Thabit Ibn Qurra, one of the most famous and prominent
Muslim astronomers and mathematicians who flourished in Baghdad.
Thabit Ibn Qurra Ibn Marwan al-Sabi al-Harrani was born in the year 836 C.E.
at Harran (present Turkey). He was a Muslim astronomer and mathematician. In
Latin he was known as Thebit.
Mohamed Ibn Musa Ibn Shaker the great Muslim mathematician, impressed by his
knowledge of languages, and realizing his potential for a scientific career,
choose him to join the scientific group at Baghdad that was being patronized
by the Abbasid Caliphs.
In Baghdad he was taught on the hands of the famous Banu Musa brothers. In
this way Thabit was able contribute in several branches of science, notably
mathematics, astronomy and mechanics, in addition to translating a huge
number of works from Greek to Arabic. Later Thabit's patron was the Abbasid
Caliph al-M'utadid and Thabit very soon became his personal friend and the
visitor of his court.
The majority of his contributions lie in mathematics and astronomy. He was
instrumental in extending the concept of traditional geometry to geometrical
algebra and proposed several theories that led to the development of
non-Euclidean geometry, spherical trigonometry, integral calculus and real
numbers. He criticized a number of theorems of Euclid's elements and
proposed important improvements. He applied arithmetical terminology to
geometrical quantities, and studied several aspects of conic sections,
notably those of parabola and ellipse. A number of his computations aimed at
determining the surfaces and volumes of different types of bodies and
constitute, in fact, the processes of integral calculus, as developed later.
In astronomy he was one of the early reformers of Ptolemaic views. He solved
many problems related to the movements of sun and moon and he also wrote
books on sundials.
In the fields of mechanics and physics he may be recognized as the
establisher of static. He examined conditions of equilibrium of bodies,
beams and levers.
Not only did he translate a large number of books himself, but he also
founded a school of translation and supervised the translation of a further
large number of books from Greek to Arabic.
Among Thabit's writings a large number have survived, while several are not
extant. Most of the books are on mathematics, followed by astronomy and
medicine. The books have been written in Arabic but some are in Syriac,
which was the eastern Aramaic dialect from Odessa. In the middle Ages,
Gherard of Cremona translated some of his books into Latin. In recent
centuries, a number of his books have been translated into European
languages and published.
He carried further the work of the Banu Musa brothers and later his son and
grandson continued in this tradition, with the help of other members of the
group. In the 9th century His original books as well as his translations
accomplished a positive influence on the development of subsequent
After a long career of scholarship, Thabit died at Baghdad in 901 C.E.
Syria like many other countries around the world
witnessed, during this period, the flood of refugees
from war troubled nations like Somalia, arrival of
people from Algeria during the brutal struggling between
the Mujahidun and the government, resettlement of the
Palestinians fleeing from sophisticated guns of the
Israelis as well as adventure of African migrants for