7 Extraordinary Muslim Contributions to the Modern World

  • 7 contemporary Muslim contributions in science and technology
  • The 700 year Myth about Muslims
  • Why it is important to highlight their belief

Muslim’s contribution to the modern world is often overlooked, underplayed or ignored totally. Whenever we talk about Muslim’s achievements, it always refers to historical figures like Ibnu Sina, Ibnu Rushd, or Al Jazari. 

These are names that are respected, referred and revered by both Muslims and humanity. Their contribution is acknowledged by friends and foes alike.

The problem is when their names are glorified today, it reinforces a myth. A myth that creates a false self-image within the entire Muslim Ummah about themselves. 

Reinforcing the Myth

The myth is, the last time Muslims did something remarkable was in the 13th century. So every time we want to feel good about ourselves as Muslims we have to travel at least 700 years back in time.

The truth is there are Muslims living among us today that are making remarkable contributions, to humanity regardless of religion race or creed

Here are just 7 extraordinary contemporary Muslims that without whom the world would not be where it is today. These 7 people are not historical figures (Although they will be one day)

They are still alive and actively spearheading changes in the world. Most importantly they will give you a paradigm shift in how you view Muslims.  

Why Their Religion is Important

Why does their belief need to be highlighted? They are 3 reasons for this:

First, they are people who try to detach Muslims from anything great. They would accuse anybody who tries to connect Greatness with Muslims as an act of racism. This toxic attitude towards Muslim need to be addressed with facts not sentiments

Secondly, least 3 of the people on the list have told me personally that their belief has been their source of strength. The fact that nothing is impossible with the help of Allah swt, has motivated them to think about the impossible and achieve great things.

Thirdly, Muslims whether they are Arab, Desi, Malay, or other ethnicities nèed to know that these 7 individual share the same identity with you and me.

So it is good to know that our contribution and achievement did not stop after the Islamic golden age. So who are the 7 Muslim individuals?

Taher El Gamal Father of Internet Privacy (SSL)

Sometimes when you surf the internet and visit what seems to be a good website until receive a warning message pops up and reads “Go back this site is not secured”. The man responsible for this is   Tahir El Gamal  طاهر الجمل . He created a private and secure way to communicate information on the internet the Secure Socket Layers (SSL). That was not his only invention, he then went to make a name in cryptography where there is a system named after him “The El-Gamal Encryption System”.

He has been awarded countless awards, and respected as a renowned leader in security and respected as information security leader and cryptographer. He has successfully served as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Scientist, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), as well as founder and CEO of numerous reputable organizations. Dr. Elgamal invented several industry and government standards in data security and digital signatures for areas including the DSS government standard for digital signatures. 

No matter what we write about Tahir El Gamal, it would not do justice to his contribution, communicating sensitive data over the internet. 

Father of the Invisible Antenna

Many people nowadays take their smartphones for granted, some don’t even know what the first mobile phone looked like. Well, they all have protruding and obtrusive antennae coming out of them. Then came somebody who found a way to put the antenna inside the phone. 

His name is Dr Mohamed Sanad who is now a professor at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University. Dr Mohamed invented the first internal (embedded) integrated microstrip antenna for cellular phones while he was with Nokia Mobile Phones in San Diego, California. 

Dr. Sanad is not just the Antenna guy, He has founded “Amant Antennas” in Reno, Nevada, USA. He filed more than 30 patents in the USA and worldwide and published more than 80 papers about antenna. But yet he is very down to earth and humble

Dr  Mohamed Sanad has led research projects for some of the largest telecommunication companies in the USA and the world such as Nokia Mobile Phones, Texas Instruments, Amplica Inc, Metricom Inc, Snap Track Inc, Antennas America Inc, HiPoint Technology Inc, Aetherwire Inc and others. He established antenna research centers for some of these companies from scratch and He directed their technical strategic planning.

As a layperson we might think that this discovery is purely design orientated, but it is actually more than that. The microstrip antenna is cheaper to produce and hence it is used by virtually all mobile phones.

The Authority on Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Yaser Abu-Mustafa is the authoritative expert in Artificial Intelligence who is affiliated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  He is the author of an authoritative book on Artificial Intelligence, Learning from Data which happens to be an Amazon bestseller. His main fields of expertise are Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Finance. 

Anybody who wants to learn about Artificial intelligence must have come across his name. He is like the Yoda of Artificial Intelligence. His contribution to machine learning is widely recognized to the point where he has a fellowship name after him. In 2005, the Hertz Foundation established a perpetual graduate fellowship named the Abu-Mostafa Fellowship in his honor. 

The Hertz Foundation’s mission is to identify America’s most promising innovators in science & technology and empower them to be all they can be. Everything that uses artificial intelligence today is indebted to Yaser Abu-Mustofa as one of the pioneers in Machine learning. 

Who invented the first Covid-19 Vaccine?

Dr Uğur Şahin is the CEO of BioNTech, the company that created the vaccine in partnership with Pfizer. Prior to BioNTech Dr Sahin sold his company Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, which focused on developing medicines to treat cancer, to a Japanese company for USD 1.4 Billion. 

Dr. Uğur Şahin and his wife, Dr. Özlem Türeci are both German nationals of Turkish descent, whose parents immigrated to Germany from Turkey.

They developed the Covid-19 vaccine using the new technology known as the mRNA vaccine which is different from traditional vaccines, as mRNA vaccines teach our own bodies how to make a protein to trigger an immune response that would create antibodies that ward off infections.

The vaccine was first developed in January 2020 when Dr. Şahin was convinced the virus would spread to more countries, after having read about the virus in the medical journals. By March 2020, Pfizer agreed to collaborate with BioNTech and start clinical trials.

By November 2020, their preliminary results showed that their vaccines were 90% effective against the Covid-19 virus, and were approved by the US and UK governments for rollout, followed by more countries.

In October 2019, BioNTech went for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Nasdaq, the US stock market, and only managed to raise USD150 million, based on a valuation of USD3.4 billion. With the global adoption of their COVID-19 vaccines, BioNTech, is now valued at USD81 billion. 

Who Invented WIFI?

If you googled who invented Wifi, the answer you would get would be Vic Hayes who chaired the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) committee that created the 802.11 standards in 1997. 

In actual fact the real credit goes to , Dr. Hatim Zaghloul and Dr. Michel Fattouche founded Wi-LAN Inc and the company is the patent holder for technologies invented by Dr. Zaghloul and Dr. Fattouche, including Wide-band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (WOFDM) and Multi-code Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (MCDSSS). These are technologies that made Wifi technology possible in a stable and consistent manner. Wi-LAN had received revenues for the licensing of their wireless patents with at least 34 companies, including previous telecommunication companies such as Philips Semiconductor, Research In Motion (RIM), and Nokia

Dr Zaghloul has recently developed 6G while the world is still stuck on 5G. He also developed an independent blockchain technology for telecommunication. Without Dr Hatim there would not be Wifi as we know it now. Everything that depends on digital connectivity can be attributed to Dr Hatim Zaghloul.

Who Discover a New Galaxy?

Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil discovered a whole new and rare galaxy, and the galaxy, and it is now named after her. She discovered the new galaxy, named the Burcin Galaxy, while studying for her PhD in astrophysics. She discovered the galaxy at a relatively young age, below 30 years old. 

This Turkish-born Muslimah was raised in Turkey, she moved from Istanbul to Ankara to study physics at university where she was one of the very few female students in her department. In Turkey . She is a proud Muslim hijabi scientist that, who came from a humble background and thriumph against all the odds. 

Even today she still has to deal with a lot of negativity about wearing a hijab and chose to be proud about it. Hijab or no hijab, her discovery is mind blowing that it instantly put her in the same league with Stephen Hawking. The only difference is she did not deny the existence of the creator.

Who Inspired Social Business and Microfinance?

The idea for a social business today, was popularized by Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, who started the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to provide small-scale finance (microfinance) to the poor. His model of microfinance and social business inspired many governments to replicate his strategies to uplift people out of poverty. 

His innovative solutions have even been replicated even in developed countries like America and Europe. It even transforms into something which facilitates remote working.

Summary

The truth of the matter is that Muslims have been contributing to the betterment of mankind not just during the golden age. Muslims have been changing the world throughout history.  Why are they not getting the recognition?

They are given recognition as an individual but not for their identity. They are numerous similar Muslims who made great achievements but unfortunately, not all want to be highlighted because of fear of being discriminated against. They have valid security reasons, despite this, they are devoted to Islam more so than some Muslims that live in Muslim countries. Most importantly their belief inspires them to be the best they can be so they can serve humanity.

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