Muslim Inventions

by Brooke ~ March 18th, 2010. Filed under: Chapter 12: Renaissance and Exploration.

This post does not exactly cover what is considered the Ottoman Empire of Chapter 12, but I feel like it is important to mention the contributions the Ottoman Empire, and in consequence, the Muslims have given to Western Civilisation.

Although their history is largely excluded from the history of Western Civilisation, the Muslims have contributed major ideas and inventions to Western culture. In the 2007 book  “1,001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World,” Salim Al-Hassani outlines the major inventions brought by the largely ignored Muslim history. In a recent CNN article, which I listed at the end of this post, summarizes a few key inventions:

  1. Surgery – Doctor Al Zahrawi wrote an encyclopedia of surgery around the year 1000. He developed the forceps and also performed the first Cesarean section.
  2. Flying Machine – Abbas ibn Firnas was the first to make an attempt at flying. According to Al-Hassani, he also must have been a source of inspiration for the famous Leonardo da Vinci flying machine.
  3. The University – Fatima al-Firhi founded the first degree-granting education institution in Morocco in 859. Today,the university till exists.
  4. The Toothbrush – Prophet Mohammed first used a toothbrush around 600 AD. He used a branch from the Meswak tree, which is still used as an ingredient in some toothpastes today.
  5. Bathing – At a time when Europe believed that bathing and washing was essentially bad for your health, it was an Islamic ritual to bath the body.

My main goal with including these inventions is to reiterate what Professor Al-Takriti has mentioned time and time again in class, the Ottomans and Muslims are deserving of  place in Western Civilisation. Not only did they occupy much of what we call Europe today, but they also contributed many of the things we take for granted today.

Here is the article sourced in this post.

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