Interesting Facts about Islam & The Golden Age
- Algebra, from the Arabic al-jabr, originated in the Islamic world; Symbols and equations, trigonomic ratios were all founded by Muslims.
- Some of the notable developments during the Golden Age Of Islam include; The Science of Power or mechanics, an incredible description of gravity (way before Newton!), the developing of processes such as evaporation, sublimation, crystallisation, distillation, filtration, pigmentation, melting. They also introduced methods of steel-making and metal work. Further inventions from the Islamic world include hospitals, early torpedoes, the guitar, early attempts at flight, algebra, the pinhole camera, the laws of refraction, coffee, cotton, paper, paper money, postage stamps, globes, glass mirrors, street lamps, coloured glass and more.
- In astronomy Muslims developed astrolabes and sextants, they prepared star catalogues of planetary motion, discovered and named over 200 stars in Arabic such as the well-known star Betelgeuse, which by the way will explode any second now! (Nothing to do with the Arabs!) They proved the earth as a spherical object and determined its circumference and diameter. The natural interest in astronomy for Muslims came about from the orientation required for prayer; stars of course, are used to navigate!
- Muslims first used canals and ducts to channel water from mountains so that every house in the city had access to running water; they did this without destroying or damming, they simply used gravity.
- Scholars such as Ibn Sina (980-1037), Latinised as Avicenna, developed the work of the ancient Greeks in both medicine and philosophy. When Christians came into contact with the Muslim world during the crusades, they brought back Muslim scholarship which, in turn, helped spark the European Renaissance
- Al-Razi Latinised as Rhazes, the famous physician and scientist, was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine and was unrivalled as a diagnostician. He described and treated smallpox in the 10th century.
- The Islamic world produced the first skilled, specially trained pharmacists, who made their own medicines and worked closely with physicians. They established chemist shops for dispensing prescriptions. If you look closely at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Coat Of Arms you will notice two men standing either side of Shield. The man on the left is Ibn Sina; ‘Avicenna’ mentioned above. His extensive writings included a ‘Canon of Medicine’. Ibn Sina’s ‘Canon’ was published in Venice in 1527. Its influence on medical thinking in Renaissance Europe was outstanding. Strangely, on the Society’s coat of arms, Ibn Sina is holding the Greek god Asclepius’ staff. This Greek God was associated with medicinal arts and healing.
- Most historians agree Columbus was not the first person to “discover” America and that explorers, including Muslims from West Africa, arrived several centuries before Columbus. In fact, when Columbus made his historical journeys, he relied on the maps and geography studies of the 12th-century Muslim scholar Al-Idrisi.
- The Muslims prepared many accurate and detailed road maps of the world; as many of the early explorers were Muslims. Ibn Battuta; an explorer and scholar, was widely recognised as one of the greatest travellers of all time. His journeys included trips to Africa, the Middle East, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China.
- A 13th-century Islamic writer described the circulation of blood some 400 years before this was “discovered” in Europe
- Muslims built the first observatory as a scientific institution in the 13th century.
- The first mosque built in the U.S. was the “Mother Mosque of America,” which was built in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1934. It is still used for worship today
- Muslims hold that there have been over 124,000 prophets sent to mankind through history, beginning with Adam and ending with Muhammad. Only 25 are mentioned by name in the Quran
- Islam’s tradition of oral recitation developed into an efficient vehicle for mass-produced handwritten literature. A single Muslim reciter would read a book out loud to a group of scribes, who copied his spoken words simultaneously. Europe, in contrast, used a much slower system: monks copied books, individually and one at a time.
- In 10th-century Cordoba, an Umayyad (Islamic dynasty) city in Spain with over 70 libraries, the palace library alone had over 60,000 volumes, all written by hand. At the time, the best Latin library in Europe had only 600 parchment books
- Islamic advances in the use of paper are the primary reason we read books rather than scrolls today.
- Arabic numerals, the numbers the Western world uses today, were developed by the Muslims. The Muslims invented the symbol for zero (The word “cipher” comes from Arabic sifr), and they organised the numbers into the decimal system – base 10. Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unknown quantity, i.e. variables like x.
- The Quran emphasises modesty, although there is no specific prescription. Veiling women did not become widespread in the Islamic empire until three or four generations after Prophet Muhammad’s death. It was originally a status symbol—not to separate women from men but from the lower classes.
- The translation of jihad as “holy war” is incorrect. In Arabic, the phrase would be harbun muqaddasa tur, a phrase that is not found in the Quran or in any other form of Islamic literature
- Muslim scholars agree that after the “ensoulment” (infusion of the soul) of the foetus (thought by some to occur at fertilisation and by others at 120 days), abortion constitutes homicide and should be punished. Abortions are generally approved when the health of the mother is at stake.
- During WWII, the Grand Mosque of Paris gave the Jews, Muslim IDs, to help hide them from the Nazis. Read about Islam and Peace Here.
- The Quran gives hundreds of scientific facts within Its writings. To read about a small number of them, Click Here.
Author Faisal Hakim
Click Here to read about our services for single Muslims