How a 11th century Arab scholar coped with isolation
By Anum

The inspiring story of Ibn al Haytham

Published in: Self, History, Science
Date: 24 / 04 / 20

Time feels odd under lockdown. During the day, it feels as if time drags along making you feel bored or as if you have ran out of things to do. But before we know it another week has passed by and it makes you think what are you doing? Are you using your time wisely? Well perhaps like me you might find the story of Ibn al Haytham inspirational.

Who was he?

Ibn al Haytham was a famous Muslim scholar who is known for his work to the study of optics, astronomy, mathematics, the scientific method and much more. He was born during the Islamic golden age in 965 CE.

How did he become ‘isolated’?

Ibn al-Haytham was given many projects to manage as he grew famous. One of them was by the Fatmid King of Egypt to build a dam across River Nile. After reviewing the plan, he realised the plan would not work as they did not have the technology to complete the project. This led to the King and ibn al Haytham falling out and so the king placed him under house arrest for ten years (there is a difference of opinion on what happened).

What did he do with his time?

During those ten years Ibn al-Haytham spent his time reading, researching, experimenting and journaling many of his scientific theories. He also made one of his biggest breakthroughs under isolation which led to him writing his Book of Optics.

This discovery by Ibn al-Haytham helped people understand how eyes function. It also helped him develop an early model of the camera and eventually led the way for the invention of eyeglasses. Furthermore, he developed the scientific method which is still used today.

Don't overburden yourself but let's stop wasting time


About the author

Stay in the , subscribe to our newsletter.