MUHAMMAD BIN MUSA AL-KHWARIZMI (Algorizm) (770 -
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was born
at Khwarizm (Kheva), a town south of river Oxus in present
Uzbekistan. (Uzbekistan, a Muslim country for over a
thousand years, was taken over by the Russians in 1873.)
His parents migrated to a place south of Baghdad when
he was a child. The exact date of his birth is not known.
It has been established from his contributions that
he flourished under Khalifah (Calif) Al-Mamun at Baghdad
during 813 to 833 C.E. and died around 840 C.E. He is
best known for introducing the mathematical concept
Algorithm, which is so named after his last name.
Al-Khwarizmi was one of the greatest mathematicians
ever lived. He was the founder of several branches and
basic concepts of mathematics. He is also famous as
an astronomer and geographer. Al-Khwarizmi influenced
mathematical thought to a greater extent than any other
medieval writer. He is recognized as the founder of
Algebra, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic
form but also developed it to the extent of giving analytical
solutions of linear and quadratic equations. The name
Algebra is derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah.
He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing
the sine functions, which were later extrapolated to
tangent functions. Al-Khwarizmi also developed the calculus
of two errors, which led him to the concept of differentiation.
He also refined the geometric representation of conic
The influence of Al-Khwarizmi on the growth of mathematics,
astronomy and geography is well established in history.
His approach was systematic and logical, and not only
did he bring together the then prevailing knowledge
on various branches of science but also enriched it
through his original contributions. He synthesized Greek
and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution
of fundamental importance to mathematics and science.
He adopted the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental
importance, leading up to the so-called arithmetic of
positions and the decimal system. His pioneering work
on the system of numerals is well known as "Algorithm,"
or "Algorizm." In addition to introducing
the Arabic numerals, he developed several arithmetical
procedures, including operations on fractions.
In addition to an important treatise on Astronomy,
Al-Khwarizmi wrote a book on astronomical tables. Several
of his books were translated into Latin in the early
l2th century by Adelard of Bath and Gerard of Cremona.
The treatises on Arithmetic, Kitab al-Jam'a wal-Tafreeq
bil Hisab al-Hindi, and the one on Algebra, Al-Maqala
fi Hisab-al Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, are known only from
Latin translations. It was this later translation which
introduced the new science to the West "unknown
till then." This book was used until the sixteenth
century as the principal mathematical text book of European
universities. His astronomical tables were also translated
into European languages and, later, into Chinese.
The contribution of Al-Khwarizmi to geography is also
outstanding. He not only revised Ptolemy's views on
geography, but also corrected them in detail. Seventy
geographers worked under Khwarizmi's leadership and
they produced the first map of the globe (known world)
in 830 C.E. He is also reported to have collaborated
in the degree measurements ordered by khalifah (Caliph)
Mamun al-Rashid were aimed at measuring of volume and
circumference of the earth. His geography book entitled
"Kitab Surat-al-Ard," including maps, was
also translated. His other contributions include original
work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes. He
also wrote Kitab al-Tarikh and Kitab al-Rukhmat (on