Inventions in medieval Islam

Inventions in medieval Islam

A significant number of inventions were developed in the medieval Islamic world, a geopolitical region that has at various times extended from Al-Andalus and Africa in the west to the Indian subcontinent and Malay Archipelago in the east. [Bernard Lewis, "What Went Wrong": quote|"There have been many civilizations in human history, almost all of which were local, in the sense that they were defined by a region and an ethnic group. This applied to all the ancient civilizations of the Middle East—Egypt, Babylon, Persia; to the great civilizations of Asia—India, China; and to the civilizations of Pre-Columbian America. There are two exceptions: Christendom and Islam. These are two civilizations defined by religion, in which religion is the primary defining force, not, as in India or China, a secondary aspect among others of an essentially regional and ethnically defined civilization. Here, again, another word of explanation is necessary."] Many of these inventions had direct implications for Fiqh-related issues.

Bernard Lewis explains the historical use of the term "Islam" in "What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response":

The inventions listed here were developed during the Islamic Golden Age, which is usually dated from the 7th to 15th centuries. For later inventions developed after the Islamic Golden Age, see Inventions in the modern Islamic world.

Chemical industries

Early forms of distillation were known to the Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians since ancient times, but it was Muslim chemists who first invented pure distillation processes which could fully purify chemical substances. They also developed several different variations of distillation (such as dry distillation, destructive distillation and steam distillation) and introduced new distillation aparatus (such as the alembic, still, and retort), and invented a variety of new chemical processes and over 2,000 chemical substances.S. Hadzovic (1997). "Pharmacy and the great contribution of Arab-Islamic science to its development", "Med Arh." 51 (1-2), p. 47-50.]

Will Durant wrote in "The Story of Civilization IV: The Age of Faith":

Robert Briffault wrote in "The Making of Humanity":

Chemical processes

The following chemical processes were invented by Muslim chemists:

*Assation (or roasting), cocotion (or digestion), ceration, lavage, solution, mixture, and fixation. [Diane Boulanger (2002), "The Islamic Contribution to Science, Mathematics and Technology: Towards Motivating the Muslim Child", "OISE Papers in STSE Education", Vol. 3.]

*Calcination ("al-tashwiya"): Invented by Geber.

*Crystallization ("al-tabalwur"): Invented by Geber.citation|first=Zygmunt S.|last=Derewenda|year=2007|title=On wine, chirality and crystallography|journal=Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography|volume=64|pages=246-258 [247] ]

*Distillation, pure ("al-taqtir"): Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan) was the first to fully purify chemical substances through distillation, using the alembic, in the 8th century.

*Destructive distillation: Invented by Muslim chemists in the 8th century to produce tar from petroleum.

*Dry distillation

*Filtration ("al-tarshih"): Invented by Geber.Robert Briffault (1938). "The Making of Humanity", p. 195.]

*Liquefaction, purification, oxidisation, and evaporation ("tabkhir"): Invented by Geber.

*Solution ("al-tahlil"), sublimation ("al-tas'id"), amalgamation ("al-talghim"), ceration ("al-tashmi"), and a method of converting a substance into a thick paste or fusible solid.Georges C. Anawati, "Arabic alchemy", p. 868, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=853-902]

*Steam distillation: Invented by Avicenna in the early 11th century for the purpose of producing essential oils.Marlene Ericksen (2000). "Healing with Aromatherapy", p. 9. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0658003828.]

*Water purification

Chemical substances

*Alkali and the salts of mercury: Isolated by Geber.

*Alum and the salts and spirits of mercury: Isolated by Geber.

*Arsenic, alkali, alkali salt, borax, and pure sal ammoniac: Isolated by Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan) in the 8th century.

*Cheese glue and plated mail: Invented by Geber. [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ The Colouring of Gemstones, The Purifying and Making of Pearls, And Other Useful Recipes] ]

*Classification of seven classical metals: Theory of the seven classical metals (gold, silver, tin, lead, mercury, iron and copper) was formulated by Geber.

*Derivative and artificial chemical substances: In the 10th century, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi wrote that he and his Muslim predecessors (Calid, Geber and al-Kindi) invented the following derivative and artificial substances: lead(II) oxide (PbO), red lead (Pb3O4), tin(II) oxide ("Isfidaj"), copper acetate ("Zaniar"), copper(II) oxide (CuO), lead sulfide, zinc oxide, bismuth oxide, antimony oxide, iron rust, iron acetate, "Daws" (a contituent of steel), cinnabar (HgS), arsenic trioxide (As2O3), alkali ("al-Qili"), sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), and "Qalimiya" (anything that separates from metals during their purification).cite web |url= |title= Arabic Alchemy: Science of the Art |accessdate=2008-03-29 |last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam]

*Ethanol and pure ammonia: Isolated by Arabic chemists.

*Lead carbonatic: Isolated by Geber.

*Medicinal substances: Muslim chemists discovered 2,000 medicinal substances.S. Hadzovic (1997). "Pharmacy and the great contribution of Arab-Islamic science to its development", "Med Arh." 51 (1-2), p. 47-50.]

*Potassium nitrate, pure: Isolated by Hasan al-Ramah in the 1270s.

*Rose water: First produced by Muslim chemists in the medieval Islamic world through the distillation of roses, for use in the drinking and perfumery industries.

*Sal nitrum: Isolated by Geber.


*Aqua regia: Isolated by Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan) in the 8th century.

*Carboxylic acids: Geber isolated Acetic acid from vinegar. [Olga Pikovskaya, [ Repaying the West's Debt to Islam] , "BusinessWeek", March 29, 2005] He is also credited with the discovery and isolation of Citric acid, the sour component of lemons and other unripe fruits.

*Mineral acids: The mineral acids—nitric acid, sulfuric acid, and hydrochloric acid— were first isolated by Geber. He originally referred to sulfuric acid as the oil of vitriol. [Khairallah, Amin A. (1946), "Outline of Arabic Contributions to Medicine", chapter 10, Beirut]

*Organic acids: Geber isolated Uric acid. He also isolated Tartaric acid from wine-making residues.


*Arsenic: Isolated by Geber in the 8th century.citation|first=George|last=Sarton|author-link=George Sarton|title=Introduction to the History of Science (cf. Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq (1997), [ "Quotations From Famous Historians of Science"] )]

*Antimony: Isolated by Geber.

*Bismuth: Isolated by Geber.

*Mercury, pure: Isolated by Geber.

*Sulfur, pure: Isolated by Geber.Strathern, Paul (2000), "Mendeleyev’s Dream – the Quest for the Elements", New York: Berkley Books]

Food and drink

*Coffee: Produced by Khalid in Kaffa, Ethiopia, in the 9th century.

*Confectionary: Due to advances in sugar production and the invention of sugar refineries, this led to the production of early confectionaries by the Arabs. [citation|title=Twenty-Five Centuries of Technological Change|first=Joel|last=Mokyr|year=Routledge|year=2002|isbn=0415269318|page=25]

*Distilled water and Water purification: Purified by Muslim chemists.George Rafael, [ A is for Arabs] , "", January 8, 2002.]

*Doner kebab: The doner kebab originated from the Cağ kebab in medieval Turkish cuisine.

*Juiced soft drink, Sherbet, and Sharab: The Sherbet and Sharab were the first juiced soft drinks, and originated in the Islamic world. [Juliette Rossant (2005), [ The World's First Soft Drink] , "Saudi Aramco World", September/October 2005, pp. 36-9] [ The World's First Soft Drink.] 1001 Inventions, 2006.]

*Pure distilled Alcohol and Ethanol: First isolated by Al-Kindi (Alkindus) in the 9th century.cite web |url= |title=Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part III: Technology Transfer in the Chemical Industries |accessdate=2008-03-29 |last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam ] cite web |url= |title=Alcohol and the Distillation of Wine in Arabic Sources |accessdate=2008-03-29 |last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam] Ahmad Y Hassan wrote: "The distillation of wine and the properties of alcohol were known to Islamic chemists from the eighth century. The prohibition of wine in Islam did not mean that wine was not produced or consumed or that Arab alchemists did not subject it to their distillation processes. Jabir ibn Hayyan described a cooling technique which can be applied to the distillation of alcohol." [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Alcohol and the Distillation of Wine in Arabic Sources] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"]

*Restaurant and three-course meal: The earliest restaurants came into existence throughout the Islamic world from the 10th century, shortly before restaurants appeared in China in the 11th century. The Islamic world had "restaurants where one could purchase all sorts of prepared dishes." These restaurants were mentioned by Al-Muqaddasi (born 945) in the late 10th century. [citation|title=Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World|first=James E.|last=Lindsay|year=2005|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|isbn=0313322708|page=131] Restaurants in medieval Islamic Spain served three-course meals, which was earlier introduced in the 9th century by Ziryab, who insisted that meals should be served in three separate courses consisting of soup, the main course, and dessert.Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Manuela Marin (1994), "The Legacy of Muslim Spain", p. 117, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004095993]

*Rose water: See Chemical substances above.

*Sugar refinery: See Industrial milling below.

*Syrup: Sugar-sweetened syrups were an invention of Arabic physicians that reached Europe in the Middle Ages. The word "syrup" is derived from the Arabic word "sharab".citation|title=Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-To-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Heral Remedies|last=Phyllis A. Balch|first=Robert Rister|publisher=Avery|year=2002|isbn=0895298694] Muslims produced recipes for drink syrups that can be kept outside the refrigerator for weeks or months.

Glass industry

*Artificial gemstone: Geber (d. 815) first described the production of high-quality coloured glass cut into artificial gemstones.Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Assessment of "Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna"] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam".]

*Artificial pearl and purification of pearls: In his "Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna" ("The Book of the Hidden Pearl"), Jabir described the first recipes for the manufacture of artificial pearls and for the purification of pearls that were discoloured from the sea or from grease.cite web |url= |title= The Colouring of Gemstones, The Purifying and Making of Pearls And Other Useful Recipes |accessdate=2008-03-29|last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam]

*Clear, colourless and high-purity glass: The earliest examples of clear, colourless and high-purity glass were produced by Muslims in the 9th century, such as the quartz glass invented by Abbas Ibn Firnas. The Arabic poet al-Buhturi (820-897) describes the clarity of such glass as follows: "Its colour hides the glass as if it is standing in it without a container." Extensive experimentation was carried out at the factory complex in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, in the 8th century, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass were developed there. Two other similar complexes have also been discovered, and nearly three hundred new chemical recipes for glass were produced at all three sites.

*Coloured stained glass windows: Muslim architects in Southwest Asia were the first to produce stained glass windows using coloured glass rather than stone producing a stained glass-like effect, as was the case in early churches. In the 8th century, the Arab chemist Geber scientifically described 46 original recipes for producing high-purity coloured glass in "Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna" ("The Book of the Hidden Pearl"), in addition to 12 recipes inserted by al-Marrakishi in a later edition of the book.cite web |url= |title=The Manufacture of Coloured Glass |accessdate=2007-09-03|last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam]

*Concave, convex and spherical mirrors: Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) gave the earliest accurate descriptions of concave and convex mirrors in both cylindrical and spherical geometries, [R. S. Elliott (1966). "Electromagnetics", Chapter 1. McGraw-Hill.] and he also gave the earliest accurate desciption of spherical mirrors.Dr. Nader El-Bizri, "Ibn al-Haytham or Alhazen", in Josef W. Meri (2006), "Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopaedia", Vol. II, p. 343-345, Routledge, New York, London.]

*Dying and artificial colouring of gemstones and pearls: In "The Book of the Hidden Pearl", Geber described the first recipes for the dying and artificial colouring of gemstones and pearls.

*Glass factory: The first industrial complex for glass and pottery production was built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, in the 8th century. Extensive experimentation was carried out at the complex, which was two kilometres in length, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass were developed there. Two other similar complexes have also been discovered, and nearly three hundred new chemical recipes for glass are known to have been produced at all three sites.citation|first1=J.|last1=Henderson|first2=S. D.|last2=McLoughlin|first3=D. S.|last3=McPhail|year=2004|title=Radical changes in Islamic glass technology: evidence for conservatism and experimentation with new glass recipes from early and middle Islamic Raqqa, Syria|journal=Archaeometry|volume=46|issue=3|pages=439–68] The first glass factories were thus built by Muslim craftsmen in the Islamic world. The first glass factories in Europe were later built in the 11th century by Egyptian craftsmen in Corinth, Greece.

*Quartz glass and Silica glass: The production of glass from stone (including quartz) and sand, was pioneered by Abbas Ibn Firnas in the 9th century.Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", "Technology and Culture" 2 (2), pp. 97-111 [100] :quote|"Ibn Firnas was a polymath: a physician, a rather bad poet, the first to make glass from stones (quartz?), a student of music, and inventor of some sort of metronome."]

*Refracting parabolic mirror: Invented by Ibn Sahl in the 10th century. [Roshdi Rashed (1990), "A Pioneer in Anaclastics: Ibn Sahl on Burning Mirrors and Lenses", "Isis" 81 (3), p. 464-491 [464-468] .] These observations were repeated by Ibn al-Haytham in his "Book of Optics" (1021).

Military technology

The first reference to gunpowder is probably a passage in the "Zhenyuan miaodao yaolüe", a Taoist text tentatively dated to the mid-800s.Harvcolnb|Chase|2003|pp=31–32] After the spread of early gunpowder from China to the Muslim world, Muslim chemists and engineers developed compositions for explosive gunpowder ("naft" in Arabic) and their own weapons for use in gunpowder warfare.

*Ballistic war machine and siege cannon: The use of cannons as siege machines dates back to Abu Yaqub Yusuf who employed them at the siege of Sijilmasa in 1274 according to Ibn Khaldun. In the 12th century, the Seljuqs had facilities in Sivas for manufacturing war machines. Ballistic weapons were manufactured in the Muslim world since the time of Kublai Khan in the 13th century. According to Chinese sources, two Muslim engineers, Alaaddin and Ismail (d. 1330), built machines of a ballistic-weapons nature before the besieged city of Hang-show between 1271–1273. Alaaddin's weapons also played a major role in the conquest of several other Chinese cities. His son Ma-ho-scha also developed ballistic weapons. Ismail (transliterated as "I-ssu-ma-yin") was present in the Mongol siege of Hsiang-yiang, where he built a war machine with the characteristics of a ballistic weapon. Chinese sources mention that when this war machines were fired, the earth and skies shook, the cannons were buried seven feet into the ground and destroyed everything. His son Yakub also developed ballistic war machines.

*Counterweight trebuchet and mangonel: The first clearly written record of a counterweight trebuchet comes from Mardi bin Ali al-Tarsusi, who wrote a military manual for Saladin circa 1187. He describes a hybrid trebuchet that he said had the same hurling power as a traction machine pulled by fifty men due to "the constant force [of gravity] , whereas men differ in their pulling force." (Showing his mechanical proficiency, Tarsusi designed his trebuchet so that as it was fired it cocked a supplementary crossbow, probably to protect the engineers from attack.) [Scott Farrell, [ Weaponry: The Trebuchet] ] In his book, "Medieval Siege", Jim Bradbury [Jim Bradbury, [ "Medieval Siege"] ] extensively quotes from Mardi ibn Ali concerning mangonels of various types, including Arab, Perisan and Turkish, describing what could be trebuchets, but not quoted as above. In "On the Social Origins of Medieval Institutions", [Philip Daileader, [ "On the Social Origins of Medieval Institutions"] ] more detailed quotes by Mardi ibn Ali may be found on the various types of trebuchets.

*Damascus steel: One of the most famous steels produced in the medieval Near East was Damascus steel used for swordmaking, and mostly produced in Damascus, Syria, in the period from 900 to 1750. This was produced using the crucible steel method, based on the earlier Indian wootz steel. This process was further refined in the Middle East using locally produced steels. The exact process remains unknown, but allowed carbides to precipitate out as micro particles arranged in sheets or bands within the body of a blade. The carbides are far harder than the surrounding low carbon steel, allowing the swordsmith to make an edge which would cut hard materials with the precipitated carbides, while the bands of softer steel allowed the sword as a whole to remain tough and flexible. A team of researchers based at the Technical University of Dresden that uses x-rays and electron microscopy to examine Damascus steel discovered the presence of cementite nanowires [cite journal | first = W. | last = Kochmann | coauthors = Reibold M., Goldberg R., Hauffe W., Levin A. A., Meyer D. C., Stephan T., Müller H., Belger A., Paufler P. | year = 2004 | title = Nanowires in ancient Damascus steel | quotes = | journal = Journal of Alloys and Compounds | volume = 372 | pages = L15–L19 | id = ISSN 0925-8388 | doi = 10.1016/j.jallcom.2003.10.005
cite journal | first = A. A. | last = Levin | coauthors = Meyer D. C., Reibold M., Kochmann W., Pätzke N., Paufler P. | year = 2005 | title = Microstructure of a genuine Damascus sabre | journal = Crystal Research and Technology | volume = 40 | issue = 9 | pages = 905–916 | doi =10.1002/crat.200410456 | url =
] and carbon nanotubes. [cite journal | first = M. | last = Reibold | coauthors = Levin A. A., Kochmann W., Pätzke N., Meyer D. C. | year = 2006 | month = November | date= 16 | title = Materials:Carbon nanotubes in an ancient Damascus sabre | journal = Nature | volume = 444 | pages = 286 | doi =10.1038/444286a ] Peter Paufler, a member of the Dresden team, says that these nanostructures give Damascus steel its distinctive properties [ Legendary Swords' Sharpness, Strength From Nanotubes, Study Says ] ] and are a result of the forging process. [ cite news | url = | title = Sharpest cut from nanotube sword: Carbon nanotech may have given swords of Damascus their edge | first = Katharine | last = Sanderson| publisher = Nature (journal) | date = 2006-11-15 | accessdate = 2006-11-17 ]

*Dissolved talc: Egyptian soldiers at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 were the first to smear dissolved talc (from Arabic "talq") on their hands, as forms of fire protection from gunpowder.

*Explosive gunpowder: The ideal composition for explosive gunpowder used in modern times is 75% potassium nitrate (saltpetre), 10% sulfur, and 15% carbon. Several almost identical compositions were first described by the Arab engineer Hasan al-Rammah as a recipe for the rockets ("tayyar") he described in "The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices" in 1270. Several examples include a "tayyar" "rocket" (75% saltpetre, 8% sulfur, 15% carbon) and the "tayyar buruq" "lightning rocket" (74% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, 15% carbon). He also states recipes for fireworks and firecrackers made from these explosive gunpowder compositions. He states in his book that many of these recipes were known to his father and grandfather, hence dating back to at least the late 12th century. Compositions for an explosive gunpowder effect were not known in China or Europe until the 14th century.cite web |url= |title=Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries |accessdate=2008-03-29 |last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |work=History of Science and Technology in Islam ] Medieval French reports suggest that Muslim armies also used explosives against the Sixth Crusade army led by Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia in the 13th century.

*Fireproof clothing: Asbestos may have possibly been used as a form of fire protection by the ancient Chinese and Greeks. However, it was Egyptian soldiers at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 who were the first to wear fireproof clothing to protect themselves from gunpowder fires as well as chemicals in gunpowder warfare. Their fireroof protective clothing consisted of a silk tunic (still worn by Formula 1 drivers underneath their Nomex fire suits), aketon (from the Arabic "al-qutn" "the cotton"), and mainly a woolen overtunic that protects against fires and chemical weapons, similar to the clothing worn by modern soldiers for protection against biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Due to the effectiveness of their fireproof clothing, the Egyptian soldiers were able to attach gunpowder cartridges and incendiary devices to their clothing. [citation|title=Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East|publisher=History Channel|url=|accessdate=2008-09-08]

*Gun: According to "Encyclopædia Britannica", the Arabs "had developed the first real gun, a bamboo tube reinforced with iron, which used a charge of black powder to fire an arrow", some time before 1300."Gunpowder." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008. [ check] ] A primitive gun that shoots bullets may have been developed even earlier in the 12th century, while the Anatolian Turkish Beyliks were later using guns which fire audible bullets using springs. The "Nesri Tarihi" in the 15th century states that the Ottoman army were regularly using guns and cannons from at least 1421-1422.

*Gunpowder cartridge: Gunpowder cartridges were first employed by the Egyptians, for use in their fire lances and hand cannons against the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.

*Hand cannon, handgun, and small arms: The first portable hand cannons ("midfa") loaded with explosive gunpowder, the first example of a handgun and portable firearm, were used by the Egyptians to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and again in 1304. The gunpowder compositions used for the cannons at these battles were later described in several manuscripts in the early 14th century. According to Shams al-Din Muhammad (d. 1327), the cannons had an explosive gunpowder composition (74% saltpetre, 11% sulfur, 15% carbon) almost identical to the ideal compositions for explosive gunpowder used in modern times (75% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, 15% carbon).

*Matchlock: The famous Janissary corps of the Ottoman army were using matchlock muskets as early as the 1440s.cite book| last = Nicolle| first = David| authorlink = David Nicolle| title = The Janissaries| publisher = Osprey| date = 1995| pages = 22| isbn = 1-85532-413-X] The first dated illustration of a matchlock mechanism in Europe dates to 1475.

*Purified potassium nitrate: Muslim chemists were the first to purify potassium nitrate (saltpetre; "natrun" or "barud" in Arabic) to the weapons-grade purity for use in gunpowder, as potassium nitrate needs to be purified to be used effectively. This purification process was first described by Ibn Bakhtawayh in his "al-Muqaddimat" in 1029. The first complete purification process for potassium nitrate is described in 1270 by the Arab chemist and engineer Hasan al-Rammah of Syria in his book "al-Furusiyya wa al-Manasib al-Harbiyya" ("The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices", a.k.a. the "Treatise on Horsemanship and Stratagems of War"). He first described the use of potassium carbonate (in the form of wood ashes) to remove calcium and magnesium salts from the potassium nitrate. [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Potassium Nitrate in Arabic and Latin Sources] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"] Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam".] Hasan al-Rammah also describes the purifying of saltpetre using the chemical processes of solution and crystallization, and this was the first clear method for the purification of saltpetre. [citation|last=Ahmad Y Hassan|title=Chemical Technology in Arabic Military Treatises|journal=Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences|publisher=New York Academy of Sciences|year=1987|pages=153-166 [159] ] Bert S. Hall, [Bert S. Hall, in introduction to J. R. Partington, "A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder", p. xxvii.] however, disputes the efficacy of al-Rammah's formula for the purification of potassium nitrate.

*Supergun: The first supergun was the Great Turkish Bombard, used by the troops of Mehmed II to capture Constantinople in 1453. It had a 762 mm bore, and fired 680 kg (1500 lb) stones. The chief architect for the supergun was a Hungarian named Urban. Though his religion is unknown, he lived and worked in the Islamic world.

*Torpedo: The invention of torpedoes occurred in the Muslim world, and were driven by a rocket system. The works of Hasan al-Rammah in Syria in 1275 shows illustrations of a torpedo running on water with a rocket system filled with explosive materials and having three firing points.Arslan Terzioglu (2007), [ The First Attempts of Flight, Automatic Machines, Submarines and Rocket Technology in Turkish History] , in H. C. Guzel (ed.), "The Turks", pp. 804-10]

Oil industry

*Essential oil: Invented by Abū Alī ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) in the 11th century.Marlene Ericksen (2000). "Healing with Aromatherapy", p. 9. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0658003828.]

*Kerosene and kerosene lamp: Invented by Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi in the 9th century.Zayn Bilkadi (University of California, Berkeley), "The Oil Weapons", "Saudi Aramco World", January-February 1995, pp. 20-27]

*Oil field, petroleum industry, naphtha, and tar: An early petroleum industry was established in the 8th century, when the streets of Baghdad were paved with tar, derived from petroleum through destructive distillation. In the 9th century, oil fields were first exploited in the area around modern Baku, Azerbaijan, to produce naphtha. These fields were described by al-Masudi in the 10th century, and by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who described the output of its oil wells as hundreds of shiploads.

*Petrol: Muslim chemists were the first to produce petrol from crude oil. [Deborah Rowe, [ How Islam has kept us out of the 'Dark Ages'] , "Science and Society", "Channel 4", May 2004.]


*Albarello: An albarello is a type of maiolica earthenware jar originally designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs. The development of this type of pharmacy jar had its roots in the Islamic Middle East. Brought to Italy by Hispano-Moresque traders, the earliest Italian examples were produced in Florence in the 15th century.

*Hispano-Moresque ware: This was a style of Islamic pottery created in Islamic Spain, after the Moors had introduced two ceramic techniques to Europe: glazing with an opaque white tin-glaze, and painting in metallic lusters. Hispano-Moresque ware was distinguished from the pottery of Christendom by the Islamic character of it decoration. [Caiger-Smith, 1973, p.65]

*Lusterware: Invented by Geber, who applied it to ceramic glazes in the 8th century. [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Lustre Glass] and [ Lazaward And Zaffer Cobalt Oxide In Islamic And Western Lustre Glass And Ceramics] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"] The technique soon became popular in Persia from the 9th century, and lusterware was later produced in Egypt during the Fatimid caliphate in the 10th-12th centuries. While the production of lusterware continued in the Middle East, it spread to Europe—first to Al-Andalus, notably at Malaga, and then to Italy, where it was used to enhance maiolica.

*Pottery factory: The first industrial complex for glass and pottery production was built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, in the 8th century. Extensive experimentation was carried out at the complex, which was two kilometres in length. Two other similar complexes have also been discovered.

*Stonepaste ceramic: Invented in 9th-century Iraq, [cite journal | last=Mason | first=Robert B. | title=New Looks at Old Pots: Results of Recent Multidisciplinary Studies of Glazed Ceramics from the Islamic World | journal=Muqarnas: Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture | date=1995 | volume=XII | publisher=Brill Academic Publishers | id=ISBN 9004103147 | page=5] it was a vitreous or semivitreous ceramic ware of fine texture, made primarily from non-refactory fire clay. [Standard Terminology Of Ceramic Whiteware and Related Products. ASTM Standard C242.]

*Tin-glazing: The tin-glazing of ceramics was invented by Muslim potters in 8th-century Basra, Iraq. Tin-opacified glazing was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first examples of this technique can be found as blue-painted ware in 8th-century Basra.cite journal | last=Mason | first=Robert B. | title=New Looks at Old Pots: Results of Recent Multidisciplinary Studies of Glazed Ceramics from the Islamic World | journal=Muqarnas: Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture | date=1995 | volume=XII | publisher=Brill Academic Publishers | id=ISBN 9004103147 | page=1]

*Tin-glazed pottery: The earliest tin-glazed pottery appears to have been made in Iraq in the 9th century, the oldest fragments having been excavated during the First World War from the palace of Samarra about fifty miles north of Baghdad. [Caiger-Smith, 1973, p.23] From there, it spread to Egypt, Persia and Spain, before reaching Italy in the Renaissance, Holland in the 16th century, and England, France and other European countries shortly after.

Civil engineering

During the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, the early Muslim Arab Empire was ahead of its time regarding domestic water systems such as water cleaning systems and advanced water transportation systems resulting in better agriculture, something that helped in issues related to Islamic hygienical jurisprudence. ["", Part One, after the 50th minute.] Al-Jazari invented a variety of machines for raising water in 1206,Al-Jazari, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices: Kitáb fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya", translated by P. Hill (1973). Springer.] as well as water mills and water wheels with cams on their axle used to operate automata in the late 12th century.

*Street light, kerosene lamp, and litter collection facilities: The first street lamps were built in the Arab Empire, [Fielding H. Garrison, "History of Medicine": quote|"The Saracens themselves were the originators not only of algebra, chemistry, and geology, but of many of the so-called improvements or refinements of civilization, such as street lamps, window-panes, firework, string instruments, cultivated fruits, perfumes, spices, etc."] especially in Cordoba, which also had the first facilities and waste containers for litter collection. [S. P. Scott (1904), "History of the Moorish Empire in Europe", 3 vols, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.
F. B. Artz (1980), "The Mind of the Middle Ages", Third edition revised, University of Chicago Press, pp 148-50.
(cf. [ References] , 1001 Inventions)
] The first kerosene lamp was invented by Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi in the 9th century.

*Surveying instruments: Muslim engineers invented a variety of surveying instruments for accurate levelling, including a wooden board with a plumb line and two hooks, an equilateral triangle with a plumb line and two hooks, and a "reed level". They also invented a rotating alhidade used for accurate alignment, and a surveying astrolabe used for alignment, measuring angles, triangulation, finding the width of a river, and the distance between two points separated by an impassable obstruction. [Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", pp. 766-9, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-795]

*Tar roads and pavements: Tar was a vital component of the first sealed tarmac roads. The streets of Baghdad were the first to be paved with tar from the 8th century AD. Tar was derived from petroleum, accessed from oil fields in the region, through the chemical process of destructive distillation.

*Ventillator: The first ventillators were invented in Islamic Egypt and were widely used in many houses throughout Cairo during the Middle Ages. These ventillators were later described in detail by Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in 1200, who reported that almost every house in Cairo has a ventillator, and that they cost anywhere from 1 to 500 dinars depending on their sizes and shapes. Most ventillators in the city were oriented towards the Qibla (the direction of Mecca), as was the city in general. [David A. King (1984), "Architecture and Astronomy: The Ventilators of Medieval Cairo and Their Secrets", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 104 (1): 97-133]


*Acequia: A community operated waterway used in Spain and former Spanish colonies in the Americas for irrigation, they were first introduced by the Moors in Al-Andalus before the 13th century.

*Arabesque: An elaborative application of repeating geometric forms often found decorating the walls of mosques. Geometric artwork in the form of the Arabesque was not used in the Middle East or Mediterranean Basin until the Islamic Golden Age. Euclidean geometry as expounded on by Al-Abbās ibn Said al-Jawharī (ca. 800-860) in his "Commentary on Euclid's Elements", the trigonometry of Aryabhata and Brahmagupta as elaborated on by Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (ca. 780-850), and the development of spherical geometry by Abū al-Wafā' al-Būzjānī (940–998) and spherical trigonometry by Al-Jayyani (989-1079) [MacTutor|id=Al-Jayyani|title=Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muadh Al-Jayyani] for determining the Qibla (direction to Mecca) and times of Salah prayers and Ramadan,Harvard reference |last=Gingerich |first=Owen |year=1986 |date=April 1986 |url= |title=Islamic astronomy |journal=Scientific American |volume=254 |issue=10 |page=74 |accessdate=2008-05-18] all served as an impetus for the art form that was to become the Arabesque.

*Bridge dam: The bridge dam was used to power a water wheel working a water-raising mechanism. The first was built in Dezful, Iran, which could raise 50 cubits of water for the water supply to all houses in the town. Similar bridge dams later appeared in other parts of the Islamic world.Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 759, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95]

*Central heating through underfloor pipes: The hypocaust heating system used by the Romans continued to be in use around the Mediterranean region during late Antiquity and by the Umayyad caliphate. By the 12th century, Muslim engineers in Syria introduced an improved central heating system, where heat travelled through underfloor pipes from the furnace room, rather than through a hypocaust. This central heating system was widely used in bath-houses throughout the medieval Islamic world. [citation|last=Hugh N. Kennedy|title=From Polis To Madina: Urban Change In Late Antique And Early Islamic Syria|journal=Past & Present|publisher=Oxford University Press|year=1985|volume=106|issue=1|pages=3-27 [10-1] ]

*Cobwork: The earliest appearance of cobwork ("tabya") dates back to the Maghreb and Al-Andalus in the 11th century, and was first described in detail by Ibn Khaldun in the 14th century, who regarded it as a characteristically Muslim practice. Cobwork later spread to other parts of Europe from the 12th century onwards. [Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 766, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95]

*Diversion dam: The first diversion dam was built by medieval Muslim engineers over the River Uzaym in Jabal Hamrin, Iraq. Many of these were later built in other parts of the Islamic world.

*Geared and hydropowered water supply system: Al-Jazari developed the earliest water supply system to be driven by gears and hydropower, which was built in 13th century Damascus to supply water to its mosques and Bimaristan hospitals. The system had water from a lake turn a scoop-wheel and a system of gears which transported jars of water up to a water channel that led to mosques and hospitals in the city.Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction", p. 181, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292781490]

*Girih tiles, quasicrystal pattern, and self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tiling: Geometrical quasicrystal patterns were first employed in the girih tiles found in medieval Islamic architecture dating back over five centuries ago. In 2007, Professor Peter Lu of Harvard University and Professor Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University published a paper in the journal "Science" suggesting that girih tilings possessed properties consistent with self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tilings such as the Penrose tilings, predating them by five centuries.cite journal | author = Peter J. Lu and Paul J. Steinhardt | year = 2007 | title = Decagonal and Quasi-crystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture | journal = Science | volume = 315 | pages = 1106–1110 | url = | doi = 10.1126/science.1135491 ] [Supplemental figures [] ]

*Minaret: The minaret is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic architecture, especialy mosques, dating back to the early centuries of Islam. Minarets are generally tall spires with onion-shaped crowns, usually either free standing or much taller than any surrounding support structure. The tallest minaret in pre-modern times was the Qutub Minar, which was 72.5 meters (237.9 ft) tall and was built in the 12th century, and it remains the tallest brick and stone minaret in the world. The tallest minaret in modern times is the one at Hassan II Mosque, which is 210 metres (689 ft) tall and was built in 1986.

Industrial milling

A variety of industrial mills were active in the medieval Islamic world, including fulling mills, gristmills, hullers, paper mills, sawmills, stamp mills, steel mills, sugar mills, and windmills, many of which were original inventions by Muslim engineers. By the 11th century, every province throughout the Islamic world had these industrial mills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia.Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1): 1-30 [10-1 & 27] ] These advances made it possible for many industrial operations that were previously driven by manual labour in ancient times to be driven by machinery instead in the Islamic world. The transfer of these technologies to medieval Europe later laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolution in 18th century Europe. [Adam Robert Lucas (2005), "Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe", "Technology and Culture" 46 (1): 1-30]

*Bridge mill: The bridge mill was a unique type of water mill that was built as part of the superstructure of a bridge. The earliest record of a bridge mill is from Cordoba, Spain in the 12th century.Adam Lucas (2006), "Wind, Water, Work: Ancient and Medieval Milling Technology", p. 62, BRILL, ISBN 9004146490]

*Factory milling installation: The first factory milling installations were built by Muslim engineers throughout every city and urban community in the Islamic world. For example, the factory milling complex in 10th century Baghdad could produce 10 tonnes of flour every day.Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 783, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95] The first large milling installations in Europe were built in 12th century Islamic Spain.Adam Lucas (2006), "Wind, Water, Work: Ancient and Medieval Milling Technology", p. 65, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004146490]

*Flywheel-driven noria: See Mechanical technology below.

*Fulling mill: The first references to fulling mills are reported in Persia from the 10th century. By the time of the Crusades in the 11th century, fulling mills were active throughout the Islamic world, from Islamic Spain and North Africa to Central Asia.

*Geared and wind powered gristmills with trip hammers: The first geared gristmills [Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 781, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95] were invented by Muslim engineers in the Islamic world, and were used for grinding corn and other seeds to produce meals, and many other industrial uses such as fulling cloth, husking rice, papermaking, pulping sugarcane, and crushing metalic ores before extraction. Gristmills in the Islamic world were often made from both watermills and windmills. In order to adapt water wheels for gristmilling purposes, cams were used for raising and releasing trip hammers to fall on a material. The first wind-powered gristmills driven by windmills were built in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran in the 9th and 10th centuries.

*Hydropowered forge and finery forge: The first forge to be driven by a hydropowered water mill rather than manual labour, also known as a finery forge, was invented in 12th century Islamic Spain.

*Milling dam: The milling dam was used to provide additional power for milling, which Muslim engineers called the "Pul-i-Bulaiti". The first was built at Shustar on the River Karun, Iran, and many of these were later built in other parts of the Islamic world. Water was conducted from the back of the dam through a large pipe to drive a water wheel and water mill.

*Paper mill: Paper was introduced into the Muslim world by Chinese prisoners after the Battle of Talas. Muslims made several improvements to papermaking, mainly the use of hydropower rather than manual labour to produce paper, and they built the first paper mills in Baghdad, Iraq, as early as 794. Papermaking was transformed from an art into a major industry as a result. [citation|first=Farid|last=Mahdavi|title=Review: "Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World" by Jonathan M. Bloom|journal=Journal of Interdisciplinary History|publisher=MIT Press|volume=34|issue=1|year=2003|pages=129-30] [ [ The Beginning of the Paper Industry] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.]

*Shipmill: The shipmill was a unique type of watermill powered by water wheels mounted on the sides of large ships moored in midstream. The precursor to this device were the small boat mills being used in Rome when Belisarius was beseiged there in 547 AD. [Procopius of Caesarea, "Gothic Wars", 1.19.8-29] The first shipmills were employed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in 10th century Iraq, where shipmills could produce 10 tons of flour from corn every day for the granary in Baghdad.Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", "Scientific American", May 1991, pp. 64-69 (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [ Mechanical Engineering] )]

*Spiral scoop wheel: The spiral scoop-wheel is a device which raises large quantities of water to ground level with a high degree of efficiency. This was invented in 12th century Baghdad and is still commonly used in modern Egypt. [Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 774, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95]

*Stamp mill: These were first used by miners in Samarkand from as early as 973. They were used in medieval Persia for the purpose of crushing ore. By the 11th century, stamp mills were in widespread use throughout the Islamic world, from Islamic Spain and North Africa to Central Asia.

*Sugar refinery: The first sugar refineries were built by Muslim engineers. They were first driven by water mills, and then windmills from the 9th and 10th centuries in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

*Underground watermill: Other innovations that were unique to the Islamic world include the situation of water mills in the underground irrigation tunnels of a qanat and on the main canals of valley-floor irrigation systems.

*Water turbine: The first water turbine, which had water wheels with curved blades onto which water flow was directed axially, was first described in a 9th century Arabic text for use in a watermill.

*Windmill: The first Windmills were built in Sistan, Afghanistan, sometime between the 7th century and 9th century, as described by Muslim geographers. These were vertical axle windmills, which had long vertical driveshafts with rectangle shaped blades. [Ahmad Y Hassan, Donald Routledge Hill (1986). "Islamic Technology: An illustrated history", p. 54. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42239-6.] The first windmill may have been contructed as early as the time of the second Rashidun caliph Umar (634-644 AD), though some argue that this account may have been a 10th century amendment. [Dietrich Lohrmann (1995). "Von der östlichen zur westlichen Windmühle", "Archiv für Kulturgeschichte" 77 (1), p. 1-30 (8).] Made of six to twelve sails covered in reed matting or cloth material, these windmills were used to grind corn and draw up water, and used in the gristmilling and sugarcane industries. The first horizontal windmills were built in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran in the 9th and 10th centuries. They had a variety of uses, such as grinding grain, pumping water, and crushing sugar-cane. A small primitive wind wheel operating an organ is described as early as the 1st century AD by Hero of Alexandria, marking probably the first instance of a wind powering machine in history. [A.G. Drachmann, "Heron's Windmill", "Centaurus", 7 (1961), pp. 145-151] [Dietrich Lohrmann, "Von der östlichen zur westlichen Windmühle", "Archiv für Kulturgeschichte", Vol. 77, Issue 1 (1995), pp.1-30 (10f.)] Horizontal axle windmills of the type generally used today were developed in Northwestern Europe in the 1180s. [Dietrich Lohrmann, "Von der östlichen zur westlichen Windmühle", "Archiv für Kulturgeschichte", Vol. 77, Issue 1 (1995), pp.1-30 (18ff.)]


A number of hygienic cosmetics were invented by Muslim chemists, cosmetologists and physicians. [ The invention of cosmetics] . "1001 Inventions".]

*Cosmetic dentistry and tooth bleaching: In his "Al-Tasrif" (c. 1000), Abulcasis described methods for strengthening the gums and introduced the method of tooth bleaching using tooth whiteners.

*Bangs: In the 9th century, Ziryab introduced a new hairstyle for women in Al-Andalus: a "shorter, shaped cut, with bangs on the forehead and the ears uncovered."

*Beauty parlour and cosmetology school: In the 9th century, Ziryab opened the first beauty parlour and “cosmetology school” for women near Alcázar, Al-Andalus."citation|last=Lebling Jr.|first=Robert W.|title=Flight of the Blackbird|journal=Saudi Aramco World|date=July-August 2003|pages=24-33|url=|accessdate=2008-01-28]

*Chemical depilatory for hair removal: In the 9th century, Ziryab taught women in Al-Andalus "the shaping of eyebrows and the use of depilatories for removing body hair".

*Hair care and hair dye: In his "Al-Tasrif" (c. 1000), Abulcasis first described hair dyes for changing human hair color to blond or black hair, and hair care for correcting kinky or curly hair. Dyestuff was also created by earlier Muslim chemists.Dunlop, D.M. (1975), "Arab Civilization", "Librairie du Liban"]

*Lipstick, solid: In 1000 CE, the Andalusian Arab cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) invented solid lipsticks, which were perfumed stocks rolled and pressed in special molds, and he described them in his "Al-Tasrif".

*Pomade: Produced by Arabs.


*Hand cream and lotion, and suntan lotion: In his "Al-Tasrif" (c. 1000), Abulcasis deescribed the first hand creams and lotions, and the first early suntan lotions, describing their ingredients and benefits in depth.

*Soap: The soap now used in modern times is made of vegetable oils (such as olive oil) with sodium hydroxide and aromatics (such as thyme oil). This formula was invented by Muslim chemists, and differed from the earlier soap-like detergents used in ancient times. Sodium lye ("al-soda al-kawia"), perfumed and colored soaps, and liquid and solid soaps, were also produced by Muslim chemists.

*Soap bar: The first hard soaps were produced by Muslim chemists. They gave recipes for soaps made from sesame oil, potash, alkali, lime, and molds, leaving hard soap.

*Toothpaste, functional and pleasant: In the 9th century, the Persian musician and fashion designer Ziryab is known to have invented a type of toothpaste, which he popularized throughout Islamic Spain. The exact ingredients of this toothpaste are not currently known, but unlike the earlier Egyptian and Roman toothpastes, Ziryab's toothpaste was reported to have been both "functional and pleasant to taste."citation|last=Sertima|first=Ivan Van|authorlink=Ivan Van Sertima|year=1992|title=The Golden Age of the Moor|page=267|publisher=Transaction Publishers|isbn=1560005815] In "circa" 1000, Abulcasis recommended a toothpaste made from cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and coriander leaves, as a remedy for bad breath resulting from eating garlic or onions.


Perfume usage was recorded in the Arabian Peninsula since the 7th century, and Muslims made many advances in perfumery in the proceeding centuries. This included the extraction of numerous fragrances, as well as the cheap mass-production of incenses. Muslim scientists such as Al-Kindi elaborated a vast number of recipes for a wide range of perfumes, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

*Perfume industry: Established by Geber (Jabir) (b. 722, Iraq) and Al-Kindi (b. 801, Iraq). Jabir developed many techniques, including distillation, evaporation and filtration, which enabled the collection of the odour of plants into a vapour that could be collected in the form of water or oil.Levey, Martin (1973), "Early Arabic Pharmacology", "E.J. Brill: Leiden", ISBN 90-04-03796-9.] Al-Kindi carried out extensive research and experiments in combining various plants and other sources to produce a variety of scent products.

*Camphor: In the 9th century, the Arab chemist Al-Kindi (Alkindus) provided the earliest recipe for the production of camphor in his "Kitab Kimiya' al-'Itr" ("Book of the Chemistry of Perfume"). [ [ Al-Kindi] , FSTC]

*Deodorants, under-arm and roll-on: In the 9th century, Ziryab invented under-arm deodorants in Al-Andalus.Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Manuela Marin (1994), "The Legacy of Muslim Spain", p. 117, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004095993] In "circa" 1000, another under-arm deodorant was described in Al-Andalus by Abulcasis,cite web|title=Muslim Contribution to Cosmetics|url=|publisher=FSTC Limited|date=2003-05-20|accessdate=2008-01-29] who also invented perfumed stocks, rolled and pressed in special moulds, similar to modern roll-on deodorants. [ [ How Islam invented a bright new world] , "The Herald", 25/10/2007.]

*Extraction of fragrances through steam distillation: Introduced by Abū Alī ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) in the 11th century.

*Ghaliya: The preparation of a perfume called "ghaliya", which contained musk, amber and other ingredients, and the use of various drugs and apparatus, was produced by al-Kindi.

*Musk and floral perfumes: Produced in the 11th-12th centuries in the Arabian Peninsula.Dunlop, D.M. (1975), "Arab Civilization", "Librairie du Liban"]

*Jasmine and citrus perfumes: Muslims introduced new raw ingredients in perfumery, which were produced from different spices, herbals, and other fragrance materials, which are still used in modern perfumery. These included jasmine from South and Southeast Asia, and citrus fruits from East Asia.

*Rose water: See Chemical substances above.


A number of important economic, educational, legal and scientific institutions previously unknown in the ancient world have their origins in the medieval Islamic world.

*Academic degree-granting University: If the definition of a university is assumed to mean an institution of higher education and research which issues academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master and doctorate) like in the modern sense of the word, then the medieval Madrasahs known as "Jami'ah" ("university" in Arabic) founded in the 9th century would be the first examples of such an institution.citation|last=Makdisi|first=George|title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West|journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society|volume=109|issue=2|date=April-June 1989|pages=175-182 [175-77] ] The University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco is thus recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri. ["The Guinness Book Of Records", 1998, p. 242, ISBN 0-5535-7895-2] Also in the 9th century, Bimaristan medical schools were founded in the medieval Islamic world, where medical degrees and diplomas were issued to students of Islamic medicine who were qualified to be a practicing Doctor of Medicine. [John Bagot Glubb: quote|By Mamun's time medical schools were extremely active in Baghdad. The first free public hospital was opened in Baghdad during the Caliphate of Haroon-ar-Rashid. As the system developed, physicians and surgeons were appointed who gave lectures to medical students and issued diplomas to those who were considered qualified to practice. The first hospital in Egypt was opened in 872 AD and thereafter public hospitals sprang up all over the empire from Spain and the Maghrib to Persia. (cf. [ Quotations on Islamic Civilization] )] Al-Azhar University, founded in Cairo, Egypt in 975, was a "Jami'ah" university which offered a variety of post-graduate degrees ("Ijazah"), and had individual faculties [citation|title=A History of Christian-Muslim Relations|first=Hugh|last=Goddard|year=2000|publisher=Edinburgh University Press|isbn=074861009X|page=99] for a theological seminary, Islamic law and jurisprudence, Arabic grammar, Islamic astronomy, early Islamic philosophy, and logic in Islamic philosophy.citation|title=From Jami`ah to University: Multiculturalism and Christian–Muslim Dialogue|first=Syed Farid|last=Alatas|journal=Current Sociology|volume=54|issue=1|pages=112-32] The modern academic robe worn by graduates was also adapted from the robe worn by the Alim (alumni). [citation|title=A History of Christian-Muslim Relations|first=Hugh|last=Goddard|year=2000|publisher=Edinburgh University Press|isbn=074861009X|page=100]

*Agency and Aval: The first agencies were the "Hawala", mentioned in texts of Islamic jurisprudence as early as the 8th century. "Hawala" itself later influenced the development of the agency in common law and in civil laws such as the "Aval" in French law and the "Avallo" in Italian law. The words "Aval" and "Avallo" were themselves derived from "Hawala". The transfer of debt, which was "not permissible under Roman law but became widely practiced in medieval Europe, especially in commercial transactions", was due to the large extent of the "trade conducted by the Italian cities with the Muslim world in the Middle Ages." The agency was also "an institution unknown to Roman law" as no "individual could conclude a binding contract on behalf of another as his agent." In Roman law, the "contractor himself was considered the party to the contract and it took a second contract between the person who acted on behalf of a principal and the latter in order to transfer the rights and the obligations deriving from the contract to him." On the other hand, Islamic law and the later common law "had no difficulty in accepting agency as one of its institutions in the field of contracts and of obligations in general." [citation|title=Islamic Law: Its Relation to Other Legal Systems|first=Gamal Moursi|last=Badr|journal=The American Journal of Comparative Law|volume=26|issue=2 - Proceedings of an International Conference on Comparative Law, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 24-25, 1977|date=Spring, 1978|pages=187-198 [196-8] ]

*Assize of novel disseisin and contract protected by the action of debt: According to Professor John Makdisi, the "royal English contract protected by the action of debt" has origins in "the Islamic "Aqd"," and "the English assize of novel disseisin" has origins in "the Islamic "Istihqaq"," in classical Maliki jurisprudence.

*College: The origins of the college lie in the medieval Islamic world. The "madrasah" was a medieval Islamic college of law and theology, usually affiliated with a mosque, and was funded by early charitable trusts known as "Waqf", the origins of the trust law.Toby E. Huff (2003), "The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West", Cambridge University Press, pp. 77-8]

*Jury and jury trial: The closest predecessor to the English jury trial was the "Lafif" in the Maliki school of classical Islamic law and jurisprudence, which was developed between the 8th and 11th centuries. Like the English jury, the Islamic "Lafif" was a body of twelve members drawn from the neighborhood and sworn to tell the truth, who were bound to give a unanimous verdict, about matters "which they had personally seen or heard, binding on the judge, to settle the truth concerning facts in a case, between ordinary people, and obtained as of right by the plaintiff." According to John Makdisi, "no other institution in any legal institution studied to date shares all of these characteristics with the English jury."Harvard reference|last=Makdisi|first=John A.|title=The Islamic Origins of the Common Law|journal=North Carolina Law Review|year=1999|date=June 1999|volume=77|issue=5|pages=1635-1739]

*Microcredit and Microfinance: The Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank, the first microcredit and microfinance institution, in 1971, for which he was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

*Observatory as a research institute: As opposed to a private observation post as was the case in ancient times, [citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=992-3, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=985-1007] the astronomical observatories in the Islamic world were the first true observatories, in the sense that they functioned as early research institutes, like modern observatories. The Islamic observatory was the first specialized astronomical institution with its own scientific staff, director, astronomical program,citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=992-3, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=985-1007] large astronomical instruments, and building where astronomical research and observations are carried out. Islamic observatories were also the first to employ enormously large astronomical instruments in order to improve the accuracy of their observations.Harv|Kennedy|1962] Famous examples include the observatories at Baghdad and Ray, Iran, the Maragheh observatory, Ulugh Beg's observatory at Samarqand, and the Istanbul observatory of al-Din.

*Public library and lending library:Peter Barrett (2004), "Science and Theology Since Copernicus: The Search for Understanding", p. 18, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 056708969X] A number of distinct features of the modern library were introduced in the Islamic world, where libraries not only served as a collection of manuscripts as was the case in ancient libraries, but also as a public library and lending library, a centre for the instruction and spread of sciences and ideas, a place for meetings and discussions, and sometimes as a lodging for scholars or boarding school for pupils. The concept of the library catalogue was also introduced in medieval Islamic libraries, where books were organized into specific genres and categories. [citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=988-991 in Harvard reference |last1=Morelon |first1=Régis |last2=Rashed |first2=Roshdi |year=1996 |title=Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science |volume=3 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=0415124107 |pp=985-1007]

*Restaurant: See Food and drink above.

*Trust institution and charitable trust: The "Waqf" in Islamic law, which developed in the Islamic world from the 7th to 9th centuries, were the first charitable trust. [Harv|Gaudiosi|1988] Every "waqf" was required to have a "waqif" (founder), "mutawillis" (trustee), "qadi" (judge) and beneficiaries. [Harv|Gaudiosi|1988|pp=1237-40] Under both a "waqf" and a trust, "property is reserved, and its usufruct appropriated, for the benefit of specific individuals, or for a general charitable purpose; the corpus becomes inalienable; estates for life in favor of successive beneficiaries can be created" and "without regard to the law of inheritance or the rights of the heirs; and continuity is secured by the successive appointment of trustees or "mutawillis"." [Harv|Gaudiosi|1988|p=1246]

Medical institutions

*Apothecary, Drugstore, and Pharmacy: The first drugstores and pharmacies were opened by Muslim pharmacists in Baghdad in 754,S. Hadzovic (1997). "Pharmacy and the great contribution of Arab-Islamic science to its development", "Medicinski Arhiv" 51 (1-2), p. 47-50.] while the first apothecary shops were also founded by Muslim practitioners at the time. [Sharif Kaf al-Ghazal, "Jounal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine", 2004 (3), pp. 3-9 [8] .]

*Medical school: The Islamic Bimaristans were not only hospitals, but also the first medical schools and universities to issue diplomas. The first of these institutions was opened in Baghdad during the time of Harun al-Rashid. They then appeared in Egypt from 872 and then in Islamic Spain, Persia and the Maghreb thereafter. Physicians and surgeons at Islamic hospital-universities gave lectures to medical students and diplomas were issued to students who completed their education and were qualified to be doctors of medicine. [Sir John Bagot Glubb (cf. Dr. A. Zahoor (1999), [ Quotations on Islamic Civilization] )]

*Psychiatric hospital: The first psychiatric hospitals were built in the medieval Islamic world. The first of these were built built in Baghdad in 705, Fes in the early 8th century, and Cairo in 800.Ibrahim B. Syed PhD, "Islamic Medicine: 1000 years ahead of its times", "Journal of the Islamic Medical Association", 2002 (2), p. 2-9 [7-8] .]

*Public hospital: The Islamic Bimaristans were the first free public hospitals, and replaced the healing temples and sleep temples found in ancient times. They were hospital in the modern sense, an establishment where the ill were welcomed and cared for by qualified staff. In this way, Muslim physicians were the first to make a distinction between a hospital and other different forms of sleep and healing temples, hospices, assylums, lazarets and leper-houses, all of which in ancient times were more concerned with isolating the sick and the mad from society "rather than to offer them any way to a true cure." The medieval Bimaristan hospitals are thus considered "the first hospitals" in the modern sense of the word. [citation|last=Micheau|first=Francoise|contribution=The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East|pages=991-2, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=985-1007]

*Quarantine: The discovery of the contagious nature of infectious diseases and the use of quarantine to limit the spread of contagious diseases was introduced by Avicenna in "The Canon of Medicine" (1025). [David W. Tschanz, MSPH, PhD (August 2003). "Arab Roots of European Medicine", "Heart Views" 4 (2).]

Mechanical technology

*Artificial thunder, lightning and weather simulation: Abbas Ibn Firnas invented an artificial weather simulation room, in which spectators saw stars and clouds, and were astonished by artificial thunder and lightning, which were produced by mechanisms hidden in his basement laboratory.Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", "Technology and Culture" 2 (2), p. 97-111 [100-1] ] [citation|title=Muslim Spain 711-1492 A.D.|first=S. M.|last=Imamuddin|publisher=Brill Publishers|year=1981|isbn=9004061312|page=166]

*Bayonet fitting: Al-Jazari's candle clock in 1206 employed, for the first time, a bayonet fitting, a fastener mechanism still used in modern times. [citation|title=Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East|publisher=History Channel|url=|accessdate=2008-09-07]

*Camshaft: The first known use of cams on a camshaft were invented in Iraq by Al-Jazari in 1206. [Georges Ifrah (2001), "The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quatum Computer", p. 171, Trans. E.F. Harding, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (See [] )] His camshaft was attached to a water wheel and was used to operate levers moving robotic musicians in his castle clock (see Analog computers below).

*Combination lock, bolted lock, and mechanical controls: According to Donald Routledge Hill, al-Jazari first described several early mechanical controls, including "a large metal door, a combination lock and a lock with four bolts."

*Complex segmental and epicyclic gearing: Segmental gears ("a piece for receiving or communicating reciprocating motion from or to a cogwheel, consisting of a sector of a circular gear, or ring, having cogs on the periphery, or face." [ [ Segment gear] ,] ) and epicyclic gears were both first invented by the 11th century Arab engineer Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi from Islamic Spain. He employed both these types of gears in the gear trains of his mechanical clocks. Simple gears have been known before him, but this was the the first known case of complex gears used to transmit high torque. Segmental gears were also later employed by al-Jazari in 1206. Professor Lynn Townsend White, Jr. wrote: "Segmental gears first clearly appear in Al-Jazari, in the West they emerge in Giovanni de Dondi‘s astronomical clock finished in 1364, and only with the great Sienese engineer Francesco di Giorgio (1501) did they enter the general vocabulary of European machine design." [ [ The Automata of Al-Jazari] . The Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul.]

*Crankshaft and connecting rod mechanism: Al-Jazari's invention of the crankshaft (and the crank mechanism) is considered the most important single mechanical invention after the wheel, as it transforms continuous rotary motion into a linear reciprocating motion, which is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, including the internal combustion engine and steam engine. [Donald Routledge Hill (1998). "Studies in Medieval Islamic Technology" II, p. 231-232.] The connecting rod was also invented by al-Jazari, and was used in a crank and connecting rod system in a rotating machine he developed in 1206, in two of his water raising machines.Ahmad Y Hassan. [ The Crank-Connecting Rod System in a Continuously Rotating Machine] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam".]

*Design and construction methods: According to Donald Routledge Hill, "We see for the first time in al-Jazari's work several concepts important for both design and construction: the lamination of timber to minimize warping, the static balancing of wheels, the use of wooden templates (a kind of pattern), the use of paper models to establish designs, the calibration of orifices, the grinding of the seats and plugs of valves together with emery powder to obtain a watertight fit, and the casting of metals in closed mold boxes with sand."

*Escapement mechanism in rotating wheel: Al-Jazari invented a method for controlling the speed of rotation of a wheel using an escapement mechanism in 1206. [Donald Routledge Hill, "Engineering", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., "Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, p. 751-795 [792] . Routledge, London and New York.]

*Fountain pen: The earliest historical record of a reservoir fountain pen dates back to the 10th century. In 953, Al-Muizz Lideenillah, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action. As recorded by Qadi al-Nu'man al-Tamimi (d. 974) in his "Kitdb al-Majalis wa 'l-musayardt", al-Mu’izz instructed and commissioned the construction of a fountain reservoir pen. [citation|journal=Journal of Semitic Studies|volume=XXVl|issue=i|date=Autumn 1981|title=A Mediaeval Islamic Prototype of the Fountain Pen?|first=C. E.|last=Bosworth] [cite web | title = "Origins of the Fountain Pen " | publisher = | url = | accessmonthday = September 18| accessyear = 2007 ]

*Gate operator: The first automatic doors were created by Hero of Alexandria and Chinese engineers under Emperor Yang of Sui prior to Islam. This was followed by the first hydraulics-powered automatic gate operators, invented by Al-Jazari in 1206. [Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction", p. 181, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292781490.] Al-Jazari also created automatic doors as part of one of his elaborate water clocks.

*Intermittent working: The concept of minimizing intermittent working is first implied in one of al-Jazari's saqiya chain pumps, which was for the purpose of maximising the efficiency of the saqiya chain pump.Donald Routledge Hill, "Engineering", p. 776, in Roshdi Rashed, ed., "Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, pp. 751-795, Routledge, London and New York]

*Metal block printing and printed amulet: Printing was known as "tarsh" in Arabic. After woodblock printing appeared in the Islamic world, which may have been adopted from China, a unique type of block printing was invented in Islamic Egypt during the 9th-10th centuries: print blocks made from metals such as tin, lead and cast iron, as well as stone, glass and clay. The first printed amulets were invented in the Islamic world, and were printed with Arabic calligraphy using metal block printing. This technique, however, appears to have had very little influence outside of the Muslim world, since metal and other non-wooden forms of block printing were unknown in China or Korea, which later developed metal movable type printing instead. Though Europe adopted woodblock printing from the Muslim world, the technique of metal block printing was also unknown in Europe. Block printing later went out of use in Islamic Central Asia after movable type printing was introduced from China. [Richard W. Bulliet (1987), "Medieval Arabic Tarsh: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Printing", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 107 (3), p. 427-438.]

*Metronome: According to Lynn Townsend White, Jr., the Andalusian polymath Abbas Ibn Firnas was the inventor of an early metronome in the 9th century.

*On/off switch: The on/off switch, an important feedback control principle, was invented by Muslim engineers between the 9th and 12th centuries, and it was employed in a variety of automata and water clocks. The mechanism later had an influence on the development of the electric on/off switch which appeared in the 1950s. [ F. L. Lewis (1992), "Applied Optimal Control and Estimation", Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.]

In the 9th century, the Banū Mūsā brothers invented a number of automata (automatic machines) and mechanical devices, and they described a hundred such devices in their "Book of Ingenious Devices". Some of their original inventions include:

*Automatic control

*Feedback controller

*Differential pressure [citation|title=Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East|publisher=History Channel|url=|accessdate=2008-09-06]

*Fail-safe system

*Float chamber

*Hurricane lamp

*Gas mask

*Grab and Clamshell grab

*Self-feeding lamp and self-trimming lamp: Invented by the eldest brother Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir.

*Trick drinking vessels

*Valve, plug valve,Otto Mayr (1970). "The Origins of Feedback Control", MIT Press.] and float valve.

In 1206, Al-Jazari also described over fifty mechanical devices in six different categories in "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices", most of which he invented himself, along with construction drawings. Along with his other mechanical inventions described above, some of the other mechanical devices he first described include: phlebotomy measures, linkage, water level, and devices able to elevate water from shallow wells or flowing rivers.Al-Jazari, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices: Kitáb fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya",translated by P. Hill (1973). Springer.] [Derek de Solla Price (1975). "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices" by Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari", "Technology and Culture" 16 (1), p. 81.] [ [ The Machines of Al-Jazari and Taqi Al-Din] (2004), Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.]


*Crankshaft-driven and hydropowered saqiya chain pumps: The first known use of a crankshaft in a chain pump was in one of Al-Jazari's saqiya machines described in 1206. Al-Jazari also constructed a water-raising saqiya chain pump which was run by hydropower rather than manual labour, though the Chinese were also using hydropower for other chain pumps prior to him. Saqiya machines like the ones he described have been supplying water in Damascus since the 13th century up until modern times, [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Al-Jazari and the History of the Water Clock] ] and were in everyday use throughout the medieval Islamic world.

*Crankshaft-driven screw and screwpump: In ancient times, the screw and screwpump were driven by a treadwheel, but from the 12th and 13th centuries, Muslim engineers operated them using the crankshaft invented by al-Jazari. [Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 771, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=751-95]

*Double-action piston suction pump with reciprocating motion: In 1206, al-Jazari demonstrates the first conversion of rotary to reciprocating motion, the first suction pipes and suction piston pump, the first use of double-action, and one of the earliest valve operations, when he invented a twin-cylinder double-action reciprocating suction piston pump, which seems to have had a direct significance in the development of modern engineering. This pump is driven by a water wheel, which drives, through a system of gears, an oscillating slot-rod to which the rods of two pistons are attached. The pistons work in horizontally opposed cylinders, each provided with valve-operated suction and delivery pipes. The delivery pipes are joined above the centre of the machine to form a single outlet into the irrigation system. This pump is remarkable for three reasons: (1) The earliest known use of a true suction pipe in a pump, (2) The first application of the double-acting principle, (3) The first conversion of rotary to reciprocating motion through the crankshaft-connecting rod mechanism.Ahmad Y Hassan, [ The Origin of the Suction Pump - Al-Jazari 1206 A.D.] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"]

*Flywheel-driven chain pump and noria: A flywheel is used to smooth out the delivery of power from a driving device to a driven machine. The mechanical flywheel was first invented by Ibn Bassal (fl. 1038-1075) of Islamic Spain, who pioneered the use of the flywheel in the chain pump (saqiya) and noria. [Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Flywheel Effect for a "Saqiya"] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam".]

*Weight-driven pump: Most ancient and medieval pumps were either driven by manual labour or hydraulics. The first weight-driven pump was described as part of a perpetual motion water-raising machine in a medieval Arabic manuscript written some time after Al-Jazari. It featured a mercury-powered clockwork escapement mechanism and had two out gear-wheels driven by lead weights which mesh with a large central gear-wheel. [citation|title=A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times|last=Donald Routledge Hill|publisher=Routledge|year=1996|isbn=0415152917|page=205]


Mark E. Rosheim summarizes the advances in robotics made by Arab engineers as follows:

*Mechanical singing bird automata: Caliph al-Mamun had a silver and golden tree in his palace in Baghdad in 827, which had the features of an automatic machine. There were metal birds that sang automatically on the swinging branches of this tree built by Muslim engineers at the time. [Ismail b. Ali Ebu'l Feda history, Weltgeschichte, hrsg. von Fleischer and Reiske 1789-94, 1831.] The Abbasid Caliph al-Muktadir also had a golden tree in his palace in Baghdad in 915, with birds on it flapping their wings and singing. [A. Marigny (1760). "Histoire de Arabes". Paris, Bd. 3, S.206.]

*Programmable automatic flute player: The Banū Mūsā invented an automatic flute player which appears to have been the first programmable machine, and which they described in their "Book of Ingenious Devices".Teun Koetsier (2001). "On the prehistory of programmable machines: musical automata, looms, calculators", "Mechanism and Machine theory" 36, p. 590-591.]

*Programmable analog computer: See Analog computers below.

*Programmable humanoid robot band: Al-Jazari (1136-1206) created the first recorded designs of a programmable humanoid robot in 1206, as opposed to the non-programmable automata in ancient times. Al-Jazari's robot was originally a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. His mechanism had a programmable drum machine with pegs (cams) that bump into little levers that operate the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around. [ [ A 13th Century Programmable Robot.] University of Sheffield.] According to Charles B. Fowler, the automata were a "robot band" which performed "more than fifty facial and body actions during each musical selection." [citation|title=The Museum of Music: A History of Mechanical Instruments|first=CharlesB.|last=Fowler|journal=Music Educators Journal|volume=54|issue=2|date=October 1967|pages=45-49]

*Hand washing automaton with flush mechanism: Al-Jazari invented a hand washing automaton first employing the flush mechanism now used in modern flush toilets. It features a female humanoid automaton standing by a basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the female automaton refills the basin. [citation|title=Robot Evolution: The Development of Anthrobotics|first=Mark E.|last=Rosheim|year=1994|publisher=Wiley-IEEE|isbn=0471026220|pages=9-10]

*Peacock fountain with automated humanoid servants: Al-Jazari's "peacock fountain" was a sophisticated hand washing device featuring humanoid automata as servants which offer soap and towels. Mark E. Rosheim describes it as follows: "Pulling a plug on the peacock's tail releases water out of the beak; as the dirty water from the basin fills the hollow base a float rises and actuates a linkage which makes a servant figure appear from behind a door under the peacock and offer soap. When more water is used, a second float at a higher level trips and causes the appearance of a second servant figure — with a towel!"citation|title=Robot Evolution: The Development of Anthrobotics|first=Mark E.|last=Rosheim|year=1994|publisher=Wiley-IEEE|isbn=0471026220|page=9]

*Other automata: In 1206, al-Jazari, along with his inventions above, also designed and constructed a number of other automata, such as home appliances and musical automata powered by water (see one of his works at [ The Automata of Al-Jazari] ).

Medical products

Drugs and medications

Muslim physicians pioneered a number of drugs and medications for use in medicine, including:

*Alcohol as an antiseptic: The application of pure alcohol to wounds as an antiseptic agent, and the use of alcohol as a solvent and antiseptic, was introduced by Muslim physicians and surgeons in the 10th century.

*Cancer therapy, pharmacotherapy, and Hindiba: Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine" (1025) attempted the earliest known treatments for cancer. One method he discovered was the "Hindiba", a herbal compound drug which Ibn al-Baitar later identified as having "anticancer" properties and which could also treat other tumors and neoplastic disorders. Avicenna wrote a separate supplement treatise dedicated to the pharmacotherapy of Hindiba, giving details on the drug's properties and uses, and he then gives instructions on its preparation as medication.cite web|author=Prof. Nil Sari (Istanbul University, Cerrahpasha Medical School)|title=Hindiba: A Drug for Cancer Treatment in Muslim Heritage|publisher=FSTC Limited|date=06 June, 2007|url=] After recognizing its usefulness in treating neoplastic disorders, Hindiba was patented in 1997 by Nil Sari, Hanzade Dogan and John K. Snyder. [patent|US|5663196|Methods for treating neoplastic disorders]

*Chemotherapeutic drugs: Pioneered by Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes), who introduced the use of chemical substances such as vitriol, copper, mercuric and arsenic salts, sal ammoniac, gold scoria, chalk, clay, coral, pearl, tar, bitumen and alcohol for medical purposes. [ [ The Valuable Contribution of al-Razi (Rhazes) to the History of Pharmacy] , FSTC]

*Clinical pharmacology, clinical trial, randomized controlled trial, and efficacy test: The origins of clinical pharmacology date back to Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine" in 1025. [D. Craig Brater and Walter J. Daly (2000), "Clinical pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Principles that presage the 21st century", "Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" 67 (5): 447-450 [448-9] ] His emphasis on tested medicines laid the foundations for an experimental approach to pharmacology. [citation|last=Jacquart|first=Danielle|journal=European Review|volume=16|issue=2|pages=219–227 [219 & 222-5|title=Islamic Pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Theories and Substances] The "Canon" laid out the rules and principles for testing the effectiveness of new drugs and medications, which still form the basis of clinical pharmacologyD. Craig Brater and Walter J. Daly (2000), "Clinical pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Principles that presage the 21st century", "Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" 67 (5): 447-450 [448] ] and modern clinical trials,David W. Tschanz, MSPH, PhD (August 2003), "Arab Roots of European Medicine", "Heart Views" 4 (2)] randomized controlled trialsJonathan D. Eldredge (2003), "The Randomised Controlled Trial design: unrecognized opportunities for health sciences librarianship", "Health Information and Libraries Journal" 20, p. 34–44 [36] .] Bernard S. Bloom, Aurelia Retbi, Sandrine Dahan, Egon Jonsson (2000), "Evaluation Of Randomized Controlled Trials On Complementary And Alternative Medicine", "International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care" 16 (1), p. 13–21 [19] .] and efficacy tests.D. Craig Brater and Walter J. Daly (2000), "Clinical pharmacology in the Middle Ages: Principles that presage the 21st century", "Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" 67 (5), p. 447-450 [449] .] Walter J. Daly and D. Craig Brater (2000), "Medieval contributions to the search for truth in clinical medicine", "Perspectives in Biology and Medicine" 43 (4), p. 530–540 [536] , Johns Hopkins University Press.]

*Cough medicine and syrup: The use of syrups for treating coughs originates from medieval Arabic physicians.

*Drugs, foods, herbs, plants and substances: In antiquity, Dioscorides listed about 500 plants in the 1st century. Muslim botanists, chemists and pharmacists dicovered many more during the Middle Ages. For example, Al-Dinawari described more than 637 plant drugs in the 9th century,citation|last=Fahd|first=Toufic|contribution=Botany and agriculture|pages=815, in Harv|Morelon|Rashed|1996|pp=813-52] and Ibn al-Baitar described at least 1,400 different plants, foods and drugs, 300 of which were his own original discoveries, in the 13th century.Diane Boulanger (2002), "The Islamic Contribution to Science, Mathematics and Technology", "OISE Papers", in "STSE Education", Vol. 3] In total, at least 2,000 medicinal substances were discovered by Muslim botanists, chemists and pharmacists.

*Epilepsy and seizure medications: Abulcasis, in his "Al-Tasrif" (c. 1000), invented medications called "Ghawali" and "Lafayfe" for the treatment of epilepsy and seizure.

*Medicinal-grade alcohol: Produced through distillation. These distillation devices for use in chemistry and medicine were manufactured on a large scale in the 10th century.

*Nasal spray: The first nasal sprays were invented by Abulcasis and described in his "Al-Tasrif" (c. 1000).

*Parasitology: Parasites were first discovered by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), when he discovered the cause of scabies. [ Islamic medicine] , "Hutchinson Encyclopedia"] He recommended specific substances to destroy microbes, and the application of sulfur topically specifically to kill the scabies mite.

*Pharmacopoeia: The first pharmacopoeia books were written by Muslim physicians. [Philip K. Hitti (cf. Dr. Kasem Ajram (1992), "Miracle of Islamic Science", Appendix B, Knowledge House Publishers. ISBN 0911119434)] These included Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine" and other pharmacopoeia books by Abu-Rayhan Biruni in the early 11th century, [Dr. Z. Idrisi, PhD (2005), [ The Muslim Agricultural Revolution and its influence on Europe] , Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization, United Kingdom] Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) in the 12th century (and printed in 1491), [M. Krek (1979), "The Enigma of the First Arabic Book Printed from Movable Type", "Journal of Near Eastern Studies" 38 (3): 203-12] and Ibn al-Baitar in the 14th century.

*Phytotherapy, Taxus baccata, and calcium channel blocker: Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine" introduced the medicinal use of Taxus baccata L. He named this herbal drug as "Zarnab" and used it as a cardiac remedy. This was the first known use of a calcium channel blocker drug, which were not used in the Western world until the 1960s. [Yalcin Tekol (2007), "The medieval physician Avicenna used an herbal calcium channel blocker, Taxus baccata L.", "Phytotherapy Research" 21 (7): 701-2]

*Sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction drugs: Muslim physicians identified the issue of sexual and erectile dysfunction, and they were the first to prescribe medication for the treatment of the problem. They developed several methods of therapy for this issue, including the single drug method where a drug is prescribed, and a "combination method of either a drug or food." These drugs were also occasionally used for recreational drug use to improve male sexuality in general by those who did not suffer from sexual dysfunctions. Most of these drugs were oral medication, though a few patients were also treated through topical and transurethral means. Sexual dysfunctions were being treated with tested drugs in the Islamic world since the 9th century until the 16th century by a number of Muslim physicians and pharmacists, including al-Razi, Thabit bin Qurra, Ibn Al-Jazzar, Avicenna ("The Canon of Medicine"), Averroes, Ibn al-Baitar, and Ibn al-Nafis ("The Comprehensive Book on Medicine"). [A. Al Dayela and N. al-Zuhair (2006), "Single drug therapy in the treatment of male sexual/erectile dysfunction in Islamic medicine", "Urology" 68 (1): 253-4]

*Topical cream: For the relief and treatment of common colds, Abulcasis invented "Muthallaathat", which was prepared from camphor, musk and honey, similar to the modern Vicks Vapour Rub.

urgical instruments

A wide variety of surgical instruments and techniques were invented in the Muslim world, as well as the refinement of earlier instruments and techniques. In particular, over 200 surgical instruments were listed by Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) in the "Al-Tasrif" (1000), many of which were never used before by any previous surgeons. Hamidan, for example, listed at least twenty six innovative surgical instruments that Abulcasis introduced.

*Adhesive bandage and plaster: Introduced by Abulcasis.Patricia Skinner (2001), [ Unani-tibbi] , "Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine"] [Zafarul-Islam Khan, [ At The Threshhold (sic) Of A New Millennium – II] , "The Milli Gazette".]

*Bone saw: Invented by Abulcasis.

*Cancer surgery: Another method for treating cancer first described by Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine" was a surgical treatment. He stated that the excision should be radical and that all diseased tissue should be removed, which included the use of amputation or the removal of veins running in the direction of the tumor. He also recommended the use of cauterization for the area being treated if necessary.

*Cataract extraction, hypodermic needle, injection syringe, and suction: In "circa" 1000, the Muslim ophthalmologist Ammar ibn Ali of Mosul was the first to successfully extract cataracts. He invented a hollow metallic syringe hypodermic needle, which he applied through the sclerotic and successfully extracted the cataracts through suction. [citation|title=Origins of Neuroscience: A History of Explorations Into Brain Function|first=Stanley|last=Finger|year=1994|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=0195146948|page=70]

*Catgut, use of: The use of catgut for internal stitching was introduced by Abulcasis.

*Cotton dressing and bandage: The earliest known use of cotton (derived from the Arabic word "qutn") as a dressing for controlling hemorrhage, was described by Abulcasis.

*Curette, retractor, sound, surgical spoon, surgical hook, and surgical rod: Invented by Abulcasis in his "Al-Tasrif" (1000).Khaled al-Hadidi (1978), "The Role of Muslem Scholars in Oto-rhino-Laryngology", "The Egyptian Journal of O.R.L." 4 (1), p. 1-15. (cf. [ Ear, Nose and Throat Medical Practice in Muslim Heritage] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization.)]

*Fetus extraction: Abulcasis, in his "Al-Tasrif" (1000), first described the surgical procedure of extractiing a dead fetus using forceps. [Ingrid Hehmeyer and Aliya Khan (2007). "Islam's forgotten contributions to medical science", "Canadian Medical Association Journal" 176 (10).]

*General anaesthesia, General anaesthetic, oral anesthesia, inhalational anaesthetic, and narcotic-soaked sponge: Surgeries under inhalant anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges which were placed over the face, were introduced by the Muslim anesthesiologists, Abu al-Qasim and Ibn Zuhr, in Islamic Spain. Sigrid Hunke wrote: "The science of medicine has gained a great and extremely important discovery and that is the use of general anaesthetics for surgical operations, and how unique, efficient, and merciful for those who tried it the Muslim anaesthetic was. It was quite different from the drinks the Indians, Romans and Greeks were forcing their patients to have for relief of pain. There had been some allegations to credit this discovery to an Italian or to an Alexandrian, but the truth is and history proves that, the art of using the anaesthetic sponge is a pure Muslim technique, which was not known before. The sponge used to be dipped and left in a mixture prepared from cannabis, opium, hyoscyamus and a plant called Zoan."Sigrid Hunke (1969), "Allah Sonne Uber Abendland, Unser Arabische Erbe", Second Edition, p. 279-280 (cf. Prof. Dr. M. Taha Jasser, [ Anaesthesia in Islamic medicine and its influence on Western civilization] , Conference on Islamic Medicine)]

*Illustrated surgical : Şerafeddin Sabuncuoğlu's "Cerrahiyyetu'l-Haniyye" ("Imperial Surgery"), produced in the 15th century, was the first surgical atlas. Surgical operations were illustrated for the first time in the "Cerrahiyyetu'l-Haniyye". [G. Bademci (2006), First illustrations of female "Neurosurgeons" in the fifteenth century by Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu, "Neurocirugía" 17: 162-165.]

*Ligature: Introduced by Abulcasis in the "Al-Tasrif", for the blood control of arteries in lieu of cauterization. [Rabie E. Abdel-Halim, Ali S. Altwaijiri, Salah R. Elfaqih, Ahmad H. Mitwall (2003), "Extraction of urinary bladder described" by Abul-Qasim Khalaf Alzahrawi (Albucasis) (325-404 H, 930-1013 AD)", "Saudi Medical Journal" 24 (12): 1283-1291 [1289] .]

*Surgical suture: Abulcasis in his "Al-Tasrif".A. I. Makki. "Needles & Pins", "AlShindagah" 68, January-February 2006.]

*Tracheotomy, correct description of: While tracheostomy may have possibly been portrayed on ancient Egyptian tablets, the first clear and correct description of the tracheotomy operation for suffocating patients was described by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) in the 12th century.Prof. Dr. Mostafa Shehata, "The Ear, Nose and Throat in Islamic Medicine", "Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine", 2003 (1): 2-5 [4] .]

Navigational technology


*Baculus: The baculus, used for nautical astronomy, originates from Islamic Spain and was later used by Portuguese navigators for long-distance travel. [Dr. Salah Zaimeche PhD (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), [ 1000 years of missing Astronomy] , FSTC.]

*Cartographic grids: Invented 10th-century Baghdad.David A. King, "Reflections on some new studies on applied science in Islamic societies (8th-19th centuries)", "Islam & Science", June 2004.]

*Compass dial: In the early 14th century, Ibn al-Shatir invented the compass dial, a timekeeping device incorporating both a universal sundial and a magnetic compass. He invented it for the purpose of finding the times of Salah prayers. [Harv|King|1983|pp=547-548]

*Compass rose: The Arabs invented the 32-point compass rose during the Middle Ages. [G. R. Tibbetts (1973), "Comparisons between Arab and Chinese Navigational Techniques", "Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies" 36 (1), p. 97-108 [105-106] .]

*Dry compass (Mariner's compass): In 1282, the Yemeni sultan Al-Ashraf developed an improved compass for use as a "Qibla indicator" instrument in order to find the direction to Mecca. Al-Ashraf's instrument was one of the earliest dry compasses, and appears to have been invented independantly of Peter Peregrinus. [citation|title=Two Early Arabic Sources On The Magnetic Compass|first=Petra G.|last=Schmidl|journal=Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies|year=1996-1997|volume=1|pages=81-132] The dry compass is commonly known as the "Mariner's compass".

*Navigational astrolabe: Invented in the Islamic world, it employed the use of a polar projection system.Robert Hannah (1997). "The Mapping of the Heavens" by Peter Whitfield", "Imago Mundi" 49, p. 161-162.]

*Orthographical astrolabe: Invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī in the early 11th century. [ Khwarizm] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.]

*Terrestrial globe: See Globes below.


*Caravel: The origins of the caravel ship, used for long distance travel by the Spanish and Portuguese since the 15th century, date back to the "qarib" used by explorers from Islamic Spain in the 13th century.John M. Hobson (2004), "The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation", p. 141, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521547245.]

*Kamal: Arab navigators invented a rudimentary sextant known as a kamal, used for celestial navigation and for measuring the altitudes and latitudes of the stars, in the late 9th century. [Harv|McGrail|2004|pp=85-6] They employed in the Indian Ocean from the 10th century,Harv|McGrail|2004|p=316] They employed it in the Indian Ocean from the 10th century,Harv|McGrail|2004|p=316] and it was adopted by Indian navigators soon after, [citation|title=Cultural Foundations of Mathematics: The Nature of Mathematical Proof and Transmission of the Calculus From India to Europe in the 16th c. CE|last=Raju|first=C. K.|year=2007|isbn=8131708713|pages=240-59|url=|accessdate=2008-09-10] followed by Chinese navigators some time before the 16th century.Harv|McGrail|2004|p=393] The invention of the kamal allowed for the earliest known latitude sailing, and was thus the earliest step towards the use of quantitative methods in navigation.

*Rudder, permanent sternpost-mounted: The Arabs used a sternpost-mounted rudder which differed technically from both its European and Chinese counterparts. On their ships "the rudder is controlled by two lines, each attached to a crosspiece mounted on the rudder head perpendicular to the plane of the rudder blade."Lawrence V. Mott, p.93] The earliest evidence comes from the "Ahsan al-Taqasim fi Marifat al-Aqalim" ('The Best Divisions for the Classification of Regions') written by al-Muqaddasi in 985. [Lawrence V. Mott, p.92f.] According to Lawrence V. Mott, the "idea of attaching the rudder to the sternpost in a relatively permanent fashion, therefore, must have been an Arab invention independent of the Chinese."

*Treasure ship: The treasure ship was a type of large nine-masted wooden vessel commanded by the Chinese Muslim admiral Zheng He on seven voyages in the early 15th century. [ [ "Ancient Chinese Explorers"] , Evan Hadingham, Sultan's Lost Treasures, NOVA, PBS Television] [ "Asia's Undersea Archeology"] , Richard Gould, NOVA, PBS Television article] Zheng He's treasure ships were mammoth ships with nine masts, four decks, and were capable of accommodating more than 500 passengers, as well as a massive amount of cargo. Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta both described multi-masted ships carrying 500 to 1,000 passengers in their translated accounts. ["Science and Civilization in China", Joseph Needham, Volume 4, Section 3, pp.460-470] Niccolò Da Conti, a contemporary of Zheng He, was also an eyewitness of ships in Southeast Asia, describing five-masted junks weighing about 2,000 tons. ["Science and Civilization in China", Joseph Needham, Volume 4, Section 3, p.452]


*Parachute: In 9th century Islamic Spain, Abbas Ibn Firnas (Armen Firnas) invented a primitive version of the parachute.Poore, Daniel. A History of Early Flight. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1952.] Smithsonian Institution. Manned Flight. Pamphlet 1990.] [David W. Tschanz, [ Flights of Fancy on Manmade Wings] , "".] [ [ Parachutes] , "Principles of Aeronautics", Franklin Institute.] John H. Lienhard described it in "The Engines of Our Ingenuity" as follows: "In 852, a new Caliph and a bizarre experiment: A daredevil named Armen Firman decided to fly off a tower in Cordova. He glided back to earth, using a huge winglike cloak to break his fall." [cite episode |title='Abbas Ibn Firnas |credits=John H. Lienhard |series=The Engines of Our Ingenuity |serieslink=The Engines of Our Ingenuity |network=NPR |station=KUHF-FM Houston |airdate=2004 |number=1910 |transcripturl=]

*Controlled flight and hang glider: Abbas Ibn Firnas was the first to make an attempt at controlled flight in 875, as opposed to earlier manned kite flights in ancient China which were not controllable. Ibn Firnas manuipulated the flight controls of his hang glider using two sets of artificial wings to adjust his altitude and to change his direction. He successfully returned to where he had lifted off from, but his landing was unsuccessful.Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", "Technology and Culture" 2 (2), p. 97-111 [100-101] .] [ [ First Flights] , "Saudi Aramco World", January-February 1964, p. 8-9.] According to Philip Hitti in "History of the Arabs": "Ibn Firnas was the first man in history to make a scientific attempt at flying." [Philip Hitti, "History of the Arabs"]

*Artificial wings: Ibn Firnas' hang glider was the first to have artificial wings, though the flight was eventually unsuccessful. According to Evliya Çelebi in the 17th century, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi was the first aviator to have made a successful flight with artificial wings between 1630-1632.Arslan Terzioglu (2007), "The First Attempts of Flight, Automatic Machines, Submarines and Rocket Technology in Turkish History", in "The Turks" (ed. H. C. Guzel), pp. 804-810.]

cientific instruments

Muslim astronomers developed a number of astronomical instruments, including several variations of the astrolabe, originally invented by Hipparchus in the 2nd century BCE, but with considerable improvements made to the device in the Muslim world. These instruments were used by Muslims for a variety of purposes. In the 10th century, Al-Sufi first described over 1,000 different uses of an astrolabe, related to astronomy, astrology, horoscopes, navigation, surveying, timekeeping, Qibla (direction to Mecca), Salah prayers, etc.Dr. Emily Winterburn (National Maritime Museum), [ Using an Astrolabe] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, 2005.]

Analog computers

*Equatorium: Invented by Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel) in Islamic Spain "circa" 1015, it was a mechanical analog computer device for finding the longitudes and positions of the Moon, Sun, and planets, without calculation using a geometrical model to represent the celestial body's mean and anomalistic position.

*Saphaea: The first universal latitude-independent astrolabe, invented by Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel) in 11th century Islamic Spain. Unlike its predecessors, it did not depend on the latitude of the observer, and could be used anywhere on the Earth. [M. T. Houtsma and E. van Donzel (1993), " [ E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam] ", Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004082654]

*Zuraqi: A heliocentric astrolabe where the Earth is in motion rather than the sky, by al-Sijzi in the 11th century. [Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1993), "An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines", p. 135-136. State University of New York Press, ISBN 0791415163.]

*Fixed-wired knowledge processing machine: Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī's hodometer [D. De S. Price (1984). "A History of Calculating Machines", "IEEE Micro" 4 (1), p. 22-52.] was an early example of a fixed-wired knowledge processing machine in the early 11th century.Tuncer Oren (2001). "Advances in Computer and Information Sciences: From Abacus to Holonic Agents", "Turk J Elec Engin" 9 (1), p. 63-70 [64] .]

*Mechanical lunisolar calendar computer: Featured a gear train and gear-wheels, and was invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī.Donald Routledge Hill (1985). "Al-Biruni's mechanical calendar", "Annals of Science" 42, p. 139-163.]

*Mechanical geared astrolabe: Invented by Ibn Samh (c. 1020). [ [ Islam, Knowledge, and Science] , University of Southern California]

*Linear astrolabe ("staff of al-Tusi"): Invented by Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī in the 12th century. [ [ Linear astrolabe] , "Encyclopædia Britannica".]

*Programmable analog computer: The castle clock, an astronomical clock invented by Al-Jazari in 1206, is considered to be the earliest programmable analog computer.citation|title=Ancient Discoveries, Episode 11: Ancient Robots|publisher=History Channel|url=|accessdate=2008-09-06] It displayed the zodiac, the solar and lunar orbits, a crescent moon-shaped pointer travelling across a gateway causing automatic doors to open every hour, [Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction", p. 184, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292781490] Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", "Scientific American", May 1991, pp. 64-9 (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [ Mechanical Engineering] )] and five robotic musicians who play music when moved by levers operated by a camshaft attached to a water wheel. The length of day and night could be re-programmed every day in order to account for the changing lengths of day and night throughout the year.

*Mechanical geared astrolabe with calendar computer: Invented by Abi Bakr of Isfahan in 1235.Silvio A. Bedini, Francis R. Maddison (1966). "Mechanical Universe: The Astrarium of Giovanni de' Dondi", "Transactions of the American Philosophical Society" 56 (5), p. 1-69.]

*Plate of Conjunctions: A computing instrument used to determine the time of day at which planetary conjunctions will occur, [E. S. Kennedy (1947), "Al-Kashi's Plate of Conjunctions", "Isis" 38 (1-2), p. 56-59 [56] .] and for performing linear interpolation, invented by al-Kashi in the 15th century.

*Planetary computer: The Plate of Zones, a mechanical planetary computer which could graphically solve a number of planetary problems, was invented by al-Kashi in the 15th century. It could predict the true positions in longitude of the Sun and Moon,E. S. Kennedy (1950), "A Fifteenth-Century Planetary Computer: al-Kashi's Tabaq al-Manateq I. Motion of the Sun and Moon in Longitude", "Isis" 41 (2), p. 180-183.] and the planets in terms of elliptical orbits; [E. S. Kennedy (1952), "A Fifteenth-Century Planetary Computer: al-Kashi's Tabaq al-Maneteq II: Longitudes, Distances, and Equations of the Planets", "Isis" 43 (1), p. 42-50.] the latitudes of the Sun, Moon, and planets; and the ecliptic of the Sun. The instrument also incorporated an alhidade and ruler. [E. S. Kennedy (1951), "An Islamic Computer for Planetary Latitudes", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 71 (1), p. 13-21.]


Several different types of globes and armillary spheres were invented by medieval Muslim astronomers and engineers:

*Celestial globe: This was used primarily for solving problems in celestial astronomy, and the oldest dates back to the 11th century. The altitude of the Sun and the right ascension and declination of the stars could be calculated with these by inputting the location of the observer on the meridian ring of the globe.

*Portable celestial globe: In the 12th century, Jabir ibn Aflah (Geber) was "the first to design a portable celestial sphere to measure and explain the movements of celestial objects." [cite web|title=An overview of Muslim Astronomers|url=|publisher=FSTC Limited|date=26 December, 2001|accessdate=2008-02-01]

*Spherical astrolabe: First produced in the Islamic world by the 14th century. [Emilie Savage-Smith (1993). "Book Reviews", "Journal of Islamic Studies" 4 (2), pp. 296-9:quote|"There is no evidence for the Hellenistic origin of the spherical astrolabe, but rather evidence so far available suggests that it may have been an early but distinctly Islamic development with no Greek antecedents."]

*Terrestrial globe: The first terrestrial globe of the Old World was constructed in the Muslim world during the Middle Ages, by Muslim geographers and astronomers working under the Abbasid caliph, Al-Ma'mun, in the 9th century. [citation|first=Richard|last=Covington|journal=Saudi Aramco World, May-June 2007|year=2007|pages=17-21|url=|accessdate=2008-07-06]

Laboratory apparatus

*Alembic, still, and retort: Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) invented the alembic in the 8th century. This was the first stillWill Durant (1980). "The Age of Faith (The Story of Civilization, Volume 4)", p. 162-186. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671012002.] with a retort, [ [ Distillation] , "Hutchinson Encyclopedia", 2007.] and the first distillation device to fully purify chemical substances.

*Conical measure: Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī in the 11th century. [Marshall Clagett (1961). "The Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages", p. 64. University of Wisconsin Press.] [M. Rozhanskaya and I. S. Levinova, "Statics", in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|p=639 (cf. [ Khwarizm] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.)]

*Hydrostatic balance and steelyard: Al-Khazini in 1121.Robert E. Hall (1973). "Al-Khazini", "Dictionary of Scientific Biography", Vol. VII, p. 346.]

*Laboratory flask and pycnometer: Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī.

*Refrigerated coil and refrigerated tubing: In the 11th century, Avicenna invented the refrigerated coil, which condenses aromatic vapours. [citation|title=Aromatherapy: A Practical Approach|first=Vicki|last=Pitman|publisher=Nelson Thornes|year=2004|isbn=0748773460|page=xi] [citation|title=The Basics of Chemistry|first=Richard|last=Myers|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2003|isbn=0313316643|page=14] This was a breakthrough in distillation technology and he made use of it in his steam distillation process, which requires refrigerated tubing, to produce essential oils.

*Thermometer and air thermometer: Abū Alī ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) in the 11th century. [Robert Briffault (1938). "The Making of Humanity", p. 191.]

*Tools for drug preparation: Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes) first described the following tools for the preparation of drugs ("li-tadbir al-aqaqir"): cucurbit and still with evacuation tube ("qar aq anbiq dhu-khatm"), receiving matras ("qabila"), blind still (without evacuation tube) ("al-anbiq al-ama"), aludel ("al-uthal"), goblets ("qadah"), flasks ("qarura" or "quwarir"), rosewater flasks ("ma wariyya"), cauldron ("marjal aw tanjir"), earthenware pots varnished on the inside with their lids ("qudur aq tanjir"), water bath or sand bath ("qadr"), oven ("al-tannur" in Arabic, "athanor" in Latin), small cylindirical oven for heating aludel ("mustawqid"), funnels, sieves, and filters.

*Tools for melting substances: Al-Razi (Rhazes), in his "Secretum secretorum" (Latinized title), described the following original tools for melting chemical substances ("li-tadhwib"): crucible ("bawtaqa")Georges C. Anawati, "Arabic alchemy", p. 868, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=853-902] and kilns with superimposed crucibles known as "but bar but" (crucible on crucible) in Arabic and "botus barbatus" in Latin. [citation|title=The Age of Achievement: Vol 4|last=M. S. Asimov|first=Clifford Edmund Bosworth|publisher=Motilal Banarsidass|year=1999|isbn=8120815963|page=228]

Mural instruments

*Quadrant and mural instrument: Invented by Al-Khwarizmi in 9th century Baghdad, Iraq.David A. King, "Islamic Astronomy", in Christopher Walker (1999), ed., "Astronomy before the telescope", p. 167-168. British Museum Press. ISBN 0-7141-2733-7.]

*Almucantar quadrant: Invented in the medieval Islamic world. It employed the use of trigonometry. The term "almucantar" is itself derived from Arabic. [Elly Dekker (1995), "An unrecorded medieval astrolabe quadrant from c. 1300", "Annals of Science" 52 (1), p. 1-47 [6] .]

*Horary quadrant: For specific latitudes, by al-Khwarizmi in 9th century Baghdad.

*Sine quadrant: For astronomical calculations, by al-Khwarizmi in 9th century Baghdad.

*Quadrans Vetus: Meaning "Old Quadrant", this was a universal horary quadrant which could be used for any latitude and at any time of the year to determine the time, as well as the times of Salah, invented by al-Khwarizmi in 9th century Baghdad. This was the second most widely used astronomical instrument during the Middle Ages after the astrolabe. One of its main purposes in the Islamic world was to determine the times of Salah prayers.David A. King (2002). "A Vetustissimus Arabic Text on the Quadrans Vetus", "Journal for the History of Astronomy" 33, p. 237-255 [237-238] .]

*Quadrans Novus: An astrolabic quadrant invented in Egypt in the 11th century or 12th century, and later known in Europe as the "Quadrans Novus" (New Quadrant). [Roberto Moreno, Koenraad Van Cleempoel, David King (2002). "A Recently Discovered Sixteenth-Century Spanish Astrolabe", "Annals of Science" 59 (4), p. 331-362 [333] .]

*Sextant (astronomical): The first sextant was constructed in Ray, Iran, by Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi in 994. It was a very large sextant that achieved a high level of accuracy for astronomical measurements, which he described his in his treatise, "On the obliquity of the ecliptic and the latitudes of the cities". [MacTutor|id=Al-Khujandi|title=Abu Mahmud Hamid ibn al-Khidr Al-Khujandi] In the 15th century, Ulugh Beg constructed the "Fakhri Sextant", which had a radius of approximately 36 meters. Constructed in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the arc was finely constructed with a staircase on either side to provide access for the assistants who performed the measurements.

Optical instruments

In ancient times, Euclid and Ptolemy believed that the eyes emitted rays which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that rays of light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), who is regarded as the "father of optics". [R. L. Verma (1969). "Al-Hazen: father of modern optics".] He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one, with his development of the scientific method.

*Observation tube: The "observation tube" (without lens) was invented by al-Battani (Albatenius) (853-929) and first described by al-Biruni (973-1048). These observation tubes were later adopted in Europe, where they influenced the development of the telescope. [Regis Morelon, "General Survey of Arabic Astronomy", pp. 9-10, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=1-19]

*Modern optics: Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), with his "Book of Optics" (1021), refuted the emission theory of vision, and correctly explained and proved the modern intromission theory of vision, through extensive experimentation. He thus initiated a revolution in opticscitation|last1=Sabra|first1=A. I.|author1-link=A. I. Sabra|last2=Hogendijk|first2=J. P.|year=2003|title=The Enterprise of Science in Islam: New Perspectives|pages=85–118|publisher=MIT Press|isbn=0262194821] and visual perception,Citation |last=Hatfield |first=Gary |contribution=Was the Scientific Revolution Really a Revolution in Science? |editor1-last=Ragep |editor1-first=F. J. |editor2-last=Ragep |editor2-first=Sally P. |editor3-last=Livesey |editor3-first=Steven John |year=1996 |title=Tradition, Transmission, Transformation: Proceedings of Two Conferences on Pre-modern Science held at the University of Oklahoma |page=500 |publisher=Brill Publishers |isbn=9004091262] for which he is regarded as the "father of modern optics". [R. L. Verma (1969), "Al-Hazen: father of modern optics"]

*Camera obscura: Ibn al-Haytham worked out that the smaller the hole, the better the picture, and set up the first camera obscura, a precursor to the modern camera.

*Pinhole camera: Ibn al-Haytham first described pinhole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters.

*Magnifying glass: The earliest evidence of "a magnifying device, a convex lens forming a magnified image," dates back the "Book of Optics" published by Ibn al-Haytham in 1021. The Latin translation of his work was instrumental to the later inventions of eyeglasses, [citation|last1=Kriss|first1=Timothy C.|last2=Kriss|first2=Vesna Martich|title=History of the Operating Microscope: From Magnifying Glass to Microneurosurgery|journal=Neurosurgery|volume=42|issue=4|pages=899-907|date=April 1998] the telescope, [O. S. Marshall (1950). "Alhazen and the Telescope", Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets 6, p. 4] and the microscope. [Richard Powers (University of Illinois), Best Idea; Eyes Wide OpenNew York Times, April 18, 1999.]

Other instruments

*Alidade: Invented in the Islamic world. The term "alidade" is itself derived from Arabic word "al-idhâdah" "ruler".

*Astrolabic clock: Ibn al-Shatir in the early 14th century. [David A. King (1983). "The Astronomy of the Mamluks", "Isis" 74 (4), p. 531-555 [545-546] .]

*Astrometric devices: Produced in Islamic Spain around 1015.

*Astronomical compass: The first astronomical uses of the magnetic compass is found in a treatise on astronomical instruments written by the Yemeni sultan al-Ashraf in 1282. This was the first reference to the compass in astronomical literature. [Emilie Savage-Smith (1988), "Gleanings from an Arabist's Workshop: Current Trends in the Study of Medieval Islamic Science and Medicine", "Isis" 79 (2): 246-266 [263] .]

*Compendium instrument: A multi-purpose astronomical instrument, first constructed by the Muslim astronomer Ibn al-Shatir in the 13th century. His compendium featured an alhidade and polar sundial among other things. Al-Wafa'i developed another compendium in the 15th century which he called the "equatorial circle", which also featured a horizontal sundial. These compendia later became popular in Renaissance Europe.citation|first=David A.|last=King|contribution=Astronomy and Islamic society|pages=163-8, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|pp=128-184]

*Shadow square: An instrument used to determine the linear height of an object, in conjunction with the alidade for angular observations, invented by Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī in 9th-century Baghdad. [David A. King (2002). "A Vetustissimus Arabic Text on the Quadrans Vetus", "Journal for the History of Astronomy" 33, p. 237-255 [238-239] .]

Timekeeping devices

Astronomical clocks

Muslim astronomers and engineers constructed a variety of highly accurate astronomical clocks for use in their observatories.Dr. Kasem Ajram (1992). "Miracle of Islamic Science", Appendix B. Knowledge House Publishers. ISBN 0911119434.]

*Timekeeping astrolabe: In the 10th century, al-Sufi described over 1,000 different uses of an astrolabe, including timekeeping, particularly for the times of Salah prayers and Ramadan.Dr. Emily Winterburn (National Maritime Museum), [ Using an Astrolabe] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, 2005.]

*Geared mechanical lunisolar calendar computer: Featured a gear train and gear-wheels, and was invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī in the 11th century.

*Geared mechanical astrolabe: Featured a calendar computer and gear-wheels, and was invented by Abi Bakr of Isfahan in 1235.

*Quadrans Vetus: A universal horary quadrant which could be used for any latitude and at any time of the year to determine the time, as well as the times of Salah, invented by Al-Khwarizmi in 9th century Baghdad. This was the second most widely used astronomical instrument during the Middle Ages after the astrolabe.

*Monumental water-powered astronomical clocks: Al-Jazari invented monumental water powered astronomical clocks which displayed moving models of the Sun, Moon, and stars. His largest astronomical clock displayed the zodiac and the solar and lunar orbits. Another innovative feature of the clock was a pointer which travelled across the top of a gateway and caused automatic doors to open every hour.Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", "Scientific American", May 1991, p. 64-69. (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [ Mechanical Engineering] )]

*Programmable castle clock: See Analog computers above.

Clocks with gears and escapements

*Geared clock: The first geared clock was invented by the 11th-century Arab engineer Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi in Islamic Iberia; it was a water clock that employed both segmental and epicyclic gearing.Ahmad Y Hassan, [ Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part II: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"] Other monumental water clocks constructed by medieval Muslim engineers also employed complex gear trains and arrays of automata. The first European clock to employ these complex gears was the astronomical clock created by Giovanni de Dondi in "circa" 1365.

*Weight-driven mercury clock: A mercury clock, employing a mercury escapement mechanism and a clock face similar to an astrolabe dial, was described in a Spanish language work for Alfonso X in 1277, compiled from earlier Arabic sources that likely date back to the 11th century. The Jewish author of the relevant section, Rabbi Isaac, constructed the mercury clock using principles described by a philosopher named "Iran", identified with Heron of Alexandria (fl. 1st century AD), on how heavy objects may be lifted. [citation|last=Mills|first=A. A.|year=1988|title=The mercury clock of the Libros del Saber|journal=Annals of Science|volume=45|issue=4|pages=329-344 [332] ] Knowledge of the mercury clock was later transmitted to other parts of Europe through translations.

*Weight-driven water clock: Arab engineers invented weight-driven water clocks, where heavy floats were used as weights and a constant-head system was used as an escapement mechanism,Hassan, Ahmad Y, [ Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part II: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering] , "History of Science and Technology in Islam"] which was present in in the hydraulic controls they used to make heavy floats descend at a slow and steady rate.Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", p. 794, in Harv|Rashed|Morelon|1996|p=751-95]

*Weight-driven water-powered scribe clock: In 1206, Al-Jazari invented some of the earliest weight-driven water clocks, including the water-powered scribe clock. This water-powered portable clock was a meter high and half a meter wide. The scribe with his pen was synonymous to the hour hand of a modern clock. This is an example of an ingenious water system by al-Jazari.Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times", Routledge, p.224.] [Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (ed. 1974) "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices", Translated and annotated by Donald Routledge Hill, Dordrecht / D. Reidel, part II.] Al-Jazari's famous water-powered scribe clock was reconstructed successfully at the Science Museum (London) in 1976.


*Universal sundial: A universal sundial for all latitudes, used for timekeeping and for the determination of the times of Salah, was produced in 9th-century Baghdad. [David A. King, "Islamic Astronomy", p. 168-169.]

*Navicula de Venetiis: A universal horary dial used for accurate timekeeping by the Sun and Stars, and could be observed from any latitude, invented in 9th century Baghdad. [David A. King (December 2003). "14th-Century England or 9th-Century Baghdad? New Insights on the Elusive Astronomical Instrument Called Navicula de Venetiis", "Centaurus" 45 (1-4), p. 204-226.] This was later considered the most sophisticated timekeeping instrument of the Renaissance.

*Polar-axis sundial: The ancient sundials were nodus-based with straight hour-lines, they indicated unequal hours—also called temporary hours—that varied with the seasons, since every day was divided into twelve equal segments; thus, hours were shorter in winter and longer in summer. The idea of using hours of equal time length throughout the year was the innovation of Ibn al-Shatir in 1371, based on earlier developments in trigonometry by Muhammad ibn Jābir al-Harrānī al-Battānī (Albategni). Ibn al-Shatir was aware that "using a gnomon that is parallel to the Earth's axis will produce sundials whose hour lines indicate equal hours on any day of the year." His sundial is the oldest polar-axis sundial still in existence. The concept later appeared in Western sundials from at least 1446. [cite web|title=History of the sundial|url=|publisher=National Maritime Museum|accessdate=2008-07-02] [citation|title=The Sundial And Geometry|first=Lawrence|last=Jones|journal=North American Sundial Society|volume=12|issue=4|date=December 2005]

*Compass dial: A timekeeping device incorporating both a universal polar-axis sundial and a magnetic compass, invented by Ibn al-Shatir in the 14th century. [David A. King (1983). "The Astronomy of the Mamluks", Isis" 74 (4), p. 531-555 [547-548] .]

Water clocks

*Geared water clock: See Clocks with gears and escapements above.

*Elephant clock: The elephant clock described by al-Jazari in 1206 is notable for several innovations. It was the first clock in which an automaton reacted after certain intervals of time, which in this case was a humanoid robot in the form of a mahout striking a cymbal and a mechanical bird chirping like a cuckoo clock; the first mechanism to employ a flow regulator; and the earliest example of a closed-loop system in a mechanism. [ [ The Machines of Al-Jazari and Taqi Al-Din] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization.] The float regulator employed in the clock later had an important influence during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, when it was employed in the boiler of a steam engine and in domestic water systems.

*Programmable castle clock: See Analog computers above.

*Weight-driven water clock: See Clocks with gears and escapements above.

*Weight-driven water-powered scribe clock: See Clocks with gears and escapements above.

Other inventions

Fielding H. Garrison wrote in the "History of Medicine":

Other inventions from the Islamic world include:

*Airmail system utilizing homing pigeons by the Fatimid Caliph Aziz, and advances in music theory (see Arabic music) and irrigation techniques (see Muslim Agricultural Revolution).Professor Salim T. S. Al-Hassani (2006). "1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World". FSTC. ISBN 0955242606.] [ Where the heart is] , "1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World", 2006.] [Laura Shannon (2006). [ 1001 Inventions At Museum Of Science And Industry Manchester] .]

*Cryptanalysis and frequency analysis: In cryptology, the first known recorded explanation of cryptanalysis was given by 9th-century Arabian polymath, Al-Kindi (also known as "Alkindus" in Europe), in "A Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages". This treatise includes the first description of the method of frequency analysis. [Ibrahim A. Al-Kadi (April 1992), "The origins of cryptology: The Arab contributions”, "Cryptologia" 16 (2): 97–126] It has been suggested that close textual study of the Qur'an first brought to light that Arabic has a characteristic letter frequency. Its use spread, and similar systems were widely used in European states by the time of the Renaissance.

*Experimental psychology: Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) is considered to be the founder of experimental psychology,Harv|Khaleefa|1999] for his experimental approach to the psychology of visual perception and optical illusions.Harv|Steffens|2006, Chapter 5]

*Fireproof paper, glow-in-the-dark ink, rust-free iron, and waterproof textile: According to Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, "In response to Jafar al-Sadik's wishes, [Jabir ibn Hayyan] invented a kind of paper that resisted fire, and an ink that could be read at night. He invented an additive which, when applied to an iron surface, inhabited rust and when applied to a textile, would make it water repellent." [Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi (1986), "The Cultural Atlas of Islam", p. 328, New York]

*Fustian: The original medieval fustian was a stout but respectable cloth with a cotton weft and a linen warp, derived from "El-Fustat", the name of a suburb of Cairo where this cloth was originally manufactured. [OED|fustian] [Donald King in: Jonathan Alexander & Paul Binski (eds), "Age of Chivalry, Art in Plantagenet England, 1200-1400", p.157, Royal Academy/Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London 1987]

*Graph paper, and orthogonal and regular grids: The first known use of graph paper dates back to the medieval Islamic world, where weavers often carefully drew and encoded their patterns onto graph paper prior to weaving. [David J Roxburgh (2000), "Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World", p. 21, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004116699.] Islamic quadrants used for various astronomical and timekeeping purposes from the 10th century also introduced markings with orthogonal and regular grids that are still identical to modern graph paper. [Josef W. Meri (2006), "Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia", p. 75, Taylor and Francis, ISBN 0415966914.] [David A. King (1999), "World-maps for Finding the Direction and Distance to Mecca: Innovation and Tradition in Islamic Science", p. 17, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004113673.]

*Persian carpet and cheque systemPaul Vallely, [ How Islamic Inventors Changed the World] , "The Independent", 11 March 2006.]

*Scientific method, experimental science, and experimental physics: The scientific method was pioneered by the Muslim scientist and physicist, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), who emphasized the role of experimentation and mathematics in obtaining the results in his "Book of Optics" (1021). [Rosanna Gorini (2003), "Al-Haytham the Man of Experience, First Steps in the Science of Vision", "International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine", Institute of Neurosciences, Laboratory of Psychobiology and Psychopharmacology, Rome, Italy: quote|"According to the majority of the historians Ibn al-Haytham was the pioneer of the modern scientific method. With his book he changed the meaning of the term optics and established experiments as the norm of proof in the field. His investigations are based not on abstract theories, but on experimental evidences and his experiments were systematic and repeatable."] Due to his formulation of a modern quantitative, empirical and experimental approach to physics and science, he is also considered the pioneer of experimental science [Harv|Omar|1977] and experimental physics, [Rüdiger Thiele (2005), "In Memoriam: Matthias Schramm", "Arabic Sciences and Philosophy" 15: 329–31, Cambridge University Press] and some have described him as the "first scientist" for these reasons. [Harv|Steffens|2006]

Musical instruments

*Albogue, Alboka, Hornpipe, Clarinet, and single-reed instrument: The earliest known hornpipes, clarinets and single-reed instruments were the albogue and alboka, both derived from the "al-bûq" (البوق) (literally "the trumpet" or "the horn") used in medieval Arabic music and Islamic music. The instrument was brought into Iberia by the Arab conquest.

*Guitar, Lute, and Oud: The modern guitar ("qitar" in Arabic) is descended from the four-string oud brought by the Moors after the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the 8th century, and which evolved into the modern lute. [Summerfield, Maurice J. (2003). "The Classical Guitar, It's Evolution, Players and Personalities since 1800" (5th ed.) Blaydon on Tyne: Ashley Mark Publishing. ISBN 1-872-63946-1.] The four-string guitar introduced by the Moors had eventually evolved into two types in Spain: the " _la. guitarra morisca" (Moorish guitar) which had a rounded back, wide fingerboard and several soundholes, and then by 1200, the " _la. guitarra latina" (Latin guitar) which resembled the modern guitar with one soundhole and a narrower neck. [ [A Look At The History Of The Guitar] ]

*Hurdy gurdy and stringed keyboard instrument: The earliest stringed instrument with a musical keyboard, an ancestor of the piano, was the hurdy gurdy, but its origins are uncertain. According to a theory proposed by Marianne Bröcker, an instrument similar to the hurdy gurdy is first mentioned in an Arabic musical compendium written by Al Zirikli in the 10th century.citation|first=Anthony|last=Baines|title=Reviewed work(s): "Die Drehleier, ihr Bau und ihre Geschichte" by Marianne Bröcker|journal=The Galpin Society Journal|volume=29|date=May 1976|pages=140-141 [140] ]

*Long-distance organ: A long-distance hydraulic organ that could be heard from sixty miles away was first described in the medieval Arabic treatise "Sirr al-asrar" and later translated into Latin by Roger Bacon in the 13th century. [citation|first=George|last=Sarton|title=Reviewed work(s): "The Organ of the Ancients" by Henry George Farmer|journal=Isis|volume=17|issue=1|year=1932|pages=278-282 [281] ]

*Mechanical musical instrument and automatic hydraulic organ: The Banū Mūsā brothers invented "the earliest known mechanical musical instrument", in this case a hydropowered organ which played interchangeable cylinders automatically. According to Charles B. Fowler, this "cylinder with raised pins on the surface remained the basic device to produce and reproduce music mechanically until the second half of the nineteenth century." [citation|title=The Museum of Music: A History of Mechanical Instruments|first=Charles B.|last=Fowler|journal=Music Educators Journal|volume=54|issue=2|date=October 1967|pages=45-49]

*Programmable automatic flute player: The Banū Mūsā invented an automatic flute player which appears to have been the first programmable machine, and which they described in their "Book of Ingenious Devices".

*Timpani, Naker, and Naqareh: The modern timpani (kettle drum) evolved from the naker, the direct ancestor of most timpani, were were derived from the Arabic naqareh and brought to 13th century Continental Europe by Saracens and Crusaders.cite web |url= |title=Timpani Construction paper |accessdate= 2008-02-18 |last=Bridge |first=Robert |format=PDF ]

*Violin, Rebec, and Rebab: The modern violin evolved from various bowed stringed instruments which were brought from the Middle East during the Middle Ages. [cite web |url=,1,4,20 |title=The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z] The first violins were largely derived from the rebec, which was in use since the 10th century, [cite web |last=Arkenberg|first=Rebecca |title=Renaissance Violins | month=October | year=2002 |url= |accessdate=2006-09-22] and was derived from the rebab which originated in medieval Arabic music and Islamic music.Harvard reference|last=Farmer|first=Henry George|author-link=Henry George Farmer|year=1988|title=Historical facts for the Arabian Musical Influence|publisher=Ayer Publishing|isbn=040508496X|page=137]

ee also

* Inventions in the modern Islamic world
* Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe
* Islamic Golden Age
* Muslim Agricultural Revolution
* Science in medieval Islam
* Timeline of Islamic science and engineering
* Timeline of invention



* Harvard reference
first=Monica M.
title=The Influence of the Islamic Law of Waqf on the Development of the Trust in England: The Case of Merton College
journal=University of Pennsylvania Law Review
date=April 1988

*Harvard reference
title=Equity and Trusts
publisher=Cavendish Publishing

*Harvard reference
first=Edward S.
title=Review: "The Observatory in Islam and Its Place in the General History of the Observatory" by Aydin Sayili

title=Who Is the Founder of Psychophysics and Experimental Psychology?
journal=American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

title=Boats of the World
publisher=Oxford University Press

* Mott, Lawrence V. (May 1991), [ "The Development of the Rudder, A.D. 100-1337: A Technological Tale", Thesis] , Texas A&M University
first=Saleh Beshara
title=Ibn al-Haytham's Optics: A Study of the Origins of Experimental Science
publisher=Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica

*Harvard reference
title=Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science

title=Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist
publisher=Morgan Reynolds Publishing

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