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Default 21st century

21st century

1983 - 2008 [architectural engineering] Zaha Hadid is an award-winning Iraqi deconstructivist architect who has won the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, Pritzker Prize and Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. She designed a number of famous postmodern architecture, including The Peak Club in Hong Kong, the Cardiff Bay Opera House, Guggenheim-Hermitage Vilnius, Eli and Edythe Broad Museum at Michigan State University, CMA CGM Tower, Bridge Pavilion, Kartal Urban Transformation at Istanbul, Riverside Museum, Glasgow Transport Museum, Eleftheria square, Nordkettenbahn (aerial tramway) at Innsbruck, Nuragic and Contemporary art museum, Maggie's centres, High speed train station of Afragola, BMW Central Building at Leipzig, Ordrupgaard annexe, Phaeno Science Center, Ursula (The Little Mermaid) at Hollywood, Bergisel Ski Jump, Price Tower extension hybrid project, Hoenheim-North Terminus & Car Park at Strasbourg, Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Vitra Fire Station, and the Z.CAR hydrogen-powered three-wheeled automobile.

2000 [computer science] Many of the core components of PayPal, including its real-time anti-fraud systems, is designed and implemented by Bangladeshi American software engineer Jawed Karim.

2000 - 2007 [chemistry, geometry, literature] In electrochemistry, Iranian scientist Ali Eftekhari is regarded as a founder of electrochemical nanotechnology, particularly for his development of carbon nanotubes. He also carries out scientific research on the field of fractal geometry and applies it to different aspects of science, thus pioneering the concepts of fractal electrochemistry, electrochemical reactions, and fractal geometry of literature.

2001 [astronautics, space exploration] Talgat Musabayev travels to the International Space Station as a commander aboard the Soyuz TM-31 and Soyuz TM-32 for over seven days. In total, he has spent over 339 days in space, making him one of the top 25 astronauts by time in space.

2001 [physics] Iranian physicist Mehran Kardar is awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship prize for his development of the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) equation

2002 - 2007 [science and politics] Abdul Kalam serves as the twelfth President of India. A notable scientist and engineer, he is often referred to as the "Missile Man of India" for his work and is considered a progressive mentor, innovator and visionary in India. He is also popularly known as the People's President.

2004 [astronautics, space exploration] Anouseh and Amir Ansari set up the Ansari X Prize to encourage private spaceflight research.

2005 [computer science] PayPal is re-designed and upscaled to 63 million users by Jawed Karim.

2005 [computer science] Jawed Karim pioneered the idea of a video hosting service with a web browser-embedded video player and co-founded YouTube as a result.

2006 [economics] Bangladeshi banker and economist Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering work on microcredit and microfinance banking.

2006 [nuclear physics] The United Nations Security Council demands that the nuclear program of Iran be suspended but Iran, the second Muslim nation with a nuclear program (after Pakistan), has rejected the demand

2006 [astronautics, space exploration] Anousheh Ansari becomes the first woman to travel to the International Space Station, the first Muslim woman in space, and the fourth space tourist

2006 [technology] Prodea Systems is founded by Hamid, Anouseh and Amir Ansari.

2007 [engineering] The Burj Dubai, currently under construction in Dubai, reaches 585.7 metres in height, surpassing the Sears Tower (previously constructed by Fazlur Khan) as the world's tallest building.

2007 [astronautics, space exploration] On October 10, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor travels to the International Space Station (ISS) with his Expedition 16 crew aboard the Soyuz TMA-11 as part of the Angkasawan program, and becomes the first Malaysian astronaut in space and the first Muslim astronaut in space during Ramadan. The National Fatwa Council writes the Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites (Ibadah) at the International Space Station, giving him advice on issues such as how to pray in a low-gravity environment, how to locate Mecca from the ISS, how to determine prayer times, and issues surrounding fasting. On October 17, he celebrated Eid ul-Fitr aboard the station.

2007 [astronautics, biology, medicine, industry, orthopedic surgery, space exploration, technology] Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who is both an astronaut and an orthopedic surgeon, becomes the first to perform biomedical research in space. His medical experiments aboard the ISS were mainly related to the characteristics and growth of liver cancer and leukemia cells, and the crystallisation of various proteins and microbes in space. The experiments relating to liver cancer, leukemia cells and microbes will benefit general science and medical research, while the experiments relating to the crystallisation of proteins, lipases in this case, will directly benefit local industries in Malaysia. Lipase are a type of protein enzymes used in the manufacturing of diverse range of products from textiles to cosmetics, and the opportunity to grow these in space will allow Malaysian scientists to producing these locally rather than importing them.

Last edited by Shooting Star; Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 02:31 AM.
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Default 20 Greatest Innovations by Muslims

20 Greatest Innovations by Muslims

1) Coffee
The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London.
The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

2) Pin-Hole Camera
The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.


3) Chess
A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe - where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century - and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

4) Parachute
A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing.
Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

5) Shampoo
Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

6) Refinement
Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

7) Shaft
The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

8) Metal Armor
Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders' metal armour and was an effective form of insulation - so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

9) Pointed Arch
The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's - with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V's castle architect was a Muslim.

10) Surgery
Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

11) Windmill
The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12) Vaccination
The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13) Fountain Pen
The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14) Numerical Numbering
The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi's book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi's discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15) Soup
Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal - soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas - see No 4).

16) Carpets
Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art. In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17) Pay Cheques
The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18) Earch is in sphere shape?
By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40, 253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19) Rocket and Torpedo
Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20) Gardens

Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.
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Default Ibn Sina (Avicenna) - doctor of doctors

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) - doctor of doctors

by Dr. Monzur Ahmed

Ibn Sina was born in 980 C.E. in the village of Afshana near Bukhara which today is located in the far south of Russia. His father, Abdullah, an adherent of the Ismaili sect, was from Balkh and his mother from a village near Bukhara.

In any age Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, would have been a giant among giants. He displayed exceptional intellectual prowess as a child and at the age of ten was already proficient in the Qur'an and the Arabic classics. During the next six years he devoted himself to Muslim Jurisprudence, Philosophy and Natural Science and studied Logic, Euclid, and the Almeagest.

He turned his attention to Medicine at the age of 17 years and found it, in his own words, "not difficult". However he was greatly troubled by metaphysical problems and in particular the works of Aristotle. By chance, he obtained a manual on this subject by the celebrated philosopher al-Farabi which solved his difficulties.

By the age of 18 he had built up a reputation as a physician and was summoned to attend the Samani ruler Nuh ibn Mansur (reigned 976-997 C.E.), who, in gratitude for Ibn Sina's services, allowed him to make free use of the royal library, which contained many rare and even unique books. Endowed with great powers of absorbing and retaining knowledge, this Muslim scholar devoured the contents of the library and at the age of 21 was in a position to compose his first book.

At about the same time he lost his father and soon afterwards left Bukhara and wandered westwards. He entered the services of Ali ibn Ma'mun, the ruler of Khiva, for a while, but ultimately fled to avoid being kidnapped by the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna. After many wanderings he came to Jurjan, near the Caspian Sea, attracted by the fame of its ruler, Qabus, as a patron of learning. Unfortunately Ibn Sina's arrival almost coincided with the deposition and murder of this ruler. At Jurjan, Ibn Sina lectured on logic and astronomy and wrote the first part of the Qanun, his greatest work.








Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdullah ibn Sina (980-1037 C.E.)


He then moved to Ray, near modern Teheran and established a busy medical practice. When Ray was besieged, Ibn Sina fled to Hamadan where he cured Amir Shamsud-Dawala of colic and was made Prime Minister. A mutiny of soldiers against him caused his dismissal and imprisonment, but subsequently the Amir, being again attacked by the colic, summoned him back, apologised and reinstated him! His life at this time was very strenuous: during the day he was busy with the Amir's services, while a great deal of the night was passed in lecturing and dictating notes for his books. Students would gather in his home and read parts of his two great books, the Shifa and the Qanun, already composed.

Following the death of the Amir, Ibn Sina fled to Isfahan after a few brushes with the law, including a period in prison. He spent his final years in the services of the ruler of the city, Ala al-Daula whom he advised on scientific and literary matters and accompanied on military campaigns.

Friends advised him to slow down and take life in moderation, but this was not in character. "I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length", he would reply. Worn out by hard work and hard living, Ibn Sina died in 1036/1 at a comparatively early age of 58 years. He was buried in Hamadan where his grave is still shown.

Al-Qifti states that Ibn Sina completed 21 major and 24 minor works on philosophy, medicine, theology, geometry, astronomy and the like. Another source (Brockelmann) attributes 99 books to Ibn Sina comprising 16 on medicine, 68 on theology and metaphysics 11 on astronomy and four on verse. Most of these were in Arabic; but in his native Persian he wrote a large manual on philosophical science entitled Danish-naama-i-Alai and a small treatise on the pulse.

His most celebrated Arabic poem describes the descent of Soul into the Body from the Higher Sphere. Among his scientific works, the leading two are the Kitab al-Shifa
(Book of Healing), a philosophical encyclopaedia based
upon Aristotelian traditions and the al-Qanun al-Tibb
which represents the final categorisation of Greco-Arabian thoughts on Medicine.

Of Ibn Sina's 16 medical works, eight are versified treatises on such matter as the 25 signs indicating the fatal termination of illnesses, hygienic precepts, proved remedies, anatomical memoranda etc. Amongst his prose works, after the great Qanun, the treatise on cardiac drugs, of which the British Museum possesses several fine manuscripts, is probably the most important, but it remains unpublished.

The Qanun is, of course, by far the largest, most famous and most important of Ibn Sina's works. The work contains about one million words and like most Arabic books, is elaborately divided and subdivided. The main division is into five books, of which the first deals with general principles; the second with simple drugs arranged alphabetically; the third with diseases of particular organs and members of the body from the head to the foot; the fourth with diseases which though local in their inception spread to other parts of the body, such as fevers and the fifth with compound medicines.

The Qanun distinguishes mediastinitis from pleurisy and recognises the contagious nature of phthisis (tuberculosis of the lung) and the spread of disease by water and soil. It gives a scientific diagnosis of ankylostomiasis and attributes the condition to an intestinal worm. The Qanun points out the importance of dietetics, the influence of climate and environment on health and the surgical use of oral anaesthetics. Ibn Sina advised surgeons to treat cancer in its earliest stages, ensuring the removal of all the diseased tissue. The Qanun's materia medica considers some 760 drugs, with comments on their application and effectiveness. He recommended the testing of a new drug on animals and humans prior to general use.

Ibn Sina noted the close relationship between emotions and the physical condition and felt that music had a definite physical and psychological effect on patients. Of the many psychological disorders that he described in the Qanun, one is of unusual interest: love sickness! ibn Sina is reputed to have diagnosed this condition in a Prince in Jurjan who lay sick and whose malady had baffled local doctors. Ibn Sina noted a fluttering in the Prince's pulse when the address and name of his beloved were mentioned. The great doctor had a simple remedy: unite the sufferer with the beloved.

The Arabic text of the Qanun was published in Rome in 1593 and was therefore one of the earliest Arabic books to see print. It was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century. This 'Canon', with its encyclopaedic content, its systematic arrangement and philosophical plan, soon worked its way into a position of pre-eminence in the medical literature of the age displacing the works of Galen, al-Razi and al-Majusi, and becoming the text book for medical education in the schools of Europe. In the last 30 years of the 15th century it passed through 15 Latin editions and one Hebrew. In recent years, a partial translation into English was made. From the 12th-17th century, the Qanun served as the chief guide to Medical Science in the West and is said to have influenced Leonardo da Vinci. In the words of Dr. William Osler, the Qanun has remained "a medical bible for a longer time than any other work".

Despite such glorious tributes to his work, Ibn Sina is rarely remembered in the West today and his fundamental contributions to Medicine and the European reawakening goes largely unrecognised. However, in the museum at Bukhara, there are displays showing many of his writings, surgical instruments from the period and paintings of patients undergoing treatment. An impressive monument to the life and works of the man who became known as the 'doctor of doctors' still stands outside Bukhara museum and his portrait hangs in the Hall of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Paris.
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Default El Zahrawi (Albucasis) - father of surgery

El Zahrawi (Albucasis) - father of surgery



Almost a thousand years ago at a time when Spain (Andulesia) was part of the Islamic empire, there lived near the capital city of Cordoba one of the great, but now largely forgotten, pioneers of surgery. He was known as El Zahrawi, though in European languages his name is written in over a dozen different ways: Abulcases, Albucasis, Bulcasis, Bulcasim, Bulcari, Alzahawi, Ezzahrawi, Zahravius, Alcarani, Alsarani, Aicaravi, Alcaravius, Alsahrawi etc.

El Zahrawi is believed to have been born in the city of El-Zahra, six miles northwest of Cordoba, sometime between 936 and 940. It was here that he lived, studied, taught and practised medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of El-Zahra.

Because El-Zahra was pillaged and destroyed, little is known about its illustrious son El Zahrawi. He was first mentioned by the Andalusian scholar Abu Muhammad bin Hazm (993-1064), who listed him among the great physician- surgeons of Moorish Spain. The first known biography of El Zahrawi, however, appeared in al-Humaydi's Jadhwat al-Muqtabis (On Andalusian Savants), completed six decades after El Zahrawi's death.

It is clear from El Zahrawi's life history and from his writings that he devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular. El Zahrawi wrote a medical encyclopaedia spanning 30 volumes which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition etc. This book was known as At-Tasrif and contained data that El Zahrawi had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. He apparently travelled very little but had wide experience in treating accident victims and war casualties.

In At-Tasrif, El Zahrawi expressed his concern about the welfare of his students whom he called "my children". He
emphasised the importance of a good doctor patient relationship and took great care to ensure the safety of his
patients and win their trust irrespective of their social status. El Zahrawi's clinical methods showed extreme foresight - he promoted the close observation of individual cases in order to establish the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatment. He insisted on compliance with ethical norms and warned against dubious practices adopted by some physicians for purposes of material gain. He also cautioned against quacks who claimed surgical skills they did not possess.

At-Tasrif contains many original observations of historical interest. In it, El Zahrawi elaborates on the causes and symptoms of disease and theorises on the upbringing of
children and youth and on the care of the aged and convalescent. In the section on pharmacology and therapeutics, he covers areas such as cardiac drugs, emetics, laxatives, cosmetology, dietetics, materia medica, weights and measures and drug substitution.

At-Tasrif was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century and alongside Avicenna's Canon, played a major role as a medical text in the universities of Europe from the 12th to the 17th century AD. Two of El Zahrawi's treatises deserve special mention. Firstly his 28th treatise, known in Latin as Liber servitoris de preeparatione medicinarum simplicium, describes chemical preparations, tablet making, filtering of extracts and related pharmaceutical techniques. This treatise was printed in Venice in 1471 by Nicolaus Jensen.
elzahraw1.gif (8195 bytes)
Abu al-Qasim Khalaf bin 'Abbas el-Zahrawi (940? - 1013 C.E.)


Perhaps the most importance treatise is the one on surgery. This monumental work was the first in Arabic to treat surgery independently and in detail. It included many pictures of surgical instruments, most invented by El Zahrawi himself, and explanations of their use. El Zahrawi was the first medical author to provide illustrations of instruments used in surgery. There are approximately 200 such drawings ranging from a tongue depressor and a tooth extractor to a catheter and an elaborate obstetric device.

The variety of operations covered is amazing. In this treatise El Zahrawi discussed cauterisation, bloodletting,
midwifery and obstetrics and the treatment of wounds. He described the exposure and division of the temporal artery to relieve certain types of headaches, diversion of urine into the rectum, reduction mammoplasty for excessively large breasts and the extraction of cataracts. He wrote extensively about injuries to bones and joints, even mentioning fractures of the nasal bones and of the vertebrae. In fact 'Kocher's method' for reducing a dislocated shoulder was described in At-Tasrif long before Kocher was born! El Zahrawi outlined the use of caustics in surgery, fully described tonsillectomy, tracheotomy and craniotomy- operations he had performed on a dead foetus. He explained how to use a hook to extract a polyp tiom the nose, how to use a bulb syringe he had invented for giving enemas to children and how to use a metallic bladder syringe and speculum to extract bladder stones.

El Zahrawi was the first to describethe so-called "Walcher position" in obstetrics; the first to depict dental arches, tongue depressors and lead catheters and the first to describe clearly the hereditary circumstances surrounding haemophilia. He also described ligaturing of blood vessels long before Ambroise Pare.

Once At-Tasrif was translated into Latin in the 12th century, El Zahrawi had a tremendous influence on
surgery in the West. The French surgeon Guy de Chauliac in his 'Great Surgery', completed in about 1363, quoted At-Tasrif over 200 times. El Zahrawi was described by Pietro Argallata (died 1423) as "without doubt the chief of all surgeons". Jaques Delechamps (1513-1588), another French surgeon, made extensive use of At-Tasrif in his elaborate commentary, confirming the great prestige of El Zahrawi throughout the Middle Ages and up to the Renaissance.
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Default the great traveller

Ibn Battuta - the great traveller




by A.S. Chughtai
"To the world of today the men of medieval Christendom already seem remote and unfamiliar. Their names and deeds are recorded in our history-books, their monuments still adorn our cities, but our kinship with them is a thing unreal, which costs an effort of imagination. How much more must this apply to the great Islamic civilization, that stood over against medieval Europe, menacing its existence and yet linked to it by a hundred ties that even war and fear could not sever. Its monuments too abide, for those who may have the fortunate to visit them, but its men and manners are to most of us utterly unknown, or dimly conceived in the romantic image of the Arabian Nights. Even for the specialist it is difficult to reconstruct their lives and see them as they were. Histories and biographies there are in quantity, but the historians for all their picturesque details, seldom show the ability to select the essential and to give their figures that touch of the intimate which makes them live again for the reader. It is in this faculty that Ibn Battuta excels."

Thus begins the book, "Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia andAfrica 1325-1354" published by Routledge and Kegan Paul (1).





Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta

Introduction

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad - Din, was born at Tangier, Morocco, on the 24th February 1304 C.E. (703 Hijra). He left Tangier on Thursday, 14th June, 1325 C.E. (2nd Rajab 725 A.H.), when he was twenty one years of age. His travels lasted for about thirty years, after which he returned to Fez, Morocco at the court of Sultan Abu 'Inan and dictated accounts of his journeys to Ibn Juzay. These are known as the famous Travels (Rihala) of Ibn Battuta. He died at Fez in 1369 C.E.

Ibn Battuta was the only medieval traveller who is known to have visited the lands of every Muslim ruler of his time. He also travelled in Ceylon (present Sri Lanka), China and Byzantium and South Russia. The mere extent of his travels is estimated at no less than 75,000 miles, a figure which is not likely to have been surpassed before the age of steam.



Travels

In the course of his first journey, Ibn Battuta travelled through Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, Palestine and Syria to Makkah. After visiting Iraq, Shiraz and Mesopotamia he once more returned to perform the Hajj at Makkah and remained there for three years. Then travelling to Jeddah he went to Yemen by sea, visited Aden andset sail for Mombasa, East Africa. After going up to Kulwa he came back to Oman and repeated pilgrimage to Makkah in 1332 C.E. via Hormuz, Siraf, Bahrain and Yamama. Subsequently he set out with the purpose of going to India, but on reaching Jeddah, he appears to have changed his mind (due perhaps to the unavailability of a ship bound for India), and revisited Cairo, Palestine and Syria, thereafter arriving at Aleya (Asia Minor) by sea and travelled across Anatolia and Sinope. He then crossed the Black Sea and after long wanderings he reached Constantinople through Southern Ukraine.

On his return, he visited Khurasan through Khawarism (Khiva) and having visited all the important cities such as Bukhara, Balkh, Herat, Tus, Mashhad and Nishapur, he crossed the Hindukush mountains via the 13,000 ft Khawak Pass into Afghanistan and passing through Ghani and Kabul entered India. After visiting Lahri (near modern Karachi), Sukkur, Multan, Sirsa and Hansi, he reached Delhi. For several years Ibn Battuta enjoyed the patronage of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, and was later sent as Sultan's envoy to China. Passing through Cental India and Malwa he took ship from Kambay for Goa, and after visiting many thriving ports along the Malabar coast he reached the Maldive Islands, from which he crossed to Ceylon. Continuing his journey, he landed on the Ma'bar (Coromandal) coast and once more returning to the Maldives he finally set sail for Bengal and visited Kamrup, Sylhet and Sonargaon (near Dhaka). Sailing along the Arakan coast he came to Sumatra and later landed at Canton via Malaya and Cambodia. In China he travelled northward to Peking through Hangchow. Retracing his steps he returned to Calicut and taking ship came to Dhafari and Muscat, and passing through Paris (Iran), Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt made his seventh and last pilgrimage to Makkah in November 1348 C.E. and then returned to his home town of Fez. His travels did not end here - he later visited Muslim Spain and the lands of the Niger across the Sahara.

On his return to Fez, Ibn Battuta dictated the accounts ofhis travels to Ibn Juzay al-Kalbi (1321-1356 C.E.) at the court of Sultan Abu Inan (1348-1358 C.E). Ibn Juzay took three months to accomplish this work ,which he finished on 9th December 1355 C.E.
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Writings

In order to experience the flavour of Ibn Battuta's narrative one must sample a few extracts. The following passage illustrates the system of social security in operation in the Muslim world in the early 14th century C.E. :

"The variety and expenditure of the religious endowmentsat Damascus are beyond computation. There are endowments in aid of persons who cannot undertake the pilgrimage to Makkah, out of which ate paid the expenses of those who go in their stead. There are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits to girls whose families are unable to provide them, and others for the freeing of prisoners. There are endowments for travellers, out of the revenues of which they are given food, clothing, and the expenses of conveyance to their countries. Then there are endowments for the improvement and paving of the streets, because all the lanes in Damascus have pavements on either side, on which the foot passengers walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the centre". p.69, ref l

Here is another example which describes Baghdad in the early 14th century C.E. :

"Then we travelled to Baghdad, the Abode of Peace andCapital of Islam. Here there are two bridges like that at Hilla, on which the people promenade night and day, both men and women. The baths at Baghdad are numerous and excellently constructed, most of them being painted with pitch, which has the appearance of black marble. This pitch is brought from a spring between Kufa and Basra, from which it flows continually. It gathers at the sides of the spring like clay and is shovelled up and brought to Baghdad. Each establishment has a number of private bathrooms, every one of which has also a wash-basin in the corner, with two taps supplying hot and cold water. Every bather is given three towels, one to wear round his waist when he goes in, another to wear round his waist when he comes out, and the third to dry himself with." p.99, ref 1

In the next example Ibn Battuta describes in great detailsome of the crops and fruits encountered on his travels:

"From Kulwa we sailed to Dhafari [Dhofar], at the extremity of Yemen. Thoroughbred horses are exported from here to India, the passage taking a month with favouring wind.... The inhabitants cultivate millet and irrigate it from very deep wells, the water from which is raised in a large bucket drawn by a number of ropes. In the neighbourhood of the town there are orchards with many banana trees. The bananas are of immense size; one which was weighed in my presence scaled twelve ounces and was pleasant to the taste and very sweet. They also grow betel-trees and coco-palms, which are found only in India and the town of Dhafari." p.113, ref 1

Another example of In Battuta's keen observation is seen in the next passage:

"Betel-trees are grown like vines on can trellises or else trained up coco-palms. They have no fruit and are only grown for their leaves. The Indians have a high opinion of betel, and if a man visits a friend and the latter gives him five leaves of it, you would think he had given him the world, especially if he is a prince or notable. A gift of betel is a far greater honour than a gift of gold and silver. It is used in the following way: First one takes areca-nuts, which are like nutmegs, crushes them into small bits and chews them. Then the betel leaves are taken, a little chalk is put on them, and they are chewed with the areca-nuts." p.114, ref 1


Ibn Battuta - The Forgotten Traveller

Ibn Battuta's sea voyages and references to shipping reveal that the Muslims completely dominated the maritime activity of the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Chinese waters. Also it is seen that though the Christian traders were subject to certain restrictions, most of the economic negotiations were transacted on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Ibn Battuta, one of the most remarkable travellers of all time, visited China sixty years after Marco Polo and in fact travelled 75,000 miles, much more than Marco Polo. Yet Battuta is never mentioned in geography books used in Muslim countries, let alone those in the West. Ibn Battuta's contribution to geography is unquestionably as great as that of any geographer yet the accounts of his travels are not easily accessible except to the specialist. The omission of reference to Ibn Battuta's contribution in geography books is not an isolated example. All great Musiims whether historians, doctors, astronomers, scientists or chemists suffer the same fate. One can understand why these great Muslims are ignored by the West. But the indifference of the Muslim governments is incomprehensible. In order to combat the inferiority complex that plagues the Muslim Ummah, we must rediscover the contributions of Muslims in fields such as science, medicine, engineering, architecture and astronomy. This will encourage contemporary young Muslims to strive in these fields and not think that major success is beyond their reach.

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Default Caesarean Birth - an Islamic View

Caesarean Birth - an Islamic View

by Dr. N.H. Naqvi
Until the 16th century C.E. the operation of Caesarean section was a mystery and highly controversial in Europe but in the Middle Ages, Muslims wrote about the operation and even illustrated it with pictures. Towards the end of the 12th Century C.E. the European nations were beginning to surpass their rivals in the Islamic East. The increasing strength of the West took full advantage of scientific and literary discoveries of the Muslims. Far from giving any credit to the Muslims or acknowledging their contributions to science, the Western scholars painted a very distorted picture and left highly biased opinions of their predecessors from the Islamic world. This fact can be very easily illustrated by many examples from the history of medicine.

It is unfortunate that the Western medical historians have not appreciated the value of the writings of early Muslim scholars. On the contrary, for many centuries they have made positive efforts to discredit the Muslims. As an example, it is a generally held view in the West that surgical advancement was discouraged by great Muslim physicians like Ibn Sina because, in his Al-Qanon he did not emphasise surgical procedures. In these futile efforts it is forgotten that Al-Qanon was primarily a treatise on internal medicine and not on surgery. Many European authors of later ages produced medical texts on similar patterns. Moreover these shortsighted historians completely ignored surgical geniuses and the contributions of people like Abu Qasim (known in the West as Al Bucasis). In this context, the history of Caesarean section presents a good example. In 1863 a French medical historian by the name of C. Rique recorded that the operation of Caesarean section was strictly prohibited in Islam . He went on to say that according to Islamic jurists any child born by such an operation should be killed immediately as a child of the Devil. This author also quoted the name of an unknown Arab to justify his conclusion. But even after exhaustive searches this reference can not be found in the authentic Arabic literature. From the middle of the last century until modem times, Rique's statement has been quoted and referred to by many historians without establishing the truth or its validity. The literature on this subject is littered with references to the above quotation without even referring to the original source. On the contrary, no medical historian has ever mentioned that during the middle ages it was a well known belief in Europe that the devil or the Antichrist would be born by Caesarean section before the end of the world. This legend is mentioned and supported by a picture in a book published in 1898 by R. Procter and can be seen in the British Museum.

Unfortunately worthwhile literature of the early Islamic period is scanty and scattered or else is in the wrong hands. Many valuable manuscripts are either in private hands used only as profitable investments or in museums all over Europe and America. The Islamic states and the statesmen who can easily afford to collect and compile copies of these manuscripts for free circulation have never shown any interest in this wealth of inheritance. Lack of interest and research in these early manuscripts has created an atmosphere of doubt and misinformation.

If someone cared to devote time and effort searching through the available literature, a great a deal of truth could easily be found buried under the sands of time. As regards Caesarean section we know that in the pre-Islamic days the Romans used to perform this operation after the death of a pregnant woman. This practice was strictly governed by law. Jewish religious books have also mentioned various rules in relation to a child born by an operation. If we go further back into history, in India we find that the Buddha was possibly born by an operation. A famous Indian medical man by the name of Susruta wrote about such an operation in 6th or 7th century B.C. All these rich sources relating to Caesarean section were available to Muslim scholars of the Middle Ages, when a vast amount of scientific literature was translated into Arabic. In fact many of the Syriac, Creek and Sanskrit texts were only saved and are available to us because of their Arabic translations whilst the originals are lost forever. Many of the famous translators in the Islamic period were Christians or Jews. We known that an Indian by the name of Manka was appointed to translate Susruta's works into Arabic.

A unique and extremely rare manuscript exists in Edinburgh University Library. It is manuscript number 161 called "Al-Asrar-al-Baqiyah-an-al-Qurun-al-Khaliydh" or the Chronological History of Nations. It was written by the famous Muslim, Al-Beruni, who died at the age of 78 in 1048 C.E. Al-Beruni has also left us a large volume on the history of India and many other texts. He travelled extensively in pre-Muslim India and his writings were greatly influenced by these experiences. In particular he was impressed by medicinal plants form India. In the above manuscript Al-Beruni has mentioned that Caesar Augustus (63 B.C. - 14 C.E.) was born by post-mortem Caesarean section. He also wrote that a folk hero Ahmed-Ibn-Sahl was born by Caesarean section after the death of his mother. Apart from these two very relevant references he actually included a picture of the Caesarean section in his book. Without any question this picture is the first ever illustration of such an operation in a textbook and places its author at least 500 years ahead of others.

Another famous name and contemporary of Al-Beruni was Firdousi (935-1025 C.E.), author of the well known "Shahnama". In this 60 000 verses long poems he described the birth of Rustum by Caesarean section. This lively and fascinating description and use of anaesthesia during the operation is there for everyone to read and provides convincing proof that the concept of Caesarean section was mature and its use was an accepted fact.

When we seek help from the religious authorities we discover no less than the towering figure of Imam Abu Hanifah (699 -767 C.E.) who decreed that an operation on a living or dead woman to save the life of an unborn child is allowed in Islam. This is mentioned in a book called Radd-ul-Mukhtar published in 1844 in Egypt.

Further strong evidence is available in the Fatawa Alamgeeria-a collection of Islamic decrees compiled by Sheikh Nitzam -ud -Din of Burhanpur under the auspices of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, who himself was well versed in Islamic Sharia. In this document there is a decree that if a pregnant woman dies and a child is expected to be alive, then the child must be removed by operation. It goes on to say that the operation should also be performed in order to save the life of a mother when the child is known to be dead.

In conclusion it can be proved that Caesarean section has never been prohibited by any Muslim authority. On the contrary, the Muslims in the Middle ages were the first to write about it in text and poetry and to illustrate the operation in pictures. They also formulated rules governing religious matters to allow such a procedure when the need arose.
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Default Water Raising Machines

Water Raising Machines




Throughout history, the supply of water for drinking, domestic, irrigation and industrial purposes has always been a vital consideration in Muslirn countries. The problem has always consisted of finding effective means of raising water from its source.

Early examples of water raising machines includethe shaduf (fig 1), saqiya (fig 2) and noria (fig 3). The shaduf was known in ancient times in Egypt and Assyria. It consists of a long beam supported between two pillars by a wooden horizontal bar. A counterweight was attached to the short arm of the beam. A bucket suspended by a rope or a pole was attached to the long arm of the beam. The bucket was lowered into the water by bearing down on the rope/pole and the counterweight raised the full bucket. The shaduf is still widespread in Egypt.

The saqiya is a animal powered machine. The central mechanism consists of two gears- a large vertical cogwheel and a horizontal lantern pinion-meshing at right angles. The vertical cogwheel is mounted over the source of the water and drives another wheel carrying a chain of earthenware pots ('potgarland') secured by rope. An animal- donkey, mule or camel- is used to turn the horizontal lantern pinion. As the animal walks in a circular path the potgarland wheel turns. The pots dip into the water, raise it to the surface and discharge it into a tank. The saqiya was known in Roman times. Almost certainly it was in use in Arabia before the advent of Islam. The machine was probably transmitted to Spain from Syria
when Muslims introduced their irrigation methods to Spain. The saqiya is still in use in the Muslim world and in the Iberian peninsula and the Balearic islands.

The noria is a water powered machine that is most suitable in areas where there are fast flowing streams whose courses are some distance below the surrounding fields. The wheels are mounted between piers which carry the bearings for the axle. The diameter of the largest wheel is about 20m and there are 120 compartments in the rim. The wheel is turned by the impact of water on paddles mounted on the rim. The compartments dip into the water and are carried to the top where they discharge into a head tank connected to an aqueduct. The noria was already in use in Roman times and was described by Vitruvius in 1 BC. References in the works of Arab geographers show that norias were in use throughout the Muslirn world. Although the machines are now rarely used, some fine examples can still be seen, notably on the River Orontes at Hama in Syria.

At an early stage Muslim engineers were exploring new methods for increasing the effectiveness of water raising machines. Al-Jazari and Taqi al-Din both described water-raising machines that show an awareness of the need to develop machines with a greater output than these traditional ones.

Al-Jazari was responsible for the design of five machines in the thirteenth century C.E. His first two machines were modifications of the shaduf. The machines used a flume-beam: instead of a pole, an open channel is connected to a scoop, which has its spout elongated into a flume. The scoop dips into the water and when the beam rises the water runs back through the channel and discharges into the irrigation system. The machines were animal powered as in the saqiya.

Al-Jazari's third machine was a development of the saqiya in which water power replaced animal power. Flowing water turned a water wheel which via a system of perpendicular gears caused a chain of pots to raise the water. One such machine was located on the River Yazid in Damascus (13th century) and is thought to have supplied the needs of a nearby hospital.

The fourth machine again used a flume-beamand was animal powered. The beam was moved up and down by an intricate mechanism involving gears and a crank. This is the first known instance of the use of a crank as part of a machine- the earliest appearance in Europe of a crank as part of a machine occured in the fifteenth century C.E.

Al-Jazari's fifth machine, a water-driven pump was a more radical device. A water wheel turned a vertical cog wheel which in turn turned a horizontal wheel. The latter caused two opposing copper pistons to oscillate. The cylinders of the pistons were connected to suction and delivery pipes which were guarded by one-way clack valves (i.e. hinged at one end). The suction pipes drew water from a water sump down below and the delivery pipes discharged the water into the supply system about 12m above the installation. This pump is an early example of the double-acting principle (while one piston sucks the other delivers) and the conver sion of rotatory to reciprocating motion.


water1a.gif (1255 bytes)
Fig 1. Shaduf



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Fig 2. The Saqiya



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Fig 3. The Noria


Taqi al-Din describes a slightly modifred version of Al Jazari's fifth machine in his book on machines (l6th century). Even more remarkable is Taqi al-Din's six-cylinder 'monobloc' pump driven by water power (fig 4). The water wheel was attached to a long horizontal axle. The axle had six cams spaced along its length. Opposite each cam was a lever-arm, supported in the middle and pin-jointed at the other end to a vertical piston rod. The upper end of each piston rod carried a lead weight. The bottom of each piston cylinder had a clack valve. When the water wheel rotated, each lever arm was raised in succession by the cams, water was then drawn up by the piston through the valve. When the lever was released the lead weight ejected the water up through the delivery system .

It is of note that Taqi al-Din's book which also includes a steam-driven spit antedates the famous book of machines, Le diverse et artificiose machine of Agostine Ramelli published in 1588 in Paris.
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Default Naguib Mahfouz The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988


Naguib Mahfouz
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988




Born in Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and ten more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. One novel was republished in 1953, however, and the appearance of the Cairo Triology, Bayn al Qasrayn, Qasr al Shawq, Sukkariya (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse) in 1957 made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life. With The Children of Gebelawi (1959), he began writing again, in a new vein that frequently concealed political judgements under allegory and symbolism. Works of this second period include the novels, The Thief and the Dogs (1961), Autumn Quail (1962), Small Talk on the Nile (1966), and Miramar (1967), as well as several collections of short stories.

Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. The years since his retirement from the Egyptian bureaucracy have seen an outburst of further creativity, much of it experimental. He is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. In Egypt, each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf.

Note : people have different view about its only for info
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Default Mohamed Anwar El Sadat

MOHAMED ANWAR EL SADAT




born Dec. 25, 1918, Mit Abū al-Kum, al-Minūfīyah governorate, Egypt died Oct. 6, 1981, Cairo

Egyptian army officer and politician who was president of Egypt from 1970 until his death. He initiated serious peace negotiations with Israel, an achievement for which he shared the 1978 Nobel Prize for Peace with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Under their leadership, Egypt and Israel made peace with each other in 1979.
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Default Yasser Arafat The Nobel Peace Prize 1994


Yasser Arafat
The Nobel Peace Prize 1994





Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Hussaeini was born on 24 August 1929 in Cairo**, his father a textile merchant who was a Palestinian with some Egyptian ancestry, his mother from an old Palestinian family in Jerusalem. She died when Yasir, as he was called, was five years old, and he was sent to live with his maternal uncle in Jerusalem, the capital of the British Mandate of Palestine. He has revealed little about his childhood, but one of his earliest memories is of British soldiers breaking into his uncle's house after midnight, beating members of the family and smashing furniture.

After four years in Jerusalem, his father brought him back to Cairo, where an older sister took care of him and his siblings. Arafat never mentions his father, who was not close to his children. Arafat did not attend his father's funeral in 1952.

In Cairo, before he was seventeen Arafat was smuggling arms to Palestine to be used against the British and the Jews. At nineteen, during the war between the Jews and the Arab states, Arafat left his studies at the University of Faud I (later Cairo University) to fight against the Jews in the Gaza area. The defeat of the Arabs and the establishment of the state of Israel left him in such despair that he applied for a visa to study at the University of Texas. Recovering his spirits and retaining his dream of an independent Palestinian homeland, he returned to Faud University to major in engineering but spent most of his time as leader of the Palestinian students.

He did manage to get his degree in 1956, worked briefly in Egypt, then resettled in Kuwait, first being employed in the department of public works, next successfully running his own contracting firm. He spent all his spare time in political activities, to which he contributed most of the profits. In 1958 he and his friends founded Al-Fatah, an underground network of secret cells, which in 1959 began to publish a magazine advocating armed struggle against Israel. At the end of 1964 Arafat left Kuwait to become a full-time revolutionary, organising Fatah raids into Israel from Jordan.

It was also in 1964 that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established, under the sponsorship of the Arab League, bringing together a number of groups all working to free Palestine for the Palestinians. The Arab states favoured a more conciliatory policy than Fatah's, but after their defeat by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, Fatah emerged from the underground as the most powerful and best organised of the groups making up the PLO, took over that organisation in 1969 when Arafat became the chairman of the PLO executive committee. The PLO was no longer to be something of a puppet organisation of the Arab states, wanting to keep the Palestinians quiet, but an independent nationalist organisation, based in Jordan.

Arafat developed the PLO into a state within the state of Jordan with its own military forces. King Hussein of Jordan, disturbed by its guerrilla attacks on Israel and other violent methods, eventually expelled the PLO from his country. Arafat sought to build a similar organisation in Lebanon, but this time was driven out by an Israeli military invasion. He kept the organization alive, however, by moving its headquarters to Tunis. He was a survivor himself, escaping death in an airplane crash, surviving any assassination attempts by Israeli intelligence agencies, and recovering from a serious stroke.

His life was one of constant travel, moving from country to country to promote the Palestinian cause, always keeping his movements secret, as he did any details about his private life. Even his marriage to Suha Tawil, a Palestinian half his age, was kept secret for some fifteen months. She had already begun significant humanitarian activities at home, especially for disabled children, but the prominent part she took in the public events in Oslo was a surprise for many Arafat-watchers. Since then, their daughter, Zahwa, named after Arafat's mother, has been born.

The period after the expulsion from Lebanon was a low time for Arafat and the PLO. Then the intifada (shaking) protest movement strengthened Arafat by directing world attention to the difficult plight of the Palestinians. In 1988 came a change of policy. In a speech at a special United Nations session held in Geneva, Switzerland, Arafat declared that the PLO renounced terrorism and supported "the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to live in peace and security, including the state of Palestine, Israel and other neighbours".

The prospects for a peace agreement with Israel now brightened. After a setback when the PLO supported Iraq in the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the peace process began in earnest, leading to the Oslo Accords of 1993.

This agreement included provision for the Palestinian elections which took place in early 1996, and Arafat was elected President of the Palestine Authority. Like other Arab regimes in the area, however, Arafat's governing style tended to be more dictatorial than democratic. When the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in Israel in 1996, the peace process slowed down considerably. Much depends upon the nature of the new Israeli government, which will result from the elections to be held in 1999.
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