Knowledge Zone


The ancient Greeks thought light emitted from the eye (like a laser) causing us to see. It was a Muslim mathematician in the 10th Century that instead realized light entered into the eye. Astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham invented the first pin-hole camera after observing light entering a hole in the shutters. The smaller the hole was, the clearer the image.

Flying Machine

The “first in flight” may not have been Wright. A thousand years before Kitty Hawk, Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer Abbas ibn Firnas, made several attempts to construct a machine that would fly. First in 852, he used cloth stretched by wooden struts inventing what is thought to be the first parachute. At the age of 70, a machine of silk and eagle feathers held him aloft for 10 minutes after he leaped from a cliff. Baghdad airport is named after him.

 The crank-shaft

One of the most critical mechanical inventions of all time, central to the automobile engine, was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari. His device could elevate water for irrigation around the year 1200. His Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices documents his inventive uses for valves and pistons, mechanical clocks and the first-ever combination lock. He is called the father of robotics.

Surgical Instruments

 The 10th century Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi designed many of our modern surgical instruments still in use today: scalpels, bone saws, forceps, and fine scissors for eye surgery. He established by accident that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (his monkey ate his lute strings!) and determined it can also be used to encase capsules of medicine. In the 13th century, 300 years before William Harvey’s assertions, another Muslim doctor named Ibn Nafis charted the circulation of the blood. We have Muslim doctors also to thank for inventing anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and hollow needles to extract from the eye cataracts, which is a technique still in use today.


Each year, when the Arabian desert dried up, the only way for the people to survive was to perform the backbreaking tasks of drawing water and grinding grain by hand. In 634, a clever Muslim inventor built the first windmill, which tapped on the only source of energy the desert could offer – a wind which blew steadily for months at a time. The first windmills had six or twelve sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. They provided power to draw water for irrigation, and turn mill stones for grinding corn. Europe wouldn’t see its first windmill for another 500 years.

Riddle #1

This is a tricky one. Who was the messenger who was neither of the human nor of the jinn and who warned his people and is mentioned in the Quran?

Riddle #2

I am a piece of flesh If I am pure, I can make you full of goodness If I am impure, bad deeds will flow out of you and I will make you distressed. What am I?

Riddle #3

I never knew what is a father or what is a mother as I never had any of them. Who am I?

Riddle #4

I never had a mother yet I am the mother of everyone. Who am I?

Riddle #5

I was miraculously born from a mother without a father. Who am I?

The Tale of Two Frogs

A group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.

Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn't be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible.

The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could, and after several hours of desperate effort were quite weary.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellows. Spent and disheartened, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died as the others looked on in helpless grief. The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his body was wracked with pain and he was completely exhausted.

His companions began a new, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and - wonder of wonders! Finally leapt so high that he sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his miraculous freedom and then gathering around him asked, "Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?" Reading their lips, the astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.

Moral of the story:

This simple story contains a powerful lesson. Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help him or her make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be the weapons that destroy someone's desire to continue trying - or even their life. Your destructive, careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them.

Answers : 1. Ant (Surah Naml) 2. The Heart 3. Adam (as) 4. Hawa 5. Isa (as)

The Soul Journal Team

Some of the information on this page was taken from islamcan.com