Top Stories

10/10/2019 - 8:16pm

New Building Methods that Exalted the Heavens: Sinan the Architect designed and built impressive schools, mosques, and public buildings, approaching his work with an eye for harmony between architecture and the landscape. His work appeared in Damascus, Mecca, Bosnia, and elsewhere, but perhaps his most impressive building is his last, the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey.

09/10/2019 - 3:20pm

Muslims also devised star maps and astronomical tables, and both of these would be used in Europe and the Far East for centuries. Maps of the heavens also appeared in art, such as on the dome of a bathhouse at Qusayr ’Amra, a Jordanian palace built in the eighth century, which has a unique hemispherical celestial map. 

08/10/2019 - 7:31am

In 1651, Joannes Baptista Riccioli, a Jesuit professor of astronomy and philosophy in Bologna, Italy, compiled a comprehensive work on astronomy, called Almagestum Novum, with a complete map of the Moon. He named the lunar formations after distinguished astronomers of the Middle Ages. Ten were given the names of Muslim astronomers and mathematicians...

07/10/2019 - 11:50am

To avoid vital secrets falling into the wrong hands, messages are scrambled (encrypted) so that only someone with the right code can unscramble them. A famous case of encryption was during World War II when the Germans used a typewriter-like machine, called Enigma, to encrypt military messages before playing them on the radio...

06/10/2019 - 8:53am

A time when Muslim merchants could travel virtually unobstructed from Morocco to Southeast Asia, and navigators from Ming China could boast of enormous naval expeditions reaching as far west as Hormuz, Aden, and Mombasa, Western Europeans remained almost totally confined, both physically and intellectually, to a small slice of the world...

05/10/2019 - 10:54am

Since the Quran said every able-bodied person should make a pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, thousands travelled from the farthest reaches of the Islamic empire to Mecca, beginning in the seventh century. As they travelled, they made descriptions of the lands that they passed through. Some of the most famous include...

04/10/2019 - 10:33am

As the Muslim lands grew, merchants, scholars, and travellers came across exotic plants, trees, seeds, and spices previously unknown to them. They collected and brought back a huge number of samples of raw ingredients, along with knowledge and information about their use, combing the world and its harshest of environments, going as far afield as the steppes of Asia and the Pyrenees...

03/10/2019 - 10:42am

The Anatolian Ottoman Turks knew about methods of inoculation. They called it Ashi, or engrafting, and they had inherited it from older Turkish tribes. Vaccination is a process where a person is given a weakened or inactive dose of a disease-causing organism. This stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to this specific disease.

02/10/2019 - 10:45am

The idea behind hospitals in the Muslim world a thousand years ago was to provide a range of facilities from treatments to convalescence, asylum, and retirement homes. They looked after all kinds of people, rich and poor, because Muslims are honour-bound to provide treatment for the sick, whoever they may be.

30/09/2019 - 4:07pm

This alphabet lists just some of the words that have come from sources in Muslim civilization and have passed into the English language with their original meaning intact. It is only a small selection...

28/09/2019 - 1:22pm
Muslims were urged throughout the Quran to seek knowledge. This was a great incentive for reflection and understanding. This Quranic urge meant that all over the Muslim world, advanced subjects were taught in mosques, schools, colleges, hospitals, observatories, and the homes of scholars.
27/09/2019 - 1:20pm

Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Shakir and his brothers Ahmed and Al-Hasan were known as the Banu Musa Brothers. They were part of the House of Wisdom of Baghdad in the ninth century. As well as being great mathematicians and translators of scientific treatises, they also invented many trick devices. Their Book of Ingenious Devices lists more than a hundred of them.

13/09/2019 - 8:33pm

Some people unaware of what Muslims accomplished believe that astronomy died with the Greeks, and was brought to life again by Nicolas Copernicus, the 15th-century Polish astronomer who is famous for introducing the sun-centered theory of the solar system, which marked the beginning of modern astronomy—even though it was not universally accepted.

13/09/2019 - 9:17am

In 1929, scholars working in Turkey’s Topkapi Palace Museum discovered a section of an early 16th-century Turkish world map. It was signed by a captain named Piri ibn Hajji Mohammed Reis (meaning “admiral”), and it was dated 1513. Now known as the famous “Map of America,” it was made only 21 years after Christopher Columbus had reached the New World...

12/09/2019 - 8:44pm

A thousand years ago, accurate plans of countries, continents, and waterways were unknown. But as more people began to travel the world for trade, exploration, and religious reasons, the demand for good maps increased. Some of the world’s most precious maps were drawn by great scholars of Muslim civilization, who assembled all the geographical knowledge available to them...

12/09/2019 - 4:51pm

From Córdoba to Damascus and Baghdad, old streets still remain intact in some ancient towns, providing glimpses of life 1,000 years ago. The Spanish cities of Córdoba and Seville still retain areas of their old towns in which you can glimpse how life was lived centuries ago under Muslim rule...

12/09/2019 - 1:39pm

Ibn Sina wrote and taught widely on medicine, philosophy, and natural sciences. In the Canon, Ibn Sina collected together medical knowledge from across civilizations. Made up of five volumes, the book covered medical principles, medicines, diseases of various body parts, general disease, and traumas.

11/09/2019 - 12:38pm

A thousand years ago, geographer Al-Istakhri wrote of seeing windmills used to provide power, running mills that were built everywhere. Unlike the traditional European design, Central Asian windmills had vertical shafts onto which vertical vanes were mounted to catch the wind...

11/09/2019 - 12:29pm

In early 12th-century Muslim Spain, a gifted philosopher, mathematician, poet, and medical doctor was born. Ibn Tufayl, or Abu Bakr ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tufayl al-Qaysi, to give his full name, became known in the West as Abubacer...

09/09/2019 - 8:26pm

From rose water to hair dye, soap to paint, early chemists worked to create a panoply of useful substances. As early as the middle of the ninth century, experimenters in Muslim civilisation were aware of the processes of crystallisation, oxidation, evaporation, sublimation, and filtration. To make their experiments more accurate...