Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

In the modern world Islam is seen as many things, but rarely is it viewed as a source of inspiration and enlightenment. Though it is a force of enlightenment and it is not only verses of the Quran that testify to that fact, but also the great body of scholarship produced during the Middle Ages. While Europe was in the midst of darkness, it was the Muslims, spurred on by the light of their new Deen who picked up the torch of scholarship and science. It was the Muslims who preserved the knowledge of antiquity, elaborated upon it, and finally, passed it on to Europe.

Although every peoples earn what they do and pass on, it is important for us to learn about and appreciate the contributions of the Islamic civilization by the early Muslims. Colonialism, the institution of the Western educational model, along with Eurocentrism often portrays Islam as backwards, incompatible with science and technology and anti-educational. Muslim school children never learn of their glorious past and often the only thing passed on to them is the inferiority complex of the generation before them. From the past we can learn from our mistakes and use the analysis of those great examples before us as role models to enrich us in the future.

In the seventh century A.D., the prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent to the people of Arabia. Within a decade of his death the Muslims had conquered all of the Arabian peninsula. Within a century, Islam had spread from Al-Andalus in Spain to the borders of China. Islam unified science, theology, and philosophy. Muslims were commanded to study, seek knowledge, and learn and benefit from others’ experiences by Allah (SWT) in the holy Quran and by the prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the Sunnah. It was this that inspired the Muslims to great heights in sciences, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, philosophy, art and architecture.

Muslim scholars began obtaining Greek treatises and started their study and translation into Arabic a few centuries after the Hijrah (622 A.D.) They critically analyzed, collated , corrected and supplemented substantially the Greek science and philosophy. After this period began what is known as the Golden Age of Islam, which lasted for over two centuries. It is here we find many of the great scientists of Islam who literally left behind hundreds and thousands of books on the various branches of science.

Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn al-Nafis

Physician and Expert: Ibn al-Nafis Ibn al-Nafis (1205-1288), also known as Al-Quarashi, ancient Islamic physician and expert on the Shafi’i school of Islamic law. Ibn al-Nafis is remembered for his numerous contributions to medicine, particularly the first description of pulmonary circulation—that is, the movement of blood from the right to the left ventricles of the … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Sina (Avicenna)

IBN SINA (AVICENNA) – Best known for his work “The Canon Medicine” Ibn Sina most commonly known in English by his Latinized name Avicenna (propably because Avicenna sounds more western than Ibn Sina) (Greek: Abitzianos), (c. 980 – 1037) was a Persian polymath and the foremost physician and philosopher of his time. He was also … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Betrugi (Alpetragius)

Nur ad-Din al-Betrugi (also spelled Nur al-Din Ibn Ishaq Al-Bitruji and Abu Ishâk ibn al-Bitrogi; another spelling is al Bidrudschi) (known in the West by the Latinized name of Alpetragius) (died ca. 1204 AD) was an Arab astronomer and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age (Middle Ages). Born in Morocco, he settled in Seville, in … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Farabi (Alpharabius)

Al-Farabi (Alpharabius) “The Second Teacher/Master”   Abu Nasr al-Farabi (Abu Nasr Muhammad al-Farabi; known in the West as Alpharabius (c. 872 – between 14 December 950 and 12 January 951), was a Muslim polymath and one of the greatest scientists and philosophers of… the Islamic world in his time. He was also a cosmologist, logician, … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Zarqali (Arzachel)

Al-Zarqali (Latinized to Arzachel) – Most famous for his “Book of Tables”   Abu Is?aq Ibrahim ibn Ya?ya al-Naqqash al-Zarqali (1029–1087), Latinized as Arzachel, also spelled Az-Zarqali, was a leading Arab mathematician and the foremost astronomer of his time. He lived in Toledo in Castile, Al-Andalus (now Spain). …His works inspired a generation of Islamic … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Balkhi (Albuxar)

Al-Balkhi (Latinized to Albuxar) – Most famous for “Albumasar De Magnis Coniunctionibus” Translation into Latin of a work of Albumasar De Magnis Coniunctionibus (“Of the great conjunctions”), Venice, 1515. Ja’far ibn Mu?ammad Abû Ma’shar al-Balkhî (10 August 787 in the Persian province of Balkh, (now in Afghanistan) – 9 March 88…6 in al-Wasit, Iraq), also … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al Battani (Albategnius)

Al Battani (Latinized to Albategnius) – “Astronomer”   Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan ar-Raqqi al-Harrani as-Sabi al-Batani. Latinized as Albategnius, Albategni or Albatenius was an Arab astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician, born in Harran near Urfa, which is now in Turkey. His epithet as-Sabi suggests that among his ancestry were members of the Sabian … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Taqi Al-Din

Taqi Al-Din – “The Greatest Scientist on Earth” Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf al-Shami al-Asadi (Turkish: Takiyuddin) (1526–1585) was a major Ottoman Turkish or Arab Muslim polymath: a scientist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer and inv…entor, clockmaker, physicist and mathematician, botanist and zoologist, pharmacist and physician, Islamic judge and mosque timekeeper, Islamic philosopher and theologian, and … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Jabbir Ibn Haiyan (Geber)

Generally known as the “Father of Chemistry” Abu Musa Jābir ibn Hayyān (born c. 721 in Tus, Iran–died c. 815 in Kufa, Iraq) was a prominent polymath: a chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer, geologist, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician. Born and educated in Tus, located in Iran’s Persian heartland of Khorasan, he … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Khwarizmi (Algoritmi)

Al-Khwarizmi (Latinized to Algoritmi) – Best Known for Contributions to mathematics Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (c. 780, Khwarizm – c. 850) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer, a scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. His Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. He is … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Banu Musa – Family of Honor

There were three brothers Jafar Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Shakir, Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Shakir and al-Hasan ibn Musa ibn Shakir. They are almost indistinguishable but we do know that although they often worked together, they did have their own areas of expertise. Born: about 800 in Baghdad, (now in Iraq) The Banu Musa were … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Tufail (Abubacer)

Ibn Tufail (Latinized to Abubacer) – “Most famous for Hayy ibn Yaqdhan” Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al-Qaisi al-Andalusi; Latinized form: Abubacer Aben Tofail; Anglicized form: Abubekar or Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail) was an Andalusian-Arab Muslim polymath: an Arabic writer, novelist, Islamic philosopher, Islamic theologian, physician, vizier, and court official. … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Bajjah (Avempace)

Ibn Bajjah (Latinized to Avempace) – “Polymath” Most famous for The Book of Plants Abu-Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn al-Sayigh (known as Ibn Bajjah , was an Andalusian-Arab Muslim polymath: an astronomer, logician, musician, philosopher, physician, physicist, psychologist, Botany, poet and scientist. He was known in the West by his Latinized name, Avempace. He was … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al Ghazali – One of the great Jurist, Theologian and Mystic of the 12th Century

Abu Hamed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzali (1058–1111 C.E.) (Persian: ابو حامد محمد ابن محمد الغزالی), known as Al-Ghazali or Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia (modern day Iran) was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic. Ghazali has sometimes been referred to by … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al Kindi (Alkindus) – The Philosopher of the Arabs

Yaqub ibn Isaq al-Kindi (Latin: Alkindus) (c. 801–873 CE), known as “the Philosopher of the Arabs”, was a Muslim Arab scientist, philosopher, mathematician, physician, and musician. Al-Kindi was the first of the Muslim peripatetic philosophers, and is unanimously hailed as the “father of Islamic or Arabic philosophy” for his synthesis, adaptation and promotion of Greek … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Masudi – Herodotus of the Arabs

The historian and geographer, Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Hussain Ibn Ali Al Masudi (895-957 CE) was a scion of an age when Islamic scholarship had overcome the challenge of Greek rationalism, and having thrown off the yoke of deductive absurdity, found its own expression in the inductive empiricism of the Qur’an. The history of this … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Kushyar ibn Labban

Abul-Hasan Kūshyar ibn Labbān ibn Bashahri Gilani (971–1029), also known as Kūshyar Gilani was a mathematician, geographer, and astronomer from Gilan, south of the Caspian Sea, Iran. His main work was probably done about the beginning of the eleventh century, and seems to have taken an important part in the elaboration of trigonometry. For example, … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Abu al-Wafa

Abu’l-Wafa was brought up during the period that a new dynasty was being established which would rule over Iran. The Buyid Islamic dynasty ruled in western Iran and Iraq from 945 to 1055 in the period between the Arab and Turkish conquests. The period began in 945 when Ahmad Buyeh occupied the ‘Abbasid capital of … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Sufi (Azophi) – Astronomer

Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (Persian: عبدالرحمن صوفی) (December 7, 903 – May 25, 986) was a Persian astronomer also known as ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi, or ‘Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn, ‘Abdul Rahman Sufi, ‘Abdurrahman Sufi and known in the west as Azophi; the lunar crater Azophi and the minor planet 12621 Alsufi are named after him. Al-Sufi … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) – The Islamic Scholar Who Gave Us Modern Philosophy

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) – The Islamic Scholar Who Gave Us Modern Philosophy … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Yunus

Ibn Yunus’s full name is Abu’l-Hasan Ali ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Yunus al-Sadafi. As the name indicates, his great-grandfather was called Yunus, his grandfather was Ahmad, and his father Abd al-Rahman. It was a family of scholars, his father Abd al-Rahman being a noted historian. We know little of ibn Yunus’s childhood but … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) – One of the spiritual fathers of Europe

Abu ‘l-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd better known just as Ibn Rushd, and in European literature as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, physics … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn Firnas (Armen Firman) – The First Aviator

Abbas Ibn Firnas (810–887 A.D.), also known as Abbas Qasim Ibn Firnas and عباس بن فرناس (Arabic language), was a Muslim polymath: an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusian musician. Of Berber descent, he was born in Izn-Rand Onda, Al-Andalus (today’s Ronda, Spain), and lived in the Emirate of Córdoba. He is known … … Continue reading

Al-Farghani (Alfraganus)

Abū al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghani also known as Alfraganus in the West was a Muslim astronomer and one of the famous astronomers in 9th century. Abu’l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani, born in Farghana, Transoxiana, was one of the most distinguished astronomers in the service of al-Mamun and his successors. He … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) – World’s First True Scientist

Alhazen, the great Islamic polymath. Alhazen was born in Basra, in the Iraq province of the Buyid Persian Empire. He probably died in Cairo, Egypt. During the Islamic Golden Age, Basra was a “key beginning of learning”, and he was educated there and in Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, and the focus of … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al-Zahrawi – The Pioneer of Modern Surgery

It has often been stated on this website that the Muslim period of Spain’s history (also known as al-Andalus) was a Golden Age of Islamic civilization and society. Harmony between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism prevailed, great advancements were made in the sciences, and wealth and stability were the rule rather than the exception. One of … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Al Jazari – The Father of Robotics

Al Jazari (1136–1206) was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, who lived during the Islamic Golden Age (Middle Ages). He is best known for writing the Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206, where he described fifty mechanical devices along with instructions on … … Continue reading
Muslim Scientists and Their Inventions

Famous Scientists

Einstein, Newton, Flemming … these names are well known, and with good reason, as influential and innovative scientists.  However, what is less well know, is that they owe a lot to their predecessors. Who are those early scientists that paved the way?  Well, many of them were Muslim scholars who reached amazing heights of knowledge … … Continue reading
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