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"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."


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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu

Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.

Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].

When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].

Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.

The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah r.a., who said that Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said: Allah SWT said:

Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)

“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008



Based on the book Introduction to the History of Science by George Sarton (provided with photos and portraits)Edited and prepared by Prof. Hamed A. Ead

The Time of Al-Mas'udi
First Half of Tenth Century

The overwhelming superiority of Muslim culture continued to be felt throughout the tenth century. Indeed, it was felt more strongly than over, not only the foremost men of science were Muslims, but also because cultural influences are essentially cumulative. By the beginning, or at any rate by the middle of the century, the excellence of muslim science was already so well established, even in the West, that each new arabic work benefited to some extent by the prestige pertaining to all. To be sure, other languages, such as Latin, Greek, or Hebrew were also used by scholars, but the works written in those languages contained nothing new, and in the field of science, as in any other, when one ceases to go forward, one already begins to go backward. All the new discoveries and the new thoughts were published in arabic. strangely enough, the language of the Qur'an had thus become the international vehicle of scientific progress.

The development of Muslim culture was fostere in Spain by the eighth Umayyad caliph of the west, Abd al-Rahman II, the advances of Muslim science continued to take place almost extensively in the east.

Muslim Mathematics and Astronomy

Practically all the writings of this period were arabic. Let us consider these Arabic writings first. The mathematical production of this period was less abundant and on whole less brilliant than that of the previous one, but it was, for the first time exclusively Muslim, and there were at least two very distinguished mathematicians, Abu Kamil and Ibrahim ibn Sinan. Ibn al-Adami and Ibn Amajur compiled astronomical tables; the latter was said to be one of the best Muslim observers; he made a number of observations between 885 and 933, being aided by his son Ali and a slave called Moflih. Abu Kamil perfected al-Khwarizmi's algebra; he made a special study of the pentagon and decagon and of the addition and subtraction of radicals; he could determine and construct the two (real) roots of a quadratic equation. Abu Othman translated Book X of Euclid, together with Pappos's commentary upon it. Al-Balkhi and the physician Sinan ibn Thabit wrote various treatises on mathematical, astronomical, and astrological subjects. Al-Hamdani compiled astronomical tables for Yemen, and his great work on archaeology of his country contains much information on the scientific views of the early Arabs. Ibrahim ibn Sinan was primarily a geometer; he wrote commentaries on Apollonios and on Almagest and his determination of the area of a parabola was one of the greatest achievements of Muslim mathematics. Al-Imrani wrote astrological treatise and a commentary on Abu Kamil's algebra.

Muslim Physics and Alchemy

Ibn Wahshiya who will be dealt with more fully below, was primarily an alchemist and an occultist. His works do not seem to have any chemical importance, but they may help to understand alchemical symbolism.

Muslim Medicine

The newer medical ideas were, all of them, published in Arabic, but not necessarily by Muslims. The greatest physician of the age was a Jew, Ishaq al-Isra'ili (Isaac Judaeus). We owe him, for instance, the main mediaeval treatise on urine.
Two of the Muslim mathematicians dealt with above, Abu Othman and Sinan ibn Thabit, became famous as organizers of hospitals; Sinan took pains to raise the scientific standards of the medical profession; Abu Othman translated Galenic writings into Arabic.

Muslim Mathematicians


Mohammed ibnal-Husain ibn Hamid. Flourished at the end of the ninth century or the beginning of the tenth. Muslim astronomer. He compiled astronomical tables which were completed after his death by his pupil al-Qasim ibn Mohammed ibn Hisham al-Madani. They appeared in 920-21 under the title Nazm al-iqd (Arrangement of the Pearl Necklace"), together with a theoretical introduction (lost!).

H. Suter: Mathematiker (44, 1920).


Abul-Qasim Abdallah Ibn Amajur (or Majur?) al-Turki. He originated from Fargana, Turkestan, and flourished c. 885-933. Muslim astronomer. One of the greatest observers among the Muslims. He made many observations between 885 and 933, together with his son Abu-Hasan Ali and emancipated slave of the latter, named Muflih. Father and son are often called Banu Amajur. Some of their observations are recorded by Ibn Yunus. Together they produced many astronomical tables: the Pure (alkhalis), the Girdled (al-Muzannar), the Wonderful (al-badi), tables of Mars according to Persian chronology, etc.

H. Suter: Mathematiker (49, 211, 1900; 165, 1902).


Abu Kamil Shuja ibn Aslam ibn Mohammed ibn Shuja al-hasib al-Misri, i. e., the Egyptian calculator. He originated from Egypt and flourished after al-Khwarizmi, he died c. 850, and before al-Imrani, who died 955. We place him tentatively about the beginning of the tenth century. Mathematician. He perfected al-Khawarizimi's work on algebra. Determination and construction of both roots of quadratic equations. Multiplication and division of algebraic quantities. Addition and subtraction of radicals (corresponding to our formula

(a) + (b) = [ a + b + (2ab) ] ).

Study of the pentagon and decagon (algebraic treatment). His work was largely used by al-Kakhi and Leonardo de Pisa.

H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber (43, 1900; Nachtrage, 164, 1902).


Abu Othman Sa'id ibn Ya'qub al-Dimashqi, (i. e., the Damascene). Flourished at Bagdad under al-Muqtadir, Khalifa from 908 to 932. Muslim physician and mathematician. He translated into Arabic works of Aristotle, Euclid, Galen (on temperaments and on the pulse), and porphyry. His most important translation was that of Book X of Euclid, together with Pappos's commentary on it which is extant only in Arabic. The supervision of hospitals in Bagdad, Mekka, and Medina was intrusted to him in 915.

L. Leclerc: Medicine arabe (vol. 1, 374, 1876. Only a few lines). H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber (49, 211, 1900).


Abu Zaid Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi. Born in Shamistiyan, province of Balkh, died in 934. Geographer, mathematician. A member of the Imamiya sect; disciple of al-Kindi. Of the many books ascribed to him in the Fihrist, I quote: the excellency of mathematics; on certitude in astrology. His "Figures of the Climates" (Suwar al-aqalim) consisted chiefly of geographical maps.

The "Book of the Creation and History" formerly ascribed to him was really written in 966 by Mutahhar ibn Tahir al-Maqdisi (q. v., next chapter).

M. J. de Goeje: Die Istakhri-Balkhi Frage (Z. d. deutschen morgenl. Ges., vol. 25, 42-58, 1871). H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber (211, 1900).


Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Sinan ibn Thabit ibn Qurra. Born in 908-9, died in 946. Grandson of Thabit ibn Qurra (q. v. second half of ninth century); his father Sinan, who embraced Islam and died in 943, was also a distinguished astronomer and mathematician (see medical section below). Muslim mathematician and astronomer. He wrote commentaries on the first book of "Conics" and on the "Almagest", and many papers on geometrical and astronomical subjects (for example, on sundials). His Quadrature of the parabola was much simpler than that of Archimedes, in fact the simplest ever made before the invention of the integral calculus.

H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber (53, 1900).


Ali ibn Ahmed al-Imrani. Born at Mosul in Upper Mesopotamia; he flourished there and died in 955056. Muslim mathematician and astrologer. He wrote a commentary on Abu Kamil's algebra and various astrological treatises. One of these, on the choosing of (Auspicious) days, was translated by Savasodra at Barcelona in 1131 or 1134 (De electiobus) (q. v. first half of twelfth century).

H. Suter: Mathematiker (56, 1900; 165, 1902).

Muslim Agriculture


Abu Bakr Ahmed (or Mohammed) ibn Ali ibn al-Wahshiya al-Kaldani or al-Nabati. Born in Iraq of a Nabataean family, flourished about the end of the third century H., i. e., before 912. Alchemist. Author of alchemistic and occult writings (quoted in the Fihrist). He wrote c. 904 the so-called "Nabataean agriculture" (Kitab al-falaha al-nabatiya), an alleged translation from ancient Babylonain sources, the purpose of which was to extol the Babylonian-Aramean-Syrian civilization (or more simply the "old" civilization before the hegira) against that of the conquering Arabs. It contains valuable information on agriculture and superstitions.

Fihrist (311-312, 358).

Arabic Medicine


Isaac Judaeus. Isaac Israeli the elder. (Not to be mistaken for the Spanish astronomer Isaac Israeli the younger; q. v., first half of fourteenth century.) Isaac ibn Solomon. Abu Ya'qub Ishaq ibn Sulaiman al-Isra'ili. Born in Egypt; flourished in Qairawan, Tunis, where he died, a centenarian, about the middle of the tenth century (c. 932?). Jewish physician and philosopher. One of the first to direct the attention of the jews to Greek science and philosophy. Physician to the Fatimid caliph "Ubaid Allah al-Mahdi" (909 to 934), he composed at his request many medical writings in Arabic. Translated into Latin in 1087 by Constantine the African, Into Hebrew, and into Spanish, their influence was very great. The main medical writings are: on fevers (Kitab al-Hummayat); the book of simple drugs and nutriments (Kitab al-adwiya al-mufrada wal-aghdhiya; diaetae universales et particulares); on urine (Kitab al-Baul, by far the most elaborate mediaeval treatise on the subject); on deontology, the "Guide of the physician" (lost in Arabic, extant in Hebrew under the title of Manhag (or Musarha-rofe'im). He wrote also a medico-philosophical treatise on the elements (Kitab al-istiqsat), and another on definitions. Isaac was the earliest jewish philosopher (or one of the earliest) to publish a classification of the sciences. This was essentially the Aristotelian one as transmitted and modified by the Muslims.

Wustenfeld: Geschichte der arabischen Aerzte (51-52, 1840).