AL-JAZARI (1136-1206): “Father of Modern Mechanical Engineering”



Name: Abu al-‘Iz ibn Isma’il ibn al-Razaz al-Jazari
Title: Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer
Birth: 1136 in Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia
Death: 1206
Ethnicity: Kurdish
Region: Mesopotamia (Iraq-Syria-border)
Main interests: Mathematics, engineering, astronomy, arts
Notable ideas: 1. Invented an early crankshaft, which he incorporated with a crank-connecting rod mechanism in his twin-cylinder pump. Like the modern crankshaft, Al-Jazari’s mechanism consisted of a wheel setting several pins into motion, with the wheel’s motion being circular and the opins moving back-and-forth in a straight line. The crankshaft described by Al-Jazari transforms continuous rotary motion into a linear reciprocating motion, and is central to modern machinery such as the steam engine, internal combustion engine and automatic control. 2. The camshaft, a shaft to which cams are attached, was first introduced in 1206 by Al-Jazari, who employed them in European mechanism from the 14th century; 3. Hand-washing autmotation with flush mechanism Al-Jazari invented a handwashing automation incorporating a flush mechanism now used in modern flush toilets. It features a female humanoid automation standing by basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the female automation refills the basin; 4. In the Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, he gave intructions of his inventions and illustrated them using miniature paintings, a medieval style of Islamic art.
Works: Kitab fi ma’rifat al-hiyal al-handasiya (Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices) (1206), where he described fifty mechanical devices along with intructions on how to construct them, and Al-Jami’ bayn al-‘ilm wa ‘amal, al-nafi’ fi sina’at al-hiyal (A Compendium on the Theory and Practice of the Mechanical Arts)

SALIM ALI (1896-1987): “The Birdman of India”

Salim Ali

Salim Ali

Name : Dr Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali
Title : Ornithologist, naturalist.
Birth : November 12, 1896 in Mumbai, India
Death : July 27, 1987 in Mumbai, India
Nationality : Indian
Spouse : Tehmina Ali
Education : St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai), commercial law and accountancy at Davar’s College of Commerce (Mumbai), and personally studied ornithology to some experts in Germany and Burma.
Occupation : Museum guide, guide lecturer, ornithologist, and director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
Main interest : Ornithology, natural history, bird photography
Notable ideas : Rediscovered the Kumaon Terai population of the Finn’s Baya (Ploceus megarhynchus, a species of weaver bird found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra valleys in India and Nepal); birds and natural protection, and examined the contributions to natural-history of the Mughal emperors.
Awards : The Joy Gobinda Law Gold Medal (the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1953), the Gold Medal of the British Ornithologists’ Union (the J Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation prize (1967), the Sunder Lal Hora memorial Medal (the Indian National Science Academy, 1970), the Pavlovsky Centenary Memorial Medal (the USSR Academy of Medical Science, 1973) Commander of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark from Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (1973), Padma Bhushan (1958), Padma Vibhushan (1976); and honorary doctorates from the Aligarh Muslim University (1958), Delhi University (1973) and Andhra University (1978)
Works : Stopping by the Woods On A Sunday Morning (article, 1930), The Book of Indian Birds (1940), Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan written with Dillon Ripley (10 volumes, 1948), The Birds of Kerala (the first edition in 1953 was titled The Birds of Travancore and Cochin), The Birds of Sikkim, The Birds of Kutch (later The Birds of Gujarat), Indian Hill Birds and The Birds of the Eastern Himalayas (1943), Common Bird (1967), and The Fall of a Sparrow (autobiography, 1985).;; Wikipedia

Islamia/The Brunei Times

IBN SINA (980-1037/370-428H): ‘Father of Modern Medicine’

Ibn Sina (Avicenna)

Ibn Sina (Avicenna)

Name : Abū ‘Ali al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīna (Avicenna)
Title : Sharaf al-Mulk, Hujjat al-Haq, Sheikh al-Rayees, Polymath
Birth : Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 980/ 370H
Death : Hamedan, Iran, 1037/428H
Ethnicity : Persian
Region : Central Asia and Persia
School tradition : Avicennism
Works : 450 treatises on various subjects (240 have survived), including his masterpieces Qanun fi’l-Tib (The Canon of Medicine) and The Book of Healing.
Expertises : Medicine, alchemy and chemistry, early Islamic philosophy, Islamic studies, logics, geography, astronomy, mathematics, psychological thought, physics, Arabic and Persian poetries, Islamic theology (kalam).
Notable ideas : Father of modern medicine, clinical pharmacology, clinical trials, and the concept of momentum, founder of Avicennism and Avicennian logic, forerunner of psychoanalysis, pioneer of aromatherapy and neuropsychiatry, and important contributor to geology.

Source: Wikipedia

IBN JAZLA (1074 -1100): ‘The Philanthropist Doctor from Baghdad’

A frontispiece and page opposite of an Ibn Jazla's work.

A frontispiece and page opposite of an Ibn Jazla’s work.

Name: Abu Ali Yahya ibn Isa Ibn Jazla Al Baghdadi.
Title: Buhahylyha Bingezla (Latin), Byngazlawas, Bengesla, physician, pharmacist, philanthropist
Birth: 1074 in Baghdad
Death: 1100
Ethnicity: Iraqi Arab
Education: Tutelage in medicines from Mu’tazili Abu-Ali Ibn al-Walid and Said ibn Hibat Allah, the doctor of the Abbasid caliph al-Mouqtadi bi Amr Allah.
Main interest: Medicines, pharmacy
Notable ideas: 1. Composing a 44-table of 325 diseases which were arranged like the stars in astronomical tables. It provided a detailed explanation on the causes and symptoms of the diseases completed with the tables of plants and medicines which were used to cure the diseases and the steps to cure them, enabling ordinary people to classify one disease with another and to provide health treatment. 2. Promoting the value of music in cure, equating its effect with that of drugs. He was generous to his friends and acquaintances, giving them medical treatment free of charge and providing them with free medicine.
Works: Taqwim al-Abdan fi Tadbir al-Insan (translated to Latin by Sicilian Jewish physician Faraj ben Salim in 1280: Dispositio Corporum de Constittutione Hominis, Tacuin Agritudinum), the Latin version was published in 1532. A German translation was published at Strasbourg in 1533 by Hans Schotte; and Al Minhaj fi Al Adwiah Al Murakkabah (Methodology of Compound Drugs, contains an alphabetical listing of medicines and plants;) (translated to Latin by Jambolinus: Cibis et Medicines Simplicibus), Al Ishara fi Talkhis al-i’bara, Risalat fi Madh Tib wa Muafakatahu li Sharâ, (Treatise Lauding Medicine and its Compliance with the Islamic Precepts); and Risalat fi Ar-Rad ‘ala Al-Nasraniyah (Treatise Responding to Christianity).

AL-MAS’UDI (871 – 957): “A Great Muslim Traveller and Geographer”



Name : Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Husain Ibn Ali Al-Masu’di
Title : Al-Mas’udi, geographer, historian, physicist, xplorer, the Herodotus and Pliny of the Arabs
Birth : 871 in Baghdad, Iraq
Death : 957 in Cairo, Egypt
Ethnicity : Arab
Region : Iberia (Al-Andalus)
Main Interest : Geography, History, Physics and Music
Notable Ideas : His researches and views extensively influenced the sciences of historiography, geography and
earth sciences. Made a systematic study of history with a perspective of geography, sociology, anthropology and ecology. Added a deep insight into the causes of rise and fall of nations. Found out the causes of the earthquakes of 955, as well as the secrets of the water of the Red Sea and other problems in earth sciences. The first author to mention windmills, which were invented by the Muslims of Sijistan. Provided important information on early Arab music as well as music of other countries. Created a change in the art of historical writings, introducing analysis, reflection and criticism of historical events. This was further improved by Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406).
Works : Muruj al-Dzahab wa al-Ma’adin al-Jawahir (Meadows of Gold and Mines of Precious Stones), Muruj al-Zaman (Meadows of Times/thirty volumes), Kitab al-Ausat (Book of the Midpoint) and Kitab al-Tanbih wa al-Ishraf (Book of Reminder and Overseer) — &

WANG ZI-PING (1881–1973): “Pioneer of Therapeutic Martial Arts”

Wang Zi-Ping

Wang Zi-Ping

Name : Wang Zi-Ping
Title : Wushu Grandmaster, Chinese-Muslim practitioner of Chinese Martial Arts and traditional medicine; doctor of traumatology, advisor to major hospitals in China, a well-rounded martial artist.
Birth : 1881 in Changzhou, Hebei, China
Death : 1973
Ethnicity : Chinese ethnic group of Hui
Region : East Asia
Main interests : Chinese martial arts Cha quan, Hua quan, Pao Chuan, Bajiquan, and Tai Chi Chuan.
Notable ideas : Well versed in all the major weapons, in Qinna (techniques of catching and locking an opponent’s joints or muscles/tendons), Shuaijiao (wrestling), free fighting, hard Qi Gong, light body technique, and many more. Combined his adept knowledge of Qinna with his bone setting skills and originated a well-known system of treatment for sports and Wushu related injuries in Northern China, he found Therapeutic Qi Gong (prana force). Developed Ching Long Jian (Green Dragon Sword) and Quan Shr Er Shr Fa (Twenty Fist Method) movements in martial arts; and developed an exercise regimen for long life. — Wikipedia; Republika;


Dr. H. Ali Akbar

Dr. H. Ali Akbar

Dr. H. ALI Akbar, founder of the University of the Yayasan Rumah Sakit Islam (Yarsi – Islamic Hospital Foundation), died after a ten months’ illness in Jakarta on 24 June 1994. Ali Akbar was born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, on 12 August 1912.

He studied at the Nederlandsch-Indische Artsen School (NIAS – Netherlands Indies Medicine School) in Surabaya, East Java, and continued his study under the Japanese occupation, in 1943, at the Ika Dai Gakku (Medicine College), Jakarta.

He dedicated most of his life to the public interest. As a physician, he was assigned to Painan (1945-1947), and Mecca, Saudi Arabia (1950-1954). He was also nominated rector of the Muhammadiyah University of Jakarta (1957) and the Ibnu Chaldun University of Jakarta (1960) as well as being a lecturer in the School of Medicine of Universitas Indonesia (UI).

In 1967, with Prof. Dr. Asri Rasad and Dr. Jurnalis Uddin, he realized his dream to create an institute for the training of Muslim paramedics and physicians: they established the Islamic Medical College, which was later transformed into the Yarsi University. In order to form paramedical and medical professionals imbued with Islamic values, he included a larger portion of Islamic studies in the study programme than was the case at other medicine schools and obliged all prospective physicians to write a thesis on a particular medical problem studied from the point of view of Islamic law.

Ali Akbar was also the chairman of the Executive Body of the Yarsi, and chairman of the Expert and Fatwa Commission of the Council for Health Development of the Muhammadiyah Central Board.

Among his other functions were the chairmanship of the Kongres Buruh Islam Merdeka (Free Muslim Labourers Congress), and the Majelis Pertimbangan Kesehatan dan Syara (Consultative Council of Hygiene and Islamic Law). The latter body produced a number of fatwas relating to medical problems such as artificial insemination, transplantation of body organs, mother’s milk banks, etc.

Ali Akbar was active in politics, too. In 1955, he was elected a member of the DPR for the Masyumi party. In 1980, he was dismissed from the Ministry of Health for his action in signing the “Petisi 50”, a public petition of fifty prominent citizens criticizing government policy.

He also wrote several books about hygiene and Islam. One of his books, entitled Merawat Cinta Kasih (Caring Love), has been reprinted 19 times since 1974. (RE, 8 July 1994)

Source: INIS Newsletter Vol. XII 1996, p. 148