The University of al-Qarawiyyin or al-Karaouine (Arabic: جامعة القرويين) is a university located in Fes, Morocco. It is the oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding educational institution in the world according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records and is sometimes referred to as the oldest university.
Besides medicine, astronomy and mathematics, chemistry is the fourth major science in which Muslims have made the greatest contribution. Until as recently as the 17th century, they were considered authorities in this science. Among the long list of great Muslim chemists we find two names, Jabir Ibn Hayyan and Zakariya Razi, reaching distinction. Continue reading “Development of chemistry 8th century”→
Giralda or “The Tower of Seville”, was the first observatory in Europe. This was 600 years before Galileo.It was built in 1190 A.D., in the Spanish (It was called ANDALUS under Muslim caliphate) town of Seville under the supervision of the celebrated Mathematician, Jabir Ibn Afiah.Continue reading “Astronomy and Navigation 1000-1400”→
Bold experiments and unique innovations in the field of mathematics were carried out by Muslim mathematicians who developed this science to an exceptionally high degree. Their contributions stretched from the end of the eighth(8th) century to about the middle of the fifteenth(15th) century. Al-Kharizmi was the inventor of Al-gebra (Algebra)Continue reading “Advance Mathematics 800-1500”→
Did you know that the first really scientific attempt to fly in the Muslim World was made in the 9th century? Abul Qasim Ibn Firnas, who lived in the Spanish city of Cordoba, built a glider which was capable of carrying a human being.
Since antiquity, flying has always been a human dream as early civilisations could only watch and admire the gracefulness of flying birds. In 852 C.E., Abbas Ibn Firnas, or Armen Firman in Latin, a Moor(a Muslim of the mixed Berber and Arab people inhabiting N Africa) from Cordoba, constructed a wing-like cloak that he could glide on. He survived an attempt jumping from a tower in Cordoba with only minor injuries as his wing-like garments caught enough air to break his fall. This fall came to be known as the parachute fall. After watching birds, he realized that he had not added a tail to his glider.
Another Muslim, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi (1609-1640) flew successfully from one side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul to the other during the reign of the Turkish Sultan Murad IV, in 1633.
The first watch was made by Kutbi, a renowned watch-maker of his time. During the Abbasid period, which lasted between 750-1258 the use of a watch became quite common. Abbasid (Abbasi) is the dynastic name generally given to the caliph of Baghdad, the second of the two great Sunni dynasties of the Islamic empire, that overthrew the Umayyad caliphs from all but Spain. Continue reading “First Watch 8th century”→
The first paper in Islamic countries was manufactured in 794 A.D. in Baghdad by Yusuf Bin Omar. The paper manufactured in Arab countries was of superior quality than that made in Europe. By further developing the technique, they managed to produce paper on a larger scale. Continue reading “Manufacturing of Paper and Cloth 8th century”→
Water, so precious a commodity in a more Islamically aware age, was managed according to stringent rules, any waste of the resource banned, and the most severe economy enforced. Thus, in the Algerian Sahara various water management techniques were used to make the most effective use of the resource. Continue reading “Agriculture: Water Management”→
As early as the ninth century, a modern agricultural system became central to economic life and organization in the Muslim land.
The great Islamic cities of the Near East, North Africa and Spain, Artz explains, were supported by an elaborate agricultural system that included extensive irrigation and an expert knowledge of the most advanced agricultural methods in the world. Continue reading “The Agricultural Revolution”→
One of the leading cosmetologists was the famous physician and father of surgery, Abu al-Qassim al-Zahrawi, or Abulcassis (936-1013 CE). He wrote a monumental work, a medical encyclopaedia entitled Al-Tasreef, in 30 volumes, which was translated into Latin and used as the main medical textbook in most Universities of Europe.
Did you know that the first windmill was constructed as early as 7th century? One thing the vast deserts of Arabia had was wind, when the seasonal streams ran dry, and these desert winds had a constant wind direction. For about one hundred and twenty days the wind blew regularly from the same place.
The windmill was so simple yet effective that it quickly spread all over the world from its 7th century Muslim origins. After this, wind-power became widely used to run mill stones for grinding corn, and also to draw up water for irrigation. This was first in the Indus Valley province of Sistan, and al-Mas`udi, an Arab geographer who lived in the 10th century, described the region as a country of wind and sand. He also wrote, a characteristic of the area is that the power of the wind is used to drive pumps for watering gardens. Most historians believe that it was the crusaders who introduced windmills to Europe in the 12th century.
Sherbet, a juice of crushed fruit, herbs, or flowers has long existed as one of the most popular beverages from and of the Muslim world, winning over Western figures such as Lord Byron. Muslims developed a variety of juices to make their Sharbat, an Arabic word from which the Italian sorbetto, French sorbet and English sherbet were derived. Today, this juice is known by a multitude of names, is associated with numerous cultural traditions, and is produced by countries ranging from India to the United States of America. The medieval Muslim sources also contain a lot of recipes for drink syrups that can be kept outside the refrigerator for weeks or months.
Did you know that the carpet industry originated in the Muslim world, developing this ancient industry into very sophisticated designs. The Muslim carpet has long been a luxury commodity sought by textile museums, rich collectors and wealthy merchants all over the world.
The fame of the flying carpet of ‘Al’a Al-Din added some mystery to its already exceptional beauty and tangible quality. It is not surprising that carpets still represent one of the most valuable art items obtained by museums and wealthy families of the West. Continue reading “Laying down the red carpet (8th century)”→
People have enjoyed perfume for centuries. The hard work of two talented chemists, Jabir ibn Hayyan (born 722) and al-Kindi (born 801) helped lay the foundations and established the perfume industry. Jabir developed many techniques, including distillation, evaporation and filtration, which enabled the collection of the odour of plants into a vapour that could be collected in the form of water or oil. Continue reading “Perfumes from the East (8th century)”→