Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan(Father of modern chemistry)

Jaber ibn Haiyan, disciple of the sixth Imam Ja'afar-i-Sadeq, became known world-wide as "the Father of Chemistry" and of Arab alchemy. His influence on Western chemistry and alchemy was profound and long lasting. Some hundred of his works survive. Of him the late Sayyid Hebbat-ud-Din Shahristani of Kadhemain, once Iraq's Minister of Education, writes: "I have seen some 50 ancient MSS of works of Jaber all dedicated to his master the Imam Ja'afar. More than 500 of his works have been put into print and are for the most part to be found among the treasures of the National Libraries of Paris and Berlin, while the savants of Europe nickname him affectionately 'Wisdom's Professor' and attribute to him the discovery of 19 of the elements with their specific weights, etc. Jaber says all can be traced back to a simple basic particle composed of a charge of lightning (electricity) and fire, the atom, or smallest indivisible unit of matter, very close to modern atomic science."

The blending of colouring matters, dyeing, extraction of minerals and metals, steelmaking, tanning, were amongst industrial techniques of which the Muslims were early masters. They produced Nitric Acid, Sulphuric Acid, Nitro-glycerine Hydrochloric Acid, Potassium, Aqua , Nitrate, Sulphuric Chloride, Potassium Ammonia, Sal Ammoniac, Silver Nitrate, Alcohol, Alkali (both still known by their Arabic names), Orpiment (yellow tri-sulphide of arsenic: arsenic is derived from the Persian zar = gold, adjective zarnee = golden, Arabised with article "al" to "al-zernee" pronounced "azzernee" and so taken into Greek where it was turned to the recognisable word "arsenikon" which means "masculine" since the gold colour was supposed to link it with the sun, a masculine diety!): and finally - though this does not close the list we might cite-Borax, also an Arabic word booraq. Further, the arts of distilling, evaporation, sublimation, and the use of Sodium, Carbon, Potassium Carbonate, Chloride, and Ammonium were common under the Abbasid Caliphate.


Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

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Ahmet garcia said...

Salam brother, i am a brasilian convert studing spagiryc principles and working at a lab that folllows the methods of the old. İ read fus'ha arabic and i am really looking for manuscripts or prints of the books of Jabir ibn Hayyan and ibn Humayl books
could you jelp me bro??? İ recentlly met from malasya doc. Adi Setia here in brazil.İ think he is from economy department of your university.