Muslims have had numerous outstanding achievements in the past. These achievements and groundbreaking discoveries covered diverse areas including math, science, medicine, literature and architecture. WIthout the foundation set by these Muslims, the world would not be as advanced as it is today and therefore it is very important to recognize the accomplishments achieved by these individuals.
In the ninth century, illness was viewed for once in a different manner. Instead of seeing illness as a punishment from God, Muslims viewed it as a natural phenomenon. Their care for ill people, health and hygiene navigated them to build sophisticated hospitals. In these hospitals, Muslims worked on research in anatomy, how to perform surgeries and what tools to use during those surgeries. Muslims were the most advanced in medicine at the time they did this by performing autopsies and having experimental approaches towards diseases.
Al- Razi also known as the father of pediatrics was one of the most important contributors to the advances in medicine, he was a physician from Iran and was best known for his comprehensive book of medicine, this book includes groundbreaking information on diseases including measles and smallpox. He was also known for being the first physician to perform stool and urine analysis.
Another very important contributor to Muslim achievements in medicine is AL- Zahrawi from Cordoba. He was known for being one of the greatest surgeons, he wrote a book that stated the rules of practicing medicine. He also introduced new surgical procedures and over 200 new surgical tools and instruments that are still used till this day. Al-Zahrawi was one of the first to perform internal stitching, he was one of the first to administer oral drugs and he was one of the first to use alcohol as an antiseptic in addition to that he also used bone to replace lost teeth and cotton to control bleeding.
Ibn Sina was a teacher, philosopher and physician, he was well known for his encyclopedia that included all diseases and treatments known at the time. It was the most famous medical textbook to be written, his book was not only used by Muslims since many Europeans benefited from it as well.
In addition to having a great deal of achievements in medicine, Muslims controlled the field of mathematics for most of the middle ages. Mathmatics is used in one of the most important pillars of Islam “Zakat”, it is also used to calculate inheretence and it was incorporated in the Islamic calender. The contributions of Muslim mathematicians have a direct impact on how each of us use math today.
Long-ago, numbers were represented by letters or symbols this made calculations difficult. Muslims discovered a numeral system which was used by people in ancient India. After making modifications to what was already discovered, Muslims introduced the new mathematics to the world and made the science of math flourish.
The complex system of inheritance in Islam was simplified when the celebrated scholar Al- Khawarizmi introduced the world to algebra in the ninth century. Muslims were also the first to develop trigonometry, and recognize that 0 is a number.
In chemistry, Alchemy was the forerunner. The foundation of chemistry was led by the great scientist Al- Razi who divided chemistry into a study of organic and inorganic substances. Al – Razzi also described some important chemical processes such as distillation, filtration and calcination. Muslim chemist discovered elements including potassium, nitric acid, alcohol, sulfuric acid, bismuth and other substances. Also, the instruments invented by Muslims are still found in chemistry labs today. They had major contributions that people studied and went off to get to the advancements that we are able to see today.
In addition to achievements in medicine, math and chemistry, Muslims had many achievements in literature. Literature was very important to Muslims because they needed to
know how to read in order to study their holy book, the Quran. At first a big number of Muslims would just memorize the Quran because they could not read or write, but there came a time when people realized reading and writing is a crucial skill to have and therefore they learned and practiced and succeeded in doing so. Muslims wrote poems , books on history and geography and in addition to that they also told folktales. Poetry first began as an oral form of art. Muslims would write poetry based on religion, they would mention their connection with God and how God is great. With time poems shifted from being religious-based to being about romance, love and countless other topics.
Some famous poets include Al- Rumi, Al-Rumi was from Iraq and he wrote upsetting poems, one of his most famous poems was one that he wrote after the death of his middle child. His poetry was highly influenced by his life. He had a very rough and traumatizing upbringing and we were able to see that through his poetry and his way of writing. He spoke about war, about losses and he spoke about being down. In a way, poetry was an outlet for him and he was well known for it.
Muslims also told folktales, these folk tales came from a long tradition of storytelling. The tales included stories about animals ,heroes, adventures ,romance and they always taught lessons. While being entertaining and engaging these folktales were also a very valuable way to pass along important beliefs, cultural values and to share common histories.
Muslims also had numerous architectural achievements. In Islam using pictures of the prophet and or caliphs is forbidden, instead Muslims used calligraphy which is decorative handwriting to decorate mosques. Most of Muslim architecture had domes, arcs and geometric patterns, an example of this is the dome of the rock in Palestine. Muslims were also inspired by Rome, Persians and Byzantine architecture. Some of the most famous Muslim architectural structures include the Taj Mahal, the dome of the rock and multiple mosques.
Overall us Muslims were far ahead of the rest of the world. Our work was the foundation of countless discoveries and new concepts. It is heartbreaking to see how we went from a time of such success to now being third world countries. Our past should be fuel for our future, and we should work twice as hard as everyone else just to prove that we can be in the lead again as we once were.
- Amr, Samir S, and Abdelghani Tbakhi. “Abu Al Qasim Al Zahrawi (Albucasis): Pioneer of Modern Surgery.” Annals of Saudi Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077085/.
- “FolkTales from Islamic Traditions.” KitaabWorld, kitaabworld.com/blogs/news/folktales-from-islamic-traditions.
- “The Golden Age of Islam.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/medieval-times/cross-cultural-diffusion-of-knowledge/a/the-golden-age-of-islam.
- Kuiper, Kathleen. “Art Abuse: 11 Vandalized Works of Art.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/list/art-abuse-11-vandalized-works-of-art.