Al-Biruni, was born in 973 in Khwarizm, Uzbekistan. His father, a distinguished mathematician and astronomer, introduced him to astronomy and geometry at a young age. He subsequently studied the astronomy of the stars, classified the celestial bodies (planets and fixed stars) by order of magnitude, and observed the stars’ apparent motions around the poles; his list included 1,029 stars. Having constructed a globe of the earth, the first in Central Asia, Al-Biruni was the first to arrive at a simple formula for measuring the earth’s circumference proposing the heliocentric model – that the earth revolved around the sun. His works discussed the then debatable theory of the earth’s rotation on its axis and made accurate determination of longitudes and latitudes.
Al-Biruni’s extensive travels took him to India where he studied Sanskrit, Hinduism, and Indian sciences and culture. He produced some of the greatest works in Islamic science such as his masterpiece, the Masu’udic Canon, and historical works such as the Chronology of Ancient Nations, which is devoted to a universal anthropological account of various cultures. The Chronology of Ancient Nations is partly historical and partly an ethnographic study that retains its full significance to this day. He was also the founder of the discipline of comparative religion as shown in his work India, written in 1051.
Al-Biruni also earned the title of father of Arabic pharmacy for his work in pharmacy, which he distinguished as a separate discipline from medicine. In his last work, Pharmacology, he classified the physical features of plants, animals and minerals, and compiled an alphabetical list of medicinal herbs and their uses.
A famed map maker, meteorologist, physicist, philosopher, and historian, Al-Biruni holds the distinction of being one of the greatest mathematicians and historians of humanity. He died in 1048 having written more than 150 works in various fields. Al-Biruni had a vast impact on science in the East and was known as a symbol of learning in the eleventh century.
A lunar crater is named after Al-Biruni. To view the location of this crater, visit http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/146.
Commemorative stamps issued marking a millennium of Al-Biruni’s scientific contributions
“Al Biruni”, The UNESCO Courier, June 1974
Research by Nimira Dewji
Earlier & Related:
Get breaking news related to the Ismaili Imamat, the world wide Ismaili Muslim community and all their creativity, endeavors and successes.
Inspired? Share the story
Want to inspire? Send your stories to us at Ismailimail@gmail.com
Subscribe and join 19,000 + other individuals – Subscribe now!
Earlier & Related – Nimira Dewji at Ismailimail Archives:
- This month in history: The Syrian fortress of Masyaf was captured
- Carpets derived their names from artists in Europe in whose paintings they appeared
- Metalwares were often used to display wealth, power or scholarly life
- This month in history: Ivanow came into contact with Ismailis for the first time
- The style and quality of illumination added value to the book as a treasured object
- Today in history: Nizari Quhistani, one of the most distinguished Persian poets, set off on a two-year journey
- This month in history: Imam Hasan Ali Shah Aga Khan I established his residence in Bombay (now Mumbai)
- Countdown to Diamond Jubilee – Snapshots of Imamat – 1993 to 1997
- Commemorating 40th Anniversary of Aga Khan Award for Architecture
- Today in history: Aga Khan Foundation was established
- Rashid al-Din Sinan had strength of character and was a master of the art of diplomacy
- The scholar known as the father of chemistry was a student of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq
- Fatimid Imam al-Mu’izz: “I have responsibility… as your Imam…My concern…lies…in what protects your lives, makes your lands prosper…”
- Countdown to Diamond Jubilee – Snapshots of Imamat – 1988 to 1992
- In medieval times, the manufacture of textiles was one of the principal luxury industries