• Some Arab scientists By LF

    Some Arab scientists
    Anthropologists, who make it their business to discover just how human beings perceive themselves as differing from one another and from other natural species, will tell you that every community conceives of itself as being uniquely “human”. This humanity is always felt to be a quality of civilization and orderliness that “we” alone share; “other” creatures, whether they be foreigners or animals, are members of inferior species and are described by labels such as “savage” “wild” “lawless” heathen” “dangerous” “mysterious”.....There is a paradox here: When we affirm that we are civilized and that the others are savage, we are claiming superiority over the others... isn't it racism?

    It is saddening to notice that many people are confusing Islam and political Islamism. A similar confusion exists between Muslims and fundamentalists. Some people have gone to the extent of creating sites on “facebook” in which they invite others to join a ridiculous cause.... Forbidding European countries to Muslims and Arabs! Do they know that Islam is a religion of love and tolerance? Do they know that it was Ben Laden, that American offshoot, who had produced the dreadful killers responsible of the worst atrocities especially in Muslim countries? Do they know that an ethnic, religious or national assimilation doesn't predispose to bloody craziness? Those are fanatic gurus and leaders, who want to settle their hash; they have nothing to do with Islam.

     It should be useful to remind those people of “facebook” who do not know about the Arab civilization that most of the Arabs who colonized Spain were rich merchants, philosophers and scientists who brought to Spain a prosperous era of knowledge, arts and creativity. When the Arab conquistadors were chased by Isabel and Ferdinand the Catholics, they left behind them a tremendous amount of vestiges, witnesses of a prestigious civilization on which Spain is still making out money thanks to the millions of yearly visitors from all over the world.
     It is best also to remind people that in early days science began and grew in Babylonia, Egypt and Greece. It grew out of medieval alchemy, and the alchemists were quite explicitly men who sought to do what only gods might properly do, to transform one element into another, to reach revolutionary objectives and achievements. Later it was also studied in India and Arabia and from there it reached the West. But it was the Arabs who helped the world greatly in many ways and kept a store of science which the West later received.

    The study of science began to die in the East about 1100.

     At the same time it began to grow in the West. It was studied in Cordoba and Toledo in Spain; and from Spain it reached the rest of Europe. An English man, Adelard, dressed himself like an Arab and studied at Cordoba. He wrote a book which contained a lot of Arab learning. Many other books of this kind were also written. Another man, Gerard of Cremona, learnt Arabic at Toledo. Then he put 92 Arabic books into Latin. Many scientists who did not know Arabic knew Latin; so they were able to read these books.
    It is clear that Arab learning was precious resources that helped the world. The Arab scientists worked hard while the rest of the world was sleeping!!!
    It is a shame that we cannot tell about all the Arab scientists...there are hundreds... but here are, at least, some of the most outstanding in medicine, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics.......I know it might be fastidious and boring to read about these scientists especially when you have prejudices against the Arabs, but just make the effort to know about their achievements.
    Harun El Rasheed or Averroes was perhaps the most helpful to science about the year 800 as a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. His school of philosophy is known as Averroism. At that time he put Aristotle's books into Arabic and the same was done with the books of the famous old doctors Hippocrates and Galen. Those books were the beginning of a fabulous adventure in sciences!

    For example, Ibn Seenā (Avicenna) is regarded as a father of early modern medicine, and  clinical pharmacology particularly for his introduction of systematic experimentation and  quantification into the study of physiology, his discovery of the contagious nature of infectious diseases, the introduction of quarantine to limit the spread of contagious diseases, the introduction of experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, randomized controlled trials, efficacy tests, clinical pharmacology, neuropsychiatry, risk factor analysis, and the idea of a syndrome, and the importance of dietetics and the influence of climate and environment on health. He is also considered the father of the fundamental concept of momentum in physics, and regarded as a pioneer of aromatherapy for his invention of steam distillation and extraction of essential oils.  He was the author of “The canon of medicine” a worldly known book of medicine.

    In the same field, Ibn al-Nafis was the foremost physician of his time, famous for being the first to describe the pulmonary circulation and the capillary and coronary circulations, which form the basis of the circulatory system, for which he is considered the father of circulatory physiology. He also discovered the concept of metabolism and discredited many of the erroneous doctrines upheld by Galen and Avicenna in anatomy, physiology and psychology. His 300-volume medical encyclopedia, The Comprehensive Book on Medicine, was one of the largest in history.


    Abu al-Qasim Al-Zahrawi also known in the West as Abulcasis, was an Andalusian physician, surgeon, chemist, cosmetologist, and scientist. He is considered the father of modern surgery, and as Islam's greatest medieval surgeon, whose comprehensive medical texts shaped both Islamic and European surgical procedures up until the Renaissance. His greatest contribution to history is the Kitab al-Tasrif, a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices. In the Al-Tasrif , Abu al-Qasim introduced the use of ligature for the blood control of arteries in lieu of cauterization. The surgical needle was invented and described by Abu al-Qasim in his Al-Tasrif. Other surgical instruments invented by Abu al-Qasim and first described in his Al-Tasrif include the scalpel, curette, retractor, surgical spoon, sound, surgical hook, surgical rod, and specula. In the 14th century, French surgeon Guy de Chauliac quoted al tasrif over 200 times. Pietro Argallata described Abu al-Qasim as "without doubt the chief of all surgeons". In an earlier work, he is credited to be the first to describe ectopic pregnancy, in those days a fatal affliction. Abu Al-Qasim's influence continued for at least five centuries, extending into the Renaissance, evidenced by al-Tasrif's frequent reference by French surgeon Jacques Delechamps

     Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) who lived in Seville, Spain, was one of the most prominent physicians, clinicians and parasitologists of the middle Ages. He was the first to test different medicines and surgical procedures on animals before using them with humans and is considered the father of experimental surgery for introducing the experimental method into surgery, introducing the methods of human dissection and autopsy, inventing the surgical procedure of tracheotomy, as he was the first to describe the tracheotomy operation for the suffocating patients, performing  the first parenteral nutrition of humans with a silver needle, also discovering the cause of scabies and inflammation, discovering the existence of parasites. Ibn Zuhr's most famous work is his Al-Taisir, in which he introduced the experimental method into surgery. He also performed the first dissections and postmortem autopsies on humans as well as animals. He perfected this surgical procedure through his experiments on a goat. He also performed postmortem autopsies on a sheep during his clinical trials on the treatment of ulcerating diseases of the lungs. He also wrote on the prophylaxis against urinary tract infections and described the importance of dietary management in maintaining the prophylaxis. He established surgery as an independent field of medicine, by introducing a training course designed specifically for future surgeons, in order that they be qualified before being allowed to perform operations independently, and for defining the roles of a general practitioner and a surgeon in the treatment of a surgical condition. He proved that the skin disease scabies was caused by a parasite which contradicted the theory supported by Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna. The removal of the parasite from the patient's body did not involve purging, bleeding or any other traditional treatments. His works show that he was often highly critical of previous medical authorities, including Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine
    Thanks to Ibn Zuhr and Abu Al-Qasim Al-Zahrawi modern anesthesia was developed in Islamic Spain. They were the first to utilize oral as well as inhalant anesthetics, and they performed hundreds of surgeries under inhalant anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges which were placed over the face. Ibn Zuhr gave the first accurate descriptions on neurological disorders, including meningitis and intracranial thrombophlebitis.

    We all know that in mathematics the figures which we use today are Arabic numbers even though they are not used by the Arabs who invented them..... How amazing!In this field Al Khawarizmi, was the one who introduced the zero, negative numbers, algebra and the decimal system to the West. This opened the door to higher mathematics. He also invented mathematical programming using a set of instructions to perform complex calculations. The term algorithm (computer program, software) is named after a variation of his name, Algorithmy. He wrote a book on Algebra. The English word “algebra” is taken from the Arabic “al jabr”.

     Later Abū al-Hasan al-Qalasādī  also a mathematician took the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism by using letters, in place of numbers and in order to represent mathematical functions.
    Ibn al-Banna  wrote a large number of works including an algebra text, an introduction to Euclid's Elements, and various works on astronomy. He introduced a mathematical notation for algebra and fractions.
    And finally, Ibrahim ibn Sinan. He was the son of Sinan ibn Thabit, a mathematician and astronomer, he studied geometry and in particular tangents to circles. He also made advances in the theory of integration.

    We owe a lot to the Arab astronomers who helped mankind to understand his space...

    El-Battani whose best-known achievement was the determination of the solar year as being 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds. He was able to correct some of Ptolemy's results and compiled new tables of the Sun and Moon, long accepted as authoritative, discovered the movement of the Sun's apogee, treated the division of the celestial sphere, and introduced the use of sines in calculation, and partially that of tangents, forming the basis of modern trigonometry.

    Ibn al-Shatir was an astronomer. His most famous work was “A Final Inquiry Concerning the Rectification of Planetary Theory". In treating the motion of the Moon, he eliminated the need for an equant by introducing an extra epicycle, departing from the Ptolemaic system in a way very similar to what Copernicus later also did. He also proposed a system that was only approximately geocentric, rather than exactly so, having demonstrated trigonometrically that the Earth was not the exact center of the universe. The discovery and the whole concept of planetary motion are attributed to Kepler and Copernicus while unfairly not crediting the contribution of Ibn Al-Shatir.

    Nurad-Din al-Betrugi was an Arab astronomer and philosopher of the Middle Ages, settled in Seville. The Alpetragius crater on the Moon is named after him.

     Al-Zarqali was a leading mathematician and the foremost astronomer of his time. He excelled at the construction of precision instruments for astronomical use. He constructed a flat astrolabe that was “universal” for it could be used at any latitude, and he built a water clock capable of determining the hours of the day and night and indicating the days of the lunar months. He was the first to prove conclusively the motion of the aphelion relative to the fixed background of the stars. He measured its rate of motion as 12.04 seconds per year, which is remarkably close to the modern calculation of 11.8 seconds. He also contributed to the famous Tables of Toledo.
    Muhammad al-Fazari is credited to have built the first astrolabe in the Islamic world.

    Ali Ben Isa was an Astronomer. Together with Khalid Ben Abdulmelik in 827, he measured the Earth's circumference, getting a result of 40,248 km (or, according to other sources, 41,436 km).He made one of the earliest examples of a parachute.

     The Arabs were great merchants and travelled a lot as they were skilled navigators thanks to their knowledge in geography and cartography, for example, Al-Idrisi is considered the greatest geographer and cartographer of the middle Ages. Al-Idrisi constructed a world globe map of 400 kg pure silver and precisely recorded on it the "seven inhabitated regions" with trade routes, lakes and rivers, major cities, and plains and mountains. His world maps were used in Europa for centuries to come. It is worth mentioning that Christopher Columbus used the world map which was originally taken from Al-Idrisi's work. He also contributed to the science of medicinal plants
    Ahmed Ibn Madjud was one of the most famous Arab navigators. He became famous in the West as the navigator who has been associated with helping Vasco da Gama find his way from Africa to India. His most known contribution was a book of Useful Information on the Principles and Rules of Navigation written in 1490.
    If knowledge is one of our marks, we can hardly be dogmatic about the kind or the amount. A single fertile field tilled with care and imagination can help develop all the instincts of an educated man. An ancient doctrine holds that an educated man ought to know a little about
    alchemy, and with the invention of numerous important processes still used in modern chemistry today, such as the syntheses of hydrochloric and nitric acids, distillation, and crystallization everything and a lot about something.....and this is what happened to the following scientists.
     For example Geber or Jabir-Ibn-Hayyan studied chemistry and dyed cloth and leather in different colors he is widely credited with the introduction of the experimental method in.
    Another scientist, Al Kindi studied light in Basra and Baghdad. We know that a ray of light sometimes bends. If it goes from the air into a vessel of water, it is not straight. Al Kindi noticed this fact, hi was the first Arab philosopher and a gifted mathematician, astronomer, physician and geographer, as well as a talented musician. He wrote the first treatise on cryptography, cryptanalysis and frequency analysis.
    Al-Asma'i was considered as the first Muslim scientist who contributed to Zoology, Botany and Animal Husbandry. His famous writings include Kitab al-Ibil, Kitab al-Khalil, Kitab al-Wuhush, Kitab al-Sha, and Kitab Khalq al-Insan. The last book on human anatomy demonstrates his considerable knowledge and expertise on the subject.
    Ibn Al-Baitar, One of the greatest scientists of Muslim Spain and was a great botanist and pharmacist of the middle Ages.

    Al-Baqillani  was a Muslim theologian. He introduced the conceptions of atoms and vacuum into the Kalam. He extended atomism to time and motion, conceiving them as essentially discontinuous.

     Taqi al-Din, a polymath who invented a practical steam turbine and steam engine, self-rotating spit, six-cylinder 'Monobloc' pump, partial vacuum pump, mechanical alarm clock, spring-powered astronomical clock, pocket watch measured in minutes, mechanical "observational clock" measured in minutes and seconds, and telescope; provided experimental proof of specular reflection, almost formulated Snell's law, and estimated the speed of light; obtained the precise value of Sin 1°; and built the Istanbul observatory of al-Din, where he constructed highly accurate sextants and other astronomical instruments, and produced the most accurate Zij and astronomical catalogue.

    Ibn al-Haytham A polymath regarded as one of the most eminent physicists, whose contributions to optics, physics, mathematics and the scientific method are outstanding. He is considered the father of optics, the pioneer of the scientific method, the founder of experimental psychology, and the "first scientist". His Book of Optics is one of the most influential books on history of physics

     Jabir ibn Aflah Astronomer and mathematician whose translated works in Latin influenced later European mathematicians. A polymath considered as the father of chemistry. He emphasized systematic experimentation, and did much to free alchemy from superstition and turn it into a science.
    Al-Jayyani, wrote important commentaries on Euclid's Elements and he wrote the first treatise on spherical trigonometry.
    Al-Jazari was one of history's greatest mechanical engineers. He authored 60 inventions in his book Al-Jami Bain Al-Ilm Wal-Amal. Among his inventions were the crankshaft, combination lock, reciprocating piston mechanism, weight-driven mechanical clock, and the first recorded design of a programmable humanoid robot. 

    Ibn Khaldun A polymath who is considered the father of demography, cultural history, historiography, philosophy of history, sociology, and the social sciences, and he is considered a forerunner of modern economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (Prolegomena in Latin).


    Al-Mawardi Known in Latin as Alboacen was one of the most famous thinkers in political science in the middle Ages. He was also a great sociologist, jurist, and mohaddith. Al-Mawardi made original contributions in political science and sociology. In these fields, he wrote three monumental works: Kitab al-Ahkam al-Sultania, Qanun al-Wazarah, and Kitab Nasihat al-Mulk. Al-Mawardi formulated the principles of political science. His books deal with duties of the Caliphs, the chief minister, the cabinet, and the responsibility of and relationship between the government and citizens. He has discussed the affairs of state in both peace and war. Kitab Aadab al-Dunya wa al-Din was his another masterpiece in Ethics. He was the author and supporter of the Doctrine of Necessity.


    Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī was a mathematician who took the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism by using letters, in place of number in order to represent mathematical functions.

     Ibn Sahl of Seville (Spain) was a mathematician who wrote a treatise On Burning Mirrors and Lenses. Ibn Sahl is credited with first discovering the law of refraction, usually called Snell's law (also known as Descartes' law). He used the law of refraction to work out lens shapes that focus light with no geometric aberrations, known as anaclastic lenses. He is mostly known as the alchemist claimed to have cracked the Rosetta stone, eight centuries earlier than Jean-François Champollion. The achievement of cracking this code is famed as a critical moment in code-breaking history.
    At the present time the ordinary everyday achievements of science which we take it for granted, are of precisely that the Arabs forebears have established as a basis to modern science and knowledge. Science is responsible for the new technologies and for countless thousands of useful things that we now deem necessary to life. We should be grateful to all those who have made it possible.
    I believe it is everyone's duty to teach to the future generations that there must be no differences between men and, without using religious formulas, we all know what sin is and what virtue is. It is about time to stop condemning and blaming those we always imagine being the “wrongdoers”. We must teach our children that men are equal, color, race or nationality are no boundaries to share this wonderful world. We must teach them how to make the necessary changes by helping each other in order to reach values, life-goals and their relationship to the total development of the person. The society of the future should devote some of its energies to the creation of a social climate distinguished by caring and love as a basic public health policy. The fostering of respect and caring should be a major component in the human relationships and also recognizing that this force is the prime mover in humanity's evolution. Sources: On scientists' achievements - Universalis/Wikipedia


  • Commentaires

    zeynab bolandy
    Dimanche 14 Juin 2015 à 09:44

    the photo at the top of  the page is not an arab scientist.he was a muslim but not an arab muslim.

    he is Avesina or Ibn Sina ,an Iranian scientist.

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