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Claim: Muslims gave the world Algebra


Fact: Indians had Algebra before the Muslim prophet & religion were even born. Here is Bakhshali Manuscript dating back to the 3rd century CE. It is an Algebraic treatise. The Bakhshali manuscript, which has been carbon-dated to the 3rd century CE, is an ancient Hindu treatise on Arithmetic and Algebra. The Algebraic problems deal with simultaneous equations, quadratic equations, arithmetic, geometric progressions & quadratic indeterminate equations.


Bakhshali isn’t the earliest Indian Algebraic treatise. Early Algebra is found in Shulba Sutras dating back to at least 800 BC. Traditional Algebra reached its pinnacle in the works of Aryabhata & Bhaskara. What makes Bakhshali special is it offers mathematical proof to its theories. It also contains the oldest known record of zero

The earliest work of “Arabic Algebra” is the “Al-Kitāb Al-Jabr wal-muqābala” by Al Khwarizmi. The term “Algebra” comes from this book (“Al Jabr”). Before writing his treatise, Al Khwarizmi visited India. His book is plagiarism from Indian Mathematics and an obvious one at that.

For example, compare the derivation of PI given in his book Algebra by Khawarizmi (which he ascribes to “astronomers”) to that given by Aryabhata 300 years before his time.

Aryabhata Image

Khwarizmi Image

Not just the value but even the terminology used is identical.

The fact that Khawarizmi heavily plagiarised from Indian Mathematicians has been known to western scholars for 200 years. Henry Thomas Colebrooke was a historian and Mathematicians. Writing in 1817, Colebrook came to the conclusion (page 4) that Khwarizmi owed his Algebra to Hindus. After carefully examining the works of Khawarizmi and ancient Hindu mathematical texts, Colebrooke concludes: “The inevitable conclusion is that Khawarizmi, being conversant with the sciences of Hindus, must have learned Algebra from Hindus”.

Another European Mathematician, Pietro Cossali also came to the same conclusion after diligent research. He says: “Khwarizmi was skilled in Indian tongue and fond of Indian matters. He translated Indian works. He was the first instructor of Muslims in Algebra. Not having taken Algebra from Greeks, Khwarizmi must have either invented it himself or taken it from Indians. Of the two, the second appears to me, the most probable”