6 Inventions you did not know were influenced by Arabs

1- Torpedoes


I am not even joking. When the chinese invented the gunpowder, nobody in their right minds expected a 1280 A.D. genius called Hassan al-Rammah (literally Hasan the Spearthrower) to stuff gunpowder in a metal casing and propel it against other ships underwater. At the time, Hasan did not have a fancy name for his invention and simply dubbed it “the self moving Egg”.

2- Military Marching Bands

Marching Ban

The first people to use military marching bands were  a unit in the Ottoman army called Mehters. The music of the Mehters was so inspirational to classical music that even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven have shown Mehter influences in their work.

3- Bongs, Vaporizers and Hashish


There is probably little need to explain how Hashish originated in the Middle East, especially to a Jordanian audience. We’re not saying that bongs and vaporizers were Arab inventions, but it must be pointed out that the creativity of bongs and vaporizers should be credited to Abu’l-Fath Gilani, who was the first man to invent a hookah in 1535.

4- Windmills

When you think of Windmills these days you imagine green norwegian pastures, a lot of cows, and icy mountain tops in the background. The reality is, in 634 AD., Windmills were originally made by Arabs who harnessed the wind’s ability to move the windmill’s blades, thus drawing up water or grinding corn.

5- Fountain Pens

Invented in  953 AD, the ancient fountain pen was the result of the Egyptian Sultan, Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah, requesting that his men come up with a pen that does not stain ink on paper directly upon contact.

6- Soap

That’s right. The first proof of soap’s existence dates back to ancient babylon, where soap was invented using a mixture of water, alkali, and cassia oil, dating back to 2800 A.D. It should come as no surprise then, that some of the best soaps in the region originate in Nablus, Palestine.




Walid Dib is the co-founder of Humanity Can Wait. He is currently in his last semester studying Water Engineering at the German Jordanian university.

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