(December 29, 1256 – July 31, 1321)
Ibn al-Banna’ al-Marrakushi was a percipient and prolific polymath whose flairs spanned numerous fields. His math works encompassed algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and other pure and applied branches which existed during his lifetime. Contemporary scholars were awed by his effortless calculating ability. This adroitness saw him become the first person since Abu Bakr al-Karaji to completely master Algebraic Notations and Binomial Coefficients. Likewise, his proficiency in Continued Fractions enabled him make mincemeat of Root Extractions, Exponentiations and Sum of Squares. These were math-pinnacles then. As eminent professor at al-Qarawiyyin Fez (the world’s oldest university), al-Marrakushi enriched the campus library with his monographs, translated Euclid’s Elements into Arabic, mentored many students, exerted unprecedented influences and attained great fame. Having lent his genius to mathematics, engineering, astronomy and meteorology, he delved deeply into philosophy, literature, commerce and jurisprudence. The community-at-large venerated him: prompting the Marrakesh government to solicit his services in both scientific and communal issues. Future great scholars (such as Shihab al-Din ibn al-Majdi and Abu al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Qalasadi) gained prominence by elaborating on his works. Even after 600 years, successive researchers continued studying him. Although most of his treatises (including Talkhis amal al-hisab and Raf’ al-Hijab) were on mathematics, enough did embrace other sciences and arts. Unfortunately, majority of these perished in the upheavals, which plagued the last millennium. Notwithstanding, his achievements were not forgotten. In 1976, the International Astronomical Union honored him with the Al-Marrakushi lunar crater. Several other commemorations have already been accorded him by his native Morocco.