Where would we be without Muslims? 10 things the West should say Alhamdulillah for

Published April 10th, 2017 - 12:30 GMT

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Whether our widely shared habit of drinking coffee in the morning, brushing our teeth after eating or enjoying a calm afternoon in an English garden, we owe many of today’s habits to Muslim inventions of the Islamic golden age.

Benefitting from the knowledge they inherited from the Greco-Roman antiquity, India, Persia and China, Muslim scientists developed existing knowledge further and made new revolutionary discoveries. Through their innovative work, they contributed to an ever developing corpus of knowledge that subsequently spread to Europe and other parts of the world, shaping the way we live today.

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As the story has it, goats were the ones to whom we owe todays widely loved coffee. Grazing on the hills of Ethiopia, goats accidently came across some coffee beans and started eating them. A goatherd, who realized the vitalizing effect on his goats, brewed the beans, thereby preparing the first ever coffee al qahwa. (Shutterstock)
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10As the story has it, goats were the ones to whom we owe todays widely loved coffee. Grazing on the hills of Ethiopia, goats accidently came across some coffee beans and started eating them. A goatherd, who realized the vitalizing effect on his goats, brewed the beans, thereby preparing the first ever coffee al qahwa. (Shutterstock)

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What would financial markets be doing without the 9th century Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi and his successors? Probably not much. Al-Khwarizmi developed a system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes that created the basis for mathematical calculations that are widely used today. (AFP)
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10What would financial markets be doing without the 9th century Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi and his successors? Probably not much. Al-Khwarizmi developed a system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes that created the basis for mathematical calculations that are widely used today. (AFP)

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While women’s ability to study has long been contested and is an ongoing struggle today, it was a woman who founded the first degree granting university in 859 in Morocco, Fatima al Firhi. The university taught religion, natural science, law astronomy, prose and versing amongst other subjects. (AFP/Philippe Desmazes)
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10While women’s ability to study has long been contested and is an ongoing struggle today, it was a woman who founded the first degree granting university in 859 in Morocco, Fatima al Firhi. The university taught religion, natural science, law astronomy, prose and versing amongst other subjects. (AFP/Philippe Desmazes)

Enlarge
Modern hospitals date back to the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital established in Cairo in the 9th century. Set up as an organized institution with a library, teaching centers, two bathing houses and a section for the insane, the hospital provided free health care for everyone who needed it. (Parhlo)
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Modern hospitals date back to the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital established in Cairo in the 9th century. Set up as an organized institution with a library, teaching centers, two bathing houses and a section for the insane, the hospital provided free health care for everyone who needed it. (Parhlo)

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Plastic, petrol and various medicines are indispensable substances of our everyday modern-life. Yet, we would not enjoy using them, if it wasn’t for the Muslim scientist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. His innovations and many discoveries laid the foundations for modern chemistry and for many chemical substances that we use today. (Getty Images)
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Plastic, petrol and various medicines are indispensable substances of our everyday modern-life. Yet, we would not enjoy using them, if it wasn’t for the Muslim scientist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. His innovations and many discoveries laid the foundations for modern chemistry and for many chemical substances that we use today. (Getty Images)

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Vaccinations are widely used today and one of the great achievements of modern medicine. But while it is often claimed that Jenner and Pasteur invented inoculation, it was in Turkey, years before the practice was imported to Europe, that children were already vaccinated with cowpox against the deadly smallpox. (File photo)
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Vaccinations are widely used today and one of the great achievements of modern medicine. But while it is often claimed that Jenner and Pasteur invented inoculation, it was in Turkey, years before the practice was imported to Europe, that children were already vaccinated with cowpox against the deadly smallpox. (File photo)

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Taking a rest on a bench in the middle of tulips and carnation and letting one’s thoughts travel - the concept of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation is something the English learned from 11th century Muslim Spain. (Pinterest)
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Taking a rest on a bench in the middle of tulips and carnation and letting one’s thoughts travel - the concept of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation is something the English learned from 11th century Muslim Spain. (Pinterest)

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White teeth are an essential characteristic of beauty that look at us from every billboard we pass. Yet, our tradition to clean our teeth dates back to the year 600, when Prophet Moahmmad spread the use of twigs from the Meswak tree that he used to clean his teeth and freshen his breath.(File photo)
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10White teeth are an essential characteristic of beauty that look at us from every billboard we pass. Yet, our tradition to clean our teeth dates back to the year 600, when Prophet Moahmmad spread the use of twigs from the Meswak tree that he used to clean his teeth and freshen his breath.(File photo)

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Glassmakers from Syria and Egypt learned about the art of glass production from their Roman predecessors and developed it further. By introducing new techniques, as well as new styles and patterns, glassmakers from Syria and Egypt turned the glass production into a flourishing business from the 8th century onwards. (Pinterest)
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Glassmakers from Syria and Egypt learned about the art of glass production from their Roman predecessors and developed it further. By introducing new techniques, as well as new styles and patterns, glassmakers from Syria and Egypt turned the glass production into a flourishing business from the 8th century onwards. (Pinterest)

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Whether in a bicycle or a pencil sharpener, many mechanical machines today depend on the crank, a tool that translates rotary into linear motion. Stemming from the need to raise water for irrigation Muslim engineer al-Jazari, invented the crank shaft in 1206. (Wikiwand)
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Whether in a bicycle or a pencil sharpener, many mechanical machines today depend on the crank, a tool that translates rotary into linear motion. Stemming from the need to raise water for irrigation Muslim engineer al-Jazari, invented the crank shaft in 1206. (Wikiwand)

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1

As the story has it, goats were the ones to whom we owe todays widely loved coffee. Grazing on the hills of Ethiopia, goats accidently came across some coffee beans and started eating them. A goatherd, who realized the vitalizing effect on his goats, brewed the beans, thereby preparing the first ever coffee al qahwa. (Shutterstock)

Image 1 of 10As the story has it, goats were the ones to whom we owe todays widely loved coffee. Grazing on the hills of Ethiopia, goats accidently came across some coffee beans and started eating them. A goatherd, who realized the vitalizing effect on his goats, brewed the beans, thereby preparing the first ever coffee al qahwa. (Shutterstock)

2

What would financial markets be doing without the 9th century Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi and his successors? Probably not much. Al-Khwarizmi developed a system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes that created the basis for mathematical calculations that are widely used today. (AFP)

Image 2 of 10What would financial markets be doing without the 9th century Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi and his successors? Probably not much. Al-Khwarizmi developed a system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes that created the basis for mathematical calculations that are widely used today. (AFP)

3

While women’s ability to study has long been contested and is an ongoing struggle today, it was a woman who founded the first degree granting university in 859 in Morocco, Fatima al Firhi. The university taught religion, natural science, law astronomy, prose and versing amongst other subjects. (AFP/Philippe Desmazes)

Image 3 of 10While women’s ability to study has long been contested and is an ongoing struggle today, it was a woman who founded the first degree granting university in 859 in Morocco, Fatima al Firhi. The university taught religion, natural science, law astronomy, prose and versing amongst other subjects. (AFP/Philippe Desmazes)

4

Modern hospitals date back to the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital established in Cairo in the 9th century. Set up as an organized institution with a library, teaching centers, two bathing houses and a section for the insane, the hospital provided free health care for everyone who needed it. (Parhlo)

Image 4 of 10Modern hospitals date back to the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital established in Cairo in the 9th century. Set up as an organized institution with a library, teaching centers, two bathing houses and a section for the insane, the hospital provided free health care for everyone who needed it. (Parhlo)

5

Plastic, petrol and various medicines are indispensable substances of our everyday modern-life. Yet, we would not enjoy using them, if it wasn’t for the Muslim scientist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. His innovations and many discoveries laid the foundations for modern chemistry and for many chemical substances that we use today. (Getty Images)

Image 5 of 10Plastic, petrol and various medicines are indispensable substances of our everyday modern-life. Yet, we would not enjoy using them, if it wasn’t for the Muslim scientist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. His innovations and many discoveries laid the foundations for modern chemistry and for many chemical substances that we use today. (Getty Images)

6

Vaccinations are widely used today and one of the great achievements of modern medicine. But while it is often claimed that Jenner and Pasteur invented inoculation, it was in Turkey, years before the practice was imported to Europe, that children were already vaccinated with cowpox against the deadly smallpox. (File photo)

Image 6 of 10Vaccinations are widely used today and one of the great achievements of modern medicine. But while it is often claimed that Jenner and Pasteur invented inoculation, it was in Turkey, years before the practice was imported to Europe, that children were already vaccinated with cowpox against the deadly smallpox. (File photo)

7

Taking a rest on a bench in the middle of tulips and carnation and letting one’s thoughts travel - the concept of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation is something the English learned from 11th century Muslim Spain. (Pinterest)

Image 7 of 10Taking a rest on a bench in the middle of tulips and carnation and letting one’s thoughts travel - the concept of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation is something the English learned from 11th century Muslim Spain. (Pinterest)

8

White teeth are an essential characteristic of beauty that look at us from every billboard we pass. Yet, our tradition to clean our teeth dates back to the year 600, when Prophet Moahmmad spread the use of twigs from the Meswak tree that he used to clean his teeth and freshen his breath.(File photo)

Image 8 of 10White teeth are an essential characteristic of beauty that look at us from every billboard we pass. Yet, our tradition to clean our teeth dates back to the year 600, when Prophet Moahmmad spread the use of twigs from the Meswak tree that he used to clean his teeth and freshen his breath.(File photo)

9

Glassmakers from Syria and Egypt learned about the art of glass production from their Roman predecessors and developed it further. By introducing new techniques, as well as new styles and patterns, glassmakers from Syria and Egypt turned the glass production into a flourishing business from the 8th century onwards. (Pinterest)

Image 9 of 10Glassmakers from Syria and Egypt learned about the art of glass production from their Roman predecessors and developed it further. By introducing new techniques, as well as new styles and patterns, glassmakers from Syria and Egypt turned the glass production into a flourishing business from the 8th century onwards. (Pinterest)

10

Whether in a bicycle or a pencil sharpener, many mechanical machines today depend on the crank, a tool that translates rotary into linear motion. Stemming from the need to raise water for irrigation Muslim engineer al-Jazari, invented the crank shaft in 1206. (Wikiwand)

Image 10 of 10Whether in a bicycle or a pencil sharpener, many mechanical machines today depend on the crank, a tool that translates rotary into linear motion. Stemming from the need to raise water for irrigation Muslim engineer al-Jazari, invented the crank shaft in 1206. (Wikiwand)

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