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5 Arab Inventors That Shaped Our World

posted on: Sep 25, 2020

5 Muslim Inventors That Shaped Our World

By: Raneem Ghunaim/ Arab America Contributing Writer    Our lives would not have been the same without these inventors. Everything from wifi to phones to cameras, we have because the ideas have originated from Muslim inventors. Take a look and who shaped our current world.

Rachid Yazami

5 Muslim Inventors That Shaped Our World

Professor Rachid Yazami is an engineer and scientist originally from Fes, Morocco. Yazami is best known for his work on developing the lithium-ion battery. He is also known for his research on fluoride ion batteries, his research included a study of graphite intercalation compounds also known as lithium battery applications. In 1978 Yazami graduated from the Grenoble Institute of Technology, later on, he received his Ph.D. He was later promoted to Research Director (Professor) position in 1998.

Yazami was the first scientist to establish the reversible intercalation of lithium into graphite in an electrochemical cell using a polymer electrolyte. In 1985 he joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNTS) in 1985, he was a Research Associate. According to many sources, “his discovery led to the lithium-graphite anode now used in commercial lithium-ion batteries, an over US$80B value market.”


Due to his success and life-changing inventions and research Yazami won many awards:

  1. IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies 2012
  2. Draper Prize 2014
  3. Royal Medal (Morocco) 2014
  4. Legion of Honour 201

Hatim Zaghloul

5 Muslim Inventors That Shaped Our World

Hatim Zaghloul is an Egyptian-Canadian inventor best known for his invention of the WiFi, WiMAX’s, and LTE’s WOFDM. He attended Cairo University where he received his B.S in Electrical Engineering at the age of 22. In 1980 he served in the Egyptian Armed forces. During that year Zaghloul finished his third year and mid-tern for his fourth year of an applied mathematics degree at the Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. He obtained his M.Sc. in physics from the University of Calgary in 1985. He was a senior researcher at Telus from 1989 to 1993. And finally, he obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Calgary in 1994.


From the year 1981 to 1983 he worked for Schlumberger Wireline Services as an oil well logging engineer. From 1984 to 1989 he was a teaching assistant at the University of Calgary. From 1988 to 1990, Zaghloul was a statistic instructor at the University of Athabasca. He held various positions in Wi-LAN Inc. from 1993 to 2008. Not only was he the CEO of Cell-Loc Inc. from 1995 to 1997, but he was also on the board of directors of many hi-tech companies. Zaghloul was the CEO of Solutrean from 2006 to 2008.

 Awards and Achievements 

  1. Dr. Zaghloul was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for two years: 1997-1998.
  2. Recipient of the Calgary Immigrants of Distinction Award Recipients for business in 1998.
  3. Designated by Canadian Computer Wholesaler Magazine as “Technically Excellent Canadian” in July 1999.
  4. He was presented with the Hall of Fame Award from Broadband Solutions on April 10, 2000, for his contribution to the communications technology industry.
  5. Named one of 10 Great Canadians by MacLean’s Magazine in July 2000.
  6. Won a 2000 Fraser Milner Casgrain Pinnacle Award for his entrepreneurial achievements.

Fatima al-Fihri

5 Muslim Inventors That Shaped Our World

Although she did not invent anything, she was the founder of the world’s first University. Fatima was a Muslim Moroccan woman born around 800 AD in present-day Tunisia. She is credited for building the al-Qarawiyyin masjid in 859 CE in Fez, Morocco after she inherited a huge amount of money when her father and her husband died. Fatima decided to use it to build a Masjid, which at the time her Muslim community in Fez urgently needed. The masjid was large enough to fit an ever-growing number of believers. Because of that eventually that Masjid developed into the University of al-Qarawiyyin. She is also known as “Umm al-Banayn”.

Ibn Al-Haytham

5 Muslim Inventors That Shaped Our World

Born in 965 AD in Basra, Iraq, however, he spent the majority of his productive time in the Fatimid capital of Cairo. There, he earned a living by tutoring members of the nobles.  Al-Haytham was an Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age. He was best known for his significant invention that played and still plays a major role in our daily life the camera. Ah-Haytham was known as “The Father of Modern Optics” because he was the first to explain how our vision occurs when light reflects from objects while passing to our eyes. Along with that, he demonstrated how our vision occurs in our brains, rather than in our eyes.

His Work 

One of his more influential work is titled Kitāb al-Manāẓir كتاب المناظر, also known as the “Book of Optics” which was written during 1011–1021. Along with that Al-Haytham also wrote on many different topics such as philosophy, theology, and medicine.

Jabir Ibn Hayyan

Born in Iran on 721 AD, he is best known as the father of chemistry, his work continues to be one of the oldest known systematic classifications of chemical substances. Along with that, he was known for his instructions for deriving an inorganic compound (sal ammoniac or ammonium chloride) from organic substances (such as plants, blood, and hair) by chemical means.

His Work 

Although he was Persian, a lot of his work was also written in Arabic. One of his more popular work was his “Book of Mercy”, and “Book of Seventy” which both was translated into Latin under the Latinized name “Geber”. 

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