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Default Muslim Scientists and Scholars

7th century


* 610 - 632 [empiricism, theology] The Qur'an, which was revealed during this time, emphasized the use of empirical observation and reason.[ It has been claimed that the Qur'an also contains scientific foreknowledge (see Qur'an and science and Islam and science for the debate on this topic).

* 610 - 632 [astrology] Several hadiths attributed to Muhammad show that he was generally opposed to astrology as well as superstition in general. An example of this is when an eclipse occurred during his son Ibrahim ibn Muhammad's death, and rumours began spreading about this being God's personal condolence. Muhammad is said to have replied: "An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human being."

* 610 - 632 [medicine] Muhammad is reported to have made the following statements on early Islamic medicine: "There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment"; "Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely old age"; "Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically"; "The one who sent down the disease sent down the remedy." The belief that there is a cure for every disease encouraged Muslims at the time to seek out a remedy for every disease known to them.

* 610 - 632 [medicine, pathology] Early ideas on contagion can be traced back to several hadiths attributed to Muhammad, who is said to have understood the contagious nature of leprosy, mange, and sexually transmitted disease. These early ideas on contagion arose from the generally sympathetic attitude of Muslim physicians towards lepers (who were often seen in a negative light in other ancient and medieval societies) which can be traced back through hadiths attributed to Muhammad and to the following advice given in the Qur'an: "There is no fault in the blind, and there is no fault in the lame, and there is no fault in the sick."

* 622 [calendar] Islamic calendar developed by Muhammad.

* 634 - 644 [technology] Windmill invented in Afghanistan during the time of the Rashidun caliph, Umar.

* 650 - 704 [alchemy] Calid (Khalid ibn Yazid), an Umayyad prince, was the first Muslim alchemist, and he translated the literature on Egyptian alchemy into the Arabic language.

Last edited by Shooting Star; Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 03:20 AM. Reason: red color removed.
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Default 8th century

8th century

700s - [Astronomy, technology] Brass astrolabe developed by Muhammad al-Fazari.

700s - [Ceramics, pottery] from the eighth to eighteenth centuries, the use of glazed ceramics was prevalent in Islamic art, usually assuming the form of elaborate pottery. Tin-opacified glazing was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first Islamic opaque glazes can be found as blue-painted ware in Basra, dating to around the 8th century.

700s - [Ceramics, glass, industry, and pottery] the first industrial factory complex for Islamic pottery and glass production is built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria. Extensive experimentation is carried out at the complex, which is two kilometres in length, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass are developed there. Two other similar complexes are also built, and nearly three hundred new chemical recipes for glass are produced at all three sites.

702 - 765 - [chemistry] Ja'far al-Sadiq, refuted Aristotle's theory of the four classical elements and theorized that each one is made up of different chemical elements: "I wonder how a man like Aristotle could say that in the world there are only four elements - Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The Earth is not an element. It contains many elements. Each metal, which is in the earth, is an element." Al-Sadiq also developed a particle theory, which he described as follows: "The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. That particle produced an atom. In this way matter came into being. Then the matter diversified. This diversification was caused by the density or rarity of the atoms." Al-Sadiq also wrote a theory on the opacity and transparency of materials. He stated that materials which are solid and absorbent are opaque, and materials which are solid and repellent are more or less transparent. He also stated that opaque materials absorb heat.

715 - 800 - [ceramics, pottery] Lustreware is invented in Iraq by the Arabian chemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber), during the Abbasid caliphate.

715 - 815 - [chemistry] Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan), a Muslim chemist, is "considered by many to be the father of chemistry", for introducing the experimental scientific method for chemistry, as well as laboratory apparatus such as the alembic, still and retort, and chemical processes such as pure distillation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. He also invented more than twenty types of laboratory apparatus His collection of works (known as the Jabirian corpus) include The elaboration of the Grand Elixir, The chest of wisdom in which he introduces nitric acid, Kitab al-Istitmam (later translated to Latin as Summa Perfectionis), and many others.

715 - 815 - [alchemy] Geber, also a Muslim alchemist, introduces theories on the transmutation of metals, the philosopher's stone, and Takwin, the artificial creation of life in the laboratory. He also further developed the five classical elements into seven elements by adding two metals: sulfur (‘the stone which burns’ that characterized the principle of combustibility) and mercury (which contained the idealized principle of metallic properties) as 'elements'.

715 - 815 - [chemical substances] In contrast to the ancients ("the only acid known to the ancients was vinegar"), Jabir was the first to produce a number of other acids: mineral acids such as nitric acid, sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid, uric acid,[ acetic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid[ andaqua regia. Several chemical elements were also first discovered by Geber: arsenic, antimony and bismuth. Geber was also the first to classify sulfur and mercury as 'elements'.] He also discovered a number of other chemical substances.

715 - 815 - [crystallography] Crystallization is invented by Geber.

715 - 815 - [glass] Geber wrote on adding color to glass by adding small quantities of metallic oxides to the glass, such as manganese dioxide (magnesia). These coloured glasses were a new advancement in the glass industry unknown in antiquity.

715 - 815 - [chemical technology, glass] In the Book of the Hidden Pearl, Geber scientifically described 46 original recipes for producing coloured glass, in addition to 12 recipes inserted by al-Marrakishi in a later edition of the book; the first recipes for the manufacture of artificial pearls and for the purification of pearls that were discoloured from the sea or from grease; the first recipes for the dying and artificial colouring of gemstones and pearls; the first recipes for the manufacture of glue from cheese; and invented plated mail for use in armours (jawasin), helmets (bid) and shields (daraq).[ and first described the production of high quality coloured glass cut into artificial gemstones.

715 - 815 - [chemistry] Destructive distillation is developed by Arabic chemists.

740 - 828 - [animal husbandry, botany, zoology] Al-Asma'i was the earliest Arab biologist, botanist and zoologist; his works include the Book of Distinction, Book of the Wild Animals, Book of the Horse, and Book of the Sheep.

751 - [Technology] Papermaking is introduced to the Islamic world from Chinese prisoners after the Battle of Talas.

754 - [Medicine, pharmacy] the first pharmacy and drugstores are opened in Baghdad. The first apothecary shops are also opened in the Islamic world.

763 - 809 - [library] The House of Wisdom is founded by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid.

• 763 - 809 - [medicine] "The first free public hospital was opened in Baghdad during the Caliphate of Haroon-ar-Rashid." These "Bimaristans" were hospitals in the modern sense, an establishment where the ill were welcomed and cared for by qualified staff. In this way, Muslim physicians were the first to make a distinction between a hospital and other different forms of healing temples, sleep temples, hospices, assylums, lazarets and leper-houses, all of which in ancient times were more concerned with isolating the sick and the mad from society "rather than to offer them any way to a true cure." The medieval Bimaristan hospitals are thus considered "the first hospitals" in the modern sense of the word.

763 - 800 - [medicine, psychiatry, psychology] The first psychiatric hospitals and insane asylums are built by the Muslim Arabs in Baghdad and then Fes.

764 - 800 - [petroleum, civil engineering] The streets of the newly constructed Baghdad are paved with tar, derived from petroleum, coming from natural oil fields in the region, through the process of destructive distillation.

770 - [astronomy, mathematics] An Indian astronomer visits the court of Caliph Al-Mansur, and brings with him the Surya Siddhanta and the works of Aryabhata and Brahmagupta.

777 - [astronomy, mathematics] Muhammad al-Fazari and Yaqūb ibn Tāriq translate the Surya Siddhanta and Brahmasphutasiddhanta, and compile them as the Zij al-Sindhind, the first Zij treatise

794 - [Industry, technology] The first paper mills are created in Baghdad, marking the beginning of the paper industry.

c. 796 - [astronomical instruments] The first person credited for building the brass astrolabe in the Islamic world is reportedly Muhammad al-Fazari.

Late 700s - early 800s - [musical science] Mansour Zalzal of Kufa. Musician (luth) and composer of the Abbasid era. Contributed musical scales that were later named after him (the Mansouri scale) and introduced positions (intervals) within scales such as the wasati-zalzal that was equidistant from the alwasati alqadima and wasati al-fors. Made improvements on the design of the luth instrument and designed the Luth. Teacher of Is-haq al-Mawsili.

700 - 900 - [legal science] Charitable trust first developed in Islamic law as the Waqf

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Default JABIR IBN HAIYAN (Died 803 C.E.)

JABIR IBN HAIYAN
(Died 803 C.E.)


Jabir Ibn Haiyan, the alchemist Geber of the Middle Ages, is generally known as the father of chemistry. Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan, sometimes called al-Harrani and al-Sufi, was the son of the druggist (Attar). The precise date of his birth is the subject of some discussion, but it is established that he practised medicine and alchemy in Kufa around 776 C.E. He is reported to have studied under Imam Ja'far Sadiq and the Ummayed prince Khalid Ibn Yazid. In his early days, he practised medicine and was under the patronage of the Barmaki Vizir during the Abbssid Caliphate of Haroon al-Rashid. He shared some of the effects of the downfall of the Barmakis and was placed under house arrest in Kufa, where he died in 803 C.E.

Jabir's major contribution was in the field of chemistry. He introduced experimental investigation into alchemy, which rapidly changed its character into modern chemistry. On the ruins of his well-known laboratory remained after centuries, but his fame rests on over 100 monumental treatises, of which 22 relate to chemistry and alchemy. His contribution of fundamental importance to chemistry includes perfection of scientific techniques such as crystalization, distillation, calcination, sublimation and evaporation and development of several instruments for the same. The fact of early development of chemistry as a distinct branch of science by the Arabs, instead of the earlier vague ideas, is well-established and the very name chemistry is derived from the Arabic word al-Kimya, which was studied and developed extensively by the Muslim scientists.

Perhaps Jabir's major practical achievement was the discovery of mineral and others acids, which he prepared for the first time in his alembic (Anbique). Apart from several contributions of basic nature to alchemy, involving largely the preparation of new compounds and development of chemical methods, he also developed a number of applied chemical processes, thus becoming a pioneer in the field of applied science. His achievements in this field include preparation of various metals, development of steel, dyeing of cloth and tanning of leather, varnishing of water-proof cloth, use of manganese dioxide in glass-making, prevention of rusting, letterring in gold, identification of paints, greases, etc. During the course of these practical endeavours, he also developed aqua regia to dissolve gold. The alembic is his great invention, which made easy and systematic the process of distillation. Jabir laid great stress on experimentation and accuracy in his work.

Based on their properties, he has described three distinct types of substances. First, spirits i.e. those which vaporise on heating, like camphor, arsenic and ammonium chloride; secondly, metals, for example, gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, and thirdly, the category of compounds which can be converted into powders. He thus paved the way for such later classification as metals, non-metals and volatile substances.

Although known as an alchemist, he did not seem to have seriously pursued the preparation of noble metals as an alchemist; instead he devoted his effort to the development of basic chemical methods and study of mechanisms of chemical reactions in themselves and thus helped evolve chemistry as a science from the legends of alchemy. He emphasised that, in chemical reactions, definite quantities of various substances are involved and thus can be said to have paved the way for the law of constant proportions.

A large number of books are included in his corpus. Apart from chemistry, he also contributed to other sciences such as medicine and astronomy. His books on chemistry, including his Kitab-al-Kimya, and Kitab al-Sab'een were translated into Latin and various European languages. These translations were popular in Europe for several centuries and have influenced the evolution of modern chemistry. Several technical terms devised by Jabir, such as alkali, are today found in various European languages and have become part of scientific vocabulary. Only a few of his books have been edited and published, while several others preserved in Arabic have yet to be annotated and published.

Doubts have been expressed as to whether all the voluminous work included in the corpus is his own contribution or it contains later commentaries/additions by his followers. According to Sarton, the true worth of his work would only be known when all his books have been edited and published. His religious views and philosophical concepts embodied in the corpus have been criticised but, apart from the question of their authenticity, it is to be emphasised that the major contribution of Jabir lies in the field of chemistry and not in religion. His various breakthroughs e.g., preparation of acids for the first time, notably nitric, hydrochloric, citric and tartaric acids, and emphasis on systematic experimentation are outstanding and it is on the basis of such work that he can justly be regarded as the father of modern chemistry. In the words of Max Mayerhaff, the development of chemistry in Europe can be traced directly to Jabir Ibn Haiyan.
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Default MOHAMMAD BIN MUSA AL-KHAWARIZMI (Died 840 C.E.)

MOHAMMAD BIN MUSA AL-KHAWARIZMI
(Died 840 C.E.)


Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi was born at Khawarizm (Kheva), south of Aral sea. Very little is known about his early life, except for the fact that his parents had migrated to a place south of Baghdad. The exact dates of his birth and death are also not known, but it is established that he flourished under Al- Mamun at Baghdad through 813-833 and probably died around 840 C.E.

Khawarizmi was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He was perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, as, in fact, he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. In the words of Phillip Hitti, he influenced mathematical thought to a greater extent than any other medieval writer. His work on algebra was outstanding, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but he also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations, which established him as the founder of Algebra. The very name Algebra has been derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah. His arithmetic synthesised Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. Thus, he explained the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance developed by the Arabs. Similarly, he developed the decimal system so that the overall system of numerals, 'algorithm' or 'algorizm' is named after him. In addition to introducting the Indian system of numerals (now generally known as Arabic numerals), he developed at length several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions. It was through his work that the system of numerals was first introduced to Arabs and later to Europe, through its translations in European languages. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were probably extrapolated to tangent functions by Maslama. He also perfected the geometric representation of conic sections and developed the calculus of two errors, which practically led him to the concept of differentiation. He is also reported to have collaborated in the degree measurements ordered by Mamun al-Rashid were aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth.

The development of astronomical tables by him was a significant contribution to the science of astronomy, on which he also wrote a book. The contribution of Khawarizmi to geography is also outstanding, in that not only did he revise Ptolemy's views on geography, but also corrected them in detail as well as his map of the world. His other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

Several of his books were translated into Latin in the early 12th century. In fact, his book on arithmetic, Kitab al-Jam'a wal- Tafreeq bil Hisab al-Hindi, was lost in Arabic but survived in a Latin translation. His book on algebra, Al-Maqala fi Hisab-al Jabr wa-al- Muqabilah, was also translated into Latin in the 12th century, and it was this translation which introduced this new science to the West "completely unknown till then". He astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and, later, into Chinese. His geography captioned Kitab Surat-al-Ard, together with its maps, was also translated. In addition, he wrote a book on the Jewish calendar Istikhraj Tarikh al-Yahud, and two books on the astrolabe. He also wrote Kitab al-Tarikh and his book on sun-dials was captioned Kitab al-Rukhmat, but both of them have been lost.

The influence of Khawarizmi on the growth of science, in general, and mathematics, astronomy and geography in particular, is well established in history. Several of his books were readily translated into a number of other languages, and, in fact, constituted the university textbooks till the 16th century. His approach was systematic and logical, and not only did he bring together the then prevailing knowledge on various branches of science, particularly mathematics, but also enriched it through his original contribution. No doubt he has been held in high repute throughout the centuries since then.
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Default Yaqub Ibn Ishaq Al-kindi (800-873 C.e.)

YAQUB IBN ISHAQ AL-KINDI
(800-873 C.E.)


Abu Yousuf Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Kindi was born at Kufa around 800 C.E. His father was an official of Haroon al-Rashid. Al-Kindi was a contemporary of al-Mamun, al-Mu'tasim and al-Mutawakkil and flourished largely at Baghdad. He vas formally employed by Mutawakkil as a calligrapher. On account of his philosophical views, Mutawakkil was annoyed with him and confiscated all his books. These were, however, returned later on. He died in 873 C.E. during the reign of al-M'utamid.

Al-Kindi was a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, physician, geographer and even an expert in music. It is surprising that he made original contributions to all of these fields. On account of his work he became known as the philosopher of the Arabs.

In mathematics, he wrote four books on the number system and laid the foundation of a large part of modern arithmetic. No doubt the Arabic system of numerals was largely developed by al- Khawarizmi, but al-Kindi also made rich contributions to it. He also contributed to spherical geometry to assist him in astronomical studies.

In chemistry, he opposed the idea that base metals can be converted to precious metals. In contrast to prevailing alchemical views, he was emphatic that chemical reactions cannot bring about the transformation of elements. In physics, he made rich contributions to geometrical optics and wrote a book on it. This book later on provided guidance and inspiration to such eminent scientists as Roger Bacon.

In medicine, his chief contribution comprises the fact that he was the first to systematically determine the doses to be adminis- tered of all the drugs known at his time. This resolved the conflic- ting views prevailing among physicians on the dosage that caused difficulties in writing recipes.

Very little was known on the scientific aspects of music in his time. He pointed out that the various notes that combine to produce harmony, have a specific pitch each. Thus, notes with too low or too high a pitch are non-pleatant. The degree of harmony depends on the frequency of notes, etc. He also pointed out the fact that when a sound is produced, it generates waves in the air which strike the ear-drum. His work contains a notation on the determination of pitch.

He was a prolific writer, the total number of books written by him was 241, the prominent among which were divided as follows:

Astronomy 16, Arithmetic 11, Geometry 32, Medicine 22,
Physics 12, Philosophy 22, Logic 9, Psychology 5, ar,d Music 7.

In addition, various monographs written by him concern tides, astronomical instruments, rocks, precious stones, etc. He was also an early translator of Greek works into Arabic, but this fact has largely been over-shadowed by his numerous original writings. It is unfortunate that most of his books are no longer extant, but those existing speak very high of his standard of scholarship and contribution. He was known as Alkindus in Latin and a large number of his books were translated into Latin by Gherard of Cremona. His books that were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages comprise Risalah dar Tanjim, Ikhtiyarat al-Ayyam, Ilahyat-e-Aristu, al-Mosiqa, Mad-o-Jazr, and Aduiyah Murakkaba.

Al-Kindi's influence on development of science and philosophy was significant in the revival of sciences in that period. In the Middle Ages, Cardano considered him as one of the twelve greatest minds. His works, in fact, lead to further development of various subjects for centuries, notably physics, mathematics, medicine and music.
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Default Thabit Ibn Qurra (836-901 C.e.)

THABIT IBN QURRA
(836-901 C.E.)


Thabit Ibn Qurra Ibn Marwan al-Sabi al-Harrani was born in the year 836 C.E. at Harran (present Turkey). As the name indicates he was basically a member of the Sabian sect, but the great Muslim mathematician Muhammad Ibn Musa Ibn Shakir, impressed by his knowledge of languages, and realising his potential for a scientific career, selected him to join the scientific group at Baghdad that was being patronised by the Abbasid Caliphs. There, he studied under the famous Banu Musa brothers. It was in this setting that Thabit contributed to several branches of science, notably mathematics, astronomy and mechanics, in addition to translating a large number of works from Greek to Arabic. Later, he was patronised by the Abbasid Caliph al-M'utadid. After a long career of scholarship, Thabit died at Baghdad in 901 C.E.

Thabit's major contribution lies in mathematics and astronomy. He was instrumental in extending the concept of traditional geometry to geometrical algebra and proposed several theories that led to the development of non-Euclidean geometry, spherical trigonometry, integral calculus and real numbers. He criticised a number of theorems of Euclid's elements and proposed important improvements. He applied arithmetical terminology to geometrical quantities, and studied several aspects of conic sections, notably those of parabola and ellipse. A number of his computations aimed at determining the surfaces and volumes of different types of bodies and constitute, in fact, the processes of integral calculus, as developed later.

In astronomy he was one of the early reformers of Ptolemic views. He analysed several. problems related to the movements of sun and moon and wrote treatises on sun-dials.

In the fields of mechanics and physics he may be recognised as the founder of statics. He examined conditions of equilibrium of bodies, beams and levers.

In addition to translating a large number of books himself, he founded a school of translation and supervised the translation of a further large number of books from Greek to Arabic.

Among Thabit's writings a large number have survived, while several are not extant. Most of the books are on mathematics, followed by astronomy and medicine. The books have been written in Arabic but some are in Syriac. In the Middle Ages, some of his books were translated into Latin by Gherard of Cremona. In recent centuries, a number of his books have been translated into European languages and published.

He carried further the work of the Banu Musa brothers and later his son and grandson continued in this tradition, together with the other members of the group. His original books as well as his translations accomplished in the 9th century exerted a positive influence on the development of subsequent scientific research.
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Default Ali Ibn Rabban Al-tabari (838-870 C.e.)

ALI IBN RABBAN AL-TABARI
(838-870 C.E.)


This accomplished Hakim was the tutor of the unparalleled physician Zakariya al-Razi. Luck favoured the disciple more than the teacher in terms of celebrity. As compared to Razi people know very little about his teacher Ali.

Ali Bin Rabban's surname was Abu al-Hasan, the full name being Abu al-Hasan Ali Bin Sahl Rabban al-Tabari. Born in 838 C.E. his father Sahl hailed from a respectable Jew family. The nobility and sympathy inherent in his very nature soon endeared him to his countrymen so much so that they used to call him Rabban which implies "my leader".

Professionally Sahl was an extremely successful physician. He had command over the art of calligraphy too. Besides he had a deep insight into the disciplines of Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics and Literature. Some complicated articles of Batlemus's book al-Mijasti came to be resolved by way of Sahl's scholarly expertise, translators preceding him had failed to solve the mystery.

Ali received his education in the disciplines of Medical science and calligraphy from his able father Sahl and attained perfection in these fields. He had also mastered Syriac and Greek languages to a high degree of proficiency.

Ali hailed from a Israelite family. Since he had embraced Islam, he is classified amongst Muslirn Scholars. This family belonged to Tabristan's famous city Marv.

The fame acquired by Ali Bin Rabban did not simply account for the reason that a physician of the stature of Zakariya al-Razi was amongst his disciple. In fact the main cause behind his exalta- tion lies in his world-renowned treatise Firdous al-Hikmat.

Spread over seven parts, Firdous al-Hikmat is the first ever Medical encyclopaedia which incorporates all the branches of medical science in its folds. This work has been published in this century (20th century) only. Prior to this publication only five of his manuscripts were to be found scattered in libraries the world over. Dr. Mohammed Zubair Siddiqui compared and edited the manuscripts. In his preface he has provided extremely useful information regarding the book and the author and, wherever felt necessary, explanatory notes have been written to facilitate publication of this work on modern publishing standards.

Later on this unique work was published with the cooperation of English and German institutions. Following are the details of its all seven parts:

1. Part one: Kulliyat-e-Tibb. This part throws light on contempo- rary ideology of medical science. In that era these principles formed the basis of medical science.
2. Part two: Elucidation of the organs of the human body, rules for keeping good health and comprehensive account of certain muscular diseases.
3. Part three: Description of diet to be taken in conditions of health and disease.
4. Part four: All diseases right from head to toe. This part is of profound significance in the whole book and comprises twelve papers:

i) General causes relating to eruption of diseases. ii) Diseases of the head and the brain. iii) Diseases relating to the eye, nose, ear, mouth and the teeth. iv) Muscular diseases (paralysis and spasm). v) Diseases of the regions of the chest, throat and the lungs. vi) Diseases of the abdomen. vii) Diseases of the liver. viii) Diseases of gallbladder and spleen. ix) Intestinal diseases. x) Different kinds of fever. xi) Miscellaneous diseases- brief explanation of organs of the body. xii) Examination of pulse and urine. This part is the largest in the book and is almost half the size of the whole book.

5. Part five: Description of flavour, taste and colour.
6. Part six: Drugs and poison.
7. Part seven: Deals with diverse topics. Discusses climate and astronomy. Also contains a brief mention of Indian medicine.

Though he wrote Firdous al-Hikmat in Arabic but he simultaneously translated it into Syriac. He has two more compilations to his credit namely Deen-o-Doulat and Hifdh al-Sehhat. The latter is available in manuscript-form in the library of Oxford University. Besides Medical science, he was also a master of Philosophy, Mathematics and Astronomy. He breathed his last around 870 C.E.
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Default Abu Abdullah Al-battani (868-929 C.e.)

ABU ABDULLAH AL-BATTANI
(868-929 C.E.)


Abu Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Jabir Ibn Sinan al-Battani al-Harrani was born around 858 C.E. in Harran, and according to one account, in Battan, a State of Harran. Battani was first educated by his father Jabir Ibn San'an al-Battani, who was also a well-known scientist. He then moved to Raqqa, situated on the bank of the Euphrates, where he received advanced education and later on flourished as a scholar. At the beginning of the 9th century, he migrated to Samarra, where he worked till the end of his life in 929 C.E. He was of Sabian origin, but was himself a Muslim.

Battani was a famous astronomer, mathematician and astrologer. He has been held as one of the greatest astronomists of Islam. He is responsible for a number of important discoveries in astronomy, which was the result of a long career of 42 years of research beginning at Raqqa when he was young. His well-known discovery is the remarkably accurate determination of the solar year as being 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds, which is very close to the latest estimates. He found that the longitude of the sun's apogee had increased by 16° , 47' since Ptolemy. This implied the important discovery of the motion of the solar apsides and of a slow variation in the equation of time. He did not believe in the trapidation of the equinoxes, although Copernicus held it.

Al-Battani determined with remarkable accuracy the obliquity of the ecliptic, the length of the seasons and the true and mean orbit of the sun. He proved, in sharp contrast to Ptolemy, the variation of the apparent angular diameter of the sun and the possibility of annular eclipses. He rectified several orbits of the moon and the planets and propounded a new and very ingenious theory to determine the conditions of visibility of the new moon. His excellent observations of lunar and solar eclipses were used by Dunthorne in 1749 to determine the secular acceleration of motion of the moon. He also provided very neat solutions by means of orthographic projection for some problems of spherical trigonometry.

In mathematics, he was the first to replace the use of Greek chords by sines, with a clear understanding of their superiority.He also developed the concept of cotangent and furnished their table in degrees.

He wrote a number of books on astronomy and trigonometry. His most famous book was his astronomical treatise with tables, which was translated into Latin in the 12th century and flourished as De scienta stellerum — De numeris stellerum et motibus. An old translation of this is available of the Vatican. His Zij was, in fact, more accurate than all others written by that time.

His treatise on astronomy was extremely influential in Europe till the Renaissance, with translations available in several languages. His original discoveries both in astronomy and trigonometry were of great consequence in the development of these sciences.
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Default Al-farghani (c. 860 C.e.)

AL-FARGHANI
(C. 860 C.E.)


Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani, born in Farghana, Transoxiana, was one of the most distinguished astronomers in the service of al-Mamun and his successors. He wrote "Elements of Astronomy" (Kitab fi al-Harakat al-Samawiya wa Jawami Ilm al-Nujum i.e. the book on celestial motion and thorough science of the stars), which was translated into Latin in the 12th century and exerted great influence upon European astronomy before Regiomontanus. He accepted Ptolemy's theory and value of the precession, but thought that it affected not only the stars but also the planets. He determined the diameter of the earth to be 6,500 miles, and found the greatest distances and also the diameters of the planets.

Al-Farghani's activities extended to engineering. According to Ibn Tughri Birdi, he supervised the construction of the Great Nilometer at al-Fustat (old Cairo). It was completed in 861, the year in which the Caliph al-Mutawakkil, who ordered the construction, died. But engineering was not al-Farghani's forte, as transpires from the following story narrated by Ibn Abi Usaybi'a.

Al-Mutawakkil had entrusted the two sons of Musa ibn Shakir, Muhammad and Ahmad, with supervising the digging of a canal named al-Ja'fari. They delegated the work to Al-Farghani, thus deliberately ignoring a better engineer, Sind ibn Ali, whom, out of professional jealousy, they had caused to be sent to Baghdad, away from al-Mutawakkil's court in Samarra. The canal was to run through the new city, al-Ja'fariyya, which al-Mutawakkil had built near Samarra on the Tigris and named after himself. Al-Farghani committed a grave error, making the beginning of the canal deeper than the rest, so that not enough water would run through the length of the canal except when the Tigris was high. News of this angered the Caliph, and the two brothers were saved from severe punishment only by the gracious willingness of Sind ibn Ali to vouch for the correctness of al-Farghani's calculations, thus risking his own welfare and possibly his life. As had been correctly predicted by astrologers, however, al-Mutawakkil was murdered shortly before the error became apparent. The explanation given for Al-Farghani's mistake is that being a theoretician rather than a practical engineer, he never successfully completed a construction.

The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim, written in 987, ascribes only two works to Al-Farghani: (1) "The Book of Chapters, a summary of the Almagest" (Kitab al-Fusul, Ikhtiyar al-Majisti) and (2) "Book on the Construction of Sun-dials" (Kitab 'Amal al-Rukhamat).

The Jawami, or 'The Elements' as we shall call it, was Al- Farghani's best-known and most influential work. Abd al-Aziz al-Qabisi (d. 967) wrote a commentary on it, which is preserved in the Istanbul manuscript, Aya Sofya 4832, fols. 97v-114v. Two Latin translations followed in the 12th century. Jacob Anatoli produced a Hebrew translation of the book that served as a basis for a third Latin version, appearing in 1590, whereas Jacob Golius published a new Latin text together with the Arabic original in 1669. The influence of 'The Elements' on mediaeval Europe is clearly vindicated by the presence of innumerable Latin manuscripts in European libraries.

References to it by medieval writers are many, and there is no doubt that it was greatly responsible for spreading knowledge of Ptolemaic astronomy, at least until this role was taken over by Sacrobosco's Sphere. But even then, 'The Elements' of Al-Farghani continued to be used, and Sacrobosco's Sphere was evidently indebted to it. It was from 'The Elements' (in Gherard's translation) that Dante derived the astronomical knowledge displayed in the 'Vita nuova' and in the 'Convivio'.
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Default Mohammad Ibn Zakariya Al-razi (864-930 C.e.)

MOHAMMAD IBN ZAKARIYA AL-RAZI
(864-930 C.E.)


Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (864-930 C.E.) was born at Ray, Iran. Initially, he was interested in music but later on he learnt medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry and philosophy from a student of Hunayn Ibn Ishaq, who was well versed in the ancient Greek, Persian and Indian systems of medicine and other subjects. He also studied under Ali Ibn Rabban. The practical experience gained at the well-known Muqtadari Hospital helped him in his chosen profession of medicine. At an early age he gained eminence as an expert in medicine and alchemy, so that patients and students flocked to him from distant parts of Asia.

He was first placed in-charge of the first Royal Hospital at Ray, from where he soon moved to a similar position in Baghdad where he remained the head of its famous Muqtadari Hospital for along time. He moved from time to time to various cities, specially between Ray and Baghdad, but finally returned to Ray, where he died around 930 C.E. His name is commemorated in the Razi Institute near Tehran.

Razi was a Hakim, an alchemist and a philosopher. In medicine, his contribution was so significant that it can only be compared to that of Ibn Sina. Some of his works in medicine e.g. Kitab al- Mansoori, Al-Hawi, Kitab al-Mulooki and Kitab al-Judari wa al- Hasabah earned everlasting fame. Kitab al-Mansoori, which was translated into Latin in the 15th century C.E., comprised ten volumes and dealt exhaustively with Greco-Arab medicine. Some of its volumes were published separately in Europe. His al-Judari wal Hasabah was the first treatise on smallpox and chicken-pox, and is largely based on Razi's original contribution: It was translated into various European languages. Through this treatise he became the first to draw clear comparisons between smallpox and chicken-pox. Al-Hawi was the largest medical encyclopaedia composed by then. It contained on each medical subject all important information that was available from Greek and Arab sources, and this was concluded by him by giving his own remarks based on his experience and views. A special feature of his medical system was that he greatly favoured cure through correct and regulated food. This was combined with his emphasis on the influence of psychological factors on health. He also tried proposed remedies first on animals in order to evaluate in their effects and side effects. He was also an expert surgeon and was the first to use opium for anaesthesia.

In addition to being a physician, he compounded medicines and, in his later years, gave himself over to experimental and theoretical sciences. It seems possible that he developed his chemistry independently of Jabir Ibn Hayyan. He has portrayed in great detail several chemical reactions and also given full descriptions of and designs for about twenty instruments used in chemical investigations. His description of chemical knowledge is in plain and plausible language. One of his books called Kitab-al-Asrar deals with the preparation of chemical materials and their utilization. Another one was translated into Latin under the name Liber Experi- mentorum, He went beyond his predecessors in dividing substances into plants, animals and minerals, thus in a way opening the way for inorganic and organic chemistry. By and large, this classification of the three kingdoms still holds. As a chemist, he was the first to produce sulfuric acid together with some other acids, and he also prepared alcohol by fermenting sweet products.

His contribution as a philosopher is also well known. The basic elements in his philosophical system are the creator, spirit, matter, space and time. He discusses their characteristics in detail and his concepts of space and time as constituting a continuum are outstanding. His philosophical views were, however, criticised by a number of other Muslim scholars of the era.

He was a prolific author, who has left monumental treatises on numerous subjects. He has more than 200 outstanding scientific contributions to his credit, out of which about half deal with medicine and 21 concern alchemy. He also wrote on physics, mathematics, astronomy and optics, but these writings could not be preserved. A number of his books, including Jami-fi-al-Tib, Mansoori, al-Hawi, Kitab al-Jadari wa al-Hasabah, al-Malooki, Maqalah fi al- Hasat fi Kuli wa al-Mathana, Kitab al-Qalb, Kitab al-Mafasil, Kitab-al- 'Ilaj al-Ghoraba, Bar al-Sa'ah, and al-Taqseem wa al-Takhsir, have been published in various European languages. About 40 of his manuscripts are still extant in the museums and libraries of Iran, Paris, Britain, Rampur, and Bankipur. His contribution has greatly influenced the development of science, in general, and medicine, in particular.
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