Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, The Father of Algebra

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer geographer and a scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. He was born in Persia of that time around 780. Al-Khwarizmi was one of the learned men who worked in the House of Wisdom. Al-Khwarizmi flourished while working as a member of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad under the leadership of Kalif al-Mamun, the son of the Khalif Harun al-Rashid, who was made famous in the Arabian Nights. The House of Wisdom was a scientific research and teaching center.

Noteworthy, though, is his development of the algorithms in the same field of mathematics. Since, in computer science, these form the basis for primary calculations, he has therefore been termed as the father of computer science. His discovery of this kind of mathematics has been used in many computer science calculations and discoveries.

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a member of the house of Wisdom in Baghdad where he contributed most of his findings and research. The house of wisdom was merely a center where research into scientific issues was done. It also conducted some teaching activities there. Interestingly, this man has also been linked to the success of modern day algebra. He based most of his works on findings that had been written by scientists and mathematicians who lived before him. But the constant studies and discoveries in mathematics have been used as the foundation for many scientific discoveries.


Al-Khwarizmi confined his discussion to equations of the first and second degrees. He also wrote an important work on astronomy, covering calendars, calculating true positions of the sun, moon and planets, tables of sines and tangents, spherical astronomy, astrological tables, parallax and eclipse calculations, and visibility of the moon. His astronomical work, Zij al-sindhind, is also based on the work of other scientists. As with the Algebra, its chief interest is as the earliest Arab work still in existence in Arabic.

In an attempt to take his mathematical skills further, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi also made some calculations about the position of the moon. As if that was not enough, his calculations even went as far as including the position of the sun and planets. The calendars and the features of it that portray the accuracy of counting days in a year are also attributed to him and his calculations. Many of the works he did in this area were later picked up by scientists who lived after him for further development and refinement.

His most recognized work as mentioned above and one that is so named after him is the mathematical concept Algorithm. The modern meaning of the word relates to a specific practice for solving a particular problem. Today, people use algorithms to do addition and long division, principles that are found in Al-Khwarizmi’s text written over 2000 years ago. Al-Khwarizmi was also responsible for introducing the Arabic numbers to the West, setting in motion a process that led to the use of the nine Arabic numerals, together with the zero sign.


Al-Khwarizmi made several important improvements to the theory and construction of sundials, which he inherited from his Indian and Hellenistic predecessors. He made tables for these instruments which considerably shortened the time needed to make specific calculations.

It can be noted from the foregoing that this scientist had done a lot of work in terms of coming up with important astrological findings and calculations that proved to be of great importance in the years that followed. But one of the most interesting features about his work is his introduction of the roman numerals in English. To date, this system is still in place and working as he had envisioned it.
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About Khawar Akram

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