Glory of early Muslim scholars revived in exhibit


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – An interactive exhibit aims to relive the glorious age of early Islamic history during the time when renowned Muslim scholars contributed significant inventions and scientific discoveries.

Dozens of university student volunteers dressed in special costumes and trained in storytelling techniques played the roles of 14 renowned scientists and scholars at the Treasures of the Golden Age exhibit in Makkah. The exhibition ends on Thursday.

Organizers say they seek to educate visitors on significant milestones in the Islamic heritage and celebrate the achievements that have inspired humanity in scientific innovation and knowledge more than a thousand years ago.

The exhibit displays numerous major inventions that initiated significant developments until today, such as the camera, astrolabe, compass, rockets and aircraft, among others.

It also inspires the youth to play a leading role in modern life by looking up to Muslim innovators who pioneered in astrology, mathematics, optics, science, aviation, chemistry, medicine, and others.

This kind of cultural experience for Umrah pilgrims in Makkah is considered novel.

The event supported by the General Entertainment Authority offers a new style of edutainment with live performances, interactive displays, workshops and a film.

Figures such as the Andalusian polymath and aviator Abbas Ibn Firnas and 11th century Arab scholar Ibn Haytham who contributed to the science of vision are some examples of the role models for the youth to look up to.

Others include Sharafuddin Al-Tusi, a Persian mathematician and astronomer of the Islamic Golden Age, and Mohammed Ar-Razi, a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist and philosopher who is considered an important figure in the history of medicine, in addition to Lagari Hasan Celebi, an Ottoman aviator who made a successful manned rocket flight.

Famous women figures were also presented such as Mariam Al-Asturlabi, a 10th-century female astronomer and maker of astrolabes in Aleppo, and Shifaa Bint Abdullah Al-Qurashi, a nurse and teacher who later worked in public administration, becoming the first Muslim woman to hold public office.