Friday, 21 September, 2018

Iranians Commemorate the “Renewed Persian Polymath”

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September 4 is a national day for Iranians commemorating the “Renewed Persian Polymath”, Abu Rayhan Biruni.

Abu Rayhan Biruni was one of the greatest Persian scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist.

He was one of the well-known characters associated with the court of King Mahmoud Ghaznavid, one of the famous Muslim kings of the 11th century.

Abu Rayhan was conversant with Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. He spent a large part of his lifetime in Ghazni in modern-day Afghanistan.

He was a neutral writer on custom and creeds of various nations, and was given the title al- “The Master” for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. He also made contributions to Earth sciences, and is observed as the “father of geodesy” for his significant contributions to that field, along with his significant contributions to geography.

He wrote a number of books and treatises. Apart from Kitab-al- Hind (History and Geography of India), al-Qanun al-Masudi (Astronomy, Trigonometry), al-Athar al-Baqia (Ancient History and Geography), Kitab al-Saidana (Materia Medica) and Kitab al-Jawahir (Precious Stones) as mentioned above, his book al-Tafhim-li-Awail Sina’at al-Tanjim gives a summary of mathematics and astronomy.

He has been observed as one of the very greatest scientists of Islam, and, all considered, one of the greatest of all times. His critical spirit, love of truth, and scientific approach were combined with a sense of toleration. His enthusiasm for knowledge may be judged from his claim that the phrase Allah is Omniscient does not justify ignorance.

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