PRODUCED IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Hard toilet soap with a pleasant smell was produced in the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, when soap-making became an established industry. Recipes for soap-making are described by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (c. 865–925), who also gave a recipe for producing glycerine from olive oil. In the Middle East, soap was produced from the interaction of fatty oils and fats with alkali. In Syria, soap was produced using olive oil together with alkali and lime. Soap was exported from Syria to other parts of the Muslim world and to Europe.
A 12th-century document describes the process of soap production. It mentions the key ingredient, alkali, which later became crucial to modern chemistry, derived from al-qaly or "ashes".