Magical Numbers

Muslim contribution to mathematics and arithmetics is too vast to set out in this article. Here we highlight one aspect, numbers which we use in every way and every day - shop tills, schoolbooks, numbering pages, and in countless other ways. Muslims were instrumental in refining the number system and taking it to Europe and the West, and from there to the rest of the world.

Indian numerals form the basis of the European number systems which are now used. However they were not transmitted directly from India to Europe but rather came first to the Arabic/Islamic peoples and from them to Europe. The first Arabic text written to explain the Indian number system was written by al-Khwarizmi.
Indian numerals were from 1-9 with no zero. Zero as a place holder was first explained by al-Khwarizmi in this work.
Indian calculation methods needed a dust board. Al-Uqlidisi showed how to modify the methods of calculating with Indian symbols to methods which could be carried out with pen and paper which we use today and which has been carried over to calculators and computers.
In Arabia, the east Islamic numbers are in use today while European numerals look similar to west Islamic numbers because from these numerals the Indian number system reached Europe.
Only in the 1400’s, when European mathematics began its development, did they slowly adopt it, centuries after Muslims, from Muslims.