5 of the Coolest Things Arab Culture Gave the Rest of the World
With all of the Islamophobia prevalent in the world today, we thought we’d show you some of the greatest things Arabs have given the West that we just couldn’t live without and will forever be grateful for.
- The Toothbrush
If you are walking around with a full set of pearly whites, you have Arabs to thank for that. Ancient Egyptians used to chew on small branches and twigs from what they called “the toothbrush tree”. Later, Islam brought all the instructions for personal hygiene, which included the use of a “miswak” or the twig of the “toothbrush” tree for cleaning the teeth. Though not specifically mention in the Quran, many Muslim scholars state that the Prophet Muhammad was often seen using the miswak and you’ll find many Arabs still continue to use them today for good oral hygiene.
- Marching Bands
With the Fourth of July coming up in America, what would Independence Day be without a parade? And what would a parade be without a marching band piping out patriotic music? Military marching bands go all the way back to the Ottoman Mehterhanewhen bands would motivate the soldiers by playing throughout an entire battle, stopping only when either the army retreated or the battle ended. Some of the European armies who fought against the Ottoman loved the idea so much that they started their own marching bands within their armies.
- The Guitar
Rock and roll are synonymous with America and where would rock and roll be without the guitar? The guitar can be traced back to one of the stringed Arabic instruments known as the Oud, a lute with a bent neck. Eventually, the instrument made its way over to Spain where the Andulisaians called it a Vitara and developed it into what we know today as the guitar. Rock on!
- Magnifying Glass/Glasses
If you’re reading this with the help of a pair of eyeglasses, thank an Arab – more specifically thank, a scientist from Basra, Iraq, who was the first person to describe how the eye works.
Abu al-Hasan conducted experiments with reflective materials and debunked the myth that the reason would we could was because of “sight rays,” a popular idea of scientists at the time. During this time, He also created curved glass “reading stones” after he noticed curved glass surfaces can be used for magnification, These later involved in reading glasses and magnifying lenses.
Every morning I wake up and thank an Arab for bringing to the West this glorious nectar of the gods. Originating in Ethiopia, coffee soon found its way over the Red Sea to the Arabian peninsula, where it became a very popular beverage. Later in the 17th century, it could be found in the first coffee houses of Europe way before the opening of the first Starbuck’s.