1001 Inventions and the Book of Animals

Published Date: 
31 January 2018

The educational initative comprises of a new exhibition, short film, children’s book and educational materials, that together provide a journey of discovery into the animal kingdom and natural world through the eyes of 9th century explorer Al-Jahiz...

A Wondrous Journey of Discovery with 9th-century Explorer Al-Jahiz

‘1001 Inventions and the Book of Animals’ is an educational initiative created by 1001 Inventions. It brings to life one of the oldest books written in Arabic about animals to help inspire curiosity in children and to promote caring for all living things.

Find out more about  Al-Jahiz

The educational initative comprises of a new exhibition, short film, children’s book and educational materials, that together provide a journey of discovery into the animal kingdom and natural world through the eyes of 9th-century explorer Al-Jahiz.

‘1001 Inventions and the Book of Animals’ aims to raise awareness of the modern-day threats to the natural world and prompt urgent action... starting with a commitment to strive to live in harmony with nature. It seeks to enable young people to draw lessons from the past to help safeguard our future.

Touring Exhibition  | Short Film  | Children’s Book | Learning Materials  

Who was Al-Jahiz  | About The Book of Animals  

Endangered Species Take Action  | Events


Touring Exhibition

Highly engaging interactive exhibition with hands-on activities, exhibits and digital interactives educating young people about the natural world and inspiring them to take action to strive to protect their environment.



Short Film

Short feature film from producer Ahmed Salim that explores the animal kingdom through the eyes of Al-Jahiz. Watch the trailer.


Children’s Book

Beautifully illustrated book for young readers taking children on an exciting journey of discovery with messages echoing those set by the campaign of the importance of respecting all creatures and caring for animals while striving to protect the environment. It prompts readers to take positive action in global nature conservation efforts.


The book is silent as long as you need silence, eloquent whenever you want discourse. It is a friend who never deceives or flatters you, and it is a companion who does not grow tired of you” Al-Jahiz (776 – 868)


Learning Materials

Guide for parents, teachers and educators full of easy to do hands-on activities and demonstrations that link to the world of animals and create awareness about environmental issues. Coming soon.



Who was Al-Jahiz?

Abū ʿUthman ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Kinānī al-Baṣrī, nicknamed Al-Jahiz, born 776 Basra, died 868

‘Amr ibn Bahr al-Kinani, widely known by his nickname Al-jahiz due to an eye deformity, was an Arab prose writer and author of works of literature. He developed a love for - and expertise in the Arabic language becoming an avid reader and prolific writer. He was reported to have written over two hundred (some sources say three hundred plus) works, about thirty are extant. A unique feature of his oeuvre, apart from his celebrated prose - is that he tailored his writing in such a manner that the general community could understand; interspersing his writing, with anecdotes, humour and witticisms.

Seeking to widen his intellectual horizons further, he travelled to Damascus, Beirut, Samarra and Baghdad, the Abbasid capital, where he resided for many years. He read Greek literature (in translation), especially Aristotle and learnt Farsi. He was a man of reason and logic, which generated a spirit of life-long independence.

Al-Jahiz died in 868. From a youthful fish-seller, on the canals of Basra, he became a gargantuan figure, in the development of literature in Muslim civilisation and science.





Qatar Stamp of Al-Jahiz  (Source)


Kitab al-Hayawan (The Book of Animals)

From a massively wide range of subject matter, Al-Jahiz’s most famous of works is Kitab al-Hayawan, or The Book of Animals; a pioneering work which covers aspects of biology and zoology; such as animal classification, food chains and evolution. It falls in 7 volumes and is full of anecdotes, poetic descriptions and proverbs describing many varieties of animals.


Where are all the animals?

Unfortunately, many of the animals featured in Al-Jahiz’s ancient manuscript are now endangered species!

Because of overhunting and poaching, or illegal hunting; overfishing; and destruction of habitats, scientists think 25 percent of mammals could become extinct—and others, too. It’s our job to change that. Urgent action is required to help protect and care for all living creatures... starting with a commitment to strive to live in harmony with nature.

Al-Jahiz and the Book of Animals campaign aims to create awareness about those issues and inspire young people to take action to help.


Endangered Species

In his Kitab al-Hayawan, Al-Jahiz put detailed description of animals, their habitat and behaviour. Some of the animals he mentioned have today endangered species like leopards, lions, ostriches, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, chameleons and more.

llustrations from Kitab Al Hayawan (Book of Animals) of Al-Jahiz (Source)


Take Action

Take action! The WWF, IUCN, and many other groups are ready to help you help the world’s endangered animals. Check out these three top websites for creative ideas.

  • ROOTS & SHOOTS: Conservationist Jane Goodall’s site helps you design a campaign, find out what our kids are doing to help, and become a conservation leader!



'Al-Jahiz and the Book of Animals' Events

For enquiries about event bookings, email us at aljahiz@1001inventions.com

Watch this space for upcoming events: 

Cairo celebrates

KFAS and 1001 Inventions present “Al-Jahiz and the Book of Animals” Children’s Book in Cairo

Cairo, 27 January 2018: The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) and 1001 Inventions launched today “Al-Jahiz and the Book of Animals” show at the Cairo International Book Fair.



Kuwait celebrates

KFAS and 1001 Inventions launch new Arabic children’s book about 9th –century scholar and explorer Al-Jahiz and his book on animals.

Kuwait, 15 November 2017: 1001 Inventions and The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) launched today at the Kuwait International Book Fair a children’s book about 9th century explorer Al-Jahiz and his book on animals in the Arabic language.



Al-Ain, UAE celebrates

1001 Inventions launch its new exhibition at Al Ain Zoo!

Al Ain, UAE, 15th February 2017: 1001 Inventions launched today at Al Ain Zoo a new 1001 Inventions production about 9th century scholar Al-Jahiz and his wondrous Book of Animals. The first-of-its-kind fun and educational production aims to celebrate and bring to life one of the oldest Arabic books on the animal kingdom