Inventions of the Islamic Golden Age

  • Surgical Instraments
    Created by: Abul Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbad al-Zahrawi

    In the 10th century, the surgeon named Abul Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbad al-Zahrawi published a 1500 page illustrated encyclopedia of surgery. He got credit for inventing the syringe, the forceps, the surgical hook, and needle, the bone saw and using dissolving catgut to stitch wounds. Their design was so accurate that they have had only a few changes in a millennium. It was these illustrations that laid the foundations for surgery in Europe.

  • Coffee
    Created by: Khalid

    Coffee is one of the best known of the Muslim world’s export. It was originated in Ethiopia and it is thought that an Ottoman merchant brought the bean-based beverage to London in the 17th century. The coffee was first discovered by an Arab named Khalid. As his goats grazed on the Ethiopian slopes, he noticed they had become lively and excited after eating a particular berry. Instead of just eating the berries they were taken and boiled to create “al-Qahwa”.

  • Hospitals
    Created by: Ahmed ibn Tulun

    The first ever hospital named Ahmed ibn Tulun hospital with nurses and training center was established in the year 872. In this hospital, all patients received free health care and this hospital served as a template for hospitals all around the globe that we have today.

  • Universities
    Created by: Fatima al-Fihri

    The research for knowledge is close to the heart of Muslims. In the Holy Quran, Muslims are urged to seek knowledge and to observe and reflect. So Fatima al-Fihri, a devout and pious young woman wanted to give the Fez community a learning centre so developed a place for religious instruction and political discussion. It gradually extended its education to all subjects, particularly the natural sciences, and so it earned its name as one of the first universities in history.

  • Algebra and Mathematics
    Created by: Al-Khwarizmi

    The word algebra comes from the title of the 9th Century Arabic thesis, The Book of Reasoning and Balancing. Al-Khwarizmi introduces the beginnings of the algebra. In fact, it was a revolutionary move away from the Greek concept of mathematics, which was essentially based on geometry. The same mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, was also the first to introduce the concept of raising a number to a power.

  • Maps
    Created by: Al-Idrisi

    Al-Idrisi introduced the world map in the 12th century, which is regarded as the most elaborate and complete description of the world made at the time. It was greatly used by travelers for several centuries. Maps have helped people find their way for about 3,500 years in history maps were made from travelers’ and pilgrims’ accounts.

  • The Toothbrush
    Created by: The Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

    Islam was one of the first global religions that emphasized on bodily hygiene. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) popularized the use of the first toothbrush in around the 7th Century, using a twig from the Miswak tree. The twig not only cleaned his teeth but also freshen breath.

  • The Camera
    Created by: Ibn al-Haitham

    Ibn al-Haitham revolutionized optics and invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way the light came through a hole in window shutters. Then he worked out that the smaller the hole, the better the picture, and set up the first Camera Obscura.

  • The Magnifying Glass
    Created by: Ibn al-Haytham

    The first description of a convex lens used for magnification comes from the Book of Optics by Ibn al-Haytham in the 11th Century AD. This book was later translated into Latin which appears to have introduced (well re-introduced) the concept to Europe during the 13th Century.

  • Hard Soap
    Created by: Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi

    Hard toilet soap with a pleasant smell was produced in the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, when soap-making became an established industry. Recipes for soap-making are described by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (c. 865–925), who also gave a recipe for producing glycerine from olive oil. In the Middle East, soap was produced from the interaction of fatty oils and fats with alkali. In Syria, soap was produced using olive oil together with alkali and lime. Soap was exported from Syria to other parts of the Muslim world and to Europe.

  • Chess Manuals
    Created by: Al-Adli ar-Rumi

    The oldest known chess manual was in Arabic and dates to 840–850, written by Al-Adli ar-Rumi (800–870), a renowned Arab chess player, titled Kitab ash-shatranj (Book of Chess). During the Islamic Golden Age, many works on shatranj were written, recording for the first time the analysis of opening moves, game problems, the knight's tour, and many more subjects common in modern chess books.

  • Arabic Numerals (Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
    Created by: Al-Khwarizmi and Al-Kindi

    They originated in India in the 6th or 7th century and were introduced to Europe through the writings of Middle Eastern mathematicians, especially al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi, about the 12th century. They represented a profound break with previous methods of counting, such as the abacus, and paved the way for the development of algebra.