The Info List - Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm Al-Zarqālī

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Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Yaḥyā al-Naqqāsh al-Zarqālī, also known as Al-Zarkali or Ibn Zarqala (1029–1087), was an Arab[1] Muslim
instrument maker, astrologer, and one of the leading astronomers of his time. Although his name is conventionally given as al-Zarqālī, it is probable that the correct form was al-Zarqālluh.[2] In Latin he is referred to as Arzachel or Arsechieles, a modified form of Arzachel, meaning 'the engraver'.[3] He lived in Toledo, Al-Andalus
before moving to Córdoba later in his life. His works inspired a generation of Islamic astronomers in Al-Andalus. The crater Arzachel on the Moon
is named after him.[3]


1 Early life 2 Science

2.1 Instruments 2.2 Theory 2.3 Tables of Toledo

3 Works 4 See also 5 Notes 6 Further reading 7 External links

Early life[edit] Al-Zarqālī was born in a village near the outskirts of Toledo, the then capital of the Taifa of Toledo.

Art from Toledo in Al-Andalus
depicting the Alcázar
in the year 976.AD

He was trained as a metalsmith and due to his burr skills he was nicknamed Al-Nekkach "the engraver of metals". His Latinized name, 'Arzachel' is formed from the Arabic al-Zarqali al-Naqqash, meaning 'the engraver'.[3] He was particularly talented in Geometry
and Astronomy. He is known to have taught and visited Córdoba on various occasions, and his extensive experience and knowledge eventually made him the foremost astronomer of his time. Al-Zarqālī was also an inventor, and his works helped to put Toledo at the intellectual center of Al-Andalus. He is also referred to in the works of Chaucer, as 'Arsechieles'.[3] In the year 1085 Toledo was taken by the Christian king of Castile Alfonso VI. Al-Zarqālī and his colleagues, such as Al‐Waqqashi (1017–1095) of Toledo, had to flee. It is unknown whether the aged Al-Zarqālī fled to Cordoba or died in a Moorish
refuge camp. His works influenced Ibn Bajjah (Avempace), Ibn Tufail (Abubacer), Ibn Rushd (Averroës), Ibn al-Kammad, Ibn al‐Haim al‐Ishbili and Nur ad-Din al-Betrugi (Alpetragius). In the 12th century, Gerard of Cremona
Gerard of Cremona
translated al-Zarqali’s works into Latin. He referred to Al-Zarqali as an astronomer and magician.[3] Ragio Montanous[citation needed] wrote a book in the 15th century on the advantages of the Sahifah al-Zarqalia. In 1530, the German scholar Jacob Ziegler wrote a commentary on one of al-Zarqali’s works. In his "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium", in the year 1530, Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
quotes the works of al-Zarqali and Al-Battani.[4] Science[edit]

A copy of al-Zarqālī's astrolabe as featured in the Calahorra Tower.

Instruments[edit] Al-Zarqālī wrote two works on the construction of an instrument (an equatorium) for computing the position of the planets using diagrams of the Ptolemaic model. These works were translated into Spanish in the 13th century by order of King Alfonso X in a section of the Libros del Saber de Astronomia entitled the "Libros de las laminas de los vii planetas". He also invented a perfected kind of astrolabe known as "the tablet of al-Zarqālī" (al-ṣafīḥā al-zarqāliyya), which was famous in Europe under the name Saphaea.[5][6] There is a record of an al-Zarqālī who built a water clock, capable of determining the hours of the day and night and indicating the days of the lunar months.[7] According to a report found in al-Zuhrī's Kitāb al-Juʿrāfīyya, his name is given as Abū al-Qāsim bin ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, also known as al-Zarqālī, which made some historians think that this is a different person.[2] Theory[edit] Al-Zarqali corrected geographical data from Ptolemy
and Al-Khwarizmi. Specifically, he corrected Ptolemy’s estimate of the longitude of the Mediterranean sea
Mediterranean sea
from 62 degrees to the correct value of 42 degrees.[4] In his treatise on the solar year, which survives only in a Hebrew translation, he was the first to demonstrate the motion of the solar apogee relative to the fixed background of the stars. He measured its rate of motion as 12.04 seconds per year, which is remarkably close to the modern calculation of 11.77 seconds.[8] Al-Zarqālī's model for the motion of the Sun, in which the center of the Sun's deferent moved on a small, slowly rotating circle to reproduce the observed motion of the solar apogee, was discussed in the thirteenth century by Bernard of Verdun[9] and in the fifteenth century by Regiomontanus
and Peurbach. In the sixteenth century Copernicus
employed this model, modified to heliocentric form, in his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium.[10] Tables of Toledo[edit] Al-Zarqālī also contributed to the famous Tables of Toledo, an adaptation of earlier astronomical data to the location of Toledo along with the addition of some new material.[2] Al-Zarqālī was famous as well for his own Book of Tables. Many "books of tables" had been compiled, but his almanac contained tables which allowed one to find the days on which the Coptic, Roman, lunar, and Persian months begin, other tables which give the position of planets at any given time, and still others facilitating the prediction of solar and lunar eclipses. He also compiled an almanac that directly provided "the positions of the celestial bodies and need no further computation". The work provided the true daily positions of the sun for four Julian years from 1088 to 1092, the true positions of the five planets every 5 or 10 days over a period of 8 years for Venus, 79 years for Mars, and so forth, as well as other related tables.[11][12] His Zij and Almanac
were translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona
Gerard of Cremona
in the 12th century, and contributed to the rebirth of a mathematically based astronomy in Christian Europe and were later incorporated into the Tables of Toledo in the 12th century and the Alfonsine tables
Alfonsine tables
in the 13th century.[11] In designing an instrument to deal with Ptolemy's complex model for the planet Mercury, in which the center of the deferent moves on a secondary epicycle, al-Zarqālī noted that the path of the center of the primary epicycle is not a circle, as it is for the other planets. Instead it is approximately oval and similar to the shape of a pignon.[13] Some writers have misinterpreted al-Zarqālī's description of an earth-centered oval path for the center of the planet's epicycle as an anticipation of Johannes Kepler's sun-centered elliptical paths for the planets.[14] Although this may be the first suggestion that a conic section could play a role in astronomy, al-Zarqālī did not apply the ellipse to astronomical theory and neither he nor his Iberian or Maghrebi contemporaries used an elliptical deferent in their astronomical calculations.[15] Works[edit] Major Works and publications :

1-"Al Amal bi Assahifa Az-Zijia"; 2-"Attadbir"; 3-"Al Madkhal fi Ilm Annoujoum"; 4-"Rissalat fi Tarikat Istikhdam as-Safiha al-Moushtarakah li Jamiâ al-ouroud"; 5-" Almanac

See also[edit]

Islamic astronomy Islamic scholars List of Arab
scientists and scholars Al-Muradi


^ Kennedy, Edward Stewart (1983). Studies in the Islamic exact sciences. American University of Beirut.  ^ a b c s.v. "al-Zarqālī", Julio Samsó, Encyclopaedia of Islam, New edition, vol. 11, 2002. ^ a b c d e Weever, J. Chaucer Name Dictionary: A Guide to Astrological, Biblical, Historical, Literary, and Mythological Names in the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Routledge, 1996. p. 41. ISBN 9780815323020.  ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-10-08.  ^ M. T. Houtsma and E. van Donzel (1993), "ASṬURLĀB", E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Publishers, ISBN 90-04-08265-4 ^ Hartner, W. (1960), "ASṬURLĀB", Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1 (2nd ed.), Brill Academic Publishers, p. 726, ISBN 90-04-08114-3, It is, therefore, really al-Zarḳālī who must be credited with the invention of this new type of an astrolabe. Through the Libros del Saber (Vol. 3, Madrid 1864, 135-237: Libro de le acafeha) the instrument became known and famous under the name Saphaea. It is practically identical with Gemma Frisius's Astrolabum ...  ^ John David North, Cosmos: an illustrated history of astronomy and cosmology, University of Chicago Press, 2008, p. 218 "He was a trained artisan who entered the service of Qadi Said as a maker of instruments and water-clocks." ^ Toomer, G. J. (1969), "The Solar Theory of az-Zarqāl: A History of Errors", Centaurus, 14 (1): 306–36, Bibcode:1969Cent...14..306T, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1969.tb00146.x , at pp. 314–17. ^ Toomer, G. J. (1987), "The Solar Theory of az-Zarqāl: An Epilogue", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 500: 513–519, Bibcode:1987NYASA.500..513T, doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1987.tb37222.x . ^ Toomer, G. J. (1969), "The Solar Theory of az-Zarqāl: A History of Errors", Centaurus, 14 (1): 306–336, Bibcode:1969Cent...14..306T, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1969.tb00146.x , at pp. 308–10. ^ a b Glick, Thomas F.; Livesey, Steven John; Wallis, Faith (2005), Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, p. 30, ISBN 0-415-96930-1  ^ Toomer, G. J. (1969), "The Solar Theory of az-Zarqāl: A History of Errors", Centaurus, 14 (1): 306–336, Bibcode:1969Cent...14..306T, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1969.tb00146.x , at p. 314. ^ Willy Hartner, "The Mercury Horoscope of Marcantonio Michiel of Venice", Vistas in Astronomy, 1 (1955): 84–138, at pp. 118–122. ^ Asghar Qadir (1989). Relativity: An Introduction to the Special Theory, pp. 5–10. World Scientific. ISBN 9971-5-0612-2. ^ Samsó, Julio; Honorino, Honorino (1994), "Ibn al-Zarqalluh on Mercury", Journal for the History of Astronomy, 25: 292, Bibcode:1994JHA....25..289S 

Further reading[edit]

Puig, Roser (2007). "Zarqālī: Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Yaḥyā al‐Naqqāsh al‐Tujībī al‐Zarqālī". In Thomas Hockey; et al. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York: Springer. pp. 1258–60. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0.  (PDF version) Vernet, J. (1970). "Al-Zarqālī (or Azarquiel), Abū Isḥāqibrāhīm Ibn Yaḥyā Al-Naqqāsh". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-684-10114-9.  E. S. Kennedy. A Survey of Islamic Astronomical Tables, (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, 46, 2.) Philadelphia, 1956.

External links[edit]

Scientists Before the Renaissance: Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel) 'Transmission of Muslim
astronomy to Europe' 'An Extensive biography'

v t e

in the medieval Islamic world


by century (CE AD)


Ahmad Nahavandi Al-Fadl ibn Naubakht Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Fazārī Mashallah ibn Athari Yaʿqūb ibn Ṭāriq


Abu Maʿshar Abu Said Gorgani Al-Farghānī Al-Kindi Al-Mahani Abu Hanifa Dinawari Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf Al-Marwazi Ali ibn Isa al-Asturlabi Banu Musa Iranshahri Khālid ibn ʿAbd al‐Malik Al-Khwārizmī Sahl ibn Bishr Thābit ibn Qurra Yahya ibn Abi Mansur


Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi Ibn Al-Adami al-Khojandi l-Khāzin al-Qūhī Abu al-Wafa Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Battani Al-Qabisi Al-Nayrizi Al-Saghani Aṣ-Ṣaidanānī Ibn Yunus Ibrahim ibn Sinan Ma Yize al-Sijzi Mariam al-Asturlabi Nastulus Abolfadl Harawi Haseb-i Tabari al-Majriti


Abu Nasr Mansur al-Biruni Ali ibn Ridwan Al-Zarqālī Ibn al-Samh Al-Muradi Alhazen Avicenna Ibn al-Saffar Kushyar Gilani Said al-Andalusi Al-Isfizari


Al-Bitruji Avempace Ibn Tufail Al-Kharaqī Al-Khazini Al-Samawal al-Maghribi Abu al-Salt Anvari Averroes Ibn al-Kammad Jabir ibn Aflah Omar Khayyam Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī


Ibn al-Banna' al-Marrakushi Ibn al‐Ha'im al‐Ishbili Jamal ad-Din al-Hanafi Muhyi al-Dīn al-Maghribī Nasir al-Din al-Tusi Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī Zakariya al-Qazwini Ibn Abi al-Shukr al-ʿUrḍī al-Abhari Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al‐Farisi Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Marrakushi Al-Ashraf Umar II


Ibn al-Shatir al-Khalīlī Ibn Shuayb al-Battiwi Abū al‐ʿUqūl Nizam al-Din Nishapuri al-Jadiri


Ali Kuşçu ʿAbd al‐Wājid Jamshīd al-Kāshī Kadızade Rumi Ulugh Beg Sibt al-Maridini Ibn al-Majdi al-Wafa' al-Kubunani


Al-Birjandi Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī Piri Reis Takiyüddin


Yang Guangxian Ahmad Khani Al Achsasi al Mouakket Mohammed al-Rudani



Arabic star names Islamic calendar ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity Tabula Rogeriana The Book of Healing


Alfonsine tables Huihui Lifa Book of Fixed Stars Toledan Tables Zij-i Ilkhani Zij-i Sultani Sullam al-sama'


Alidade Analog computer Aperture Armillary sphere Astrolabe Astronomical clock Celestial globe Compass Compass
rose Dioptra Equatorial ring Equatorium Globe Graph paper Magnifying glass Mural instrument Navigational astrolabe Nebula Planisphere Quadrant Sextant Shadow square Sundial Schema for horizontal sundials Triquetrum


Almucantar Apogee Astrology in medieval Islam Astrophysics Axial tilt Azimuth Celestial mechanics Celestial spheres Circular orbit Deferent
and epicycle Earth's rotation Eccentricity Ecliptic Elliptic orbit Equant Galaxy Geocentrism Gravitational potential energy Gravity Heliocentrism Inertia Islamic cosmology Moonlight Multiverse Obliquity Parallax Precession Qibla Salah times Specific gravity Spherical Earth Sublunary sphere Sunlight Supernova Temporal finitism Trepidation Triangulation Tusi couple Universe


Al-Azhar University House of Knowledge House of Wisdom University of Al Quaraouiyine Observatories

Constantinople (Taqi al-Din) Maragheh Samarkand (Ulugh Beg)


Babylonian astronomy Egyptian astronomy Hellenistic astronomy Indian astronomy


Byzantine science Chinese astronomy Medieval European science Indian astronomy

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Mathematics in medieval Islam


9th century

'Abd al-Hamīd ibn Turk Sind ibn Ali al-Jawharī Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf Al-Kindi Al-Mahani al-Dinawari Banū Mūsā Hunayn ibn Ishaq al-Khwārizmī Yusuf Al-Khuri ibn Qurra Na'im ibn Musa Sahl ibn Bishr al-Marwazi Abu Said Gorgani

10th century

al-Sufi Abu al-Wafa al-Khāzin Abū Kāmil Al-Qabisi al-Khojandi Ahmad ibn Yusuf Aṣ-Ṣaidanānī al-Uqlidisi Al-Nayrizi Al-Saghani Brethren of Purity Ibn Sahl Ibn Yunus Ibrahim ibn Sinan Al-Battani Sinan ibn Thabit Al-Isfahani Nazif ibn Yumn al-Qūhī Abu al-Jud al-Majriti al-Jabali

11th century

al-Zarqālī Abu Nasr Mansur Said al-Andalusi Ibn al-Samh Al-Biruni Alhazen ibn Fatik Al-Sijzi al-Nasawī Al-Karaji Avicenna Muhammad al-Baghdadi ibn Hud al-Jayyānī Kushyar Gilani Al-Muradi Al-Isfizari Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi

12th century

Al-Samawal al-Maghribi Avempace Al-Khazini Omar Khayyam Jabir ibn Aflah al-Hassar Al-Kharaqī Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī Ibn al-Yasamin

13th century

al-Hanafi al-Abdari Muhyi al-Dīn al-Maghribī Ibn 'Adlan Nasir al-Din al-Tusi Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī Ibn al‐Ha'im al‐Ishbili Ibn Abi al-Shukr al-Hasan al-Marrakushi

14th century

al-Umawī Ibn al-Banna' Ibn Shuayb Ibn al-Shatir Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī Al-Khalili Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi Ahmad al-Qalqashandi Ibn al-Durayhim

15th century

al-Qalaṣādī Ali Qushji al-Wafa'i al-Kāshī al-Rūmī Ulugh Beg Ibn al-Majdi Sibt al-Maridini al-Kubunani

16th century

Al-Birjandi Muhammad Baqir Yazdi Taqi ad-Din Ibn Hamza al-Maghribi Ibn Ghazi al-Miknasi Ahmad Ibn al-Qadi

Mathematical works

The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing De Gradibus Principles of Hindu Reckoning Book of Optics The Book of Healing Almanac Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity Toledan Tables Tabula Rogeriana Zij


Alhazen's problem Islamic geometric patterns


Al-Azhar University Al-Mustansiriya University House of Knowledge House of Wisdom Constantinople observatory of Taqi al-Din Madrasa Maktab Maragheh observatory University of Al Quaraouiyine


Babylonian mathematics Greek mathematics Indian mathematics


Byzantine mathematics European mathematics Indian mathematics

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 98323479 LCCN: n88106171 ISNI: 0000 0000 7828 4358 GND: 119262916 SUDOC: 028674588 BNF: cb1204