Muslims Contributions to civilizationWritten by: by Moustafa Kattih :: (View All Articles by: Moustafa Kattih)
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful
Muslims contribution to civilization
Prepared By Imam Moustafa Kattih
Edited By Mrs.Leah Ghezzi
Islam originated in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) over 1400 years ago and, in less than a century, spread to China, India, Africa, and the borders of France.
Muslims established an advanced scientific civilization in the world at a time when the Church in Europe was still debating over whether to consider science a sin or not.
Muslims further added to the scientific findings of the Greeks, Indians, and Chinese and continued the journey of scientific discoveries.
Islam’s view on scientific research is that it should be used to make our lives easier and better while not breaking God’s rules. So, Muslims forbid research that may lead to any kind of destruction or moral dilemmas and Islam does not accept using the female body as commercial material, as is being done in current civilizations.
Muslims believe in the coexistence of religion and science. They do not believe that Adam’s original sin was eating from the Tree of Knowledge; therefore, they have no problem seeking knowledge and advancing in science.
One of the greatest effects that the Arabic language has had on the English language is the borrowing of words. There are over 300 words used in the English language that originated from Arabic, such as: Algebra, Alcohol, sugar, spinach, and cotton.
In addition to these words, the number system used in English and many other languages also originated from the Arabic.
Muslims are the first known civilization to create the usage of coin money as a government practice and to introduce the Coin Molding Institute as an essential part of governmental structure.
The manufacturing of paper was one of the earliest skills created by Muslims. As early as the 8th Century, high quality paper was being manufactured in Samarkand. Egypt was known to have its first paper mill in the year 900 A.C. The discovery of the earliest Arabic manuscript written on paper is the Gharib Al Hadith by AbuUbayed, dated 837 A.C. It can be seen in Holland where it is preserved in the Library of the University of Leyden.
The Bait Al Hikmah Library in Cairo contains 2 Million books. The library at Tripoli had some 3 million books, but the Christians burned down this library during the first crusade.
During the 9th century, in the field of Geography, Muslim Scientists established that the world was round and, under the Caliphate of Mamun, the first map of the globe was created.
AlIdresi (1100-1160) is the first scientist to draw a map of earth as a globe. He was called to Rome by King Roger II and was asked to draw a map of the whole earth. He drew a map on a silver globe and located the countries on it. This famous globe can still be seen in a museum in Italy.
The famous explorer, Magellan, had a scientific crew aboard his ship that consisted of Muslims. One of these Muslims, a man named Bin Mageed, led the trip on which Magellan discovered the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
In 1312, African American Muslims from Mali arrived in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1492, Columbus arrived in the new world by referring to and using the map that AlIdresi drew. He had several Muslim crew members aboard his ships, including two captains: Martin Alonso Pinzon, Captain of the Pinta, and Yanex Pinzon, Captain of the Nina.
In October 1492, Columbus wrote in his captain’s log that he saw a Mosque on top of a mountain when he was sailing north of Cuba. This tells us that Muslims arrived in America some time before Columbus.
Muslims are the first known civilization in history to use election as a governmental system. They founded an Islamic government that included the SHURA (election), where people elect their officials and the officials, in turn, elect the Khalif (president). This is amazingly similar to the current US system of government.
Muhammad Ibn Musa was the first to invent and use the zero and he was also the first to use the Decimal Point as a form of notation
The Algebraic system was invented by Jaber bin Hayan and this is why it is called Algebra.
Another great mathematician was Omar Khayyam, who offered the world geometric and algebraic solutions of the second degree.
Nasiruddin wrote a treatise on quadrilateral trigonometry, as well as, plain and spherical geometry.
Bin Haytham invented the first device that was used to measure distances.
Muslim sailors also invented the compass.
the Science of Mechanics:
The development of the Science of Mechanics in Islam is an act of genius. Musa Ibn Shakir described one hundred pieces of mechanical equipment in his book of artifices.
Another outstanding Muslim treatise is the Al Kitab Fi Marifat Al Hiya Al Handasiyya (The Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Geometrical Contrivances), written by Abul Fiaz Ibn Al Raz. He also did work on accurate weighing and the determination of specific gravity.
the Camera Obscura:
In the field of optics, the Camera Obscura (a reflection device) was invented by Ibm Haitham in 1038 AD.
the Theory of Relativity:
In the 8th Century, Hazrat Qazi AbuBakr developed the theory of relativity, in terms of time and space, by means of mathematical equations and Astrophysics. Einstein did not propound the same theory of relativity until the Twentieth Century.
the Medical field:
Ibin Annafis discovered the workings of the pulmonary blood circulation system in the human body and documented it. In the 12th Century, Dr. Zahrawi wrote a book describing surgeries he performed and the devices he used during surgery. This book was translated into English and French and was used in top European universities until the mid 18th Century.
Zahrawi was the first to describe the mechanics of human vision and the relationship between the eyes and brain. He explained how the brain interprets what the eyes see and he described the eyes as just a “capturing device.”
Ibin Sina is the most famous medical doctor in Muslim history and his books have been translated into over 13 languages.
the field of engineering:
Evidence still exists which shows that Muslims have contributed greatly to the art of building and design. This evidence is seen all over the world in Mosques such as, the Taj Mahal in India, Al Aqsa Mosque and The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Kabah and Masjid ul Ahram in Makkah, the Great Mosque Xian in China, the Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca, and many more.
The University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida is a great example of the effect that Islamic building and design has had on the West.
PHILOSOPHY and social SCIENCE:
Ibin Kaldun is the first philosopher to place rules to politics and, in his books, he wrote the first known History of Philosophy.
Muslims have contributed to civilizations throughout history and continue to contribute to modern civilization. Unfortunately, Muslim contributions continue to be unknown and overlooked because the education systems in many countries deem these contributions to be of little importance and value to society. Our hope is that this brochure will be educational, informative, and will urge our generation of teachers to include the Islamic Golden Age in their lessons—for the sake of our generation and many generations to come. Every human being’s contribution to society and civilization is important and valuable as learning tools and stepping-stones to a better future for the world and mankind.
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