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I visited the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur last year, and it boasted an impressive collection in a number of galleries. Their newest exhibition showcases inventions and innovations that have originated from the Muslim world, that we enjoy today.

Manuscript on traditional healing, probably originating from the Malay Peninsula on display at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. The Star, 20110306

Ancient wisdom
The Star, 06 March 2011

The contributions to scientific fields ranging from medicine, astronomy and mathematics to physics and architecture are immeasurable. Books have been filled on the topic and examples of the achievements could fill more than one entire museum.

What you can expect from this single-gallery exhibition at the IAMM is an introduction to the vast scope of work that drove humanity forward. Al-’Ilm: Science and Innovation in the Islamic World opens the door and gives us a glimpse into a time and region whose impact is still felt today.

At the entrance to the exhibit, a map covers the wall, naming scientists and innovators from as early as the 8th century and continuing into the 21st. Incidentally, these include Malaysia’s own Mazlan Othman, the astrophysicist who helmed the creation of the Malaysian National Space Agency and served as director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna.

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