Sunday, March 12, 2006

1001 inventions

Some recognition at last: A brilliant exhibition has been put together under the name "1001 inventions" and is being showcased at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester before being continued at other venues. The unique content of the exhibition has been planned to generate awareness and appreciation of the scientific discoveries Muslims have made over a time-span of 1000 years. The lasting legacy of Muslim inventiveness and scholarship still serves as a beacon to inspire and motivate young people around the world. The 1001 Inventions project strongly emphasises how Muslims, working harmoniously alongside people of different faiths and races across Europe, Asia and Africa, were able to contribute extensively in many fields including science and medicine.

We all know that coffee came to us from the Arabs along with algebra and geometry, but who knew that Abbas ibn Firnas invented a flying machine which kept him in the air for ten minutes a thousand years before the Wright Brothers? A replica of the invention is being exhibited together with numerous other most surprising civilisational achievements from when Muslims were leading the world. A selection of favourites can be found in an article in today's Independent.

The exhibition puts the lie to those who claim that Islam never gave the world anything when all their own achievements are built on the foundations laid for them by Muslims. It also demonstrates that those who keep warning us of the threat posed by "the other" have got it wrong since the exchange between different cultures can only be fruitful for humanity.


At 12 March 2006 at 16:43, Blogger Grumpy Troll said...

What do you make of the fisking of sorts of the exhibition's website?

At 12 March 2006 at 17:01, Blogger Mustaqim said...

Thanks for pointing me to this link. I'm sure the exhibition might be going a bit far in some of its claims, but this does not detract from the substance. For example, Greek philosophy was not invented by the Muslims, but they preserved it, nor was the current number system invented by the Muslims, but they ensured its common use. Western civilisation would be a lot poorer without Muslim input. And yes, there was a valuable Jewish contribution in Muslim Spain, but only because the Muslims were tolerant to Jews, unlike the Christians, and a tolerance not repayed by today's Ashkenazi Israeli leadership. It is also true that today's Muslims are a pale reflection of those sages of the past and I won't go into the reasons why right now. The unfortunate thing about the comments on the drinkingfromhome blog, however, is that the same sad names have to appear, from the Charles Mantel pen name to Melanie Philips or Peter Hitchens. Guess we'll start another barrage of mindless posts on this blog simply because for some Islam-haters it is just too painful to be told that there there is a lot of good in what they are opposing and plenty of the stuff they so proudly pass off as achievements of secular Western civilisation were borrowed (or stolen) from the Muslims at the time the Church suppressed the truth with an iron fist. It's not without reason that in Europe that period was called the Dark Ages. If you must throw out the baby with the bath water and dismiss anything Islamic you'd have to start giving up a lot. And let's hope you'll never need hospital treatment.
The best surgeons in this country happen to be Muslims.


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