Abdulhamid B. Vasi B. Türk

Matematik Bilgini, Bilim İnsanı

Diğer İsimler
Ebu’l-Fadl ‘Abdulhamid ibn Vâsi’ bin Türk al-Huttalî (ya da) el-Cîlî’

Mathematician, scientist, one of the founders of algebra (B. ?- D. 986?). His full name is Ebu’l-Fadl ‘Abdulhamid ibnVâsi’ bin Türk al-Huttalî (or) el-Cîlî. He is a Turkish Muslim mathematician who lived in the ninth century. There is little information about his life. It is assumed that Ebu Berze Fazl b. Muhammed b. Abdulhamid b. Türk (Death. Baghdad, 4 November 910) was his grandchild. His and his grandchild’s who was also a mathematician tag “Ibn Turk” shows that they were Turks. It is assumed that they lived two or three centuries after the Hegira. A story claims that they lived during the period of Caliph Vasık (Death 847). Various sources claim that his last name was written differently, so the place he was born and lived in is not precise, however according to them this place should be Gilan at the south of Caspian Sea or Huttal in the west of Chinese Turkmenistan.

Abdülhamid İbn Türk produced some researches about the theory of numbers and algebra. It is certain that he lived and worked in Baghdad in the first half of 9th century and published mathematical works. İbnün-Nedim in his “el-Fihrist”inde mentions Abdülhamîdb. Vâsi and states that he is the author of two books titled “Kitabü’l-Câmifil-hisâb” and “Kitabü’I-Mu’amelât”. When İbnü'l-Kıftîmentions him, he says that he was known as İbn Türk el-Cîlî. He claims that he was very knowledgeable and competent in calculus, members of this science always mentioned him. He added that he was the author of two additional books titled “Kitabü Nevadiri’l-hisab”and “Havassül-â’dad”. However, it is possible that these two titles belong to the same work.

Kâtip Çelebi in his “Keşfü z-zünun” conveys the knowledge Ebu Berze gave about his grandfather Abdülhamid b. Vasî that he was the founder of algebra and preceded in this field Muhammed b. Musa el-Harizmî. He adds later words of Ebû Kâmileş-Şüci el-Eslem who is assumed to have lived a short time after Ebû Berze which accuse Ebû Berze of distorting facts and which claim that the real founder of algebra was Harizmî

One book of Ebu Kâmil and two books of Harizmî came until today in their Arabic originals and translations. It is difficult to determine who was the first author in the field of algebra since neither Abdülhamid b. Vasî’s nor Ebu  Berze’s works are present except for a short writing of him published by Aydın Sayılı. According to Salih Zeki it is known with certainty that Abdülhamid b. Vasî’nin lived before Harizmî. Aydın Sayılı on the other hand expressed after researching the issue at depth that both lived around the same years and maybe Abdülhamid b. Vasî lived slightly earlier than Harizmî; besides that Harizmi did not claim to be a pioneer in this science could justify Ebu Berze, but as for today nothing could be said with certainty.

According to Aydın Sayılı who analyzed Abdülhamid İbn Türk’s works he solved three types of second degree equations in a detailed way, in a systematic approach and with wide explanations. The method he chose for the solution is the geometrical method and it continues the Mesopotamian tradition, reaching the conclusion without using formula and in an oral manner. His studies of equations are slightly different from his precedents and in such a way that it guides his successors.

It is seen that Harizmi who researched about the same issue in his “Kitabü’l-Cebrvel-mukabele” did not analyze equations in a systematic fashion unlike Abdülhamid b. Vâsiand reached the solution with a very short explanation without going to details. Aydın Sayılı interprets this in such a way that for Harizmî the issue was not unknown; therefore he did not see it necessary to go into details. He comes to the conclusion that the possibility of him writing the first book on algebra earlier than Harizmi who is regarded as the founder of algebra in Islamic and Western Worlds could not be deemed very weak.

İbn-I Haldun in the 3rd volume of his “Mukaddime” only mentions Harizmî and Ebu Kâmil and probably refers to Omar Khayyam. Although İbn-i Haldun did not mention his name, İbn-ün Nedim and İbn-ul Kıfti spoke highly of him and Ebu Kâmil strongly opposed Ebu’l Berze’s claim and revealed that he saw him as an opponent of Harizmi. All these expose that Abdulhamid b. Vasî was a great mathematician of that period with certainty.


Kitabü’l-Câmifil-hisâb, Kitabü’I-Mu’amelât (‘Kapsamlı Hesap Kitabı’. This book is written in six booklets and is lost. Probably it is part of the book ‘Kitāb al-Jabrwa’l-moqābala’ ‘Logical Necessities in Mixed Equations’) Kitabü Nevadiri’l-hisab,Havassül-â’dad (‘Book of Calculations’, it is lost. A book with the same title and another book titled ‘Kitāb al-Mesha’ / ‘Book of Calculation’ are attributed to Ebu Barza by İbn el-Nedīm.), Nawāder al-hesāb va kavaşş  al-adād (‘Book of Calculation and Varieties of Characteristics of Numbers’. It is lost.), Kitāb al-Jabrva’l-moqābala (‘Logical Necessities in Mixed Equations’).

REFERENCE: Sâlih Zeki / Âsâr-ı Bâkiye (II, s. 246, 1913), Prof. Dr. Aydın Sayılı / Abdülhamîd İbni Türk'ün Katışık Denklemlerde Mantıkî Zaruretler Adlı Yazısı ve Zamanın Cebri: Logical Necessities in Mixed Equations by Abd al Hamîd İbn Türk and the Algebra of His Time (Ankara 1962), Prof. Dr. Aydın Sayılı / Abdülhamid İbn Vâsî İbn Türk'ün Cebir Konusundaki Bir Yazısı (VI. Türk Tarih Kongresi Bildiriler, s. 95-100, 1967), Ülkü Kumral / Müslüman Bilim Adamları (Akit, s.16-18), TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi (c. I, s. 297, 1988), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 


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