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The Mathematical Sciences And Physics

عبدالرحمن حسن علي
مؤســس المنتدى
مؤســس المنتدى
الجنسية :
عدد المشاركات عدد المشاركات : 16048
تقييم المشترين تقييم المشترين : 49
واتساب واتساب : 201289700022
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في السبت 9 أكتوبر - 0:38

The Mathematical Sciences And Physics

TheMuslim mind has always been attracted to the mathematical sciences inaccordance with the "abstract" character of the doctrine of Onenesswhich lies at the heart of Islam. The mathematical sciences havetraditionally included astronomy, mathematics itself and much of whatis called physics today.

In astronomy the Muslims integrated theastronomical traditions of the Indians, Persians, the ancient Near Eastand especially the Greeks into a synthesis which began to chart a newchapter in the history of astronomy from the 8th century onward. TheAlmagest of Ptolemy, whose very name in English reveals the Arabicorigin of its Latin translation, was thoroughly studied and itsplanetary theory criticized by several astronomers of both the easternand western lands of Islam leading to the major critique of the theoryby Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and his students, especially Qutb al-Dinal-Shirazi, in the 13th century.

The Muslims also observed theheavens carefully and discovered many new stars. The book on stars of'Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi was in fact translated into Spanish by Alfonso Xel Sabio and had a deep influence upon stellar toponymy in Europeanlanguages. Many star names in English such as Aldabran still recalltheir Arabic origin. The Muslims carried out many fresh observationswhich were contained in astronomical tables called Zij. One of theacutest of these observers was al-Battani whose work was followed bynumerous others. The Zij of al-Ma'mun observed in Baghdad, the HakimiteZij of Cairo, the Toledan Tables of al-Zarqali and his associated, theII-Khanid Zij of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi observed in Maraghah, and the Zijof Ulugh-Beg from Samarqand are among the most famous Islamicastronomical tables.

They wielded a great deal of influence uponWestern astronomy up to the time of Tycho Brahe. The Muslims were infact the first to create an astronomical observatory as a scientificinstitution, this being the observatory of Maraghah in Persiaestablished by al-Tusi. This was indirectly the model for the laterEuropean observatories. Many astronomical instruments were developed byMuslims to carry out observation, the most famous being the astrolabe.There existed even mechanical astrolabes perfected by Ibn Samh whichmust be considered as the ancestor of the mechanical clock.

Astronomicalobservations also had practical applications including not only findingthe direction of Makkah for prayers, but also devising almanacs (theword itself being of Arabic origin). The Muslims also applied theirastronomical knowledge to questions of time-keeping and the calendar.The most exact solar calendar existing to this day is the Jalalicalendar devised under the direction of 'Umar Khayyam in the 12thcentury and still in use in Persia and Afghanistan.

As formathematics proper, like astronomy, it received its direct impetus fromthe Quran not only because of the mathematical structure related to thetext of the Sacred Book, but also because the laws of inheritancedelineated in the Quran require rather complicated mathematicalsolutions. Here again Muslims began by integrating Greek and Indianmathematics. The first great Muslim mathematician, al-Khwarazmi, wholived in the 9th century, wrote a treatise on arithmetic whose Latintranslation brought what is known as Arabic numerals to the West. Tothis day guarismo, derived from his name, means figure or digit inSpanish while algorithm is still used in English. Al-Khwarzmi is alsothe author of the first book on algebra. This science was developed byMuslims on the basis of earlier Greek and Indian works of a rudimentarynature. The very name algebra comes from the first part of the name ofthe book of al-Khwarazmi, entitled Kitab al-jabr wa'l-muqabalah. AbuKamil al-Shuja' discussed algebraic equations with five unknowns. Thescience was further developed by such figures as al-Karaji until itreached its peak with Khayyam who classified by kind and classalgebraic equations up to the third degree.

The Muslims alsoexcelled in geometry as reflected in their art. The brothers Banu Musawho lived in the 9th century may be said to be the first outstandingMuslim geometers while their contemporary Thabit ibn Qurrah used themethod of exhaustion, giving a glimpse of what was to become integralcalculus. Many Muslim mathematicians such as Khayyam and al-Tusi alsodealt with the fifth postulate of Euclid and the problems which followif one tries to prove this postulate within the confines of Euclediangeometry.

Another branch of mathematics developed by Muslims istrigonometry which was established as a distinct branch of mathematicsby al-Biruni. The Muslim mathematicians, especially al-Battani,Abu'l-Wafa', Ibn Yunus and Ibn al-Haytham, also developed sphericalastronomy and applied it to the solution of astronomy and applied it tothe solution of astronomical problems.

The love for the study ofmagic squares and amicable numbers led Muslims to develop the theory ofnumbers. Al-Khujandi discovered a particular case of Fermat's theoremthat "the sum of two cubes cannot be another cube", while al-Karajianalyzed arithmetic and geometric progressions such as:13+23+33+...+n3=(1+2+3+...+n)2. Al-Biruni also dealt with progressionswhile Ghiyath al-Din Jamshid al-Kashani brought the study of numbertheory among Muslims to its peak.

In the field of physics theMuslims made contributions in especially three domains. The first wasthe measurement of specific weights of objects and the study of thebalance following upon the work of Archimedes. In this domain thewritings of al-Biruni and al-Khazini stand out. Secondly theycriticized the Aristotelian theory of projectile motion and tried toquantify this type of motion. The critique of Ibn Sina, Abu'l-Barakatal-Baghdadi, Ibn Bajjah and others led to the development of the ideaof impetus and momentum and played an important role in the criticismof Aristotelian physics in the West up to the early writings ofGalileo. Thirdly there is the field of optics in which the Islamicsciences produced in Ibn al-Haytham (the Latin Alhzen) who lived in the11th century, the greatest student of optics between Ptolemy andWitelo. Ibn al-Haytham's main work on optics, the Kitab al-manazir, wasalso well known in the West as Thesaurus opticus. Ibn al-Haytham solvedmany optical problems, one of which is named after him, studied theproperty of lenses, discovered the Camera Obscura, explained correctlythe process of vision, studied the structure of the eye, and explainedfor the first time why the sun and the moon appear larger on thehorizon. His interest in optics was carried out two centuries later byQutb al-Din al-Shirazi and Kamal al-Din al-Farisi. It was Qutb al-Dinwho gave the first correct explanation of the formation of the rainbow.

Itis important to recall that in physics as in many other fields ofscience the Muslims observed, measured and carried out experiments.They must be credited with having developed what came to be known lateras the experimental method.

Source: Islam A Global Civilization

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