The contribution of Muslims to the world of science

Al-Jahiz (776-869) from Basra wrote the seven volumes of the “Book of Animals”, which includes poetic descriptions and proverbs of over 350 varieties of animals. In this work, Al-Jahiz made observations describing evolution such as:

“Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten, and to reproduce. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure their survival, thus developing into new species. Animals that survive to reproduce can pass on their traits of success to their offspring.

Al-Khwarizmi (780-850), a Persian mathematician, wrote a work on translated Indian numerals in the 12th century which introduced the decimal system to the Western world. He presented the first systematic solution to linear and quadratic equations in Arabic in “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”.

His works transmitted the knowledge of mathematics in what we now call “algebra” to Europe from Greek sources. The word “Algorithm” is also derived from a pronunciation of its name. He wrote about mechanical devices like the astrolabe and the sundial, and worked on a project under Caliph al Mamun supervising 70 geographers to determine the circumference of the Earth and make a map of the world. When his works spread to Europe through Latin translations, it had a huge impact in Europe and on the advancement of mathematics.

Al-Kindi (801-873) from Iraq oversaw the translation of Greek scientific and philosophical texts into the Arabic language. He contributed greatly to making Greek thought accessible to the Muslim public, carrying out this work from the “House of Wisdom”, an institute of translation and learning under the Abbasid Caliphate. He played an important role in introducing Indian numerals to the Islamic and Christian world, pioneered several methods for breaking numerals, developed a scale to enable physicians to quantify the potency of drugs, and was a major contributor on various subjects by writing 32 books on geometry, 22 books on medicine, 22 books on philosophy, 9 books on logic and 12 books on physics. His influence in these areas lasted for centuries. He is also well known for formulating the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Al-Battani (858-929) of Harran made astronomical observations at Antioch and Ar-Raqqah in Syria during the Caliphate of Harun Ar-Rashid. He composed works on astronomy with tables containing his observations of the sun and the moon, which were more precise than the “Almagest” of Ptolemy. He cataloged 489 stars, refined the values ​​for the length of a year to 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes, 24 seconds. He obtains the value of the inclination of the ecliptic (of 23o 35′) and calculates 54.5” per year for the precession of the equinoxes. He used trigonometric methods for his calculations rather than geometric methods as often in his time, an important advance. He showed that the distance from the earth to the sun varies, resulting in annular eclipses of the sun as well as total eclipses. His work influenced scientists such as Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and Copernicus.

Al-Biruni (973-1048) is one of the major figures in Islamic mathematics. He also contributed to astronomy, physics, medicine and history. Al-Biruni contributed to the introduction of the experimental scientific method in mechanics, unified statics and dynamics in the science of mechanics, and combined the fields of hydrostatics with dynamics to create hydrodynamics.

Bīrūnī also devised his own method of determining the radius of the earth by observing the height of a mountain and performed it at Nandana in Pind Dadan Khan, India (now Pakistan). In addition, using an apparatus he built himself, he was able to determine remarkably accurate specific gravities for a variety of metals and minerals.

Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040) of Basra was a Muslim polymath and philosopher who made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, meteorology, visual perception and method scientist. He was honored as “Ptolemy II” of Europe and is particularly known for his contributions to optics through his book titled “Book of Optics”. He placed great emphasis on the importance of skepticism and relied on systemic experimentation and controlled testing in scientific investigations and experiments. He famously said,

“The seeker of truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, trusts them…but rather one who suspects his faith in them and wonders what he derives from them, one who submits to argument and demonstration and not to the words of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who inquires into the writings of the learned, if to learn the truth is his object, is to make himself the enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the heart and to the margins of his content, attack it from each side. he must also suspect himself when he examines it critically, in order to avoid falling into prejudice or leniency.

Avicenna (980-1037), polymath known as one of the greatest minds of his time, contributed to many fields (including philosophy, poetry and medicine). He helped define an era of enlightenment in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages, called the Islamic Golden Age (thought to be 786 to 1258 CE). It is in the field of medicine that Avicenna’s greatest work is to be found. The Canon of Medicine (al-Qānūn fī al-Ṭibb) is an encyclopedia of medicine consisting of five books. The canon encompasses almost every aspect of medicine, such as the causes and descriptions of diseases associated with each organ, advanced anatomy of the human body, and even rules for experimenting with new drugs, a subject on which Avicenna describes the inadequacy of animal versus human testing. trials. Avicenna’s canon of medicine was the medical standard in the Islamic world and medieval Europe until the 16th century, with Sir William Osler, one of the founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital, declaring that it s was the “most famous medical textbook ever written”.

The Book of Healing (Kitab Al-Shifaʾ) is Avicenna’s great work. Combining science and philosophy, this book is an encyclopedia introducing the psychological reasons for diseases such as mood disorders, and for the first time divided human perception into five external senses. (i.e., held them responsible for human perception).

However, his contributions to the world of science were not limited to medicine. His early system of formal logic influenced several early European logicians such as Albertus Magnus and William of Ockham. He contributed to physics and argued that if light was perceived as the emission of particles from a light source, then light has finite velocity.

Ibn Al Nafis (1213-1288) was a prominent physician of the Islamic Golden Age. He attended Damascus medical school and is considered the first person to describe the pulmonary circulation of blood (the part of the cardiovascular system transporting deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs and oxygenated blood to the heart for pumping) . He corrected the work of the great physicians of the time, including Avicenna, by better defining the anatomy of the heart and lungs. Indeed, Ibn Al Nafis is also considered the first to have treated anatomy as an individual discipline. Other contributions of Ibn Al Nafis in the field of medicine relate to urology. Prominent Islamic Golden Age physicians such as Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī and Avicenna believed that the bladder consisted of two layers. Ibn Al Nafis in his book Sharh Tashrih al-Qanun more specifically describes the base and back of the bladder as the only two-layered parts, going even further and holding these layers responsible for preventing backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys via the ureters.

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) of Iran wrote the most important pre-modern treatise on algebra in which he provided a method for solving cubic equations geometrically. His most notable work was in geometry, in fact, but especially in the theory of proportions. He noticed the importance of a general binomial theorem since he was able to extract roots. Although he was a highly revered mathematician, he is best known for his poems, such as his Rubaiyat. For decades he taught the philosophy of Avicenna.

Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) of Spain had a great impact on Christian Europe and has been described as the “founding father of secular thought in Western Europe”. He wrote commentaries on the works of Aristotle, which became the foundation of the Aristotelian revival in the 12th and 13th centuries.

He has written over 20,000 pages in science, theology and philosophy. One of his most important works was “The Inconsistency of Inconsistency”, a refutation of a work by Hazrat Imam Ghazali (rh) in which he asserted that philosophy and revelation do not contradict each other and that this are different means of reaching the same truth.

He contributed to medicine in his book “Colliget”, he compiled the works of Galen and wrote a commentary on Avicenna’s “Canon of Medicine”. He contributed to three books in the field of physics and developed the notion that bodies have an inherent resistance to motion – an idea later adopted by Thomas Aquinas and then Johannes Kepler who called it “inertia”.

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