House of wisdom. Muslims where the foundation of modern mathematics was laid.
The House of Wisdom seems to be an imaginary place today. There are no traces of this ancient library left. This great Muslim library was destroyed in the 13th century. So now we don’t know where it really was in Baghdad and what it looked like.
But this library was the cradle of knowledge and wisdom in the golden age of Muslims. This is where the revolutionary concepts of mathematics originated, including discoveries such as the number zero or zero and our modern ‘Arabic’ numbers.
It was established in the eighth century as the personal library of the then Muslim Caliph Harun al-Rashid. However, 30 years later, it was transformed into a public academy.
It seems that this academy called Baitul Hikmat attracted scientists from all over the world and attracted them to go to Baghdad. These scientists and knowledgeable people went to Baghdad because of their active intellectual curiosity and freedom of expression. At that time, Muslim, Jewish and Christian intellectuals were all allowed to study and research there.
In terms of number of books, the House of Wisdom can be compared today to the British Library in London and the e National Library in Paris. Bait-ul-Hikmat in its time had become an institution of the world which had no equal in various branches of science and education in social sciences including mathematics. In addition to mathematics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, geology, philosophy, literature and the arts, dubious subjects such as chemistry and astronomy were available.
House of wisdom great historical institution of mathematics.
To understand this great historical institution one has to resort to an imaginary world but one fact is certain and that is that this institution started a cultural revival which changed the world of mathematics forever.
The House of Wisdom was destroyed in 1258 during the Mongol invasion. It is said that so many books and manuscripts were thrown into the Tigris that the river turned black. However, the scholarly work and discoveries made in this academy introduced an effective and abstract language of mathematics which was later adopted by the Islamic Empire, Europe and finally the whole world.
Jim Al-Khalili, a professor at the University of Surrey in the UK, says: “It doesn’t matter to us where and when the House of Wisdom was founded. Even more interesting is the history of the scientific theories themselves and how they grew up as a result.
You will have to travel in time to find the great mathematical heritage of the House of Wisdom. For hundreds of years in Europe until the end of the Italian Renaissance, the name of a man associated with mathematics was Leonardo da Pisa, who later became known as Fibonacci.
This Italian mathematician was born in the city of Pisa in 1170. When Fibonacci was in his 20s, he traveled to the Middle East, fascinated by the ideas that came to him from India via Iran.
On his return to Italy, Fibonacci published his book, Liber Abachi, one of the first books published in the Western world on the Indo-Arabic numeral system.
When the book Liber Abachi first appeared in 1202, Hindu-Arabic numbers were limited to a few intellectuals, and European tribes and intellectuals were still using Roman numerals, making multiplication and division a difficult task.
Fibonacci’s book explains how numbers can be used in calculating profit rates, the use of money, converting weights into different units, the barter system, and interest rates.
Fibonacci wrote in the first chapter of his book, “Those who want to know the art of arithmetic, to understand its depth and dimensions, must know how to calculate numbers by hand.” Any number can be written with the help of these nine numbers and the zero sign.
Suddenly mathematics was available to everyone in a usable form.
However, Fibonacci’s work as a mathematician was not only the result of his creativity, but also because he understood the work that Muslim scientists had been doing for centuries, including his Calculations included formulas, decimals and their algebra.
In fact, Fibonacci’s book Liber Abachi makes full use of the algorithms of the great ninth-century Muslim mathematician al-Khwarizmi. Al-Khwarizmi for the first time proposed a systematic method of solving quadratic equations, a formula used to solve two-degree equations of only one variable.
Al-Khwarizmi is called the father of algebra because of his discoveries in this field. Algebra also named this field of mathematics algebra. This Arabic word means to connect broken parts. In 821, al-Khwarizmi was appointed astronomer and chief librarian at the House of Wisdom.
Jim al-Khalili says that al-Khwarizmi, in his dissertation, introduced the decimal system to Muslims and that other intellectuals, including Leonardo da Pisa, spread it throughout Europe.
Al-Khwarizmi is largely credited with Fibonacci’s revolutionary influence on modern mathematics. The two figures are about four centuries apart, but are connected by an ancient library. The most famous medieval mathematician stands on the shoulders of another great thinker, a thinker who did his unparalleled scholarly work in a great institution established in the golden age of Islam.
Perhaps due to the lack of information about the House of Wisdom, historians sometimes exaggerate it and give it the status of a giant Malay. All this does not correspond to the few historical records we have about the House of Wisdom.
“Some people are of the opinion that the House of Wisdom was not at all as great as some people think,” says Jim al-Khalili. But its association with thinkers such as al-Khwarizmi, al-Khwarizmi’s work in mathematics, astronomy and geography is proof enough to me that the House of Wisdom was not just a library of translated books, but an almost complete institution of knowledge and research.
Scholars working at the library also worked hard to make the general public have access to their research work.
John Barrow Green, professor of mathematics history at the UK’s Open University, says: The foundation was laid.
Bait-ul-Hikmat was a library that not only provided access to the numerical concepts and ideas of the past, but was also a hotbed of scientific innovation.
The story begins with a library in the palace about a thousand years ago. This was a time when most Western Christianity was intellectually plunged into darkness. This is the story that should change the way we think about mathematics from a European perspective. The story also sheds light on the scientific achievements of the Islamic world and shows that centuries-old numerical treasures are still important today.