The Rich Contribution ofMuslims to the History ofHuman CivilizationDiscover 1000 Years of Missing History;The Muslim Heritage in our World
Ever bothered to learn about the true origins of codebreaking, three Meals Course, treatment through music,cappuccino, GPS, archs- torpedoes, trick devices, games,spas, perfumes, photography, fashion and style, carpets,Philosophy and many more of our modern life essentials andluxuries?!From home remedies to astronomical discoveries andphysical/ chemical observations, this presentation seeks tofamiliarize your good self with the true foundations of humancivilizations, laid and by Muslim grand grand fathers, andmistakenly credited to the age of the Renaissance, so as tofeel proud and set firm your sense of identity as a Muslim.
Andalusia was the pathway that connected, or rather the gateway that broughtthe light of of Islamic Civilization to Europe, inspiring prosperity at the hands ofMuslim scholars, entrepreneurs and advocates to many scientific, intellectual,social, and economic fields. The Andalusian civilization lived for approximatelyeight centuries, specifically during the period 92 - 897 A.H - 711-1492 A.D).When the Islamic civilization first met with the Christian West during the medievaltimes, Europe was living through its darkest ages.It was the rich Islamic civilization, stretching from Spain to China, from the 7thcentury and onwards, that brought much enlightenment to the human race.Muslims brought forth great prosperity through their inventions that left theirmark on our world and still do.
When Muslims settled in Spain, they went on availing the tools forthe commencement and success of their civilization, they devotedlyinvested much time and effort to acquiring knowledge. Developingnew theories and advancements that took existing development insciences, philosophy, architecture, literature and arts to new levelsand opened absolute new horizons for new inventions..They sent light far and wide, penetrating through geographicalboundaries and nothing could stop the spread of their positiveimpact until the Italian renaissance in the 15th. century. It wasduring that time that Translation from Arabic into Andalusiaflourished greatly.
“No sooner had the Arabs completed the conquest of Spainthan they started to carry out the message of civilization there. Inless than a century, they managed to give life to dead lands,reconstruct ruined cities, set up magnificent buildings, andstrengthen close trade relations with other nations. They thenstarted to dedicate themselves to studying sciences and arts andto translate Greek and Latin books and set up universities whichcontinued to be a place for culture in Europe for a long time.”-- Gustav Le Bon
Andalusia marked theDawn of the HumanCivilization
In the coming slides, supported bymanuscripts and documentation, Ishall try to list only a few ofhundreds and perhaps thousandsof great achievements Muslimsadvanced during the peak of theIslamic Civilization, to heed theirexperience and attempt to revivethe faded glory of our heritage.
Banu Musa BrothersThethreebrothers,namelyMuammadibnMsibnShakir,AmedibnMusaibnḥūāḥShakirandAl-asanibnMusaibnShakir,threeMuslimscholarsof9th-centuryḤBaghdad, worked in astronomical observatories established in Baghdad by theAbbasid Caliph al-Mamun. They also did good deal of research in the House ofWisdom.Of all their great work, their most notable achievement was in the field of automation,which they made best use of in toys and other entertaining creations.
This is a manuscript showing the Banu Musa toy, wherein a fakebull would make a voice of contentment when it finishes drinking as ifits thirst has been satisfied.
Al-FarabiAbuNarMohamedibnMohamedAl-Farabiisaṣ true talentOf a philosopher and the master of Philosophy, the Second Master (afterAristotle).He was a philosopher, logician and musician, and a renowned political thinker. Solittle is known about Al-Farabi’s personal life but his philosophical heritage is quiterich. In the arena of metaphysics he’s nicknamed the Father of Islamic Neoplatonism’.Analyzing his corpus, you’d find it fed on Aristotelianism, however it is thisNeoplatonic dimension that dominates much of his works.
Al-Farabi- (Continued)Among his most reputed works is al-Madina al-fadila (The Virtuous City).Without a doubt his book demonstrates evident Platonic elements, however itstheology adds to it far more elements than being a pure Platonic view of life.Al-Farabi’s impact was rich and far outreaching, influencing major Islamicphilosophers such as Ibn Sina and Yahya ibn Adi, al-Sijistani, al-Amiri and al-Tawhidi, as well as Christian thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas.
The House of wisdomThe House of Wisdom was a school, a full-fledged learning center, atranslation institute, a library and a research center established in in Iraqduring the Abbasid-era.It was first founded by and during the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashidand reached an advanced form of its intended role during the reign of hisson Caliph al-Mamun,Based in Baghdad from the 9th to 13th centuries, Bait al Hikma, gaveBirth to a huge number of reputable Muslim scholars. It was ran by skilledand devoted clerics who perfectly managed it as a research andeducational center.The House of Wisdom was an unparalleled learning center teachingmathematics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, zoology and geography,among others.
Fatimah al-fihriBorn to a wealthy family from Kairouan in Tunisia, Fatima and her parents wereamong many families who migrated to Morocco during the rule of King Idriss II.Her husband, parents and brothers died, leaving behind a great wealth.Fatimah and her sister Mariam inherited such wealth and decided to joinforces and devote their time, effort and wealth for serving their community,working on the betterment of its conditions, and hence attain the satisfactionof Allah Almighty.Towards this end, Fatimah gave orders for the construction of AlQarawiyyin mosque, which later developed into the massive and indeedthe first academy. Mariam, on the other hand, decided to deliver part ofher legacy by building the grand Al Andalous Mosque.
Fatimah al-fihri- (contued)As for Al Qarawiyyin Mosque and Madrasa, it established itself as akey spiritual and educational academy that played a major role inspreading the light of knowledge and set the milestone for culturalexchange between the glorious Islamic Civilization and Europe. Itmoreover had a unique social role of aiding the community and providingsupport to the families in a variety of ways that reflected in the rapiddevelopment of the city during that time. The renowned academy gavebirth to some of the most notable scholars, academics, writers, historians,mathematicians, and Chemists, and scientists credited for laying thefoundation of many fields of development, which later sprouted to manyastounding inventions we benefit from till date.
Al- ZahrawiAbu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi, also known asAlbucasis, was an Arab Muslim physician who lived in Al-Andalus andwas valued as the greatest medieval surgeon on the Islamic World.Among his notable works is Kitab al-Tasrif, a thirty-chapter medicaltreatise that tackled a great number of medical issues, including dentistryand childbirth. He is also credited for highlighting the importance of apositive doctor-patient relationship and spoke highly of his students,whom he once described as "my children”.Al-Zahrawi is referred to as the father of modern surgery.
Al- KindiThe musical advancement our modern age currentlyenjoys owes much credit to the 9th century Muslimswho set the milestone for the cultivation andadvancement of music, using musical notation,composing musical pieces, and designing musicalinstruments, among other contributions. Theirinfluence in music and its arts remained strong andadvancing through the last millennium, and denyingthem credit is ungrateful. Eleven hundred years ago,AbuYsufYaqbibnIsqa-abbal-KindūʻūʼḥāṣṢāḥīdeveloped a detailed fretting for the lute andsuggested a cosmological connotations of music. Hebuilt upon and further developed advancementscored by old Greek Musicians.Al Kindi was one of theearly Music Scholars todiscover the therapeuticimpact of music, in tryingto cure a sick boy whosefather sent to Al Kindi tohelp regain his health.
And as the musical band played the boy stoodup and regained some of his fading vividness,but when the music stopped he dwelled intoprevious sickness. Asking al Kindi to keep themusic playing, Al Kindi refused, noting that theboy’s time is up and that his health, as destinedby Allah, has reached its limits, stressing that noone can make longer a person’s life. Centurieslater, and in our modern times, music has becomea recognized type of alternative medicine usedto cure physical, mental and psychologicalaches.
known as "the Philosopher of the Arabs", Al-Kindiwas also a renowned Muslim philosopher,mathematician, physician, the first of the Muslimperipatetic philosophers, hailed as the"father of Islamic philosophy.His greatest achievement started from the great House ofWisdom in Baghdad, making the Greek thought andphilosophy accessible to Muslims, translating manyimportant texts and books. Al-Kindi’s efforts and workmade the contribution of great figures such as Al-Farabi,Avicenna, and al-Ghazali possible.
Al FarabiI don’t think I’ve given Al- Farabi his duecredit, or have I?AfterAlKindicameAl-Frb;knownintheāāīWest as Alpharabius, to develop the famousmusical instrument known in the East as theRababah, an ancestor of the violin family,authoring a number of books on the science ofmusic, the influence of which continued forcenturies that followed.
Al Farabi was also an acclaimed scientist,philosopher, logician, cosmoligist of the IslamicGolden Age. Many historical manuscriptsand books document his prized commentariesand treatises, through which he became wellknown among medieval Muslim intellectuals as"The Second Teacher”; the successor toAristotle, "The First Teacher".
ZiryabNicknamed the Blackbird, given his beautiful voice and darkcomplexion, Ziryab was a student of a famous Baghdad-basedmusician. His fame and skills reached the Umayyad Caliph whosent inviting him to come to Andalusia. Ziryab settled in Cordobaaround 820 CE, which was an era that enjoyed great advancementin arts and cultural life in Cordoba, under the rule of Abdul RahmanII, son of the Umayyad Caliph.
Ziryab- (continued)Ziryab became the court entertainer and further developed his fineskills and revolutionaries music. He used to receive a monthly salaryof about 200 golden dinars, which was a fortune at the time.He established the first conservatory in the world, teaching musicalcomposition. He introduced the use of the lute to Europe andadded to it a fifth bass string. He set free metrical and rhythmicalparameters and composed songs, refurbishing the wholeentertainment life in Cordoba.
Al-Jazari’s Musical MachineBadial-ZamanAbal-IzzibnIsmlibnal-Razzal-Jazar,ūāīāīoriginally a Kurdish, was a renowned Muslim polymath: a scholar,mathematician, mechanical engineer and an artist,Heisbestknownforhisgreatworktheal-Jmibainal-ilmwaal-āʿʿamalal-nfifiinaatal-iyal(TheBookofKnowledgeofʿāṣʿḥIngenious Mechanical Devices), in which he described 100mechanical devices.
Al-Jazari’s Musical MachineAl-Jazari created a musical automaton taking the form ofa boat, carrying four automatic musicians and floating on alake, part of a show to entertain guests at royal parties.
Zheng HeZheng He was a Chinese Muslim mariner, explorer, diplomat andfleet admiral. He led voyages to Southeast Asia, the Middle East,and Somalia.He led 7 epic voyages of enormous fleets of wooden ships, thelargest ever built- this was during in the 15th century.
King Offa’s CoinThe coin of Kind Offa, of Mercia, stands as a remarkable evidenceof the influence Muslims had on human civilizations. Holding thecoin, you can see its explicit imitation of the gold dinar of the caliphal-Mansur, of the Abbasid dynasty, even though the Arabicinscription may not seem to have been perfectly copied. Theoriginal copy bywhich it was inspired was inspired was made in theIslamic year AH 157 (AD 773-74).
Muslims were the first to inventcoffeeThe history of coffee goes back to the story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian Muslimgoat herder who discovered coffee while trying to gather his goats, and found them tohave eaten from the coffee leaves and became more active.The use of Coffee as a drink Europe was greatly influenced by traditional Muslimpreparation of the drink. It involved boiling a mixture of coffee powder, sugar andwater. The Cappuccino was specifically inspired by a certain Marco d’Aviano, apriest from the Capuchin monastic order, who was fighting against the Turks at theBattle of Vienna in 1683. Adter the victory of the Europeans, the Viennese madecoffee from the abandoned sacks of Turkish coffee. But to contain its very strongtaste, they mixed it with cream and honey, which made its color a little bit brownish,resembling the color of the modern day cappuccino.
The three- course mealFine dining and the modern three- course meal wasnothing but another achievement by Ziryab which hespread after settling in Andalus, sending his invention allthrough Europe, at a time when eating habits there werea complete mess.It was Ziryab who said that meals should start with soup,then a main course of fish or meat, and end with fruits.
Even Style andFashion?!Yes.. Even Styleand Fashion!
It was also ZiryabWhen he arrived in Andalusia, Ziryab’s influence proved many-fold.Besides being a talented musician and a man of a good taste forfine dining, he was also a trend-setter and stylist who also taughtetiquette.Through the 9th Century, Baghdad was the Paris and Italy of itsage. Ziryab brought along toothpaste, deodorant, haircut styles.He was a man of fine taste and elegance. It was because of Ziryabthat fine and luxurious dresses were brought to Spain. He startedthe fashion industry in Andalusia.
Al- AstrulabiAli ibn Isa al- Asturlabi was a 9th century Muslim astronomer andgeographer who wrote a treatise on the astrolabe. During the reignofal-Mamun,heteamedupwithKhlidibnAbdalMalikalāʿ‐‐Marwarrdh,inanexpeditiontothePlainofSinjarinanattempttoūīmeasure the circumference of the Earth.Al-Astrulabi is said to have managed to actually measure thecircumference of the Earth.
Islamic ToothbrushMiswak, invented byour beloved Prophet,Muhammad, peace beupon him
MiswakMiswake has myriads of proven health and cleannessmerits, ranging from eliminating bad breath to keepingteeth strong and healthy.Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is reported tohave scrubbed his teeth with Miswak before every prayer.
Spas and public bathsChecking public bathrooms during the 10th century Muslim world, onecould find hygiene elements that compete with today’s modern productswrapped in colorful packages and carrying scary brand names.Muslims, ordered to wash, tactfully, before each prayer, hadpersonalcleanness part of everyday life. Not just that, they used soap, mixed itwith water as a cleaning liquid easy to use. 13th century manuscripts candescribe many recipes for soap-making, some based on sesame oil, amongothers.
Sake Dean MohamedHe was one of the famous early Indian immigrants to theUK, where he established what was known as MohamedIndian Vapour, Baths on Brighton seafront, today’sQueen’s Hotel.He was appointed as the shampooing Surgeon of bothGeorge IV and William IV.
Sinan ArchitectureSinan was an architect and civil engineer during theOttoman rule. He worked for sultans Suleiman theMagnificent, Selim II, and Murad III. He led theconstruction of over 300 major projects, among othersmaller ones, including his Islamic primary schools (sibyanmektebs). Later, his student designed the Sultan AhmedMosque in Istanbul and helped design the Taj Mahal inthe Mughal Empire.
CarpetsAt the time Hampton Court had to daily change rushes, underneath of whichdirty floors would contain vomiting, leakage of dogs and scraps of fish, Muslimswere keen on having clean an colorful carpets, that inspire in them a feeling ofParadise and had always been associated with it. Muslims invented creativeweaving techniques that made beautiful carpets.In the 11th century, Ibn Badis, a Tunisian Muslim scientist, produced great workon ink and coloring of dyes that were used for carpets.
How does it work?Al-Jazari’s piece of art comprised of a weight poweredwater clock in the form of a fake elephant figure, besides anumber of other elements placed on top of the elephant,designed to move and make a sound each half an hour.
Al Jazari’s Clock isn’t just prized for being a mechanicalbreakthrough, but it’s also an early sign ofmulticulturalism. The elephant represents the Indian andAfrican cultures, whereas the dragon stands as a symbolrepresenting Chinese and the Asian culture. As for thephoenix, it represents the ancient Civilization ofEgyptians, the water work represents the ancient Greekculture, and the turban, normally used by Muslim scholarsand Shaikhs, represents the Islamic culture.
A modern full-sizematerialization ofAl-Zajari’s Clockcan be found inthe Ibn BattutaMall in Dubai,UAE.
Camera ObscuraSimply put, Camera Obscura is an optical device thatprojects a specific surrounding image on a screen. It isused for a variety of entertainment purposes and surelymarked the beginning of our modern day photographyand the contemporary device of the camera takingdifferent forms and of varying levels of advancement andsophistication.
Andalusia;Culture of ExcellenceOur Muslim brothers and sisters upon the shoulders ofwhom the great civilization of Andalusia was built, weresincere in every single act they did. They sought afterprominence and worked hard to earn it. Similarly theyheld fast to their faith and that’s why they earned thesupport and aid of Almighty Allah.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters upon theshoulders of whom the great civilization ofAndalusia was built, were sincere in every singleact they did. They sought after prominence andworked hard to earn it. Similarly they held fast totheir faith and that’s why they earned the supportand aid of Almighty Allah.
They preserved their identity and thus never gotlost in the shades of other cultures they wereexposed to. They built and provided their input, inalmost all fields of life, and thus stood up aspioneers rather than followers. They exportedtheir experience and inventions, and this is howthey became sought after, as a leading civilizationthat greatly impacted humanity, and still does.
Shukran,Wassalaam.Presented to: Dr. Gharib KhalilPrepared by: Maha Youssuf