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Monday, 08 September 2014 06:14

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (15)

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (15)

One of the most important books of this renowned Iranian scientist “Aasaar al-Baaqiyah” was translated and published in Europe a long time ago and is considered to be one of the most important books on the world’s history.

Researchers believe that even if we place aside all of the efforts of Birouni such as his studies on history and fate of ancient ethnicities and lands; this major historical book manifests the depth of his thoughts in the realm of contemporary sciences. In this book, he has studied the beliefs and ceremonies of nations and followers of different religions and sects, and has enumerated their differences and similarities.

In the 6th chapter of this book, he refers to the years of ruler of Israelites’ prophets and kings, in addition to the kings of Assyria, Babylon, Iran, Pharaohs, and Rome, as well as the legendary kings of Iran, and Achaemenian, Parthian, and Sassanid kings. Whenever the historical documents didn’t match each other, Birouni has stated all of the existing narrations. Meanwhile, like many other researchers, he has made a few mistakes in his judgments. This book of Birouni was translated and published in London in 1887 AD by Edward Saxchau.

The book “Maa Lelhind” is one of the other ever-lasting books authored by Birouni. This book is truly the symbol of astounding progress of the science of sociology among Muslim scientists during their journeys to different parts of the world.

This book is the outcome of Birouni’s studies on the mathematical and astronomical beliefs of Indians; the standpoints of Hindus; and the geographical and geological features of India.

Many opine that the West became familiar with India through this book.

This book is one of the most prominent works on the history, religion, traditions, and knowledge of Hindus and therefore Birouni can be named as one of the pioneers of comparative anthropology. He faced several difficulties in his anthropological researches, because as a Muslim, he had set foot on a land; the people of which didn’t maintain amicable ties with Muslims, while learning their language was a highly difficult task. Nonetheless, Birouni learned Sanskrit language and tried to establish bonds with Indians while traveling to different parts of India.

In the book “Maa Lelhind”, Birouni has tried to maintain an impartial stand in introduction of ceremonies of Hindus.

He said that he wrote this book on the beliefs of Hindus, noting that he didn’t level baseless accusations against them. In this book, Birouni has also carried out comparative studies on the beliefs of Hindus and the beliefs of other nations. For instance, he has compared the views of Greeks in BC years with the beliefs of Hindus. In another part of this book, Birouni has compared the cast-based community of India with the cast-based community of Sassanid era and has opined that these communities highly resembled each other. Also, throughout his studies on the wedding ceremonies of Hindus, he has also spoken of the ceremonies of Iranians and Jews, and the pre-Islamic era Arabs.

The other signature book of Birouni is “Qanoun Masoudi” on astronomy, geography, and mathematics. It is in eleven chapters, truly manifesting the resounding scientific progress of Muslim astronomers. In this book, Birouni has studied the complicated movement of planets.

In this book, Birouni has also achieved innovations in the science of Trigonometry and has formulated an equation for the expansion of the sinus of an angle, which highly resembles Newton’s equation.

He has also spoken of coordination of geographical sizes, based on research and experience. Hence, the tables rendered in this book should be further studied.

This book was translated to English by India’s Islamic University in 1929 AD.

Birouni didn’t just rely on the writings and remarks of his predecessors and at times even challenged their viewpoints, especially the standpoints of Aristotle. For appropriate assessment of others’ remarks and study of his own theories, he precisely observed phenomena and tested even the views of ordinary people.

He is the first scientist who has studied the historical background of his predecessors and has compared their stands. He has also penned a number of books solely on the history of science. Hence, the study of his writings has led to a novel approach for the researchers of the history of science to follow up on the scientific developments throughout centuries.

Birouni was multilingual. He was fluent in Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, and Sanskrit languages, and was familiar with Greek language. He had realized that in order to study cultures and civilizations, one should first learn their languages; and usage of the related translations is not beneficial as such. Hence, upon traveling to India, he first learned Sanskrit language. Finally he mastered this language to the extent that he translated several books from Sanskrit to Arabic and a number of other books from Greek to Sanskrit language.

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