Contribution of Muslims in Modern Inventions
The common notion about Muslims in this day and age is not any good. The West has already labeled them as the extremists, and a constant danger to the safety of the entire world population according to prevailing propaganda. This generalization has got no roots, as activities done by a small group of people should not be taken as the way of life of the whole religion. If it was so, then Christians are the worst creatures, as they were the ones who started 2 World Wars, killed millions of Jews, wiped out two Japanese cities through bombs, kept black Africans as slaves and there are many other examples like that. But Christianity was never called brutal, however, small proportion of so called Muslims who terrorize innocents are easily taken as an excuse to tag Islam as the cruel faith.
Today, the West is so proud of their scientific inventions forgetting the fact that when they were lying in darkness in the middle ages, they were Muslims who had already laid the foundations for all the present technical advancements. But where did they take the inspiration from? This is the question that comes to one`s mind as Quran is considered irrelevant to science by many opponents of Islam. Well in fact, the Holy Quran and Science go hand in hand: there are various Ayahs (verses) that call the disciples towards studying the overall Universe, and many natural phenomena on earth in order to understand the creations of the Almighty better.
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason. [Quran, 2: 164]
Allah SWT urges His believers to think with reasoning in the above stated Quranic lines, and there are many other such verses which direct us to do so. The early Muslim took their brainwaves through such teachings of Islam, which led them to embark on many life transforming discoveries when they reflected on their surroundings and acted wisely.
Now let us take a look back at some of the most important and radical inventions made by the early Muslims:
Goods of common use
Many of the convenience commodities that the world enjoys nowadays mainly came through Muslims, who, right from start, worked actively in making their lives easier.
Some of the most prominent products of daily life use that were discovered by the Muslims in early ages are:
1. Coffee: it originated from Ethiopia in 9th century, when an Arab named Khalid noticed his cattle became active after eating a certain herb. He used it and thus coffee came into existence and was used by Muslim Scholars of that time in Yemen to stay awake all night long to worship. Later, it was taken to Cairo, and arrived in Turkey in 13th century. The Europe only got its hands over coffee until in 16th century when it was taken there for trade.
2. Toothbrush: the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used the first ever toothbrush in the form of stick taken from Meswak tree. Modern toothpaste also contains same kinds of substances.
3. Perfume: it has been in use since the days of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah, Who considered its application a good thing to do:
“The taking of a bath on Friday is compulsory for every male Muslim who has attained the age of puberty and (also) the cleaning of his teeth with Miswaak (type of twig used as a toothbrush), and the using of perfume if it is available.” (Bukhari)
4. Soap and Shampoo: the Arabs mixed vegetable with sodium hydroxide and other fragrant like thyme oil to make soaps of some kind. Then, shampoos were introduced into England by a Muslim first in the 18th century, who was hired as a Shampooing Doctor to Kings George IV and William IV.
Although the first ever official institute in the Islamic era goes back to days when Masjid e Nabawi was used as a place for scholars to learn Quran and then they would go far off places to teach it to others. But talking about the academy of modern kinds, they were also Muslims who started it first.
1. First Academia: In 9th century, in Morroco, Fatima al-Fihri opened a Madrassa (education centre) along with a mosque, named the University of al-Qarawiyyin or al-Karaouine, which was meant for both spiritual and other schooling purposes, also dubbed as the Oldest University in the world.
2. Numeric and Algebra: in the early 9th century, an Arab Mathematician named Al-Khwarizmi introduced the numbering system that is being used currently. He was the one who invented the method of raising a number to a power. Algebra was also formulated by him consisting of rational and irrational numbers and of geometric order.
3. Fountain Pen: in 10th century, a fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt, just like those of pens we use today.
The world of Medicine
Muslims were also the first ones to develop a system of proper help for ill people, as it is the Sunnah of Allah`s Apostle (PBUH) highly emphasized on caring for the sick ones.
1. Hospitals: the first ever medical centre, called the Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, was made by Muslim in 9th century, in Cairo, with a view to provide free treatment for the unwell.
2. Surgery: a famous Physician from early 11th century, named Al-Zarahwi devised a comprehensive method of operation in his 1500 pages long book, which was used by European for next 5 centuries. He also worked out the successful stitching of wounds and the first pair of forceps used in surgery.
3. Treatment of cowpox: almost 50 years before Jenner and Pastuer did their works on inoculation, Muslims in Turkey were already vaccinating children with cowpox and Europe only came to know about it from Turks.
Scientific knowledge and innovations
1. Optics: Ibn al-Haitham, in 10 century, first gave the idea of light being reflected from our eyes than being emitted from them as was thought in the primitive times of Greeks. He also made the very first camera obscura which explains the phenomenon of eye seeing images due to a link between optic nerve and brain.
2. Evolution of Chemistry: Jabir bin Hayan is known as the Father of Chemistry, who was a renowned scientist from 8th century, and is known for his work on Alchemy and Metallurgy till date. His famous works on Chemistry include liquefaction, crystallization, distillation, purification, oxidization, evaporation and filtration.
3. Inventing a flying machine: Abbas ibn Firnas, in 9th century, was the first person to make a real attempt to build a flying machine and fly. He made a costume resembling a bird. Hundreds of years later, the Italian artist Da Vicini devised a similar airborne mechanism.
There are many other Muslim inventions that were either first made or proved to be the stepping stones for modern inventions and expansion of scientific knowledge, like musical instruments, robotics, earth being round in shape, chess, irrigation, crank shaft, work in architecture, anesthesia, windmill, carpets, checks, gardening, mariner`s compass pendulum, and many more. All of this discussion shows that Muslims have also been working for the common good of a man, and there are no grounds for branding the whole Muslim nation held responsible for extremist and condemnable actions of a group of mislead individuals who call themselves as Muslims.