Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Al - Zahrawi - The Father of Modern Surgery

“Whatever I know, I owe solely to my assiduous reading of the books of the ancients, to my desire to understand them and to appropriate this science; then I have added the observation and experience of my whole life.”
(Abul-Qasim Khalaf Ibn Abbas al Zahrawi)

Qurtuba, Andalusia (Cordoba, Spain) 980CE

Rays of morning sunlight streamed over the rooftop canopy and struck an arched brown door embedded within a khaki stone wall. Standing in front, the master surgeon peeled an orange. He wore an ivory white thobe and matching turban and sported a neatly cropped black beard. Doctor Zahrawi grimaced as he swallowed the last sour orange segment.

Satisfied by the invisible benefits of the sun, he turned and faced the arched door to his medical clinic; the door creaked as he entered to start a new day.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Lagari Hasan Celebi – The First Rocketeer

"I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution."
(Wernher von Braun - Rocket Pioneer) 

Preparation Day

Istanbul, Turkey, 1633

The water lapped against the docks of Sarayburnu as the last glimmer of light disappeared over the horizon and left a reddish tint against the clouds. Lagari Hasan Celebi shifted his position to allow what remained of the fading light to shine on the odd looking flying machine; a cold metallic object that bore no resemblance to any bird. He planned to use this contraption to launch himself into the sky and into history.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Coffee, The Power Drink of the Pious

“Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility.”
(Shaykh Abd al–Kadir, wrote the earliest known manuscript on the history of coffee in 1588)

Tarim, Yemen - The sun rose towards its zenith, baking the Hadhramaut Valley below in a scorching 40º heat. The afternoon was no time to be in the market; still Nu’man hunched over a cart under the blazing sun, running his fingers through a pile of sesame seeds. Humus was his mother’s specialty and she demanded the whitest seeds.  Nu’man examined the pile hunting for any discolouration that might disqualify them.

Habib, the vendor from Mocha (Yemen) watched the teenager with amusement. He leaned against a pole holding up his stall’s canvas and stroked his beard. Nu’man’s frankincense misbaha (prayer beads) wrapped around his wrist caught Habib’s attention; the beads gave off a sweet scent. He must be a Sufi, thought Habib.  

“Boy!” he called out to Nu’man, who lifted his head and peered up at the vendor.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The World's First Fountain Pen

"Seek knowledge even if it means going to China"
(Prophet Muhummad (SAW))

A candle on the large Lotus wood desk flickered in the dimly lit room. The shadow of a man hunched over his desk cast against library on the wall behind him. Weathered books authored by Khwarizimi, Ptolemy, Battani, Farghani, Aristotle and Kindi; lay stacked side by side, covering a broad range of topics that interested the Sultan. An educated man, the Sultan wrote extensively from royal decrees to his thoughts about the philosophical questions of the day. But today... he was frustrated! 

Little drops of ink splattered across his desk as he dipped his quill pen in the nearby ink bottle. Blue blotches from the endless writing stained his thobe and hands. The paper on which he wrote was smudged with random blue marks, like the childish art work of a two year old toddler. It made a mockery of his nuanced philosophical argument. He thought angrily “this is not the work of a powerful ruler!”

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Battle of Yarmuk - Khalid Bin Al-Waleed’s Greatest Victory -Epilogue

March 634 - 2 Years Before The Battle of Yarmuk

Heraclius stood by the window with one hand on the wall gazing down at the city. He stared at the morning bustle in the streets of Constantinople but he wasn’t interested in the life below. He was lost in thought, disturbed by the reports he just received. A Roman Legion defeated by desert nomads!

The engagement at the oasis of Dasin, just outside of Gaza, was a minor skirmish but the Muslim victory sent a shock wave all the way up to Constantinople!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Battle of Yarmuk - Khalid Bin Al-Waleed’s Greatest Victory - Part 4

" often has a small force vanquished a large force by the permission of Allah? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere."
(Quran 2:249)

Day 6

Standing on the hilltop of Jummu’a, Khalid (RA) placed his foot on top of a large boulder. His forearms bore the brunt of his weight as he leaned forward on his thigh. Khalid (RA) watched intently as the Romans lined up into battle formation. He was looking for cracks in the defense that he could exploit and make last minute adjustments to his plan. Khalid (RA) was going to rely on speed and mobility, he was going to blitz this army and anything that could slow him down had to be dealt with.

His train of thought was interrupted when a hulking Roman on a heavy war horse trotted out arrogantly into no man’s land and threw down a challenge. Judging by his colorful ornamentation, Khalid (RA) deduced that he must be a high ranking general; and a warrior of similar status had to meet him. Khalid (RA)’s pulse quickened at the thought of fighting this fine specimen. Khalid (RA) straightened to study his opponent for a second then quickly hastened down the hill. He mounted his Arab steed and rode off toward Abu Ubaidah (RA), his Supreme commander.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Battle of Yarmuk - Khalid Bin Al-Waleed’s Greatest Victory - Part 3

Read part 2 of the Battle of Yarmuk here. 

"Women will no longer be able to give birth to the likes of Khalid bin Al-Waleed." 
(Abu Bakr (RA))

Day 5

Sitting on his Arab stallion on the hilltop Jumm’a, Khalid’s (RA) shadow cast forward as the sun rose behind him. Broad-shouldered, he folded his arms across his sturdy frame and ran the fingertips of one hand over his cheek and through his thick flowing beard. The battlefield lay sprawling before him like a game of chess; he mentally moved the pieces to corner the king.

Across the scrubby Yarmuk plain, Khalid (RA) saw the glint off the amour as the morning sun struck the Roman line. Khalid (RA) gazed at the pomp and ceremony of the Roman army; silver armour resting neatly on top of their red tunics with a hint of gold. Impressive; but never judge a soldier by his pretty clothes, Khalid (RA) thought, smiling. After four days of hard fighting, the Romans could not deliver that final fatal blow!