Al-Khwarizmi and Algebra

Ancient Greek Babylonian and Indian mathematicians had all found ways of calculating missing numbers. Al-Khwarizmi combined these methods together to develop algebra. The word algebra comes from the Arabic “al-jabr” which means “bringing back order.” Al-jabr was one of the terms used by al-Khwarizmi to describe how to find the missing numbers in an equation. Muhammad al-Khwarizmi lived in the 9th century and worked in Baghdad where he was an important scientist at the Bayt al-Hikma. Al-Khwarizmi wrote the first book on algebra.

Source: Talim Primary 3

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

5 thoughts

  1. It is always helpful to understand what was the driving force for the Muslim elite during the Golden Age of Islam that led them to the study of Mathematics, of which the achievements of Al Khwarizmi in your article above are a shining example:

    Professor Afzal Ahmed of the Institute of Ismaili Studies gives us an eloquent answer:

    “I will mainly draw on the period 900-1200 CE, the period chosen as the focus of the conference. This was a vibrant period in the Arab civilisation for preserving, enhancing and communicating knowledge. It was a period when Muslims worked side by side with non-Muslims on works of philosophy, medicine, physics, mathematics, astronomy, geography, etc. At the basis of the Muslim religion was the fundamental concept of nature’s unity and the absolute oneness of God.

    The learning of mathematics was therefore linked to the Muslim religion and developing an understanding of the world, which was helped by knowledge of the Qur’an and vice-versa. The objective was to make students capable of formulating and understanding abstractions and master symbols. Moving from concrete to the abstract, from experience to formulation of ideas and images, and from reality to symbolisation; this preparation was considered essential for improving the understanding of the Universe and its Creator.”

    http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=104303

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  2. Tarek Fatah added this valuable information, via Facebook, to complete the picture on Al Khwarizmi:

    “Thanks for sharing this. In recognizing al-Khwarizmi, one should not forget to mention that the good old man was an Uzbek and he introduced Indian mathematics and astronomy to the Arabs. His contributions cannot be seen in isolation from the Mutazalite (Rationalist) movement of the time, when Muslims almost managed to escape the grip of superstitions and blind faith.”

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  3. Thanks for posting Tarek’s comments here. This information is a proof that globalization and exchange of knowledge is not a modern phenomenon but a centuries old heritage!

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  4. Ancient Greek Babylonian and Indian mathematicians had all found ways of calculating missing numbers. Al-Khwarizmi combined these methods together to develop algebra. The word algebra comes from the Arabic “al-jabr” which means “bringing back order.” Al-jabr was one of the terms used by al-Khwarizmi to describe how to find the missing numbers in an equation. Muhammad al-Khwarizmi lived in the 9th century and worked in Baghdad where he was an important scientist at the Bayt al-Hikma. Al-Khwarizmi wrote the first book on algebra.

    Source: Talim Primary 3

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