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DID YOU KNOW? 23/5/14 | Blog

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Algebra is derived from Arabic language.

It was derived from the book ilm al – jabr wa’l muqabala, written by an Arab mathematician and astronomer, Muhammad ibn Mussa al - Khawarizmi, who lived in Baghdad. He wrote two books which helped spread Indian numbers and zero to the rest of the world. The terms arithmetic and algorithm both come from distortions of his name translated in Latin.

Having lived in Baghdad, Iraq, al – Khawarizmi worked at the house of wisdom (Dar al Hikma) under the caliphate of al – Ma’mun. His work, aside from publishing original research, involved the acquiring and translating of scientific and philosophic treaties, particularly of Greek origin. Al – Khawarizmi’s work on elementary algebra, al – Kitab al – mukhtasar fi hisab al – jabr wal – muqabala (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing), was translated into Latin in the 12TH century.

He also wrote Kitab surat al – ard ( The image of the Earth) which presented the coordinates and localities of the known world for al – Ma’mun and participated in a project to determine the circumference of the Eaarth by measuring the lengths and degree of a meridian through Sinjar in Iraq. He was also a geographer; he helped create detailed maps of the known world. Could he have discovered the new world long before Colombus did? Or could other Muslims who learned from him, have discovered it? I guess these and other questions are for another day, maybe we will find out in the next piece of the series DID YOU KNOW?

photo credit: Heathen Dawn via photopin cc


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