It is quite strange to experience that the whole world uses the so-called Arabic numerals, except the Arabs themselves who have chosen Hindu numerals. What is their origin, and why don’t the Arabs use them?
Several analysts have asked themselves this question about the non-use of “Arab” numerals by those who are supposed to have invented them. These became known to Europeans via the famous mathematician of Pisa, Leonardo Fibonacci in the 12th century. He found himself in a Kabyle city where he attended school. It was indeed here, at Bugia, that the young Fibonacci, whose father had a trading post in the city, had to learn mathematics at the feet of his then master, Sidi Omar.
Fibonacci, intelligent and quick-witted, immediately noticed a big difference between the digital symbols used in Bugia, and those used in Europe. In addition, there was another unknown symbol used by these Kabyle traders on the other side of the Mediterranean: the zero.
The discovery of this number would revolutionize all mathematical science, and would allow Fibonacci to become famous all over the world, especially because of the discovery he made by developing what are now known as the “Fibonacci Sequence”.
One of the peculiarities of these numbers, unlike those developed by Europeans and Hindus, lies in the meaning and accuracy of the angles contained within these symbols. The symbol of the number zero, being round, contains no angle. While that of the number “One” contains an angle, that of the “two” contains two angles and so on, up to the symbol of the number “nine”. The symbols were not chosen at random, but drawn by ingenious minds. This meaning is totally absent from other numbering systems.
However, to return to our interrogation, it is curious that the Arabs, who are supposed to have invented this system, did not keep it. They opted for another system, imposed by the Hindus, followed by the Persians before being adopted by the whole of the Middle East. The Hebrews and Greeks, for their part, chose to use alphabetic letters as their prefered numbering system. Moreover, there are apparently no old existing manuscripts containing these figures, which the European give paternity to the Arabs.
Abassid documents clearly include Hindu figures. The only traces of these figures called “Arab” are actually in North Africa, among the Berbers (Amazighs). And their discovery in Vgayeth(Bugia) is not fortuitous. It is more reasonable to say that these figures are actually of Kabyle origin than anything else.
After being adopted by Leonardo Fibonacci, these numerals had trouble settling in Europe, before they imposed themselves over time. But it would be the Church which would have imposed them officially, after the clergy’s noted their facility of use and their definitive installation in the very important commercial exchanges with North Africa.
By adopting them officially, they simply baptised them “Arabic numerals”. That’s how Kabyle numbers became arabized.
The Church, like many in those times, and until today, is purposely considering North Africa as Arabic. It is quite curious to see that the whole world uses the so-called Arabic numerals, except the Arabs themselves who have chosen Hindu figures. What is their origin, and why do not the Arabs use them?
What is the most curious aspect is that it is the Europeans who insist on claiming the numerals to be Arabic. There seems to be a real conspiracy against all that is Amazigh and particularly against Kabyle.