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Fourth International Conference on Arabs’ and Muslims’ History of Sciences

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Sameen Ahmed Khan

The College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates organized a three-day landmark event, “Fourth International Conference on Arabs’ and Muslims’ History of Sciences”, during 4-6 April 2021 under the theme “Scientific Legacy and its Contemporary Impacts” (https://www.sharjah.ac.ae/ichs21). The event was organized by the College of Science under the umbrella of the Sharjah International Foundation for the History of Arab and Muslim Sciences (SIFHAMS, https://sifhams.sharjah.ac.ae/). The conference was held under the patronage of His Highness, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah, and the President of the University of Sharjah, and Founder of Sharjah International Foundation for the History of Arab and Muslim Sciences. Dr. Sultan has a PhD with distinction in History at Exeter University in 1985, and another in the Political Geography of the Gulf at Durham University in 1999.
It is to be recalled that the “First International Conference on Arabs’ and Muslims’ History of Sciences”, was held during 24-27 March 2008 with the theme, “Arabs’ and Muslims’ Scientific Contributions to Humanity”. The very first event had over eight hundred delegates from thirty-six countries with over three hundred presentations. The “Second International Conference on Arabs’ and Muslims’ History of Sciences” was held during 8-11 December 2014 with the theme, “The impact of early Arab and Muslim scholars on recent scientific and technological advances”. The second event had over four hundred participants from forty-two countries. Both the events had attracted numerous historians of science. The success of the two events lead to the creation of the “Sharjah International Foundation for the History of Muslim and Arab Sciences (SIFHAMS, https://sifhams.sharjah.ac.ae/)” in January 2015. The third event was organized during 5-7 December 2017 under the theme “The Arabic & Islamic Scientific Heritage: Innovation, Acculturation, and Coexistence”.
The conference offered valuable opportunities for knowledge exchange, networking and learning about the Arabs and Muslims scientific and scholar heritage and latest findings and discoveries in the field. The conference had the following eight themes:

1. Features and Insights into the Arabic and Islamic Civilization during its Golden Era:
• Identifying the creative environmental specifications in the flourishing eras of Arab and Islamic civilization.
• Identifying the creative and innovative specifications of the early Arab and Muslim scholars.
• Identifying creative means and innovations during the flourishing eras of Arab and Islamic civilization.
• Available opportunities for Arab and Muslim scholars and the challenges they face between the past and today.

2. Modern technologies and their impact on analyzing, understanding, and studying the Arab and Islamic heritage:
• Reviving the Arab and Islamic scientific heritage using modern technological tools.
• The technique of Islamic architecture and its decorative arts, between yesterday and today.

3. The impact of the Arabic and Islamic Scientific Heritage on the Cultures of Contemporary Societies:
• Stimulating and promoting the translation movement for old publications of early Muslim scholars into multiple languages.
• Stimulating the translation movement for present-day publications and literature related to the Arab and Islamic scientific heritage.
• Reviving and codifying Islamic architecture and its impact on contemporary architecture.
• Emphasizing the role of Islamic heritage in stimulating tourism and cultural exchange.

4. Presenting Pioneering Experiences in Diagnosing Challenges and Opportunities for Reviving and Preserving the Arabic and Islamic Scientific Heritage:
• Promoting and establishing communication opportunities and facilitating agreements between academic and research institutions and schools, universities as well as local, regional and international scientific research centres with the goal of urging the latter to pay attention to the history of science for Arabs and Muslims and their heritage and to include it in their curricula.
• Establishing a museum for the Arabic and Islamic scientific heritage – opportunities and challenges.

5. Science of Fine Arts from an Islamic Perspective:
• Contemporary representation in Islamic designs.
• Applications of Islamic geometric patterns for the fourth industrial revolution.
• Inspiration for sustainable design.

6. The Islamic Architectural and Artistic Heritage in the Contemporary World:
• Islamic cities and neighbourhoods: between the past and the present.
• The role of the endowment in shaping the Islamic built environments.
• The role of the endowment in protecting the built environments and their contemporary importance.
• Islamic architecture as an inspiration for contemporary architecture.
• Islamic arts as a source of inspiration for contemporary arts.
• Contemporary issues in preserving the Islamic architectural and artistic heritage.

7. The Emergence and Development of Medical and Health Sciences among Arabs and Muslims:
• Artificial intelligence in medicine and health sciences.
• The impact of the achievements of Arab and Muslim scholars on the progress of human civilization.
• Promoting collaborative research by identifying multiple and specialized research.
• Robotics and their uses in medicine.

8. Applied Sciences:
• New fields in natural sciences, theoretical and applied mathematics.
• Artificial intelligence in astronomy and physics.
• Renewable energies in future energy.
• Modern uses of nanotechnology and its practical applications to solve intractable problems.

The objectives of the conference were
• Conveying a clear and aspiring vision for future studies related to the history of Arab and Muslim sciences.
• Establishing the status of the Sharjah International Foundation for the History of Arab and Muslim Sciences as an attractive destination for scholars and those interested in the history of Arab and Muslim sciences from all over the world.
• Directing the world’s attention to the importance of the role the Foundation in spreading the culture of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence through the themes of the scientific heritage, which represent a common denominator in human history.
• Designing strategies to revitalize research groups contributing to the history of Arab and Muslim sciences.
• Working with our partners to accomplish major research projects that serve the Foundation’s goals.
• Offering opportunities to attract researchers at local, regional and global levels.
• Exchanging experiences with other institutions that share the same goals as the Foundation.
The three-day event had 21 scientific sessions and discussed more than 150 scientific papers, delivered by notable experts from over forty countries. There were over 900 registered participants from forty countries in the online event. All the objectives of the conference were fulfilled. The University of Sharjah was established as a non-profit institution for higher education in October 1997. The University is comprised of fourteen colleges catering to over fourteen thousand students with a faculty of over six hundred. The University currently offers a total of eighty-five academic degree programs including fifty-four bachelor degrees, twenty-three master’s degrees, eleven PhD degrees and fifteen diploma degrees.

(Department of Mathematics and Sciences, College of Arts and Applied Sciences, Dhofar University, Salalah, Sultanate of Oman., [email protected])