The Guaranteed Path to Heaven for Muslims and its Relation to Najaf, Iraq and Celebrity Undertaker Ali al-Amiya

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Shia Muslims believe that to be buried in Najaf, Iraq, guarantees a path to heaven, with many industries related to death found within the city including the manufacturing and provision of burial plots, caskets, grave stones, and grave digging, ironically with those involved, making a living from death. The largest cemetery in the world is Wadi al-Salam which means the “Valley of Peace” in Arabic, with over 5,000,000 (5 million) gravesites. Ali al-Amiya, the most famous person within this Iraqi industry, works at this cemetery as an undertaker. Traditionally, caskets are white, but al-Amiya started the trend of using black caskets. al-Amiya is famous because of his distinctive tombstone designs, innovative funeral services, and because of the way he digs graves. al-Amiya has over 800,000 followers upon Facebook and has a catchphrase that is known by all Iraqis which is, “who is going to bury you like the Prophet Mohammad? Ali al-Amiya!”. al-Amiya offers heavily discounted or free burials for martyrs and the extremely impoverished. al-Amiya is vehemently disliked by most other undertakers within the industry and has nearly been a victim of multiple sting operations in which prostitutes were sent to solicit him as well as physical threats upon his life and his family’s. Modern, progressive thinking undertakers like al-Amiya face resentment in Iraq but the rise of social media has helped combat this animosity. In 2017, a survey found that 85% of Iraqis use social media, specifically Facebook which has demonstrated instrumental in altering public perceptions of Islamic burial traditions

The Mathematical Inventions of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

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The mathematical concept of algorithms were developed by and subsequently named after Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (pronounced “moo-ham-mad ih-bin moo-sah al kwar-iz-me”), an Islamic scholar who lived during the 8th century. The concept of algorithms arrived in Europe in the 12th century and al-Khwarizmi’s name was translated to Latin which is where the term “algorithm” is derived. al-Khwarizmi also introduced the western world to the decimal system and introduced reduction and balancing methods (e.g. like and unlike terms) causing al-Khwarizmi to become referred to as the ”father and founder of algebra”. The term “algebra” is derived from the Arabic term “al-jabr” which means “reunion of broken parts”. al-Khwarizmi invented and used algebra to solve quadratic equations and it has been stated throughout history that the ideas that al-Khwarizmi developed, helped usher in the European Renaissance during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries