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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 7

Page 9

The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 7



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

in Europe.

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

its entirety.

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-

erable popularity.

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

explicit solutions.

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

1964, March

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

New York