Science and Islam "...Ill end by telling a story. There was once a civilization that was the greatestin the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean toocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominionlived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins. One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, thebridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up ofpeople of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree ofpeace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilizationscommerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between. And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Itsarchitects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created thealgebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and thecreation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found newcures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, andpaved the way for space travel and exploration. Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic.Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to thinkof such things. When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, andkept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from pastcivilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on toothers. While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilizationIm talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, whichincluded the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo,and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent. Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization,its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would notexist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers
6 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 7like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman Islamcontributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership. Its presence is felt in all walks of life, f rom international politics to And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based religious and ideological circles to personal lifestyle. This is becauseon meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full Islam is a dynamic way of life based on a powerful intellectualcapabilities of a very diverse population-that included Christianity, Islamic, doctrine. Islam does not establish itself in people by blind faith orand Jewish traditions. imitation, but rather by an invitation to the human being to think deeply about his existence and his surroundings. Th is why the at This kind of enlightened leadership - leadership that nurtured culture, Quran is constantly encouraging man to think, ponder andsustainability, diversity and courage - led to 800 years of invention and contemplate.prosperity..." It calls man to use his intellect and reason to make vital judgments about the profound nature of this Unive e. When we look to the rs Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett-Pa a 26 September 2001. ck rd, wo around us, we observe many phenomena that establish a rld definitiveproof for the existence of the Cre ator. Islam challenges the human being to think about them and accept the truth rega rding the existence of the One Cre ator. We are constantly discovering more and more laws that make up this order. We utilize these laws for the satisfaction of our needs. Howeve many people have failed to add r, ress the fundamental issue: Who or wh establishes these laws? Did they cre the Unive e at ate rs that they gove or did the Unive cre them so as to bring order rn rse ate to itself ? It is impossible that either of these is the case because the matter in the Unive is dependent on the lawsthat gove it, and the law rse rn s a a function of the matter. Therefo there must be something re re, independent of both matter and natural law that cre ated them. It is only the Cre ator, the only one who is unlimited, self-subsistent and eternal that is worthy of being wo rshipped. The Cre ator in Islam is called Allah.
8 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 9Introduction This understanding came from the saying attributed to Jesus, The West has claimed for centuries that its scientific progress wa s "Render unto Caesar what is Caesars and unto God what is Gods."a direct result of s a ep rating religion from the practical life of thepeople, in other wo s, s a rd ep rating the Church from the State. It is Despite this, Christianity could not preserve the empire, and thestated that religion1 cannot deal with the mans affars in the eve i r- demise of the Romans bequeathed many Christian states in Europechanging wo rld, and adopting it only stifles cre ativity and progress in where the Churchwasable to dominate.all walks of life, including science and technology. The domination of the Church meant that all affars of life had to i It is a fact that throughout the history of Europe, the Church confo to the dogma of the Church. This caused many problems rmengaged in a ve harsh tre ry atment of the people, especially the because the Bible, which the Church used as its authoritative text,scientists and the thinke who opposed the views of the Church. rs dealt with only ve limited matters. It gave some specific rules ryThis stagnated scientific thought and as a result, religion wa s related to the Jews in their wo rships and their foodstuffs. It gaveperceived as impractical, inflexible, and full of contradictions. Hence, general moral principles for Christians and set norms for theirit was found to be unsuitable for the progress of humanity. p rs and communal wo raye rship. Unlike the legislative sources of Islam the Bible does not give detailed guidance on economy, politics The Europeans have indeed suffe red greatly under the Church. (domestic and intern ational), judiciary, criminal punishments, theHoweve can generalizations be made, based on the experience of r, structure and functioning of gove rnment etc. The Quran info rmsChristianity in Europe, that progress can only be made through man- usthat the Christians and Jews had changed their books so the Biblemade legislation and that the Laws of the Cre ator are somewh at does not rep resent a preserved text from the cre ator to man and itinadequate or defective? leaves a huge gapwhen it comes to human societal affars. This gap i This booklet will critically examine the argument that religion was an area of constant conflict of interests between kings, feudalhinders mans progress and it will showthat there is no contradiction barons and priests. During Europes darkages it was the priests whobetween science and Islam. Furthermore, the booklet will highlight dominated life and when they gave judgments even kings had tosome of the scientific achievements of Muslims during the time submit. Yet these judgments of priests we an arbitra and re rywhen Islam was implemented in a comprehensive fashion. inconsistent exe rcise of their authority owing to the lack of a comprehensive legislative text to base their rules upon, and this laid the seeds of direct confrontation between the society and theThe Dark Ages in Europe Church. The adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empirewas not based With the passage of time scientific discoverieswe made that we re reon the truthfulness of Christianity or on its ability to deal with mans at odds with the teachings of the Church. To preserve its authority,problems. Rather, it was adopted by Constantine in 325 Christian the Church took some harsh steps against the emergence of newEra (CE) to simply preserve the empire by building a common ideas. Many scientists we branded as heretics, infidels and satans. In rementality and loyalty among the citizens. Christianity offe red blind 1042 AH2 / 1633 CE, Galileo wasfo rced to renounce his belief andloyalty to the secular empero based on the understanding that the rs writings that supported the Copernican theory of heliocentrism thattemporal authority and the spiritual authority can harmoniously co- claimed the sun was the center of the unive e. Instead, the Church rsexist. adamantly maintained the fl wed theory of geocentrism, whichstated a that the earth was the center of the unive e. rs
10 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 11 Also, plenty of evidence exists indicating that hundreds of The wo Islam, in Arabic, linguistically means submission. As a rdthousands of women who we alleged witches we bu or re re rnt term, Islam refe to the Message that wasrevealed to Muhammad rsdrowned. Theresponse to this oppression from the people, especially by Allah, the One Creator, and a Muslim is the one who believesthe scientists, thinke and the philosophers such as Voltaire and rs, in Allah, and accepts Muhammad as the last and final Prophet andRousseau, was equally strong. They began to highlight the Messenger of Allah. Consequently, a Muslim believes in Islam in itscontradictions of the Church and called for nothing less than the entirety.s a ep ration of the Church and the State. The struggle had begun. In sharp contrast to Christianity and Judaism, Islam is not merely Desperate measures we taken by the Church to deflect the re areligion. Rather, Islam is a unique and comprehensive ideologythatcriticism, f rustra and angerthat we vented by the people. These tion re guides the life of the human being. The Islamic ideology, by themeasures failed to halt the flames of change that had galvanized the definition of an ideology, consists of both the Aqeedah (creed,masses. The Churchrealized that it could no longerstay in ch rge of a doctrine) and Systems, to regulate the practical life of human beings.the State without refo rming itself. Thus, a period of Refo ation rmcommenced. Howeve the Refo ation did not guarantee any bright r, rm The Islamic Aqeedah p rovides the correct and comprehensivefuture for the Church as the stru ggle became intensified between answe to the fundamental questions rega rs rding humanitys existencethe 16th and the 17th century CE. andthat of the unive e. It add rs resses the issue of the human beings purpose in life, and links it with wh preceded life and wh will at at The eventual outcome of the stru ggle for power between the come after it, thereby settling humanitys coreproblem and providingChurch and the thinke and philosopherswas the sep ration of the rs a the basis for systems and rules to properly organize human affars. iChurch and the State. This solution was a compromise that limited This Aqeedah also provides the basis for a means to implementthe authority of the Church to preserving the morals in society and Islam in reality, thus transfe rring it from theory to practice. Thisconducting rituals, and left the administering of the worldlyaffars to i means of implementing Islam is the State, which is distinguishedthe State. The sep ration between the Church and the State through a from all other states as the Khilafah. It is an integral part of thethe compromise solution was completed by the 18th century CE, ideology and distinguishes it from a philosophy, which providesand fo rmed the basis of Capitalism marking the beginning of the hypothetical ideas but no means to implement them.Enlightenment period that sparked the industrial revolution inEurope. The Islamic Systems provide a comprehensive structure to govern the affars of human beings. It correctly establishes: i It is therefo clear that Europe scientifically stagnated under the rearbitra authority of the Christian Church. ry 1) The relationship between the human being and his Cre ator 2) The personal affars of individuals i 3) The variousrelationships (social, political, economic, andIslam as an Ideology international) that exist in the society In order to understand the contribution of Muslims to the Thus, Islam constitutes a Creed and Systems. Wh distinguishes atadvancement of various fields of sciences, it is necessary to explain Islam from the ideologies of Capitalism3 and Communism is thatIslam, as it was Islam that provided the driving fo of change and rce Islam is built on the correct idea, whereas the others are foundedresearch. It is the Islamic ideology that deserves the credit and not on a shallow and unenlightened view of the life of the human being,the individuals themselve s. and the wo in which he exists. rld
12 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 13 Because Islam establishes the correct understanding of life and Many of these wo s, whichare mainly used in science, came from rdplaces humanity in the correct context, the systems and culture the Islamic State 4 - an indication that scientific culture was wellemanating from the Islamic creed would correctlyadd ress the human developed.nature and provide the correct solutions. In this context, Islam iscompatible with the human being. Islam does not ignore a human Science flourished under Islam. It was not subject to any of thebeings instincts or desire but organizes them in the proper context, s, repression, perpetrated by the Church in the West, which caused theincluding the survival instinct that prompts man to seek material "darkages" until the people threw of the stifling influence of theprogress through the acquisition of science and technology. Church. Islamic thinke clearly defined twoareas of knowledge. Ibn rs Khaldun says in his "al-Muqaddimah," "the sciences (uloom) are of Only the full implementation of Islam in a practical and systematic two types: a natural type for man to arr at through his own ivemanner would ensure the proper organization of ournatural desire s, thinking, and a textual type which he takes from the one whoincluding the desire for technological progress. The implementation originated it. The fi st type is the rational and philosophical sciences rof the Islamic System is a must, but until this fact becomes a reality which he can seek through his own thought; and by his faculties heour instincts, needs, and natural desires will either remain subjected discove its subjects and issues, the fo rs rms of their proofs and theto oppression, ignored completely, or satisfied by corrupt means. aspects of their teaching, so that through discernment and study heRega rdless of having individuals satisfying their instincts the correct identifies the correct from the incorrect in his capacity as a humanwa the society as a whole would not. y, being possessing the faculty of thought. The second is the textual and traditional sciences, which depend on the report coming froma Islam is an ideologythat was delive to the wo red rld. Thespread of sharai source. In this type the mind has no scope ex cept to link theIslam is neither confined to time or place, nor dependent upon peripheral issues to the foundation (usool)." Ibn Khaldun also said,science and technology. Although technology has changed the living "The rational or natural sciences are common to all nations sinceconditions of the people around the globe, the needs and instincts of manarr at them through the natural disposition of his thought." iveshumanity have not changed. Therefo re, Islam, which came toorganize our needs and instincts through its implementation upon In the area of Islamic legislation Muslims cannot take from anysociety by the Khilafah State is applicable and valid for all time. source or reference except the sharia texts. The wahiy instructs and orders the Muslims to refer all of mans affars to the wahiy. iScience flourished under Islam The Muslims clearly understood that the rational sciences are left open to the mind of man. In the domain of pure science we can The notion that religion is at odds with scientific development is exercise our thinking and take from other peoples contributions inalien to Islam. History shows that most of the scientific the technical and scientific field. For example, if aperson wanted todevelopments by the Muslims we achieved under the rule of Islam, re design an automotive engine he would refer to all the past andand not when it was fo rcefully removed from their live Even the s. current engine designs, regardless of who designed them, Muslims orhistory books written by non-Muslim Europeans testify to this fact, non-Muslims. The pure science does not concern itself with onesand if that does not suffice, then one can survey the origins of many point of viewabout life be it Capitalism, Buddhism, or Islam. Th ewo used in the West, like alcohol, cipher, suga algebra admiral, rds r, , pure science was understood to be the same for all people.alchemy, atlas, coffee, cotton and so on, to find that theyare Arabicin origin. Therefo it is with this clear definition that the early Muslims re, progressed ve fast in all fields of science known at the time and ry
14 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 15pioneered in to the new fields. Glimpses of Achievement under Islamic Rule Thestaggering contribution of Muslims to science and technology,Islam directs man to think as mentioned in this section, a meant only to serve as examples re and should be understood as merely rep resentative of the glorious Islam is a system of life that originated from Allah, the Creator. services rendered by Muslim scientists to the ove development rallAllah is the One who cre ated man, life, and the unive and rse of science and technology.subjected man to the physical lawsthat He imposed on the unive e. rsThe Quran, as revealed to Muhammad (saw), invites man to Befo Islam, Arabs had a rudimentary knowledge of history and recontemplate the physical wo in order to understand his reality rld geograp Their historywas limited to the annals of the local tribes hy.correctly and therebyappreciate more the gre atness of the Cre atoras and territories. Islam as an ideology pushes individuals to think andhe lives and rules by Islam. acquire education. Muslims are ordered to interact with others to c rry the Message of Islam to them. In order to achieve this, the a The invitation to think can be found in many places of the Quran. Muslims are ordered to build their material cap ability. The Khaleefa 5 hIslam does not limit man to think in purelyreligious or scientific or isresponsible to utilize any means, within the limits of Islamic Law ,m atters, as the priests of past and present do, but established fo r to take care of the affars of the people. Therefo all of these i re,him thinking as a necessity for the whole of life. Islam invites all to factors help to initiate the technological achievements.think about man, life and the unive e, so that man arr rs ives at thecorrect answe to the gre rs atest questions facing him about this life, From the earlydays of Islam, the Muslims of all regions in general,wh preceded it and wh is to follow at at . and those of Arabia in particular, tra veled extensively through plains, hills, r rs, oceans, fo ive rest and deserts in connections with Jihad6 , Thinking therefo is ve mu a part of Islam. For indeed, the re ry ch Hajj7 and tra e. In the course of their life they collected info ation d rmbelief in Islam comes through rational conviction and not the blind on social, political, historical, geographical, economical, agriculturalfollowing of the previous generations. In this wa man becomes a y and other conditions of the land they visited or settled in.thinker from his fi st embracing of the Islamic belief. He further r As a consequence of the collection of such info ation, sciences rmdistinguishes his ch racter by thought as he refuses to follow the a such as history and geograp became rich. During those days the hyimmediate satisfaction of his instincts like the animals and the tra was tedious and hazardous because there we no means of vel rehedonistic followe of Western Capitalism. The Muslim seeks to rs transport ation except animals, and no regular roads existed, yet theunderstand the Islamic texts so as to constantly seek Allahs pleasure Muslims tra veled extensively through all kinds of terrain.in the perfo rmance of all actions only in accordance with theguidance of Islam. He thus fills his mind with contemplation of the So far as the physical or experimental sciences are concerned, theQuran and the Sunnah. pre-Islamic Arabs had some knowledge of them. With their keen sense of observation, they gathered info ation on animals like rm horses, camels and sheep and on the indigenous plants of their vast deserts. Some medical use of these plants was also known to them. The names mentioned in the pre-Islamic Arabic literature of various internal and external organs of the human and animal bodies suggest that their knowledge of a atomywas quite far. The Arabs had some n i knowledge of astronomy and meteorology as well. Th had some ey
16 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 17info ation on the fi ed stars, the movements of the planets and rm x Arrangements for the dissection of the corpseswe made for the rethe patterns of we ather. A number of a and crafts such as hors rts e practical teaching of a atomy. The Khaleefah al-Mutasim supplied a nbreeding and camel rearing we also in existence among them. re physician with apes for this purpose. P ractical demonstrations of s rgical operations for the students we given in the hospitals. u re In order to make the foreign scientific wo easily understandable, rksit was necessary to undertake the selective translations of these Litera had reached the highest standard among the Muslim cyscientific wo rks into Arabic. Arabic, being a flexible and rich people during the 11th and 12th century CE. The scientific spirit oflanguage, easilyprovided sufficient terminology for the new sciences. that age is indicated by the optical wo of Shihab al-Din al-Qira rk fi,The objectivewas not just to translate but rather to build upon what a scholar of Islamic Law and judge of Cairo (d. 1285 CE), whichwastranslated. dealt with fifty optical problems. A number of academies we established in many places in the re Under Islamic rule, scientists not only made original contributionsMuslim wo to carry out the wo of translation. During the rule rld rk to science but also applied their scientific discoveries in technologicalof the Abbasi Khulafaa (Caliphs), p rticularly al-Mansur and al- a innovation. They observed the stars, and prep red star maps fo a rMamun, extensive activity was shown in the prep ration and a navigational purposes. Ibn Yunus made use of pendulum for thetranslation of scientific wo s. Significant wo was accomplished rk rk measurement of time. Ibn Sina used air thermometers to measureairby the end of the 10th century. The translators belonged to different temperature. Paper, compass, gun, gunpowder, inorganic acids andethnic and religious groups. For instance, Naubakht was of Pe rsian alkaline bases are some of the most important examples of scientificorigin. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Fazari was an Arab. Hunain ibn and technological developments of Muslim scientists, which broughtIshaq was a Nestorian Christian from Hirah. about an unprecedented revolution in human civilization. The Muslim scientists accepted the scientific conclusions of others Muslim scientists made algebra a permanent branch ofsubject to their experimental verification and also made new m athematics. The wo algebra is derived from its original Arabic rdobservations and experiments that lead to new discoveries. Muslim root Jabr. Muslim scientists also evolved plane and sphericalscientists used the practical approach to scientific problems with the trigonometry, and applied it to astronomy. They also sep rated aabstract thought. astrology from astronomy, because a belief in the influence of stars on the fate of human beings is heresy in Islam. Astronomywasthus Muslim scientists recognized the physical or qualitative and the developed to the stage of apure science after its purification frommathematical or quantitative aspects of science. They made superstitious beliefs.qualitative as well as quantitative studies of numerous scientificproblems. For instance, Ibn Khurdadhbeh determined the latitudes The numerous Arabic8 wo and scientific terms currently being rdsand longitudes of various places in the Muslim wo rld. Al-Biruni used in European languages (see Appendix II for full list) are livingascertained the specific gravity of anumber of substances. monuments of Muslim contributions to modem science. In addition, the large number of books in the libraries of Asia and Europe, the The experiments in chemistry, p hysics and medicine we re museums of many countries, and the mosques and palaces builtperformed in the laboratories and those in pathology and surge in ry centuries ago also bear an eloquent testimony to this importantthe hospitals. Observatories we set up at various places in the re phenomenon of wo history. rldMuslim wo such as Damascus, B rld, aghdad, and Nishapur to performastronomical observations. Some examples of words derived from Arabic are: cipher and
18 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 19chiff (in English and Frenchrespectively), derived from the Arabic re Mathematicswo sifr (meaning empty or nil), describing a number written at the rdright of another numeral to increase its value ten times; the wo rd Number Zeroalkali in chemical terminology used for that particular substance Arabic Numberswhich gives a salt when combined with an acid, is a modified fo of rm Algorithmsthe Arabic wo al-qali; the French wo escadre and the English rd rd Algebra made into sciencewo squadron for a section of a rd rmed fo rces, h ave been derived Al-Khwarizmis work on Algebrafo the Arabic wo askariyyah used in the same sense; and the rm rd Spherical, Analytical & Plane Trigonometrywo admiral is derived from amir al-rahl and thereare many others. rd Determining roots of quadratic equation Sine, Cosine tables In the process of translation, the names of a large number of Cubic equationsMuslim scholars have also altered, deceiving readers into thinking Work of Banu Musa on Geometrythat theyare the names of non-Muslim Europeans. Some such namesa Abul Qasim al-Zahra (Albucasis), Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn re: wi The achievements of Muslims in the field of m athematics areSinan al-Battani (Albetinius) and Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna). extremely remark able. A regular study of this science, like all other sciences, wasbegun during the time of the second Abbasi Khaleefah, It is quite obvious that the spirit of inquiry cre ated in the Muslims al-Mansur, in the second half of the 8th century CE. During thisand the scientific method of investigation that they fo rmulated period the wo on mathematics was exclusively accomplished by rkresulted in the evolution of modern science. Muslims. Some stimulus came from Indian and Greek wo that we later rks re translated into Arabic. During the 5th century AH /11th century CE nearly all of the original and creative wo was done by Muslims, rk and even non-Muslims wrote all their mathematical wo in Arabic. rks The Muslims used numbers including the ze for counting in ro contrast with writing the amounts in wo rds or counting with the letters of the alphabet. Thus they made arithmetic simple and applicable to the problems of eve ay life in connection with ryd commerce and trade. The number ze holds gre importance in ro at arithmetic. Without the ze it is not possible to indicate the figure ro like tens, hundreds, etc. The West learned the use of numerals from the Arabs, and therefo called them the Arabic numerals. The diffusion of the re Arabic numeral in Christian Europe was ve slow The Christian ry . m athematicians either used the old Roman numerals and the abacus, or used the Arabic numerals together with their old system. It was only in the 12th century that after learning from the Muslims the Western scholarswe able to produce some litera re ture on the number
20 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 21system without columns and incorporating the ze This system wa ro. s five unknowns. His wo was studied and gre utilized by al-Ka rk atly rkhinamed algorithms (or algorism) which was derived by the Latin and Leonardo of Pisa.writers from al-Khwarizmi (a native of Khwarizm region), adistinguished Muslim mathematicians, astronomer and geographer Abul-Wa fas contribution to the development of trigonometry isof the 9th century CE who flourished under the Khaleefah al- remarkable. He was the fi st to show the generality of the sine rMamun. His full name was Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Musa al- theorem relative to spherical triangles. He gave a new method ofKhwarizmi (d. 850 CE). His influence on mathematical thought constructing sine tables, and calculated the value of sin 30º to eightexceeded that of a other writer of that period. He wrote an ny decimal places.encyclopedic wo dealing with arithmetic, geometry, music and rkastronomy. Nowwe come to the mathematical wo of Umar ibn Ibrahim al- rk Khay yam, who was one of the gre atest Muslim mathematicians and Algebra was made into an exact science by the Muslims. Al- astronomers of the Middle Age While al-Khwarizmi deals only with s.Khwarizmi named his book dealing with this subject as Kitab al-Jabr quadratics, al-Khay yam mostly discusses the cubic equations. Hewal-Muqabalah (The Book of Restitution and Comparison). The makes a remark able classification of the equations, whichare basedwo jabr means restitution. It is the adding of some thing to a given rd on the complexity of the equation, i.e. on the number of diffe rentsum or multiplying it so that it becomes equal to another value. Th e terms which they contain.wo mu abalah means comparison and is applied in comparing two rd qsides of an equation such as A+B = C. The wo al-jabr (Algebra rd ) The Banu Musa or Sons of Musa, w rote a series of importantwas originally used for simple operations, like additions and original studies. One title was done by Muhammad ibn Musa, whichmultiplication, but later it evolved into an entire subject. In addition, dealt with the measurement of the sphere, trisection of the angle, andthe Muslims founded analytical geometry as well as plane and determination of two mean proportionals to fo a single division rmspherical trigonometry. between two given quantities. His interest was not limited to geometry; he also wrote wo on celestial mechanics, the atom, the rks Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who flourished between 786 CE and 833 ACE origin of the Earth and an essay on the Ptolemaic unive e. His rsin Baghdad, was the fi st to translate Euclids Elements into Arabic. r brother Ahmad wrote a fundamental wo on mechanics, while al- rkThis wo was twice translated, fi st under the KhaleefahHarun al- rk r Hasanwrote a study of the geometrical properties of the ellipse. Al-Rasheed and second under his son al-Mamun. Hasan was perhaps the most gifted geometrician of his time. He translated the fi st six books of Euclids Elements and left the rest r Abu Said al-Darir al-Jurfani (d. 845 CE), who was a Muslim unfinished because he was able to wo out the remaining rkastronomer and mathematician, w rote a discourse on geometrical propositions himself.problems. Another mathematician and geogra pherwas al-Hasan al-Marakashi, By the end of the 10th century CE, the number of m athematicians who flourished until 1262 CE. Hewrote variouswo on astronomy, rksincreased immensely Abu Kamil, who was one of the distinguished which was put to practical use in astronomical instruments andm athematicians of this period, perfected al-Khwarizmis wo onrk methods. Also, Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman al-algebra. He determined and constructed both roots of quadratic Azdi, ave popular Muslim writes authored 74 wo that dealt with ry rksequations. He made a special study of the pentagon and decagon m athematics and astronomy. One of his books, Talkhis amal al-Hisabwith algebraic tre atment, mentioned the multiplication and division (Summary of Arithmetical Operations) was studied forat least twoof algebraic quantities as well, resolved systems of equations up to centuries. It was highly admired by Ibn Khaldun, and a French
22 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 23translation of it appeared in 1864 CE. the balance. Al-Razi made investigations on gravity by using the hydrostatic balance, than called al-Mizan al-Tabii (The Physical Balance). P h y s i c s a n d Te c h n o l o g y Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Rustam al-Khurasani was a famous Force, Motion and Light constructor of clock and as a result, he was called al-Saati (the s, The balance clock maker). Another Muslim mechanic of the 13th century wa s Al-Khurasani, the clock maker Abul-Isa Ismail ibn Razzaz Badi al-Zaman al-Jazari. He wrote a Hydraulic apparatus dissert ation on the knowledge of the geometrical mechanical Elasticity of air contrivance that deals mainly with hydraulicapparatus like fountains. Hammam (steam bath) This important wo is interesting from the technical point of view rk , Magnetic Needle andrep resents the best Ara wo on applied mechanics. Qaisar ibn bic rk Guns and Cannons Abu Qasim, a mathematician and astronomer (d. 1251 CE) made Science of Optics improvements on the waterwheels. Such improved types of water- Research in spherical & parabolic mirrors wheels are still seen on the Orontes and are among the glories of Research in angles of incidence & reflection Hama. Muslim scientists studied the fundamental questions of p hysics Abu Nasr al-Fa refuted the existence of avacuum. He wrote a rabideeply. For example Ibn Sina made profound studies of such remark able essay on the elasticity of the air. It is an original piece ofphenomena as fo rce, motion, light, h at, and vacuums to name a few e . research.A gre progress was made in theoretical and applied mechanics. atValuable wo was done in the field of mechanics on the wheel, axle, rk The Muslims developed the techniques of b athing. Theylever pulley, inclined plane windmill, waterwheel, toothed wheel, and constructed the hot steam bath called Hammam (from the Arabicother mechanical devices. root hamm, meaning to heat). The physicist and astronomer al-Khazini wrote a book on Muslims we the fi st to apply the directive property of the re rmechanics, hyd rostatics and physics named Kitab Mizan aI-Hikmah m agnetic needle in determining their direction while traveling on the(Book of the Balance of Wisdom) which is the most remark able sea.medieval wo on these subjects. It gives a theory of the fo of rk rcetheattraction of the Earth (gravity), according to which the universal The Muslims we also the fi st to invent guns and cannons and use re rfo is directed towa the center of the unive e. rce rds rs explosives material in them. The purpose of this invention was to throw bullets at the enemy from a long distance. The Chinese used In another book on the balance al-Khazini stresses the need to sodium nitrate only. But the penetrating power of explosives wa sremove, as far as possible, the influences of temperature va i ration discove and used only by the Muslims. Historians generally write redduring weighing. When al-Khazinis other studies are considered, he that the guns we fi st used in the war of Cressi. But from the re rseems to be a precursor of Galileo. writings of many Muslims, it is revealed that guns bad been used e rlier. a Befo al-Khazini, Umar al-Khay re yam did the greatest wo on the rkbalance. Ibn Sina and al-Razi (d.924 CE) contributed to the theory of In one of these writings there is a story that a ruler named Yaqub
24 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 25besieged an African town of Medra in 1205 CE, by attacking the Celestial Motionswalls with the help of sounding guns and machines. From eve ry Geodetic Measurementsmachine there came out a number of showe of big stones and fi e rs r Verification of Solar Yearballs. Astronomical Instruments The statement given by Ibn Khaldun in his History of Berbers The Arabs took a keen interest in the study of the heavens. Th eyalso proves the use of the guns at the time of wa He writes: r. developed this interest because as the dwellers of the desert who usually traveled at night in connection with trade, war and migration "Abu Yusuf the Sultan of Morocco besieged the city of Sijilmasa f rom one place to another, they found the direction of their journeyin 1273 CE. He installed the instruments for besieging in front of the with the help of the stars. The clear sky of the desert ga them a vecity. These instruments consisted of Manjneeq, Ura and Handam we chance of making precise observations. Thus therewas some locallywith which the bits of i on we thrown. These bits we filled in the r re re acquired knowledge of the fi edstars, the movements of the planets xbox of Handam, and the explosives kept behind them we set on re and the changes of the we ather. After the advent of Islam, thefi e. Its effect waspowerful." r Muslims had to determine the time of the pra rs and the direction ye of the Kabah. For this Muslims who once flourished in trade all Muslims developed the science of optics. Ibn al-Haitham made a over the wo of launched Jihad, had to tra on the land and the rld velremark able contribution towa this science. Indeed modern optics rds sea. As an aid to tra vel, navigation and meteorology, a by productbegan with him. He showed remark able progress in experimental of n avigation, they needed star map The necessity of such map s. stechniques. He made research on spherical and parabolic mirro and rs also resulted in their interest in astronomy.dioptrics. He noticed that the relation between the angles ofincidence and reflection does not remain constant. He ga a better ve The regular study of astronomy and mathematics was begun atdescription of the eye and vision. He tried to explain binocular Baghdad in the second half of the 8th century during the time of thevision, and ga a correct explanation of the apparent increase in ve second Abbasi Khaleefah al-Mansur. The investigations onthe size of the sun and the moon near the horizon. Ibn Sina made a astronomy continued until the end of the 11th century. Nearly all ofdeep study of light. He observed that if light is emitted due to the the original and cre ative wo was done by Muslims. Astronomy rkejection of some sort of p rticles by the luminous source, the speed a reached its highest in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 12th century,of light must be finite. Al-Biruni noticed that the speed of light is the Christians and Jewsstarted the wo of translation from Arabic rkimmensely gre ater than that of the sound. into Latin and Hebrew and began to conduct research in this field. , But until the end of the 13th century CE, no mathematical and astronomical wo comparable to that of the Muslims could be rk Astronomy produced by the Christians or Jew s. Need for Astronomical Science The Muslim astronomers also prep red the star maps to preserve a Travel for Trade the old astronomical knowledge and to use them as aid to travel Find direction of Makkah naviga and meteorology. Astronomer Ibrahim ibn Habib al-Fazari tion Building Mosques was the fi st Muslim who constructed astrolabes. He composed a r Star Maps poem on astrology, and compiled a Zij (calendar) according to the Astrolabes Arab method. He also wrote on the use of astrolabes and on the Building of Observatories armillary spheres.
26 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 27 During the time of Khaleefah al-Mamun the important wo ofrk Chemistr ytranslation of Ptolemys Almagest from Greek into Arabic wa scompleted. Khaleefah al-Mamun (786-833 CE) built an observatory Definition of Organic and Inorganic Chemistryin Baghdad in his Bait al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) and another in Sulfur Mercury theory of metalsthe plains of Tadmor (Palmy ra). In these observatories the Calcination (extraction of metals from their ores)fundamental elements of the Almagest like the inclination of the Reduction (chemical treatment)ecliptic, the length of the solar ye r, and the precession of the a Discoveries of various acids Sulfuric & Nitric acidsequinoxeswe verified. Observations on the celestial motions we re re Preparation of Drugsc rried out and geodetic measurements we made. a re Applied Chemistry Paper More original and improved wo was done in the second half of rkthe 10th century. The elaboration of trigonometry, which wa s Chemistry deals with the composition and properties of substancesconsidered to be a branch of astronomy at that time, was also and the changes of composition they undergo. It has been dividedcontinued. Gre attention was paid to the construction of good at into Inorganic and Organic. The conception of this division inastronomical instruments, especially to the spherical astrolabe which modem Chemistry came from al-Razis classification of chemicalwasnewly introduced at that time. Hamid ibn Ali and Jabir ibn Sinan substances into mineral, vegetable and animal.we famous make of astrolabes. re rs Inorganic Chemistry, which deals with the prep ration and a Ibn Sinans full name was Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn properties of the elements and their compounds, originally aroseSinan al-Battani (Albategnius, Albatenius in Latin). He is considered from the study of minerals and metals. Organic chemistry, whichto be one of the gre atest astronomers of Islam. He carried out deals with carbon compounds, d eveloped through the investigationastronomical observations of a wide range and with remark able of animal and plant products.accura for about 41 ye rs (871-9 18 CE). He determined many cy aastronomical coefficients, like the precession 54.5" a year and the A Greek philosopher, Empedocles, held the view that all the fourinclination of the ecliptic 23º 35, with gre accura He noticed at cy. elements, ar, water, e rth and fi e, we the primal elements, and i a r rean increase of 16º 47 in the longitude of the suns apogee since that the various substances we made by their intermixing. He rePtolemys time. regarded them to be distinct and unchange able. Aristotle considered these elements to be change able, i.e. one kind of m atter could be This led to the discove of the motion of the solar episodes and ry changed into another kind.of slow va iration in the equation of time. Al-Hattani proved thepossibility of the annular eclipses of the sun. Al-Battanis Jabir ibn Hay yan (Geber), a gre Muslim Chemist of the 8th atastronomical wo wastranslated into Latin and Spanish in the 12th rk century CE, modified the Aristotelian doctrine of the four elements,and 13th centuries respectively. It exerted a gre influence on the at and presented the so called sulfur mercury theory of metals.European scholars of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. According to this theory, metals duller essentially because of different proportions of sulfur and mercury in them. He also formulated the theory of geologic fo ation of metals. Unlike his rm Greek predecessors, he did not merely speculate, but perfo rmed experiments to reach certain conclusions. He recognized and stated the importance of experimentation in Chemistry. He combined the
28 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 29theoretical knowledge of the Greeks and the practical knowledge of The gre Muslim surgeon, Khalaf ibn Abbas al-Zahrwi wrote a atcraftsmen, and made notewo rthy advances both in the theory and gre medical encyclopedia, al-Tasrif, which contains interesting atpractice of Chemistry. methods of preparing drugs by sublimation and distillation, but its most important part is the surgical one. Jabirs contribution to Chemistry is ve gre He ga a scientific ry at. vedescription of two principle operations of Chemistry. One of them Ibn Sina wrote a tre atise on mineralsthat provided one of the mainis calcination, which is employed in the extraction of metals from sources of geological knowledge, and chemistry in Western Europetheir ore The other is reduction that is employed in numerous s. until the Renaissance.chemical tre atments. He improved upon the methods of eva pora tion,melting, distillation, sublimation and crystallization. These are the The Muslim chemists applied their chemical knowledge to a largefundamental methods employed in the purification of chemical number of industrial arts. One of them is mentioned here, whichsubstances, enabling the chemist to study their properties and uses, will enable the reader to estimate the extent of their knowledge ofand to prep re them. The process of distillation is particularly used a Applied Chemistry.for taking extracts of plant material. Paper is also featured in the pioneering wo rks of the Muslims. The most important discove made by Jabir was the prep ration ry a Paperwasinvented by the Chinese whoprep red it from the cocoon aof sulfuric acid. The importance of this discove can be realized by ry of the silk worm. Some specimens of Chinese paper dates back tothe fact that in this modernage the extent of the industrial progress the second century CE. The fi st manufacture of the paper outside rof a country is mostly judged by the amount of sulfuric acid used in China occurred in Samarqand in 757 CE. When Samarqand wa sthat country. Another important acid prep red by him was nitric acid, a captured by the Muslims, the manufacture of p aper spread all overwhich he obtained by distilling a mixture of alum and copper sulfate. the Muslims Wo rld. By the end of the 12th century, therewe four reThen by dissolving ammonium chloride into this acid, he prep re a d hundred paper mills in Fas alone. In Spain the main center ofaquaregia, which unlike acids, could dissolve gold in it. manufacturing of p aper was Shatiba which remained a Muslim city until 1239 CE. Cordovawas the center of the paper business in Jabir classified chemical substances, on the basis of some Spain.distinctive feature into bodies (gold, silve etc.) and souls (mercury, s, r,sulfur, etc.) to make the study of their properties easier. The Muslims developed this art. Th prep red paper not only ey a from silk, but also from cotton, rags and wood. In the middle of the In the same century Jabirs wo was further advanced by al-Ra i rk z 10th century the paper industry was introduced into Spain. Inwho wrote many chemical tre atises, and described a number of Khurasanpaper was made from linen. Joseph Ka rabacek, in one ofchemical instruments. Heapplied his chemical knowledge for medical his wo s, explains the process of making paper in minute detail, rkpurposes, thus laying the foundation of Applied Chemistry. describing how the pulp is prep red to make sheets, washed and a cleaned them, colored, polished and pasted. No text comparable to Abu Mansur distinguished between sodium carbonate (natrum) this in any other language exists from that time.and potassium carbonate (qali). He had some knowledge of a rseniousoxide, cupric oxide, antimony and other substances. He knew the The prep ration of pulp involves a large number of complicated atoxicological effects of copper and lead compounds, the depilatory chemical processes, which indicates the level of achievement invirtue of quicklime, the composition of plaster of Paris and its chemistryreached by Muslims.s rgical use. u
30 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 31 The manufacture of writing paper in Spain is one of the most and thus received their knowledge of medicine from these nations.beneficial contributions of Muslim to Europe. Without paper the Befo they accepted at face value the info ation they extracted, re rmscale on which popular education in Europe developed would not they conducted research in various branches in medicine to verifyh been possible. The prep ration of p ave a aper from silk would have wh they gathered from these texts. atbeen impossible in Europe due to the lack of silk production there. In addition, they made many valuable new discoveries in medical The Muslims method of p roducing paper from cotton could only theory and practical. By combining their discoveries, with thebe useful for the Europeans. After Spain the art of papermaking wa s info ation they filtered from other sources they evolved an entirely rmestablished in Italy (1268 CE). France owed its fi st paper mills to r new system of medicine.Muslim Spain. From these countries the industryspread throughoutEurope. The Arabs had a fair knowledge of a atomy as it is obvious from n the names of the internal and external organs of the human and animal bodies found in the literature of pre-Islamic Arabia. When Medicine they became acquainted with the Greekanatomical descriptions, they made investigations on them, pointed out manyerro in the wo of rs rk Translation of work from other languages their predecessors, and made many new discoveries in this field. Knowledge of Anatomy Physiology In order to verily the Greek anatomical ideas prevailing at that Bacteriology time, Yuhanna ibn Masawaih made dissections of apes supplied to Surgery him by the order of the Abbasi Khaleefah Mutasim Billah. After Optical work this verification he composed his wo on anatomy. The wo of rk rks Operation of Cataracts some Muslim physicians and surgeons, like Tashrih al-Mansuri by Structure of the Eyes Mansur ibn Muhammad, contain illustrations of human organs, Cesarean operation which are not found in the Greek wo s. These illustrations also rk Development of Hospitals throw light on the Muslims practical knowledge of a atomy. n Mobile Hospitals Medical Schools The wo of the Muslim physicians in the field of p rk hysiology, i s quite valuable. For instance, Ibn Nails al-Qarshi of Damascus Centuries befo the advent of Islam the Arabs had their own re explained the theory of the minor circulation of blood threesystem of medicine in the fo of herb and shrubs whichwasbased rm centuries befo William Harvey, who is credited with this discove re ry.on Chaldean medicine and on their own experience. Gradually Greek Also, al-Aarshi suggested that food is fuel for the maintenance ofmedicine attracted their attention. Harith ibn Kaldah was the fi st r the bodys heat. Abul-Fa held that thereare canals in the nerve raj sto introduce Greek medicine to the Arabs. Khalid ibn Yazid ibn through which sensations and movement are transmitted.Muwaiyah had some Greek and Egyptian books translated intoArabic during the Umay yah period. But the science of medicine The contributions of Muslims in the field of bacteriologyare quiteflourished during the time of the Abbasids. revolutionary. According to Browne, Muslims we fully awa of re re the theory of ge rms. Ibn Sina was the fi st to state that bodily r Initially, the Muslims made arrangements for the translation of secretions are contaminated by foul fo reign earthly bodies befo reGreek, Indian, Pe rsian and Chaldaean medical works into Arabic, getting the infection. Ibn Khuatimah of the 14th centurystated that
32 u Science and Islam Science and Islam u 33man is surrounded by minute bodies that enter the human bodyand methods of operations for various diseases. While describing thecause disease. operations of the skull and its parts, the Muslim surgeons made a mention of operations of the uvula and nasal cavity. Th also used ey Some Muslims also ga new suggestions rega ve rding the treatment methods of tonsillectomy and paracentesis of the ear drum.of diseases. Abul-Hasan, the physician of Adud al-Daulah introducedthe process of bleeding as a tre atment of cereb hemorr agewhich ral h The Muslim opticians did valuable and original wo in the rkis often due to blood pressure. t atment of eye diseases and surge Many of the surgical principles re ry. formulated by Muslims are still utilized today. The method of Al-Razi suggested nourishing food for the tre atment of genera l operation of cataracts was fi st described by them. Th knew that r eyweakness. The Muslim physicians we the fi st to use the stomach re r cataracts we due to the incapacity of the eye lens. Ibn al-Haitham retube for the performance of gastric lavage in the case of ga s described the structure of the eye and gave revolutionary ideaspoisoning. Th we fully awa of the principles of opotherapy ey re re regarding the mechanism of sight and describing various types ofcenturies befo Browne Sequard, who is ascribed to discovering this re lenses.method of tre atment. The art of midwife was highly developed by Muslims. Abul- ry Said ibn Bishr ibn Abdus suggested light foods and cold producing Qasim al-Zahra invented the method of Cranicolsy for the delive wi rymedicines for the treatment of generalpara lysis and facialparalysis. of dead fetus and applied it himself. A book entitled Al-Athar al-Ibn al-Wa ga emphasis upon the tre fid ve atment of diseases through Baqiyyah in the University of Edinbu rgh contains an illustrationfood control. Th discove ey red the tre atment for epidemic jaundice showing an Arab physician perfo rming Cesarean operation.and suggested a reasonable quantity of opium as a tre atment ofmania. For epistaxis they suggested the pouring of cold water on During the time of Banu Umay rule, the Muslims developed yahthe head. the institution of hospitals. During the time of the Abbasi Khaleefa h H run al-Rasheed a hospital was built in Baghdad, which was the a In the science of s rge therewe also manyadvancements made u ry re fi st in the history of this city. Many new hospitals we established r reby Muslims. Th introduced the cauterizing agents in surge Th ey ry. ey shortly afterwa s. Some of them had their own ga rd rdens in which thewe the fi re rst to apply the method of cooling to stop the medicinal plants we cultivated. The large hospitals had medical rehemorr age, and suture wounds with silken threads. h schools attached to them. Besides such hospital there we a large re number of mobile hospitals in the Muslim wo rld. It cannot go unnoticed that one of the most famous and eminentfigure in Islamic medical field was Ibn Sina, known in the West as The Muslim hospitals served as models for the hospitals establishedAvicenna (981-1037 CE). It is said that for a thousand ye rs he has a in different parts of Europe, p rticularly in Italy and France during aretained his original renown as one of the gre atest thinke and rs the 14th century due to the influence of the Crusades. The Crusadersmedical scholars in history. His most important medical wo are the rks we inspired by the magnificent hospitals of the Seljuq ruler Nur al- reQanun (Canon) and a tre atise on Cardiac drugs. Din in Damascus and those of the Mamluk Sultan al-Mansur Qalaun in Cairo. In the 11th century Ibn Zuhr ga a complete description of the veoperation of tra cheotomy, whichwas not mentioned by the Greeks.Abdul-Qasim al-Zahrawi invented many surgical instrumentsillustrated in his book al-Tasrif. In the same book he described the