Al Jazari: The Great Muslim Inventor & Engineer

The most brilliant engineering mind of his time, Al Jazari was a genius remembered for his design of five water-raising machines and a series of ornate, water clocks all of which were released in his famous book “Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices”.

Originating from an area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Al Jazari lived in the 13th century and worked for a greater part of his life in Anatolia (in present day South East Turkey). He served the king as Chief Engineer, as his father had done before him.

Inspired by the prowess of his predecessors such as esteemed 9th Century Banu Musa Brothers,  Al Jazari became famous as a prolific and inventive engineer. Thus, in 1206 the King, Nasir-ud-Din, encouraged him “not to lose what he had wearied himself with” and to describe his inventions and devices in a book.

In this magnificent manuscript, Al Jazari says with typical understatement: “Types of (machines) of great importance came to my notice, offering possibilities for types of marvelous control”. Categorized into different types of mechanisms, his book “Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices” illustrates clocks, fountains and water-raising machines in glorious detail.  Chapters further describe the technical details of each component as well as their manufacture

Indeed, Al Jazari’s work on fine technology and the descriptions of his inventions remain consulted in engineering text books to this day, and the Castle Clock remains a tribute to both his amazing technical skill and his eye for artistic detail.

Ref: Transcribed from the displays at Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.

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