.

    What is Taught: The use of decimal fractions in mathematics was first developed by a Dutchman, Simon Stevin, in 1589. He helped advance the mathematical sciences by replacing the cumbersome fractions, for instance, 1/2, with decimal fractions, for example, 0.5.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians were the first to utilize decimals instead of fractions on a large scale. Al-Kashi's book, Key to Arithmetic, was written at the beginning of the 15th century and was the stimulus for the systematic application of decimals to whole numbers and fractions thereof. It is highly probably that Stevin imported the idea to Europe from al-Kashi's work.

    What is Taught: The first man to utilize algebraic symbols was the French mathematician, Francois Vieta. In 1591, he wrote an algebra book describing equations with letters such as the now familiar x and y's. Asimov says that this discovery had an impact similar to the progression from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians, the inventors of algebra, introduced the concept of using letters for unknown variables in equations as early as the 9th century A.D. Through this system, they solved a variety of complex equations, including quadratic and cubic equations. They used symbols to develop and perfect the binomial theorem.

    What is Taught: The difficult cubic equations (x to the third power) remained unsolved until the 16th century when Niccolo Tartaglia, an Italian mathematician, solved them.

    What Should be Taught: Cubic equations as well as numerous equations of even higher degrees were solved with ease by Muslim mathematicians as early as the 10th century.

    What is Taught: The concept that numbers could be less than zero, that is negative numbers, was unknown until 1545 when Geronimo Cardano introduced the idea.

    What Should he Taught: Muslim mathematicians introduced negative numbers for use in a variety of arithmetic functions at least 400 years prior to Cardano.

    What is Taught: In 1614, John Napier invented logarithms and logarithmic tables.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians invented logarithms and produced logarithmic tables several centuries prior. Such tables were common in the Islamic world as early as the 13th century.

    What is Taught: During the 17th century Rene Descartes made the discovery that algebra could be used to solve geometrical problems. By this, he greatly advanced the science of geometry.

    What Should be Taught: Mathematicians of the Islamic Empire accomplished precisely this as early as the 9th century A.D. Thabit bin Qurrah was the first to do so, and he was followed by Abu'l Wafa, whose 10th century book utilized algebra to advance geometry into an exact and simplified science.

    What is Taught: Isaac Newton, during the 17th century, developed the binomial theorem, which is a crucial component for the study of algebra.

    What Should be Taught: Hundreds of Muslim mathematicians utilized and perfected the binomial theorem. They initiated its use for the systematic solution of algebraic problems during the 10th century (or prior).

    What is Taught: No improvement had been made in the astronomy of the ancients during the Middle Ages regarding the motion of planets until the 13th century. Then Alphonso the Wise of Castile (Middle Spain) invented the Aphonsine Tables, which were more accurate than Ptolemy's.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim astronomers made numerous improvements upon Ptolemy's findings as early as the 9th century. They were the first astronomers to dispute his archaic ideas. In their critic of the Greeks, they synthesized proof that the sun is the center of the solar system and that the orbits of the earth and other planets might be elliptical. They produced hundreds of highly accurate astronomical tables and star charts. Many of their calculations are so precise that they are regarded as contemporary. The AlphonsineTables are little more than copies of works on astronomy transmitted to Europe via Islamic Spain, i.e. the Toledo Tables.

    What is Taught: The English scholar Roger Bacon (d. 1292) first mentioned glass lenses for improving vision. At nearly the same time, eyeglasses could be found in use both in China and Europe.

    What Should be Taught: Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain invented eyeglasses during the 9th century, and they were manufactured and sold throughout Spain for over two centuries. Any mention of eyeglasses by Roger Bacon was simply a regurgitation of the work of al-Haytham (d. 1039), whose research Bacon frequently referred to.

    What is Taught: Gunpowder was developed in the Western world as a result of Roger Bacon's work in 1242. The first usage of gunpowder in weapons was when the Chinese fired it from bamboo shoots in attempt to frighten Mongol conquerors. They produced it by adding sulfur and charcoal to saltpeter.

    What Should be Taught: The Chinese developed saltpeter for use in fireworks and knew of no tactical military use for gunpowder, nor did they invent its formula. Research by Reinuad and Fave have clearly shown that gunpowder was formulated initially by Muslim chemists. Further, these historians claim that the Muslims developed the first fire-arms. Notably, Muslim armies used grenades and other weapons in their defence of Algericus against the Franks during the 14th century. Jean Mathes indicates that the Muslim rulers had stock-piles of grenades, rifles, crude cannons, incendiary devices, sulfur bombs and pistols decades before such devices were used in Europe. The first mention of a cannon was in an Arabic text around 1300 A.D. Roger Bacon learned of the formula for gunpowder from Latin translations of Arabic books. He brought forth nothing original in this regard.

    What is Taught: The compass was invented by the Chinese who may have been the first to use it for navigational purposes sometime between 1000 and 1100 A.D. The earliest reference to its use in navigation was by the Englishman, Alexander Neckam (1157-1217).

    What Should be Taught: Muslim geographers and navigators learned of the magnetic needle, possibly from the Chinese, and were the first to use magnetic needles in navigation. They invented the compass and passed the knowledge of its use in navigation to the West. European navigators relied on Muslim pilots and their instruments when exploring unknown territories. Gustav Le Bon claims that the magnetic needle and compass were entirely invented by the Muslims and that the Chinese had little to do with it. Neckam, as well as the Chinese, probably learned of it from Muslim traders. It is noteworthy that the Chinese improved their navigational expertise after they began interacting with the Muslims during the 8th century.

    What is Taught: The first man to classify the races was the German Johann F. Blumenbach, who divided mankind into white, yellow, brown, black and red peoples.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim scholars of the 9th through 14th centuries invented the science of ethnography. A number of Muslim geographers classified the races, writing detailed explanations of their unique cultural habits and physical appearances. They wrote thousands of pages on this subject. Blumenbach's works were insignificant in comparison.

    What is Taught: The science of geography was revived during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries when the ancient works of Ptolemy were discovered. The Crusades and the Portuguese/Spanish expeditions also contributed to this reawakening. The first scientifically-based treatise on geography were produced during this period by Europe's scholars.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim geographers produced untold volumes of books on the geography of Africa, Asia, India, China and the Indies during the 8th through 15th centuries. These writings included the world's first geographical encyclopedias, almanacs and road maps. Ibn Battutah's 14th century masterpieces provide a detailed view of the geography of the ancient world. The Muslim geographers of the 10th through 15th centuries far exceeded the output by Europeans regarding the geography of these regions well into the 18th century. The Crusades led to the destruction of educational institutions, their scholars and books. They brought nothing substantive regarding geography to the Western world.

    What is Taught: Robert Boyle, in the 17th century, originated the science of chemistry.

    What Should be Taught: A variety of Muslim chemists, including ar-Razi, al-Jabr, al-Biruni and al-Kindi, performed scientific experiments in chemistry some 700 years prior to Boyle. Durant writes that the Muslims introduced the experimental method to this science. Humboldt regards the Muslims as the founders of chemistry.

    What is Taught: Leonardo da Vinci (16th century) fathered the science of geology when he noted that fossils found on mountains indicated a watery origin of the earth.

    What Should be Taught: Al-Biruni (1lth century) made precisely this observation and added much to it, including a huge book on geology, hundreds of years before Da Vinci was born. Ibn Sina noted this as well (see pages 100-101). it is probable that Da Vinci first learned of this concept from Latin translations of Islamic books. He added nothing original to their findings.

    What is Taught: The first mention of the geological formation of valleys was in 1756, when Nicolas Desmarest proposed that they were formed over a long periods of time by streams.

    What Should be Taught: Ibn Sina and al-Biruni made precisely this discovery during the 11th century (see pages 102 and 103), fully 700 years prior to Desmarest.

    What is Taught: Galileo (17th century) was the world's first great experimenter.

    What Should be Taught: Al-Biruni (d. 1050) was the world's first great experimenter. He wrote over 200 books, many of which discuss his precise experiments. His literary output in the sciences amounts to some 13,000 pages, far exceeding that written by Galileo or, for that matter, Galileo and Newton combined.

    What is Taught: The Italian Giovanni Morgagni is regarded as the father of pathology because he was the first to correctly describe the nature of disease.

    What Should be Taught: Islam's surgeons were the first pathologists. They fully realized the nature of disease and described a variety of diseases to modern detail. Ibn Zuhr correctly described the nature of pleurisy, tuberculosis and pericarditis. Az-Zahrawi accurately documented the pathology of hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and other congenital diseases. Ibn al-Quff and Ibn an-Nafs gave perfect descriptions of the diseases of circulation. Other Muslim surgeons gave the first accurate descriptions of certain malignancies, including cancer of the stomach, bowel and esophagus. These surgeons were the originators of pathology, not Giovanni Morgagni.

    What is Taught: Paul Ehrlich (19th century) is the originator of drug chemotherapy, that is the use of specific drugs to kill microbes.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim physicians used a variety of specific substances to destroy microbes. They applied sulfur topically specifically to kill the scabies mite. Ar-Razi (10th century) used mercurial compounds as topical antiseptics.

    What is Taught: Purified alcohol, made through distillation, was first produced by Arnau de Villanova, a Spanish alchemist, in 1300 A.D.

    What Should be Taught: Numerous Muslim chemists produced medicinal-grade alcohol through distillation as early as the 10th century and manufactured on a large scale the first distillation devices for use in chemistry. They used alcohol as a solvent and antiseptic.

    What is Taught: The first surgery performed under inhalation anesthesia was conducted by C.W. Long, an American, in 1845.

    What Should be Taught: Six hundred years prior to Long, Islamic Spain's Az-Zahrawi and Ibn Zuhr, among other Muslim surgeons, performed hundreds of surgeries under inhalation anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges which were placed over the face.

    What is Taught: During the 16th century Paracelsus invented the use of opium extracts for anesthesia.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim physicians introduced the anesthetic value of opium derivatives during the Middle Ages. Opium was originally used as an anesthetic agent by the Greeks. Paracelus was a student of Ibn Sina's works from which it is almost assured that he derived this idea.

    What is Taught: Modern anesthesia was invented in the 19th century by Humphrey Davy and Horace Wells.

    What Should be Taught: Modern anesthesia was discovered, mastered and perfected by Muslim anesthetists 900 years before the advent of Davy and Wells. They utilized oral as well as inhalant anesthetics.

    What is Taught: The concept of quarantine was first developed in 1403. In Venice, a law was passed preventing strangers from entering the city until a certain waiting period had passed. If, by then, no sign of illness could be found, they were allowed in.

    What Should be Taught: The concept of quarantine was first introduced in the 7th century A.D. by the prophet Muhammad, who wisely warned against entering or leaving a region suffering from plague. As early as the 10th century, Muslim physicians innovated the use of isolation wards for individuals suffering with communicable diseases.

    What is Taught: The scientific use of antiseptics in surgery was discovered by the British surgeon Joseph Lister in 1865.

    What Should be Taught: As early as the 10th century, Muslim physicians and surgeons were applying purified alcohol to wounds as an antiseptic agent. Surgeons in Islamic Spain utilized special methods for maintaining antisepsis prior to and during surgery. They also originated specific protocols for maintaining hygiene during the post-operative period. Their success rate was so high that dignitaries throughout Europe came to Cordova, Spain, to be treated at what was comparably the "Mayo Clinic" of the Middle Ages.

    What is Taught: In 1545, the scientific use of surgery was advanced by the French surgeon Ambroise Pare. Prior to him, surgeons attempted to stop bleeding through the gruesome procedure of searing the wound with boiling oil. Pare stopped the use of boiling oils and began ligating arteries. He is considered the "father of rational surgery." Pare was also one of the first Europeans to condemn such grotesque "surgical" procedures as trepanning (see reference #6, pg. 110).

    What Should be Taught: Islamic Spain's illustrious surgeon, az-Zahrawi (d. 1013), began ligating arteries with fine sutures over 500 years prior to Pare. He perfected the use of Catgut, that is suture made from animal intestines. Additionally, he instituted the use of cotton plus wax to plug bleeding wounds. The full details of his works were made available to Europeans through Latin translations.

    Despite this, barbers and herdsmen continued be the primary individuals practicing the "art" of surgery for nearly six centuries after az-Zahrawi's death. Pare himself was a barber, albeit more skilled and conscientious than the average ones.

    Included in az-Zahrawi's legacy are dozens of books. His most famous work is a 30 volume treatise on medicine and surgery. His books contain sections on preventive medicine, nutrition, cosmetics, drug therapy, surgical technique, anesthesia, pre and post-operative care as well as drawings of some 200 surgical devices, many of which he invented. The refined and scholarly az-Zahrawi must be regarded as the father and founder of rational surgery, not the uneducated Pare.

    What is Taught: William Harvey, during the early 17th century, discovered that blood circulates. He was the first to correctly describe the function of the heart, arteries and veins. Rome's Galen had presented erroneous ideas regarding the circulatory system, and Harvey was the first to determine that blood is pumped throughout the body via the action of the heart and the venous valves. Therefore, he is regarded as the founder of human physiology.

    What Should be Taught: In the 10th century, Islam's ar-Razi wrote an in-depth treatise on the venous system, accurately describing the function of the veins and their valves. Ibn an-Nafs and Ibn al-Quff (13th century) provided full documentation that the blood circulates and correctly described the physiology of the heart and the function of its valves 300 years before Harvey. William Harvey was a graduate of Italy's famous Padua University at a time when the majority of its curriculum was based upon Ibn Sina's and ar-Razi's textbooks.

    What is Taught: The first pharmacopeia (book of medicines) was published by a German scholar in 1542. According to World Book Encyclopedia, the science of pharmacology was begun in the 1900's as an off-shoot of chemistry due to the analysis of crude plant materials. Chemists, after isolating the active ingredients from plants, realized their medicinal value.

    What Should be Taught: According to the eminent scholar of Arab history, Phillip Hitti, the Muslims, not the Greeks or Europeans, wrote the first "modern" pharmacopeia. The science of pharmacology was originated by Muslim physicians during the 9th century. They developed it into a highly refined and exact science. Muslim chemists, pharmacists and physicians produced thousands of drugs and/or crude herbal extracts one thousand years prior to the supposed birth of pharmacology. During the 14th century Ibn Baytar wrote a monumental pharmacopeia listing some 1400 different drugs. Hundreds of other pharmacopeias were published during the Islamic Era. It is likely that the German work is an offshoot of that by Ibn Baytar, which was widely circulated in Europe.

    What is Taught: The discovery of the scientific use of drugs in the treatment of specific diseases was made by Paracelsus, the Swiss-born physician, during the 16th century. He is also credited with being the first to use practical experience as a determining factor in the treatment of patients rather than relying exclusively on the works of the ancients.

    What Should be Taught: Ar-Razi, Ibn Sina, al-Kindi, Ibn Rushd, az-Zahrawi, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Baytar, Ibn al-Jazzar, Ibn Juljul, Ibn al-Quff, Ibn an-Nafs, al-Biruni, Ibn Sahl and hundreds of other Muslim physicians mastered the science of drug therapy for the treatment of specific symptoms and diseases. In fact, this concept was entirely their invention. The word "drug" is derived from Arabic. Their use of practical experience and careful observation was extensive.

    Muslim physicians were the first to criticize ancient medical theories and practices. Ar-Razi devoted an entire book as a critique of Galen's anatomy. The works of Paracelsus are insignificant compared to the vast volumes of medical writings and original findings accomplished by the medical giants of Islam.

    What is Taught: The first sound approach to the treatment of disease was made by a German, Johann Weger, in the 1500's.

    What Should be Taught: Harvard's George Sarton says that modern medicine is entirely an Islamic development and that Setting the Record Straight the Muslim physicians of the 9th through 12th centuries were precise, scientific, rational and sound in their approach. Johann Weger was among thousands of Europeans physicians during the 15th through 17th centuries who were taught the medicine of ar-Razi and Ibn Sina. He contributed nothing original.

    What is Taught: Medical treatment for the insane was modernized by Philippe Pinel when in 1793 he operated France's first insane asylum.

    What Should be Taught: As early as the 1lth century, Islamic hospitals maintained special wards for the insane. They treated them kindly and presumed their disease was real at a time when the insane were routinely burned alive in Europe as witches and sorcerers. A curative approach was taken for mental illness and, for the first time in history, the mentally ill were treated with supportive care, drugs and psychotherapy. Every major Islamic city maintained an insane asylum where patients were treated at no charge. In fact, the Islamic system for the treatment of the insane excels in comparison to the current model, as it was more humane and was highly effective as well.

    What is Taught: Kerosine was first produced by the an Englishman, Abraham Gesner, in 1853. He distilled it from asphalt.

    What Should be Taught: Muslim chemists produced kerosine as a distillate from petroleum products over 1,000 years prior to Gesner (see Encyclopaedia Britannica under the heading, Petroleum).


    Speech by President Barack Obama in Egypt

    "Civilization’s Debt to Islam... "
    Delivered at Cairo University, Egypt





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    Excellent Articles - Jazakallahu khair for sharing
    A pirate was captured & brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander asked the pirate: 'How dare you molest the people?' The pirate replied:'And how dare you molest the entire world? I am called a thief because I do it with a little ship only. You do it with a great navy & you are called an Emperor!'
    Under this scenario, powerless people doing trivial acts are the major terrorists of the world whilst major powers perpetrating terrorism in many parts of the world are the civilised barbarians.

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    Default 1,001 inventions mark Islam's role in science

    1,001 inventions mark Islam's role in science

    CLAIRE GEMSON - 7/1/2008
    IF YOU are reading this article over your customary Saturday morning coffee - spooning through the thick frothy milk to reach the restorative dark stuff beneath - then you may be surprised to learn you owe this civilized daily ritual to a herd of curious goats.

    Many people have read the story of Marco d'Aviano, a 17th-century monk from the Capuchin order, whose brown robes gave us the name for the cappuccinos now quaffed on every street corner.

    The coffee itself, though, is all down to an Arab herdsman called Khalid, who lived far earlier (in the ninth century). He noticed that his goats seemed to have a new lease of life after they had grazed on a particular wild coffee berry, which grew in his native Ethiopia. Khalid - possibly feeling a little tired after tending to his wandering goats - decided to try the berries for himself by boiling them. The resulting liquid was al-qahwa. As the drink traversed through the centuries on the coat tails of trade and travel, the first European coffee house opened in Venice in 1645.

    The account of Khalid's discovery is just one of a glittering treasury of untold tales from a golden age of discovery and innovation, which took place in the Islamic world between the seventh and 17th centuries.

    It is this hidden history that a new exhibition aims to unveil. Entitled 1,001 Inventions, the exhibition opens at Glasgow Science Centre later this month and charts the innovations of exceptional scholars, and ordinary people, from the Islamic world who discovered and developed many items that are taken for granted today. The exhibits are divided into seven zones: home, hospital, market, school, town, universe and world.

    Professor Salim Al-Hassani, chairman of the Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, creators of 1,001 Inventions, said there is a widespread misconception that science and technology withered during the "Dark Ages".

    "The 1,001 Inventions exhibition aims, through a process of education and learning, to challenge this myth and celebrate the fact that Muslim civilisation was flourishing and contributed to the advancement of our society today," he said.

    A stellar vein of such contribution was in the field of astronomy. From astronomical instruments to observatories, Muslim scholars brought a breathtaking amount to the science of the stars and laid the foundation for the renaissance astronomy of the west. Copernicus, for example, reportedly used the astronomical treatise of Muslim astronomer Al-Battani, whose body of work included star catalogues and planetary tables. Al-Battani also popularised trigonometry. He lived in the ninth century and, from that time onwards, Muslim stargazers undertook a wealth of work.

    In the tenth century, the Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi cast his eyes upwards to the awning of stars overhead and was the first to record a galaxy out with our own. Gazing at the Andromeda galaxy he called it a "little cloud" - an apt description of the slightly wispy appearance of our galactic neighbour.

    The Muslim world, ahead of its time, also had knowledge of the Earth. Twelfth century geographer Al-Idrisi, a European Muslim, produced an atlas comprising 70 maps. The atlas, known as the Book of Roger, showed the Earth as being round. The idea that the Earth was spherical was common among Muslim scholars.

    Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, regularly talks on the topic of Islamic astronomy. He said: "The Muslim world provided a bridge between antiquity and the renaissance.

    "The progress made in places like the great observatory in Samarkand, in modern-day Uzbekistan, laid the foundations for the science we take for granted today. And being challenged on how science and faith can co-exist and interact is one of the most stimulating things I've done - it makes you aware of misconceptions that exist across communities."

    Many stars have Arabic names - from Aldeberan (one of the brightest stars in the night sky), to the stars of the Summer Triangle (Altair, Deneb and Vega).

    Stars aside, the lexicon of science is peppered with Arabic words, each with a story to tell about its Islamic heritage. The Arabic word for chemistry is alkimia: the word became alchemy in the west but its original meaning was chemistry.

    Jabir ibn Hayyan, who lived in Persia in the eighth century, is widely regarded as the founder of chemistry. He invented many of the basic processes and equipment still used by chemists today such as distillation (a way of separating chemical substances).

    Jabir worked tirelessly in his laboratory, reportedly saying: "The first essential in chemistry is that you should perform practical work and conduct experiments".

    This may seem a simple sentiment to today's scientists but, more than 1,200 years ago, it was on the cutting edge. Jabir's rigorous approach to experimentation led to the discovery of powerful acids, which are now key to the chemical industry.

    Scottish astrophysicist Andrew Conway, who runs scientific consultancy Counting Thoughts, has an Iranian mother, who is also a scientist. Conway grew up in Scotland but is well versed in a heritage that has remained hidden to many of us. He said: "There is so much that we take for granted that has come from the Muslim world. For example, we write with Roman letters but use Arabic numerals so the influence extends to something as basic as 1,2,3."

    Conway said acknowledging the contribution of the Muslim world was not about rewriting history but was more about finding a long- missing piece of the jigsaw.

    "It's like uncovering some unread chapters of the world's most interesting book," he said.


    In the tenth century, the first reservoir pen was created for an Egyptian sultan called al-Mu'izz. The idea was to design a pen that would write only when the writer so chose and would not leave unwanted inky stains.


    Edinburgh has its own famous example, but the camera obscura was invented by Ibn al-Haitham (born in the tenth century), who noticed light coming through a hole in shutters which made an upside-down image on the opposite wall. This discovery led to today's camera (the name of which comes from the Arabic word qamara).


    Al-Zahrawi was an 11th-century surgeon who was literally on the cutting-edge. He pioneered many surgical tools.


    The Rubik's Cube may be having a renaissance, but it is predated by the "trick devices" created by the three Banu Musa brothers in the ninth century. All were accomplished mathematicians and part of the House of Wisdom, a famous scientific academy in Baghdad between the eighth and 14th centuries.


    Many Muslims are so ignorant of their own history that they ascribe Muslim inventions to the non-Muslims and even insult other Muslims over it. One such example is of a political/Journalism debate on Pakistan TV where this secular journals accused Muslims of failure and said that they could not even create a ball point pen. Well, it is the Muslims who created the fountain pen, and a ball point pen is nothing but a modified version. How can Muslim have self respect and dignity when they choose to remain ignorant of their own history but run to learn the altered history of others.

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    Default Islam centuries ahead of the world

    Islam - Once at forefront of science

    By: Michael Woods - Pittsburgh Post Gazette - 5/27/2007

    TOLEDO, Spain -- Islamic medicine and science led the world for centuries while Europe stagnated in the Dark Ages.

    In Islamic Spain, Islam's Golden Age was at first imitated, then exceeded, as scholars poured in from the Muslim east. One example is the ninth-century scholar 'Abbas ibn Firnas who experimented with flight 699 years before Leonardo da Vinci and constructed a planetarium in which the planets revolved. This reconstruction by Michael Grimsdale, based on descriptions dating to that era, suggests the elaborate gearing that Ibn Firnas had to have developed. Source: Saudi Aramco World

    From 800 AD to 1500, Arabic was the language of science, as English is today. Muslims occupied Spain, and Europeans flockedto Toledo and other Spanish cities, or traveled great distances to Baghdad or Damascus, to translate Islamic science and medical books into Latin.

    Islamic medicine in the year 1000 was a marvel of sophistication, featuring competency tests for doctors, drug purity regulations, hospitals staffed by nurses and interns, advanced surgeries, and other practices beyond the dreams of medieval Europeans.

    So why is much of today's Islamic world a "scientific desert," to use the stark language of a 2002 article in the journal Nature? Why do many predominantly Muslim countries, home to 1.3 billion people and 75 percent of the world's oil wealth, neglect science and technology? And how might they recapture their amazing scientific heritage?

    These questions have resounded at international, Arab and Islamic scientific conferences and have made headlines in science journals. Here's how the Nature article summed up the situation in the Middle East, for instance:

    "The region is, for the most part, a scientific desert. In some states, oil wealth has allowed the construction of fabulous cities, magnificent mosques and sumptuous shopping malls. But little scientific infrastructure has emerged. Collectively, the Arab nations spend only 0.15 per cent of their gross domestic product on research and development, well below the world average of 1.4 per cent."

    Muslims account for 20 percent of the world's population, but less than one percent of its scientists. Scientists in Islamic countries now make barely 0.1 percent of the world's original research discoveries each year.

    Authorities on Islamic science cite various reasons for this state of affairs, but the Koran is not among them.

    "The Koran actually forms one of the cornerstones of science in Islam in a way unlike any other scripture of any other religion," said Glen M. Cooper, a professor of the history of science and Islam at Brigham Young University.

    "The Koran enjoins the believer and the unbeliever alike to examine nature for signs of the creator's handiwork, evidence of his existence, and his goodness," Cooper said. "Reason is revered as one of the most important of God's gifts to men. The examination of nature led historically into a scientific perspective and program."

    Farkhonda Hassan, a professor at the University of Cairo who has written about barriers to science careers for Islamic women, agreed.

    "The teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam emphasize the acquiring of knowledge as bounden duties of each Muslim from the cradle to the grave, and that the quest for knowledge and science is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman," she said. "One eighth -- that is, 750 verses -- of the Koran exhort believers to study, to reflect, and to make the best use of reason in their search for the ultimate truth."

    Search they once did.

    The rise of Islamic science

    After Muhammad's death in 632, Muslim armies swept out of the Arabian Peninsula and expanded the borders of Islam east and west.

    They absorbed not just land, but also scientific knowledge from India and Greek learning planted centuries earlier by the armies of Alexander the Great. Muslims translated into Arabic the treasures of Hippocrates, Aristotle, Archimedes and other great physicians, philosophers and scientists.

    By 711, the Muslims had reached Spain, and they ended up dominating the region until Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella drove out the last of them in 1492.

    The impact of Islam's discoveries during this period went far beyond individual innovations like algebra or the establishment of models for modern hospitals and universities. The spread of Islamic knowledge to Europe sparked, or at least helped to spark, the Renaissance and scientific revolution of the 17th century.

    "It is highly probable that, but for the Arabs, modern European civilization would never have arisen at all," Sir Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume wrote in their 1997 classic, "The Legacy of Islam."

    Robert Briffault wrote in the "Making of Humanity" in 1938 that "Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, and Toledo, were growing centers of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution."

    Yet most Americans are completely unaware of Islam's rich scientific heritage, said George Saliba, a professor of Arabic and Islamic science at Columbia University, and more than a dozen other experts interviewed for this article.

    "That is unfortunate," Cooper said. "Much of our modern science and philosophy owes a large debt to Islamic civilization during the Middle Ages for preserving the classical heritage in all intellectual fields, and for improving upon it in many of these fields. If the average American understood this, there would be fewer smug citizens looking down on 'backward Muslims' with hate and fear."

    Two reasons Americans are relatively clueless on the subject are the Arabic-English language barrier and a long tradition of U.S. historians focusing on European scientific traditions, said Jeffrey Oaks of the University of Indianapolis.

    "Anything not taught in high school is going to escape public consciousness," added Thomas F. Glick, an expert on Islamic history at Boston University.

    Some historians from mainly Islamic countries see it differently.

    "We believe that, for dishonorable purposes, there is in the West an intention to ignore the important scientific role played by Muslim scholars during the medieval age," said Abdul Nasser Kaadan, a professor with the Institute for the History of Arabic Science at the University of Aleppo in Syria. "This is to support the allegation that Muslim and Arabic mentality never in the past and not in the future can lead any scientific research."

    Explaining the decline

    So what happened to the once glorious scientific legacy of Islam and Arabia? Experts cite many things.

    Universities were an Islamic invention later adopted in Europe, but Muslim universities did not shelter and preserve scientific knowledge during wars and other upheavals. Christian warriors carved up the Islamic empire and cut off contact between great scientific centers. Here in Spain, the Catholic reconquest of Ferdinand and Isabella deprived Islamic science of the great libraries and schools in Cordoba, Seville and Toledo.

    Conflicts also cut off science's lifeblood -- cash for research and education. And the Ottomans, who took over much of the Islamic world in the early 1500s, used their resources to make war, not science.

    In the 1700s, a puritanical form of Islam took root in Saudi Arabia, with a doctrine that rejected knowledge acquired after the first 300 years of Islam's existence.

    Several scholars said one problem is the lack of awareness among Arabs and Muslims about their own scientific heritage.

    "Muslims generally are unaware that their civilization had a high point of superiority in nearly every aspect," Cooper said. "Their current challenge is to face the fact that the Islamic edge has been completely lost.

    "It would be a hard thing, I think, to be part of a religion and culture with such a glorious history as that of Islam, when that glory is all in the distant past, and an essentially godless civilization -- from their perspective -- enjoys the lead in power and science."

    Eventually, in the United States and Europe, science began paying some of its own bills. Inventions like the telephone, radio, plastics and antibiotics led industry to pour billions into scientific research. In much of the Arab world, science remained dependent on handouts from sultans, kings or caliphs.

    "Science and scientific research can flourish only when a country is affluent and has a sound and balanced economy," said Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, also a faculty member of the Arabic science institute at the University of Aleppo. "But when agriculture is the dominant sector, then a country will remain poor, and when petroleum is the only source of income, then this economy in the long run also is doomed."

    Others also cited Arab oil wealth, and how rulers spend and invest their billions.

    "They probably would have been better off without their mineral resources," said J. J. Witkam of Leiden University in The Netherlands. "It is a corrupting element in any society. But when societies are so unbalanced as most Islamic countries are, then it gets cancerous proportions."

    The United Nations Development Program called oil wealth "a mixed blessing" in a 2003 report that called on Arab countries to reclaim their scientific heritage. It focused on the 22 members of the League of Arab States and their 280 million people.

    UNDP pointed out that Arab rulers invest much of their oil money in the United States and other foreign countries, rather than using it to develop their own nations, and import technical know-how instead of educating ample numbers of their own citizens to be scientists and engineers. The report also cited "the pursuit of personal gain, the preference for the private over the public good, social and moral corruption, the absence of honesty and accountability and many other illnesses."

    Experts also link the stagnation of Islamic science to a movement that took root more than a century ago that contends all knowledge can be found in the Koran. Meanwhile, the industrialized world has been moving toward a "knowledge society" fueled by information and liberal education.

    Signs of rebirth?

    The UNDP report also described what's needed to re-energize scientific inquiry in Arab and Islamic societies.

    It included relatively straightforward suggestions like spending more on scientific research and ordinary education rather than religious schools. Other recommendations would involve reinventing new systems of government in some countries. One called for "guaranteeing the key freedoms of opinion, speech, and assembly through good governance bounded by law." Some involved correcting tenacious problems like poverty and unemployment.

    "Our civilization once supported a knowledge society that was the envy of the world," said Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, a U.N. assistant secretary general who helped prepare the report. "They will do so again if we clear away the defective social, economic and political structures we have piled upon them. We can free our minds to reason without fear; free our people's souls to breathe."

    Columbia University's Saliba echoed the need to focus on education.

    "What's needed to increase research in Islamic countries?," he asked. "The same thing that is needed in any other country: priority on education, funding, training of teachers, building better relations between school and home, educating the parents, allocating higher budgets for education than for defense -- a situation that is not too different from what we face in this country, as well."

    Arab scientists and governments are making some progress.

    In 2000, a group of leading scientists formed the Arab Science and Technology Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The emirates are among a handful of Arab countries -- which include Egypt, Pakistan, and Jordan -- that are investing more in science education and research.

    Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qassimi, the ruler of Sharjah, donated $1 million from his own pocket to start the science foundation and provided its $5-million headquarters building. The foundation hopes to raise $100 million so it can provide research grants and encourage Arab scientists in other countries to return home.

    The emir of Qatar is backing the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which is building a vast "Education City" featuring branch campuses of Carnegie Mellon and Cornell universities.

    "The pendulum can swing back," wrote Ibrahim B. Syed of the University of Louisville in an article about Islamic medicine:

    "One thousand years ago the Muslims were the great torchbearers of international scientific research. Every student and professional from each country outside the Islamic Empire aspired, yearned, and dreamed to go to Islamic universities to learn, to work, to live and to lead a comfortable life in an affluent and most advanced and civilized society.

    "Islamic countries have the opportunity and resources to make Islamic science and medicine number one in their world once again."

    Last edited by Muslim; Nov-7-2014 at 10:27 PM.

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    Higher Math From Medieval Islam

    The tiling in medieval Islamic architecture turns out to embody a mathematical insight that Westerners thought they had discovered only 30 years ago.
    By Mary Carmichael - March 19, 2007

    Ancient, closely held religious secrets; messages encoded on the walls of Middle Eastern shrines; the divine golden ratio-readers of a recent issue of the journal Science must have wondered if they'd mistakenly picked up "The Da Vinci Code" instead. In stretches of intricate tiling on several 500-year-old Islamic buildings, Peter Lu and Paul Steinhardt wrote, they'd spotted a large fragment of a mathematical pattern that was unknown to Western science until the 1970s. Islam gave the world algebra, from the Arabic al-jabr, a term referring to a basic equation. But this pattern is far from basic; it comes from much higher math. "The ridiculous thing is, this pattern has been staring Westerners in the face all this time," says Keith Critchlow, author of the book "Islamic Patterns." "We simply haven't been able to read it." Now that we can, though, it is serving as a startling indication of how accomplished medieval-era Muslims may have been.

    No one knows what the architects of the complex pattern in the tiles named it a half millennium ago. Today, scientists call it a "quasiperiodic crystal with forbidden symmetry." It's forbidden not for any religious reason, of course, but because at first glance it appears impossible to construct. Take a pattern of triangular tiles, rotate it one third the way around, and the resulting pattern is identical. The same goes for rectangular tiles (which look the same rotated one fourth the way around) or hexagonal tiles (one sixth the way around). But a grid made purely of pentagons simply can't exist. The five-sided shapes don't fit together without leaving gaps, and there's no way to put them in a pattern that looks the same when turned one fifth the way around.

    The breakthrough that took the "forbidden" out of that "forbidden symmetry" was to use two shapes, not one, to build a fivefold- symmetrical grid. In 1973, having given up on pentagons, mathematician Sir Roger Penrose designed a fivefold pattern with shapes he called "kites" and "darts." He was the first Westerner (and at the time, he thought, the first person) to do so, and his creation turned out to have fascinating mathematical properties. Any given fragment of it, containing a finite number of kites and darts, could be infinitely divided into a never-repeating pattern of smaller kites and darts.

    As the number of small shapes in the pattern increased, the ratio of kites to darts approached the "golden ratio," a number practically sacred to mathematicians. Discovered by Pythagoras, the golden ratio is irrational, which means it extends to an infinite number of decimal places. (The actual number is 1.618033989 ... and so on.) It is linked to the famous Fibonacci sequence and cited in the writings of astronomer Johannes Kepler and, yes, Leonardo da Vinci. It is also found at the atomic level. In the 1980s, Steinhardt, a physicist at Princeton, armed with Penrose's insight, found that some chemicals had their atoms arranged in a "quasicrystalline" shape like that of the fivefold grid.

    Medieval Muslims apparently figured out at least some of this math. On the wall of one shrine in Iran, Lu found, two types of large tiles are divided into smaller tiles of the same shapes, in numbers that approximate the golden ratio. The builders certainly knew about the ratio, having inherited all the Greek science and curated it, says Critchlow. "The human creation was imitating, in abstract fashion, the wondrous creation of God," says Gulru Necipoglu, a professor of Islamic art at Harvard. Some geometric patterns, for instance, evoked the planets and stars. And throughout the medieval era and onwards, says Steinhardt, Muslims "were fascinated by fivefold symmetry and were always trying to incorporate it into their designs. Where the patterns ended up with gaps, they would cleverly place a door or a windowsill there so you couldn't tell." In the buildings examined by Lu, they succeeded.

    Although the Penrose-patterned tiles date to the 14th and 15th centuries, the same shapes of tiles "were used all over the medieval Islamic world to generate all sorts of patterns" for hundreds of years before and after that, says Lu. The Topkapi scroll, a Persian artifact from the late 15th or early 16th century, lists many such designs. There may also be clues to ancient Muslims' mathematical prowess in other tiling on mosques in Iran and Turkey, madrassas in Baghdad and shrines in Afghanistan and India. They would fit nicely into the increasingly common image of the medieval Islamic world as an advanced society. Scholars now know that Muslims of that era could solve equations with variables to the power of 3 and above, which are harder than the classic quadratic "x2" ones fundamental to algebra. They also had mechanical "computers" and knew considerably more about medicine and astronomy than Europeans of the time.

    What has not yet been found, unfortunately, is any record of how early Muslims designed the fivefold patterns and conceptualized the math lurking in them, since few Muslim scholars wrote down their discoveries for wide dissemination. "You absolutely do not have to understand the higher math to be able to do it," says David Salesin, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. Lu agrees that there's no need to project a modern understanding of quasicrystals onto an ancient culture-but he also says the pattern design was no accident. "No matter how it was constructed," he adds, "it's a stunning achievement." Particularly now that the world has eyes to see it.
    Last edited by Muslim; Nov-7-2014 at 10:25 PM.

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    The West owes credit to Islam’s historical feats

    By Mohamad Abdalla

    The relationship between Islam and the West has been depicted as one of confrontation and indifference, but there is more to Islam and its relation with the West than violence and confrontation. Islam teaches that God is one with no partner and that the prophet Muhammad, like earlier prophets, was no more than a messenger of God. It also teaches its followers to worship God through prayer, almsgiving, fasting and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition to high moral character and excellence in conduct toward humans and animals.

    Historical and theological facts easily repudiate the claim that Islam is intolerant of Christianity and Judaism. Muhammad signed treaties of peace with the Christians and Jews. In the year 631, he received a delegation of 60 Christians from Najran, about 450 miles south of Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia, who were received in the prophet's mosque, and they were allowed to pray in the mosque.

    The Islamic civilization has in the past proved capable of, for the times, astonishing feats of tolerance and acceptance. Under the Muslims, medieval Spain became a haven for diverse religions and sects. Following the Christian re-conquest, the Inquisition eliminated all dissent.

    The idea that Islam or Islamic civilization is inherently less capable of tolerance and compassion than any other is hard to square with the facts.
    In a 2008 book, "God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe," one of America's greatest historians, David L. Lewis, states that Muslims "accomplished the greatest revolution in power, religion, culture, and wealth in history" - all of which created the European civilization. There would be no Europe without Islam.

    The Islamic civilization has made an enormous but largely neglected contribution to the way people live in the West. The contributions are so immense that three major universities in Australia will be teaching a third-year course titled "Islam and the Making of Europe."

    Mohamad Abdalla has been visiting scholar and guest speaker at the Muslim Association of Hawaii mosque during the month of Ramadan, which ended this week. He is the co-director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies in Brisbane, Australia, and founder of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University. His most recent books are "Islamic Science: The Myth of the Decline Theory" and "Islam in the Australian Mass Media."

    The relationship between Islam and the West has been depicted as one of confrontation and indifference, but there is more to Islam and its relation with the West than violence and confrontation.

    Islam teaches that God is one with no partner and that the prophet Muhammad, like earlier prophets, was no more than a messenger of God. It also teaches its followers to worship God through prayer, almsgiving, fasting and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition to high moral character and excellence in conduct toward humans and animals.

    Historical and theological facts easily repudiate the claim that Islam is intolerant of Christianity and Judaism. Muhammad signed treaties of peace with the Christians and Jews. In the year 631, he received a delegation of 60 Christians from Najran, about 450 miles south of Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia, who were received in the prophet's mosque, and they were allowed to pray in the mosque.

    The Islamic civilization has in the past proved capable of, for the times, astonishing feats of tolerance and acceptance. Under the Muslims, medieval Spain became a haven for diverse religions and sects. Following the Christian re-conquest, the Inquisition eliminated all dissent.

    The idea that Islam or Islamic civilization is inherently less capable of tolerance and compassion than any other is hard to square with the facts.

    In a 2008 book, "God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe," one of America's greatest historians, David L. Lewis, states that Muslims "accomplished the greatest revolution in power, religion, culture, and wealth in history" - all of which created the European civilization. There would be no Europe without Islam.

    The Islamic civilization has made an enormous but largely neglected contribution to the way people live in the West. The contributions are so immense that three major universities in Australia will be teaching a third-year course titled "Islam and the Making of Europe."

    Mohamad Abdalla has been visiting scholar and guest speaker at the Muslim Association of Hawaii mosque during the month of Ramadan, which ended this week. He is the co-director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies in Brisbane, Australia, and founder of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University. His most recent books are "Islamic Science: The Myth of the Decline Theory" and "Islam in the Australian Mass Media."




    Last edited by Muslim; Nov-7-2014 at 10:23 PM.

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    Pioneers of Automatic Control Systems

    This short article is taken from the full article (by Prof. Atilla Bir and Assoc. Dr. Mustafa Kacar); attached as a 9 page PDF file

    The theory of automatic control systems is an idea closely related to feedback concept. A system is a combination of components that act together and perform certain objectives. In a feedback system the output signal is fed back in order to increase or reduce the input signal.

    Although the feedback concept, which is lying in the foundation of dynamic systems, has been perceived relative recently (at the end of the 19th century), it is known that the idea has been understood and applied correctly since the ancient times. In the engineering, the aim of control is to guide the system to a desired direction or kept constant at a certain value. A feedback control system is one which tends to maintain a prescribed relationship between the output and the reference input by comparing these and using the difference as the means of control. Thus, in an automatic control system, the variable to be controlled is first measured, secondly compared against a reference value and at least the difference applied to the system input, in order to influence the system in a desired manner. In the block diagram of an automatic control system, the controlled system take place in the forward path and the measuring device of the controlled variable take place in the feedback loop. A disturbance is a signal that tends to affect adversely the value of the output of a system.

    To differentiate an automatic control system, realized and used unconsciously during centuries from the open loop control system, one has to check the existing system for the feedback characteristic. The oldest automatic control systems technically mindfully designed and tested for their operational merit, date back to the Hellenistic era. The oldest applications are flow rate control in water clocks.

    Scientific advancement, which reached its peak in the Hellenistic age, lost its luster in the palaces of Byzantium; the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad once more let lit the science torch. Muhammad, Hassan and Ahmad known as Benu Musa or Sons of Musa bin Shakir of Khurasan, are very famous in the history of technology. They played an important role in the advancement of mathematical sciences during the reign of Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun (813-833 A.D) and the succeeding caliphs. Ahmad's interest in technology might have led them to write the book titled Kitab al Hiyal (Book of Mechanical Devices) (850 A.D). The manuscript in the Ahmed III Library at Topkapi Palace is almost a complete copy (A 3474) and includes magical vessels, water jets, oil lamps, a densimeter, a bellow, and a lifting device. This science of 'ingenious devices' and 'ingenious automata' created by the use of matter, water and air is known as 'ilm al-alat al ruhaniyet': science of pneumatic devices. According to Akfani, "the science of pneumatic devices deals with the construction of various devices based on the principle of the 'horror of vacuum'. The purpose is to educate the mind while designing these systems that deal with measured cups, siphons and other elements."

    Kitab al Hiyal of Benu Musa brothers describes 100 systems of which 18 are automatic control systems. On close inspection, these control systems are technically perfect and applicable to modern use.

    Ancient Egyptian water clocks continuously improved during the ancient Classical period reached monumental dimensions in the Hellenistic period. This tradition continued into the period of Islam and reached its height with al-Jazari, who introduces himself in his manuscript as Badi'al- Zaman abu al-'Izz Ismail al-Razzaz al-Jazarî. He served in the Artukid capital Amid (Diyarbakir) as court engineer. He is famous for his book Kitab al-Hiyal, 'Book of Ingenious Devices' where he explain the design, construction and working principles of fifty different systems of practical use and aesthetic value such as water clocks, automata, water jets, vessels for blood collecting, water raising devices and ciphered keys. In the foreword of his manuscript, he mentions that he served the Artukid rulers Sultan Nasir al-Din Mahmud (1200-1222). For twenty-five years he had been in the service of the royal family, served first for the father of the king Nur al-Din Muhammed (1174-1185) and then for the brother Kutb al-Din Sokman II (1186-1199). He completed his book in 1206. Today, Ahmed III Library at Topkapi Palace houses a second-hand copy of the original manuscript (A 3472). In six sections, the book describes fifty different systems.

    Taqi al-Din (1521-1585) was a brilliant engineer and astronomer. He built the Istanbul observatory during the reign of Murad III (1564-1595), and wrote numerous books mainly on astronomy and mechanics. His work on the construction of mechanical clocks is a testimony to competition with the West. When in 1583 the Sultan has ordered the destruction of the observatory, the last research centre of the East closed for more then 200 years.

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    Andalusia When It Was...

    By Maryam Noor Beig

    Al-Andalus, which means, "to become green at the end of the summer" is referred to the territory occupied by the Muslim empire in Southern Spain, which refer to the cities of Almeria, Malaga, Cadiz, Huelva, Seville, Cordoba, Jaen and Granada. 1 This civilization spanned the eighth to the fifteenth century. In 711, Arabs crossed the Straight of Gibraltar (derived from 'Gabal Al-Tariq': 'Mountain of Tariq') and established control over much of the Iberian Peninsula. 2 Of the Arab conquest, Muslims called the area of the Iberian Peninsula they occupied, "Al-Andalus." This land called Al-Andalus, hence often called "Andalusia" had at one point included Portugal, Southern France, and the Balearic Islands. Within 3 years, in 714, Muslims had occupied almost all the peninsula. Muslims crossed to Sicily and established control there for 130 years, until Muslim rule fell in 1091 to the Normans. Muslims also established rule in parts of France, but they were soon defeated by Charles Martel in 756, in which remains today one of the greatest victories for Christian Europe for bringing a halt to Islam's expansion. The Muslims who arrived and settled in Andalus were called "Moors," ('dark') a corrupt and negative term referring to the people who came from Morocco. They themselves, however, did not use the term to refer to themselves.

    Muslims took control under the leadership of Tariq ibn Ziyad and his army of 12,000 troops. King Roderic, the last Visigoth ruler had reportedly "kidnapped" and raped the Governor of Ceuta, Count Julian's daughter who was sent to be educated. Julian vowed to Roderic, "the next time I return to Spain, I promise to bring you some hawks the like of which your Majesty has never seen!" Julian, a Christian, appealed to Musa ibn Nusayr, the Umayyad Governor of N. Africa for assistance in avenging Roderic for his crime, and hence take him out of rule. Musa did not commit to a full-scale invasion, but called upon his lieutenant to take charge. Because of the weakened Visigoth kingdom due to internal conflicts, and the Muslims' organization, the Muslim army easily defeated Roderic's army of over 90,000 men almost without resistance. 3

    As an important reminder, during Islamic rule in Muslim history, we recall that upon hearing the news that a Muslim woman had been dishonored, Khilafah (Caliph) Jafer Al-Mansoor, despite risk of inciting war, ordered his entire army to burn the city in protest because the Roman Emperor failed to punish the offenders.

    Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Straight of 'Gibraltar' at first with the sole intention of avenging king Roderic for the crime he committed. However, because of the weakness of the kingdom due to civil war, Tariq opted to continue his occupation of Roderic's entire empire. Another theory for the occupation by the Arab Muslims of Spain is that because of their persecution, the Jews called upon their contacts in North Africa, who in turn encouraged the able Arabs to capture Spain. This allowed the Almoravids and the Almohads to establish themselves in Spain. 4 Nevertheless, without a doubt, the Jews supported and welcomed Muslims in Spain because they were great beneficiaries under Muslim rule. 5

    Muslims entered Spain not as aggressors or oppressors, but as liberators. In this multicultural society, many Jews and Christians held government positions. Moreover, the Golden Age of Jewish history is in fact known as the period of Muslim rule in Spain. Islam allowed the Jews to flourish in Spain, with the example of the renowned philosopher Moses Maimonides, (Musa ibn Maymun) who wrote Guide to the Perplexed. "Judaism probably welcomed the conquest of Spain by the Muslims in 711.With the Muslim conquest began a Golden Age of freedom and tolerance for Jews. They freely entered the fields of government, science, medicine, and literature." 6 Spain was home to by far the largest and most brilliant Jewish community in Europe; elsewhere, the Jews were hounded and persecuted. Although non-Muslims paid more in taxes than the Muslims, it was by far less than any previous government had imposed upon them, especially Roderic's. In addition, it obviously wasn't much of a burden, however, since non-Muslims freely opted and longed to live under Muslim rule.

    "Throughout the period of Islamic rule, Al-Andalus was a remarkable example and outstanding model of tolerance." 7 We fail to remember that the tolerance the Muslims, in accordance to their faith, displayed towards the Jews and Christians enabled them all to live together in relative peace and harmony, an indication of the Greatness of Islam, without question. No where else has there been so long and so close of a relationship between the 3 Great faiths. All Jews and Christians were allowed to maintain their beliefs and live their lives as they desired as long as they respected their Muslim rulers. "Some Mozarabs took issue with the tolerance Muslim authorities displayed toward them and the Jews, a tolerance based on two Qur'anic verses: "No compulsion is there in religion" (2:256) and "If thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldst thou then constrain the people until they are believers?" (10:99)..." 8 As a result of the compassion Islam displayed towards the non-Muslims inhabitants, many of them embraced Islam. Many accepted Islam simply because Islam provided a superior, healthier way of life at a time when the social system was in rapid decay. 9 Unfortunately, religious tolerance was never a virtue in Christian Europe, as in the example of Charlemagne. 10 And so, the peace exhibited under Muslim rule did not continue after the last of the Muslim rulers was defeated in 1492.

    In chapter 109 of the Qur'an, the Holy Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the Angel Gabriel, Allah advises mankind:

    "Say to the disbelievers:
    I do not worship that which you worship.
    Nor do you worship that which I worship.
    And Nor will I worship that which you have worshiped.
    Neither will you worship that which I worship.
    To you belongs your religion, and to me mine."

    "In a time of tranquility and justice, the Christians have never been compelled to renounce the Gospel and to embrace the Qur'an." 11 As a result of the tolerance displayed by Islam, the incredibly rich language of the Muslims became the official language of literature and scholarship in Spain for all by the year 1000. Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike devoted their time in studying Arabic. Christians essentially spoke Arabic, which was "often better than their Latin." 12 They absorbed the Arabic culture so much so that they began to be called, "mozarabs" a corruption of "must'arib" meaning the "Arabized ones." Furthermore, the Christian Priest Alvaro complained in the 9th century that Christians preferred to read Arabic writings and studied Muslim theologians and philosophers rather than their own. He exclaimed, "Oh, the pain and the sorrow! The Christians have even forgotten their own language, and in every thousand you will not find one who can write a letter in respectable Latin to a friend, while as soon as they have to write Arabic, there is no difficulty in finding a whole multitude who can express themselves with the greatest elegance in this language..." 13

    The Muslims played a principal role in the history of Spain. Their presence illuminated the Iberian Peninsula while the rest of Europe was engulfed in darkness. And so, Andalusia produced a great civilization far ahead and advanced than the rest of Europe. Under their rule, Muslims made Spain a center for learning and knowledge. The Muslims were taught reading, writing, math, Arabic, Qur'an, and Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH), and became leaders in math, science, medicine, astronomy, navigation, etc. Al-Andalus became renowned for its prosperity as people who quested for knowledge journeyed from afar to learn in its universities under the feet of the Muslims. As a result, Andalus gave rise to a great many intellectual giants. Muslim Spain produced philosophers, physicians, scientists, judges, artists, and the like. Ibn Rushd, (Averroes) Ibn Sina, (Avicenna) Ibn Zuhr, (Avenzoar), Al-Kwarizmi, (Algorizm) and Al-Razi, (Razes) to name a few, were all Muslims educated in Andalus. 14 Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, was also educated in Andalusia. It is from the Andalusian philosophers, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn Sina that great renowned Christian men like St. Thomas Aquinas borrowed their philosophies. Both St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante called Ibn Rushd or "Averroes" the "The Commentator" and incorporated the views of Muslims. Through the works of Aristotle, Ibn Rushd reconciled reason with religion. However, Aquinas attempted to refute Ibn Rushd's ideas because they placed a great deal of emphasis on human reason over faith, which were a "threat" to Christian beliefs. 15 Interestingly enough, Thomas Aquinas described Arabs as "brutal men dwelling in the desert." Dante himself was familiar with Muslim figures. It is reported by countless historians, including William Phipps, in his book, Muhammad and Jesus: A Comparison of the Prophets and their Teachings, that the theme of Divine Comedy was inspired by the mi'raj or ascension of the Prophet (PBUH) into heaven from upon the rock which today sits below the dome of Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. 16 Roger Bacon, another individual who refrained from describing Arabs and Muslims in kind words, consulted Ibn Sina's (Avicenna) work. Ibn Sina's work, Al-Qanun, (Canon) the widely studied medical work was used in European Universities for over 300 years, and formed half the medical curriculum. 17 In any case, the list of contributions from the Andalusian Muslims is endless.

    The Islamic civilization had reached its peak in the 10th century, and by 1100, the number of Muslims rose to 5.6 million. 18 There existed in Cordoba alone, 200,000 houses, 600 mosques, 900 public baths, 10,000 lamps, 50 hospitals, lighted and paved streets. Muslims introduced public baths because of their need to wash in preparation for prayer 5x a day. Libraries and research institutions grew rapidly in Muslim Spain, while the rest of Europe remained illiterate.

    In Muslim Spain, knowledge from Greece and Rome was preserved. Arab scholars produced encyclopedias on medicine and astronomy in 11th century, also including astrology, psychology, zoology, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc., which Christian scholars acquired and translated. Toledo thrived essentially because of its Muslim rule, and became the "cradle of learning," and the chief point of interaction between the Muslims, Christians and Jews. Western scholars traveled to Spain and Sicily to learn Arabic and to make transcripts of texts in Latin. Muslims produced cotton, paper, salt, silk, satin, pepper, stamps, clocks, soaps, rulers, maps, globes, furs, velvets, described over 200 surgical instruments, and named over 200 stars with Arabic names. Hence, it was this Islamic civilization in Spain that was the main threshold behind the European Renaissance. During the time the Muslims set foot in Spain in 711 until 1084 (a year before Toledo was taken) Muslim Spain had become an area unique to the entire world.

    The Muslim artisans applied their remarkable skills to architecture in making mosques (masajid) and palaces. The Muslims mastered technique and design. The Alhambra Palace, and The Great Mosque of Cordoba, are just two of the famous magnificent architectural masterpieces of the Muslims which can still be seen today. Of the Alhambra, it is called, "a utopia, the brightest memory of a lost golden age of pleasure, poetry, tolerance, art, and learning." 19 One Muslim poet wrote:

    "A sun dwells in this place and even its shadow is blessed.
    In this palace a multitude of pleasures capture the eye and suspend the intellect.
    Here a crystal world teaches marvels.
    Everywhere Beauty is carved, opulence is manifest."

    The Islamic architecture in Spain is elaborate and decorative with intricate designs. Stone, and stucco, plaster for coating exterior walls, were widely favored. Later, brick replaced stone. 20 The "Mezquita" or The Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra of Granada are two Islamic monuments that utilize this design. There are, however, not many examples of Islamic architecture remaining today in Spain because many were destroyed or converted from mosques to churches when Muslims were later exterminated (officially) in the year 1492 and beyond. The Alhambra is the only palace left nearly intact and preserved of all the Muslim masterpieces in Spain. 21

    Narrated by Ibn Abbas (RA), the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Whoever creates a living image in this world (i.e, human, animal) will be charged with putting a soul in it which he will never be able to do."

    Muslim artists were prohibited from making images of living things so that they could concentrate on the oneness of God. Paintings of inanimate objects, trees and flowers were permitted. Islamic ideology teaches that the making of images can lead to idolatry. It can also lead to praising of one's own work, which does away with humility and humbleness, important virtues stressed in Islam. Inevitably, it leads to one's neglect of the remembrance of Allah, and one's neglect of the fact that it was Allah who gave the artist the talent from birth. It is also rivaling with Allah Himself who is the sole creator of the Universe and its inhabitants. Though many of Muslims therefore abstained from painting figures of people and animals, Islamic art was far from lacking beauty. Muslim scribes in Spain developed calligraphy into art form. Islamic art is known for its repetitious patterns, a constant reminder of the uniqueness of God. 22 Calligraphical, floral, arabesque, and geometric designs flourished in the Muslim world.

    "The city of Granada finds her equal not in Cairo, nor Damascus, nor Iraq. She is the Bride Unveiled While the others are just the dowry."

    The "Alhambra" meaning the "Red Fort" or "Red Palace" is located in the city of Granada ('Gharnatah'). It is called the "Red Fort" because of the red of the surrounding landscape. Alhambra comes from the Arabic word, "Al-Hamra" meaning "the red." The construction was begun in the Nasrid period, and completed in the fourteenth century. Muhammad al-Ghalib built the foundations of the Alhambra while further construction was made by his son, Muhammad II. Inside and around the Alhambra are inscriptions of Arabic writing like "Kingdom is for Allah" and "Wa La Ghalib illa Allah," which means, "There is no Conqueror (Victor) except Allah."king Abu Abdullah (Boabdil) was called by his people as, "Al-Ghalib" (The Conqueror). Yet, when recognizing his imminent defeat, he exclaimed otherwise proclaiming that none other than God was the Greatest. Hence, "There is no Conqueror except God," became the motto of his descendents. 23 Among other verses and poetry inscribed on the Alhambra walls are poems by Ibn Zamrak who was also the chief minister to King Muhammad V, and Ibn Al-Khatib who was also a historian, and a physician.

    The splendor of the Alhambra and its gardens have inspired many musicians, artists, and authors. Among them was renowned author, Washington Irving, who took up residence in the Alhambra and wrote Tales of the Alhambra. The artist M.C. Escher's interest began when in 1936 he visited the Alhambra and was fascinated with its tile patterns, and spent days sketching them. The inspiration here lay the foundation for his work - for which he is most famous for. He based his work on these intricate Arabic designs, and repetitive floral and mathematical patterns.

    The Golden Age of Islam began under 'Abdur-Rahman, the first Umayyad ruler, called the "Falcon of Andalus." He united the various tribes and groups of people in Andalusia when he became ameer (caliph) of Cordoba in 756. 24 Soon after he was proclaimed ameer, he laid plans to begin the construction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. It was at one time the second largest mosque in the Muslim world. Al-Hakam, 'Abdur-Rahman's son, was responsible for extending the Great Mosque in 961-966. 25 The mihrab of the Mosque of Cordoba, a niche in the wall indicating the direction of the Kaaba, was reportedly decorated with 320 bags of mosaic cubes; a mixture of Byzantine art along with corinthean and ionic pillars. 26 On the greatness of the Great Mosque, "One can understand perfectly the exaltation of the poet who praises its greatness: 'The gold shines in your domes like the lightening which flashes among the clouds.'" 27 Muslim Cordoba was described as the "jewel of the tenth century." It was compared with Constantinople and Baghdad. 28 Cordoba, Seville, and Madinat al-Zahra in the 10th century were one of the greatest centers of art and culture. 29 In fact, Madinat al-Zahra, the caliphate residence, was regarded as one of the "wonders of the age" until it was destroyed in the 11th century.

    Muslim Spain saw many dynasties that ruled her. The 11th century marked the decline of the Umayyad empire, which had ruled for some 300 years, with the rise of small parties in 1010. In 1056 rose the Almoravides. As the Almoravides began to disintegrate, the Almohades emerged by 1130 -- whose decline in 1269 paved way for Christian forces to begin gaining control of much of the peninsula. Toledo and Cordoba were already in Christian control. In 1492, with the fall of the last Nasrid ruler in Granada, Andalus was finally taken by the Christian troops under Ferdinand and Isabella.

    In 1469, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon had married to unite their kingdoms in order to occupy Spain. Cordoba was taken by Castile in 1236, and Seville in 1248. Only Granada remained as the last Muslim stronghold until. Section by section, Ferdinand and Isabella finally took Spain in 1492.

    "...Where are the great kings who built cities and castles and fortified them with towering walls? What happened to the lionhearted valorous ones who made their enemy suffer humiliation in the battlefields? Time waned under their feet and they ended inside dark graves. Think of it and take heed." (Abu Bakr (R.A.) in the Beauty of the Righteous and the Ranks of the Elite)

    Muhammad XII, known as Abu Abdullah ('Father of Abdullah') and hence as "Boabdil" was the last king of Granada who reigned during the Nasrid period. Abu Abdullah signed the treaty in November 1491 for the surrender of Granada in January of 1492. 30 He was exiled while his people were left to be persecuted. To her distraught and weeping son, Aishah, said unforgiving, "You weep like a woman for a city you could not defend like a man!"

    The surrender of Granada, however, did not quite mark the end of Islam in Spain. Islam had remained strong in Spain for eight centuries. However, as the military power in the Christian North began to strengthen, Al-Andalus gradually began to shrink. A few centuries later, the Muslims and Islam disappeared from Spain entirely.

    Isabella, in her fierce quest to eradicate Islam from Spain, issued forth decrees of mass conversions in her 'Holy War' ** against the Muslims. Muslim prayers were forbidden and mosques in their original splendor were destroyed and converted into churches. 31 Muslims were converted to Christianity, who were usually insincere Christians fearing for their lives, but remained Muslim by heart. They too, called "Moriscos" were soon to be expelled, in 1605, because they weren't accepted as real Christians, and certainly weren't allowed to live as Muslims and embrace Islam openly. 32

    1492, is better known as the year Columbus "discovered" America. In fact, current research suggests that IT discovered him, and that he actually never set foot on the mainland. 33 Furthermore, we learn that among other words of Arabic origin is the name of the capital city of Florida, Tallahassee. Among other names are "zenith," (cenit) "nadir," (nadir) "lemon," (limun) "sugar," (sukkar) "orange," (naranj) "banana," (banana) "alcohol," (al-kohl) "algebra," (al-jabr) "atlas," (atlas) "safari," (safr) and even "Hawaii" comes from the Arabic word, "Hawaa." As a matter of fact, almost all of the Native tribes' vocabulary included the word "Allah." Traces of the Arab culture brought here to the Native Americans can still be seen today, in this letter from a Native American Muslim. The languages of Spanish, Italian, English, Urdu, and Hindi all have traces of Arabic influence. Wherever the Muslims went, they brought their culture and language. Within a century of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s death, Islam spread across as far West as Spain and Portugal, and as far East as China.

    Columbus reportedly observed that the dress code for the Native American women were modest long dresses, and of the dress code included the covering of the face (like the women of Andalusia). The Native peoples had a great civilization prior to Columbus' arrival. During their expansion west, Muslims were already thinking about voyaging to America in 956 because it was well-known to them that America existed and they had the technology to cross the Atlantic. Some historians, in fact, suggest that Spain's Muslims arrived in America 500 years prior to Columbus. (956 would then seem accurate) America was the "New World" only to the Europeans. 34 If it weren't for the maps of Andalusian Muslim, Al-Idrisi (Dreses) Columbus wouldn't have been able to set sail, period.In October of 1492, Columbus claimed he saw a mosque and discovered "bearded men (like the men of Andalusia) who knelt for prayer 5 times a day." In addition, at least 30% of men brought into America with Columbus were Muslim. 35 Historians Sylvianne Diouf and Allan Austin shed light on the topic of Muslims in the Americas. 36

    In 1492, we also learn of the mass exodus from Spain, due to the inquisition ordered by Queen Isabella.Many Muslims and Jews left Andalusia because their rights were taken from them. However, they were very fortunate if they were able to escape with their lives from their own land. Muslims were ordered to convert or be killed. Many stayed behind and secretly remained Muslim, while others who resisted were burned at the stake. An estimated 3 million were expelled from Spain, along with all of Spain's skilled workers and masterminds. Undoubtedly, Spain soon found herself victim to her own cruelty... 37

    "The land deprived of skillful irrigation of the Moors grew impoverished and neglected, the richest and most fertile valleys languished and were deserted, and most of the populous cities which had filled every district in Andalusia, fell into ruinous decay; and beggars, friars, and bandits took the place of scholars, merchants and knights. So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors. Such is the melancholy contrast offered by her history." 38

    Until the inquisition, Muslims were free to practice their religion freely. However, during the inquisition led by Isabella, the rights of Muslims and Jews were taken away. The final expulsion occurred in early 17th century when all the remaining 'Moriscos,' those who were forcibly baptized, were forced from Spain in 1605. 39 The inquisition was finally completed, and naturally, Spain fell into depression and was reduced to nothingness.

    "The Arabs suddenly appeared in Spain like a star which crosses through the air with its light, spreads its flames on the Horizon and then vanishes rapidly into naught." 40

    Later kings failed to implement the teachings of Islam. Internal divisions and personal conflicts amongst the corrupt Muslim leaders led to the end of Islamic rule at the hands of the crusading Christians. As time went on, the inhabitants of Andalus in their enjoyment of their prosperity and wealth became even more materialistic. The first Muslims, however, affirmed the declaration of faith, "There is no God except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah," prayed five times a day, fasted in the month of Ramadan, gave 2.5% of their savings to charity, and performed the pilgrimage to Mecca if they had the means. Muslims prevailed in Al-Andalus because they had forgotten their Arabness or "Arabism." They were aware that they were Muslims only, and not divided by race, or nationality. Islam gave the Arabs an identity. An example of the Arabs before the advent of Islam: "When news is brought to him of the birth of a female child, his face darkens and he is filled with inner grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has received. Shall he retain it or bury it in the dust? What an evil choice they decide on!" (Qur'an, 16:58-59) Islam emerged and elevated the status of women, and strongly condemned this practice. "And when the baby girl that was buried alive is asked for what crime was she killed!?...then every soul will know what he has done!" (81:8-9;14)

    What were the Arabs before Islam? Sayyid Qutb (outstanding Muslim scholar, born in 1906 executed by the Egyptian government in 1966 because of his passion for Islam) in his commentary of Surah al-Feel (Chapter 105) of the Holy Qur'an states, "The only ideology the Arabs advanced for mankind was the Islamic faith which raised them to the position of human leadership. If they forsake it they will no longer have any function or role to play in human history...It is Allah who provides guidance for us lest we go astray."

    "This day I have perfected your religion for you and have completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion..."(Qur'an, 5:3). By analyzing the tragedy of Islam in Andalus, we find that the Muslims of Spain disregarded the fact that Allah indeed blessed them with Islam, and therefore went astray. They were so successful that as a result, Muslims believe that they treasured the wealth they accumulated so much so that they became arrogant and deviated from the practice of Al-Islam; disregarding the commandments of Allah, and the Sunnah (imitating actions, and way of life) of the Prophet (PBUH). They failed to remember their prosperity and wealth came from Allah and Him alone. Therefore, Allah took away the abundance of wealth, power, supremacy, and favors that He bestowed upon them so that they would remember. Allah says in the Qur'an, "Remember Me, and I will remember you. Give thanks to Me and never deny Me" (2:152). When the Muslims in Spain neglected Allah, He therefore neglected them. Allah asks mankind repeatedly in chapter 55, Surah Rahman, of the Qur'an, "Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?"

    Historian L.P. Harvey stated that we must not dwell on the failure of the Muslims in Spain, and instead admire the stubbornness put forth by the Muslims in defense of their land.

    The legacy of al-Andalus serves as a lesson for Muslims. The persecution of Muslims in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries was a great trial of their faith, as is the entire life of a Muslim; this was a great challenge from Allah. Many died fighting for Islam aware of the rewards for such a death. 41

    For those Muslims who were driven out of Andalus or were slain for their unwavering faith, Allah reassures mankind, "...I will forgive all the shortcomings and remove the evil deeds of those who were expelled from their homes or were persecuted for My sake and who fought for My cause and were slain. I shall admit them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. This is their reward from Allah, and with Allah alone is the richest reward!" (Qur'an, 3:195)

    "Spain and the West stand forever in their debt." 42 The Muslims were instrumental in making Spain a "Paradise on Earth," and issuing forth the Renaissance. I've observed that professors of philosophy, theology and history will agree with you concerning the greatness of Muslim Spain, yet they only speak of it once you've initiated the conversation! Muslim Spain is hardly spoken of, while the works of Muslims in Al-Andalus until this day remain unknown and underappreciated. "The intellectual community which the northern scholars found in Spain was so far superior to what they had at home that it left a lasting jealousy of Arab culture, which was to color Western opinions for centuries." 43

    The 1.2 billion plus Muslims of the world today have the same potential as of the Muslims of the past. One of our great many challenges today is to recreate the dynamic legacy which existed in Al-Andalus. In the example of the main character, 'Isabella,' (a REAL Queen!) in Dehlvi's book, the Andalusian Muslimah (female Muslim) who lived and died for Islam, we must remind the world that Al-Andalus was a supreme example of tolerance and justice because of the religion of Spain's people, not the fact that they were Arab or Spanish by race. By its outstanding example, Muslim Spain proves to the world that as a melting pot of religious faiths and races, we can, in reality, live and prosper with one another.



    ** "Jihad" has repeatedly been translated as "Holy War" by the West to paint Muslims as barbarians forcing Islam at the sword, when the fact of the matter is that the term "Holy War" was coined during the Crusades, wars initiated by the Christians against the Muslims.

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    3. Irving, Thomas B. (Ta'lim Ali) Falcon of Spain. Pakistan: Ashraf Printing Press, 1980.
    4. Vernet, Juan. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Abrams, 1992.
    5. Burckhardt, Titus. Moorish Architecture in Spain. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972.
    6. Hopfe, Lewis. Religions of the World. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998.
    7. Benchrifa, Mohamed. The Routes of Al-Andalus. http://mirror-us.unesco.org/culture/...g/andalus2.htm.
    8. Vernet, Juan. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Abrams, 1992.
    9. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    10. Shubert, Adrian. The Land and People of Spain. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992.
    11. Gibbon, E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    12. Barrucand, Marianne. Moorish Architecture in Andalusia. Italy: Taschen, 1992.
    13. Barrucand, Marianne. Moorish Architecture in Andalusia. Italy: Taschen, 1992.
    14. For a list of bios of outstanding Andalusian intellectuals visit: Muslim Scientists and Islamic Civilizations. http://users.erols.com/zenithco/index.html. By Dr. A. Zahoor.
    15. Shubert, Adrian. The Land and People of Spain. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992.
    16. Chejne, Anwar. Muslim Spain: Its history and culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974.
    17. Saud, Muhammad. Islam and Evolution of Science. India: Adam Publishers & Distributers, 1994. and Vernet, Juan. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Abrams, 1992.
    18. Harvey, L.P. Islamic Spain: 1250-500. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
    19. Barrucand, Marianne. Moorish Architecture in Andalusia. Italy: Taschen, 1992.
    20. King, Geoffrey. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978.
    21. Rodriguez, D.C. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Abrams, 1992.
    22. Grabar, Oleg. The Alhambra. Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1978.
    23. Irving, Washington. Tales of the Alhambra. Spain, 1832.
    24. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    25. King, Geoffrey. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978.
    26. Islamic Arts & Architecture. http://www.islamicart.com; and Prof. Waldron's class notes.
    27. All Cordoba. Spain: Editorial Escudo de Oro, 1980.
    28. King, Geoffrey. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978.
    29. Grabar, Oleg. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Abrams, 1992.
    30. Zahoor, A. Muslim Scientists and Islamic Civilizations. http://users.erols.com/zenithco/index.html.
    31. Hasan, Khola. The Crumbling Minarets of Spain. Saudi Arabia: Abul Qasim Publications, 1991.
    32. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    33. Quick, Abdullah Hakim. Muslims in the Americas before Columbus lecture on video.
    34. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    35. Quick, Abdullah Hakim. Muslims in the Americas before Columbus Lecture on video.
    36. Diouf, Sylvianne. Servants of Allah: African Muslims enslaved in the Americas, and Austin, Allan. African Muslims in Antebellum America.
    37. Abercrombie, Thomas. When the Moors Ruled Spain. http://www.geocities.com/mfbeig/abercrombie.html.
    38. Lane-Poole, Stanley. The Moors in Spain Beirut: Khayats, 1967.
    39. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    40. Conde, as quoted in Prescott, Philip II of Spain, Vol. III.
    41. Thomson, Ahmad. Blood on the Cross: Islam in Spain in the Light of Christian Persecution through the Ages England: TaHa Publishers Ltd, 1989.
    42. Abercrombie, Thomas. When the Moors Ruled Spain. http://www.geocities.com/mfbeig/abercrombie.html
    43. Burke, James. Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1985.

    To view documentaries on this topic visit:
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    The World's First Soft Drink
    By: Juliette Rossant - 3/11/2008

    "Give me a sun, I care not how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as easily made as your Persian."

    So wrote Lord Byron longingly in 1813, after he had tasted the drink during visits to Istanbul.

    In The Thousand and One Nights, sherbet appears as a refreshing and medicinal drink. Sir Richard Burton's translation reads:

    Thereupon Shahryar summoned doctors and surgeons and bade them treat his brother according to the rules of art, which they did for a whole month; but their sherbets and potions naught availed...

    The drink known as sherbet has, in its various forms, inspired many imbibers with its intense, distilled fragrance of fruits, flowers or herbs. Both today and historically, sherbet is perhaps the most widespread drink in the Muslim world. Two centuries before Byron, the philosopher Francis Bacon had tasted sherbet in 1626, giving us one of the earliest records of the new English word.

    Sherbet is made from fruit juices or extracts of flowers or herbs, combined with sugar and water (and sometimes vinegar) to form a syrup that is thinned at any later time with water, ice or even snow. As alcohol is forbidden in Islam, sherbet became one of the most important beverages in Muslim cultures-even part of everyday language. In Egyptian Arabic, for example, "dammu sharbaat" ("his blood is sherbet") is a compliment to a sweet disposition. Children are "sharbaataat" -"cuties" or "sweethearts." Coffee or tea can be served "sharbaat," which means "very sweet. "In Central and South Asia, sharbat is used as a given name, and one of National Geographic magazine's most famous cover photographs is the face of Sharbat Gula of Afghanistan.

    The reason for sherbet's wide popularity was simply that, until the early 20th century, there were few means of preserving and transporting fresh fruit. Refrigeration was available only to the very rich, while the horse was the universal measure of both speed and distance. Fruits thus remained seasonal and local-except when they could be either dried or reduced to a liquid essence in the form of syrup.

    Sherbet derives from Arabic shariba, "to drink." Shariba gave rise to numerous derivatives, in Arabic and other languages, including English. Whatever it was called in any language, however, sherbet's principal meaning remains "syrup" or its derivative, "a cooling drink (of the East), "as the Oxford English Dictionary calls it.

    One variant, Arabic sharbah (essentially "a drink"), gave Turkish şerbet (and Persian and Hindi sharbat) and our sherbet. Another, shurb (literally "a drinking"), followed trading ships back west with Portuguese xarope, giving Medieval Latin sirupus and our own rather Greek-looking syrup. More recently, sharaab came west from India and by 1867 had entered such dictionaries as Smith's Sailor's Wordbook, which lists "Shrab, a vile drugged drink prepared for seaman who frequent the filthy purlieus of Calcutta." The spelling in the American colonies crystallized as shrub.

    Let us not forget another of sharaab's contributions to language, this time in architecture: mashrabiyyah. According to A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic, the word that now commonly refers to a Middle Eastern turned, latticed woodwork window screen applied originally to the location where that screen was placed: A mashrabiyyah is a platform projecting outside a house window, where jars could be stored and cooled by evaporation.

    Ottoman Turks drank şerbet before and during each meal, and to this very day the Haci Abdullah restaurant in Istanbul's Beyoglu district serves şerbet with many traditional Ottoman foods. Customers can start a meal the old way, with a şerbet called karışık komposto, a dense, rose-colored drink made from syrup of quince, apple, pear, peach and apricot mixed with iced spring water.

    Besides Haci Abdullah there are only a handful of restaurants which still serve Ottoman style, including Konyalı at the Topkapı Palace and Daruzziyafe ("guesthouse") at the Suleymaniye Mosque, both in old Istanbul. According to the season, Daruzziyafe serves two kinds of serbet each day: fruit-including pear, quince, strawberry, apple, cornelian cherry, pomegranate and orange-and herb şerbet made from the leaves or roots of such plants as palmyra palm, rose and carob. There is also a honey şerbet.

    In the New World, in McLean, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., one can taste modern interpretations of Ottoman dishes at Kazan restaurant, run by Chef Zeynel Abidin Uzun, a student of Konyalı's Ottoman-trained master chef Abdullah Effendi. Chef Uzun serves dugun şerbetı ("wedding sherbet"), a latter-day name for the Ottoman karışık komposto.

    Andrew Mango, former BBC director for the Near East and author of numerous books on Turkey, was raised in Istanbul. Of his youth in the early days of modern Turkey, Mango recollects there were serbetiler, or serbet-sellers, who carried on their backs huge brass flasks with long spouts, filled with one of many flavors: tamarind or pomegranate, lemon or orange. Slung around his waist, the serbeti would carry a row of glasses tucked into his sash or into a brass cup-holder. For a customer, he would rinse a glass with water, bend forward and, from the spout that curved over his shoulder, pour delicious serbet into the glass. There were also street-side stands that sold şerbet, which Mango recalls as "safer" in terms of cleanliness. Mango's favorite serbet flavors? They were kızılcık, or cornelian cherry, and demirhindi, or tamarind.

    In villages in eastern Turkey, it is still true today that, after a dowry is agreed on, the groom's family comes to the bride's house and out comes a long-spouted brass or copper ewer, called an ibrik, filled with gul şerbeti, or rose sherbet. The woman who has "drunk sherbet" has accepted the groom's suit. Far across Asia, in India and Afghanistan as well, once the groom's family has offered presents, the bride's family reciprocates by offering gol sharbat.

    Not only marriage but also births and circumcisions demand sherbet. "As for special occasions, you should soon be offering logusa şerbeti, a colored şerbet flavored with cloves and other spices, which is offered to visitors after the birth of a child, "recounts Mango. In Egypt, one is served finjan erfeh when visiting a newborn child.

    In his 1836 classic Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Edward W. Lane described at length the sharaab of Egypt:

    The Egyptians have various kinds of sherbets or sweet drinks. The most common kind is merely sugar and water but very sweet; lemonade is another; a third kind, the most esteemed, is prepared from a hard conserve of violets, made by pounding violet-flowers and then boiling them with sugar. This violet-sherbet is of a green color. A fourth kind is prepared from mulberries; a fifth from sorrel. There is also a kind of sherbet sold in the streets which is a strong infusion of liquorice-root, and called by the name of that root; a third kind, which is prepared from the fruit of the locust tree, and called in like manner by the name of the fruit.

    The sherbet is served in colored glass cups, generally called kullehs containing about three quarters of a pint, some of which (the more common kind) are ornamented with gilt flowers etc. The sherbet cups are placed on a round tray and covered with a piece of embroidered silk, or cloth of gold.

    Sharaab was also served to end each day's fasting during the month of Ramadan, Lane observed:

    In general during Ramadan, in the houses of persons of the higher and middle classes, the stool of the supper-tray is placed in the apartment in which the master of the house receives his visitors a few minutes before sunset... With these are also placed several kullehs (or glass cups) of sherbet of sugar and water-usually one or two more cups than there are persons in the house to partake of beverages in case of visitors coming unexpectedly... Immediately after the call to evening-prayer, which is chanted four minutes after sunset, the master and such of his family or friends as happen to be with him drink each a glass of sherbet.

    One such recipe served to this day in the United Arab Emirates is sharab loomi ma ward, or lemon sherbet with rosewater.

    M. R. Ghanoonparvar, professor of Persian language and literature and an accomplished chef and cookbook author, recalls that in Iran, sharbat is usually served at parties, especially in summer, and often in special glasses.

    In Iran, sharbat is often made from aromatic flowers rather than just fruit, mostly in Shiraz, which produces and exports to other parts of Iran those flower extracts (called 'araq-literally "perspiration"). Some of the flowers are bahar narenj (orange blossoms), bidmeshk (Egyptian or musk-willow) and kasni (chicory). In her novel Savushun, the first written and published in Iran by a woman, Simin Daneshvar wrote of "the [sharbat] distillery next door with its mounds of flowers and herbs every season, flowers and herbs whose very names make you happy willows, citrons, fumitories, palm pods, sweetbriars and most of all its orange blossoms."

    On the 13th day of Iran's Nowruz (New Year's) holiday, celebrated every March, families leave their homes to picnic, eating and drinking seven things that start with the letter seen ("s") and seven that start with sheen ("sh"), including a sharbat of sugar, vinegar and fresh mint called sekanjebin. Mint is believed to have restorative powers-so much so that Iranian families have been known to sneak hospital patients unauthorized doses of sekanjebin to speed recovery.

    In Europe and America, the drink known as shrub was popular, usually made from tart fruits like raspberries or currants or citrus mixed with sugar and vinegar. Often rum, brandy or other alcohol was added. Nowadays, shrub, without alcohol, is making a small comeback commercially, and is sold at some American colonial-style restaurants and stores, especially in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

    At the end of the 19th century came America's craze for carbonated medicinal drinks. This was the source of Coca-Cola, which first spread across the country through drugstores and pharmacies. Spreading abroad, Coca-Cola began operating bottling plants in the Philippines and China in 1927, Singapore in 1934, Malaysia in 1936, Morocco and Tunisia in 1947, Pakistan in 1953, Sri Lanka in 1960 and Turkey in 1965.

    For a while the two types of soft drinks, western and eastern, vied for position in sherbet shops and among street vendors in the Middle East. Over time, however, western soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi came to dominate, and now they are often served not just with western fast-food meals, but also with traditional dishes. The practical need for fruit-, herb- and flower-based sherbets has been outdated: Thanks to modern refrigeration, glass bottles and specialized containers like Tetra Pak, "fresh" frozen and refrigerated juices can be shipped to supermarkets worldwide and brought home to refrigerators.

    Yet it seems sherbet retains great symbolic power, even in politics. For example, in the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, in 1998 the Indian Express reported that "people forgot three wars and the accumulated bitterness of 50 years" to celebrate a sharbat-based ceremony over the divided border. In 2000, some 25,000 Indian devotees offered Pakistani border guards sharbat. In India's national budgets, sharbat has its own line for the excise tax, listed right next to sugar, vinegar, chocolate, chewing gum and instant coffee and tea. Indian newspapers debate whether sharbat should indeed even be taxed.

    Sherbet can be made and enjoyed at home to this day using syrups available in most markets in the East and in specialty stores (many of which are now on-line) or made from special-order ingredients (like lemon and orange blossom extracts) in the West.

    Writer- Juliette Rossant (www.julietterossant.com) is an author and journalist who has written on food and travel as well as business and politics from Istanbul, Moscow, Paris, Jiddah and various US cities. Her first book, Super Chef (2004, Simon & Schuster), chronicles the adventures of empire-building celebrity chefs.

    The drink known as sherbet has, in its various forms, inspired many imbibers with its intense, distilled fragrance of fruits, flowers or herbs. Both today and historically, sherbet is perhaps the most widespread drink in the Muslim world.

    Visit here to get some recipes: http://forum.netmuslims.com/showthread.php?t=6637
    Last edited by Muslim; Nov-7-2014 at 10:20 PM.

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    Major Muslim contributions (Links)

    This is a partial list of some of the leading Muslims. Major Muslim contributions continued beyond the fifteenth century. Contributions of more than one hundred other major Muslim personalities can be found in several famous publicationsby Western historians.Biographies are available in the Islamic Civilization E-book.

    Fall of Muslim Toledo (1085), Corsica and Malta (1090), Provence (1050), Sicily (1091) and Jerusalem (1099). Several Crusades. First wave of devastation of Muslim resources, lives, properties, institutions, and infrastructure over a period of one hundred years. Refer to Muslim History. Translators of Scientific Knowledge in the Middle Ages

    Second wave of devastation of Muslim resources, lives, properties, institutions, and infrastructure over a period of one hundred and twelve years. Crusader invasions (1217-1291) and Mongol invasions (1219-1329). Crusaders active throughout the Mediterranean from Jerusalem and west to Muslim Spain. Fall of Muslim Cordoba (1236), Valencia (1238) and Seville (1248). Mongols devastation from the eastern most Muslim frontier, Central and Western Asia, India, Persia to Arab heartland. Fall of Baghdad (1258) and the end of Abbasid Caliphate. Two million Muslims massacred in Baghdad. Major scientific institutions, laboratories, and infrastructure destroyed in leading Muslim centers of civilization. Refer to "A Chronology of Muslim History Parts III, IV."

    Third wave of devastation of Muslim resources, lives, properties, institutions, and infrastructure. End of Muslim rule in Spain (1492). More than one million volumes of Muslim works on science, arts, philosophy and culture was burnt in the public square of Vivarrambla in Granada. Colonization began in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Refer to "A Chronology of Muslim History Parts IV, V (e.g., 1455, 1494, 1500, 1510, 1524, and 1538)"

    Last edited by Muslim; Nov-7-2014 at 10:18 PM.

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    Muslim inventions that shaped the modern world

    By Olivia Sterns - January 29, 2010

    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.

    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. 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.

    4. 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.

    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: http://www.muslimheritage.com.

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    1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now Online

    Between the 9th and 19th centuries, Arabic-speaking scholars translated Greek, Latin and even Sanskrit texts on topics such as medicine, mathematics and astronomy, fostering a vibrant scientific culture within the Islamic world. Some of the most influential texts are now available at the Qatar Digital Library.

    The library, a joint project of the British Library and the Qatar Foundation, offers free access to 25,000 pages of medieval Islamic manuscripts. Among some of the most significant texts:

    The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206 A.D.), which was inspired by an earlier, 9th-century translation of Archimedes' writings on water clocks. Devices such as the "Elephant Clock" (pictured below) were the most accurate time-keeping pieces before the first pendulum clocks were built in the 17th century by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens.

    Another water clock design features balls dropping onto a cymbal from a bird's head.

    This is one of the only three recorded copies of an influential treatise on the construction and use of astrolabes by Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973-1048), containing 122 diagrams.

    A translation (615 AD) of Ptolemy's mathematical and astronomical treatise, The Almagest.

    An Arabic version of De Materia Medica, an encyclopedia of herbs and medicine written in the first century AD by Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek-born, Roman physician. This translation was completed in Baghdad in 1334 A.D.

    See more manuscripts at the Qatar Digital Library.

  15. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by Muslim View Post
    Its true that modern inventions and innovations owed much to the discovery and inventions of Muslms of the past. And we cannot deny the true benefits that the modern world have benefits.Thank Allah.
    Last edited by islamirama; Mar-10-2018 at 03:22 PM.

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    Default Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization

    Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization

    In his recent article, Sam Harris, a popular critic of Islam, referred to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist, as “the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in 1,000 years.” Hidden in this comment is the idea that Malala’s fellow Muslims are backward and that her religion, Islam, is not conducive to change or progress.

    Conversely to the beliefs of Harris and others like him, Muslims have actually made enormous contributions to civilization, perhaps due to the heavy emphasis that Islam places on knowledge. People who forget or blatantly ignore major trends or events in world history can be said to suffer from “historical amnesia.” Though this mindset cannot be cured in one short blog post, I hope to dispel some of the stereotypes and misperceptions exacerbated by Harris and other anti-Islam activists by highlighting the contributions that Muslims have made to civilization over the years.

    Contributions to education

    Malala’s quest for universal education follows in Muslims’ long and proud history in the field of education. Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD. For several years, students were schooled here in a plethora of secular and religious subjects. At the end of their education, teachers evaluated students and awarded degrees based on satisfactory performances. The concept of awarding degrees would spread from Fez to Andalucía, Spain, and later to the Universities of Bologna in Italy and Oxford in England, among other places of learning.

    Spanish Muslims of Andalucía were especially strong advocates of education and helped to dispel the gloom that had enveloped Europe during the Dark Ages. Between the 8th and 15th centuries, Andalucía was perhaps the world’s epicenter for education and knowledge. Spanish universities such as those in Cordoba, Granada, and Seville, had Christian and Jewish students who learned science from Muslims. Women were also encouraged to study in Muslim Spain. This educational environment that stressed tolerance would not reach the “Western world” until the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Contributions to philosophy

    One of the greatest Muslim contributions to civilization began in the 8th century when Muslim scholars inherited volumes of Greek philosophy. The wisdom in ancient Greece texts, which had been lost to Europeans, was translated from Latin to Arabic by Muslim scholars, thus creating one of the greatest transmissions of knowledge in world history. Muslims scholars would eventually bring the ideas of great ancient Greek minds such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato into Europe, where their philosophy was translated into other European languages. This is why Muslims are the main threshold behind the European Renaissance and the Enlightenment, two movements that resurrected Greek philosophy and gave new life into a European continent that was bogged down with religious dogma and bloody internal conflicts.

    Many Muslim scholars made acquiring knowledge their life goal. Perhaps the most notable of these scholars is Al-Ghazali, a Sufi Muslim who in the 11th and 12th centuries revolutionized early Islamic philosophy by helping develop Neoplatonism, which is often described as the “mystical” or “religious” interpretation of Greek philosophy. At the time of Al-Ghazali’s writing, Muslim philosophers had read about the ideas of ancient Greece, but these ideas were generally perceived to be in conflict with Islamic teachings. Al-Ghazali helped synthesize these elements by adopting the techniques of Aristotelian logic and the Neoplatonic ways to diminish the negative influences of excessive Islamic rationalism.

    Ibn Khaldun is another one of the most important Muslim thinkers in history. Recognized as one of the greatest historians ever and the founder of sociological sciences in the 14th and 15th centuries, Khaldun created one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies in history in his work, the Muqaddimah. He also paved the way for our expectations of modern-day Presidents and Prime Ministers by creating a framework for evaluating “good rulers,” stating “the sovereign exists for the good of the people... The necessity of a Ruler arises from the fact that human beings have to live together and unless there is some one to maintain order, society would break to pieces.”

    Contributions to health care

    Medicine is another crucial contribution to civilization made by Muslims in addition to education and the university system. In 872 in Cairo, Egypt, the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital was created and equipped with an elaborate institution and a range of functions. Like other Islamic hospitals that soon followed, Tulun was a secular institution open to men and women, adults and children, the rich and poor, as well as Muslims and non-Muslims. Tulun is also the earliest hospital to give care to the mentally ill.

    One hundred years after the founding of Tulun, a surgeon named Al-Zahrawi, often called the “father of surgery,” wrote an illustrated encyclopedia that would ultimately be used as a guide to European surgeons for the next five hundred years. Al-Zarawhi’s surgical instruments, such as scalpels, bone saws, and forceps are still used by modern surgeons. Al-Zahrawi is also reportedly the first surgeon to perform a caesarean operation.

    Another significant Muslim discovery came in the 13th century, when the Muslim medic Ibn Nafis described the pulmonary circulation almost three hundred years before William Harvey, the English physician who is believed by many Westerners to have “discovered” it. The technique of inoculation, or the introduction of an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body to induce immunity to a disease, is also said to have been designed by Muslims in Turkey and brought to Europe by the wife of England’s Turkish ambassador in 1724.

    Protecting and cleansing the body has always been a priority for Muslims. Perhaps then it is no surprised that Muslim scientists combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil to create a recipe for soap, which is still used today. Shampoo was also introduced to England on the Brighton seafront in 1759 at Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths.

    Contributions to science

    There is also little doubt that the development of astronomy owes a great deal to the work of Muslim astronomers. As far back as the early 9th century, the Caliph Al-Ma’mum founded an astronomical observatory in Shammasiya in Baghdad and Qasiyun in Damascus. Five hundred years later, in 1420, Prince Ulugh Bey built a massive observatory in Samarqand, which was then followed in 1577 by another observatory built by Sultan Murad III in Istanbul.

    The Ottomans had particularly well-organized astronomical institutions such as the post of chief-astronomer and time-keeping houses. Taqi al-Din, a 16th century Ottoman astronomer, created astronomical tables and observational instruments that helped measure the coordinates of stars and the distances between them.

    Muslims have also made contributions in the field of chemistry by inventing many of the basic processes and apparatuses used by modern-day chemists. Working in the 8th and 9th centuries in Andalucía, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, the founder of modern chemistry, transformed alchemy into chemistry through distillation, or separating liquids through differences in their boiling points. In addition to developing the processes of crystallization, evaporation, and filtration, he also discovered sulphuric and nitric acid. The historian Erick John Holmyard stated that Hayyan’s work is as important, if not more, than that of Robert Boyle and Antoine Lavoisier, two European chemists who are frequently attributed to creating modern chemistry.

    Indeed our very modern and globalized world today would not be able to move so quickly if it were not for the genius of Ibn Firnas, a Muslim engineer of Andalucía who in the 9th century constructed a flying machine, thus becoming the world’s first aviator. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. Although he hoped to glide like an eagle, Ibn Firnas did not, though he is credited for creating the first parachute.

    Muslims have also influenced the study of physics, a closely linked field to flying and aviation. Mohammad Abdus Salam, a Pakistani theoretical physicist, shared a 1979 Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of theoretical physics, specifically in unifying electromagnetic and weak forces.

    I have only scratched the surface of the contributions made by Muslims to the development of civilization. Children around the world should be taught about these contributions to dispel the misperception that Muslims are backward and stagnant. Muslims worldwide must also invest more in education, medicine, and other sciences in order to continue their tradition of being pioneers for knowledge.



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