How astronomy evolved in the Islamic era guiding prayer times


Sharjah: If you’re looking for something inspiring this weekend, head to the House of Wisdom in Sharjah. An exhibition called ‘Takwin: Science and Innovation’ will transport you to the starry skies of the Islamic era and show you how early Arab and Muslim scientists, particularly in astronomy, inspired a new generation of thinkers and knowledge seekers.

Long before astronomy as we know it today emerged, these pioneers formulated hypotheses about the Earth’s sphericity, rotation, and other astronomical phenomena. His rare manuscripts on display in the exhibition are adorned with intricate drawings, data and calculations, offering a window into his starry world.

As the exhibition shows, the deep understanding of the cosmos that began to develop was deeply rooted in Arab-Islamic society. It was not just an academic activity, but a cornerstone that shaped spiritual practices and marked important advances in astronomy. The ancient scholars’ work with celestial bodies was not just about understanding the universe; it was woven into the fabric of daily life, guiding prayer times, orienting the Qibla, and marking events such as Ramadan and the Haj.

The rare manuscripts on display in the exhibition are filled with intricate drawings, data and calculations, offering a window into the past.
Image credit: supplied

As the Abbasid state rose to prominence in the golden age of Islam, the science of astronomy acquired an elevated status. The Abbasid caliphs, known for their intellectual aptitude, created an environment where creativity and innovation were valued and encouraged. This era, marked by an exchange of knowledge between various cultures and religions, significantly enriched the Arab-Islamic civilization. Among the luminaries of this era was Thabit Ibn Qurra.

More than just a scholar, Ibn Qurra was a visionary who advanced the calculation of the astronomical year to a remarkable precision of 365 days, six hours, nine minutes and 12 seconds, with a variation of just seconds.

Theories of astronomy

Among the exhibits is the manuscript ‘Anatomy of the Celestial Spheres’ by Baha Al-Din Al-Amili, a fundamental work in astronomical theory. It provides detailed explanations of the astronomical axes, their role in determining the length of day and night, the four seasons, and the movements of seven wandering celestial bodies such as the Sun and Moon.

ISLAMIC ASTRONOMY 87-1708339097462

The exhibition ‘Takwin: Science and Innovation’ will be held until March 6.
Image credit: supplied

The exhibition also displays rare astronomical drawings of Mahmoud bin Muhammad Al-Jaghmini’s ‘Epitome of Simple Theoretical Astronomy’ and his commentary by Musa bin Muhammad, known as ‘Qadi Zada’. These diagrams challenge Ptolemy’s geocentric model, illustrating early scholars’ belief in the sphericity and heliocentric orbit of the Earth.

Visitors can also marvel at a manuscript of ‘Jam’ al-Athar’, which depicts the spheres and higher planets in relation to Venus, along with the movement of Jupiter, lunar phases, eclipses and constellations. These illustrations chart the celestial movements and explore their influence on human and natural life.

The exhibition presents the sinusoidal quadrant, a testament to the ingenuity of Islamic astronomers. This metal instrument, shaped like a quarter circle, was essential for measuring longitudes and latitudes, determining the direction of the Qibla and calculating the hours of day and night.

Knowledge exchange

Fatma Al Mahmoud, director of cultural planning at House of Wisdom, told Gulf News: “This exhibition expands our commitment to knowledge sharing, heritage and culture, by sharing the profound contributions of early Arab and Islamic philosophers and scientists. , and the inspiration we have provided through the centuries.”

He said: “By showcasing the rich legacy of scholars who have proven to be pioneers in thought and methodology, House of Wisdom reaffirms its influential role as a center of culture and intellect. Through the crossroads of wisdom and innovation, this exhibition celebrates those who shaped a narrative that resonates across cultures and generations, generating inspiration and love of science in all who visit.”

Takwin, which will be held until March 6, has been organized in collaboration with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Saudi Arabia and the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Government Relations Department, Sharjah Trade and Tourism Development Authority. and the Sharjah Museums Authority.


UAE News Today :

UAE News Today : Latest UAE News, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah & Middle East News : Get the latest updates & breaking headlines news from across the UAE including Dubai and Abu Dhabi UAE. Get the latest update on UAE, business, life style, UAE jobs, gold rate, Exchange rate, UAE holidays, Dubai police, RTA and prayer times from UAE's largest news.

Related Articles

Back to top button