Algebra was mainly used for recreation: Geometry was studied at different levels. Some texts contain practical geometrical rules for surveying and for measuring figures. Theoretical geometry was a necessary prerequisite for understanding astronomy and optics, and it required years of concentrated work. Early in the Abbasid caliphate, soon after Baghdad was founded in the mid-eighth century, some mathematical knowledge was assimilated from the pre-Islamic Persian tradition in astronomy.
Astronomers from India were invited to the court of the caliph in the late eighth century; they explained the rudimentary trigonometrical techniques used in Indian astronomy. By the second half of the ninth century, Islamic mathematicians were already making contributions to the most sophisticated parts of Greek geometry. Islamic mathematics reached its apogee in the Eastern part of the Islamic world between the tenth and twelfth centuries. Most mathematical works were written in Arabic, others in Persian.
He developed algebra , which also had Indian antecedents, introduced methods of simplifying equations, and used Euclidean geometry in his proofs. He found geometric solutions to all 13 forms of cubic equations. He developed some quadratic equations still in use. He is often credited with the invention of decimal fractions, and a method like Horner's to calculate roots. Islamic society paid careful attention to medicine, following a hadith enjoining the preservation of good health.
Its physicians inherited knowledge and traditional medical beliefs from the civilisations of classical Greece, Rome, Syria, Persia and India. These included the writings of Hippocrates such as the theory of the four humours , and the theories of Galen. He challenged Galen 's work on several fronts, including the treatment of bloodletting , arguing that it was effective. It is a 30 volume set mainly discussing medical symptoms, treatments, and pharmacology.
The last volume, on surgery, describes surgical instruments, supplies, and pioneering procedures. He wrote commentaries on Galen and Avicenna's works. One of these commentaries, discovered in , described the circulation of blood through the lungs. Optics developed rapidly in this period. By the ninth century, there were works on physiological, geometrical and physical optics. Topics covered included mirror reflection. Hunayn ibn Ishaq — wrote the book Ten Treatises on the Eye ; this was influential in the West until the 17th century. He used the law to produce the first Aspheric lenses that focused light without geometric aberrations.
In the eleventh century, Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen, — rejected the Greek ideas about vision, whether the Aristotelian tradition that held that the form of the perceived object entered the eye but not its matter , or that of Euclid and Ptolemy that held that the eye emitted a ray. Al-Haytham proposed in his Book of Optics that vision occurs by way of light rays forming a cone with its vertex at the center of the eye. He suggested that light was reflected from different surfaces in different directions, thus causing objects to look different.
Advances in botany and chemistry in the Islamic world encouraged developments in pharmacology. Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi Abulcasis — pioneered the preparation of medicines by sublimation and distillation. His Liber servitoris provides instructions for preparing " simples " from which were compounded the complex drugs then used. Sabur Ibn Sahl d , was the first physician to describe a large variety of drugs and remedies for ailments. Al-Biruni — wrote the Kitab al-Saydalah The Book of Drugs , describing in detail the properties of drugs, the role of pharmacy and the duties of the pharmacist.
Ibn Sina Avicenna described preparations, their properties, mode of action and their indications. He devoted a whole volume to simples in The Canon of Medicine. Works by Masawaih al-Mardini c.
Peter of Abano — translated and added a supplement to the work of al-Mardini under the title De Veneris. Al-Muwaffaq, in the 10th century, wrote The foundations of the true properties of Remedies , describing chemicals such as arsenious oxide and silicic acid. He distinguished between sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate , and drew attention to the poisonous nature of copper compounds, especially copper vitriol , and also lead compounds. The fields of physics studied in this period, apart from optics and astronomy which are described separately, are aspects of mechanics: In the sixth century John Philoponus rejected the Aristotelian view of motion.
He argued instead that an object acquires an inclination to move when it has a motive power impressed on it. In the eleventh century, Ibn Sina adopted roughly the same idea, namely that a moving object has force which is dissipated by external agents like air resistance.
He concluded that continuation of motion depends on the inclination that is transferred to the object, and that the object remains in motion until the mayl is spent. He also claimed that a projectile in a vacuum would not stop unless it is acted upon. That view is consistent with Newton's first law of motion , on inertia.
Ibn Bajjah Avempace, c. While he did not specify that these forces be equal, it was still an early version of Newton's third law of motion.
The greatest scientific advances from the Muslim world
Many classical works including those of Aristotle were transmitted from Greek to Syriac, then to Arabic, then to Latin in the Middle Ages. Aristotle's zoology remained dominant in its field for the next two thousand years. Book of Animals is a 9th-century Arabic translation of History of Animals: Historians of science differ in their views of the significance of the scientific accomplishments in the medieval Islamic world.
The traditionalist view, exemplified by Bertrand Russell ,  holds that Islamic science, while admirable in many technical ways, lacked the intellectual energy required for innovation and was chiefly important for preserving ancient knowledge, and handing it on to medieval Europe. Hobson  holds that a Muslim scientific revolution occurred during the Middle Ages. Hassan argue that Islam was the driving force behind these scientific achievements.
According to Ahmed Dallal, science in medieval Islam was "practiced on a scale unprecedented in earlier human history or even contemporary human history". Garrison , Hossein Nasr and Bernard Lewis held that Muslim scientists helped in laying the foundations for an experimental science with their contributions to the scientific method and their empirical , experimental and quantitative approach to scientific inquiry.
McClellan III and Harold Dorn, reviewing the place of Islamic science in world history, comment that the positive achievement of Islamic science was simply to flourish, for centuries, in a wide range of institutions from observatories to libraries, madrasas to hospitals and courts, both at the height of the Islamic golden age and for some centuries afterwards.
It plainly did not lead to a scientific revolution like that in Early modern Europe , but in their view, any such external comparison is just an attempt to impose "chronologically and culturally alien standards" on a successful medieval culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ancient Greek notions of a visual spirit emanating from the eyes and allowing an object to be perceived were replaced by a straightforward account on the eye as an optical instrument.
Ibn al-Haytham's detailed description of ocular anatomy forms the basis for his theory of image formation, which is explained through the refraction of light rays passing between 2 media of different densities. Ibn al-Haytham derived this fundamentally new theory from experimental investigations . His Book of Optics was translated into Latin in the 12th century and continued to be studied both in the Islamic world and in Europe until the 17th century .
Ibn al-Nafis, a 13th-century Syrian physician, re-addressed the question of blood movement in the human body. The authoritative explanation had been given by the Greek physicians more than years earlier. But what had caused them a major problem was how the blood flowed from the right ventricle of the heart to the left, prior to being pumped out into the body. According to Galen 2nd century , blood reached the left ventricle through invisible passages in the septum. Referring to evidence derived from dissection, Ibn al-Nafis described the firm, impenetrable nature of the ventricular septum and made it clear that there were no passages in it.
Instead, he concluded, the blood in the right ventricle must be carried to the left by way of the lungs  . The description of the pulmonary circulation by Ibn al-Nafis was a breakthrough in the understanding of human anatomy and physiology. His approach to the study of medicine was exemplary for a scientist of his time as he demonstrated the need to evaluate the existing knowledge and reject those concepts that were inaccurate as shown by his own observations.
Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization | HuffPost
Thus he was able to further the medical learning that was inherited from the Greeks. The 10th-century physician Abu 'l-Qasim al-Zahrawi, from Muslim Spain, was clearly frustrated by the state of the art in surgery during his time. In order to advance surgical knowledge, he wrote a book that described surgical procedures and gave detailed illustrations of the necessary surgical instruments — several of which were devised by the author himself — together with his observations and comments based on experience. We owe it to al-Zahrawi that surgery became integrated into scientific medicine instead of being a practice left to cuppers and barbers  .
Vaginal speculum, 2 types of forceps and double-edged scalpel suspended.
Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization
From a Arabic copy of al-Zahrawi's Surgery , written in the 10th century. Al-Zahrawi's work had a profound influence on the emerging medical science in medieval and early modern Europe, where the author was known as Abulcasis or Albucasis. However, for centuries the quality of the translations from Arabic into Latin and the accompanying illustrations were less than satisfactory. For example, al-Zahrawi's treatise contained an illustration of a vaginal speculum and 2 types of forceps for extracting a dead fetus Fig.
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Islamic views on evolution. Retrieved 13 May Archived from the original on Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. The Making of Humanity , pp. The principle of the experimental method was an offshoot of the Islamic concept and its explanation of the physical world, its phenomena, its forces and its secrets. Qutb, Sayyad, Milestones , p.
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Retrieved 1 July A Fury For God. Granta , p. Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science. God and Man in the Koran. Sabra, Situating Arabic Science: Jamil a , "Tusi and Copernicus: Jamil Ragep , "Freeing Astronomy from Philosophy: An Illustrated History by Ahmad Y. Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation , , p. Selected Essays of Abdus Salam Philadelphia: World Scientific, , p.
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