The Islamic Bulletin
The Islamic Bulletin
While Astronomy withered in medieval Europe, it flourished
within Islam. Renaissance astronomers learned from the texts
of Islamic scholars, who had preserved, developed, and trans-
formed the science of the ancient Greeks.
The era of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) brought about great
zeal, enthusiasm and enlightenment among the nomadic Arabs
to acquire and spread knowledge which is simply astonishing.
The Holy Qur’an gives supreme importance for acquisition of
knowledge to probe into the vast expanses of the Universe with
the power of reasoning and intellect bestowed on mankind.
The Holy Qur’an states:”And He has subjected to you, as
from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in
that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” (Qur’an 45:13)
The following two centuries, after Hijri was regarded as the
golden era in the Islamic sciences. In the words of a great Har-
vard historian of Science, George Sarton: “From the second
half of the eighth to the end of eleventh century, Arabic was
the scientific and progressive language of the mankind. When
the West was sufficiently mature to feel the need of deeper
knowledge, it turned its attention, first of all, not to the Greek
sources, but to the Arabic ones.”
A historian of the West says that from the 8th to the 14th cen-
tury, most of the Astronomical activity took place in the Middle
East, North Africa, Moorish Spain, while Europe languished in
the Dark Ages.
The wealth of knowledge in Astronomy and other sciences
preserved and developed by Islamic scholars fell into the hands
of Europeans which ultimately paved the way for Renaissance
The growth of Islamic Astronomy by leaps and bounds was
mainly due to Islamic religious observances which presented
a host of problems in mathematical astronomy mostly related
to time-keeping. In solving these problems the Islamic scholars
went far beyond the Greek mathematical methods.
These developments notably in the field of Trigonometry pro-
vided the essential tools for the creation of Western Renaissance
Astronomy. The glimpses of Medieval Islamic Astronomy are
conspicuous even today. The familiar astronomical terms like
Zenith, Azimuth, and the Stars in the Summer Triangle Vega, Al-
tair and Deneb and many more such words are of Arabic origin.
Mentioned below are some of the most prominent Islamic
Musa Al-Khawarzmi: He was among the most important of the
early 9th century astronomers. Apart from his notable contri-
bution to mathematics, he also wrote on Astronomy, especially
on Ptolemy’s “Almagest” (Syntaxis). He prepared a set of “Zij”
(astronomical tables) of future planetary and stellar positions,
called “Zijal Sindhind”, since they were based on some Hindu
tables that were brought to Baghdad. These tables are the first
of the major Islamic Astronomical works that have survived in
Abu Al-Abbas Al-Farghani: He wrote a more general book on
Astronomy, a critical commentary on Al-Khawarzmi’s “Zij” and
a commentary on “Almagest”. This was of utmost importance,
since it gave in Arabic, a thorough account of Ptolemaic As-
tronomy in a clear well organized text which enjoyed consid-
Abu Abdullah Al-Battani: Of all the early Arabian astronomers
he was the greatest and the most famous was. Al-Battani, a
Sabian from Harran, made astronomical observations from Al-
Raqqa on the north bank of Euphrates. He made observations
of eclipses and other celestial phenomena. His most notable
contribution to the field was his “Kitab Al-Zij” (Book of As-
tronomical Tables). He also constructed several astronomical
instruments to make accurate observations and measurements.
Abdul Wafa Al-Buzjani: He was another great representative
of astronomical and mathematical school that had grown up
after the founding of Baghdad. He wrote a complete text
book on Astronomy from a mathematical point of view, with
Abdul Hussain Al-Sufi: He was a late 10th century astronomer
from Iran, renowned for his observations and descriptions of
the stars and his “Book of the Constellation of the Fixed Stars”.
This book became a classic in Islamic Astronomy and Abul
Hussain was recognized in the West as Azophi.
Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni: A multifaceted intellectual from Iran also
contributed to the field of Astronomy, even though his primary
interests were in Astrology. His contributions were in Astro-
nomical Geography, using eclipses to determine the longitude
of places on Earth. He also made astronomical observations to
determine the distance of a degree of the Meridian.
Abdul Hassan Ibn Yunus: He was another great astronomer
as the close of the 10th century, from Egypt with major con-
tributions in the area of astronomical determination of the
prayer times. His tables were very extensive - they had more
than 10,000 entries of the Sun’s position throughout the year.
These tables were so accurate that they were used in Cairo
until the 19th century.
Ulugh Beg: He was the grandson of the famous Mongol Con-
queror Tamerlane. Ulugh Beg also made astronomical obser-
vations and was a dynamic force behind the cultural life of
Samarkhand which was abruptly cut off due to his untimely
The great efforts of the Islamic Astronomers became very handy
for the European Renaissance Astronomers to learn and further
develop the field of Astronomy.
Q: 1. What comes before the month of Rama-
dan? Shaban or Shawwal?
Q: 2. During how many years was the Holy
Qur’an completely revealed?
Q: 3. What is the Zakah of the body?
Q: 4. Who was known by the name Al-Amin?
Q: 5. Name the birthplace of the Holy Prophet
Q: 6. In which month do we fast?
Q: 7. There are some people mentioned in
the Qur’an who are eligible to receive Zakah.
Name at least four.
A: The month that comes before the holy month of
Ramadan is called Shaban.
A: The Holy Quran was completely revealed in 23
A: Fasting is the zakah of the body.
A: The Holy Prophet (SAW) was also commonly
known as the Al-Amin.
A: Mecca is the birthplace of the Holy Prophet (SAW).
A: The Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramadan.
A: There are 4 categories of people mentioned in the
Qur’an who are eligible to receive Zakah: The poor,
the needy, the slaves and the debtors.
Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X)
“The color-blindness of the
Muslim world’s religious so-
ciety and the color-blindness
of the Muslim world’s human
society; these two influences
had each day been making
a greater impact and an in-
creasing persuasion against
my previous way of think-
There were tens of thousands
of pilgrims, from all over the
world. They were of all colors,
from blue- eyed blonds to
black-skinned Africans. But
we were all participating in
the same ritual. Displaying
a spirit of unity and broth-
erhood that my experiences
in America led me to believe
never could exist between the
white and the non-white.”
- Hajj Malik (Malcolm X)
Brief Chronological History
1925, May 19
Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska
Drops out of school at age 15
Convicted of burglary and sent to prison
Studies the Nation of Islam
Leaves prison, dedicates himself to building Nation of Islam,
changes name to Malcolm X
1963, Dec 4
Suspended from the Nation of Islam
Leaves Nation of Islam, starts the MuslimMosque,
1964, April 22
Makes his Hajj and becomes Al Hajj Abdul Malik
1964, June 28
Forms the Organization of Afro American Unity
1964, July 17
Speaks at the Organization of African Unity in
1964, Aug. 13
U.S. State and Justice Department take notice of
his influence on African Leaders at the U.N.
1965, Feb. 13
Al Hajj Malik’s house in Queens, N.Y. bombed
1965, Feb. 21
Al Hajj Abdul Malik Shabazz was assassinated in