Muslim Inventions a Flying Machine 500 Years Essay

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Muslim Inventions

A flying machine 500 years before da Vinci (Sterns, 2010)

In the Western World, the inventions and discoveries that were produced in the Muslim world often are taken for granted. However the world would be a much different today if Muslims had not contributed inventions that worked to transform the world. For example, Muslims can be attributed to such inventions as coffee, the first university, and even a toothbrush (Sterns, 2010). These specific inventions certainly transformed the world and it would be hard to imagine a world where these things did not exist. Although it is possible for such items to have been invented later, the Muslims contributed many things to modern society and these contributions are often overlooked or taken for granted. This paper will present five intentions that originated with Muslims that worked to transform the world.


One invention that definitely transformed the modern world is coffee. Today you can find coffee nearly anywhere. There are coffee houses on nearly every street corner in urban areas and major corporations, such as Starbucks, have become nearly ubiquitous. However, many people do not realize that the origins of the caffeinated beverage emerge from a town in Yemen known as "Mocha" (Gilani, 2012). From this town the drink slowly spread around the world although it had to overcome some resistance from other cultures trying to ban the "Muslim drink." However, before coffee the beverage of choice was primarily beer. Some people have drawn a connection between the rise of coffee and the entrance of the Enlightenment.
When people quit drinking beer all day long and began drinking coffee instead, this opened up many possibilities for the pursuit of science and philosophy.

Figure 2 - Coffee World (Gilani, 2012)

Another invention that shows the scientific sophistication of early Muslims in the seventh century CE, is what is known as the universal astrolabe. During this period Muhammad's followers spread throughout the Middle East and into Central Asia and North Africa. Early travelers used these Astrolabes to determine things such as time and latitude and could determine when and which direction to offer their prayers. Although this invention dates backs to the Greeks, travelers would have to carry separate Astrolabes and different plates for each separate latitude. However, a Muslim furthered this technology by developing one that could be used universally at any latitude and this also eventually led to the development of the astronomical clock (Hattam, 2009).

Figure 3e - Universal Astrolabe (Hattam, 2009)

Another Muslim discovery can most likely be considered one of the most commonly found invention today; something that nearly everyone uses on a daily basis. That invention is soap. Although there were different types of soaps that were used in Egyptian and Roman civilizations, the modern formula for soap which is made by combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil was invented in the Muslim world. Furthermore, this technology was spread to the Western world by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to.....

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