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Watch: Rare manuscripts dating back to 400 AH on medicine, astronomy and engineering on display at Sharjah’s House of Wisdom – News

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Published: Saturday, January 20, 2024, 1:28 p.m.

A mix of history and innovation. This is what visitors can see at the latest exhibition at Sharjah’s House of Wisdom, which highlights the legacy of Arab and Muslim scholars in the field of science.

Until March 6, ‘Takwin: Science and Creativity’ offers a comprehensive overview of the rich scientific heritage that has shaped modern thought, particularly in the fields of engineering, astronomy, medicine, mathematics and zoology.

Manuscripts written by scholars and thinkers many centuries ago in various parts of the world were collected. Their ideas became concepts and were used to establish new theories, at which point their names became synonymous with their fields of study.

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Treatises by pioneering figures such as Abu Bakr al-Razi and Ibn Sina gained recognition in medicine and philosophy. While in the field of engineering, people like Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Jazari and Thabit Ibn Qurra became prominent personalities.

In zoology, Al-Jahiz and Al-Damiri left indelible contributions and their scientific discipline contributed greatly to human knowledge.

These are some of the manuscripts to see in the exhibition:

Invention of the alidade

An alidade is a telescopic sight equipment used to determine direction. On display is a rare manuscript titled ‘Treatise on Complete Ality and Its Use’, written by Abu Sahl Wayjan ibn Rustam al-Quhi, who died in 405 AH (Hijri year). Abu Sahl was the first to develop the alidada instrument.

‘Tahrir Usul Euclid’

Visitors can also see a manuscript titled ‘Tahrir Usul Euclid’ (Commentary on the Elements of Euclid) by Nasir al-Din Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Tusi (died 672 AH). This manuscript reflects the tireless efforts of early scholars to transfer and translate the sciences of other civilizations into Arabic. But they were not only translated by Muslim engineering scholars, but also critically analysed, revised and refined the concepts and theories.

It is also a rare manuscript of the book ‘Sharḥ Ashkal Al Ta’sis’ by Musa bin Muḥammad Qadi Zada, which illustrates various shapes and discusses rhombuses, parallelograms and trapezoids.

Crescents and irregular perimeters

Arab and Muslim scholars also wrote entire books on areas, volumes, angles, polygons, and analysis of geometric problems. Relevant exhibits in this field include a manuscript of the book ‘Sharḥ Nukhbat al-Tuffaha fil Ilm al-Misah’ by Abd al-Latif bin Aḥmad al-Dimashqi al-Kutbi. His book provides a detailed explanation of methods for calculating the areas of various complex shapes, including those resembling crescents or irregular perimeters, supported by illustrative drawings.

Also on display are manuscripts on engineering measuring instruments and symmetrical drawing devices, as mentioned by Abu al-Wafa’ al-Buzjani in his letters dating from the 10th century and in his book ‘Al-A’mal al-Handasiyah’, which documented the use of rulers and alities.

Islamic wisdom and creativity.

The House of Wisdom organizes ‘Takwin’ in collaboration with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Saudi Arabia, with the support of the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, the Department of Government Relations, the Development Authority Sharjah Trade and Tourism and Sharjah Museums Authority. .

Admission is free.

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