Muslims’ contributions to science – the treasure troves of Islamic traditions

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SHAFAQNA - For centuries, Muslims always had a positive influence on communities. Going back in history we find famous names, such as Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan, known as Jabir Ibn Hayyan, was a prominent Muslim chemist, astronomer, engineer, geographer philosopher, pharmacist, and physician. His impact reached not only his community, but on the whole world at a time when there was a desperate need for enlightenment. He wrote nearly 3000 scripts, some of which were translated into Latin. In chemistry he set the standards for the experimental method. His achievements included the discovery of minerals and others acids, and the preparation of new compounds through chemical methods. He paved the way for later classification as metals, non-metals, and volatile substances.

Take another example; Muhammad Ibn Battuta, known as Ibn Battuta, or ‘The Prince of Arab Travelers’, a Muslim Arab is widely recognized as one of the greatest travelers of all times. In 1325 G, at the age of twenty-one, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown to perform the pilgrimage in Makkah. He is known for his extensive travels. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horne of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. He was a traveler from whose writings, which was translated into English, French and Portuguese, everyone benefited.  

The story of the great leader, Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi, has filled the pages of history and his story will live on for centuries to come. He was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of Ayyubid dynasty. Salah Al Din led the Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and other parts of North Africa.

And who has not heard of Avicenna or Ibn Sina. He is one of the most significant thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age.  He wrote about 450 works including 40 books on medicine; the most famous is ‘Kitab Al Shifa’ (The Book of Healing) which became the standard medical text at medieval universities across the world and remained in use as late as 1650. In 1973, Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine was reprinted in New York.

Ibn Khaldun was a historiographer and historian, one of the founders of modern sociology, historiography, demography, and economics. He was one of the greatest philosophers in the Middle Age. The theories of his book ‘Introduction’ known as (Muqaddimah) in Arabic had impact on Ottoman historians to analyze the growth and decline of the Ottoman Empire.

Following in the footsteps of their Muslim predecessors, the Muslim youth of today are at the forefront of scientific innovation and social change. Saudi university students are motivated and empowered to learn, serve, and address the needs of communities.

Hosam Zowawi has become an icon for his contributions in developing biotechnology. He led a remarkable research project about Superbug bacteria, which threaten millions of people around the world and is considered one of the most serious threats to humanity because they resist all types of antibiotics.

Saudi national, Hosam Zowawi, is the first scientist from the Middle East to win the prestigious Young Laureates award. He was selected along with four other aspiring individuals from different countries.

Zowawi’s project aims to develop rapid tests to detect the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, now considered a global threat to human health. He also plans a regional public awareness campaign warning of the dangers of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. 

Another brilliant young Muslim, Jood Al-Harthi, is a Swansea University law undergraduate who has been selected to attend a Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) conference as the representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). GIMUN is an annual event where university students participate in debating and justifying their organization’s actions, and passing resolutions.

The extremely popular young sheikh, Ahmad Al-Shugairi, is another Saudi who is an activist and has had a widespread positive impact on the community. He is best known for his program ‘Khawatir’ that spanned for 11 years, highlighting the inventions and positive initiatives and developments in different communities, to serve as models for our local community.

His advice to the youth focuses on reading, setting clear goals, working hard, volunteering, and to beware of wasting time.

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