Academically, Arabs and Persians have left a great mark. Whether in the field of science, mathematics, or humanities, scholars from the Arab World have created and published books that have come to define their fields for future scholars and students. We list 4 Middle Eastern scholars that have remained of utter significance in their fields, and which have been held as benchmarks of innovation, discovery and understanding.
1) Abu Abdallah ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi — A Persian astronomer, geographer and mathmetician during the Abbasid Caliphate and scholar in Baghdad, Al Khwarizmi’s work was translated in the 12th century into Latin. His work marks the first time that Indian numerals were introduced into the Western World as the decimal positional number system. He then wrote The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, which served as the first presentation of linear and quadratic equations in Arabic, and he was considered the father of Algebra. The word “algebra” itself is derived from the Arabic al-jabr, from one of two operations he used to solve equations.
2) Ibn Sina — A Persian polymath and jurist, Ibn Sina is the author of The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. The Canon of Medicine was a medical encyclopedia that was used as a standard medical text until as late as 1650. In the mid 1970s, the book was re-printed and reviewed in New York.
3) Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi — An Arab physician and surgeon, Al-Zahrawi lived in Al-Andalus. Often considered as the most well-known surgeon in the Islamic World, he has also been given the title of “Father of surgery”. He wrote Kitab al-Tasrif (The Method of Medicine), a thirty-volume encyclopedia which lists various medical procedures and practices. Many of his discoveries are still used today. He was also the first doctor to describe the complications of a tubal pregnancy, and was the first to correctly identify the genetic disorder hemophilia.
4) Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi — The Persian physician, chemist, philosopher and polymath is an extremely important contributor to the field of medicine. Having wrote hundreds of manuscripts, Razi was often experimenting in the field. He is considered now to the be the father of pediatrics and one of the first to spearhead knowledge of ophthalmology. He also wrote a book about smallpox and measles, which provided missing information and insight into the clinical characterizations of these diseases. French medical universities still revere Razi, and students are taught about his myriad contributions to the field.
Do you know other Arab books or scholars have had impact on the rest of the world? Tell us in the comments below!
Learn more about these scholars and other Arab/Persian scholars who have shaped the world with their ideas and inventions: