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Alchemy

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Alchemy

    Arabic ilm al-kimiyah. The science of alchemy combined occult practices, such as the transformation of the spirit, with scientific concerns and methodologies, but retained a strong technological dimension. These included the preparation of compounds and chemical products, chemical operations such as distillation and crystallization, and the invention of technical apparatus for laboratory use. Most of the known works of alchemy, including those of Jabir ibn Hayyan (eighth century) and Abu Bakr al-Razi (ninth century), contain considerable sections on practical chemistry. This aspect of the practice of alchemy in Muslim societies characterizes it as the precursor to the modern science of chemistry.

    See also Razi, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya, al-

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