Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Deep sea currents

In the Qur'an we read:

"Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covers it a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Noor(24):40.

Mankind began to build submersibles in the seventeenth century. The first crude craft known to have ventured underwater was built by Cornelis Drebbel, court engineer to James I of England, and was demonstrated on the Thames river in 1620. From then onwards, development of submarines continued until the twentieth century, or 1954 to be exact, when the first nuclear submarine became a reality. With mankind's study of the sea came the realization that the waters lying underneath the surface waves were not the place of tranquil calmness they were previously envisioned to be. Rather, there were underwater currents called deep sea currents which could at times become such violent storms as to rearrange sediments in the ocean bottom. How did Muhammad (pbuh) know about these underwater currents centuries before mankind invented the tools necessary for underwater exploration?

"Say: It was sent down by He who knows the secrets in the heavens and the earth."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Furqaan(25):6.

It is worth mentioning here in connection with the above verse that some scientists have interpreted the "layer upon layer of darkness" to be the gradual separation of the light spectrum within the ocean, one color at a time until complete darkness is finally achieved. In other words, at one depth, the yellow bandwidth is suppressed and "yellow darkness" is achieved. At another depth, the red bandwidth is suppressed and "red darkness" is achieved, and so forth.

There are many other scientific statements made in the Qur'an which were only discovered to be scientifically accurate many centuries after Muhammad's death. Many of them have only been discovered in this century. They range over many fields of science including Anatomy, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Hydrology, and many other disciplines which are only beginning to be addressed by scientists today.

For example, the Qur'an makes reference to the fact that a human's pain receptors are located in the skin (Al-Nissa(4):56). That the frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for lying and sin (Al-Alak(96):16). That mountains have below them roots that extend deep into the earth's surface (Al-Naba(78):7). That mountains pin the earth's crust and prevent it from moving (Al-Nahil(16):15). That there exists a physical barrier between bodies of fresh and salt water (Al-Rahman (55):20). There is also information regarding the formation of milk in cows (Al-Nahi(16):66). And on and on. So where was Muhammad (pbuh) getting all of these scientific facts if not from the Creator of mankind and the universe? Allah Almighty askes:

"Is this sorcery or is it that you do not see?"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Tur (52):15.

Prof. Keith Moore is not the only scholar who has been presented with such verses of the Qur'an. Many other scholars from all over the world have been presented with similar statements from the Qur'an in their field of expertise. Only a few of these people are:

1) Dr. E. Marshall Johnson, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, and the Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA. Author of over 200 publications. Former President of the Teratology Society among other accomplishments. After studying the verses of the Qur'an he came to the following conclusion:

"The Qur'an describes not only the development of external form but emphasizes also the internal stages - the stages inside the embryo of its creation and development, emphasizing major events recognized by contemporary science... If I was to transpose myself into that era, knowing what I do today and describing things, I could not describe the things that were described... I see no evidence to refute the concept that this individual Muhammad had to be developing this information from some place... so I see nothing in conflict with the concept that divine intervention was involved..."

2) Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor Collage of Medicine, Houston, Texas. He is the President of the American Fertility Society, and has served in many other professional, national, and international organizations. He has received numerous awards including Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Public Recognition Award in 1992. He has published more than 400 chapters and articles in journals and books. He says:

"... these Hadeeths (sayings of Muhammad) could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer'... It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (Islam) but in fact religion (Islam) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches... There exist statements in the Qur'an shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the Qur'an having been derived from God."

3) Dr. T.V.N. Persaud. Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy, Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is the author and editor of 25 books, has contributed 31 chapters to publications, and has published over 180 scientific papers. In 1991 he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He says:

"Muhammad was a very ordinary man, he couldn't read, didn't know how to write, in fact he was an illiterate... were talking about 1400 years ago, you have some illiterate person making profound statements that are amazingly accurate, of a scientific nature... I personally can't see how this could be mere chance, there are too many accuracies and like Dr. Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind reconciling that this is a divine inspiration or revelation which lead him to these statements."

4) After a study which lasted ten years, the famous French physician Maurice Bucaille addressed the French Academy of Medicine in 1976 and expressed the complete agreement of the Qur'an and established findings of modern science. He presented his study on the existence in the Qur'an of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction. His reason for doing that was that

"our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Qur'an could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times."

5) Dr. Tejatet Tejasen, Head of the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chiang Mai, Thailand. After his study on the Qur'an passages dealing with embryology:

"From my studies and what I have learnt at this conference I believe that everything that has been recorded in the Qur'an 1400 years ago must be true. That can be proved the scientific way."

Others include:

6) Dr. Gerald C. Goeringer. Professor and Coordinator of Medical Embryology in the Department of Cell Biology in the Georgetown University school of Medicine. Washington, D.C. He has published numerous articles dealing mainly with the study of teratogenesis.

7) Dr. Alfred Kroner, Professor of Geology, Germany.

8) Dr. Yoshiodi Kozan, Director of the observatory of Tokyo, Japan.

9) Dr. William Hay, Professor of Oceanography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

10) Dr. Pete Palmer, Professor of Geology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

11) Dr. Sayawida, Professor of Marine Geology, Japan.

12) Dr. Armstrong, Professor of Astronomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

13) Dr. Draga Persaud Rauw, Professor of Marine Geology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

14) Dr. Schroeder, Professor of Oceanography, Germany.

The response of these scholars when presented with verses of the Qur'an in their field of specialization, varied. One thing however was always constant. They all confirmed the accuracy of the scientific statements made in the Qur'an, and they all could not explain how Muhammad (pbuh) could have known with such accuracy the scientific claims to be found in the Qur'an so many centuries before mankind discovered them to be scientific truths.

Allah Almighty tells us in the Qur'an: "Allah did not create (all) that except in truth. He details the signs for people of knowledge." The noble Qur'an, Yunus(10):5

"And those who were given knowledge see that which was sent down upon you by your Lord is the truth and guides to the path of the 'Exalted' (in Might) the 'worthy of all praise'."

The noble Qur'an, Saba(34):6.

"Had We sent down this Qur'an upon a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the parables We put forth for mankind that they may reflect."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hashr(59):21

"Verily! this Qur'an guides to that which is most upright, and gives glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness that theirs will be a great reward"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Isra(17):9

"And We have indeed simplified [the comprehension of] this Qur'an for remembrance, so is there any that will remember [and be admonished]?"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Qamar(54):17

To obtain a more in-depth analysis of these matters including video tapes containing interviews with many of these pioneering Western scholars, contact one of the following (ask for the video tape titled "It is the Truth"):

1) Islamic Academy for Scientific Research.
8150 West 111 Street
Palos Hills, IL 60465
Phone: (708) 974-9151

2) Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
P.O. Box 38
Plainfield, Indiana, 46168
Phone: (317) 839-8157

3) Academy for the Miracles of Science in the Qur'an and the Sunnah
P.O. Box 5736
Makkah Al-Mukarramah
Saudi Arabia
Phone: (2) 545-1519

Also look for the books:
"The Bible, the Qur'an and Science," by Dr. Maurice Bucaille
"The Qur'an and Modern Science," by Dr. Maurice Bucaille
"An Introduction to Understanding the Qur'an," by Syed Abdul A'ala Maudoodi
"The Sources of the Qur'an: A Critical Review of the Authorship Theories," by Hamza Mustafa Njozi
"Muhammad's Prophethood: An Analytical View," by Dr. Jamal Badawi

Water and Life

In the Qur'an we read:

"Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together then we split them asunder, and we created from water every living thing, do they not believe?"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Anbia(21):30.

"And Allah has created every trodding creature from water......"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Noor(24):45.

"It is He who created from water a human...."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Furqan(25):54.

Water is the most common substance on Earth, covering more than 70% of the planet's surface. All living things consist mostly of water; for example, the human body is about two-thirds water (when you cremate a human what happens to him? Why?). Scientist tell us that all forms of life known to humanity today require three basic conditions: Temperature, the existence of water, and the existence of an atmosphere.

All metabolisms require water to survive, so animals that exist in arid regions have body mechanisms that protect against water loss and make maximum use of water (camels for example). Dehydration in humans results from lack of food, drink, and from sweating, in addition to other factors. This loss eventually affects the proper functioning of the heart, central nervous system, and organs containing smooth muscle. Finally, intercellular water is lost, which upsets vital chemical processes in the cells. If water is not restored to the body, death will usually occur within a few days.

The blood of all living creatures is composed of 55 percent plasma, which in turn is composed of more than 90 percent water. Jan Baptista van Helmont, the first experimental physiologist, around 1640 AD concluded that water is the only soil component required for plant growth. We could go on and on. Again we find ourselves asking the question: How did Muhammad (pbuh) know that all living creatures are created from water centuries before mankind discovered this fact through scientific experimentation? Did he randomly select an element from the countless billions of possible choices? Why did he not claim that mankind was created from air, or from wood, or from light? Why water?

The Universe

Another example of such scientifically accurate statements in the Qur'an can be found in the following analysis:

"And the firmament(sky) We constructed with power and skill and verily We are expanding it"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Thariyaat(51):47.

(Remember: "we" is the Arabic plural of respect, not the Christian plural of "Trinity," as seen in chapter 14).

"Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were fused then We ripped them asunder, and We created from water every living thing, do they not believe?"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Anbia(21):30.

"Then He settled/equilibrated unto the firmament(sky) when it was smoke and said unto it and to the earth: come willingly or unwillingly. They said: we come willingly"

The noble Qur'an, Fussilat(41):11.

Allah Almighty has in these three concise verses answered questions that it has taken some of the greatest physicists and astronomers of history centuries to answer. It was only in this century that they finally found the truth.

Mankind has studied the heavens and the earth for countless centuries. The Greeks were some of the first people to attempt to describe various cosmological phenomena. They gave us many of the very first theories regarding the universe and it's composition. The major contribution came with the writings of Plato. Plato claimed that the universe was created by what he called "The Demiurge." According to Plato, the universe was the result of reasoning and planning, it was constructed by the Demiurge upon precise mathematical and geometrical principles. Later on, Aristotle, Plato's student, adopted his teacher's basic concept. Aristotelian cosmology was based on the concept of an enclosed cosmos comprising a series of concentric, spheres revolving around a stationary Earth. Motion was provided by the "prime mover" and, once initiated, would remain circular, uniform and eternal.

Both Plato and Aristotle taught that the universe was eternal, with neither beginning nor end. The universe as a whole was considered steady and unmoving, and this was the basis for the later formation of the "steady state theory." In 1915, Albert Einstein had published the famous general theory of relativity. Soon afterward he proposed a static model of the universe, but he would later declare that it was "one of the greatest mistakes of my career." Why?, Because in 1925, Edwin Hubble (after whom the Hubble Space telescope is named) provided the observational evidence for the expansion of the universe, or as Stephen Hawking put it "The universe is not static, as had previously been thought, it was expanding."

Although mankind did not discover these facts till this 20th Century, still, we find that Allah Almighty had provided the answers for mankind 1400 years ago in the Qur'an through the agency of His illiterate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). During Muhammad's (pbuh) time, the Greeks were claiming that the cosmos was static and not expanding. So how did he know that the universe was expanding 1300 years before the foremost scientist of the West proved this to be a scientific fact?

However, this is not the only claim that the Qur'an makes with regard to the universe. Let us study the next two verses:

At the present time, the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is the cosmological model most widely accepted by astronomers. It holds that about 20,000,000,000 years ago the universe began with the explosive expansion of a single, extremely condensed state of matter ("the heavens and the earth were fused then we ripped them asunder"). As mentioned above, a further development of this model, known as "inflationary theory," describes the original condensed matter as arising from virtually empty space. It was only after the development of radio telescopes in 1937 AD that the necessary observational precision was achieved in order for astronomers to arrive at the above conclusion. Out of the observations of such scientists has arisen the so called "Hubble Constant" (Ho) which is quantity currently used to gauge the rate at which the universe is expanding. In other words, the issue is no longer whether the universe is expanding or not, rather, it is only a question of how fast it is expanding.

The second and third verses presented appear to claim that the heavens and the earth were once a single mass then were "ripped asunder," The exact root words used in the Qur'an are the words "ra-ta-qa" and "fa-ta-qa," or "the heavens and the earth were 'ra-ta-qa' then we 'fa-ta-qa' them"

"Ra-ta-qa" is an Arabic word which has the general meaning of "to fuse, to sew, to mend, to patch up, to repair." ("Lisan Al-Arab," by Ibn Mandoor, Vol. 10, Dar Al-Fikr, p. 114, and also "A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic," Hans Wehr, Librairie du Liban, p. 325)

Similarly, "fa-ta-qa" has the general meaning of "To rip, to undo sewing, to unstitch, to tear apart, to rend, to rip open." ("Lisan Al-Arab," by Ibn Mandoor, Vol. 10, Dar Al-Fikr, p. 296, and also "A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic," Hans Wehr, Librairie du Liban, p. 695)

The verse then goes on to say that Allah Almighty created the heavens and the earth from a celestial "smoke." Astronomers today have pictures of galaxies being formed by exactly this process, i.e. the condensation of spiraling celestial "mists." Isn't it an incredible coincidence that an illiterate man from the desert, without the aid of observatories or satellite imaging was making these claims over 1400 years ago?. Was he just guessing?

Further, the cosmic phenomenon depicted in the following two figures is commonly referred to by astronomists as a cosmic "mist." However, if we were to read the second verse of the Qur'an presented above we will find that the Qur'an more accurately refers to it as a "smoke." This is because "mist" implies a cool and tranquil spray of water. However, "smoke" implies a hot gas containing airborne particles. This is indeed another example of the literary miracle of the Qur'an in that it manages to convey to us in a very concise language a very accurate and detailed description of the topic at hand.

"And those who have been given knowledge know that that which has been revealed to you from your Lord is the Truth"

The noble Qur'an, Saba(34):6

"Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care) or are there locks upon their hearts?"

The noble Qur'an, Muhammad(47):24


Dr. Keith L. Moore is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. He is a world renowned scientist and a distinguished researcher in the fields of anatomy and embryology, he has published more than 150 research articles, chapters and books in this field. He is the author of several medical textbooks, such as the widely used and acclaimed "The Developing Human: Clinically oriented Embryology" (now in it's fifth edition, and translated into eight different languages), "Before We Are Born" and "Clinically Oriented Anatomy." He has also recently co-authored "Qur'an and Modern Science, Correlation Studies." Dr. Moore is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including, in 1984, the J.C.B. Grant Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has served in many academic and administrative positions, including the President of the Canadian Association of Anatomists, 1968-1970. Let us see what Dr. Moore's opinion is on the scientific statements regarding embryology to be found in the Qur'an:

Dr. Moore was contacted by a Muslim scholar by the name of Abdul-Majeed Azzindani. He was asked to participate in a three-year study of around twenty-five verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad, pbuh) which speak about embryology, and to determine the their correspondence to modern scientific discoveries. Dr. Moore's conclusion regarding this matter was:

"For the past three years, I have worked with the Embryology Committee of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, helping them to interpret the many statements in the Qur'an and the Sunnah referring to human reproduction and prenatal development. At first I was astonished by the accuracy of the statements that were recorded in the seventh century AD, before the science of embryology was established. Although I was aware of the glorious history of Muslim scientists in the 10th century AD, and of some of their contributions to Medicine, I new nothing about the religious facts and beliefs contained in the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is important for Islamic and other students to understand the meaning of these Qur'anic statements about human development, based on current scientific knowledge. The interpretations of the "verses" in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, translated by Shaikh Azzindani, are to the best of my knowledge accurate."

From the forward of "The Developing Human: Clinically oriented Embryology," third edition, by Dr. Keith L. Moore.

The Qur'an and the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) provide a very detailed description of the microscopic development of the human embryo from a mere sperm drop up to the stage of a completely formed human being. It is well known that microscopes were not developed until the sixteenth century AD, and even at that were very crude in design. Zacharias Janssen is credited with having invented the compound microscope in about 1590. With it, remarkable scientific discoveries were made in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Dutch naturalist Anthony van Leeuwenhoek produced lenses powerful enough to prove that many tiny creatures are not spontaneously generated but come from eggs.

Before this period, theories on human reproduction ran rampant. Some scientist believed that the menstrual blood itself developed into the fetus. Later on, a new theory was developed wherein the sperm drop was popularly believed to contain a completely developed miniature human (homunculus) which later grew to the size of a baby. The science of embryology as we know it today did not discover many of the detailed aspects of human development which are taken for granted today until only about twenty years ago, or 1973 to be precise.

Now we must ask the question: where did Muhammad (pbuh) get such detailed knowledge of the microscopic development of the human embryo in the 6th century AD without a microscope, technical training, a laboratory of any kind, or even the ability to write his own name? The only logical conclusion is that it came from exactly where he claimed it did. From the one who created mankind, God Almighty!

Prof. Moore has since given numerous lectures on the topic of embryology in the Qur'an. He is quoted in one of these lectures as saying:

"It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God, or Allah."

Prof. Moore was so impressed with the Qur'anic classification of the stages of development of the human embryo, that he suggested the adoption of the Qur'anic system in place of the system currently in use by scientists today. Prof. Moore said:

"Because the staging of the human embryo is complex owing to the continuous process of change during development. It is therefore suggested that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge."

When Dr. Moore first presented his findings in Toronto it caused quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages of some of the newspapers across Canada. One newspaper reporter asked Professor Moore,

"Don't you think That maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe there were not scientists, but maybe they did some crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things."

Professor Morre immediately pointed out to him, however, that he had missed a very important point. All of the slides of the embryo that Dr. Moore had based his study upon had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He said,

"It does not matter if someone had tried to discover embryology fourteen centuries ago, they could not have seen it!." Dr. Moore taunted, "Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever?. Do you believe that? You really should not unless you bring some proof because it is such a ridiculous theory."

When he was asked "How do you explain this information in the Qur'an?" Dr. Moore's reply was, "It could only have been divinely revealed."

The miracle and challenge of the Qur'an

"We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and within themselves until it will become clear to them that it is the Truth. Does it not suffice that your Lord is Witness over all things?"

The noble Qur'an, Fussilat(41):53.

Muslims are taught that throughout the ages, Allah Almighty has sent a prophet to every nation as a warner and a bearer of glad tidings.

"Verily! We have sent you (O Muhammad) with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner has passed among them,"

The noble Qur'an, Fatir(35):24.

Each prophet was wisely selected by Allah in order to be the best person for the job. He was then provided by Allah with miracles as proof of his truthfulness and his message. These miracles were wisely selected by Allah in order to be in the same field as that which these people excelled in so that they could fully comprehend the magnitude of these miracles.

For instance, the people during the time of Moses excelled at magical trickery. Their rulers used to surround themselves with the most powerful of these wizards as a sign of power. This is why Allah made the miracles of Moses (pbuh) similar to their magical trickery (changing a stick into a snake, parting of the sea... etc.) but of a much greater magnitude than anything they could ever hope to accomplish. For they were not tricks, but actual physical miracles.

The people at the time of the prophet Jesus (pbuh) excelled in matters of medicine. For this reason, his miracles were of a medical nature (raising of the dead, healing of the blind...etc.), but of a degree that they could never hope to imitate. Similarly, one of the major miracles of Islam was a new and unheard-of type of literature similar to the Bedouin's poetry but far beyond anything they could ever hope to match. Although they did indeed try. This new literature was called "The Qur'an."

The Arabic language, as can be attested to by any of it's scholars, is a very rich and powerful language. The Bedouin people of the Arabian desert were, in general, illiterate people of very little scientific knowledge. The thing that set them apart, however, was their mastery of poetry. Spending their days as they did in the desert watching their sheep graze got quite boring. They alleviated their boredom by continually composing and refining poetry. They would spend entire years composing and refining their poetry in anticipation of a yearly face-down of the poetic compositions of their peers from all over the country. The fact that they were illiterate forced them to also train themselves in the memorization of works of literature to such an extent that they were able to memorize complete works from a single recitation. Even in matters of leadership, one of the major criteria for selecting the leaders of the various Bedouin tribes was the individual's prowess in literary composition and memorization.

The Arabian Bedouins took great pains to make their poetry as compact and picturesque as humanly possible, constantly expanding the language along the way. A single word could convey complete pictures. The Qur'an, however, has put even these great efforts to shame. You will notice that when a Muslim translates a verse of the Qur'an he usually does not say "the Qur'an says so and so" but rather "An approximation of the meaning of what the Qur'an says is so and so." You really need to know the language to comprehend this.

In the English language, we find that the words: "mustang," "colt," "mare," "pony," "stallion," "bronco"... etc. all refer to the same thing; a horse. Each one of these words conveys a slightly different mental picture. The mental picture we get when we hear the word "colt" is slightly different than the picture we get if we hear the word "mare." In a similar manner, the Arabic language progressed in such a fashion as to make it possible to convey such mental pictures in as concise and picturesque a format as possible. It is not at all uncommon to find over three hundred words that refer to the same thing in the Arabic language. Each one of these words gives a slightly different picture than the others.

Many centuries of this constant refinement eventually lead to a very complex and rich vocabulary, and the primary miracle of Muhammad (pbuh), the Qur'an, was in exactly this field

In the noble Qur'an we find a challenge from Allah to compose a literary work on a par with this Qur'an it is indeed the work of mankind. They could not. The Qur'an continued to reduce it's challenge until the challenge finally became: "compose only a single verse comparable to this Qur'an and you will have won." They still could not. This in addition to the fairness, justice, and logic of the Qur'an eventually won them over and slowly more and more people became Muslims.

[Webmasters note: there are some inaccuracies in the preceding paragraph. The least challenge posed in the quran is "a single surah" (10:38 & 2:23) as well as "whole Quran" (17:88) and "ten verses" (11:13).]

"Well then, if the Koran were his own [Muhammad's] composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evidential miracle"

Mohammedanism, H. A. R. Gibb, Oxford University Press, p. 42

"From the literary point of view, the Koran is regarded as a specimen of purest Arabic, written in half poetry, half prose. It has been said that in some cases grammarians have adopted their rules to agree with certain expressions used in it, and though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned, none yet has succeeded"

Glimpses of the Noble Qur'an, Muhammad Azizullah, Crescent Publications, pp. 104-105

"In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the message itself - constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind... This very characteristic feature - 'that inimitable symphony,' as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book, 'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' - has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original."

The Koran Interpreted, Arthur J. Arberry, Oxford University Press, 1964, p. x.

"The Koran admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. Though the youngest of the epoch-making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politico-religious organizations of the Muhammadan world which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon today."

G. Margoliouth, Introduction to J.M. Rodwell's, The Koran, New York: Everyman's Library, 1977, p. vii.

"A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as a mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind … Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well-organized body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history."

Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' Dictionary Of Islam, p. 526-528.

Many claims have been made against Muhammad in that day and this. Among them are the claims that he was a lunatic, a liar, or deceived by the devil. If Muhammad was a lunatic or a liar then we have to wonder how all of his prophesies came true?. Further, if he was a deceived by Satan then we are faced with another problem. For we know that all Muslims are taught that when reading the Qur'an they must first begin with the words "I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the stoned* one." and then follow this up with the words "In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful" So we have to wonder if Satan would "inspire" a man to teach mankind to seek refuge in God from Satan? Indeed this is the exact same accusation which was made against Jesus (pbuh). Let us read how Jesus responded to this claim:

"But some of them (the Jews) said, He (Jesus) casteth out devils through Beelzebub (Satan) the chief of the devils. And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub."

Luke 11:15-18

It has been the case throughout the ages that with all previous prophets, their miracle was separate from their book. Although we may claim that we have the "Torah" of Moses, still, it is not possible now to bring Moses' (pbuh) staff and see it perform miracles as it did in his time. Similarly it is not possible today to see Jesus (pbuh) raise the dead as he did so many centuries ago. However, since the message of Islam was the final message of God to mankind, therefore, the book of Islam itself was made the main miracle of Islam and it has continued to renew it's challenge to mankind throughout the ages.

What does this mean? Nowadays, the number of people who can appreciate the literary content of the Qur'an has dwindled and this challenge no longer has the same impact it did fourteen hundred years ago. However, as we have seen in the verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter, Allah Almighty has promised to continually renew the challenge of the Qur'an throughout the ages. So how will it be renewed?

Recently, a new field of study has opened up to scholars. People nowadays are fascinated with science. This is the age of technology and scientific discovery. For this reason, mankind has begun to study the religious scriptures of mankind from a scientific point of view in order to challenge the scientific claims made in these scriptures. Many works have been published on this topic. In this chapter I will give a brief taste of these matters and then leave it up to the interested reader to learn more from any one of the many books which have been published in this regard (see list at back of this book).

As mentioned previously, Muhammad (pbuh) lived among tribes of people who were for the most part illiterate. He himself was also illiterate. These people used to live extremely simple lives. Some were traders and businessmen, others were farmers, and yet others were nomadic sheepherders who traveled from place to place depending on where they could find grass for their sheep to graze. When Muhammad (pbuh) brought them the Qur'an, the believers found in the Qur'an the command to go out, seek knowledge, and confirm the presence of their Creator by studying His creation. Muslims began to fulfill this command of the Qur'an and this resulted in one of the greatest explosions of scientific advancement mankind has ever seen. All of this was going on during a period that the West calls "The Dark Ages," wherein the scientists of the West were being persecuted and killed as sorcerers and wizards. During this period, Muslims scholars introduced into the world such things as:

* Mathematical evolution of spherical mirrors

* Rectilinear motion of light and use of lenses

* Refraction angle variations

* Magnifying effects of the plano convex lens

* Introduced the concept of the elliptical shape of cosmological bodies

* Study of the center of gravity as applied to balance

* Measurement of specific weights of bodies

* Rule of algebraic equations

* Solutions to quadratic and cubic equations

* Work on square roots, squares, theory of numbers, solution of the fractional numbers

* Solutions of equations of cubic order

* Wrote on conic geometry elaborating the solution of algebraic equations

* Determined the Trinomial Equation

* Avicenna's "Canon of Medicine." He is know as the Prince of Physicians to the West

* Wrote the first description of several drugs and diseases as meningitis.

* Treatment of physiological shocks

* Expertise in psychosomatic medicine and psychology

* Al-Biruni mentions fifty six manuscripts on pharmacology

* Credited for identifying small pox and its treatment

* Use of alcohol as an antiseptic

* Use of mercury as a purgative for the first time

* First to describe the circulation of blood.

* "Holy Abbas" was, after Rhazes, the most outstanding Physician. His works were authoritative till the works of ibn Sina appeared

* Writings on Cosmology, Astrology, Science of numbers and letters

* Proved that the earth is smaller than the sun but larger than the moon.

* Final authorities on Chemistry for many Centuries

* Classified metals into three classifications

* Laid the basis of the Acid Base theory

* Distillation, calcination, crystallization, the discovery of many acids

* Cultivation of Gold - is a continuation of Jabir's work

* Theory of Oscillatory motion of equinoxes

* Addition of ninth sphere to the eight Ptolematic astronomy

* Discovered the increase of the suns apogee

* Gravitational force

* Responsible for the discovery motion of the solar apsides

* wrote ' On the Science of Stars '

* Determination of latitudes and longitudes

* Determination of geodetic measurements

* Described the motion of the planets

* Solved the problems of spherical trigonometry

* First to study the isometric oscillatory motion of a pendulum

* Invented the instrument ' Sahifah "

* Responsible for the proof of the motion of the apogee of the sun with respect to the fixed stars.

* authorities on the theory of the system of homocentric spheres

* Prepared a calendar that was more accurate than the Gregorian one in use today.

All of this began with a single illiterate Arab from the desert fourteen hundred years ago. The book that was brought into the world by such a man cries out to be studied from a scientific aspect. We will now give you a glimpse of the results:

"So ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know"

The Qur'an, Al-Anbia(21):7

Muhammad Targai Ulugh Beg

Ulugh Beg was a grandson of Timur (known in the West as Tamerlane), a Tartar prince and ruler of Turkestan. He was an exceptional astronomer and mathematician of the fifteenth century. Ulugh Beg was the son of Timurid King Shah Rukh and was born in 1393 C.E. at Sultaniyya in Central Asia. He was a Hafiz-e-Quran.

Ulugh Beg made Samarkand famous as one of the leading cities of Muslim civilization. In 1424 he built a madrasa, an institution of higher learning, where astronomy was taught. Later in 1428, Ulugh Beg began the construction of a magnificent three-story observatory in Samarkand. It was more than two hundred fifty feet in diameter and one hundred twenty feet high. He appointed Ali-Kudsi, a Muslim astronomer as the director of the Observatory. Several well-known mathematicians and astronomers including Al-Kashi and Kadizada worked there. He equipped it with the best and most accurate astronomical instruments available then.

In 1437 he published his most famous and enduring work, a new catalogue of stars entitled 'Zidj-i Djadid Sultani' In it, he revisited the positions and magnitudes of stars observed by Ptolemy. He found many errors in the computations of Ptolemy. It includes a diverse collection of observations and computations, the position of the fixed stars, the course of the stars, and the knowledge of time. An English translation of this work was published in 1917.

Ulugh Beg computed the length of the year as 365 days 5 hours 49 minutes and 15 seconds, a fairly accurate value. In addition, he prepared Tables of Planetary Motions which were very popular and in demand throughout the astronomical community. Ulugh Beg studied the yearly movements of the five bright planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. His data is still considered very accurate. In 1437, he also compiled a star catalogue giving the positions of 992 stars. His compilation of tables of sines and tangents at one-degree intervals are accurate to eight decimal places.

Ulugh Beg was assassinated in 1449 C.E. in Samarkand after a brief reign as ruler of Turkestan for three years. This catastrophe led to the neglect of the observatory and Samarkand slowly phased out as the leading center of astronomy. The observatory was eventually destroyed and its location was confirmed in 1908 by Russian archaeologists. Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) mention a surface feature of the moon after Ulugh Beg. It is the name of a prominent elliptical ring in the northwest of the Eighteenth section.

Ibn Khaldun

Abd al-Rahman Ibn Mohammad is generally known as Ibn Khaldun (1332-1395 C.E.), after a remote ancestor. His parents, originally Yemenite Arabs, had settled in Spain, but after the fall of Seville, had migrated to Tunisia. He was born in Tunisia in 1332 C.E., where he received his early education and where, still in his teens, he entered the service of the Egyptian ruler Sultan Barquq. His thirst for advanced knowledge and a better academic setting soon made him leave this service and migrate to Fez.

This was followed by a long period of unrest marked by contemporary political rivalries affecting his career. This turbulent period also included a three year refuge in a small village Qalat Ibn Salama in Algeria, which provided him with the opportunity to write Muqaddimah, the first volume of his world history that won him an immortal place among historians, sociologists and philosophers. The uncertainty of his career still continued, with Egypt becoming his final abode where he spent his last 24 years. Here he lived a life of fame and respect, marked by his appointment as the Chief Malakite Judge and lecturing at the Al-Azhar University, but envy caused his removal from his high judicial office as many as five times.

Ibn Khaldun's chief contribution lies in philosophy of history and sociology. He sought to write a world history preambled by a first volume aimed at an analysis of historical events. This volume, commonly known as Muqaddimah or 'Prolegomena', was based on Ibn Khaldun's unique approach and original contribution and became a masterpiece in literature on philosophy of history and sociology.

The chief concern of this monumental work was to identify psychological, economic, environmental and social facts that contribute to the advancement of human civilization and the currents of history. In this context, he analysed the dynamics of group relationships and showed how group-feelings 'al-Asabiyya', give rise to the ascent of a new civilisation and political power and how, later on, its diffusion into a more general civilization invites the advent of a still new 'Asabiyya' in its pristine form.

He identified an almost rhythmic repetition of rise and fall in human civilization, and analysed factors contributing to it. His contribution to history is marked by the fact that, unlike most earlier writers interpreting history largely in a political context, he emphasised environmental, sociological, psychological and economic factors governing the apparent events. This revolutionised the science of history and also laid the foundation of Umraniyat (Sociology).

Apart from the Muqaddimah that became an important independent book even during the lifetime of the author, the other volumes of his world history Kitab al-I'bar deal with the history of Arabs, contemporary Muslim rulers, contemporary European rulers, ancient history of Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians, etc., Islamic History, Egyptian history and North-African history, especially that of Berbers and tribes living in the adjoining areas. The last volume deals largely with the events of his own life and is known as Al-Tasrif. This was also written in a scientific manner and initiated a new analytical tradition in the art of writing autobiography. A book on mathematics written by him is not extant.

Ibn Khaldun's influence on the subject of history, philosophy of history, sociology, political science and educution has remained paramount ever since his life. His books have been translated into many languages, both in the East and the West, and have inspired subsequent development of these sciences. For instance, Prof. Gum Ploughs and Kolosio consider Muqaddimah as superior in scholarship to Machiavelli's The Prince, written a century later, as the former bases the diagnosis more on cultural, sociological, economic and psychological factors.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ibn Battuta

" To the world of today the men of medieval Christendom already seem remote and unfamiliar. Their names and deeds are recorded in our history-books, their monuments still adorn our cities, but our kinship with them is a thing unreal, which costs an effort of imagination. How much more must this apply to the great Islamic civilization, that stood over against medieval Europe, menacing its existence and yet linked to it by a hundred ties that even war and fear could not sever. Its monuments too abide, for those who may have the fortunate to visit them, but its men and manners are to most of us utterly unknown, or dimly conceived in the romantic image of the Arabian Nights. Even, for the specialist it is difficult to reconstruct their lives and see them as they were. Histories and biographies there are in quantity, but the historians for all their picturesque details, seldom show the ability to select the essential and to give their figures that touch of the intimate which makes them live again for the reader. It is in this faculty that Ibn Battuta excels "

Thus begins the book, [Ref 1] "Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354" published by Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad-Din, was born at Tangier, Morocco, on the 24th February 1304 C.E. (703 Hijra). He left Tangier on Thursday, 14th June, 1325 C.E. (2nd Rajab 725 A.H.), when he was twenty one years of age. His travels lasted for about thirty years, after which he returned to Fez, Morocco at the court of Sultan Abu 'Inan and dictated accounts of his journeys to Ibn Juzay. These are known as the famous Travels (Rithala) of Ibn Battuta. He died at Fez in 1369 C.E.

Ibn Battuta was the only medieval traveller who is known to have visited the lands of every Muslim ruler of his time. He also travelled to Ceylon (present Sri Lanka), China and Byzantium and South Russia. The mere extent of his travels is estimated to be no less than 75,000 miles, a figure which is not likely to have been surpassed before the age of steam.

In the course of his first journey, Ibn Battutu travelled through Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, Palestine and Syria to Makkah. After visiting Iraq, Shiraz and Mesopotamia he once more returned to perform the Hajj at Makkah and remained there for three years. Then travelling to Jeddah he went to Yemen by sea, visited Aden and set sail for Mombasa, East Africa. After going up to Kulwa he came back to Oman and repeated pilgrimage to Makkah in 1332 C.E. via Hormuz, Siraf, Bahrain and Yamama.

Subsequently he set out with the purpose of going to India, but on reaching Jeddah, he appears to have changed his mind (due perhaps to the unavailability of a ship bound for India), and revisited Cairo, Palestine and Syria, thereafter arriving at Aleya (Asia Minor) by sea and travelled across Anatolia and Sinope. He then crossed the Black Sea and after long wanderings he reached Constantinople through Southern Ukraine.

On his return, he visited Khurasan through Khawarism (Khiva) and having visited all the important cities such as Bukhara, Balkh, Herat, Tus, Mashhad and Nishapur, he crossed the Hindukush mountains via the 13,000 ft Khawak Pass into Afghanistan and passing through Ghani and Kabul entered India. After visiting Lahri (near modern Karachi), Sukkur, Multan, Sirsa and Hansi, he reached Delhi. For several years Ibn Battuta enjoyed the patronage of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, and was later sent as Sultan's envoy to China.

Passing through Cental India and Malwa he took ship from Kambay for Goa, and after visiting many thriving ports along the Malabar coast he reached the Maldive Islands, from which he crossed to Ceylon. Continuing his journey, he landed on the Ma'bar (Coromandal) coast and once more returning to the Maldives he finally set sail for Bengal and visited Kamrup, Sylhet and Sonargaon (near Dhaka). Sailing along the Arakan coast he came to Sumatra and later landed at Canton via Malaya and Cambodia.

In China he travelled northward to Peking through Hangchow. Retracing his steps he returned to Calicut and taking a ship came to Dhafari and Muscat, and passing through Faris (Iran), Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt made his seventh and last pilgrimage to Makkah in November 1348 C.E. and then returned to his home town of Fez. His travels did not end here - he later visited Muslim Spain and the lands of the Niger across the Sahara.

On his return to Fez, Ibn Battuta dictated the accounts of his travels to Ibn Juzay al-Kalbi (1321-1356 C.E.) at the court of Sultan Abu Inan (1348-1358 C.E). Ibn Juzay took three months to accomplish this work which he finished on 9th December 1355 C.E.

In order to experience the flavour of Ibn Battuta's narrative one must sample a few extracts. The following passage illustrates the system of social security in operation in the Muslim world in the early 14th century C.E:

" The variety and expenditure of the religious endowments at Damascus are beyond computation. There are endowments in aid of persons who cannot undertake the pilgrimage to Makkah, out of which are paid the expenses of those who go in their stead. There are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits to girls whose families are unable to provide them, and others for the, freeing of prisoners. There are endowments for travellers, out of the revenues of which they are given food, clothing, and the expenses of conveyance to their countries. Then there are endowments for the improvement and paving of the streets, because all the lanes in Damascus have pavements on either side, on which the, foot passengers walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the centre " [p.69, Ref 1]

Here is another example which describes Baghdad in the early 14th century C.E:

" Then we travelled to Baghdad, the Abode of Peace and Capital of Islam. Here there are two bridges like that at Hilla, on which the people promenade night and day, both men and women. The baths at Baghdad are numerous and excellently constructed, most of them being painted with pitch, which has the appearance of black marble. This pitch is brought from a spring between Kufa and Basra, from which it flows continually. It gathers at the sides of the spring like clay and is shovelled up and brought to Baghdad. Each establishment has a number of private bathrooms, every one of which has also a wash-basin in the corner, with two taps supplying hot and cold water. Every bather is given three towels, one to wear round his waist when he goes in, another to wear round his waist when he comes out, and the third to dry himself with " [p.99, Ref 1]

In the next example Ibn Battuta describes in great detail some of the crops and fruits encountered on his travels:

" From Kulwa we sailed to Dhafari [Dhofar], at the extremity of Yemen. Thoroughbred horses are exported from here to India, the passage taking a month with favouring wind.... The inhabitants cultivate millet and irrigate it from very deep wells, the water from which is raised in a large bucket drawn by a number of ropes. In the neighbourhood of the town there are orchards with many banana trees. The bananas are of immense size; one which was weighed in my presence scaled twelve ounces and was pleasant to the taste and very sweet. They also grow betel-trees and coco-palms, which are found only in India and the town of Dhafari " [p.113, Ref 1]

Another example of In Battuta's keen observation is seen in the next passage:

" Betel-trees are grown like vines on can trellises or else trained up coco-palms. They have no fruit and are only grown for their leaves. The Indians have a high opinion of betel, and if a man visits a friend and the latter gives him five leaves of it, you would think he had given him the world, especially if he is a prince or notable. A gift of betel is a far greater honour then a gift of gold and silver. It is used in the following way: First one takes areca-nuts, which are like nutmegs, crushes them into small bits and chews them. Then the betel leaves are taken, a little chalk is put on them, and they are chewed with the areca-nuts " [p.114, Ref 1]

Ibn Battuta's sea voyages and references to shipping reveal that the Muslims completely dominated the maritime activity of the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Chinese waters. Also it is seen that though the Christian traders were subject to certain restrictions, most of the economic negotiations were transacted on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Ibn Battuta, one of the most remarkable travellers of all time, visited China sixty years after Marco Polo and in fact travelled 75,000 miles, much more than Marco Polo. Yet Battuta is never mentioned in geography books used in Muslim countries, let alone those in the West.

Ibn Battuta's contribution to geography is unquestionably as great as that of any geographer yet the accounts of his travels are not easily accessible except to the specialist. The omission of reference to Ibn Battuta's contribution in geography books is not an isolated example. All great Muslims whether historians, doctors, astronomers, scientists or chemists suffer the same fate. One can understand why these great Muslims are ignored by the West. But the indifference of the Muslim governments is incomprehensible. In order to combat the inferiority complex that plagues the Muslim Ummah, we must rediscover the contributions of Muslims in fields such as science, medicine, engineering, architecture and astronomy. This will encourage contemporary young Muslims to strive in these fields and not think that major success is beyond their reach.

Ibn Al-Nafis Damishqui

Ala-al-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi al-Hazm al-Qarshi al- Damashqi al-Misri (1213-1288 C.E.) was born in 607 A.H. of Damascus. He was educated at the Medical College-cum-Hospital founded by Nur al-Din Zangi. In medicine his teacher was Muhaththab al-Din Abd al-Rahim. Apart from medicine, Ibn al-Nafis learnt jurisprudence, literature and theology. He thus became a renowned expert on Shafi'i School of Jurisprudence as well as a reputed physician.

After acquiring his expertise in medicine and jurisprudence, he moved to Cairo where he was appointed as the Principal at the famous Nasri Hospital. Here he imparted training to a large number of medical specialists, including Ibn al-Quff al-Masihi, the famous surgeon. He also served at the Mansuriya School at Cairo. When he died in 678 A.H. he donated his house, library and clinic to the Mansuriya Hospital.

His major contribution lies in medicine. His approach comprised writing detailed commentaries on early works, critically evaluating them and adding his own original contribution. His major original contribution of great significance was his discovery of the blood's circulatory system, which was re-discovered by modern science after a lapse of three centuries. He was the first to correctly describe the constitution of the lungs and gave a description of the bronchi and the interaction between the human body's vessels for air and blood. Also, he elaborated the function ofthe coronary arteries as feeding the cardiac muscle.

The most voluminous of his books is Al-Shamil fi al-Tibb, which was designed to be an encyclopaedia comprising 300 Volumes, but it could not be completed due to his death. The manuscript is available at Damascus. His book on ophthalmology is largely an original contribution and is also extant. However, his book that became most famous was Mujaz al-Qanun and a number of commentaries were written on this.

His own commentaries include one on Hippocrates' book. He wrote several volumes on Ibn Sina's Qanun, that are still extant. Likewise he wrote a commentary on Hunayn Ibn Ishaq's book. Another famous book embodying his original contribution was on the effects of diet on health, entitled Kitab al-Mukhtar fi al-Aghdhiya.

Ibn Al-Nafis' works integrated the then existing medical knowledge and enriched it, thus exerting great influence on the development of medical science, both in the East and the West. However, only one of his books was translated into Latin at early stages and, therefore, a part of his work remained unknown to Europe for a long time.

Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi

Al-Tusi was one of the greatest scientist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, theologian and physician of his time. He was a prolific writer. He wrote many treatises on such varied subjects as Algebra, Arithmetic, Trigonometry, Geometry, Logic, Metaphysics, Medicine, Ethics, and Theology.

Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Nasir al-Din al-Tusi was born in Tus, Khurasan (present Iran) in 1201 C.E. He studied sciences and philosophy under the tutelage of Kamal al-Din Ibn Yunus. Al-Tusi was kidnaped by the Isma'ili Hasan Bin Sabah's agents and sent to Alamut where he remained until its capture by the Mongol Halagu Khan in 1256 C.E. Impressed by Al-Tusi's exceptional abilities and astrological competency, Ilkhanid Halagu Khan appointed him as one of his ministers. Later, he served as an administrator of Auqaf.

In 1262, he built an observatory at Meragha and directed its activity. It was equipped with the best instruments from Baghdad and other Islamic centers of learning. It contained a twelve-feet wall quadrant made from copper and an azimuth quadrant and 'turquet' invented by Al-Tusi. Other instruments included Astrolabes, representations of constellation, epicycles, and shapes of spheres. Al-Tusi designed several other instruments for the Observatory.

Al-Tusi produced a very accurate table of planetary movements and a star catalogue, and he published it under the title "Al-Zij-Ilkhani" which was dedicated to Ilkhan, Halagu Khan. The tables were developed from observations over a twelve-year period and were primarily based on original observations.

Al-Tusi calculated the value of 51o for the precession of the equinoxes. Al-Tusi was among the first of several Muslim astronomers who pointed out several serious shortcomings in Ptolemy's models based on mechanical principles and modified it. His critique on the Ptolemy's theories convinced future astronomers of the need to develop an alternative model ending in Copernicus famous work. The Al-Zij Ilkhani was the most popular book among astronomers until fifteenth century.

His memoir on astronomy entitled "Tadhkira Fi Ilm Al-Haya", includes his ingenious device for generating rectilinear motion along the diameter of the outer circle from two circular motions. At the end of his long outstanding career, he moved to Baghdad and died within a year in 1274 in Kadhimain (near Baghdad, present Iraq).

Al-Tusi pioneered spherical trigonometry which includes six fundamental formulas for the solution of spherical right-angled triangles. One of his most important mathematical contributions was the treatment of trigonometry as a new mathematical discipline. He wrote on binomial coefficients which Pascal later introduced.

Al-Tusi revived the philosophy of Ibn Sina. His book "Akhlaq-i-Nasri" (Nasirean Ethics) was regarded as the most important book on ethics and was popular for centuries. The Tajrid-al-Aqaid was an excellent work on Islamic scholastic philosophy. He also composed a few verses of poetry.

Al-Tusi was a prolific writer. He wrote his works in Arabic and Persian. According to George Sarton, sixty four treatises are known to have survived. These were translated into Latin and other European languages in the Middle Ages. Al-Tusi's book "Shaq al-Qatta" was translated into Latin by the title "Figura Cata". Among Al-Tusi's well-known students are Nizam al-Araj, who wrote a commentary on the Almagest, and Qutb ad-Din ash-Shirazi, who gave the first satisfactory mathematical explanation of the rainbow.

Al-Tusi's contributions were highly valued for several centuries.

Ibn Al-Baitar

Abu Muhammad Abdallah Ibn Ahmad Ibn al-Baitar Dhiya al-Din al-Malaqi was one of the greatest scientists of Muslim Spain and was the greatest botanist and pharmacist of the Middle Ages.

He was born in the Spanish city of Malaya (Malaga) towards the end of the 12th century. He learned botany from Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, a learned botanist, with whom he started collecting plants in and around Spain. In 1219 he left Spain on a plant-collecting expedition and travelled along the northern coast of Africa as far as Asia Minor. The exact modes of his travel (whether by land or sea) are not known, but the major stations he visited include Bugia, Qastantunia (Constantinople), Tunis, Tripoli, Barqa and Adalia.

After 1224 he entered the service of al-Kamil, the Egyptian Governor, and was appointed chief herbalist. In 1227 al-Kamil extended his domination to Damascus, and Ibn al-Baitar accompanied him there which provided him an opportunity to collect plants in Syria. His researches on plants extended over a vast area:including Arabia and Palestine, which he either visited or managed to collect plants from stations located there. He died in Damascus in 1248.

Ibn Baitar's major contribution, 'Kitab al-Jami fi al-Adwiya al-Mufrada' is one of the greatest botanical compilations dealing with medicinal plants in Arabic. It enjoyed a high status among botanists up to the l6th century and is a systematic work that embodies earlier works, with due criticism, and adds a great part of original contribution. The encyclopaedia comprises some 1400 different items, largely medicinal plants and vegetables, of which about 200 plants were not known earlier.

The book refers to the work of some 150 authors mostly Arabic, and it also quotes about 20 early Greek scientists. It was translated into Latin and published in 1758. His second monumental treatise Kitab al-Mlughni fi al-Adwiya al-Mufrada is an encyclopaedia of medicine. The drugs are listed in accordance with their therapeutical value. Thus, its 20 different chapters deal with the plants bearing significance to diseases of head, ear, eye, etc.

On surgical issues he has frequently quoted the famous Muslim surgeon, Abul Qasim Zahrawi. Besides Arabic, Baitar has given Greek and Latin names of the plants, thus facilitating transfer of knowledge.

Ibn Baitar's contributions are characterised by observation, analysis and classification and have exerted a profound influence on Eastern as well as Western botany and medicine. Though the Kitab al-Jami was translated / published late in the western languages as mentioned above, yet many scientists had earlier studied various parts of the book and made several references to it.

Nur Al-Din Ibn Ishaq Al-Bitruji

Nur al-Din Ibn Ishaq Al-Bitruji, known in the West as Alpetragius, was born in Morocco. He later migrated to Spain and lived in Seville (Arabic Isbiliah). He died at the beginning of the thirteenth century around 1204 C.E. Al-Bitruji was a leading astronomer of his time. His 'Kitab-al-Hay'ah was popular in Europe in the thirteenth century. It was first translated into Hebrew and then from Hebrew into Latin. The Latin edition of his book was printed in Vienna in 1531 C.E. He attempted to modify Ptolemy's system of planetary motions, but was unsuccessful primarily because he followed Aristotle's notion of 'perfect' (circular) motion. However, other Spanish Arab astronomers have suggested an elliptical orbit for planetary motion.

Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) mention a surface feature of the moon after Al Bitruji (Alpetragius). It is a crater twenty-six miles in diameter in the eighth section of the lunar chart. It has a small conical peak at its center and its terraced perpendicular walls and surrounding plain shine with noticeable brightness.

Abul-Waleed Muhammad Ibn Rushd

Ibn Rushd (1128 - 1198 C.E.) was a genius of encyclopedic scope. He spent a great part of his fruitful life as a judge and as a physician. Yet he was known in the West for being the grand commentator on the philosophy of Aristotle, whose influence penetrated the minds of even the most conservative of Christian Ecclesiastes in the Middle Ages, including men like St. Thomas Aquinas. People went to him for consultation in medicine just as they did for consultation in legal matters and jurisprudence.

Abul-Waleed Muhammad Ibn Rushd (known in the West as Averroes) was born in Cordova, Spain in 520 A.H. (1128 C.E.). Both his father and grand father were prominent judges. His family was well known for scholarship and it gave him fitting environment to excel in learning. He studied religious law, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy. He studied philosophy and law from Abu J'afar Haroon and from Ibn Baja. At the age of twenty-seven, Ibn Rushd was invited to the Movahid Court at Marrakesh (in Morocco) to help in establishing Islamic educational institutions.

Upon the ascendancy of Yousuf, he was introduced to him by another great Muslim philosopher Ibn Tufail to help in translating, abridging and commenting on some works of Aristotle (in 1169 C.E.).

Ibn Rushd was appointed a judge (Qaadi) in Seville at the age of forty-four. That year he translated and abridged Aristotle's book "de Anima". This book was translated into Latin by Mitchell the Scott. Two years later he was transferred to Cordova, his birthplace where he spent ten years as a judge in that town. During those ten years Ibn Rushd wrote commentaries on the works of Aristotle including the Metaphysics. He was later called back to Marrakesh to work as a physician for the Caliph there, before his return to Cordova as Chief Judge.

Ibn Rushd was well versed in the matters of the faith and law, which qualified him for the post of Qaadi (judge), but he was also keenly interested in philosophy and logic. So he tried to reconcile philosophy and religion in many of his works. Besides this area of study, he was deeply interested in medicine as well, as was his predecessor Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

According to the French philosopher Renan, Ibn Rushd wrote seventy-eight books on various subjects. A careful examination of his works reveals that Averroes was a deeply religious man. As an example, we find in his writing:

" Anyone who studies anatomy will increase his faith
in the omnipotence and oneness of God The Almighty "

In his medical and philosophical works we see the depth of his faith and knowledge of the Qur'an and Prophetic traditions, which he often quotes in support of his views in different matters.

Ibn Rushd said that true happiness for man can surely be achieved through mental and psychological health, and people cannot enjoy psychological health unless they follow ways that lead to happiness in the hereafter, and unless they believe in God and His oneness.

Ibn Rushd commented that Islam aims at true knowledge, which is knowledge of God and of His creation. This true knowledge also includes knowing the various means that lead to worldly satisfaction and avoidance of misery in the Hereafter. This type of practical knowledge covers two branches: (1) Jurisprudence which deals with the material or tangible aspect of human life and (2) the spiritual sciences which deal with matters like patience, gratitude to God, and morals.

He compared spiritual laws to medicine in their effect on human beings physically on one hand, and morally and spiritually on the other. He pointed out that spiritual health is termed 'Taqwa' (righteousness and God-fearing) in the Qur'an.

Ibn Rushd's writings spread more than 20,000 pages, the most famous of which deal with philosophy, medicine and jurisprudence. He wrote 20 books on medicine.

In Philosophy, his most important work Tuhafut al-Tuhafut was written in response to al-Ghazali's work. Ibn Rushd was criticized by many Muslim scholars for this book, which, nevertheless, had a profound influence on European thought, at least until the beginning of modern philosophy and experimental science.

His views on fate were that man is in neither full control of his destiny nor it is fully predetermined for him. He wrote three commentaries on the works of Aristotle, as these were known then through Arabic translations.

The shortest 'Jami' may be considered as a summary of the subject. The intermediate was 'Talkhis' and the longest was the 'Tafsir'. These three commentaries would seem to correspond to different stages in the education of pupils; the short one was meant for the beginners, then the intermediate for the students familiar with the subject, and finally the longest one for advanced studies. The longest commentary was, in fact, an original contribution as it was largely based on his analysis including interpretation of Qur'anic concepts.

Ibn Rushd wrote many books on the question of theology, where he tried to use his knowledge of philosophy and logic. It is not surprising then that his works greatly influenced European religious scholarship, though Averroes is innocent of many views of Western so-called Averroism. Professor Bammate in his booklet "Muslim Contribution to Civilization" quotes Renan: St. Thomas Aquinas was "the first disciple of the Grand Commentator (i.e., Averroes). Albert Alagnus owes everything to Avicenna, St. Thomas owes practically everything to Averroess."

Professor Bammate continues: The Reverend Father Asin Palacios, who has carried out intensive studies of the theological Averroism of St. Thomas and, in no way classifies Averroes with Latin Averroists, takes several texts of the Cordovan philosopher and compares them with the Angelic Doctor of (St. Thomas). The similarity in their thought is confirmed by the use of expressions similar to that of Ibn Rushd. It leaves no room for any doubt about the decisive influence that the Muslim Philosopher (Averroes) had on the greatest of all Catholic theologians.

In Medicine, his well-known book Kitab al-Kulyat fi al-Tibb was written before 1162 C.E. Its Latin translation was known as 'Colliget.' In it, Ibn Rushd has expounded on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cures and prevention of diseases. This book focuses on specific areas in comparison of Ibn Sina's al-Qanun, but contains several original observations of Ibn Rushd.

In Astronomy, he wrote a treatise on the motion of the sphere, Kitab fi-Harakat al-Falak. According to Draper, Ibn Rushd is credited with the discovery of sunspots. He also summarized Almagest and divided it into two parts: description of the spheres, and movement of the spheres. This summary of the Almagest was translated from Arabic into Hebrew by Jacob Anatoli in 1231.

His book on jurisprudence 'Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa-Nihayat-al-Muqtasid' has been held by Ibn Jafar Zahabi as possibly the best book on the Maliki School of Fiqh. Ibn Rushd's writings were translated into various languages, including Latin, English, German and Hebrew.

Most of his commentaries on philosophy are preserved in the Hebrew translations, or in Latin translations from the Hebrew, and a few in the original Arabic. His commentary on zoology is entirely lost. Ibn Rushd also wrote commentaries on Plato's Republic, Galen's treatise on fevers, al-Farabi's logic, and many others. Eighty-seven of his books are still extant.

lbn Rushd has been held as one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of the twelfth century. According to Philip Hitti, Ibn Rushd influenced Western thought from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. His commentaries were used as standard texts in preference to the treatises of Aristotle in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. His books were included in the syllabi of Paris and other Western universities till the advent of modern experimental sciences. Ibn Rusd was studied in the University of Mexico until 1831.


Al-ldrisi is best known in the West as a geographer, who made a globe of silver sphere weighing 400 kilograms for King Roger II of Sicily. Some scholars regard him as the greatest geographer and cartographer of the Middle Ages. He also made original contributions in medicinal plants. Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Idris Ash-Sharif was born in 1099 C.E. in Ceuta, Spain. He is also known by his short name Al-Sharif Al-ldrisi al-Qurtubi.

Al-ldrisi was educated in Cordova. As was common with Muslim geographers, he traveled many distant places, including Europe, to gather geographical data. The Muslim geographers by his time had already made accurate measurements of the earth surface, and several maps of the whole world were available. Al-ldrisi combined this available knowledge to his own findings. It is for this comprehensive knowledge of all parts of the known world, he became famous and began to get the attention of European sea navigators and military planners.

Al-Idrisi's fame and competence eventually led to the attention of Roger II, the Norman King of Sicily, who invited him to produce an up-to-date world map. It should be mentioned that Sicily was under Muslim rule before King Roger, where Muslim works were freely available for transmission to Europe through Latin West. Al-ldrisi procured a ball of silver weighing approximately 400 kilograms and meticulously recorded on it the seven continents with trade routes, lakes and rivers, major cities, and plains and mountains. He also included such information as the distance, length and height as appropriate. His globe was accompanied by his book Al-Kitab al-Rujari (Roger's Book). He also made a representation of the known world on a disc.

Al-Idrisi's book 'Nuzhat al-Mushtaq fi Ikhtiraq al-Afaq' (The Delight of Him Who Desires to Journey Through The Climates) is a geographical encyclopedia which contains detailed maps and information on European countries, Africa and Asia.

Later, he compiled a more comprehensive encyclopedia, entitled 'Rawd-Unnas wa-Nuzhat al-Nafs' (Pleasure of Men and Delight of Souls). Al-Idrisi's knowledge of the Niger above Timbuktu, the Sudan, and of the head waters of the Nile was remarkable for its accuracy.

Al-ldrisi also made major contributions in the science of medicinal plants and wrote several books. The most popular among them is entitled 'Kitab al-Jami-li-Sifat Ashtat al-Nabatat'. He reviewed and synthesized all the literature on the subject of medicinal plants and associated drugs available to him from Muslim scientists and added to it his research collection from travels. He contributed this material to the subject of botany with emphasis on medicinal plants.

He describes the names of the drugs in several languages including Berber, Syriac, Persian, Hindi, Greek, and Latin. Idrisi also wrote on zoology and fauna. Al-ldrisi died around 1166 C.E. Al-Idrisi became famous in Europe more than other Muslim geographers because ships and navigators from north sea, Atlantic and the Mediterranean frequented Sicily, which is located about the middle of the Mediterranean.

Srveral of his books were translated into Latin and his books on geography were popular for several centuries. The translation of one of his books was published in 1619 in Rome. This translation was an abridged edition and the translator did not give credit to AI-Idrisi. It is interesting that Europe took several centuries to make use of his globe and the world map. Christopher Columbus used the map which was originally taken from Al-Idrisi's work.

Abu Marwan Abd Al-Malik Ibn Zuhr

Ibn Zuhr, known in the West as Avenzoar, was one of the greatest physicians, clinicians and parasitologist of the Middle Ages. Some historians of science have declared him as the greatest among the Muslim physicians since Al-Razi (Rhazes) of Baghdad. Some of his contemporaries called him as the greatest physician since Galen.

Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik Ibn Zuhr was born at Seville, Spain in 1091 C.E. He graduated from Cordova (Arabic Qurtuba) Medical University. After a brief stay in Baghdad and Cairo, he returned to Spain and worked for Almoravides as a physician. Later, Ibn Zuhr worked for 'Abd al-Mu'min, the first Muwahid ruler, both as physician and a minister. He devoted his career in Seville and died in 1161 C.E.

Ibn Zuhr confined his work only in Medicine, contrary to the prevailing practice of Muslim scientists typically working in several fields. However, by focusing in one field he made many original and long-lasting contributions. He emphasized observation and experiment in his work.

Dr. Neuberger in History of Medicine writes that

" Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) was proficient in the art of dissecting dead human bodies and knew anatomy in detail. His operative technique was superb "

Ibn Zuhr made several breakthroughs as a physician. He was the first to test different medicines on animals before administering them to humans. Also, he was the first to describe in detail scabies, the itch mite, and is thus regarded as the first parasitologist.

He was also the first to give a full description of the operation of tracheotomy and practiced direct feeding through the gullet in those cases where normal feeding was not possible. As a clinician, he provided clinical descriptions of intestinal phthisis, inflammation of the middle ear, peri carditis, and mediastinal tumors among others.

Ibn Zuhr wrote many monumental books for the medical specialists and for common people. Several of his books were translated into Latin and Hebrew and were in great demand in Europe until the late Eighteenth century.

Only three of his great books have survived. Ibn Zuhr wrote Kitab al-Taisir fi al-Mudawat wa al-Tadbir at the request of Ibn Rushd (Averroes). In English, it is entitled "The Book of Simplification concerning Therapeutics and Diet". It contains many of his original contributions. This book discusses pathological conditions and therapy in detail.

The second book Kitab al-Iqtisad fi Islah Al-Anfus wa al-Ajsad (translated as the "Book of the Middle Course concerning the Reformation of Souls and the Bodies") summarizes different diseases, therapeutics and the hygiene. It also discusses the role of psychology in treatment. This book is written in an easy to understand format for the nonspecialist.

The third book Kitab al-Aghziya (Book on Foodstuff) discusses numerous drugs, and the importance of food and nutrition. Ibn Zuhr's influence on the development of medical science was felt for several centuries throughout the world.

Omar Al-Khayyam

Omar Al-Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer. He was also well known as a poet, philosopher, and physician. In the "History of Western Philosophy", Bertrand Russell remarks that Omar Khayyam was the only man known to him who was both a poet and a mathematician. Omar Khayyam reformed the solar calendar in 1079 C.E. His work on Algebra was highly valued throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In the West, he is best known for his poetic work 'Rubaiyat' (quatrains) which was translated by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859.

His full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abul Fateh Omar Ibn Ibrahim al-Khayyam. Omar Khayyam was born in 1044 C.E. at Nishapur, the provincial capital of Khurasan. He is generally known as a Persian. However, it has been suggested that his ancestors (from the Arab Khayyami tribe) migrated and settled in Persia. Omar Khayyam was educated at Nishapur. He also traveled to several reputed institutions of learning, including those at Bukhara, Balkh, Samarqand and Isphahan. He lived in Nishapur and Samarqand (Central Asia) for most of his life. Omar Khayyam was a contemporary of Nizam al-Mulk Tusi. He died in 1123 C.E. in Nishapur.

Al-Khayyam made major contributions in Mathematics, particularly in Algebra. His book 'Maqalat fi al-Jabr wa al-Muqabila' on Algebra provided great advancement in the field. He classified many algebraic equations based on their complexity and recognized thirteen different forms of cubic equation. Omar Khayyam developed a geometrical approach to solving equations, which involved an ingenious selection of proper conics. He solved cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle. Omar Khayyam was the first to develop the binomial theorem and determine binomial coefficients.

He developed the binomial expansion for the case when the exponent is a positive integer. Omar Khayyam refers in his Algebra book to another work on what we now know as Pascal's triangle. This work is now lost. He extended Euclid's work giving a new definition of ratios and included the multiplication of ratios. He contributed to the theory of parallel lines.

Omar Al-Khayyam is famous for another work which he contributed when he worked for Saljuq Sultan, Malik Shah Jalal al-Din. He was asked to develop an accurate solar calendar to be used for revenue collections and various administrative matters. To accomplish this task, Omar Khayyam began his work at the new observatory at Ray in 1074 C.E.

His calendar 'Al-Tarikh-al-Jalali' is superior to the Gregorian calendar and is accurate to within one day in 3770 years. Specifically, he measured the length of the year as 365.24219858156 days. It shows that he recognized the importance of accuracy by giving his result to eleven decimal places. As a comparison, the length of the year in our time is 365.242190 days. This number changes slightly in the sixth decimal place, e.g., in the nineteenth century it was 365.242196 days. Al-Khayyam contributed also to other fields of science. He developed a method for accurate determination of the specific gravity. He wrote two books in metaphysics, 'Risala Dar Wujud' and Nauruz Namah'. As a poet, Omar Khayyam is well known for his Rubaiyat (quatrains). His themes involved complex mystical and philosophical thoughts.

Omar Al-Khayyam's ten books and thirty monographs have survived. These include four books on mathematics, one on algebra, one on geometry, three on physics, and three books on metaphysics. He made great contributions in the development of mathematics and analytical geometry, which benefitted Europe several centuries later.

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Yahya Al-Zarqali

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Yahya al-Zarqali (1028 - 1087 C.E.), known in the West as Arzachel, was a Spanish Arab. He was the foremost astronomer of his time. AI-Zarqali carried out a series of astronomical observations at Toledo (Arabic Al Tulaytalah) and compiled them in what is known as his famous Toledan Tables.

He corrected the geographical data from Ptolemy and Al-Khwarizmi. Specifically, AI-Zarqali corrected Ptolemy's estimate of the length of the Mediterranean sea from 62 degrees to approximately correct value of 42 degrees. The Toledo Tables were translated into Latin in the Twelfth century. AI-Zarqali was the first to prove conclusively the motion of the Aphelion relative to 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. AI-Zarqali invented a flat astrolabe which is known as Safihah. Its details were published in Latin, Hebrew and several European languages.

Copernicus in his famous book 'De Revolutionibus Orbium Clestium' expresses his indebtedness to al-Battani (albategnius) and Al-Zarqali (Arzachel) and quotes their work several times. Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) mention a surface feature of the moon after AI-Zarqali (Arzachel). It is a plain in the eighth section more than sixty miles in diameter and is surrounded by rows of mountains rising like terraces to heights of 13,000 feet above the interior region. It also includes several hills and craters and a prominent cleft by the side of the base of the western mountainous wall.

Abu Al-Hasan Al-Mawardi

Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habib al-Mawardi was born at Basrah in 972 C.E. He was educated at first in Basrah where, after completion of his basic education, he learned Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) from the jurist Abu al-Wahid al-Simari. He then went to Baghdad for advanced studies under Sheikh Abd al-Hamid and Abdallah al-Baqi. His proficiency in jurisprudence ethics, political science and literature proved useful in securing a respectable career for him. After his initial appointment as Qazi (Judge), he was gradually promoted to higher offices, till he became the Chief Justice at Baghdad.

The Abbasi Khalifah al-Qaim bi Amr Allah appointed him as his roving ambassador and sent him to a number of countries as the head of special missions. In this capacity he played a key role in establishing harmonious relations between the declining Abbasid Caliphate and the rising powers of Buwahids and Seljukes. He was favoured with rich gifts and tributes by most Sultans of the time. He was still in Baghdad when it was taken over by Buwahids. Al-Mawardi died in 1058 C.E.

Al-Mawardi was a great jurist, mohaddith, sociologist and an expert in Political Science. He was a jurist in the school of Fiqh and his book Al-Hawi on the principles of jurisprudence is held in high repute. His contribution in political science and sociology comprises a number of monumental books, the most famous of which are Kitab al-Ahkam al-Sultania, Qanun al-Wazarah, and Kitab Nasihat al-Mulk. The books discuss the principles of political science, with special reference to the functions and duties of the caliphs, the chief minister, other ministers, relationships between various elements of public and government and measures to strengthen the government and ensure victory in war. Two of these books, al-Ahkam al-Sultania and Qanun al-Wazarah have been published and also translated into various languages.

He is considered as being the author / supporter of the 'Doctrine of Necessity' in political science. He was thus in favour of a strong caliphate and discouraged unlimited powers delegated to the Governors, which tended to create chaos. On the other hand, he has laid down clear principles for election of the caliph and qualities of the voters, chief among which are attainment of a degree of intellectual level and purity of character.

In ethics, he wrote Kitab Aadab al-Dunya wa al-Din, which became a widely popular book on the subject and is still read in some Islamic countries. Al-Mawardi has been considered as one of the most famous thinkers in political science in the middle ages. His original work influenced the development of this science, together with the science of sociology, which was further developed later on by Ibn Khaldun.

Abu Raihan Muhammad Al-Biruni

AI-Biruni was an outstanding astronomer, mathematician, physicist, physician, geographer, geologist and historian. According to Max Meyerhoff, Al-Biruni is perhaps the most prominent figure in the phalanx of those universally learned Muslim scholars who characterize the Golden Age of Islamic Science. His great contributions in so many diverse fields earned him the title "al-Ustadh," the Master or Professor par excellence. Some historians have called the period of his activity as "The Age of Al-Biruni."

Abu Raihan Muhammad Al-Biruni was born in Khwarizm (now Kara-Kalpakskaya in present Uzbekistan) in 973 C.E. He studied Arabic, Islamic Law, and several branches of knowledge. Later, he learnt Greek, Syriac and Sanskrit. His knowledge of several languages helped him in understanding the available work and bring together a fresh and original approach in his work. Al-Biruni was of the view that whatever the subject one should use every available source in its original form, investigate the available work with objective scrutiny, and carry out research through direct observation and experimentation.

He was a contemporary of the famous physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and is known to have corresponded with him. Al-Biruni's contributions are so extensive that an index of his written works covers more than sixty pages. His scientific work combined with contributions of Al-Haitham (Al-Hazen) and other Muslim scientists laid down the early foundation of modern science. Al-Biruni died in 1048 C.E. in Ghazna (Afghanistan) after a forty-year illustrious career.

Al-Biruni made original and important contributions to science. He discovered seven different ways of finding the direction of the north and south, and discovered mathematical techniques to determine exactly the beginnings of the season. He also wrote about the sun and its movements and the eclipse. In addition, he invented few astronomical instruments.

Many centuries before the rest of the world, Al-Biruni discussed that the earth rotated on its axis and made accurate calculations of latitude and longitude. These observations are contained in his book "Al-Athar Al-Baqia." He wrote a treatise on timekeeping in 1000 C.E.

Al-Biruni was the first to conduct elaborate experiments related to astronomical phenomena. He stated that the speed of light is immense as compared with the speed of sound. He described the Milky Way as a collection of countless fragments of the nature of nebulous stars.

Al-Biruni described his observation of the solar eclipse of April 8, 1019 and the lunar eclipse of September 17, 1019. On the solar eclipse which he observed at Lamghan, a valley surrounded by mountains between the towns of Qandahar and Kabul, he wrote: ... at sunrise we saw that approximately one-third of the sun was eclipsed and that the eclipse was waning. He observed the lunar eclipse at Ghazna and gave precise details of the exact altitude of various well-known stars at the moment of first contact. Al-Biruni's book "Al-Tafhim-li-Awail Sina'at al-Tanjim" summarizes work on Mathematics and Astronomy. It was translated by Ramsay Wright in 1934, Luzac.

Al-Biruni's contributions in Physics include work on springs and accurate determination of the specific weight of eighteen elements and compounds including many metals and precious stones. His book "Kitab-al-Jamahir" discusses the properties of various precious stones. He was a pioneer in the study of the angles and trigonometry. He worked on shadows and chords of circles and developed a method for trisection of an angle. He elaborated on the principle of position and discussed the Indian numerals.

In the fields of geology and geography, al-Biruni contributed on geological eruptions and metallurgy, to the measurement of the longitudes and latitudes and methods of determining the relative position of one place to another. He explained the working of natural springs and artesian wells by the hydrostatic principle of communicating vessels. His book Al-Athar Al-Baqiyah fi Qanun al-Khaliyah deals with ancient history and geography, and it was translated by Edward Sachau. Al-Biruni observed that flowers have 3, 4, 5, 6, or 18 petals, but never seven or nine.

Al-Biruni is most commonly known by his association with Mahmood Ghaznavi, a famous Muslim king who also ruled India, and his son Sultan Masood. Impressed by his scholarship and fame, Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi took al-Biruni along with him in his journeys to India several times. Al-Biruni traveled many places in India for about 20 years and studied Hindu philosophy, mathematics, geography and religion from the Pundits. In return, he taught them Greek and Muslim sciences and philosophy.

Al-Biruni's book "Kitab al-Hind" provides a detailed account of Indian life, religions, languages, and cultures and includes many observations on geography. He stated that the Indus valley must be considered as an ancient sea basin filled with alluvials. In this book, he mentions two books Patanjal and Sakaya.

He translated these two Sanskrit books into Arabic. The former book deals with after death accounts, and the latter with the creation of things and their types. Abu-al-Fadal's book "Aein-i-Akbari," written six centuries later during the reign of Akbar, was influenced by Al-Biruni's book.

Al-Biruni wrote his famous book "Al-Qanun Al-Masudi Fi Al-Hai'a Wa AI-Nujum," in 1030 C.E. This book was written after he returned from India and was dedicated to Sultan Masood. It discusses several theorems of trigonometry, astronomy, solar, lunar and planetary motions, and contains a collection of twenty-three observations of equinoxes. His other well-known books are Al-Athar Al-Baqia and Kitab-al-Saidana.

The former book gives an account of ancient history of nations and the latter is an extensive materia medica that synthesizes the Arabic Medicine with the Indian medicine. His

Al-Biruni was a true Muslim Scientist who benefitted from both the Islamic guidance and scientific investigations. He said:

" My experience in the study of astronomy and geometry and experiments in physics revealed to me that there must be a Planning Mind of Unlimited Power. My discoveries in Astronomy showed that there are fantastic intricacies in the universe which prove that there is a creative system and a meticulous control that cannot be explained through sheer physical and material causes." [Al-Biruni]

He never exploited his work as a means to fame, authority or material gains. When Sultan Masood sent him three camel-loads of silver coins in appreciation of his encyclopedic work "Al-Qanoon al-Masoodi," (The Mas'udi Canon), Al-Biruni politely returned the royal gift saying:

" I serve knowledge for the sake of knowledge and not for money " [Al-Biruni]

AI-Biruni is considered as one of the greatest scientists of all times.

Abu Ali Hasan Ibn Al-Haitham

Al-Haitham (965 - 1040 C.E.), known in the West as Alhazen, is considered as the father of modern Optics. Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham was one of the most eminent physicists, whose contributions to optics and the scientific methods are outstanding. Ibn al-Haitham was born in 965 C.E. in Basrah (present Iraq), and received his education in Basrah and Baghdad. He traveled to Egypt and Spain. He spent most of his life in Spain, where he conducted research in optics, mathematics, physics, medicine and development of scientific methods.

Al-Haitham conducted experiments on the propagation of light and colors, optic illusions and reflections. He examined the refraction of light rays through transparent medium (air, water) and discovered the laws of refraction. He also carried out the first experiments on the dispersion of light into its constituent colors. In detailing his experiment with spherical segments (glass vessels filled with water), he came very close to discovering the theory of magnifying lenses which was developed in Italy three centuries later. It took another three centuries before the law of sines was proposed by Snell and Descartes.

His book Kitab-al-Manazir was translated into Latin in the Middle Ages, as also his book dealing with the colors of sunset. He dealt at length with the theory of various physical phenomena such as the rainbow, shadows, eclipses, and speculated on the physical nature of light. Roger Bacon (thirteenth century), Pole Witelo (Vitellio) and all Medieval Western writers on Optics base their optical work primarily on Al-Haitham's 'Opticae Thesaurus.' His work also influenced Leonardo da Vinci and Johann Kepler. His approach to optics generated fresh ideas and resulted in great progress in experimental methods.

Al-Haitham was the first to describe accurately the various parts of the eye and gave a scientific explanation of the process of vision. He contradicted Ptolemy's and Euclid's theory of vision that the eye sends out visual rays to the object of the vision; according to him the rays originate in the object of vision and not in the eye. He also attempted to explain binocular vision, and gave a correct explanation of the apparent increase in size of the sun and the moon when near the horizon. He is known for the earliest use of the Camera obscura. Through these extensive researches on optics, he has been considered as the father of modern Optics.

In Al-Haitham's writings, one finds a clear explanation of the development of scientific methods as developed and applied by the Muslims, the systematic observation of physical phenomena and their relationship to a scientific theory. This was a major breakthrough in scientific methodology, as distinct from guess work, and placed scientific study on a sound foundation comprising systematic relationship between observation, hypothesis and verification. His research in catoptrics focused on spherical and parabolic mirrors and spherical aberration.

He made the important observation that the ratio between the angle of incidence and refraction does not remain constant and investigated the magnifying power of a lens. His catoptrics contains the important problem known as Alhazen's problem. It comprises drawing lines from two points in the plane of a circle meeting at a point on the circumference and making equal angles with the normal at that point. This leads to an equation of the fourth degree. He also solved the shape of an aplantic surface for reflection.

In his book Mizan al-Hikmah, Al-Haitham has discussed the density of the atmosphere and developed a relation between it and the height. He also studied atmospheric refraction; He discovered that the twilight only ceases or begins when the sun is 19o below the horizon and attempted to measure the height of the atmosphere on that basis. He deduced the height of homogeneous atmosphere to be fifty-five miles.

Al-Haitham's contribution to mathematics and physics is extensive. In mathematics, he developed analytical geometry by establishing linkage between algebra and geometry. In Physics, he studied the mechanics of motion of a body and was the first to propose that a body moves perpetually unless an external force stops it or changes its direction of motion. This is strikingly similar to the first law of motion. He has also discussed the theories of attraction between masses, and it appears that he was aware of the magnitude of acceleration due to gravity.

Al-Haitham wrote more than two hundred books, very few of which have survived. His monumental treatise on optics has survived through its Latin translation.

During the Middle Ages his books on cosmology were translated into Latin, Hebrew and other European languages. He also wrote a book on the subject of evolution; the ideas contained in that book are worth reading and useful even today.

Al-Haitham's influence on physical sciences in general, and optics in particular, have been held in high esteem and his ideas heralded in a new era in both the theoretical and experimental optical research. He wrote commentaries on Aristotle, Galen, Euclid and Ptolemy.

Beer and Medler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) mention one of the surface features of the moon after Al-Haitham.