RebuttalsRebuttals: General

Inventions in the modern Islamic world



This is a list of inventions that were developed in the modern Islamic world, a geopolitical region that extends from Africa and the Balkans in the west to the Indian subcontinent and Malay Archipelago in the east.[1]

The inventions listed here were developed after the Islamic Golden Age, which is usually dated between the 8th and 15th centuries. For earlier inventions developed during the Islamic Golden Age, see Inventions in the medieval Islamic world.


See also: Islamic architecture

[4][5] Bridge Pavilion, constructed byIraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

[6][7] The earliest high-rise tower houses, and high-rise mudbrickapartment buildings and tower blocks, built in Shibam during the 16th century.

[8][9] John Hancock Center, constructed by Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Khan. It introduced the trussed tube and X-bracingstructures and was the first building with a sky lobby.

Structural systems

[10][11] Sears Tower, constructed by Fazlur Khan. It introduced the bundled tube structure and was the world’s tallest building at the time of its completion in 1973.

  • Framed tube: Since 1963, a new structural system of framed tubes appeared in skyscraper design and construction. The Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Khan defined the framed tube structure as “a three dimensional space structure composed of three, four, or possibly more frames, braced frames, or shear walls, joined at or near their edges to form a vertical tube-like structural system capable of resisting lateral forces in any direction by cantilevering from the foundation.”[13] Closely spaced interconnected exterior columns form the tube. Horizontal loads, for example wind, are supported by the structure as a whole. About half the exterior surface is available for windows. Framed tubes allow fewer interior columns, and so create more usable floor space. Where larger openings like garage doors are required, the tube frame must be interrupted, with transfer girders used to maintain structural integrity. The first building to apply the tube-frame construction was in the DeWitt-Chestnut apartment building which he designed and was completed in Chicago in 1963. It introduced the framed tube structure later used in the construction of the World Trade Center.[14][15]
  • Trussed tube and X-bracing: Another innovation in skyscraper design and construction developed by Fazlur Khan were the concepts of the trussed tube and X-bracing. This reduced the lateral load on the building by transferring the load into the exterior columns. This allows for a reduced need for interior columns thus creating more floor space. This concept was introduced by the John Hancock Center.[14][9] In contrast to earlier steel-frame structures, such as the Empire State Building (1931) and Chase Manhattan Bank Building (1961) which both required around 275 kilograms of steel per square metre, the John Hancock Centre was far more efficient, requiring only 145 kilograms of steel per square metre.[15] The trussed tube concept was applied to many later skyscrapers, including the Onterie Center, Citigroup Center and Bank of China Tower.
  • Bundled tube: One of Fazlur Khan‘s most important variations of the tube structure concept was the bundled tube, which he used for the Sears Tower and One Magnificent Mile. The bundle tube design was not only the most efficient in economic terms, but it was also “innovative in its potential for versatile formulation of architectural space. Efficient towers no longer had to be box-like; the tube-units could take on various shapes and could be bundled together in different sorts of groupings.”[9][16]


See also: Islamic art


See also: Islamic literature and Arabic literature

  • Epic science fiction and epic space opera: These genres of science fiction largely originated from the 1965 novel Dune, which was greatly inspired by Arabic literature and Islamic literature, particularly Islamic eschatology and prophecies related to the Mahdi.[1][2][3] Dune has been widely influential, inspiring other novels, music, films (including Star Wars), television, games, comic books and t-shirts.[4][5]
  • Inspirational fiction: The Lebanese Arabic poet Kahlil Gibran gained significant popularity in the Western world with his 1923 English-language prose poetry work, The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. The book sold well despite a cool critical reception, gaining popularity in the 1930s and again especially in the 1960s counterculture.[6][7] Its popularity grew markedly during the 1960s with the American counterculture and then with the flowering of the New Age movements. It has remained popular with these and with the wider population to this day. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages,[8] it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.[7] Gibran inspired a range of Western artists, ranging from Elvis Presley [12] to John Lennon.[9] In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero.[6]


See also: Islamic music and Arabic music

  • Blues, Adhan, Nasheed, Jazz: Blues music has its origins in the Islamic call to prayer, the Adhan, which in turn was first recited out loud by the prophet Muhammad‘s Afro-Arab follower, Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, in the 7th century. The Adhan itself gave rise to the Nasheed tradition of Islamic music. As Islam spread peacefully to West Africa from the 8th to 11th centuries, the Adhan and Nasheed traditions gave rise to the West African work song tradition. In turn, West African Muslim slaves taken to North America brought over their Islamic work song tradition and evolved it into blues music by the late 19th century. Some of the early blues songs, such as “Levee Camp Holler” in the early 20th century, have been noted for having a striking resemblance to the Adhan. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] Blues and Arabic music in turn influenced jazz music. [18]
  • Jungle, ragga jungle, dancehall jungle, drum & bass: UK Apachi (Abdul Wahab Lafta) was one of the founders of these genres of electronic dance music, with his hit track “Original Nutta” in 1994. [19]
  • Electronic music and electroacoustic tape music: The spread of tape recorders eventually led to the development of electroacoustic tape music. The first known example was composed in 1944 by Halim El-Dabh, a student at Cairo, Egypt.[10] He recorded the sounds of an ancient zaar ceremony using a cumbersome wire recorder and at the Middle East Radio studios processed the material using reverberation, echo, voltage controls, and re-recording. The resulting work was entitled The Expression of Zaar and it was presented in 1944 at an art gallery event in Cairo. While his initial experiments in tape based composition were not widely known outside of Egypt at the time, El-Dabh is also notable for his later work in electronic music at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in the late 1950s.[11] Later in 1958, Columbia-Princeton developed the RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer, the first programmable synthesizer.[12] Halim El-Dabh used the RCA Synthesizer extensively in various compositions.[13] El-Dabh was one of the most influential composers associated with the early years of the studio.[14] After having developed the earliest known electronic tape music in 1944,[10] he became more famous for Leiyla and the Poet, a 1959 series of electronic compositions that stood out for its immersion and seamless fusion of electronic and folk music, in contrast to the more mathematical approach used by serial composers of the time such as Babbitt. El-Dabh’s Leiyla and the Poet, released as part of the album Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1961, would be cited as a strong influence by a number of musicians, ranging from Neil Rolnick, Charles Amirkhanian and Alice Shields to rock musicians Frank Zappa and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.[15]
  • Electro and electro-funk: An important precursor to the electro genre, laying the foundations for its sound, was the Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) track “Was Dog a Doughnut” in 1977.[16] Later in 1983, Hashim created the influential electro funk tune “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)” which became Cutting Record’s first release in November 1983.[17] Hashim became a major influence on the emerging electro and hip hop genres.[18] “Al-Nafyish” was later included in Playgroup‘s compilation album Kings of Electro (2007), as one of the most influential electro tracks.[19]
  • Garage rock and punk rock: Garage rock [20] and punk rock [21] are largely derived from the surf rock genre pioneered by Dick Dale, who in turn was inspired by the Arabic music of his Lebanese uncle.
  • Geometric musical notation: In 1252, Safi al-Din developed a unique form of musical notation, where rhythm were represented by geometric representation. A similar geometric representation would not appear in the Western world until 1987, when Kjell Gustafson published a method to represent a rhythm as a two-dimensional graph.[22]
  • Heavy metal: Dale is often cr ed as one of the first electric guitarists to employ fast scales in his playing.[23] The “breakneck speed of Dick Dale‘s single-note staccato picking technique” (inspired by Arabic music) as well as his showmanship with the guitar is considered a precursor to heavy metal music, influencing guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.[24] Dick Dale is thus sometimes referred to as the “father of heavy metal.” [20]
  • Hip hop musichip hop culture, rapping: Hip hop and rapping largely originated with African American Muslims in the 1960’s. In the early 1960’s, the boxer Muhammad Ali was famous for using early forms of rapping in his speeches, inspiring a generation of African Americans. Later in 1969, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin founded the first hip hop group, The Last Poets, rapping over drum beats and other instrumentation, pioneering hip hop music. Their lyrics, largely inspired by Islam, was also very political, laying the foundations for the hip hop counter-culture. Critic Jason Ankeny wrote: “With their politically charged raps, taut rhythms, and dedication to raising African-American consciousness, the Last Poets almost single-handedly laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip-hop.”[25]
  • Light harp: A variation of the laser harp, this is an electronic musical instrument that plays music without any physical contact, or without even any lasers showing, but the music is played by the musician moving their arms or legs through the air above certain areas of the device. It was invented by martial artistist and musician, Assaf Gurner, who publically presented his invention in 1993. It was also the basis for the Sega Activator, the first full-body motion controller for video games.[26][27]
  • Marching band and military band: See Military below.
  • New jack swing: Syrian-Jamaican musician Kurtis Mantronik, leader of the band Mantronix, laid the foundations for the new jack swing music genre in the mid-1980s.[28] New jack swing gained considerable mainstream popularity during the late 1980s to early 1990s, inspiring a wide range of popular musicians, ranging from Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson to Madonna and Whitney Houston.
  • Solfège musical notation: Western Solfège musical notation is considered to have had Arabic origins. The Solfège syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti) is believed to have been derived from the syllables of the Arabic solmization system Durr-i-Mufassal (“Separated Pearls”) (dal, ra, mim, fa, sad, lam). This connection was first proposed by Meninski in his Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum (1680) and then by Laborde in his Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne (1780), and later brought to light again by musical scholars such as Henry George Farmer[29] and Samuel D. Miller.[30]
  • Surf rock: Surf rock was pioneered in the early 1960’s by Dick Dale (Richard Anthony Monsour), a Lebanese American guitarist. His signature guitar technique that gave rise to surf rock was the rapid alternating picking technique, which was based on the Arabic music [31] he learnt from his Lebanese uncle.[23] According to Dale, “My uncle taught me how to play the tarabaki, and I watched him play the oud. We used to play at the Maharjan” (an annual Lebanese festival in Greater Boston) “while relatives belly-danced.” His early tarabaki drumming would later have a major influence on his guitar playing, particularly his rapid alternating picking technique. According to Dale, “It’s the pulsation,” stating that whether he is playing the guitar, trumpet, or piano, “they all have that drumming beat I learned by playing the tarabaki.”[31] His most famous song is “Misirlou” (1962), a surf rock version of an early 20th century traditional Arabic-Greek-Turkish song. [21]
  • Synthpop: The Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) album Izitso, released in April 1977, updated his  pop rock style with the extensive use of synthesizers,[32] giving it a more synthpop style;[33] “Was Dog a Doughnut” in particular was an early techno-pop fusion track,[16] which made early use of a music sequencer.[34]

Electronics and Computing

  • DCT: Discrete cosine transform (DCT) was invented by Indian researcher Nasir Ahmed in 1974.[35][36] DCT has become the most widely used compression algorithm in modern computing, and is the basis for nearly all modern image formats (such as JPEG), video formats (as MPEG and AVC) and audio formats (such as MP3 and AAC).
  • Electric double-layer supercapacitor and rapid battery charger: In 2013, the 18 year-old female scientist Eesha Khare inventor a batter charger that could fully charge a battery within twenty seconds, sparking the interest of technology companies such as Google. This was made possible with her invention of a new electric double-layer supercapacitor that could charge batteries significantly faster than conventional chargers. [22]
  • Lithium-ion battery: Moroccan Muslim scientist Rachid Yazami demonstrated the reversible electrochemical intercalation of lithium in graphite.[37][38] The organic electrolytes available at the time would decompose during charging with a graphite negative electrode, slowing the development of a rechargeable lithium/graphite battery. Yazami used a solid electrolyte to demonstrate that lithium could be reversibly intercalated in graphite through an electrochemical mechanism. As of 2011, the graphite electrode discovered by Yazami is the most commonly used electrode in commercial lithium ion batteries.
  • MOSFET and MOS transistor: The MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) was invented by Egyptian engineer Mohamed Atalla in 1959. It is one of the most important modern inventions, as it became the basis for nearly all modern electronics, such as computers, semiconductors, integrated circuits, microprocessors, memory chips, etc.[39] The MOSFET is the most widely manufactured device in history, with 13 sextillion MOS transistors manufactured worldwide.[40]
  • PC virus: The Brain boot sector virus was released in January 1986. Brain was the first PC virus, and the program responsible for the first PC virus epidemic. The virus is also known as Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, and Pakistani flu, as it was created in Lahore, Pakistan by 19 year-old Pakistani programmer, Basit Farooq Alvi, and his brother, Amjad Farooq Alvi.[41] They included their names, phone number and address in the code.[42][43]
  • Tablet phone: The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which combines a smartphone with a tablet computer, was developed by Samsung‘s chief technology officer Omar Khan and released in 2010. [23]

Online computing

Real-time 3D graphics

  • Arcade quality GPU: VideoLogic (now Imagination Technologies), founded by Iranian computer engineer Hossein Yassaie, released the PowerVR graphics accelerator card in 1996. It was the first graphics accelerator card to introduce near arcade-quality 3D graphics to a home system, demonstrated by a port of arcade game Rave Racer (1995) in early 1996, though this port was later cancelled. Yassaie’s VideoLogic later developed the PowerVR2 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) chipset for Sega‘s Dreamcast console, released in 1998. It was the first GPU chipset that was capable of producing true arcade quality 3D graphics on a home system, with the Sega Naomi arcade system also using the same PowerVR2 graphics chipset.
  • Cel-shaded graphics: Fear Effect (2000), programmed by Mohammad Asaduzzaman, is often considered to be the first video game to feature real-time, cel-shaded 3D graphics.
  • Hidden surface removal: The PowerVR2 graphics chipset from VideoLogic (founded by Hossein Yassaie), for the Sega Dreamcast in 1998, introduced the 3D graphical technique of hidden surface removal.
  • Mobile GPU: In 2001, Imagination Technologies (formerly VideoLogic), led by Hossein Yassaie, introduced the mobile GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), PowerVR MBX. The PowerVR line of mobile GPU chipsets would later be used to provide the 3D graphics for most of the popular mobile phones, including the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy brands, from the late 2000’s through to the present day. In 2012, Hossein Yassaie received a knighthood for his services to technology and innovation. [24]
  • Photorealistic 3D graphicsCrytek, founded by the Turkish Yerli brothers, broke new ground in terms of graphics, with the games Far Cry (2004) and Crysis (2007), with the latter in particular introducing photorealism to real-time 3D graphics.[45][46] Crytek remain the world-leaders in photorealistic real-time 3D graphics.



[25][26]The Doosra bowling technique incricket was developed by Sarfraz Nawaz in the late 1970s.

Video games

  • 3D platformer and endless running game: In 1987, while working at Japanese company Squaresoft, Iranian programmer Nasir Gebelli first programmed the game Tobidase Daisakusen for the Famicom Disk System (with Famicom 3D System), which released in the U.S. as 3-D WorldRunner for the NES. It was released in early 1987.[47][48] 3-D WorldRunner was an early forward-scrolling pseudo-3D third-person platform-action game where players were free to move in any forward-scrolling direction and had to leap over obstacles and chasms. It was also notable for being one of the first stereoscopic 3-D games.[48] This also paved the way for later “endless running” mobile games such as Temple Run (2011).
  • 3D racing game: Nasir Gebelli‘s second Squaresoft project was Rad Racer, an early stereoscopic 3D racing game also designed for the Famicom 3D System in 1987.[49]
  • Activity-based progressionNasir Gebelli went on to program Final Fantasy II, released in 1988. It replaced traditional levels and experience points with a new activity-based progression system that required “gradual development of individual statistics through continuous actions of the same kind,”[50] a mechanic that has been used in a number of later RPG’s, such as the SaGa[51] and Grandia[52] series, Final Fantasy XIV,[53] and The Elder Scrolls series.
  • Customizable real-time AI: Secret of Mana (1993), programmed by Nasir Gebelli, introduced customizable AI settings for computer-controlled allies,[54] to real-time action role-playing games.
  • First-person shooter: In 1982, Nasir Gebelli released the Apple II game Horizon V, which was an early example of a first-person shooter for a home system.[55] That same year, he released the Apple II game Zenith, a similar first-person shooter with the addition of allowing the player’s ship to be rotated.[56] John Romero, the creator of the landmark first-person shooters Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and Doom (1993), cr ed Gebelli as a major influence on his career as a game designer.[57]
  • Job system: Nasir Gebelli programmed Final Fantasy III, released in 1990, which introduced the classic job system, a character progression engine allowing the player to change the character class, as well as acquire new and advanced classes and combine class abilities, during the course of the game.[58][59]
  • Keyword-based RPG dialogue systemFinal Fantasy II, programmed by Nasir Gebelli, introduced an innovative dialogue system where keywords or phrases can be memorized and mentioned during conversations with non-player character.[60]
  • Full-body motion control: The Sega Activator, based on the Light Harp invented by Assaf Gurner,[61] was released for the Mega Drive (Genesis) in 1993. It could read the player’s physical movements and was the first controller to allow full-body motion sensing. However, it was a commercial failure due to its “unwieldiness and inaccuracy”.[27]
  • Open-world first-person shooterCrytek, founded by Turkish brothers Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli, broke new ground in terms of large, open-ended level design, with the games Far Cry (2004) and Crysis (2007), introducing true open-world environments to the first-person shooter genre.[45][46]
  • Side-view RPG battle: Nasir Gebelli teamed up with Hironobu Sakaguchi as part of Squaresoft’s A-Team to produce Final Fantasy, the first entry in the popular Final Fantasy series. A role-playing game (RPG) released for the NES in 1987, it introduced side-view battles, with the player character on the right and the enemies on the left, which soon became the norm for numerous console RPG’s.[62]
  • Sim racing: Simulation racing is generally acknowledged to have taken off in 1989 with the introduction of Papyrus Design Group‘s Indianapolis 500: The Simulation, designed by Omar Khudari on 16-bit computer hardware. The game is often generally regarded as the personal computer’s first true auto racing simulation. Unlike most other racing games at the time, Indianapolis 500 attempted to simulate realistic physics and telemetry, such as its portrayal of the relationship between the four contact patches and the pavement, as well as the loss of grip when making a high-speed turn, forcing the player to adopt a proper racing line and believable throttle-to-brake interaction. It also featured a garage facility to allow players to enact modifications to their vehicle, including adjustments to the tires, shocks and wings.[63]

Cuisine / Food / Drink

[27][28]Chicken tikka masala originated from Bangladeshi chefs.

  • Chicken tikka masala: A widely reported explanation of the origins of this curry dish is that it was conceived by Bangladeshi[20][21] chefs at a restaurant in Glasgow during the late 1960s, when a customer, who found the traditional chicken tikka too dry, asked for some gravy.[22] The chef thus improvised a sauce from tomato soup, yogurt and spices, and served what would later be known as the chicken tikka masala.[20]
  • Coffeehouse / Cafe: The Ottoman chronicler İbrahim Peçevi reports in his writings (1642–49) about the opening of the first coffeehouse in Istanbul: “Until the year 962 [1555], in the High, God-Guarded city of Constantinople, as well as in Ottoman lands generally, coffee and coffee-houses did not exist. About that year, a fellow called Hakam from Aleppo and a wag called Shams from Damascus came to the city; they each opened a large shop in the district called Tahtakale, and began to purvey coffee.[64] Various legends involving the introduction of coffee to Istanbul at a “Kiva Han” in the late 15th century circulate in culinary tradition, but with no documentation. In 1530, the first coffee house was opened in Damascus,[65] and not long after there were many coffee houses in Cairo. The 17th century French traveler Jean Chardin gave a lively description of the Persian coffeehouse scene: “People engage in conversation, for it is there that news is communicated and where those interested in politics criticize the government in all freedom and without being fearful, since the government does not heed what the people say. Innocent games… resembling checkers, hopscotch, and chess, are played. In addition, mollas, dervishes, and poets take turns telling stories in verse or in prose. The narrations by the mollas and the dervishes are moral lessons, like our sermons, but it is not considered scandalous not to pay attention to them. No one is forced to give up his game or his conversation because of it. A molla will stand up in the middle, or at one end of the qahveh-khaneh, and begin to preach in a loud voice, or a dervish enters all of a sudden, and chastises the assembled on the vanity of the world and its material goods. It often happens that two or three people talk at the same time, one on one side, the other on the opposite, and sometimes one will be a preacher and the other a storyteller.[66]
  • Döner kebab, Cağ kebab, and İskender kebap: The original form of today’s döner kebab is Cağ kebab. The original form is grilled horizontally and the slices are cut thicker, after inserting a special L-shaped Oltu shish along the surface. In the 19th century, the modern form of döner kebab was invented in Bursa, Turkey. This original dish, known as İskender kebap, is still served in many cities of Turkey.
  • Ice cream cone: The first edible conical shaped cones for serving ice cream were created at the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904 by immigrants from the Islamic world. The cones were initially made from Zalabia, a sweet popular across the Islamic world. The first of these immigrants to serve ice cream cones included Abe Doumar, Ernest Hamwi, and Nick Kabbaz, all from Syria, and David Avayou from Turkey.[67][68][69] [29] [30]


  • Shampoo: The earliest documented evidence of shampoo dates back to the Bengali Muslim entrepeneur Sake Dean Mahomet. He opened a shampooing bath known as ‘Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths’ in Brighton, England, in 1759. His baths were like Turkish baths where clients received an Indian treatment of champi (shampooing) or therapeutic massage. His service was appreciated; he received the high accolade of being appointed ‘Shampooing Surgeon’ to both George IV and William IV.[23]


  • Cartographic Qibla indicators: These were brass instruments with Mecca-centred world maps and cartographic grids engraved on them. They were invented in 17th-century Iran.[24]
  • Cartographic Qibla indicator with sundial and compass: This was a Qibla instrument with a sundial and compass attached to it,[25] and was invented by Muhammad Husayn in the 17th century.[26]

[31][32]In the 1570s, Taqi al-Din invented a framed sextant similar to whatTycho Brahe later used as shown in the picture.

  • Framed sextant: At the Istanbul observatory of al-Din between 1577 and 1580, Taqi al-Din invented the mushabbaha bi’l manattiq, a framed sextant with cords for the determination of the equinoxes similar to what Tycho Brahe later used.[27]
  • Telescope and long-distance magnifying device: A long-distance magnifying device was invented by Taqi al-Din, as described in his Book of the Light of the Pupil of Vision and the Light of the Truth of the Sights around 1574. He describes it as an instrument that makes objects located far away appear closer to the observer, and that the instrument helps to see distant objects in detail by bringing them very close. He states that he wrote another earlier treatise explaining the way this instrument is made and used, suggesting that he invented it some time before 1574. This device is considered to be a rudimentary telescope.[70]
  • Seamless globe and celestial globe: Considered one of the most remarkable feats in metallurgy, they were invented in Kashmir by Ali Kashmiri ibn Luqman in 998 AH (1589-90 CE), and twenty other such globes were later produced in Lahore and Kashmir during the Mughal Empire. Before they were rediscovered in the 1980s, it was believed by modern metallurgists to be technically impossible to produce metal globes without anyseams, even with modern technology. These Mughal metallurgists pioneered the method of lost-wax casting while producing these seamless globes.[29]

Mechanical technology

Steam-powered technology

[33][34]The smoke jack, the earliest impulse steam turbine, was invented by Taqi al-Din in 1551.

  • Steam engine, steam turbine, impulse steam turbine: In 1551, Taqi al-Din invented the first impulse steam turbine and described the first practical applications for it as a prime mover for rotating a spit, predating Giovanni Branca‘s later impulse steam turbine from 1629. Al-Din described his invention in his book, Al-Turuq al-saniyya fi al-alat al-ruhaniyya (The Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines), completed in 1551 AD (959 AH).[34]
  • Steam-powered spit, self-rotating spit, smoke jack: In 1551, the Egyptian engineer Taqi al-Din described the first practical steam turbine as a prime mover for the first steam-powered and self-rotating spit and smoke jack.[34]

Water-powered technology

Mechanical clocks

[35][36]The first user adjusted mechanical alarm clock and spring-driven astronomical clock was invented by Taqi al-Din in the 16th century.

  • Alarm clock, mechanical alarm clock, astronomical clock with alarm: The first user adjusted mechanical alarm clock was described in 1559 by Taqi al-Din, who developed a mechanical astronomical clock employing an alarm arrangement, which was capable of sounding at a specified time, achieved by means of placing a peg on the dial wheel to when one wants the alarm heard and by producing an automated ringing device at the specified time. He described it in his book, The Brightest Stars for the Construction of Mechanical Clocks (Al-Kawākib al-durriyya fī wadh’ al-bankāmat al-dawriyya), published that year.[71]
  • Spring-powered astronomical clock: In The Brightest Stars for the Construction of Mechanical Clocks, Taqi al-Din invented the first astronomical clock to be powered by springs. This was also one of the first spring-powered mechanical clocks in general, developed around the same time as Peter Henlein in 1556.[72]
  • Pocket watch, spring-powered watch, watch measured in minutes: Taqi al-Din also developed one of the first spring-powered pocket watches,[73] shortly after the first such watch was developed by Peter Henlein in 1524. Taqi al-Din’s watch, however, was the first to measure time in minutes, by having three dials for the hours, degrees and minutes.[72]

[37][38]In the 16th century, Taqi al-Dininvented a mechanical “observational clock” with threedials that measure the time in hours, minutes and seconds.

  • Observational clock, three-dial clock, clock measured in seconds: Taqi al-Din invented the “observational clock”, which he described as “a mechanical clock with three dials which show the hours, the minutes, and the seconds.” This was the first clock to measure time in seconds, and was used for astronomical purposes, specifically for measuring the right ascension of the stars. This is considered one of the most important innovations in 16th century practical astronomy, as previous clocks were not accurate enough to be used for astronomical purposes.[74] At the Istanbul observatory of Taqi al-Din, he further improved his observational clock, using only one dial to represent the hours, minutes and seconds, describing it as “a mechanical clock with a dial showing the hours, minutes and seconds and we divided every minute into five seconds.”[75]

Contemporary technology

  • 5V lithium battery: Since its introduction by Sony in 1991, the lithium battery has been restricted to the cell potential of 3.6 – 3.8 V (commercially called 4 V lithium batteries) due to the limitation of Li anode potential. Construction of 5 V lithium batteries could yield higher power density batteries, and thus smaller devices. In 2004, Eftekhari fabricated an all-solid state lithium battery with 5 V potential.[30]
  • Cycle-powered horse clipper: Invented by Indian barber Mohammad Idris and popularized by 2009 Bollywood film 3 Idiots.[76]
  • Electrochemical nanotechnology and carbon nanotube mass-production: See Physical sciences below.
  • Gas laser: Invented in 1960 by the Iranian physicist Ali Javan.
  • Hydrogen-powered three-wheeled automobile: The Z.CAR, the first hydrogen-powered three-wheeled automobile, was developed by the Iraqi engineer Zaha Hadid.
  • Infrared laser cane walking stick: In 2010, three Palestinian schoolgirls, 14 year-old Asil Abu Lil and her two classmates, invented a walking cane that utilizes infrared technology to alert blind people of obstacles and drop-offs. The girls were among the finalists in a prestigious science fair in California. [39]
  • Non-glaring headlamp: This is a headlamp with a continuous long-distance illumination without glaring effects. It was invented in Turkey by Prof. Dr. Turhan Alçelik, and won the silver medal at the IENA Invention Fair at Nuremberg,[31] and the technical jury’s first prize at the 34th International Exhibition Of Invention, New Techniques And Products, at Geneva,[32] in 2006.
  • Scooter-powered flour mill: Invented by Indian painter Jahangir Painter and popularized by 2009 Bollywood film 3 Idiots.[76]
  • Vertically rising ladder: This was invented in Turkey by Murat Nural and won the gold medal at the IENA Invention Fair at Nuremberg in 2007. It was designed to climb high points and facilitate suspending there. The user who inserts his/her feet on the movable climbers moves his/her feet backward and forward and climbs upward on the steps. When the user wants to suspend, he/she fixes the climber on the step. The same procedure is followed reversely while getting down. Thanks to its movable legs, it will be possible to work on it for long time without getting tired, and allows easy operation on rough grounds. It also offers the opportunity to use both hands while on the ladder and easy operation on narrow points. It is also easy to keep and transport thanks to its small body, and there is no need for someone else to hold the ladders while one climbs on higher points on the ladder. It will be easy to carry the materials thanks to its hanger, and due to the fact that its legs on the ground are parallel to the ground it is not buried into the ground, so that it can be used to pick fruits up in the gardens. It also helps the operator to work against the wall when he/she wants to hang something on the wall, and it enables easy operation at angular spaces since the legs on the ground can be curved.[35]


[40][41]Tipu Sultan invented the firstiron-cased and metalcylinder rocket artillery in Mysore, India, alongside his father Hyder Ali, in the 1780s.

  • Iron-cased and metalcylinder rocket artillery: The first iron-cased and metal-cylinder rocket artillery were developed by Tipu Sultan, a Muslim ruler of the South Indian of Mysore Kingdom of Mysore, and his father Hyder Ali, in the 1780s. He successfully used these metal-cylinder rockets against the larger forces of the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. The Mysore rockets of this period were much more advanced than what the British had seen, chiefly because of the use of iron tubes for holding the propellant; this enabled higher thrust and longer range for the missile (up to 2 km range). After Tipu’s eventual defeat in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War and the capture of the Mysore iron rockets, they were influential in British rocket development, inspiring the Congreve rocket, which was soon put into use in the Napoleonic Wars.[42] According to Stephen Oliver Fought and John F. Guilmartin, Jr. in Encyclopedia Britannica (2008): “Hyder Ali, prince of Mysore, developed war rockets with an important change: the use of metal cylinders to contain the combustion powder. Although the hammered soft iron he used was crude, the bursting strength of the container of black powder was much higher than the earlier paper construction. Thus a greater internal pressure was possible, with a resultant greater thrust of the propulsive jet. The rocket body was lashed with leather thongs to a long bamboo stick. Range was perhaps up to three-quarters of a mile (more than a kilometre). Although individually these rockets were not accurate, dispersion error became less important when large numbers were fired rapidly in mass attacks. They were particularly effective against cavalry and were hurled into the air, after lighting, or skimmed along the hard dry ground. Hyder Ali’s son, Tippu Sultan, continued to develop and expand the use of rocket weapons, reportedly increasing the number of rocket troops from 1,200 to a corps of 5,000. In battles at Seringapatam in 1792 and 1799 these rockets were used with considerable effect against the British.”[43]
  • Marching band and military band: The marching band and military band both have their origins in the Ottoman military band, performed by theJanissary since the 16th century.[44]

Navigational technology

Water transport

  • Submarine: On October 1, 1720, the Ottoman dockyard architect Ibrahim Efendi invented a submarine called the tahtelbahir. The Ottoman writer Seyyid Vehbi, in his Surname-i-Humayun, compared this submarine to an alligator. He recorded that during the circumcision ceremony for Sultan Ahmed III‘s sons, “the alligator-like submarine slowly emerged on the water and moved slowly to the sultan, and after staying on the sea for half an hour, submerged in the sea again to the great surprise of the public; then emerged one hour later, with five people walking outside the mouth of this alligator-like submarine, with trays of rice and zerde (a dish of sweetened rice) on their heads.” He explained the technical information concerning the submarine “submerging in the sea and the crew being able to breath through pipes while under the sea”.[50]
  • Volitan: This is the first fully sustainable boat. It was invented in Turkey by Dr. Hakan Gürsu and Sözüm Doğan at the DesignNobis Studio, and won the best nautical/boat award and best transportation vehicle award at the International Design Awards in 2007. It is equipped with double layer solar cell panels, and uses both wind power and solar energy. It has a very light weight, stiff structure, its shell is made of carbon fiber and epoxy resin, and it has an ultraviolet resistant coating. It is also connected to a twin 220 HP/DC electric motor which has two suspended wings to help manoeuvre the ship, and in addition, a hydraulic/servo system located in the wings activates the Volitan’s unique performance sail system.[51]

[42][43]Sail plan for a polaccaxebec, first built by the Barbary pirates around the 16th century.

  • Xebec and Polacca: The xebec and polacre sailing ships used around the M erranean Sea from the 16th to the 19th centuries originated from the Barbary pirates, who successfully used them for naval warfare against European ships at the time. A combination of the fore and aft sails andaerodynamics, along with the improved square sail on the Polacca, allowed these ships to sail much closer to the wind than European and American ships. An expert on the Barbary pirates said that their ships had guns at the bow and stern. “They would approach, pounding away, and it took too long for our square riggers to bring the broadside guns around. The Arabs had oars and a sail arrangement that meant they were able to turn more quickly and could flee closer to the wind than we could chase them.”[52]

Aviation and Flight

  • Artificial wings: Abbas Ibn Firnashang glider in 875 was the first to have artificial wings, though the flight was eventually unsuccessful. According to Evliya Çelebi in the early 17th century, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi was the first aviator to have made a successful flight with artificial wings between 1630-1632.[77]
  • Artificially-powered aircraftmanned rocket, rocket flight, parachute, jet engine: According to Evliya Çelebi in the early 17th century, Lagari Hasan Çelebi launched himself in the air in a seven-winged rocket, which was composed of a large cage with a conical top filled with gunpowder. He launched himself in a rocket from Sarayburnu, the point below Topkapı Palace. The flight was accomplished as a part of celebrations performed for the birth of Ottoman Emperor Murad IV’s daughter in 1633. Lagari proclaimed before launch that he would “speak with Jesus in the heavens”. Evliya reported that Lagari made a soft landing in the Bosporus by using the wings attached to his body as a parachute after the gunpowder was consumed, foreshadowing the sea-landing methods of astronauts with parachutes after their voyages into outer space. Lagari’s flight was estimated to have lasted about twenty seconds and the maximum height reached was around 300 metres (980 ft). This was the first known example of a manned rocket and an artificially-powered aircraft.[77][78] He was rewarded by the Sultan with gold and the rank of sipahi.[79]

Astronautics and Spaceflight

[44][45]Kerim Kerimov, a founder of theSoviet space program, was a lead architect behind the first satelliteand human spaceflight, and launched the first space docks andspace stations, in the 20th century.


See also: Islamic philosophy and Islamic psychology


See also: Islamic science and technology

[47][48]Behçet’s disease, strongly associated with HLA-B51, was discovered by Hulusi Behçet in 1924.

Biomedical sciences

See also: Islamic medicine

[52][53]Compounds from the Neem tree were first extracted bySalimuzzaman Siddiqui in the 20th century.

  • Extraction of compounds from Neem and Rauwolfia: See Physical sciences below.
  • Fibromyalgia treatment, serotonergic and norepinephric drugs, and neurohormonal mechanisms with central sensitization: In 1981, Dr. Muhammad B. Yunus, published the “first controlled study of the clinical characteristics” of the fibromyalgia syndrome, for which he is regarded as “the father of our modern view of fibromyalgia.”[59] His work was the “first controlled clinical study” of fibromyalgia “with validation of knownsymptoms and tender points” and he also proposed “the first data-based criteria.” In 1984, he proposed the important concept that the fibromyalgia syndrome and other similar conditions are interconnected. He showed serotonergic and norepinephric drugs to be effective in 1986, published criteria for fibromyalgia in 1990 and developed neurohormonal mechanisms with central sensitization in the 1990s.[60]
  • Glycosylated hemoglobin, discovery of: Iranian scientist Samuel Rahbar was a pioneer in hematology and the understanding of diabetes. In 1969, he discovered glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), a form of hemoglobin used primarily to identify plasma glucose concentration over time. He was also the first to describe its increase in diabetes.[61]
  • Graft rejection and transplant rejection: Discovered by Lebanese biologist and Nobel Prize winner Peter Medawar in the mid-20th century.
  • HIV and AIDS treatment: In virology, Yemeni scientist Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani is involved in finding a treatment for HIV and AIDS using unorthodox methods inspired by the Qur’an and Hadiths.[62] In 2007, he claimed to have found a remedy for HIV and AIDS and cited the Hadiths as his inspiration.[63] He gave a speech praising the quality of scientific and medical research carried out at Iman University, claiming that they had successfully treated many cases of AIDS. In twenty cases, al-Zandani said that the virus had vanished completely without any side effects and called on the UN, which “spends enormous amounts of money to fight the disease,” to send “its senior scientists to review [the university’s] findings.” No study of these claims have been done since 2005 when initially announced and according to doctors in Saudi Arabia, a patients who was told of being viral-free tested positive for HIV.
  • Immune tolerance and acquired immune tolerance: Discovered by Lebanese biologist and Nobel Prize winner Peter Medawar in the mid-20th century.
  • Medical technology: Iranian physician and engineer Toffy Musivand invented a variety of medical technology, including the artificial cardiac pump as treatment for heart failure, “remote power transfer for implantable medical devices, remote patient monitoring (telemedicine), biofluid dynamics to reduce/eliminate thrombosis in blood conducting devices, patient care simulation centre, detection devices and methods for detection, in situ sterilization, medical devices (failure analysis and regulatory process), andmedical sensors.”[64]
  • MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus, discovery of: The first confirmed cases were reported in an Amman, Jordan hospital among health care workers and nursing staff in April 2012, where the cases were determined to be H2H transmission. Later a 60-year-old male patient with acute pneumonia and acute renal failure, who passed away in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 24 June 2012.[80] Egyptian virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from the man’s lungs.[81][82][83] Dr. Zaki then posted his findings on 24 September 2012 on ProMED-mail.[82][84][84]
  • Neuro-Behcet’s disease, discovery of: In 1991, Saudi medical researchers discovered “neuro-Behcet’s disease”,[65] a neurological involvement in Behcet’s disease, considered one of the most devastating manifestations of the disease.[66] In 1989, Saudi neurologists also discovered “neurobrucellosis”, a neurological involvement in brucellosis.[65]
  • Organ transplantation: Modern organ transplants Peter Medawar was awarded his Nobel Prize in 1960 for his work in tissue grafting which is the basis of organ transplants, and his discovery of acquired immunological tolerance. This work was used in dealing with skin grafts required after burns. Medawar’s work resulted in a shift of emphasis in the science of immunology from one that attempts to deal with the fully developed immunity mechanism to one that attempts to alter the immunity mechanism itself, as in the attempt to suppress the body’s rejection of organ transplants.
  • Parthenogenesis in sharks, discovery of: In October 2008, Mahmoud Shivji discovered the possibility of parthenogenesis in a female shark and proved it through genetic evidence. He “made the groundbreaking scientific discovery confirming — for the first time ever — a virgin birth in a female shark”, and proved “through DNA testing that the offspring of a femaleblacktip shark named “Tidbit” contained no genetic material from a father.”[67][68]
  • Plastic biofuel: In 2012, 16 year-old Egyptian female inventor Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad discovered how to recycle plastic as biofuel. [54]
  • Quantum evolution: Iraqi physicist Jim Al-Khalili subsequently published their own theory in 1999 [85] in which they proposed a mechanism based on enhanced decoherence of quantum states that interact strongly with the environment. McFadden published his book Quantum Evolution in 2000.[86]

Formal sciences

See also: Islamic logic and Islamic mathematics

  • Fractal geometry in textual analysis: In 2006, the Iranian scientist Ali Eftekhari was the first to utilize fractal geometry in the analysis of texts. In a seminal paper, he applied the concept of fractal geometry for analysis of William Shakespeare‘s works. He found that fractality of literature is a measurable factor. For the case of Shakespeare’s works, the fractality can be categorized according to some factor like the manuscript length, the type of writing (e.g. tragedy, comedy, etc). This theory was demonstrated by comparing the results with similar statistical methods. This finding can provide a new opportunity for the mathematical analysis of literature. He also found that, like fractal dimension, it is possible to calculate Zipfdimension, which is a useful parameter in the analysis of texts.[69]

[55][56]Lotfi Asker Zadeh, founder offuzzy mathematics, fuzzy logic andfuzzy set theory.

Physical sciences

See also: Alchemy and chemistry in medieval Islam and Islamic physics

  • Accurate earthquake prediction method: In 2002, the Azerbaijani scientist Kerim Kerimov Mammadhan patented a new method for accurately forecasting earthquakes four to twelve hours before the process begins.[73][74]
  • Afshar experiment: An optical experiment, devised and carried out by Shahriar Afshar in 2004, which investigates the principle of complementarity in quantum mechanics.[87]
  • Electrochemical nanotechnology and carbon nanotube mass-production: In electrochemistry, the Iranian scientist Ali Eftekhari is regarded as a founder of electrochemical nanotechnology,[75] particularly for developing a method for the mass production of carbon nanotubes.[76][77] They were previously grown using a ceramic catalyst support. There are manufacturing and waste disposal problems associated with acid treatment to remove the ceramic-based catalyst support like MgO, SiO2, alumina, etc. Eftekhari developed a method for the mass production of carbon nanotubes. Tused water-soluble catalyst support to replace common ceramic-based catalyst supports. By this action, it is possible to avoid acid treatment and reach a production yield of about 3,000%. Another advantage of this novel method could be to control the shape of the carbon nanotubes by varying the catalyst support mixture.
  • Electrochemical reaction: This concept was developed by Ali Eftekhari, who showed that processes can be considered as fractals in 2006. In this theory it is possible to calculate fractal dimension for any process. Practically, he proposed a feasible technique for the estimation of the fractal dimension of electrochemical reactions. This mathematical factor can be used for the improvement of electrochemical reactions, e.g. in fuel cells.[78]
  • Electroweak interaction: In 1979, the Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work on the electroweak interaction theory, which is the mathematical and conceptual synthesis of the electromagnetic and weak interactions, and is now a mainstream unified field theory. He showed how the weak nuclear force and quantum electrodynamics could be merged into a single electroweak force. The electroweak interactions he proposed form the basis of the Standard Model in particle physics.
  • Electroweak symmetry breaking: Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg were the first to apply the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking.
  • Extraction of compounds from Neem and Rauwolfia: In the 20th century, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was a leading Pakistani scientist in natural products chemistry. He is the pioneer in extracting chemical compunds from the Neem and Rauwolfia, and is also known for isolating novel chemical compunds from various other flora in the Indian subcontinent. As the director of H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, he carried out extensive research with a team of scientists on pharmacology of various plants to extract a number of chemical substances of medicinal importance.[79]
  • Femtochemistry: The Egyptian chemist Ahmed Zewail is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering the field of femtochemistry. Zewail’s technique uses flashes of laser light that last for a few femtoseconds. Femtochemistry is the area of physical chemistry that addresses the short time period in which chemical reactions take place and investigates why some reactions occur but not others. Zewail’s picture-taking technique made these investigations possible.
  • Fractal electrochemistry: In 2006, Ali Eftekhari carried out scientific research on the field of fractal geometry and applied it to different aspects of science, thus pioneering the concept of fractal electrochemistry. In a series of papers, he adapted the basic ideas for fractal analysis of electrochemical systems.[80][81][82][83][84] Based on novel approaches and correction of common mistakes in fractal analysis of electrode surfaces, he adopted a new application of fractal geometry in the realm of electrochemistry and for study of electrode surface fractality.

[57][58]Cumrun Vafa, the 2008 Dirac Prize recipient, pioneered the F-theory, Vafa-Witten theorem andtopological string theory, and discovered the microscopic origin ofblack hole entropy.

Social sciences

See also: Islamic sociology and Islamic economics in the world

[59][60]Mahbub ul Haq developed theHuman Development Index and founded the Human Development Report in 1990.



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