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Tuesday, 21 October 2014 07:01

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (20)

Today, we introduce the famous Iranian philosopher, theologian, scientist, mathematician, and astronomer of 7th Century AH, Khaje Nasir Ed-Din Tousi.


Mohammad Ibn Hassan Jahroudi Tousi, popularly known as Khaje Nasir Ed-Din Tousi, was born in the northeastern Iranian city of Tous in February 1201 AD. There are no differences of opinion over his name, title, father’s name, place and date of birth. His place of birth has been known as the city of Tous. Also, this renowned scientist has referred to Tous as his place of birth in a number of his compilations. Nonetheless, a number of historians such as Hamdollah Mostofi, have said Khaje was originally from a village named Warshah, in the vicinity of Jahroud. However, Khaje’s ancestors migrated to the city of Tous, where he was born and became popularly known as Tousi.

Khaje’s father, Mohammad Ibn Hassan, was a theologian and a hadith scholar. Khaje learned preliminary sciences, Holy Quran, and theology under his father, while learning the science of Hadith under his uncle Nour Ed-Din Mohammad Ibn Ali. Later on, he acquired the sciences of logic and philosophy, and excelled in natural sciences and divine teachings. He also acquired sciences such as calculus, geometry, and Al-Jabra, in addition to music, and thereafter left his hometown for the city of Nayshapour at a young age, to excel in mathematics, and astronomy. He shot to fame, and is considered as one of the most influential scientists of Iran.

The city of Nayshapour, at that era, was one of the four major cities of Khorasan in northeastern Iran and remained as a scientific hub of Islamic countries for several centuries. Khaje stayed in this city for a while, honing his skills in a number of scientific fields. He mastered numerous scientific courses, which distinguished him from the other scientists of his era. He highly excelled in mathematics, astronomy, divine sciences, theology, mysticism, logic, philosophy, poetry, and medicine. He was groomed by the renowned scientists of his era.

A number of scientists have named Tousi as the chief philosopher. He was also very modest, patient, kind-hearted, and good looking. He made every effort to promote culture, and to help the needy. He also tried his utmost to promote the sacred religion of Islam and Shiism.

While Khaje was completing his studies in the city of Nayshapour, the Mongol troops invaded and razed to the ground the cities of Iran, one after the other. Under these devastating conditions, only the Ismaili castles stood up against these raids.

In this period of time, Alaa Ed-Din Mohammad was the Ismaili king, while Naser Ed-Din Mohtasham was the governor of Qohestan. The latter figure attached importance to sciences and was a  patron of scientists. He invited Khaje to the city of Qohestan. Meanwhile, Khaje found it appropriate to accept this invitation and traveled to Qohestan. Mohtasham benefited from the presence of this highly influential scientist. Khaje remained in Qohestan for a long while, reading and compiling several books.

According to a number of Khaje’s writings, he faced hardships during his residence in Ismaili castles and remained over there unwillingly.

Meanwhile, the Ismaili King, Alaa Ed-Din Mohammad, became aware of his presence and invited him to his court, which was forcibly accepted by Khaje Nasir Ed-Din Tousi. In this period, Khaje penned several books on mathematics.

At the time, Iranian cities were in a chaotic state. The Mongol occupiers mistreated people, and intended to occupy Baghdad and Ismaili castles. This goal led the Mongol ruler Holagu Khan to muster a 120,000-strong army to seize these regions. Initially, Mohtashem surrendered to the Mongol troops, and thereafter Holagu Khan occupied Ismaili castles, one after the other. This Mongol commander also sent a courier to the then Isamili King, Rokn Ed-Din Khorshah, to surrender to Mongol troops. The Ismaili king finally submitted to Mongol ruler. Meanwhile, Holagu Khan didn’t harm Khaje and his children, who were renowned physicians, because they had prevented a massacre due to persuading the Ismaili king to submit to Mongol troops.

It is said that Holagu Khan, despite his callousness, was a patron of sciences, and was highly interested in alchemy and astronomy. This Mongol ruler allowed Khaje to serve his court. Khaje, who was highly skilled in a large number of sciences, especially mathematics and astronomy, was an influential figure at this court and rendered his advices to this Mongol ruler on important affairs.

The American historian, George Sarton, in his book on history of sciences has pointed out that Tousi exercised high influence on Holagu Khan, and this Mongol ruler consulted with Tousi on all important affairs due to the vast knowledge of this Iranian scientist.





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