Ibn al-Banna' al-Marrakushi

Ibn al‐Bannāʾ al‐Marrākushī, also known as Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Azdi (Arabic: ابن البنّاء‎) (29 December 1256 – c. 1321), was a Moroccan-Arab[1] mathematician, astronomer, Islamic scholar, Sufi, and a one-time astrologer.

Ibn al‐Bannāʾ al‐Marrākushī
Born29 or 30 December 1256
Died31 July 1321
Academic background
InfluencesAl-Zarqali, Ibn Isḥāq al‐Tūnisī
Academic work
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interestsMathematics, Astronomy


Ibn al-Banna' (lit. the son of the architect) was born in Marrakesh in 1256; he is named al‐Marrākushī after that city.[2] Having learned basic mathematical and geometrical skills, he translated Euclid's Elements into Arabic.[2][3][4][5][6]


Ibn al-Banna' wrote between 51 and 74 treatises, encompassing such varied topics as Algebra, Astronomy, Linguistics, Rhetoric, and Logic. One of his works, called Talkhīṣ ʿamal al-ḥisāb (Arabic: تلخيص أعمال الحساب‎) (Summary of arithmetical operations), includes topics such as fractions, sums of squares and cubes etc. Another, called Tanbīh al-Albāb,[7] covers topics related to:

  • calculations regarding the drop in irrigation canal levels,
  • arithmetical explanation of the Muslim laws of inheritance
  • determination of the hour of the Asr prayer,
  • explanation of frauds linked to instruments of measurement,
  • enumeration of delayed prayers which have to be said in a precise order, and
  • calculation of legal tax in the case of a delayed payment

He also wrote Rafʿ al-Ḥijāb (Lifting the Veil) which covered topics such as computing square roots of a number and the theory of continued fractions.[2] This was the first known mathematical work to use an algebraic notation, further developed by Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī two centuries later.[8]


The crater Al-Marrakushi on the Moon is named after him.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Humez, Alexander; Humez, Nicholas; Maguire, Joseph (1994). Zero to Lazy Eight: The Romance Numbers. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780671742812.
  2. ^ a b c G. Sarton: Introduction to the History of Science; The Carnegie Institution; Washington; 1927; vol 2; p. 998.
  3. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "al-Marrakushi ibn Al-Banna", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  4. ^ Jabbar, Ahmed; Ablagh, Mohammed (2001). Life and Works of Ibn al-Banaa al-Murrakushi. Rabat: Faculty of Letters.
  5. ^ Samsó, Julio (2007). "Ibn al‐Bannāʾ: Abū al‐ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUthmān al‐Azdī al‐Marrākushī". In Hockey, Thomas; et al. (eds.). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York: Springer. pp. 551–2. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. (PDF version)
  6. ^ Vernet, J. (2008) [1970–1980]. "Ibn Al-Bannā Al Marrākushī". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Encyclopedia.com.
  7. ^ A Djebbar: Mathematics in medieval Maghreb; AMUCHMA-Newsletter 15; Universidade Pedagógico (UP), Maputo (Mozambique), 15.9.1995.
  8. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "al-Marrakushi ibn Al-Banna", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.

External linksEdit