From the 8th to the 14th century, the medieval world witnessed what has been called the Golden Age of Islam. During this time, Muslim scholars in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe spearheaded numerous cultural, social and scientific innovations. For example, hospitals, universities, coffee, and even the rebab, the forerunner of the modern violin, have been found during this period. These are the ones that were invented by Muslims during the Islamic Golden Age.

1. Coffee

The first processing and consumption of coffee in the form of beverages occurred in Yemen around the 9th century. Sufis and mullahs used coffee to stay up late at night during the ritual. After reaching Cairo by a group of students, coffee made its way to Turkey in the 13th century and then to Europe 300 years later.

2. Flying car

Although Leonardo da Vinci is associated with the designs of the first flying machines, it was the Andalusian astronomer and engineer Abbas ibn Firnas who created this device in the 9th century and was technically able to fly it. Firnas’ design included large silk wings that wrapped around a person. Firnas, who made an unsuccessful attempt to fly from the Spanish C√≥rdoba, managed to climb up, albeit not for long. The remaining drawings are said to have provided inspiration for Leonardo da Vinci.

3. Algebra

The word “algebra” comes from the title of the book of the 9th century “Kitab al-Jabr” by the Iranian mathematician and astronomer Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. Written around 820, this book was full of examples and applications for a wide range of tasks, from commerce to measurement. The original Arabic copy of the work is in Oxford, while the Latin translation is today kept in Cambridge.

4. Hospitals

According to the conditions of that period, the first full-fledged hospital was established in Egypt around the 9th century. The hospital, believed to have been built in 872 by the Abbasid ruler of Egypt, Ahmed bin Tolun, provided free services to those in need. Similar hospitals spread from Cairo to other Muslim countries, and then to the whole world.

5. Modern optics


Isaac Newton is one of the most outstanding physicists of all time. He is also known as the founder of modern optics for his famous experiments with lenses and prisms. While all of this is true, it should not be forgotten that research into optics was made by Ibn al-Haytham, who lived about 700 years before Isaac Newton. Although Ibn al-Haytham was recognized by the West very late, he is now known as the father of modern optics. Because while the early philosophers thought that light came from the eye, Ibn al-Haytham argued that light does not leave the eye, but instead enters the eye in straight lines in accordance with geometric laws.

6. Surgery


Born in Southern Spain in 936, the palace physician’s greatest contribution to medicine was a 1,500-page book he published under the title Kitab al-Tasrif. This book, containing illustrated surgical techniques and instruments, has been used as an important medical reference in many regions, especially in Europe, for nearly 500 years. While developing surgical instruments for cesarean section and cataract surgery, Zehrawi also invented a device to break up kidney stones. The Muslim scientist, who also had an interest in gynecology during his career of more than 50 years, was the first physician to describe an ectopic pregnancy. He also performed the first tracheotomy and discovered dissolvable sutures for suturing wounds. Although Zehrawi’s surgical instruments pioneered modern medicine, some of them are still in use today.

7. Universities


The world’s first university is the Qarawiyyin University in Fes, Morocco. Built by Tunisian Muslim Fatima El-Fihri, it was first used as a mosque in 859. Later it continued to serve both as a mosque and as a university. The educational institution, which continues its education today, accepted such famous people as Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Maimun, Muhammad Idrisi and Ibn Khazim, as students or teachers.

8. Handle


The crankshaft, invented by Ismal al-Jazari in 1206, was used in a two-cylinder water pump at the time. In this system, which is very similar to today’s examples, rods connected to a spinning wheel by a crankshaft created linear motions in response to the wheel’s circular motion and lifted water 12 meters up along with the other vehicles of the system. Considered one of the most important discoveries in history, the crankshaft is today mainly used in automobiles.

9. String instruments


The Rabab, a traditional Arabic instrument, is the first known stringed instrument. Spreading from the Middle East to Europe, the rabab is also known as the ancestor of the violin, which was widely used in France and Spain around the 15th century.

So our list of inventions of Muslims has come to an end! If you like it, you might also be interested in this content:

10 Amazing Inventions Worked by Working Moms Throughout History

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