Historically, Islam has been closely associated with groundbreaking scientific advancements in numerous fields. Scientists and scholars cannot possibly deny the contributions of the Muslim community to essential scientific innovations and discoveries. Recently, a famous entrepreneur, who is the mastermind behind companies such as Tesla and SpaceX, praised Islam for its contributions to science and the greater advancements it brought to the field. Musk’s praise for Islam’s role is a testament to how Islamic heritage is increasingly acknowledged and celebrated for its work in modern science.
Globally, when one thinks of innovation, creativity, and a futuristic approach toward science, Elon Musk’s name precedes any other. In his praise for Islam, Musk spoke of prominent Islamic scholars,
mathematicians, astronomers, and physicists. He used examples of famous Muslim scientists’ discoveries and innovations that transformed their relevant fields and profoundly contributed to the world of modern science and scientific disciplines; He spoke of thriving Muslim scholars who translated and preserved Greek and Roman languages to ensure profound scientific knowledge endured safely.
It is now increasingly becoming clear to the West that during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and Cordoba took on the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India, and China, developing what we would call "modern" science.
New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry, and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering, and agriculture. Arabic texts replaced Greek as the fonts of wisdom, helping to
shape the scientific revolution of the Renaissance. What the medieval scientists of the Muslim world articulated so brilliantly is that science is universal, the common language of humans.
Muslims’ Contribution to Medicine, Mathematics, and Astronomy:
Muslims gained access to the Greek medical knowledge of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen
through the translations of their works in the seventh and eighth centuries. These initiatives by
Muslims could be seen in the different aspects of the healing arts that were developed. The
translation movement of the twelfth century in Latin Europe affected every known field of
science, none more so than medicine. By the twelfth century, Muslim physicians had produced many works: encyclopedias, medical biographies, texts on medical ethics, and on specialist topics such as ophthalmology. Muslims using their clinical and surgical knowledge established hospitals. These institutions were far superior to any that existed in ancient times or in lands beyond the Islamic Empire.
The mathematical sciences as practiced in the Islamic world during this period consisted of
mathematics, algebra, and geometry as well as mathematical geography, astronomy, and optics.
Muslims derived their theory of numbers (‘ilm al-a‘dad) in arithmetic from translations of the
Greeks’ sources such as Books VΙΙ through to ΙX of Euclid’s Elements and the Introduction to the Science of Numbers by Nicomachus of Gerasa. Moreover, they acquired numerals from India (Hindu) and possibly China and made their use widespread. Mohammad Bin Ahmed in the tenth century invented the concept of zero or sifr.
Al-Haytham’s contributions to geometry and number theory went well beyond the Archimedean tradition. Al-Haytham also worked on analytical geometry and the beginnings of the link between algebra and geometry. Subsequently, this work led pure mathematics to the harmonious fusion of algebra and geometry that was epitomized by Descartes in geometric analysis and by Newton in calculus. Al-Haytham was a scientist who made major contributions to the fields of
mathematics, physics, and astronomy during the latter half of the tenth century. Musk’s acknowledgment of Islam’s crucial role in scientific progress promotes global recognition and understanding of Islamic values and culture. It promotes a positive narrative of acceptance, neutrality, and non-partisan recognition. Musk's admiration for Islamic scientific heritage serves as a reminder that scientific advancements are the result of collective efforts spanning across different civilizations and time periods. It highlights the importance of embracing diverse perspectives and nurturing an inclusive environment in the pursuit of knowledge and innovation
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