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Muslims’ contribution in Science-1

2012-11-15 07:47:55

Islam is a religion of peace. It wants the spiritual elevation of human being. However, it also offered a broad range of scientific inventions and discoveries. The Holy book of Islam, ‘Al-Quran’ uncovered many unknown facts 1400 years ago, and the famous scientists of the present world are admitting them as they found the facts. For example, a verse of Al-Quran says: “The heavens and the earth were ordered rightly, and were made subservient to man, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and day and night. Every heavenly body moves in an orbit assigned to it by God and never digresses, making the universe an orderly cosmos whose life and existence, diminution and expansion, are totally determined by the Creator.“ [30:22]. But those are the words from God who is supposed to know everything. What I want to tell you here is the contribution of Muslim scientists to science. 

But before that at first, I want to tell you how the peer review system comes from Islam. We know that, today the scientific publications and literature are peer-reviewed. All the journals and most conferences are peer-reviewed. This concept actually comes from the storage of Hadith, the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The then scholars who were collecting the Hadith, they did not store a Hadith if it was not described or validated by three experts i.e. the companions of the prophet or the close persons to the companions of the prophet. This was the peer-review which is the most acceptable method of publishing any scientific idea now-a-days. 

Now, I want to tell you about some Muslim scientists. Among them, first comes the founder of Algebra, Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, who is mostly known as Al-Khwarizmi. His great contribution was the foundation of modern algebra. He wrote the book Al-Kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wa-l-muqābala meaning ‘The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing’ which is the foundation of modern algebra. This book was written with the encouragement of the Caliph Al-Ma’mun, for aiding the calculation in trade and surveying and legal inheritance. He was also the introducer of Algorithm which comes from his name ‘Al-Khwarizmi’. He also had contribution in Geography which was the systemization and correction of Ptolemy’s data for Africa and Middle East. His book ‘Kitab Surat al-Ard ’ (English meaning: The Image of Earth) presented the correction of Ptolemy’s estimation of Mediterranean sea, Asia and Africa. He assisted a project to determine the circumference of the Earth and in making a world map with 70 geographers. For more information about the contribution of Al-Khwarizmi please visit the wikipedia link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB or Encyclopaedia Britanica: 


A great contributor in medical science is Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi who is mostly known as Al-Razi. He was a very good physician at his time. He first recognized the need for sanitation in hospitals and he was the first to distinguish clearly between highly contagious viral diseases smallpox andmeasles. He has been described as the father of Paediatrics for writing the book: The Diseases of Children. He also pioneered neurosurgery and ophthalmology. He was also an Alchemist and known for his study of sulphuric acid. He discovered Ethanol and its refinement to use in medicine. 

Another great contributor in science is Ibn al-Haytham who is known under the Latinized name Alhazen. His main contribution was in Optics. He wrote a multi volume book named: Kitab al-Manazir the Book of Optics. He was the one who corrected the Emission Theory, supported by Ptolemy and Euclid, which said that that sight worked by the eye emitting rays of light. And he also corrected the intromission theory, supported by Aristotle and his followers, which said about physical forms entering the eye from an object. But Ibn Al-Haytham argued that we see neither by rays emitted from our eyes, nor through physical forms entering in it; rather the light comes from the object and enter into our eyes and then we see the object. He was the first scientist who argued that the vision occurs in brain, not in eyes. In his book of optics, he explained some astronomical and astrophysical behaviour. He came up with a theory to explain the Moon illusion, which played an important role in the scientific tradition of medieval Europe. It was an attempt to the solve the problem of the Moon appearing larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky, a debate that is unresolved to this day. Arguing against Ptolemy’s refraction theory, he redefined the problem in terms of perceived, rather than real, enlargement. He said that judging the distance of an object depends on there being an uninterrupted sequence of intervening bodies between the object and the observer. With the Moon however, there are no intervening objects. Therefore, since the size of an object depends on its observed distance, which is in this case inaccurate, the Moon appears larger on the horizon. Now-a-days, through research, it is accepted as a psychological phenomenon, with Ptolemy’s theory being rejected in the 17th century. 

Here, I just gave a small introduction to some Muslim scholars who has contributed much for science. In future, I shall try to provide some more interesting facts about Muslim scholars and their contributions in science.   Interested people can also know Muslim scientists contribution  from a documentary from British broad casting corporation 

Editors Notes:    0

The opinions expressed and information shared are those of the writer's and commentators; do not necessarily reflect that of Scientific Bangladesh.Scientific Bangladesh accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the accuracy or content of writers' and commentators' opinion and information.

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