7 Amazing Inventions By Muslim Women You’ve Probably Never Heard About
Women's History Month may be winding down, but there is plenty more to celebrate. March 27 marks the inaugural Muslim Women's Day, in conjunction with MuslimGirl.com, to highlight the achievements of Muslim women around the world. And, these seven inventions by Muslim women you've probably never heard about are a great way to recognize women who have literally changed the world.
Muslin Girl is taking control of the narrative of Muslim women by using their voices to speak up, and raise the profile of Muslim women in mainstream society. Muslim women have founded universities, invented lifesaving medical devices, created navigation systems, and more. Muslim Women's Day celebrates these women, and is a reminder that intersectional feminism is the only path to equal rights for all women.
While President Trump's barbaric policies, like the Muslim travel ban, have singled out the Muslim community, the silver lining is that it has elevated the dialogue about equality for everyone to a new level, and has inspired Muslim women to mobilize and speak out like never before.
Zerina Iman, a New York City high school student, told Refinery29: "Muslim Women's Day is the celebration of Muslim women, who have thrived for thousands of years. It provides us, Muslim women, with a moment of pride, long overdue. It shows the world that we are not hiding, nor are we oppressed. Most importantly, it's a beacon for young Muslim girls, like me, across the U.S. and the world, letting them know no matter what hate they face in this new era, they should be proud of their religion, of their legacy, and of the women just like them who continue to change society each day."
To celebrate Muslim Women's Day, here are seven inventions by Muslim women you've probably never heard about.
1. The World's First University, Founded By Fatima Al Fihri
Fatima Al Fihri founded the University of Al Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859. The school is the oldest existing, continually operating university, and the first degree-awarding educational institution in the world, according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records. Al Qarawiyin became the leading spiritual and educational center of the historic Muslim world, and was incorporated into Morocco's modern state university system in 1963.
2. Ancient Astronomical Computer, Founded By Mariam Al-Ijliya
Mariam Al-Ijliya is famous for constructing Astrolabes, which were used to determine the position of the sun and the planets and were in turn used in the fields of astronomy, astrology, and horoscopes, according to the website Wise Muslim Women. During the 10th century in Aleppo, Syria, Al-Ijliya's handcrafted designs were so intricate and innovative that from 944-967 A.D., she was employed by the ruler of the city, Sayf Al Dawla.
3. Sensory Neuropathy Medical Device, Invented By Bedour Al-Maghrabi, Maha Al-Qahtani, & Thekra Al-Otaibi
Bedour Al-Maghrabi, Maha Al-Qahtani, and Thekra Al-Otaibi received first place during the 2015 British Invention Show and Awards for inventing a device designed for sense rehabilitation and stimulation in patients with sensory neuropathy issues. According to Arab News, the basic premise of the device is based on the innovation of a new multi-sensory stimulation program, which uses different senses to help people with impaired sensory systems improve the affected cell's function. The same invention was ranked in second place at Korea's International Women's Invention Exposition in 2014.
4. Glasses For People With Cerebral Blindness, Invented By Mariam Al-Otaibi & Bedour Al-Maghrabi
Mariam Al-Otaibi and Bedour Al-Maghrabi invented glasses for people with cerebral blindness to help them to identify things around them. They received second place during the 2015 British Invention Show and Awards. The glasses draw a picture of the area around the person, defines it through spoken words after analyzing it through a mobile app, and sends it through an earpiece, according to Arab News.
5. Nadia Khan, Creator Of Organic Fruit Syrups
For Nadia Khan, it all began with strawberry syrup that she made at home so her kids could enjoy the sweetness of strawberry milk without consuming artificial additives and high fructose corn syrup. She bought organic strawberries from the farmers market and boiled them in a pot. Next, she poured the juice through a strainer, added organic sugar, and boiled the mixture down again. "Although it took effort, it warmed my heart whenever my toddler would bring me his milk and ask me to mix in some 'wawa-wee' (his way of saying strawberry)," Khan says on her website. Now Wawa-Wee is available for everyone to enjoy.
6. Select Mathematical Equations, Invented By Sutayta Al-Mahāmali
Sutayta Al-Mahāmali is credited with inventing solutions to equations cited by other mathematicians that denote aptitude in algebra. According to the website Muslim Heritage, she was an expert in hisab (arithmetics) and fara'idh (successoral calculations), practical branches of mathematics that were well developed during her life in the 10th century.
7. Haute Hijab, Created By Melanie Elturk
Haute Hijab founder, fashion designer, and blogger, Melanie Elturk is also a lawyer. Her company Haute Hijab isn't just a fashion go-to — it's also doing major work to normalize the hijab in the U.S. "We are [...] the pioneer of hijab fashion in the U.S., and we were the first U.S. hijab brand to start selling online," Elturk tells Bustle. "The term hijab fashion hardly existed when we started back in 2010, but women all across the world have been making hijab fashionable for decades — especially in Turkey, Malaysia, Africa and across the Middle East."
These Muslim women continue to inspire current and future generations of all women to fight for equality and pursue their dreams.
Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version.