Top 10 Google Doodles' for Muslim Civilisation

Before we start, let's find out what is Google Doodle, than let's explore its connection with Muslim Civilisation:

Google Doodle, from time to time, honours prominent figures from the history of Muslim civilisation - not just political or religious figures but - from scholars to poets, scientists, astronomers, travelers, physicians - people who contributed to our daily life with their discoveries and innovations in many fields. They might not be as well known as Aristo or Newton but if you dig a little deep you will definitely appreciate the importance of highlighting their contributions in Google Doodle.

Honouring prominent figures as a sign of respect and appreciation is a century old habit. 17th-century Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, for example, created what could act as a Google Doodle of the past on the frontpiece of his famous Selenographis. The image shows two prominent scientists as a sign of respect and appreciation from Hevelius for the work they did and world benefied from.


Frontispiece Selenographia, a 1647 description of the moon by Johannes Hevelius

The image on the right-hand side depicts Galileo Galilei, who is set across the page from Ibn al-Haytham (Latenised Alhazen or Alhasen) who is considered by some as the 'father of optics' and as 'first scientist".  With an image of a brain and engraving of 'Ratione' (reason in Latin) on the plinth holding Ibn al-Haytham, Hevelius credits him as a pioneer of the rational scientific method. 

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Isaac Newton

"So one wonders, who [some of] those giants were?", let's find out!

Alhazen's 1048th Birthday

Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (Latinized Alhazen; full name Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham c. 965 – c. 1040) was an Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist of the Golden Age of Muslim civilisation. Sometimes called "the father of optics", he made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception in particular, his most influential work Kitāb al-Manāẓir (Book of Optics"), written during 1011–1021, was translated into Latin. A polymath, he also wrote on philosophy, theology and medicine.

Ibn al-Haytham was the first to explain through experimentation that vision occurs when light bounces on an object and then is directed to one's eyes. He was also an early proponent of the concept that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence—hence understanding the scientific method five centuries before Renaissance scientists.

If learning the truth is the scientist’s goal… then he must make himself the enemy of all that he reads.” Ibn Al-Haytham

Born in Basra, he spent most of his productive period in Cairo and earned his living authoring various treatises and tutoring members of the nobilities. 

In medieval Europe, Ibn al-Haytham was honoured as Ptolemaeus secundus (the "Second Ptolemy") or simply "The Physicist". Ibn al-Haytham paved the way for the modern science of physical optics.

Ibn Sina’s 1038th Birthday

 

One of the pre-modern world’s most influential philosophers, Ibn Sina (known as “Avicenna” in the West) was born in the year 980, during what’s now known as the Golden Age of Muslim civilisation.

Ibn Sina grew up in Afšana, a village near Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan. A self-taught polymath, Ibn Sina learned Indian arithmetic from an Indian grocer. He continued to pursue learning throughout his life, undertaking an intense study of Aristotle’s Metaphysics when he was in his teens, and studying medicine from the age of 16 (reportedly finding this subject “easy”).

From the depth of the black earth up to Saturn's apogee,
All the problems of the universe have been solved by me.
I have escaped from the coils of snares and deceits;
I have unraveled all knots except the knot of Death" 
Ibn Sina

A writer in a wide range of fields, Ibn Sina authored 131 books, the most influential of which is the monumental Al Qanun fil-Tibb, ‘The Canon of Medicine.’ This pioneering study was translated into Latin in the 12th century, and became the predominant text used in European medical courses until the 17th century. The first work to identify contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, to hypothesize that soil and water spread sickness, and to set forth the basics of anatomy, pediatrics, and gynecology, the ‘Canon’ is now credited as forming the basis of Western medicine.

Google Doodle celebrated Ibn Sina: a life devoted to education and the spirit of learning for the betterment of humankind.

Doodle by Cynthia Yuan Cheng

Birthday of Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun (Abū Zayd ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was a Tunisian Arab historiographer and historian.

He is widely considered as a forerunner of the modern disciplines of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography.

When civilization [population] increases, the available labor again increases. In turn, luxury again increases in correspondence with the increasing profit, and the customs and needs of luxury increase. Crafts are created to obtain luxury products. The value realized from them increases, and, as a result, profits are again multiplied in the town. Production there is thriving even more than before. And so it goes with the second and third increase. All the additional labor serves luxury and wealth, in contrast to the original labor that served the necessity of life.” Ibn Khaldun

In the beginning of the empire, tax rates were low AND the revenue was high... At the end of the empire, tax rates were high AND the revenue was low” Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan quotes Ibn Khaldun

He is best known for his book, the Muqaddimah or Prolegomena ("Introduction"). The book influenced 17th-century Ottoman historians like Kâtip Çelebi, Ahmed Cevdet Pasha and Mustafa Naima, who used the theories in the book to analyse the growth and decline of the Ottoman Empire. Also, 19th-century European scholars acknowledged the significance of the book and considered Ibn Khaldun to be one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages.

Ibn Battuta's 708th Birthday

Ibn Battuta (or Ibn Baṭūṭah) ('Abū ʿAbd al-Lāh Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Lāh l-Lawātī ṭ-Ṭanǧī ibn Baṭūṭah) (February 25, 1304 – 1368 or 1369) was a Berber Muslim Moroccan scholar and explorer who widely traveled the medieval world.

Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller..." Traveling - it gives you home in thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land.” Ibn Battuta

Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling (Tuḥfat an-Nuẓẓār fī Gharāʾib al-Amṣār wa ʿAjāʾib al-Asfār), usually simply referred to as The Travels (Rihla). This account of his journeys provides a picture of a medieval civilisation that is still widely consulted today.

These journeys covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond... extending a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo..."

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's 812th Birthday

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tūsī (18 February 1201 – 26 June 1274), better known as Nasir al-Din Tusi (or simply Tusi in the West), was a Persian polymath, architect, philosopher, physician, scientist, and theologian. He is often considered the creator of trigonometry as a mathematical discipline in its own right. Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) considered Al-Tusi to be the greatest of the later Persian scholars.

Tusi’s prose writing, which numbers over 150 works, represent one of the largest collections by a single Islamic author. Writing in both Arabic and Persian, Nasir al-Din Tusi dealt with both religious ("Islamic") topics and non-religious or secular subjects ("the ancient sciences"). His works include the definitive Arabic versions of the works of Euclid, Archimedes, Ptolemy, Autolycus, and Theodosius of Bithynia." Encyclopaedia of Islam by H. Daiber, F.J. Ragep

In Mosul he studied mathematics and astronomy with Kamal al-Din Yunus (d. AH 639 / AD 1242), a pupil of Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī. Later on he corresponded with Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi, the son-in-law of Ibn Arabi, and it seems that mysticism, as propagated by Sufi masters of his time, was not appealing to his mind and once the occasion was suitable, he composed his own manual of philosophical Sufism in the form of a small booklet entitled Awsaf al-Ashraf "The Attributes of the Illustrious".

Averroes' 888th Birthday

Ibn Rushd (Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd; 1126 – 11 December 1198), often Latinised as Averroes, was an Andalusian philosopher and thinker who wrote about many subjects, including philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, Islamic jurisprudence and law, and linguistics. His philosophical works include numerous commentaries on Aristotle, for which he was known in the West as The Commentator. He also served as a judge and a court physician for the Almohad Caliphate.

Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to violence. This is the equation." Ibn Rushd

...Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Jedi Grand Master Yoda

He was born in Córdoba in 1126 to a family of prominent judges—his grandfather was the celebrated chief judge of the city. In 1169 he was introduced to the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who was impressed with his knowledge, so became his patron and commissioned many of Averroes' commentaries. Ibn Rushd later served multiple terms as a judge in Seville and Córdoba. In 1182, he was appointed as court physician and the chief judge of Córdoba. After Abu Yusuf's death in 1184, he remained in royal favour until he fell into disgrace in 1195. He was targeted on various charges—likely for political reasons—and was exiled to nearby Lucena. He returned to royal favour shortly before his death on 11 December 1198.

The plant genus Averrhoa, the lunar crater ibn Rushd, and the asteroid 8318 Averroes were named after him.

500th Anniversary of the Piri Reis Map

Ahmed Muhiddin Piri (1465/70 – 1553), better known as Piri Reis (Turkish: Pîrî Reis or Hacı Ahmet Muhittin Pîrî Bey), was an Ottoman admiral, navigator, geographer and cartographer.

He is primarily known today for his maps and charts collected in his Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation), a book that contains detailed information on navigation, as well as very accurate charts (for their time) describing the important ports and cities of the Mediterranean Sea. He gained fame as a cartographer when a small part of his first world map (prepared in 1513) was discovered in 1929 at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. His world map is the oldest known Turkish atlas showing the New World, and one of the oldest maps of America still in existence anywhere (the oldest known map of America that is still in existence is the map drawn by Juan de la Cosa in 1500). Piri Reis' map is centered on the Sahara at the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer.

The Piri Reis map of 1513 is one of the most beautiful, most interesting, and most mysterious maps to have survived the Great Age of Discoveries. Yet it is one of the least understood maps of this momentous and remarkable period in the history of cartography and geographic explorations.” Gregory C. McIntosh

In 1528, Piri Reis drew a second world map, of which a small fragment (showing Greenland and North America from Labrador and Newfoundland in the north to Florida, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and parts of Central America in the south) still survives. According to his imprinting text, he had drawn his maps using about 20 foreign charts and mappae mundi (Arab, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Indian and Greek) including one by Christopher Columbus. He was executed in 1553.

One of the most controversial and enigmatic maps in the history of cartography…” Norman J. W. Thrower

Abu al-Wafa' al-Buzjani’s 1075th Birthday

You have to do something pretty great to get a moon crater named after you.

If Persian mathematician Abu al-Wafa’ al-Buzjani were alive today, he’d be 1075 years old. It’s startling, then, to consider the importance of his work, conceived of and produced so many years ago.

Google doodle honoured Abu al-Wafa', an innovator whose contributions to science include one of the first known introductions to negative numbers, and the development of the first quadrant, a tool used by astronomers to examine the sky. His pioneering work in spherical trigonometry was hugely influential for both mathematics and astronomy.

Historical evidence, as well as the judgments of Būzjānī's colleagues and generations of scholars who came after him, all attest to the fact that he was one of the greatest astronomers of his age. He was also said to have been a man with great moral virtues who dedicated his life to astronomy and mathematics. His endeavors in the domain of science did not die with him. In fact, the data he had gathered from his observations were used by astronomers centuries after him. Furthermore, the science of trigonometry as it is today is much indebted to him for his work." Muslim Heritage

In our innovative society, we don’t always stop to reflect on the historical figures whose work makes our own advances possible. Abu al-Wafa’s legacy demonstrates the monumental importance of some of history’s lesser known scientists. His picture may not be pinned to the wall in elementary school classrooms, but it’s now pinned to the homepage of Google. Happy 1075th, Abu al-Wafa al-Buzjani!

Al-Biruni's Birthday

Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī) (973–1050), known as Al-Biruni in English, was a scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarezm — a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, and northern Turkmenistan.

Biruni is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the Golden Age of Muslim civilisation and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He studied almost all fields of science and was compensated for his research and strenuous work. Royalty and powerful members of society sought out Al-Biruni to conduct research and study to uncover certain findings.

[Al-Biruni's book] is like a magic island of quiet, impartial research in the midst of a world of clashing swords, burning towns, and plundered temples... Al-Biruni, the first scientific Indologist and one of the greatest of all times... If humanity, not religion, is to triumph in the world the study of comparative religion should start from where Al-Biruni had left it.... He stands unique in his age... - the most cosmopolitan or international scholar in the truest sense of the term.Mohammad Yasin

During the Golden Age, scholarly thought went hand in hand with the thinking and methodology of the Islamic religion. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was also influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy. He was conversant in Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni, then capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan. In 1017 he traveled to South Asia and authored a study of Indian culture (Tahqiq ma li-l-hind...) after exploring the Hinduism practiced in India. He was an impartial writer on customs and creeds of various nations.

Abd al-Rahman Al-Sufi's (Azophi) 1113th Birthday

Abd al-Rahman Al-Sufi forever changed the way we look at the stars in the sky. As one of the world’s most influential astronomers, he dedicated his life to furthering our understanding of the stars and constellations. The lunar crater "Azophi" and the minor planet "12621 Alsufi" are named after him.

One of Al-Sufi's greatest works involved fact-checking the Greek astronomer Ptolemy's measurements of the brightness and size of stars. In the year 964 AD, Al-Sufi published his findings in a book titled Kitab al-Kawatib al-Thabita al-Musawwar, or The Book of Fixed Stars. In many cases, he confirmed Ptolemy’s discoveries, but he also improved upon his work by illustrating the constellations and correcting some of Ptolemy’s observations about the brightness of stars.

Al-Sūf ī was an astronomer in the Arabic–Islamic area. He was of Persian origin, but wrote in Arabic, the language of all science in that time." Helaine Selin

Google Doodle celebrated Al-Sufi on what would be his 1,113th birthday with a representation of the constellation Cancer, also known as “the crab.” The artwork used closely mirrors what appeared in Al-Sufi’s manuscript, The Book of Fixed Stars.The words around the crabs indicate the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West, with the smaller labels providing additional assistance in viewing the constellations.

More than a millennium later, Al-Sufi's keen observations and detailed work still inform our view of the night sky.



Conclusion

Google Doodle is a great tool. It is one of the few popular educational tools on the internet, that is fun and interactive.

The above list contains only a selectio. Google Doodle honoured other scientists and scholars from the history of Muslim civilisation like the Ottoman Turkish traveller Evliya Celebi, the great poet and a mathematician Omar Khayyam, physician, alchemist, philosopher and astronomer Al-Razi (also known by his Latinised name Rhazes), and recently the “Shampooing Surgeon” Sake Dean Mahomed known as the "The shampooer of kings". Many more prominent and influential figures are worthy of being honoured by Google in the future, such as Zheng He the Chinese Muslim Admiral, or Al-Kindi, Al-Zahrawi, Al-Jazari, Al-Jahiz, Ziryab, Ibn Hazm, Erzurumlu Ibrahim Hakki, Katip Çelebi, Hazarfen Çelebi, and many more.


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We will leave you with another Google Doodle hero as our homage, maybe not a scientist nor a historical figure but someone 1001 Inventions was very honoured to have worked with:

In the words of Isaac Newton "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." So one wonders, who those giants were?" Omar Sharif