Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Thursday, March 23, 2006

1,001 Muslim Inventions

The title is from a touring museum exhibit. In the story from the London Independent here, you can read about such things as Idrisi's Round Earth (pictured):

"By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40,253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139."

(Someone else thinks Columbus knew about this calculation, but was trying to convince Ferd and Izzy to back him and so he played down the distance from Portugal to China...)

My favorite, though, is Personal Hygeine:

"Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV."


At 1:27 AM, Blogger Jallal said...

Really interesting. Thanks for the info.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Jallal, you're welcome--thanks for stopping by!
john (aka yahya).


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