1001 Inventions and Arabick Roots Exhibitions


1001 Inventions and Arabick Roots look at the 'Golden Age' of Muslim Civilisation. Focusing on both the innovations that originated in the Middle East and how these were later adopted by the west, these dual exhibitions combine interactive displays with ancient manuscripts and artifacts. Taking place at the Museum of Islamic Art and the adjacent park, the exhibitions open to the public on 17 October 2012. 


17th October - 12 November 2012

(Located on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art, in a Marquee)

Free Entry to all

1001 Inventions looks at the Golden Age of Muslim civilisation and the scientific innovations that took place. Covering the 1000 year period between the 7th and 17th century, the exhibition utilises interactive displays to show how Middle Eastern technology, science, and medical practices paved the way for contemporary society.


About the Exhibition

Just like you, the heroes of science and technology from the history of Muslim civilizations were men and women experimenting with new ideas, wanting to make a difference in their world. Like Qatar’s Education City, these inventors worked together collaboratively, learning in cities from Cairo, Egypt to Cordoba, Spain to China alongside each other. 1001 Inventions is a fun exhibition where visitors can interact with inventions and scientists from the past—use a replica of the world’s first camera to understand how we see, meet the first person to brave a rocket-powered flight, and even learn how predicting the moon’s pattern for Ramadan led to superior innovations in astronomy.


1001 Inventions Roots Exhibition Times

  • Weekdays 5pm - 10:30pm
  • Tuesday - Closed
  • Friday 2pm - 10:30pm
  • Saturday 12:00pm - 10:30pm

Nb: Open during Eid break

Stars of Science

Now in its fourth season, Stars of Science, initiated by Qatar Foundation, is the first Pan-Arab reality-TV program dedicated to innovation. It aims to shine a light on the next generation of young Arab innovators.

Visit their website to discover how young Middle Eastern inventors in 2012 are following the lead set by their ancestors. You can view a program guide and a list of this season’s young leaders at www.starsofscience.com


Watch the video about 1001 Inventions:



Education workshops will be offered continuously for children and families visiting the 1001 Inventions exhibit. Fun activities on offer include drawing, story-telling, and acting. Educator days, school group tours, and University class tours will also be available. For additional details please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Did You Know

  • Rocket-powered flight.

Lagari Hasan Celebi lived in Istanbul in the 17th century. He made the first successful manned rocket flight. In 1633 he launched himself in the air, using rocket with two wings (that had 7 fins), fuelled with gunpowder. He attempted his flight on the occasion of the birth of the Sultan’s daughter. He flew high in the air landing safely in the sea.

  • Crank Wheel

Al-Jazari was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman and artist, lived during the Islamic Golden Age. In 1206 he invented an early crankshaft, which was transforming rotary motion into a linear and which is used in modern machinery, different kind of engines, pumps and automatic controls. This crankshaft consisted of a wheel, moving circular, which was setting crank pins into back-and-forth motion in a straight line.

  • Astrolabe

An astrolabe is an elaborate instrument, which was used by astronomers and navigators for determining the location and time. Throughout the Muslim world it was widely used as an aid to navigation and as finding the direction to Mecca. Al Ijliya Al-Astrulabi made astrolabes for the ruler of Aleppo in northern Syria in the 10th century.

  • Turbans

In the 17th century the west was fascinated by the ways of the Arab world and the Ottoman Empire. Many notable persons wore eastern fabric and styles, including turbans for both men and women. In 1666, the eastern fasgion of coats and trousers for men appeared in London, replacing forever the close-fitting jackets and woollen stockings they’d previously worn.

  • Language

The need for secrecy has always been important for security and caused invention of coding and code making. Along with it, people who were looking for information, were in need of code breaking techniques. The first person to invent an efficient method for deciphering of an encrypted message in the 9th century was Al-Kindi from Kufa. His technique came to be known as frequency analysis, which is based on calculation of the percentages of letters in plain text and symbols in encrypted text and substitution of the symbols for the letters who have an equal percentage of occurrences. The method of frequency analysis might seem to be easy for modern times, but in the past it was a big breakthrough.

  • Triangular Sail

A triangular sail is known as a lateen or Latin-rig and is believed to have been used in the eastern Mediterranean and Gulf for centuries. The sail is mounted in the middle of the boat, attached to the top of the mast pole, and angled. As opposed to square sails - which only allow sailing with the wind at their back - triangular sales are far more versatile and aerodynamic, able to capture winds from different directions.



17th October 2012 - 19 January 2013

(Floor 1, Museum of Islamic Art)

QR25 Entry (Mondays are Free Entry to all)

View Website

From prized horses and coffee to luxury fabrics and literature, eastern style took Europe by storm four hundred years ago. Arabick Roots exhibition shows that that this was much more than a passing fashion and that western scholars were intensely interested in the science, knowledge and philosophy of the East. At every opportunity, they searched out manuscripts in ‘Arabick’, the word they used to refer to languages that use Arabic letters; mainly Arabic, Persian and Ottoman. Their enthusiasm helped feed the 17th-century scientific revolution that underpins modern life.

Curated by Syrian-born astrophysicist and Research Fellow of the Royal Society, Dr. Rim Turkmani, the exhibition draws on local collections – those of the MIA, Orientalist Museum and Qatar National Library – as well as the Royal Society and the Tate in the United Kingdom. Arabick Roots Doha is produced by 1001 Inventions in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art Doha.

Brought together here for the first time, more than 100 items on display in a variety of media, ranging from the 9th to the 19th centuries tell the story of the shared eastern and western roots of today’s hi-tech world.

Note: Arabick is the 17th century spelling of Arabic that was used to refer to languages written in Arabic letters such as Arabic, Persian and Ottoman.

Individual sections

The exhibit is divided into seven distinct sections exploring different aspects of east and west interaction:

  1. Searching for the Roots of Knowledge
  2. Growing Peace, Sharing Knowledge
  3. The Changing Language of Science
  4. Our Shared Sky and Earth
  5. Our Shared Challenges
  6. Our Shared Cultures
  7. Exploring the East

Arabick Roots Exhibition Times

  • Sunday: 10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Monday: 10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Thursday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Friday: 2:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Saturday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm

 Nb: Open during Eid break


Quotes for 1001 Inventions and Arabick Roots

QMA CEO Mansoor Al Khater on the Shell sponsorship: “We would like to extend our gratitude to Qatar Shell for partnering with us to host these exciting exhibitions.  We also thank our partners at 1001 Inventions for their creative spirit and cooperation with us to bring to Qatar world-renowned exhibitions that present the golden age of Muslim Civilisation. These two exhibitions will encourage Qatar’s younger generation to innovate and contribute towards a better future. Building from a long history of innovations in Muslim Civilisation, Qatar is perfectly placed to be a leader in modern science and technological innovations.”

“With the renaissance sweeping Qatar at this time, it is the ideal time for us to highlight the achievements of our forefathers, and remind ourselves and the world what we are capable of,” Al Khater added. “The discoveries featured in these two exhibitions, and the inventive way they have been put together, are an inspiration to us and our youth, and we are proud to be its gateway to local and international audiences here in Qatar.  We are pleased to be collaborating with such dedicated and creative partners such as Qatar Shell and 1001 Inventions to bring these exciting exhibitions to Qatar.”


Qatar Shell’s Executive Vice President, Wael Sawan, on the partnership: “At a time when international collaboration is increasingly important to the advancement of science, Arabick Roots reveals the rich and surprising connections between the scientific pioneers of Muslim Civilisation and 17th century Europe’s greatest scholars and scientists, and shows that then – just like today – collaboration across linguistic and cultural boundaries can lead to great results.”

“Shell is honoured to partner with QMA, MIA and 1001 Inventions to bring these two high-profile exhibitions to Qatar as part of our corporate social responsibility programme,” he continued. “In line with Shell’s support to the Qatar National Vision 2030, we are creating with our partners a series of cultural and educational events in Qatar during these next months.  These initiatives aim to celebrate the towering achievements of the past to inspire the Qatari youth to create the innovations of the future, and build upon the existing accomplishments of this great nation,” he added.


Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions: “We are immensely proud to be working with QMA, MIA and Qatar Shell to showcase those two highly engaging exhibitions in Doha, and to introduce the people of Qatar to the scientific and cultural achievements from the ‘Golden Age’ of Muslim Civilisation. The exhibitions, live shows, films and educational events – working in partnership with local schools and universities – are all designed to take young people on a journey to the past to inspire a better future.”

For more information contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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