Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the ‘Takwin: Sciences and Creativity’ exhibition on Wednesday. Organised for the first time in the UAE, the exhibition runs from December 6 to March 6, 2024, at Sharjah’s House of Wisdom (HoW), in collaboration with the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Saudi Arabia.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Prince Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Prince Khalid bin Saud Al Abdullah Al Faisal, Director of Darat Al Faiṣal; Prince Mansour bin Saad Al Saud, Assistant Secretary-General of the King Faisal Foundation, and heads of government entities and media.
Sharjah Crown Prince toured the exhibition’s pavilions, which cover diverse fields such as medicine, astronomy, mathematics, engineering, and zoology. During the tour, he examined rare manuscripts and tools that reflect the history of experimental sciences during the golden age of the Arab and Islamic civilisation.
The exhibition aims to illuminate the rich heritage and history housed within the ancient halls, shelves, and treasuries of Baghdad’s House of Wisdom, which served as one of the world’s largest public libraries during the Islamic Golden Age. It played a pivotal role in nurturing the intellectual growth of the early Muslim world and seeks to inspire the youth with the richness of Islamic achievements and innovations across disciplines.
He was briefed on the rare items on display, emphasising the meticulous attention given to these sciences. The collection includes manuscripts in various scientific fields such as medicine, astronomy, mathematics, engineering, and zoology. Most of the manuscripts displayed at the House of Wisdom are supported by illustrations and diagrams.
For three months, the exhibition will showcase rare and invaluable manuscripts, including ‘Al-madkhalila al-aḥkām al-falakiyyah’ by Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi; ‘Kāmil Aṣ-Ṣinā›a Ațibbīya’ by Ali ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi; ‘A Maqāla al-Tāminah min Sarāʾir al-Hikmah fil Falak’ by Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn al-Haak al-Hamdani; ‘Aşkalu t-Taʾsīs’ by Muhammad bin Ashraf al-Husseini al-Samarqandi; ‘Ḥayāty al- Ḥayawān’ by Muhammad ibn Musa al-Damiri al-Masri, along with 16 mathematics manuscripts, including ‘Aşkalut- Taʾsīs’ by Shams al-din Muhammad ibn Ashraf al-Husayni al-Samarqandi, simplifying Euclid’s propositions.
The exhibition showcases historical tools alongside invaluable manuscripts, including the ‘Bernaih,’ a small jar for storing medicines and herbs in the Arab and Islamic world before reaching Europe. Also featured is a medical spoon used for measuring, weighing, and mixing medicines, herbs, and ointments.
On display are the Sine quadrant, an astronomical instrument replacing the flat, spherical astrolabe, and a Celestial sphere, a round ball inside a circular frame mounted on four conical columns, based on a round base. The ball is inscribed with the names of known astronomical signs, characters, and human and animal inscriptions.
At the end of the tour, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi graciously accepted a commemorative gift from Prince Turki Al Faisal. The gift was an old and rare copy of the book ‘al-Qānūn fī al-Ṭibb’ (The Canon of Medicine) written by the Muslim scientist, physician, and philosopher Al Hussein bin Abdullah Bin Al Hasan, widely known as Ibn Sina. The book is considered a rare masterpiece, dating back to the seventh century of the Hijri calendar, corresponding to the thirteenth century AD. This particular copy is preserved in the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. This valuable reference derives its importance from being the primary medical reference in European universities for seven consecutive centuries until the mid-seventeenth century AD.