Mathematics in Islam

On 23rd February 2007, the BBC News issued an article on Advanced Geometry of Islamic Arts. It was mentioned that a study of medieval Islamic art has shown some of its geometric patterns use principles established centuries later by modern mathematicians. According to the researchers, Islam has applied the concepts of geometry on their arts since 15th Century. This indicates intuitive understanding of complex mathematical formula, even if the artisans had not worked out the underlying theory.

Quoting from Wikipedia, actually the history of Islamic mathematics refers to the mathematics developed by mathematicians of the Islamic culture, from the beginning of Islam until the 17th century — mostly including Arab and Persian mathematicians, as well as other Muslims and non-Muslims that were a part of the Islamic culture. Islamic mathematics is also known as Arabic mathematics due to most of the texts on Islamic mathematics being written in Arabic. Islamic mathematics is the main aspect of the greater history of Islamic science, and also an important part of the history of mathematics.

Since I am not mathematician or even a scientist, I would not explore it in advance. I am simply trying to quote that mathematic and other kinds of science are not new issues in Islam. From literatures we knew that the development of science in the world can be traced directly to the Muslim scientists. For example if we discussed the development in chemistry, we could refer to Jabir Ibn Haiyan, is generally known as the father of chemistry (died 803 C.E). Jabir wrote several books on chemistry. Two of his books, Kitab-al-Kimya, and Kitab al-Sab’een, were translated into Latin and various European languages. Those books were popular in Europe for several centuries and have influenced the evolution of modern chemistry. Today, several technical terms devised by Jabir, such as alkali, are found in various European languages and have become part of scientific vocabulary.

In addition, some other Muslim scientists and thinkers have also contributed immensely to human knowledge especially in the period between 8th and 14th century CE. For example, we could refer to Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980-1037) who well known in Medicine, Philosophy, Mathematics, and Astronomy. We could also named Ibn Rushed or Averroes (1128-1198) for Philosophy, Law, Medicine, Astronomy, and Theology.

That was in the past, now we should admit that Muslim scientists contributions have been largely lag behind the western countries. Wars, Conflicts and other internal problems make scientists in Muslim countries could not develop and explore their potential capabilities. Research and development activities are so limited as well as its supporting literatures. If it was not burned during the wars, most of literatures have been transferred to the western countries. It is regrettable that nowadays Muslim scientist could not compete with others in order to enhance knowledge and for the common interest of human being.

One Response to Mathematics in Islam

  1. Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

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