List of Islamic scholars described as father or founder of a field

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The following is a list of scholars of medieval Islamic civilization who have been described as the father or the founder of a field by some modern scholars:

  • Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, also known as Abulcasis, has been called the "father of modern surgery"[1] and the "father of operative surgery".[2]
  • 'Ali ibn al-'Abbas al-Majusi, also known as Haly Abbas is ranked among the top three of most eminent doctors of medieval Islam. One scholar asserts that he "must be acknowledged as a founder of anatomic physiology".[3] In addition, the section on dermatology in his Kamil as-sina'ah at-tibbiyah (Royal book-Liber Regius) has one scholar to regard him as the "father of Arabic dermatology".[4]
  • Alhazen: is considered the "father of modern optics",[5][6] the "father of physiological optics",[7] and the "father of optics".[8][9]
  • Al-Biruni: According to Francis Robinson, Al-Biruni earned the "founder of Indology" and "first anthropologist" titles for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India.[10] Georg Morgenstierne regarded him as "the founder of comparative studies in human culture".[11] Al-Biruni is also known as the "father of Islamic pharmacy".[12][13]
  • Al-Farabi: regarded as the "founder of Islamic/Arab Neoplatonism"[14][15] and by some as the "father of formal logic in the Islamic world".[16]
Many consider Al-Farabi to be the real founder of Islamic Peripatetic philosophy.[16] He has also been credited with being the "founder of Islamic political philosophy",[17] however, Peter Adamson, professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King's College London, rejects the title arguing that Al-Farabi "was not a political philosopher in the sense of having given concrete political proposals for running a society: Rather, his aim was to describe the societal conditions that tend to produce virtue and vice".[18]
  • Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi: has been called the father of Arabic lexicography ('ilm al-lugha) and prosody (al-ʿarūḍ).[19]
  • Al-Khawarizmi: most renowned as the "father of algebra". Solomon Gandz states: "In a sense, Khwarizmi is more entitled to be called "the father of algebra" than Diophantus because Khwarizmi is the first to teach algebra in an elementary form and for its own sake, Diophantus is primarily concerned with the theory of numbers".[20]
  • Al-Kindi, known as "the Philosopher of the Arabs", is unanimously hailed as the "father of Islamic/Arab philosophy".[17][21][22]
  • Averroes (1126-1198): known in Arabic as Ibn Rushd, was an Andalusian polymath born in Córdoba, al andalus Spain now. Averroes was regarded by some (medieval ?) Christian bishops as the "father of free thought and unbelief"[23][24] and has been described by some as the "father of rationalism"[25] and the "founding father of secular thought in Western Europe".[26][27] Ernest Renan called Averroes the absolute rationalist, and regarded him as the father of freethought and dissent.[28]
  • Ibn Hazm: author of one of the earliest works on comparative religion and "honoured in the West as that of the founder of the science of comparative religion".[29] Alfred Guillaume refers to him the composer of "the first systematic higher critical study of the Old and New testaments".[30] However, William Montgomery Watt disputes the claim, stating that Ibn Hazm's work was preceded by earlier works in Arabic and that "the aim was polemical and not descriptive".[31]
  • Ibn Khaldun is regarded by many as the father of sociology, historiography and modern economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah.
  • Ibn Sina is regarded as the father of early modern medicine.[32]
  • Jabir ibn Hayyan was a prominent Persian or Arab alchemist who is praised as the "father of Islamic/Arabic alchemy"[33] and who has often been referred to as “the father of chemistry” and is widely credited with the introduction of the experimental method into alchemy, as well as with the invention of numerous important processes that are still used in chemistry today.[34][35]
  • Rhazes: His treatise on Diseases in Children has led many to consider him the "father of pediatrics".[36][37][38] He has also been praised as the "real founder of clinical medicine in Islam".[39]
  • Muhammad al-Shaybani: the father of Muslim international law.[40]
  • Suhrawardi: founder of the Illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy.[41][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A, Martín-Araguz; Bustamante-Martínez, C; Fernández-Armayor Ajo, V; Moreno-Martínez, JM (2002). "Neuroscience in Al Andalus and its influence on medieval scholastic medicine". Revista de Neurología. 34 (9): 877–92. PMID 12134355.
  2. ^ SS, Wijesinha (1983). "El Zahrawi (936-1013 AD), the father of operative surgery". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 65 (6): 423. PMC 2494430. PMID 6357042.
  3. ^ Goodman, Herman (1953). "Notable contributors to the knowledge of dermatology". Medical Lay Press: 38.
  4. ^ Marquis, Leslie (1985). "Arabian Contributors to Dermatology". International Journal of Dermatology. 24 (1): 60–64. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4362.1985.tb05366.x.
  5. ^ Janin, Hunt (2006). The Pursuit of Learning in the Islamic World, 610-2003. McFarland & Co Inc Pub. p. 76. ISBN 0-7864-2904-6.
  6. ^ Krebs, Robert E. (2004). Groundbreaking scientific experiments, inventions, and discoveries of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Westport: CT. p. 20. ISBN 0-313-32433-6.
  7. ^ Crone, Robert A. (2003). Seeing space. Swets & Zeitlinger. p. 87. ISBN 90-265-1955-9.
  8. ^ Patterson, Gordon M. (1990). The essentials of Medieval history : 500 to 1450 AD, the Middle Ages. Research and Education Association. p. 35. ISBN 0-87891-705-5.
  9. ^ El Guindi, Fadwa (2004). Visual anthropology. AltaMira Press. p. xii. ISBN 0-7591-0395-X. founder of the branch of physics known as the science of optics
  10. ^ Robinson, Francis (2010). Islam in South Asia: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide. Oxford University Press US. p. 10. ISBN 0-19-980644-6.
  11. ^ G. Morgenstierne, "Al-Biruni, The Founder of Comparative Studies in Human Culture," in The Commemoration Volume of Biruni International Congress (Tehran: High Council for Culture and Art, 1973), 6.
  12. ^ Yoke, Peng (2006). Explorations in Daoism : medicine and alchemy in literature. Routledge. p. 147. ISBN 0-415-40460-6.
  13. ^ Hamarneh, Sami K. (1984). Anees, Munawar A. (ed.). Health sciences in early Islam : collected papers. Taylor & Francis. p. 220. ISBN 0-9608754-0-9.
  14. ^ Fakhry, Majid. "Al-Farabi, Founder of Islamic Neoplatonism". Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  15. ^ Collinson, Diané; Plant, Kathryn; Wilkinson, Robert (1999). Fifty Eastern Thinkers. Routledge. p. 26. ISBN 0-203-00540-6.
  16. ^ a b Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2006). Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present : philosophy in the land of prophecy. State Univ. of New York Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-7914-6799-6.
  17. ^ a b Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2006). Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present : philosophy in the land of prophecy. State Univ. of New York Press. pp. 137–138. ISBN 0-7914-6799-6.
  18. ^ Bevir, Mark (2010). Encyclopedia of political theory. Sage Publications. p. 14. ISBN 1-4129-5865-2.
  19. ^ Schacht, Joseph; Bosworth, Clifford (1974). The legacy of Islam (2nd ed.). Clarendon Press. p. 323.
  20. ^ Gandz and Saloman (1936), The sources of Khwarizmi's algebra, Osiris i, pp. 263–77: .
  21. ^ Abboud, Tony (2006). Al-Kindi : the father of Arab philosophy. Rosen Pub. Group. ISBN 1-4042-0511-X.
  22. ^ Greenberg, Yudit Kornberg (2008). Encyclopedia of love in world religions. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 405. ISBN 1-85109-980-8.
  23. ^ Guillaume, Alfred (1945). The Legacy of Islam. Oxford University Press.
  24. ^ Bratton, Fred (1967). Maimonides, medieval modernist. Beacon Press.
  25. ^ Gill, John (2009). Andalucía : a cultural history. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 108–110. ISBN 0-19-537610-2.
  26. ^ "John Carter Brown Library Exhibitions - Islamic encounters". Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  27. ^ "Ahmed, K. S. "Arabic Medicine: Contributions and Influence". The Proceedings of the 17th Annual History of Medicine Days, March 7th and 8th, 2008 Health Sciences Centre, Calgary, AB" (PDF). Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  28. ^ Walker, Benjamin (1997). The foundations of Islam : the making of a world faith. London: Peter Owen. ISBN 0-7206-1038-9.
  29. ^ Gibb, H. A. R. Sir Thomas Arnold, Alfred Guillaume (ed.). The Legacy of Islam. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  30. ^ Crandall, Kenneth H. (1954). The impact of Islam on Christianity. American Friends of the Middle East. p. 3.
  31. ^ Watt, W. Montgomery (1996). A History of Islamic Spain. Edinburgh University Press. p. 131. ISBN 0748608478.
  32. ^ "Avicenna's Canon of Medicine: A Look at Health, Public Health, and Environmental Sanitation" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  33. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2006). Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present : philosophy in the land of prophecy. State Univ. of New York Press. p. 147. ISBN 0-7914-6799-6.
  34. ^ Stoddart, J. Fraser (1 January 2009). "The chemistry of the mechanical bond". Chemical Society Reviews. 38 (6): 1802–1820. doi:10.1039/B819333A.
  35. ^ Preedy, Victor R. (2008). Botanical medicine in clinical practice. CABI. p. 37. ISBN 1-84593-413-X.
  36. ^ Wren, Benjamin. Teaching world civilization with joy and enthusiasm. University Press of America. p. 139. ISBN 0-7618-2747-1.
  37. ^ Major, Ralph (1954). A history of medicine. 1. Thomas. p. 239.
  38. ^ Ahmad, A; O'Leary, JP (Nov 1997). "Observations on early suture materials: the first stitch in time". The American surgeon. 63 (11): 1027–8. ISSN 0003-1348. PMID 9358798. One of his best known treatises was on Diseases in Children, and in some circles he has been acclaimed as the father of pediatrics.
  39. ^ Frye, Richard (1975). The Cambridge History of Iran. 4. Cambridge University Press. p. 416. ISBN 0-521-20093-8.
  40. ^ Tabassum, Sadia (20 April 2011). "Combatants, not bandits: the status of rebels in Islamic law". International Review of the Red Cross. 93 (881): 121–139. doi:10.1017/S1816383111000117.
  41. ^ Plott, John C.; James Michael Dolin; Wallace Gray (1989). Global history of philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 38. ISBN 81-208-0552-6.
  42. ^ Kraemer, Joel L. (2010). Maimonides : the life and world of one of civilization's greatest minds. Doubleday. p. 204. ISBN 0-385-51200-7.