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West Asian religion – Ottoman and Safavid, Sunni and Shiite

By | 2017-09-11T14:33:24+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Islam, Religion, West Asia|

Shah Mosque, Ishfahan, Iran (1611-38) West Asia was divided into two big empires in the 1500s AD - the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire. Both the Ottomans and the Safavids followed Islam, but they followed two different kinds of Islam. The rulers and most of the people of the Ottoman Empire followed Sunni Islam, but in the Safavid Empire most people followed Shiite Islam. [...]

Early medieval world history timeline: 400-800 AD

By | 2017-10-14T14:55:51+00:00 September 10th, 2017|History, Islam, When|

Dome of the Rock mosque, Jerusalem (600s AD) In the Early Middle Ages, many empires around the world collapsed into smaller countries. Thanks partly to the Huns invading, the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed into the smaller countries of the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Avars, and the Merovingians. In England, this is the time of the (legendary) King [...]

Eid al-Adha – Islamic holidays

By | 2017-09-03T17:43:33+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Islam, Religion, West Asia|

Islamic image of Abraham and Ishmael Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday. It falls a few months after the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr. These two celebrations are the two most important holidays of the year for Islam, and of the two, Eid al-Adha is the more important one. So Eid al-Adha is [...]

Newton’s First Law of Motion – Physics

By | 2017-08-17T13:40:34+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Islam, Physics|

Isaac Newton, mathematician and physicist About 1000 AD, in the Islamic Empire, Ibn Sina came up with the idea that an object moving in a vacuum would just keep moving forever without slowing down. But to prove this was always true, you'd need calculus, which hadn't been invented yet. In the 1700s, Isaac Newton figured out [...]

What is centrifugal force? Physics definitions

By | 2017-08-16T18:34:11+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Islam, Physics|

Kids playing tetherball using centrifugal force When something is going straight, it always keeps going straight unless something else stops it or turns it. (The Iranian scientist Ibn Sina figured this out about 1000 AD). If it can't go straight, then it goes as straight as it can. So when you hit a tetherball, it [...]

Maimonides – a Jewish doctor in medieval Cairo

By | 2017-07-27T11:38:55+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Saladin's castle in Cairo, where Maimonides worked In the 1100s AD, when Maimonides wrote his book about medicine, doctors didn't have very many medicines or medical treatments that worked. Most of the things they tried just made people even worse. Maimonides was smart enough to realize this. So he wrote his book mainly about how to stay healthy and [...]

Medieval Islamic medicine – the first hospitals and quarantines

By | 2017-12-27T12:53:10+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Islamic medicine: From an Ottoman manuscript, two doctors telling the pharmacist how to make different medicines Writing medical encyclopedias Doctors made big scientific advances in medicine during the Islamic empire. Islamic doctors began by collecting all the medical observations and logic of the past. They translated the work of Hippocrates and his followers, and Galen, into Arabic. About 750 [...]

Medieval Islamic mathematics

By | 2017-07-27T11:19:32+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Math|

Indian numbers About 630 AD, just before the Islamic empire got started, people in West Asia learned from traders or traveling scholars about "Arabic" numbers. This new way of writing numbers really came from India. The Arabic word for numbers, in fact, is hindsah, which means "from India". The new numbers included for the first time a way to write [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-08-17T15:21:26+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]