Arabian gulf scientists and innovations

Ibn al-Haytham

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“Alhazen” redirects here. For other uses, see Alhazen (disambiguation).

Hasan Ibn al-Haytham



Born      c. 965 (c. 354 AH)[1]

Basra, Iraq

Died       c. 1040 (c. 430 AH)[2]

Cairo, Egypt



Known for           Book of Optics, Doubts Concerning Ptolemy, Alhazen’s problem, Analysis,[3] Catoptrics,[4] Horopter, Moon illusion, experimental science, scientific methodology,[5] visual perception, empirical theory of perception, Animal psychology[6]

Scientific career



Influences           Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Galen, Banū Mūsā, Thābit ibn Qurra, Al-Kindi, Ibn Sahl, Abū Sahl al-Qūhī

Influenced          Omar Khayyam, Taqi ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf, Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī, Averroes, Al-Khazini, John Peckham, Witelo, Roger Bacon,[7] Kepler

Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (Latinized Alhazen[8] /ˌælˈhɑːzən/; full name Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham أبو علي، الحسن بن الحسن بن الهيثم; c. 965 – c. 1040) was an Arab[9][10][11][12][13] mathematician, astronomer, and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age.[14] Sometimes called “the father of modern optics”,[15][16] he made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception in particular, his most influential work being his Kitāb al-Manāẓir (كتاب المناظر, “Book of Optics”), written during 1011–1021, which survived in the Latin edition.[17] A polymath, he also wrote on philosophy, theology and medicine.[18]


Ibn al-Haytham was the first to explain that vision occurs when light bounces on an object and then is directed to one’s eyes.[19] He was also an early proponent of the concept that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence—hence understanding the scientific method five centuries before Renaissance scientists.[20][21][22][23][24][25]


Born in Basra, he spent most of his productive period in the Fatimid capital of Cairo and earned his living authoring various treatises and tutoring members of the nobilities.[26] Ibn al-Haytham is sometimes given the byname al-Baṣrī after his birthplace,[27] or al-Miṣrī (“of Egypt”).[28]


In medieval Europe, Ibn al-Haytham was honored as Ptolemaeus secundus (the “Second Ptolemy”)[29] or simply “The Physicist”.[30] Ibn al-Haytham paved the way for the modern science of physical optics.[31]



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Not to be confused with Abd al-Masih ibn Ishaq al-Kindi.

For the surname, see al-Kindi (surname).



Portrait of al-Kindi

Born      c. 801

Kufa, Abbasid Caliphate (now in Iraq)

Died       c. 873 (aged approx. 72)

Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate (now in Iraq)

Era          Islamic Golden Age

Region  Islamic philosophy

School   Islamic theology, Islamic philosophy

Main interests

Philosophy, logic, ethics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, psychology, pharmacology, medicine, metaphysics, cosmology, astrology, music theory, Islamic theology (kalam)



Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī (Arabic: أبو يوسف يعقوب بن إسحاق الصبّاح الكندي‎; Latin: Alkindus; c. 801–873 AD) was an Arab[2][3][4][5][6][7] Muslim philosopher, polymath, mathematician, physician and musician. Al-Kindi was the first of the Muslim peripatetic philosophers, and is unanimously hailed as the “father of Arab philosophy”[8][9][10] for his synthesis, adaptation and promotion of Greek and Hellenistic philosophy in the Muslim world.[11]


Al-Kindi was born in Kufa and educated in Baghdad.[12] He became a prominent figure in the House of Wisdom, and a number of Abbasid Caliphs appointed him to oversee the translation of Greek scientific and philosophical texts into the Arabic language. This contact with “the philosophy of the ancients” (as Greek philosophy was often referred to by Muslim scholars) had a profound effect on his intellectual development, and led him to write hundreds of original treatises of his own on a range of subjects ranging from metaphysics, ethics, logic and psychology, to medicine, pharmacology,[13] mathematics, astronomy, astrology and optics, and further afield to more practical topics like perfumes, swords, jewels, glass, dyes, zoology, tides, mirrors, meteorology and earthquakes.[14][15]


In the field of mathematics, al-Kindi played an important role in introducing Indian numerals to the Islamic and Christian world.[16] Al-Kindi was also one of the fathers of cryptography.[17][18] His book entitled Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages gave rise to the birth of cryptanalysis and devised several new methods of breaking ciphers.[19][20] Using his mathematical and medical expertise, he was able to develop a scale that would allow doctors to quantify the potency of their medication.[21]


The central theme underpinning al-Kindi’s philosophical writings is the compatibility between philosophy and other “orthodox” Islamic sciences, particularly theology. And many of his works deal with subjects that theology had an immediate interest in. These include the nature of God, the soul and prophetic knowledge.[22] But despite the important role he played in making philosophy accessible to Muslim intellectuals, his own philosophical output was largely overshadowed by that of al-Farabi and very few of his texts are available for modern scholars to examine




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Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi


Al-Zahwari blistering a patient in the hospital at Cordova by Ernest Board.

Born      936 CE

Medina Azahara, Al-Andalus (near present-day Córdoba, Spain)

Died       1013 (aged 76–77)

Ethnicity               Arab

Era          Islamic Golden Age

Region  Al-Andalus, Caliphate of Córdoba

Religion                Islam

Notable idea(s) Founder of modern surgical and medical instruments; Father of Surgery

Notable work(s)               Kitab al-Tasrif


Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf ibn al-‘Abbās al-Zahrāwī al-Ansari[1] (Arabic: أبو القاسم خلف بن العباس الزهراوي‎;‎ 936–1013), popularly known as Al-Zahrawi (الزهراوي), Latinised as Abulcasis (from Arabic Abū al-Qāsim), was an Arab Muslim physician, surgeon and chemist who lived in Al-Andalus. He is considered as the greatest surgeon of the Middle ages,[2] and has been described as the father of surgery.[3][4][5]


Al-Zahrawi’s principal work is the Kitab al-Tasrif, a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices.[6] The surgery chapter of this work was later translated into Latin where it received popularity and became the standard text book in Europe for the next 500 years.[7] Al-Zahrawi’s pioneering contributions to the field of surgical procedures and instruments had an enormous impact in the East and West well into the modern period, where some of his discoveries are still applied in medicine to this day.[8]


He was the first physician to identify the hereditary nature of haemophilia. And the first physician to describe an abdominal pregnancy; a sub type of ectopic pregnancy which in those days was a fatal affliction.[8]



Al-Zahrawi was born in the city of Azahara, 8 kilometers northwest of Cordova, Andalusia. His birth date is not known for sure, however, scholars agree that it was after 936, the year his birthplace city of Azahara was founded. The nisba (attributive title), Al-Ansari, in his name, suggests origin from the Medinian tribe of Al-Ansar,[9] thus, tracing his ancestry back to Medina in the Arabian peninsula.[10]


He lived most of his life in Cordova. It is also where he studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of Azahara.


Few details remain regarding his life, aside from his published work, due to the destruction of El-Zahra during later Castillian-Andalusian conflicts. His name first appears in the writings of Abu Muhammad bin Hazm (993 – 1064), who listed him among the greatest physicians of Moorish Spain. But we have the first detailed biography of al-Zahrawī from al-Ḥumaydī’s Jadhwat al-Muqtabis (On Andalusian Savants), completed six decades after al-Zahrawi’s death.


Al-Zahrawi was a court physician to the Andalusian caliph Al-Hakam II. He was a contemporary of Andalusian chemists such as Ibn al-Wafid, al-Majriti and Artephius. He devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular.








Geber, aka Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, was a prominent Islamic alchemist, pharmacist, philosopher, astronomer, and physicist. He has also been referred to as “the father of Arab chemistry” by Europeans. His ethnic background is not clear; although most sources state he was an Arab, some describe him as Persian.


Jabir was born in Tus, Khorasan, in Iran, which was at the time ruled by the Umayyad Caliphate; the date of his birth is disputed, but most sources give 721 or 722. He was the son of Hayyan al-Azdi, a pharmacist of the Arabian Azd tribe who emigrated from Yemen to Kufa (in present-day Iraq) during the Umayyad Caliphate.


Hayyan had supported the revolting Abbasids against the Umayyads, and was sent by them to the province of Khorasan (in present Iran) to gather support for their cause. He was eventually caught by the Ummayads and executed. His family fled back to Yemen, where Jabir grew up and studied the Koran, mathematics and other subjects under a scholar named Harbi al-Himyari.


After the Abbasids took power, Jabir went back to Kufa, where he spent most of his career. Jabir’s father’s profession may have contributed greatly to his interest to chemistry.


In Kufa he became a student of the celebrated Islamic teacher and sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. It is said that he also studied with the Umayyad prince Khalid Ibn Yazid. He began his career practising medicine, under the patronage of the Barmakid Vizir of Caliph Haroun al-Rashid.


It is known that in 776 he was engaged in alchemy in Kufa.His connections to the Barmakid cost him dearly in the end. When that family fell from grace in 803, Jabir was placed under house arrest in Kufa, where he remained until his death.


The date of his death is given as c.815 by the Encyclop¾dia Britannica, but as 808 by other sources.





Muhammad al-Idrisi

Estatua de Al-Idrisi bajo el baluarte de los Mallorquines, Ceuta (5).jpg

Statue of al-Idrisi in Ceuta

Born      1100

Ceuta, (present-day Spain)

Died       1165 (aged 64–65)


Known for           Tabula Rogeriana

Scientific career

Fields    Geographer, writer, scientist, cartographer

Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani as-Sabti, or simply al-Idrisi /ælɪˈdriːsiː/ (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد الإدريسي القرطبي الحسني السبتي‎; Latin: Dreses; 1100 – 1165), was an Arab[1][2] Muslim geographer, cartographer and Egyptologist who lived in Palermo, Sicily at the court of King Roger II. Muhammed al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta, then belonging to the Almoravids.




1              Early life

10           External links

Early life

Al-Idrisi was born into the large Hammudid family of North Africa and Al-Andalus, which claimed descent from the Idrisids of Morocco and ultimately the prophet Muhammad.[3]


Al-Idrisi was born in the city of Ceuta, where his great-grandfather had been forced to settle after the fall of Hammudid Málaga to the Zirids of Granada.[4] He spent much of his early life travelling through North Africa and Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain of the times) and seems to have acquired detailed information on both regions. He visited Anatolia when he was barely 16. He studied in Córdoba.


His travels took him to many parts of Europe including Portugal, the Pyrenees, the French Atlantic coast, Hungary, and Jórvík (now known as York).







Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi

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Sculpture of al-Farahidi in Basra


Genius of Arabic Language


(ʻAbqarī al-lughah)

Born      110 AH/718 CE [1]


Died       786 or 791 CE [1]


Religion                Islam

Main interest(s)               Lexicography, Philology

Notable idea(s) Harakat, Arabic prosody

Notable work(s)               Kitab al-‘Ayn (Dictionary)

Influenced by[show]


Abu ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān al-Khalīl ibn Aḥmad ibn ‘Amr ibn Tammām al-Farāhīdī al-Azdī al-Yaḥmadī (Arabic: أبو عبدالرحمن الخليل بن أحمد الفراهيدي‎; 718 – 786 CE), known as Al-Farahidi, or simply Al-Khalīl, famously compiled the first known dictionary of the Arabic language, and one of the first in any language, Kitab al-‘Ayn (Arabic: كتاب العين‎).[2] He was one of the earliest Arab lexicographer philologists, and is accredited for introducing the Harakat (vowel marks in Arabic script) system now in standard use, and the study of ʿArūḍ (Arabic prosody),[3][4][5] musicology and metre.[6][7] His linguistic theories formed the basis for the development of prosody studies in the Persian, Turkish and Urdu languages.[8] Considered the “shining star” of the Basran school of Arabic grammar, a polymath and scholar, he was a man of genuinely original thought.[9][10]


Al-Kʰalīl b. ˀAḫmad al-Farāhīdī ( 711 – 786 A. D.) was the first scholar to subject the prosody of Classical Arabic poetry to a detailed phonological analysis. Unfortunately, he failed to produce a coherent, integrated theory which satisfies the requirements of generality, adequacy, and simplicity; instead, he merely listed and categorized the primary data, thus producing a meticulously detailed but incredibly complex formulation which very few indeed are able to master and utilize.





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Al-Kaŝkarī (Arabic: الكسكري‎; born 322 AH, 934 CE in Kashkar – died 414 AH, 1023 CE in Fushanj)[1] was a hospital physician from Baghdad.[2]


In diagnosing mental disorder, Al-Kaskari used criteria such the temperament of the patient as indicators to ascertain the nature of the mental disorder: sluggishness and forgetfulness point to a cold temperament, which requires a different treatment from a warm one, which is revealed through insomnia.[3]





Ibn al-Wafid

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Ibn al-Wafid

ابن الوافد

Born      December 997

Toledo, Spain, now Province of Toledo, Spain

Died       1074 (aged 77)

Occupation         Pharmacologist, Physician, Vizir of Al-Mamun of Toledo

Notable works  Kitāb al-adwiya al-mufrada

كتاب الأدوية المفردة

Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn al-Wafid al-Lakhmi (Circa 997– 1074), known in Latin Europe as Abenguefit, was an Arab[1] pharmacologist and physician from Toledo. He was the vizier of Al-Mamun of Toledo. His main work is Kitāb al-adwiya al-mufrada (كتاب الأدوية المفردة, translated into Latin as De medicamentis simplicibus).[2]


Ibn al-Wafid was mainly a pharmacist in Toledo, and he used the techniques and methods available in alchemy to extract at least 520 different kinds of medicines from various plants and herbs.


His student Ali Ibn al-Lukuh was the author of ʿUmdat al-Ṭabīb fī Maʿrifat al-Nabāt li kulli Labīb, a famous botanical dictionary.