The development of chemistry in the Arabs


Chemistry is one of the vital natural sciences that is important in the renaissance of nations, the advancement of industries, and the building of civilizations.

The beginning with the science of workmanship  

Interest in this science began among Muslims since the Umayyad era during the period of Khalid bin Yazid bin Muawiyah and prompted him to do so with the idea that was prevalent among some scholars in the ancient and middle ages, which is the possibility of converting base metals into gold. 

Some scientists have translated Greek chemistry books into Arabic, so what was known as the science of workmanship that contributed to the progress of chemistry, and the care of medicine and pharmacy and the preparation of medicines required  attention to chemistry, and for the many of what the Arabs presented to the science of chemistry, it was described as an Arab science. 

As a result of their scientific experiments in the field of chemistry, the Arabs prepared the following materials: sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and caustic soda, which is used in the manufacture of soap, artificial silk, and ammonia, and antimony from which they extracted kohl for eye medicine, and silver nitrate that was used in pharmacy. 

They also prepared manganese oxide and used it in the manufacture of glass, in addition to that, the Arabs introduced the method of separating gold from silver by dissolution by acid, and scientists mastered the processes of distillation, filtration, sublimation, crystallization, dissolution, sublimation, calcination, etc.

And they used this science in medicine and industries, in making drugs, formulating medicines, purifying metals, formulating aromatic scents, tanning leather, and dyeing fabrics, and they used medicines that if wood was coated with it, it would prevent its combustion. 

Arab gunpowder industry using chemistry

 Muslim scholars developed the use of gunpowder salt, potassium nitrate, which was discovered in China, they used this type of firearm, so they used to make a mixture of gunpowder salt, charcoal, and sulfur, and crush the mixture well. 

Then, they stuff only a third of the cannon with it so that it does not explode, and put in front of this mixture a ball of iron that looks like a bomb, then they set fire to the mixture, so it explodes and throws the ball strongly towards the forts and gatherings of enemies.

Muslims used cannon and firearms in the seventh century AH (thirteenth century AD), and Europe took this industry from them in the next century, and developed it after that.

the famous Arabic chemists

 Jaber bin Hayyan

The emergence and development of the science of chemistry is linked to the Arab Muslim scholar Jaber bin Hayyan al-Kufi (d. 200 AH - 815 AD), as he is the pioneer of chemists and has more than five hundred authors in this sciencm, his books have been taught in Europe for many centuries, and among his books: 

The Balance, The End of Perfection, and A Treatise on Furnaces, translated into Latin, the book of Calcification, and the Book of Clarification, in which he spoke about the formation of metals. 

Jabir bin Hayyan is considered the first to prepare sulfuric acid, vitriol oil, and discover nitric acid, gold water (aqua regia), nitro hydrochloride, and mercury chloride, several inventions are attributed to him in the field of chemistry, including: distillation of vinegar to obtain concentrated acetic acid, preparation of a coating that prevents iron rust, manufacture of non-combustible paper, and the use of manganese dioxide in the manufacture of glass, dyeing leather, and the use of alum to fix the colors.


Al-Razi is considered one of the great scholars also in the science of chemistry, as he is famous for applying the scientific method in conducting experiments, and he reached the secret of industry that previous scientists did not reach, so he was able to convert base metals into gold, and it is said that he made his dishes and tools of pure gold, but he kept the secret of this industry for ethical considerations. 

In his book known as The Secret of Secrets, he mentions his experiments, describing the materials he worked with, the tools and machines he used, and then the method he followed in preparing the compound.


. The Andalusians contributed a good amount to the advancement of the science of chemistry, and this science witnessed a good activity in the era of the caliphate in which the scholar Muhammad bin al-Harith bin Asad al-Khashni appeared.


 and among those who worked in chemistry in addition to his work in mathematics and astronomy was Maslama bin Ahmad al-Majriti, who died in 398 AH - 1007 AD, and among the books that were attributed to him is a book called Rank al-Hakim, in which al-Majriti describes some of the experiments he conducted himself.

The truth is that the book of the rank of al-Hakim with its content of scientific knowledge and experiences indicates a clear indication of the complete proficiency that al-Majriti enjoyed in chemistry and extensive knowledge of its issues, not only in the field of study and consideration, but also in the field of practical experience, and he, with his fruitful efforts in the science of chemistry, added a lot of expertise and scientific experiments that pushed the wheel of chemical studies forward.














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