Islamic inventions and developments are responsible to many of the products we now take for granted. Muslims, especially in the old days have proven themselves to be a people of great ingenuity and innovation.
There has been some debate among historians as to whether Muslims were indeed the earliest inventors of all the concepts listed below, but whether they were indeed the first, or just contributed to an on-going development process of these discoveries – their innovation and discoveries are fascinating.
Discussed below are some of the most interesting and famous discoveries and innovations, attributed to people of the Islam.
It is an Arab who was said to have been one of the first to discover the invigorating effects of coffee when he found his goats becoming lively after eating coffee berries. One of the first documented records of coffee drinking was that of Sufis who drank the brew in order to keep themselves from sleeping during prayer vigils.
By 1645, coffee was introduced in Venice, and by 1650, it has found its way to England, where it spread to other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.
Although the world saw the first prototype of chess being played in India, the current form that we all recognise was developed in Persia. It spread to Europe, westward, being introduced in Spain by the Moors during the 10th century. It also reached as far-east as Japan.
The rook's name is derived from the word “rukh”, which is a Persian term for chariot.
It was probably due to the religious requirement of frequent bathing and washing among Muslims that they developed soap in a form that is still in current use. Both the Romans and the ancient Egyptians had their own versions, but the Arabs’ recipe use vegetable oils, sodium hydroxide and perfumes, and aromatics like thyme oil.
England was first introduced to the shampoo by a Muslim in 1759. This individual operated a bath in Brighton and became William IV's and King George IV's official shampooing surgeon. This invention has helped pave the way to better hygiene.
Al-Jazari was a genius Muslim engineer who is behind at least 50 inventions that are crucial to many mechanical devices and machines still in use today. He was also responsible for inventing the crank shaft, a device that transforms rotary motion into linear motion.
Along with this, he also invented pistons and valves. All three are crucial components of modern machineries, particularly the internal combustion engines of cars and other transport vehicles.
He was also an important pioneer of mechanical clocks, and has invented the combination lock, among other inventions.
The year 634 saw the invention of the windmill. It was initially offered to a caliph in Persia for drawing water for irrigation and grinding corn. The invention of the windmill was an important development that helped produce power in a land where water was scarce and power sources to reach those waters were similarly in short supply. The first windmills were made of six or twelve sails that were covered in palm leaves or fabric.
Five hundred years had passed before Europe had its first windmill.
The Sultan of Egypt was the instigating factor for the invention of the precursor to the modern fountain pen. In the year 953, he demanded a writing implement which does not stain the clothes or hands. What his subjects produced had reservoir ink that was fed to a nib through the combination of capillary action and gravity. This technology is very much like the ones operating fountain pens we use today.
Persian carpets are popular for their beauty and intricate designs, to this day. Medieval Muslims thought along similar lines, for they regarded carpets as part of a Heavenly Paradise, and regarded one's home as is own personal private heaven.
The Arabs' highly advanced techniques for weaving, advanced sense for arabesques and other intricate patterns, and the tinctures produced by their early chemists produced the most exquisite Persian and Arabian carpets that have fascinated and mesmerized the world for years ahead.
Gardens were already present in medieval Europe, although they were simply used for the function of cultivating vegetables and herbs. The Arabs invented the idea of gardens as a place of meditation and beauty. Europe saw its first royal pleasure garden in Spain when it was occupied by the Moors in the 11th century. The tulip and the carnation are flowers which had their origins in Muslim gardens.
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