Jabir bin Hayyan

And Jafar Sadik was a scientist besides. We cannot but invite attention to a fact that Jabir bin Hayyan (103/721-200/815), known as Geber, the father of modern chemistry, worked with the materials gathered by Jafar Sadik in Medina, who referred to his Lord in his writings as "My Master" and "A mine of wisdom." The intellectuals in Renaissance in Europe greatly took benefits from the treatises of Jabir bin Hayyan, and these were translated into Latin, German, French and English. He is world-famed as the father of Arabic Alchemy. The word al-kimiya is usually said to be derived from the Egyptian kam-it or kem-it (the black), or some have thought, from the Greek chyma (molten metal).

According to "The Cultural Atlas of Islam" (New York, 1986, p. 328) by Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois al-Faruqi that, "In response to Jafar al-Sadik's wishes, he invented a kind of paper that resisted fire, and an ink that could be read at night. He invented an additive which, when applied to an iron surface, inhabited rust and when applied to a textile, would make it water repellent." Jabir bin Hayyan defined chemical combination as union of the elements together in small particles too small for the naked eyes to see without loss of their character, as John Dalton (1766-1844), the English chemist and physicist was to discover ten centuries later. He was however first to describe the processes of calcination and reduction, improved the methods of evaporation, sublimation, melting and crystallisation; prepared acetic acid, sulphric acid, nitric acid and the mixture of the last two, in which gold and silver could be dissolved; discovered several chemical compounds, and separated antimony and arsenic from the sulphides.

One of the renowned titles of Jafar Sadik was kashiful haqaiq means "one who reveals mysteries", and also muhaqiq means "researcher." The reason for investing him such titles was that he had disclosed many wonderful scientific theories then unknown to the Arab world. For instance, it is related that once Jafar Sadik said: "God has created a planet with cold water on the seventh heaven, and other six planets have been created with hot water." This is an explicit discovery of a planet, called Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh however discovered it photographically on January 21, 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. The word seventh heaven signifies the most distant planet in the solar system, as its distance is 3.67 billion miles (5.9 billion km.) from the sun. Being remote in distance, the rays of the sun reach very mild, resulting the temperature as low as 360 degree F (or -218 degree C), and thus it remains frozen. On account of its coldness, Jafar Sadik expounded the creation of Pluto with cold water. He was therefore the first to report the very existence of Pluto.

In Arabic astronomy, kawakib is the general term for the luminous heavenly bodies, and thus the word al-kawakib al-sayyarah means "the planets as opposed the stars" or it is known as al-kawakib al-thabitah. Only five planets (kawakib) were known to the Arabs in pre-Islamic period, known as al-kawakib al-khamsa or al-mutahayyira.When the Greek science had been translated (between 133/750 and 287/900) in the Arabian peninsula in the time of Jafar Sadik, the Arabian astrologers accepted the theory of six planets by adding zuhul (Saturn) in their study. Thus, the three planets below the sphere of the sun were known as "the lower planets" (al-kawakib al-sufliyah) viz. Venus (zuhrah), Mercury (utarid) and the Moon (qamar). While the other three planets beyond the sphere of the sun were called "the high planets" (al-kawakib al-ulwiyah) viz. Saturn (zuhul), Jupiter (mushtari) and Mars (marikh). The credit therefore, for reporting the existence of Pluto for the first time goes to Jafar Sadik when the instrument observing the heavenly bodies was not then invented.

There is also another astronomical discovery by Jafar Sadik, who once asked a Syrian astrologer, "How much is the light of sukainah less than that of Venus (zuhrah)?" The astrologer said, "I swear upon God that I never heard until today even the name of this planet." This tradition most unambiguously indicates the very existence of one another planet which was also unknown then, but it had been discovered with the help of telescope by the English astronomer, William Herschel in 1781, known as Uranus. The Arabic word sukainah is derived from sukun means "rest", and how appropriate a name it is for Uranus, which would appear from the slow and restful way in which it completes its revolution round the sun, and as a result it is called a "fainter planet". Jafar Sadik spoke in the same breath of two such different planets as Venus and Uranus, the former being bright and rapid, and the latter a very faint, slow moving orb.

Jafar Sadik is said to have propounded few other important scientific theories in his discourses. For instance, he once said: "The visual rays of an object enter in our eyes, whose only one part flashes in our eyes, resulting our unability to perceive an object so easy which is far from us. The rays of an object lying at a distance can be totally entered in our eyes and we can see it very closely, provided an instrument is invented, through which the rays of a farthest object can enter in the eyes, and then the camels in the desert, grazing at a distance of 3000 yards, will be seen at a distance of 60 yards. It means that the grazing camels will be seen 50 times nearer." This is perhaps the first correction of the theories of "sight rays" as expounded by Euclid (330-226 B.C.) and Ptolemy (9-168 A.D.), which were supposed to radiate out of eyes onto object. Later on, the theory of Jafar Sadik had been accepted after many experiments by the renowned scientist of Fatimids period, called Ibn al-Haytham (354-429/965-1039), known as Alhazen. His acclaimed treatise on optics, namely "Kitab al-Manazir" was translated into Latin under the title "Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni" in 1270 by Witelo. Afterwards, it was published by Frederick Risner at Basel in 1572. According to Ibn al-Haytham, "It is not a ray leaving the eyes that causes sight! It is far more the form of the perceived object that radiates onto the eye and is converted by its transparent body."

Jafar Sadik further recommended for an invention of an instrument to watch an object of a remote distance 50 times nearer. Hence, the European scientist, Roger Bacon (1220-1292) had also proposed for such instrument, bringing an object 50 times near to our sight. Later on, the Italian scientist Gailileo (1564-1642) was destined to invent the suggestive instrument, that is, telescope in 1610; whose functions absolutely based on the theory of Jafar Sadik, bringing an object visible 50 times closer to its actual distance.

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