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:
- A Fatimid author wrote about the ideal characteristics of a da’i: piety, humility, generosity, forgiveness, ability to protect the weak
- This month in history: Hasan-i Sabbah arrived in Fatimid Cairo to pursue further education
- Today in history: Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah succeeded to the Imamat
- Mawlana Hazar Imam: “The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension”
- Nasir-i Khusraw: “Strive to seek knowledge in order to draw nearer to God”
- Persian miniature painting influenced the art of decorating book covers
- The story of Princess Tahmina and Rustam, from Firdawsi’s Shahnama, was a popular episode for illustration
- Mawlana Hazar Imam: “Ours is an intellectual tradition which premiates the pursuit of knowledge that is to be used for the good of larger society”
- Crossword – Scholars and Scientists
- AKDN’s education agencies are a contemporary endeavour of the Ismaili Imamat to enact the ethics of Islam
- His Highness the Aga Khan: “The voluntary sector represents, and can develop, all that is finest in the human potential”
- Footprints – Diamond Jubilee
- Remembrance of Imam – Fida’i Khurasani
- “…For we have sent unto you A light (that is) manifest”
- His Highness the Aga Khan: “The question is, not only what have I achieved, the question is what have I helped others to achieve? That is the notion of social conscience in Islam.”