Al-Biruni

Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni
Biruni-russian.jpg
An imaginary rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Soviet post stamp
Born973
Kath, or Khiva,[1] Khwarezm, Afrighid dynasty (modern-day Uzbekistan)
Diedc. 1050 (aged 77)
Ghazni, Ghaznavid Empire (modern-day Afghanistan)
ResidenceKhwarezm, Central Asia
Ziyarid dynasty (Rey)[2]Ghaznavid dynasty (Ghazni)[3]
Academic background
InfluencesAristotle, Ptolemy, Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Abū Ḥanīfa Dīnawarī, Rhazes, al-Sijzi, Iranshahri, Abu Nasr Mansur, Avicenna, al-Battani, Al-Tamimi
Academic work
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interestsGeology, physics, anthropology, comparative sociology, astronomy, astrology, chemistry, history, geography, mathematics, medicine, psychology, philosophy, theology
Notable worksThe Remaining Signs of Past Centuries, Gems, Indica, The Mas'udi Canon, Understanding Astrology
InfluencedAl-Sijzi, Avicenna, Omar Khayyam, al-Khazini, Zakariya al-Qazwini, Maragha observatory, Islamic science, Islamic philosophy

Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (Chorasmian/Persian: ابوریحان محمد بن احمد البیرونیAbū Rayḥān Bērōnī;[4][5] New Persian: Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī[6]) (973–1050), known as Al-Biruni (Arabic: البيروني‎) in English,[7] was an Iranian[8][9][10][11] scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarazm — a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, and northern Turkmenistan.

Biruni is regarded as one of the greatest 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.[10] He studied almost all fields of science and was compensated for his research and strenuous work. Royalty and powerful members of society sought out Al-Biruni to conduct research and study to uncover certain findings. He lived during the Islamic Golden Age, in which scholarly thought went hand in hand with the thinking and methodology of the Islamic religion. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was also influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy.[12] He was conversant in Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni, then capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan. In 1017 he traveled to South Asia and authored a study of Indian culture (Tahqiq ma li-l-hind...) after exploring the Hinduism practised in India.[a] He was given the title "founder of Indology". He was an impartial writer on customs and creeds of various nations, and was given the title al-Ustadh ("The Master") for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India.[10]

Life

He was born in the outer district of Kath, the capital of the Afrighid dynasty of Khwarezm (now a part of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan)[14][10] (or Chorasmia).[15][14] To conduct research, Al-Biruni used different methods to tackle the various fields he studied. Many consider Al-Biruni one of the greatest scientists in history, and especially of Islam because of his discoveries and methodology. He lived during the Islamic Golden Age, which promoted astronomy and encouraged all scholars to work on their research.[14] Al-Biruni spent the first twenty-five years of his life in Khwarezm where he studied Islamic jurisprudence, theology, grammar, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy and also dabbled in the field of physics and most other sciences as well.[15] The Iranian Khwarezmian language, which was the language of Biruni,[16][17] survived for several centuries after Islam until the Turkification of the region, and so must some at least of the culture and lore of ancient Khwarezm, for it is hard to see the commanding figure of Biruni, a repository of so much knowledge, appearing in a cultural vacuum.[18] He was sympathetic to the Afrighids, who were overthrown by the rival dynasty of Ma'munids in 995. He left his homeland for Bukhara, then under the Samanid ruler Mansur II the son of Nuh. There he corresponded with Avicenna[19] and there are extant exchanges of views between these two scholars.

In 998, he went to the court of the Ziyarid amir of Tabaristan, Shams al-Mo'ali Abol-hasan Ghaboos ibn Wushmgir. There he wrote his first important work, al-Athar al-Baqqiya 'an al-Qorun al-Khaliyya (literally: "The remaining traces of past centuries" and translated as "Chronology of ancient nations" or "Vestiges of the Past") on historical and scientific chronology, probably around 1000 A.D., though he later made some amendments to the book. He also visited the court of the Bavandid ruler Al-Marzuban. Accepting the definite demise of the Afrighids at the hands of the Ma'munids, he made peace with the latter who then ruled Khwarezm. Their court at Gorganj (also in Khwarezm) was gaining fame for its gathering of brilliant scientists.

In 1017, Mahmud of Ghazni took Rey. Most scholars, including al-Biruni, were taken to Ghazni, the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty.[2] Biruni was made court astrologer[20] and accompanied Mahmud on his invasions into India, living there for a few years. He was forty-four years old when he went on the journeys with Mahmud of Ghazni.[14] Biruni became acquainted with all things related to India. He may even have learned some Sanskrit. During this time he wrote his study of India, finishing it around 1030.[21] Along with his writing, Al-Biruni also made sure to extend his study to science while on the expeditions. He sought to find a method to measure the height of the sun, and created an early version of an astrolabe for that purpose.[14] Al-Biruni was able to make much progress in his study over the frequent travels that he went on throughout the lands of India.[22]

Other Languages
aragonés: Al-Biruni
asturianu: Al-Biruni
azərbaycanca: Əl-Biruni
تۆرکجه: بیرونی
башҡортса: Әл-Бируни
беларуская: Аль-Біруні
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Аль-Біруні
bosanski: El-Biruni
català: Al-Biruní
čeština: Aliboron
Deutsch: Al-Biruni
Ελληνικά: Αλ-Μπιρούνι
español: Al-Biruni
Esperanto: Al-Biruni
euskara: Al-Biruni
français: Al-Biruni
galego: Al Biruni
ગુજરાતી: અલ બિરૂની
한국어: 비루니
հայերեն: Ալ-Բիրունի
हिन्दी: अल बेरुनी
Bahasa Indonesia: Al-Biruni
italiano: Al-Biruni
עברית: אל-בירוני
Basa Jawa: Al-Bīrūnī
ქართული: ალ-ბირუნი
kurdî: Bîrûnî
Latina: Albirunius
lietuvių: Al Birūnis
Malagasy: Al-Biruni
മലയാളം: അൽ-ബയ്റൂനി
मराठी: अल बिरूनी
Bahasa Melayu: Abu Raihan Al-Biruni
Nederlands: Al-Biruni
norsk nynorsk: Abu Raihan al-Biruni
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Abu Rayhon Beruniy
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਲਬਰੂਨੀ
پنجابی: البیرونی
polski: Biruni
português: Albiruni
Qaraqalpaqsha: A'bu Rayxan Beruniy
română: Al Biruni
русский: Аль-Бируни
Scots: Al-Biruni
shqip: El-Biruniu
slovenščina: Al-Biruni
کوردی: بیروونی
српски / srpski: Бируни
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Abu-Rajhan Biruni
suomi: Al-Biruni
svenska: Biruni
татарча/tatarça: Әбү Рәйхан әл-Бируни
తెలుగు: అల్ బెరూని
Türkçe: Birûni
Türkmençe: Ebu Reýhan Biruny
українська: Аль-Біруні
Tiếng Việt: Al-Biruni
Zazaki: Biruni
中文: 比魯尼