Islamic History Month

Unfortunately, I found out about this late, however I wanted to share this site.  Canada declared October Islamic History Month, and the site has some great statistics and pages.  Some of my favorite excerpts are:

The Top 20: How Islamic inventors changed the world

“The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions.”

“The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters.”

“A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn’t. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing – concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.”

“By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km – less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.”

1001 Muslim Inventions.. 

Be sure to check this site out. 🙂

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One Comment

  1. I am glad to see you are bringing attention to Ibn al-Haytham’s contributions. I am the author of book Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist, the world’s first biography of the eleventh-century Muslim scholar known in the West as Alhazen or Alhacen. He not only contributed to the field of optics, but also was the first person to insist on systematically testing hypotheses with experiments, earning himself a place in history as the first scientist.

    Reply

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