Did You Know?

Next time you sit on a plane, look at the clock, go to the opticians or do some maths remember it is Muslims who invented and discovered these.


What we are told: The first mention of man in flight was by Roger Bacon & Leonardo da Vinci who drew flying apparatus?

Well... Actually Ibn Firnas of Spain constructed & tested a flying machine in 800A.D. (1) Roger Bacon & Leonardo da Vinci studied this work and copied it 700 years later.


What we are told: Until the 14th Century the only type of clock was a water clock built in 1335 in Milan Italy. This was the first weight driven clock.

Well... Actually During the 9th century, Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain, according to Will Durant, invented a watch-like device, which kept accurate time.(2)


What we are told: Isaac Newton was the founder of optics. The first edition of Newton’s Optics was published, in English, in 1704 (London: Smith & Walford).

Well... Actually Abu 'Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham a mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the principles of optics and the use of scientific experiments in the 10th century. (4)

Decimal Fraction

What we are told: Developed by Simon Steven a Dutch man in 1589

Well... Actually Al Kashi from Iran had a book called key to arithmetic in the 15th Century. (5)


  1. The University of Houston's College of Engineering.
  2. ibid
  3. Britannica New edition.
  4. The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
  5. Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York 1970-1990).