A Counterbalance.....(part 1)

to the barely disguised, ill-informed Islamophobia demonstrated in an EP question I read earlier. I wish people would, you know, read stuff and learn, before they decide to put pen to paper, or finger to key.

The fact is the world, and that included western culture, would not exist in its varied form if it wasn't for the contribution of Islam and Arabian thinkers, scientists, thinkers and on it goes. This is just a snapshot:

Surgery: Circa 1,000, the celebrated doctor Al Zahrawi published a 1,500 page illustrated encyclopedia of surgery that was used in Europe as a medical reference for the next 500 years.  Zahrawi discovered the use of dissolving cat gut to stitch wounds -- beforehand a second surgery had to be performed to remove sutures. He also reportedly performed the first caesarean operation and created the first pair of forceps.

Coffee: Coffee was first brewed in Yemen around the 9th century. It was not until the 16th century did the beans start boiling in Europe, brought to Italy by a Venetian trader.

Algebra: The word algebra comes from the title of Al-Khwarizmi's mathematician's treatise "Kitab al-Jabr Wa l-Mugabala" , roughly  "The Book of Reasoning and Balancing."  He also the first to introduce the concept of raising a number to a power.

Universities: In 859 a young princess, Fatima al-Firhi founded the first degree-granting university in Fez, Morocco. Her sister Miriam founded the  adjacent mosque and the complex became the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University.

Optics: Around the year 1000,  Ibn al-Haitham proved that humans see objects by light reflecting off of them and entering the eye and he also discovered the camera obscura. 

Music: Among many instruments that arrived in Europe through the Middle East are the lute and the rahab, an ancestor of the violin. Modern musical scales are also said to derive from the Arabic alphabet.

Toothbrush: The Prophet Mohammed popularised the use of the first toothbrush in around 600, using a twig from the Meswak tree.

Hospitals: The first medical centre was the Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, founded in 872 in Cairo, which was free, so even the NHS is not a new notion.

Flying machines:  In the 9th Century, Abbas ibn Firnas was the first person to make a real attempt to construct a flying machine and fly,designing a winged apparatus, that resembled a bird costume.

Also: the crank, trigonometry, geometry, paper, astronomy, mechanics, weaving, and much more.


mizzen123 mizzen123
46-50, M
6 Responses Nov 8, 2011

I've have never met an "Islamic extremist" in my entire life. I've seen lots of white racists in my time, but these "extremists" I hear about are only on cable news, and even then I have never seen one directly on the "TV". Muslims in our own towns are peaceful.

It's sad that people use the idiot box to inform them of their opinions instead of real life. TV is a very poor source of information. Entertainment yes, information no. As the screen size of the boob tube gets larger and larger, it seems like brains all over the country are getting smaller and smaller.

And thank you for your response and your compliments :) I work in a multicultural Further Education college in England, not that you would know it from the attitudes of too many of those around you, and they include the usual, sad, stereotypes and so-called 'jokes'. It's two-faced. They help Muslim students and have Muslim work colleagues, and they chat and laugh, and then continue to carry on these stereotypes in their heads. It makes me disillusioned and angry.

it's hard to meet, see someone who has done his/her homework before pointing finger, nowadays everybody is like a wiseguy....and what they heard through media or another sheep...became reality for these folks?it's sad how people pass judgement before knowing anything real or facts about the subject..i am a muslim, and I get lot of stupid questions..like am i in the army,terrorist......or do you have computers there?i am amazed by the power of media over people....people are getting retarded...and somebody is taking a good advantage of it...it's very rare to see someone like you who know stuff....which even i didn't know all of it.i wish there are more people like you...we have everything like any other country..you name it, but they think i live in some hut in sand and spent my childhood in military training...?thanks for knowing that we are not what we are portrayed by media for their agenda.....before us there were other...jap's,russian........now it's our turn to be the bad guy and they will save the world from us..but in reality may god save us from these corporate butchers....and grant the ability which has been disabled by television, media called awareness and common sense..thank you for not being braindead!

THePensiveRebel, thanks for your comment, and yes I have been somewhat lax in the old part 2 department....I will rectify this oversight as soon as I can :)

*bows in respect*

But people these days accept to be brainwashed by governments, media, music industry. And they shower their ignorance on every single muslim !

So, , where is part 2 ? If I may ask.

I agree completely. To this day I can still remember the outrage this group of messianic Jews displayed when they read the title of my homework which stated "Contributions of the Arabic World to Medicine and Technology" or something to that effect. In actuality, these people claim to be messianic Jew but they are really a group of small town texan christians trying so hard to follow a type of neo-judaism (which has an overwhelming focus on the end times). I applaud my teacher's attempts to inform us of the contributions of cultures outside of the western tradition, and especially the near east tradition, as sadly, especially in the Bible Belt of the south, there is a lot of discrimination against such groups.