YAQUB IBN ISHAQ AL-KINDI (ALKINDUS) (800 - 873 C.E.)
Al-Kindi is known in the West as Alkindus. He was popularly
known as the 'Philosopher of the Arabs' in the Middle
Ages. Cardano considered Al-Kindi as one of the twelve
greatest minds of the Middle Ages. He is among a small
group of Muslim scientists who made original contributions
in many fields. Al-Kindi was a philosopher, astronomer,
physician, mathematician, physicist, and geographer.
He also was an expert in music.
Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Kindi was born at Kufa (present
Iraq) in 800 C.E. His father worked for Khalifah (Caliph)
Haroon al-Rashid. Al-Kindi spent his long career in
Baghdad and was a contemporary of al-Mutawakkil, al-Mamun
and al-Mu'tasim. He died in 873 C.E. during the reign
Al-Kindi was the first physician who systematically
determined the dosage for most drugs. It greatly helped
in the development of dosage standards (prescription)
for patients. In the field of Chemistry, Al-Kindi argued
that base metals cannot be converted to precious metals
and that chemical reactions cannot produce transformation
of basic elements. He made important contributions to
the Arabic system of numerals. In addition, he contributed
to spherical geometry while assisting al-Khwarizmi in
astronomical studies. Al-Kindi's original work provided
the foundation for modern arithmetic. He also made original
contributions to geometrical optics, a special field
of Physics, and wrote a book on it. Several centuries
later, Al-Kindi's work inspired Roger Bacon.
Al-Kindi researched on the scientific aspects of music.
He stated that the various notes that combine to produce
harmony have a specific pitch, and the degree of harmony
depends on the frequency of notes. Further, he provided
a method for the determination of pitch. Al-Kindi stated
that when a sound is produced it generates waves in
the air, which strike the eardrum.
Al-Kindi wrote more than two hundred forty books. Among
them are sixteen books in Astronomy, twenty-two each
in Medicine and Philosophy, twelve in Physics, thirty-two
in Geometry, eleven in Arithmetic, nine in Logic, four
on the number system, seven in Music and five in Psychology.
In addition, he wrote monographs on astronomical instruments,
tides, rocks and precious stones.
Gerard of Cremona translated many of his books into
Latin. These books include Ikhtiyarat al-Ayyam, al-Mosiqa,
Risalah dar Tanjim, Ilahyat-e-Aristu, Mad-o-Jazr and
Al-Kindi's influence on the development of physics,
mathematics, medicine, philosophy and music lasted for