Islamic Golden Age
700 ~ 1250 AD


Alfarabi | Aquinas | Averroes | Avicenna | Bajjah | Beiruni | Haytham | Hayyan | Ishaq | Firnas | Ghazali | Jazari | Khawarizmi | Khayyam | Maimonides | Maryam | Mutanabbi | Razi | Rushd | Sina | Tufail | Tusi | Zahrawi

Jaber Bin Hayyan
جابر ابن حيان

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

721 AD.
Syria or Iran
815 AD.
The Father of Chemistry

  • Lived and studied in Kufa, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in chemistry, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, physics, astronomy, geology, and engineering.
  • He is considered by modern chemists as the true father of chemistry.
  • The Arab character in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is based on Jaber bin Hayyan.

Al-Khawarizmi
الخوارزمي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

780 AD.
Uzbekistan (Persia)
850 AD.
The Father of Algebra

  • Lived and studied in Baghdad, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in mathematics, geography, and astronomy
  • Created Algebra and invented the Arabic numerals.
  • The word "algorithm" is the Latinized version of his name.

Hunayn Bin Ishaq
حنين بن إسحاق

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

809 AD.
Al-Hira, Iraq (Syria)
873 AD.
Chief of Translators

  • Lived and studied in Baghdad, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in medicine, pharmacology, philosophy, and languages.
  • He was the first to translate Greek and Syriac (Aramaic) books into Arabic.
  • Contributed great knowledge pertaining to the anatomy of the human eye.

Abbas Bin Firnas
عباس بن فرناس

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

810 AD.
Andalucia (Spain)
887 AD.
First Attempt to Fly

  • Lived and studied in Cordoba, Andalucia (today's Spain).
  • Specialized in poetry, engineering, aviation, and medicine.
  • Invented the first water clock and the first planetarium
  • Made the first heavier than air attempt to fly. He did fly, but couldn't land properly; suffered from a great back injury.

Al-Razi
الرازي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known For:

865 AD.
Khawarizm, Persia
925 AD.
Finding the cure to small pox.

  • Lived and studied in Persia and in Baghdad, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in music, philosophy, medicine, and chemistry.
  • Diagnosed and cured many diseases
  • Invented the modern Lute (musical instrument)

Abu Nasr al-Farabi
أبو نصر محمد الفارابي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

870 AD.
Khorasan (today's Turkmenistan)
950 AD.
The Second Master; the First (Muslim) Teacher

  • Lived and studied in Aleppo and Damascus, Syria.
  • Specialized in philosophy, logic, politics, ethics, psychology, astronomy, metaphysics, and music.
  • Created the Qanoon, a musical instrument used throughout the orient until today.

Al-Mutanabbi
أبو الطيب المتنبي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

915 AD.
Kufa, Iraq (Syria)
965 AD.
The Greatest Arab Poet.

  • Lived and studied in Kufa, Persia, Aleppo, Cairo, and Baghdad.
  • He was, by far, the greatest and most philosophical poet in all Arab history.

Al-Zahrawi
الزهراوي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

936 AD.
Andalucia (Spain)
1013 AD.
The Father of Modern Surgery and Dentistry

  • Lived and studied in Cordoba, Andalucia (today's Spain).
  • Specialized in medicine, surgery, and dentistry.
  • Invented over 200 surgical instruments, many still used today.
  • First to perform dentistry and modern eye surgery.

Maryam Al-Ijliyyah
مريم العجلية (الاسطرلابي)

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

944 AD.
Aleppo, Syria.
967 AD.
Inventing sophisticated astrolabes.

  • Lived and studied in Aleppo, Syria.
  • Specialized in mathematics, engineering, and physics.
  • Invented very advanced and sophisticated astrolabes, which gave her the nickname: Maryam al-Astarlabi.

Al-Hassan Bin Al-Haytham
الحسن بن الهيثم

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

955 AD.
Basra, Iraq (Syria)
1040 AD.
The Father of modern Physics

  • Lived and studied in Baghdad, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in physics, optics, astronomy, mathematics, and psychology.
  • Developed the scientific method, and for that he is known as the father of modern physics.
  • Invented the first camera. The word camera itself is the Latinized version of "qamara" which is Arabic for moon.
  • First to discover that moon reflects (not emits) light, visible light is made of seven colors, and that eyes do not emit light as was believed until then.

Al-Beiruni
البيروني

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

973 AD.
Khawarizm, Persia.
1048 AD.
Encyclopedic work on India.

  • Lived and studied in Persia and India.
  • Specialized in astronomy, astrology, geology, geography, philosophy, mathematics, pharmacology, medicine, history, psychology, sociology, cartography, physics, and mechanics.
  • Translated great works from Sanskrit into Farsi and Arabic.
  • Wrote an encyclopedic chronology of past nations.
  • Calculated the circumference of the Earth and measured the heights of mountains and valleys.
  • First to estimated that 75% of the earth is covered with water.
  • First to discover that light is faster than sound.

Avicenna
ابن سينا

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

980 AD.
Khorasan (today's Tajikistan).
1037 AD.
The Canon of Medicine.

  • Lived and studied all over Persia.
  • Specialized in medicine, chemistry, philosophy, mathematics, logic, pharmacology, physics, astronomy, anatomy, poetry, music, law, earth science, engineering, and politics.
  • He wrote an encyclopedic book on medicine called the Canon of Medicine which remained in use for over 700 years for all medical students throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Even the word "canon" is the Latinized Arabic word Qanoon, which means "law."
  • Fought in battles as the head of an army brigade.
  • First to discover diabetes, tuberculosis, and cataract.

Omar Al-Khayyam
عمر الخيام

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

1048 AD.
Neisabur, Persia.
1131 AD.
Ruba'iyat (poetry).

  • Lived and studied in Persia.
  • Specialized in mathematics, astronomy, poetry, and philosophy.
  • Introduced the "X" in Algebra. For the unknown variable he used the Arabic word Shay' (شيء), which means "something." Arabic math books then simply wrote the first letter of that word (س). The books were first translated into Spanish, where the letter X is pronounced as "Sh," writing it "Xay" and then "X" for short.
  • Invented the most accurate calendar; the Jalali calendar (no longer in use).
  • Composed some of the best known poetry in the world.

Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali
أبو حامد الغزالي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1058 AD.
Khorasan, Persia
1111 AD.

  • Lived and studied in Persia and in Baghdad, Iraq (Syria).
  • Specialized in philosophy, jurisprudence, logic, and Islamic law.
  • Separated between philosophy and science, and between philosophy and religion.

Ibn Bajjah
ابن باجّة

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

1095 AD.
Zaragoza, Andalucia (Spain).
1138 AD.
The Two Laws of Motion and Founding of zajal poetry

  • Lived and studied in Andalucia and Morocco.
  • Specialized in philosophy, physics, logic, astronomy, poetry, music, sociology, and medicine.
  • Coined the phrase: "every action has a reaction." Ibn Bajjah already wrote two of Newton's laws of motion 700 years before Newton. He was heavily quoted in Renaissance works.
  • Founded the art of poetry known as zajal, where poets improvise verses on the spot to respond to one another in a festive atmosphere with large audiences.

Ibn Tufail
ابن طفيل

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1105 AD.
Granada, Andalucia (today's Spain).
1185 AD.
The Father of Chemistry

  • Lived and studied in Granada and Morocco.
  • Specialized in philosophy, medicine, astronomy, and law.
  • Appointed supreme judge and chief physician.
  • Author of Hayy bin Yaqzan, the philosophical story that influenced so many authors from all cultures, including the story of Tarzan and Maugly.

Averroes
ابن رشد

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1126 AD.
Cordoba, Andalucia (today's Spain).
1198 AD.
The Commentator

  • Lived and studied in Cordoba, Seville, and Morocco.
  • Specialized in philosophy, mathematics, physics, medicine, geography, politics, logic, astronomy, biology, metaphysics, law, and music.
  • First to discover Parkinson's disease, and corrected Avicenna by stating that human beings can only get small pox once in a life-time.
  • Translated and corrected existing translations of Aristotle and Plato.
  • Credited for starting secular thought in Europe; stated that men and women are equal in all respects except in financial matters.

Al-Jazari
الجزري

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1136 AD.
Al-Jazira, Iraq (Syria)
1206 AD.
The Greatest Inventor

  • Lived and studied in Iraq and all over Syria.
  • Specialized in mechanics, engineering, mathematics, art, and astronomy.
  • Invented many mechanical devices used until this day, such as shafts and pumps.
  • Invented a very sophisticated water clock that even showed the date.

Maimonides
موسى بن ميمون משה בן מימון

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1137 AD.
Cordoba, Andalucia (today's Spain).
1204 AD.
Rambam; the Great Eagle.

  • Lived and studied in Cordoba, Morocco, and Cairo.
  • Specialized in philosophy, Jewish law, medicine, logic, and ethics.
  • Known as the second greatest authority on Jewish law after Moses the prophet until this day.
  • Appointed by Salahuddin as top court physician.

Al-Tusi
نصير الدين الطوسي

Born:
From:
Died:
Known for:

1201 AD.
Tus, Khurasan (Persia)
1274 AD.
Mathematics and Astronomy

  • Lived and studied in Naysabur then Baghdad.
  • Specialized in philosophy, logic, mathematics, astronomy, biology, poetry, and jurisprudence; and was strongly influenced by his predecessors like Avicenna, of whom he wrote many commentaries.
  • Resolved Aristotle's claim that motion can only be linear or circular. Tusi proved that a linear motion can result from two circular motions; later became known as the "Tusi Couple" (see graphs below). The Tusi Couple resolved many astronomical mysteries, particularly planetary orbits. It was later used by many astronomers, including Copernicus, to deduce the heliocentric model.
  • Discovered the law of conservation of mass (chemistry)
  • Formulated the mathematical laws of Sines, CoSines, and Tangents for plane and spherical triangles.
  • Wrote a theory on how human beings evolved from higher animals, thus preceding Darwin by over 600 years.
  • His life was spared by Hulagu (Genghis Khan's grandson and leader of the Mongol armies that invaded the Abbasid caliphate), because he accurately predicted the time and day of a lunar eclipse, which Hulagu saw as evidence of superior fortune telling abilities, useful for battles.
  • Built the first astronomical observatory in Persia, as part of a huge academy that contained more than 400,000 volumes of books on science and literature, many of which he had rescued from Baghdad's library the Mongols had burned down.

Thomas Aquinas
طوما الأكويني

Born:
From:
Died:
Known As:

1225 AD.
Sicily
1274 AD.
Teacher of the Church

  • Lived and studied in Sicily and throughout Italy.
  • Specialized in philosophy, ethics, science, theology, and epistemology.
  • Wrote the Summa Theologica, which is still considered as the second main source of Christian theology, after the Bible.
  • Wrote on science and metaphysics, quoting Ibn Bajjah's works and agreeing with them.

Oday Baddar