Editor's Picks

29 September 2009

Master of Engineering- Al Jazari

Al-Jazari was a 12th Century Muslim Scientist, Engineer and writer. His book - roughly translated as "The Book of Knowledge (Or Compendium) of Ingenious Mechanical Devices" illustrated many machines and automata. It is known in Arabic as "Al-Jami Bain Al-Ilm Wal-Amal Al-Nafi Fi Sinat'at Al-Hiyal", His inventions showed a deep understanding, and is still analysed today by the worlds top engineers.

Prof. Lynn White Jr. writes: "Segmental gears first clearly appear in Al-Jazari , in the West they emerge in Giovanni de Dondi's astronomical clock finished in 1364, and only with the great Sienese engineer Francesco di Giorgio (1501) did they enter the general vocabulary of European machine design".

Equally cranks may have first been documented by this engineer - 300 years before Western Engineers acheived this (Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Leonardo Da Vinci). Indeed Muslim Heritage cite this man as the Most Outstanding Mechanical Engineer of his time.

His full name was Badi Al-Zaman AbulI-Ezz Ibn Ismail Ibn Al-Razzaz Al-Jazari . He lived in Diyar-Bakir in Turkey. He served the King as a cheif engineer- as did his father before him. His book included an automata of an Arab Woman filling and emptying a wash-basin, an ornate elephant-clock and an ingenious double action pump.

British charter engineer Donald Hill (1974) who has a special interest in Arab technology writes:

"It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of Al-Jazari's work in the history of engineering, it provides a wealth of instructions for design, manufacture and assembly of machines." This man was indeed comparable only to Leonardo Da Vinci.

Documentary program of Al Jazari






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