The Mathematics

Contributions of Islamic Cultures

The Mathematics in Islam

One mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, is known as the father of algebra, even the word algebra comes from one of his books. His famous book of algebra was translated into Latin and became the most important mathematics text in European universities. The translation of another one of his texts helped popularized Arabic numerals in Europe. Muslims learned to write numerals, with decimals and fractions, from Indian scholars. Arabic numerals made business and trade easier, easier to do calculations and check their work. Arabic numerals are still used around the world today.


Algebra us a part of the Mathematics in Islam. The word algebra comes from the title of a Persian mathematician's famous 9th century treatise "Kitab al-Jabr Wa l-Mugabala" which translates roughly as "The Book of Reasoning and Balancing." Built on the roots of Greek and Hindu systems, the new algebraic order was a unifying system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes. The same mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, was also the first to introduce the concept of raising a number to a power.
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Muslims also helped the spread of the Indian concept of zero. The word zero comes from an Arabic word meaning “something empty.” Zero was very important in calculations. Zero also made it easier to express large numbers, like 10 and 1,000.