Contributions of selected Muslim Sages to the World’s development
- Jaabir ibn Hayyan.
Jaabir ibn Hayyan was born in Tus, Iran. Shortly after he was born, his father, a pharmacist was executed for political reasons. Jaabir was taught by Imam Jafar al-Sadiq. He studied medicine and became a court physician to the Abassid Caliph Harun ar-Rashid. His close connection with the house of Bermakides, who occupied high posts as viziers under Harun ar-Rashid, made him share misfortune at the time of their downfall in 830 AC. Jaabir died in exile in Kufa, Iraq.
His scientific achievements.
A. Writing of over 100 works mainly on alchemy and chemistry with others on astronomy and trigonometry.
B. Introduction of experimental research.
C. Studies of geological formation and refinement of metals, preparation of steel, dying of cloth and leather, use of manganese dioxide in making glass, use of iron as pyrites for writing in gold, distillation of vinegar to concentrate aectic acid.
D. Preparation of basic substances and their compounds.
Abubakar Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Al-Razi was born in Rayy, Persia. He studied mathematics, alchemy, philosophy, astronomy and medicine in Baghdad. He served as the chief physician in an hospital in Rayy. Razi practised medicine in the courts of princes where he had a reputation of medical administrator. His fame attracted students from the Islamic world and they attended his lectures. When he wanted to select a new site for his hospital in Baghdad, he hung up pieces of meat at various sites and observed their putrefaction in order to determine the healthiest site. During all this time, he was writing books which were his enduring legacy of scholarship. He died in 925 AC in his home town of Rayy.
Razi’s famous works.
A. Writings on medical science, chemistry, physics, philosophy, music, mathematics, astronomy and ethics.
B. He wrote about 200 books and half were on medical subjects.
C. His famous book was Kitaab al-Mansur and Kitaab al-Haw.
D. He wrote numerous smaller books on diseases, diet and natural sciences.
E. He interpreted and developed Plato’s idea in a way that was in some respects inconsistent with the teachings of Islam.
Razi’s influence in later developments of medical science.
Al-Razi’s books were translated into many different languages like Latin in the 13th century. His book is one of the most comprehensive books ever written. His books were undisputed until the 17th century. He and Ibn Sina’s texts became compulsory texts for the training of European physicians.
- Ibn Sina.
Ibn Sina known as Avicenna in the west was born near Bukhara in Central Asia. His native language is Persian. He was well educated and by the age of 14 he had overtaken his teachers, by the age of 16 famous physicians were working under his direction, at age 18 he had mastered science and by the use of his initiative made progress, at age 21 he wrote his first book on philosophy. Ibn Sina joined public administration to earn a living after the death of his father and was consulted in medical matters and politics. The envy of others led to his imprisonment, flight, prosecution and escape. After this, he lived 14 more years at the court of Isfahan, and died in Hamedan, Iran were he was buried.
His famous works.
A. Writing of 200-300 works which contributed to the advancement of science.
B. He wrote on astronomy, natural science, history, physics, chemisty, geology, medicne, mathematics, music, economics, politics, poetry, moral and religious affairs, and Quranic commentary.
C. His famous works are Kitab al-Shifa and Qanun fil-tibb.
D. Conversion of his works t other languages which made him and Razi greatest masters of medicine, natural sciences, and philosophy.
Ibn Sina’s influence in later developments of medical science and philosophy.
Ibn Sina wrote about 200-300 works which contributed to the advancement of science due to his verse knowledge in medicine, philosophy and natural sciences etc. His philosophy also has influence on the thought and work of Christian philosophers in Europe like St Thomas Aquinas and Roger Bacon.
Abu Hamid Muhammad, known as Al-Gazali was born in Tus, Persia. He was orphaned at an early stage and received education in Naysabur. When he was 28 he joined many scholars at the court of Nizamal Mulk in Baghdad. Nizamal Mulk was a great minister and patron of learning. When al-Gazali was 34, the court sent him as the chief professor to Nizamiyyah. For four years he was a respected teacher. He wrote books and studied philosophy.
Al-Gazali suffered doubt about his beliefs and this prevented him from continuing lectures. He decided to go for hajj but he used this to get away from his career as a jurist and philosopher because of the criticisms of the ulema during his time as they were generally corrupt. His main aim for the getaway was to understand the meaning of life and the only way he could achieve that was in solitude. During his retirement, he went to Jerusalem, Makkah and Madinah and lived alone a poor Sufi, giving his life to prayer, meditation and spiritual development. During this period, he wrote a book called ‘ihya ulum al din’. He emerged from retirement and realized that the mystic path was best for man. When he was 49, he returned back to his academics. Before his death, he retired back to Tus and taught disciples in the way of life of a Sufi.
His famous work.
Al-Gazali’s best known book is ‘Tahafut-al-falasifa'(the inconsistency of philosophers) in which he demonstrated the mistakes of some of the philosopher(such as Razi) in departing from the clear teaching of the Quran. He was able to do this because he was a full master of the disciples of philosophy and logic.
Al-Gazali’s influence in later developments.
Al-Gazali’s work demonstrated the mistakes and made corrections to the inconsistency of some philosophers in departing from the clear techniques of the Quran.