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Alchemy (Islam)



Alchemy and chemistry in Islam refers to the study of both traditional alchemy and early practical chemistry (the early chemical investigation of nature in general) by Muslim scientists in the medieval Islamic world. The word alchemy itself was derived from the Arabic word الكيمياء al-kimia.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the focus of alchemical development moved to the Arab Empire and the Islamic civilization. Much more is known about Islamic alchemy as it was better documented; indeed, most of the earlier writings that have come down through the years were preserved as Arabic translations.[1]

The study of alchemy and chemistry often overlapped in the early Islamic world, but later there were disputes between the traditional alchemists and the practical chemists who discredited alchemy. Muslim chemists and alchemists were the first to employ the experimental scientific method (like in modern chemistry), while Muslim alchemists were also the first to develop theories on the transmutation of metals, the philosopher's stone, and the artificial creation of life in the laboratory (like in medieval European alchemy), though these alchemical theories were later rejected by practical Muslim chemists from the 9th century onwards.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Overview

Contributions to alchemy

The Islamic world was a melting pot for alchemy. Islamic alchemists such as Jabir ibn Hayyan (Latinized as Geber) and al-Razi (Latinized as Rasis or Rhazes) contributed key chemical discoveries, including:

Islamic philosophers also made great contributions to alchemical hermeticism. The most influential author in this regard was arguably Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Arabic جابر إبن حيان, Latin Geberus; usually rendered in English as Geber). He analyzed each Aristotelian element in terms of four basic qualities of hotness, coldness, dryness, and moistness.[2] According to Geber, in each metal two of these qualities were interior and two were exterior. For example, lead was externally cold and dry, while gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jabir theorized, by rearranging the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result.[3] By this reasoning, the search for the philosopher's stone was introduced to Western alchemy. Jabir developed an elaborate numerology whereby the root letters of a substance's name in Arabic, when treated with various transformations, held correspondences to the element's physical properties.

Muslim alchemists were also the first to develop theories on the transmutation of metals, the philosopher's stone, and the artificial creation of life in the laboratory, though these alchemical theories were later rejected by practical Muslim chemists from the 9th century onwards.

Beginning of chemistry

 

An early experimental scientific method for chemistry began emerging among early Muslim chemists. The first and most influential was the 9th century Arab chemist, Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan), who some consider the father of chemistry,[4][5][6] for introducing:

Jabir's teacher, Ja'far al-Sadiq, refuted Aristotle's theory of the four classical elements and discovered that each one is made up of different chemical elements:

"I wonder how a man like Aristotle could say that in the world there are only four elements - Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The Earth is not an element. It contains many elements. Each metal, which is in the earth, is an element."[8]

Al-Sadiq also developed a particle theory, which he described as follows:

"The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. That particle produced an atom. In this way matter came into being. Then the matter diversified. This diversification was caused by the density or rarity of the atoms."[8]

Al-Sadiq also wrote a theory on the opacity and transparency of materials. He stated that materials which are solid and absorbent are opaque, and materials which are solid and repellent are more or less transparent. He also stated that opaque materials absorb heat.[8]

Al-Kindi, who was a chemist and an opponent of alchemy, was the first to refute the study of traditional alchemy and the theory of the transmutation of metals into more precious metals such as gold or silver.[9] Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī,[10] Avicenna[11] and Ibn Khaldun were also opponents of alchemy who refuted the theory of the transmutation of metals.

Another influential Muslim chemist was al-Razi (Rhazes), who in his Doubts about Galen, was the first to prove both Aristotle's theory of classical elements and Galen's theory of humorism wrong using an experimental method. He carried out an experiment which would upset these theories by inserting a liquid with a different temperature into a body resulting in an increase or decrease of bodily heat, which resembled the temperature of that particular fluid. Al-Razi noted particularly that a warm drink would heat up the body to a degree much higher than its own natural temperature, thus the drink would trigger a response from the body, rather than transferring only its own warmth or coldness to it. Al-Razi's chemical experiments further suggested other qualities of matter, such as "oiliness" and "sulfurousness", or inflammability and salinity, which were not readily explained by the traditional fire, water, earth and air division of elements.[12] Al-Razi was also the first to:

  • Distill petroleum.
  • Invent kerosene and kerosene lamps.
  • Invent soap bars and modern recipes for soap.
  • Produce antiseptics.
  • Invent numerous chemical processes such as sublimation.

In the 13th century, Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī stated an early version of the law of conservation of mass, noting that a body of matter is able to change, but is not able to disappear.[13]

From the 12th century, the writings of Jabir, al-Kindi, al-Razi and Avicenna became widely known in Europe during the Arabic-Latin translation movement and later through the Latin writings of a pseudo-Geber, an anonymous alchemist born in 14th century Spain, who translated more of Jabir's books into Latin and wrote some of his own books under the pen name of "Geber".

Chemical processes

Geber first invented the following chemical processes in the 8th century:

Al-Razi invented the following chemical processes in the 9th century:

Other chemical processes introduced by Muslim chemists include:

Legacy

Alexander von Humboldt regarded the Muslim chemists as the founders of chemistry.[19]

Will Durant wrote in The Story of Civilization IV: The Age of Faith:

"Chemistry as a science was almost created by the Moslems; for in this field, where the Greeks (so far as we know) were confined to industrial experience and vague hypothesis, the Saracens introduced precise observation, controlled experiment, and careful records. They invented and named the alembic (al-anbiq), chemically analyzed innumerable substances, composed lapidaries, distinguished alkalis and acids, investigated their affinities, studied and manufactured hundreds of drugs. Alchemy, which the Moslems inherited from Egypt, contributed to chemistry by a thousand incidental discoveries, and by its method, which was the most scientific of all medieval operations."[20]

Fielding H. Garrison wrote in the History of Medicine:

"The Saracens themselves were the originators not only of algebra, chemistry, and geology, but of many of the so-called improvements or refinements of civilization, such as street lamps, window-panes, firework, stringed instruments, cultivated fruits, perfumes, spices, etc..."

Robert Briffault wrote in The Making of Humanity:

"Chemistry, the rudiments of which arose in the processes employed by Egyptian metallurgists and jewellers combining metals into various alloys and 'tinting' them to resemble gold processes long preserved as a secret monopoly of the priestly colleges, and clad in the usual mystic formulas, developed in the hands of the Arabs into a widespread, organized passion for research which led them to the invention of pure distillation, sublimation, filtration, to the discovery of alcohol, of nitric and sulphuric acids (the only acid known to the ancients was vinegar), of the alkalis, of the salts of mercury, of antimony and bismuth, and laid the basis of all subsequent chemistry and physical research."[7]

George Sarton, the father of the history of science, wrote in the Introduction to the History of Science:

"We find in his (Jabir, Geber) writings remarkably sound views on methods of chemical research, a theory on the geologic formation of metals (the six metals differ essentially because of different proportions of sulphur and mercury in them); preparation of various substances (e.g., basic lead carbonatic, arsenic and antimony from their sulphides)."[21]

Laboratory apparatus

 

Alembic

The alembic was invented and named by the Muslim chemist Geber.[20]

Conical measure

During his experiments on physics in the early 11th century, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī invented the conical measure,[22] in order to find the ratio between the weight of a substance in air and the weight of water displaced, and to accurately measure the specific weights of the gemstones and their corresponding metals, which are very close to modern measurements.[23]

Hydrostatic balance

The hydrostatic balance was invented by al-Khazini in 1121.[24]

Laboratory flask

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī invented the laboratory flask in the early 11th century.[24]

Pycnometer

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī also invented the pycnometer in the early 11th century.[24]

Retort

The chemical retort used for distillation was invented by Geber as part of the alembic, and was widely used by later Muslim scientists. The retort was later introduced to the West by 1570.[25]

Steelyard

The steelyard was also invented by al-Khazini in 1121.[24]

Still

The still was invented by Geber as part of the alembic.[20]

Thermometer

Avicenna was the first to employ an air thermometer in his experiments on physics.[26]

Other equipment

Muslim chemists and engineers invented the cucurbit and aludel, and the equipment needed for melting metals such as furnaces and crucibles.[15]

In his Secretum secretorum (Latinized title), Al-Razi (Rhazes) described the following tools that were invented by him and his Muslim predecessors (Calid, Geber and al-Kindi) for melting substances (li-tadhwib): hearth (kur), bellows (minfakh aw ziqq), crucible (bawtaqa), the but bar but (in Arabic) or botus barbatus (in Latin), tongs (masik aq kalbatan), scissors (miqta), hammer (mukassir), file (mibrad).[14]

Al-Razi also described the following tools that were invented by him and his Muslim predecessors for the preparation of drugs (li-tadbir al-aqaqir): cucurbit and still with evacuation tube (qar aq anbiq dhu-khatm), receiving matras (qabila), blind still (without evacuation tube) (al-anbiq al-ama), aludel (al-uthal), goblets (qadah), flasks (qarura or quwarir), rosewater flasks (ma wariyya), cauldron (marjal aw tanjir), earthenware pots varnished on the inside with their lids (qudur aq tanjir), water bath or sand bath (qadr), oven (al-tannur in Arabic, athanor in Latin), small cylindirical oven for heating aludel (mustawqid), funnels, sieves, filters, etc.[14]

Chemical substances

Acetic acid

Acetic acid was first concentrated from vinegar through distillation by Geber in the 8th century.[27]

Derivative and artificial substances

In the 10th century, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi wrote that he and his Muslim predecessors (Calid, Geber and al-Kindi) invented the following derivative and artificial chemical substances: lead(II) oxide (PbO), red lead (Pb3O4), tin(II) oxide (Isfidaj), copper acetate (Zaniar), copper(II) oxide (CuO), lead sulphide, zinc oxide, bismuth oxide, antimony oxide, iron rust, iron acetate, Daws (a contituent of steel), cinnabar (HgS), arsenic trioxide (As2O3), alkali (al-Qili), sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), and Qalimiya (anything that separates from metals during their purification).[28]

Distilled alcohol

The isolation of ethanol (alcohol) as a pure compound was first achieved by Muslim chemists who developed the art of distillation during the Abbasid caliphate, the most notable of whom were Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber), Al-Kindi (Alkindus) and al-Razi (Rhazes). The writings attributed to Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815) mention the flammable vapors of boiled wine. Al-Kindi (801-873) unambiguously described the distillation of wine.[29] This may have been for the purpose of separating alcoholic content from drinks due to the Islamic prohibition of alcohol consumption.

Muslim chemists were the first to produce fully purified distilled alcohol from the 8th century and manufactured them on a large scale from at least the 10th century, for use in medicine and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, though it was rarely used for drinking due to the Islamic prohibition of alcohol consumption.[15][17] Alcohol was still consumed by non-Muslims in the Islamic world however.

Ahmad Y Hassan wrote:

"The distillation of wine and the properties of alcohol were known to Islamic chemists from the eighth century. The prohibition of wine in Islam did not mean that wine was not produced or consumed or that Arab alchemists did not subject it to their distillation processes. Jabir ibn Hayyan described a cooling technique which can be applied to the distillation of alcohol."[30]

Medicinal substances

Muslim chemists and physicians discovered and produced at least 2,000 medicinal substances for use in medicine and the pharmaceutical sciences.[31]

Natural substances

In the 10th century, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi classified the natural chemical substances that were discovered by him and his Muslim predecessors (mainly Calid, Geber, al-Kindi and al-Tamimi) as follows:[28]

Vegetable and animal substances

Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi writes that the only vegetable substance used by Muslim alchemists are the ashes of the Ushnan plant, from which they produced alkali metals and alkali salts. Razi also lists ten animal substances that were used by him and his contemporary alchemists: hair, skulls, brains, bile, blood, milk, urine, eggs, nacre (mother of pearl) and horn. He writes that hair, brains, bile, eggs, skulls and blood were used to prepare sal ammoniac.[28]

Other substances

Through their experiments with various chemical compounds, Arabic chemists first produced many other chemical substances, including:

Geber was also the first to classify all seven classical metals: gold, silver, tin, lead, mercury, iron, and copper.[15]

Chemical industries

 

The following chemical substances were invented by Muslim chemists for use in the chemical industries:

Artificial pearl and purified pearl

In his Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna (The Book of the Hidden Pearl), Geber described the first recipes for the manufacture of artifical pearls and the purifying of pearls that were discoloured from the sea or from grease.[33]

Ceramics

From between the eighth and eighteenth centuries, the use of glazed ceramics was prevalent in Islamic art, usually assuming the form of elaborate pottery.[34] Tin-opacified glazing was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first Islamic opaque glazes can be found as blue-painted ware in Basra, dating to around the 8th century. Another significant contribution was the development of stonepaste ceramics, originating from 9th century Iraq.[35] Other centers for innovative ceramic pottery in the Islamic world included Fustat (from 975 to 1075), Damascus (from 1100 to around 1600) and Tabriz (from 1470 to 1550).[36]

Cheese glue

In The Book of the Hidden Pearl, Geber described the first recipes for the manufacture of glue from cheese.[33]

Dyed gemstones and dyed pearls

In The Book of the Hidden Pearl, Geber described the first recipes for the dying and artificial colouring of gemstones and pearls.[33]

Essential oil

Essential oils were first produced by Avicenna in the early 11th century, using steam distillation, for use in aromatherapy and the drinking and perfumery industries.[18]

Explosive fireworks and firecrackers

Fireworks and firecrackers, which may have been adopted from China, were first composed of explosive gunpowder compositions (around 75% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, and 15% carbon) in the Islamic world and were first described by Hasan al-Rammah of Syria in 1270.[37]

Fireproof clothing and dissolved talc

Egyptian soldiers at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 were the first to wear fireproof clothing and the first to smear dissolved talc on their hands, as forms of fire protection from gunpowder.[37]

Kerosene and Kerosene lamp

Kerosene was produced from the distillation of petroleum and was first described by al-Razi (Rhazes) in 9th century Baghdad. In his Kitab al-Asrar (Book of Secrets), he described two methods for the production of kerosene. One method involved using clay as an absorbent, while the other method involved using ammonium chloride (sal ammoniac). Al-Razi also described the first kerosene lamps (naffatah) used for heating and lighting in his Kitab al-Asrar (Book of Secrets). These were used in the oil lamp industry.[38]

Lustreware

Lustreware was invented in Iraq by the Arabian chemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) in the 8th century during the Abbasid caliphate.[39]

Mineral acids

The important mineral acids of nitric acid, sulfuric acid, and hydrochloric acid, were all first produced by Geber. These have remained some of the most common products in the chemical industry for over a thousand years.[15]

Naphtha and tar

From the 8th century, the streets of Baghdad were the first to be paved with tar, derived from petroleum through destructive distillation. In the 9th century, oil fields were exploited in the area around modern Baku, Azerbaijan, to produce the earliest naphtha. These fields were described by Masudi in the 10th century, and by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who described the output of those oil wells as hundreds of shiploads.[17]

Petrol

Muslim chemists were the first to produce petrol from crude oil, using the process of distillation.[40]

Plated mail

Plated mail was invented by Geber in The Book of the Hidden Pearl for use in armours (jawasin), helmets (bid) and shields (daraq).[33]

Rosewater

Rosewater was first produced by Muslim chemists through the distillation of roses, for use in the drinking and perfumery industries.[15]

Drinking industry

Coffee

An Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Yemen to Ethiopia where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century, it had arrived in Makkah and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Greek named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve, then the Italian caffè, and then English coffee.[6][41]

Distilled water and purified water

Arab chemists were the first to produce distilled water and purified water, used for water supply systems and for long journeys across deserts where the supplies were uncertain.[32]

Soft drink

Sherbet, the first juiced and carbonated soft drink, made of crushed fruit, herbs, or flowers, has long existed as one of the most popular beverages from and of the Muslim world, winning over Western figures such as Lord Byron. Muslims developed a variety of juices to make their sharab, an Arabic word from which the Italian sorbetto, French sorbet and English sherbet were derived. Today, this juice is known by a multitude of names, is associated with numerous cultural traditions, and is produced by countries ranging from India to the United States of America.[42]

Syrups

The medieval Muslim sources contain many recipes for drink syrups that can be kept outside the refrigerator for weeks or months.[42]

Glass industry

Artificial gemstone

Jabir first described the production of high quality coloured glass cut into artificial gemstones.[43]

Coloured glass and stained glass

Stained glass was first produced Muslim architects in Southwest Asia using coloured glass rather than stone. In the 8th century, the Arab chemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) scientifically described 46 original recipes for producing coloured glass in Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna (The Book of the Hidden Pearl), in addition to 12 recipes inserted by al-Marrakishi in a later edition of the book.[44]

Clear, colourless, high-purity glass

Clear, colourless, high-purity glass were first produced by Muslims in the 9th century, such as the quartz glass invented by Abbas Ibn Firnas. The Arab poet al-Buhturi (820-897) describes the clarity of such glass as follows:

"Its colour hides the glass as if it is standing in it without a container."[43]

Clear glass mirror

By the 11th century, clear glass mirrors were being produced in Islamic Spain.

Glass factory

The first glass factories were built by Muslim craftsmen in the Islamic world. The first glass factories in Europe were later built in the 11th century by Egyptian craftsmen in Corinth, Greece.[15]

Refracting parabolic mirror

The refracting parabolic mirror was first described by Ibn Sahl in his On the Burning Instruments in the 10th century, and later described again in Ibn al-Haytham's On Burning Mirrors and Book of Optics (1021).[45]

Silica glass and Quartz glass

Silica glass and Quartz glass, a clear, colourless, high-purity glass, was invented by Abbas Ibn Firnas (810-887), who was the first to produce glass from sand and stones such as quartz.[46]

Hygiene industries

Cosmetics

Early forms of cosmetics had been used since ancient times, but these were usually created primarily for the purpose of beautification and often used harmful substances. This changed with Muslim cosmetologists who emphasized hygiene, due to religious requirements, and invented various healthy and hygienic cosmetics that are still used today.[47]

Soap

True soaps made from vegetable oils (such as olive oil), aromatic oils (such as thyme oil) and Sodium Lye (al-Soda al-Kawia) were first produced by Muslim chemists in the medieval Islamic world.[48] Due to washing and bathing being religious requirements for Muslims, they invented the recipe for true soap, which is still in use today, and they invented the soap bar.[6] The formula for soap used since then hasn't changed and are identical to the current soap sold in modern times.

From the beginning of the 7th century, soap was produced in Nablus (Palestine), Kufa (Iraq) and Basra (Iraq). Soaps, as we know them today, are descendants of historical Arabian Soaps. Arabian Soap was perfumed and colored, while some of the soaps were liquid and others were solid. They also had special soap for shaving. It was commercially sold for 3 Dirhams (0.3 Dinars) a piece in 981 AD. A manuscript of Al-Razi (Rhazes) contains various modern recipes for soap. A recently discovered manuscript from the 13th century details more recipes for soap making, e.g. take some sesame oil, a sprinkle of potash, alkali and some lime, mix them all together, and boil. When cooked, they are poured into molds and left to set, leaving hard soap (soap bar).[47]

Perfumery

 

Islamic cultures contributed significantly to the development of perfumery in both perfecting the extraction of fragrances through steam distillation and by introducing new raw ingredients. Both the raw ingredients and distillation technology significantly influenced western perfumery and scientific developments, particularly chemistry.

As traders, Islamic cultures such as the Arabs and Persians had wider access to different spices, herbals, and other fragrance materials. In addition to trading them, many of these exotic materials were cultivated by the Muslims such that they could be successfully grown outside of their native climates. Two examples of this include jasmine, which is native to South and Southeast Asia, and various citrus fruits, which are native to East Asia. Both of these ingredients are still highly important in modern perfumery.

In Islamic culture, perfume usage has been documented as far back as the 6th century and its usage is considered a religious duty. Muhammad said[citation needed]:

"The taking of a bath on Friday is compulsory for every male Muslim who has attained the age of puberty and (also) the cleaning of his teeth with Miswaak (a type of twig used as a toothbrush), and the using of perfume if it is available. (Recorded in Sahih Bukhari).

Such rituals gave incentives to scholars to search and develop a cheaper way to produce incenses and in mass production. Two talented chemists, Jabir ibn Hayyan (born 722, Iraq), and al-Kindi (born 801, Iraq) established the perfume industry. Jabir developed many techniques, including distillation, evaporation and filtration, which enabled the collection of the odour of plants into a vapour that could be collected in the form of water or oil. [49] Al-Kindi, however, was the real founder of the perfume industry, as he carried out extensive research and experiments in combining various plants and other sources to produce a variety of scent products. He elaborated a vast number of ‘recipes’ for a wide range of perfumes, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. His work in the laboratory is reported by a witness who said:

"I received the following description, or recipe, from Abu Yusuf Ya'qub b. Ishaq al-Kindi, and I saw him making it and giving it an addition in my presence.

The writer goes on in the same section to speak of the preparation of a perfume called ghaliya, which contained musk, amber and other ingredients, and reveals a long list of technical names of drugs and apparatus.

Musk and floral perfumes were brought to Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries from Arabia, through trade with the Islamic world and with the returning Crusaders. Those who traded for these were most often also involved in trade for spices and dyestuffs. There are records of the Pepperers Guild of London, going back to 1179, which show them trading with Muslims in spices, perfume ingredients and dyes.[50]

Shampoo

Shampoo was first developed by the Bengali Muslim Sake Dean Mahomet. He introduced it to England when he opened "Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths" in Brighton seafront in 1759. He was later appointed as a "Shampooing Surgeon" to Kings George IV and William IV.[6]

Gunpowder compositions

Main article: Muslim military technology

Purified potassium nitrate

Potassium nitrate (saltpetre) was known to the Arabs in an early time as it was known to Khalid ibn Yazid (Calid) (d. 709) and was known under various names, it is used as a flux in metallurgical operations and for producing nitric acid and aqua regia. Recipes for these uses are found in the works of Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber, d. 815), Abu Bakr al-Razi (Rhazes, d. 932) and other alchemists. Arabs were the first to purify saltpeter to the weapons-grade purity as potassium nitrate must be purified to be used effectively. There are two celebrated works which described the purification processes: one is by Ibn Bakhtawayh in his book al-Muqaddimat (1029), and the other is by the Arab chemist and engineer Hassan al-Rammah of Syria in his book al-Furusiyya wa al-Manasib al-Harbiyya (1270). The first complete purification process for potassium nitrate was described by al-Rammah, who first described the use of potassium carbonate (in the form of wood ashes) to remove calcium and magnesium salts from the potassium nitrate.[51][37]

A complete gunpowder recipe, which uses purified saltpetre for the first time, exists in a 10th century Arabic manuscript.[52] In another manuscript from the 10th century there is a full description of gunpowder and its use in cannons.[53]

Explosive gunpowder

The ideal composition for explosive gunpowder used in modern times is 75% potassium nitrate (saltpetre), 10% sulfur, and 15% carbon. Several almost identical compositions were first described by the Arab engineer Hasan al-Rammah as a recipe for the rockets (tayyar) he described in his al-Furusiyya wa al-Manasib al-Harbiyya (The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices) in 1270. Several examples include a tayyar "rocket" (75% saltpetre, 8% sulfur, 15% carbon) and the tayyar buruq "lightning rocket" (74% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, 15% carbon). He states in his book that many of these recipes were known to his father and grandfather, hence dating back to at least the late 12th century. Compositions for an explosive gunpowder effect were not known in China or Europe until the 14th century.[15][37]

Explosive cannon

The first cannons (midfa) employing explosive gunpowder were used by the Egyptians to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and again in 1304. The gunpowder compositions used for the cannons at these battles were later described in several manuscripts in the early 14th century. Four different gunpowder compositions were used at the battles, with the most explosive cannon having a gunpowder composition (74% saltpetre, 11% sulfur, 15% carbon) again almost identical to idea compositions for explosive gunpowder used in modern times.[37]

See also

  • Islamic science
  • Inventions in the Muslim world
  • Muslim Agricultural Revolution
  • Islamic Golden Age

References

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  27. ^ Olga Pikovskaya, Repaying the West's Debt to Islam, BusinessWeek, March 29, 2005.
  28. ^ a b c Ahmad Y Hassan, Arabic Alchemy: Science of the Art
  29. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan. Alcohol and the Distillation of Wine in Arabic Sources.. www.history-science-technology.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  30. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Alcohol and the Distillation of Wine in Arabic Sources, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  31. ^ S. Hadzovic (1997). "Pharmacy and the great contribution of Arab-Islamic science to its development", Med Arh. 51 (1-2), p. 47-50.
  32. ^ a b George Rafael, A is for Arabs, Salon.com, January 8, 2002.
  33. ^ a b c d Ahmad Y Hassan, The Colouring of Gemstones, The Purifying and Making of Pearls, And Other Useful Recipes
  34. ^ Mason (1995), p. 1
  35. ^ Mason (1995), p. 5
  36. ^ Mason (1995), p. 7
  37. ^ a b c d e Ahmad Y Hassan, Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  38. ^ Zayn Bilkadi (University of California, Berkeley), "The Oil Weapons", Saudi Aramco World, January-February 1995, p. 20-27.
  39. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Lustre Glass and Lazaward And Zaffer Cobalt Oxide In Islamic And Western Lustre Glass And Ceramics, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  40. ^ Deborah Rowe, How Islam has kept us out of the 'Dark Ages', Science and Society, Channel 4, May 2004.
  41. ^ Hattox, R.S. (1988), Coffee and Coffeehouses: the origin of a social beverage in the Medieval Near East, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, p. 18.
  42. ^ a b The World's First Soft Drink. 1001 Inventions, 2006.
  43. ^ a b Ahmad Y Hassan, Assessment of Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  44. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, The Manufacture of Coloured Glass, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  45. ^ Roshdi Rashed (1990), "A Pioneer in Anaclastics: Ibn Sahl on Burning Mirrors and Lenses", Isis 81 (3), p. 464-491 [464-468].
  46. ^ Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", Technology and Culture 2 (2), pp. 97-111 [100].

    "Ibn Firnas was a polymath: a physician, a rather bad poet, the first to make glass from stones (quartz?), a student of music, and inventor of some sort of metronome."

  47. ^ a b The invention of cosmetics. 1001 Inventions.
  48. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Technology Transfer in the Chemical Industries.
  49. ^ Levey, Martin (1973), "Early Arabic Pharmacology", E.J. Brill: Leiden, ISBN 90-04-03796-9.
  50. ^ Dunlop, D.M. (1975), "Arab Civilization", Librairie du Liban
  51. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Potassium Nitrate in Arabic and Latin Sources, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  52. ^ Muslim Heritage
  53. ^ IslamOnline (Arabic)
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alchemy_(Islam)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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