Author: Professor Irfan Shahid

Al-Idrisi, a great geographer

Al-Idrisi was one of the great geographers and cartographers of the world. He designed an atlas with seventy sectional maps to depict the world, wrote a major book on world geography, and constructed a large silver disc showing the world in detail. Idrisi attempted to combine descriptive and astronomical geography and discovered and mapped the source of the Nile about six hundred years before the Europeans. Life Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muhammed al-Sharifa al-Idrisi was born in 493 AH/1100 CE in Sabtah (Ceuta) in Morocco. His family claimed descent from the Prophet Mohammad (s) himself. One of his...

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Al-Zahrawi: Pioneering surgeon and inventor

Al-Zahrawi was a great pioneer of the tenth century in Islamic Spain who gave a new direction to medical sciences inventing many surgical instruments and establishing innovative surgical procedures. Before Al-Zahrawi medicine was considered as a branch of religion and pseudo-chemistry but he separated medical education from Alchemy and theology and emphasised the scientific nature of medicine. He advocated the study of medicine by bright minds. His encyclopaedic medical work, al-Tasrif, was a major textbook that was included in syllabi of the universities in Europe for several centuries. Abul Qasim Khalaf ibn Abbas al-Zahrawi was born in 324 AH/936...

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Al-Khwarizmi: From Algebra to computing

The name of Al-Khwarismi has become immortal in the history of algebra and algorithm. He was a great Muslim Mathematician of the 8th century who transformed the mathematics from digit to letter and gave a pragmatic dimension to the science of mathematics. Word Algebra is derived from the Arabic word aljabr found in the title of his great book on mathematics “Aljabar wal Muqabla”, while the word algorithm originates from his name Al-Khwarizmi. Binary Mathematics used in computer programming is based on the algorithmic modules developed by Al-Khwarizmi. He introduced into the Islamic world, and into Europe, the scientific...

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Ibn Khaldun: great historian who transformed historiography

The first verse of the Holy Quran revealed stressed the importance of Qalam (Pen) which is a vital instrument of knowledge transformation.  Muslims have played a significant role in the writing of history which is one of the vital sources of knowledge transformation. How many of us know the origin of history and methodology of recording the incidence and contribution of past civilisation? Ibn Khaldun, the great historian of 13th century CE has introduced some methods of recording social and political events. Before Ibn Khaldun, some Arab historians had documented the history and incidence of war of prophetic era. Maghazi...

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Ibn al-Haytham: great scientist and mathematician

Ibn al-Haythan was one of the great scientists of the world who made a remarkable contribution to physics, mathematics and astronomy. His Kitab al-manazir was the first comprehensive book on optics and light, and a masterpiece of physics.  He was first to give a correct description of vision. He improved the planetary model with his theory of solid spheres against the ancient view of imaginary circles of orbits for planets and discovered the laws of reflection and refraction of light. Life Abu Ali al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham was born in Basrah, Iraq, in about 354 AH/956 CE completing his education...

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february, 2018

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