Knowledge exists potentially in the human soul, like seed in the soil, through learning, that potential turns into reality” – Al-Ghazali
A Celebration of the Golden Age of Islam
The Museum celebrates the contributions of Muslim scholars to science and technology during the first Golden Age of Islam from the 650 to 1650. These Muslim scholars include amongst them the great scientists, inventors, engineers, mathematicians and teachers of that time, such as Jabir ibn Hayyan, Abbas bin Firnas, al-Kindi, al-Razi, al-Jazari and Taqi al-Din.
The Museum demonstrates how their contributions shaped the world as we know it today and how their pioneering work laid the foundation for modern civilization. The benefits of their work are all around us today.
The Mission of the Museum is to create a world class facility for teaching and learning about Islamic contributions to science and technology.
The Museum is located in the Museum and Conference Building (Building 19), on level 1 of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia.
Why did science flourish in Islam?
The Introductory cluster introduces visitors to the theme, storyline and take-home message of the Museum. People are able to interact with a three-dimensional fly-through of the Museum. They then can view brief biographies of the most prominent Islamic scientists and inventors.
Also, visitors can learn the twelve reasons why Islamic science and technology flourished during the Golden Age of Islam from 650-1650. An interactive map can be viewed which shows the different ages of the Islamic world. Finally, an interactive Time Line provides a comprehensive overview of the development of Islamic science and technology.
This large sliding plasma screen display is one of the most important exhibits in the Museum. The display describes the twelve main reasons why Islamic science and technology flourished during the period 650-1650. The screen displays different texts and illustrations to describe each point.
The interactive multi-touch table Time Line (situated between the ‘Learning Institutions’ and ‘Astronomy and Navigation’ theaters) provides a comprehensive overview of the development of Islamic science and technology from 650 to 1650, with some recent highlights.
Flipbook combined with a large plasma screen that shows how the Islamic world developed from pre-Islamic times to the present.
The strong ethic of teaching and learning in Islamic culture is highlighted in this cluster.
Illustrations, materials and tools related to early paper making are displayed.
Examples of different styles of Islamic calligraphy are displayed.
Different tools and materials used by traditional calligraphers are displayed.
Astronomy and Navigation
The many contributions made by Muslim scholars to astronomy and navigation are reviewed in this cluster. Also, highlighted are the practical uses of astronomy – to determine the dates of the holy months, the time of prayer and the direction of the “qibla”.
This interactive world map allows you to compare the routes traveled by the famous Muslim traveler, Ibn Battuta, with those of other famous travelers.
A replica of Piri Re’is famous map, the first to show the Antarctic Peninsula and the east coasts of South and North America, is displayed.
Various books and diagrams on astronomy are displayed in this drawer.
The flat map of the known world produced by al-Idrisi in 1154 is shown here on a spherical globe. The outlines of the continents that we know today are also shown on the globe.
The Technology cluster showcases many of the amazing technological advances made by Muslim scholars and engineers. Working replicas of the giant Elephant Water Clock and Castle Clock of the famous Muslim engineer, al- Jazari, are displayed in this cluster. The exhibit has examples of innovative water-raising machines and ingenious mechanical devices.
Animated scale models of an ancient Wind Mill and Wind Tower demonstrate pioneering methods of harnessing the power of nature. A range of interactive exhibits and displays on trade, trade routes, commodities, currencies and economics trace the origins of industry in the Islamic world.
The Elephant Water Clock is an iconic example of one of al-Jazari’s pieces of fine technology. In addition to telling the time, it celebrates the universality of Islam by incorporating elements from Spain, Phoenicia, Egypt, Iraq, India and China.
One of the many robots or automatons that al-Jazari made for the Kings of Diyarbakr was the ‘Robotic Man’. This robot, which is modeled on a 12-year old boy, provides water, a towel and a comb for the King during his ablutions.
The Castle Clock is another example of one of al-Jazari’s famous Water Clocks. In this Clock, a ball drops from the falcons’ beaks into the vases, small doors open and close, a moon moves across the face of the Clock, and the musicians play their instruments every hour. The mechanism can be seen on the back of the Clock.
This dynamic scale model display depicts five famous water-raising devices made by Muslim engineers. These devices include al-Jazari’s Reciprocating Pump, One-Scoop Pump, Chain-of-Pots and Four-Scoop Pump, and Taqi al-Din’s Six-Cylinder Pump.
Ibn al-Haitham is widely regarded as the Father of Optics. Based on his study of the human eye, he created the first Pinhole Camera, which demonstrated that light travels in straight lines.
A stunning Chemistry Object theater production, and series of interactive exhibits, examine the ways in which pioneering Muslim scholars initiated the transition from the mystical pursuit of alchemy to the development of modern quantitative chemistry, and eventually applied chemistry.
The dramatic story of Islamic contributions to the development of chemistry is told through the lives of three famous scholars – Jabir ibn Hayyan, al-Kindi and al-Razi. The story is told in a reconstruction of an ancient chemistry laboratory. Two videos, light and sound effects and illuminated objects all help to bring the story to life.
Early Muslim scholars had an excellent knowledge of medicinal plants, and were the first to open dispensing pharmacies in hospitals.
The alembic still was perfected by Jabir ibn Hayyan and other early Muslim chemists. This static display shows the components of an alembic still and retort.
The way in which Muslim mathematicians lead the development of arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry and algebra is explored in exciting interactive exhibits and games. In one game, the visitor compares the efficiency of doing arithmetic using Arabic, Babylonian and Roman numerals.
This interactive touch screen display helps you to understand how much easier it is to do arithmetic (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication) using modern Arabic numerals compared to ancient Babylonian or Roman numerals.
Al-Kindi and other early Islamic scholars had a very good grasp of mathematics, logic and language, and were the first to introduce complex encryption and decryption methods into cryptography, such as the Frequency Method. Visitors are challenged to decode a simple encoded message.
This display comprises a replica of a famous book on mathematics in astronomy by al-Tusi.
Examples of Islamic geometric art
Life and Environmental Sciences
Muslim zoologists, botanists and geologists made important pioneering contributions to their fields of study. Visitors meet them through the medium of interactive exhibits and hands-on displays. Also, presented are the early contributions to ecology, conservation biology, geology, geomorphology, meteorology and horticulture, as well as the medical sciences.
Muslim scientists made important contributions to the study of human anatomy, physiology and epidemiology. Some of these contributions are reviewed in this touch screen display.
Al-Zahrawi and other Muslim surgeons invented many new surgical instruments and procedures, as shown in this display.
This display provides examples of some of the herbs and spices discovered or studied by Muslim herbalists and medical researchers.
This display provides examples of the wide variety of freshwater and marine animals studied by Muslim zoologists.
This display explores the wide variety of leaves, stems, roots, corms and flowers that were used by early Muslim herbalists to develop herbal medications.
The Revival of Islamic Science
In the Exit Cluster, visitors are challenged to test their new found knowledge of Islamic science and technology in an interactive quiz. Other interactive exhibits summarize the contributions of Muslim scientists, engineers and mathematicians and present an overview of Islamic science.
The three sculptures in Hall A symbolize the main fields of teaching and research at the University
On the way out of the museum there are five 2D figures of famous Islamic scholars including: Al-Jazari, Ibn al-Haitham, ljiya al-Astrulabi, Al-Khwarizmi, lbn Sina
Art and Architecture
The role of mathematics and art in Islamic architecture is examined through interactive exhibits and models. Famous examples of arabesque and geometric art, and architectural masterpieces, are also presented.
Four glass cabinets contain accurate scale models of four examples of iconic Islamic architecture: Madrasah of al-Mustansiriyya; Sultan Bayezid II Külliyesi in Erdine, Turkey; The Court of the Lions at Alhambra, Granada, Spain; The Ummayad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.
Model of the Alhambra Palace
This fascinating interactive touch screen display explores the use of the Golden Mean and Fibonacci numbers in Islamic Art and Architecture as well as in nature.
Some of the many examples of Islamic architectural masterpieces are showcased in this touch screen display.
Islamic towns and cities were developed along strict principles that took into account religious, social, economic and political norms. This dual projected display shows the typical sequence of events in the development of an Islamic village into a town and city.
- beautiful islamic navigation devices
- Muslim scholars
- aritecsure from the ilamic golden age
- science and islamic model