The story starts around 813, when the caliph of Baghdad, al-Ma'mun, is said to have had a vivid and life-changing dream.
In it, he met the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who instructed him to "seek knowledge and enlightenment".
In the West, though, they were better known by their Latin names, such as Alkindus, Alhazen, Averroes and Avicenna.
Although the Muslim world is often now seen as ill-equipped for scientific discovery, we can look back to Baghdad and see the origins of the modern scientific method, the world's first physicist and the world's first chemist; advances in surgery and anatomy, the birth of geology and anthropology; not to mention remarkable feats of engineering.
For 700 years, the international language of science was Arabic; and Baghdad, the capital of the mighty Abbasid Empire, was the centre of the intellectual world.
This was the starting point for a lifelong obsession with science and philosophy.
Al-Ma'mun created the famous House of Wisdom, a library, translation house and scientific academy unmatched since the glory days of Alexandria.
Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species.Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring." Despite the strong feelings Darwin provokes among many Muslims - many Islamic scholars see the Koran as creationist, and so at odds with evolution - it seems astounding that al-Jahith's quote has been largely ignored.