Today, April 23, is the day that Iranians commemorate the birth anniversary of Sheikh Bahai
On this occasion, read the article below to learn more about this great renowned Scholar of Safavid Era.
Shaykh Bahai – a scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and poet – was born in 16th-century in Baalbek, Lebanon but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with his father. He wrote over 88 books in different themes mostly in Persian but also in Arabic.
He is regarded as one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy. In later years he became one of the educators of Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi, also known as Mulla Sadra.
Shaykh Bahai died in 1610 in Isfahan. He is buried in Imam Reza’s shrine in Mashad, Iran.
His works comprise Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan, as well as designing the construction of the Manar Jonban, also known as the two shaking minarets, situated on either side of the mausoleum of Amoo Abdollah Garladani in the west of Isfahan.
Shaykh Baha’ al-Din involved in numerous works in philosophy, logic, astronomy and mathematics. His works include 88 articles and books. Shaykh Baha’ al-Din also composed poems in Persian. His famous works in the Iranian language are Jame’ Abbasi and two masnavis (rhymed couplets) by the names of “Milk and Sugar” and “Bread and Halva”. His other writing Kashkool includes stories, news, scientific topics, Persian and Arabic proverbs. He wrote Khulasat Al-Hisab and Tashrih Al-Aflak in Arabic.
Mathematics, architecture and geometry
Shaykh Baha’ al-Din’s reputation was due to his excellent command of mathematics, architecture and geometry. He was the designer of Isfahan’s Imam Square, Imam Mosque and Hessar Najaf. He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque. There is also no hesitation about his mastery of topography. The best example of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan. He designed a canal called Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is one of Iran’s greatest canals. He also determined the track of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Imam mosque.
He also designed and built a furnace for a public bathroom, which still exists in Isfahan, known as Sheikh Bahaei’s bathroom. The furnace was warmed by a single candle, which was located in an enclosure. The candle burned for a long period, warming the bath’s water. According to his own orders, the candle’s fire would be put out if the enclosure was ever opened. This occurred during the restoration and repair of the building and no one has been able to make the system work again. He also designed the Manar Jonban (shaking minaret), which still exists in Isfahan.
Shaykh Baha’ al-Din is also recognized with architectural planning of the city of Isfahan during the Safavid era. Shaykh had designed a public bath called “Garmabeh-e-shaykh” in Isfahan which for a long period it was running and providing hot water to public for years without any visible heating system of the day which usually needed tons of wood. Newly in 1969-70 the bathroom heating system was excavated and few series of underground pipe lines made of sun dried clay were discovered even though there are many theories about the working of this heating system, it was found out recently that he knew about biogas and the network was to guide toilet wells which were common to Iranian’s houses and mosques.