Ibn Sina (Avicenna) – doctor of doctors

by Dr. Monzur Ahmed

Ibn Sina was born in  980 C.E. in the village of Afshana near Bukhara which today is located in the far south of Russia. His father, Abdullah, an adherent of the Ismaili sect, was from Balkh and his mother from a village near Bukhara.In any age Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, would have been a giant among giants. He displayed exceptional intellectual prowess as a child and at the age of ten was already proficient in the Qur’an and the Arabic classics. During the next six years he devoted himself to Muslim Jurisprudence, Philosophy and Natural Science and studied Logic, Euclid, and the Almeagest.

Continue reading Avicenna

Persian philosophs and sciences

It’s sure that they were Muslim but no Arab.

770-840 A.D. Mohanmmad Khwarizmi
864-930 A.D. Mohammad ibn Zakariya AL-RAZI
870-950 A.D. Farabi
900-971 A.D. born in Khorasan Mohammad ibn al-Hasan Khazin
940-997 A.D. born in Nishapur Abul Wafa Mohammad AL-BUZJANI
940-1020 A.D. born in Tus Ferdosi Faren til den modern Persisk
953-1029 A.D. born in Afschana Al-Karaji IBN SINA
1048-1131 A.D. born in Nishapur Omar Khayyam
1058-1128 A.D. born in Khorasan
1099- 1177 A.D
Hamid Ghazali
1201-1274 A.D. born in Tus Nasir al-Din Tusi
1207 A.D. born in Balkh, Persia Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
1194 A.D. born in Shiraz Sa’di
1320-1389 A.D. born in Shiraz Shams-od-Din Mohammad Hafez
1380-1429 A.D. in Kashan, Iran Ghiyath al-Din Jamshid Mas’ud al-Kashi
Abu Bekr ibn Mohammad ibn al-Husayn

Iranians have always been interested in philosophic matters.
In the pre-Islamic period, philosophy was closely linked to theology, as indeed it also was in the early Islamic period.

Gradually, however, phi!osophy developed into a separate science, and most of the great Muslim philosophers were Iranians, although since they wrote mainly in Arabic, the universal language of Islam, they are often known in the West as Arab philosophers.
Iran adopted the Indian decimal system and numerals, transmitting them to the West as the “Arabic” numerals used today. Omar Khayyam wrote the most important medieval treatise on algebra, and systematized a very accurate calendar, which is the basis of the official Iranian calendar today.
Alchemy, the forerunner of chemistry, was widely studied, and Iranian alchemists discovered many important substances, including alcohol, and developed some of the apparatus used by modern chemists.
The philosophic tradition was kept alive by Sadr-od-Din Shirazi, who in Safavid times synthesized the various threads of Islamic philosophy into a comprehensive new system, and Sabzevan, a nineteenth-century philosopher who continued and revived the tradition.
Although scientific activity declined after the fifteenth century, the present century has seen a revival. Iranian scientists, at home and abroad, they are again making valuable contributions to mankind’s store of knowledge.

Muhammad Khwarizmi (770-840 A.D. born at Khwarizm, a town south of river Oxus in present Uzbekistan.)
(Uzbekistan, a city in Persia which was taken over by the Russians in 1873.)
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was an Iranian mathematician, founder of Algebra.
He is best known for introducing the mathematical concept Algorithm, which is so named after his last name.

Abu Bakr Muhammed ibn Zakariya al-Razi auch Ar-Razi, Rhazes (865-925 A.D.)
He born in in Raj, bei Teheran (Iran)
Razi was an Iranian alchemist and a philosopher

Farabi (870-950 A.D. born in a small village Wasij, near Farab in Turkistan)
Abu Nasr Mohammad Ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi along with Ibn Sina added much to what the Greeks taught in the theory of Music
His parents were originally of Persian descent. Known as al-Phrarabius in Europe, Farabi was the son of a general. He completed his earlier education at Farab and Bukhara but, later on, he went to Baghdad for higher studies, where he studied and worked for a long time viz., from 901 A.D. to 942 A.D. During this period he acquired mastery over several languages as well as various branches of knowledge and technology. He lived through the reign of six Abbasid Caliphs. As a philosopher and scientist, he acquired great proficiency in various branches of learning and is reported to have been an expert in different languages.
Farabi travelled to many distant lands and studied for some time in Damascus and Egypt, but repeatedly came back to Baghdad, until he visited Saif al-Daula’s court in Halab (Allepo). He became one of the constant companions of the King, and it was here at Halab that his fame spread far and wide. During his early years he was aQadi (Judge), but later on the took up teaching as his profession. During the course of his career, he had suffered great hardships and at one time was the caretaker of a garden. He died a bachelor in Damascus in 339 A.H./950 A.D. at the age of 80 years.

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan Khazin (900-971 A.D. born in Khorasan)
Abu Jafar al-Khazin may have worked on both astronomy and number theory or there may have been two mathematicians both working around the same period, one working on astronomy and one on number theory.
As far as this article is concerned we will assume that al-Khazin worked on both topics. There seems no way of being certian which position is correct.

Abul Wafa Muhammad AL-BUZJANI (940-997 A.D. born in Nishapur, Persia)
He flourished as a great mathematician and astronomer.
Abul Wafa’s main contribution lies in several branches of mathematics, especially geometry and trigonometry.
Ferdosi Faren til den modern Persisk ( 940-1020 A.D. born in Toos ) 329-416 A.H..>
Ferdosi was one of the greatest poets of Persian language. He gave a new life to Irans poetry.
His work is ShahNameh.
ShahNameh includes historical, heroic and fictional stories. Some of his other works like lyric,
fragment, quatrain and elegy are available.

IBN SINA (980-1037 A.D.)
He born in Afschana (bei Buchara; Usbekistan) and died in 1037 in Hamadan (Persien)
He was the most famous physician, philosopher, encyclopaedist, mathematician and astronomer of his time.
His major contribution to medical science was his famous book al-Qanun, known as the “Canon” in the West.
The Qanun fi al-Tibb is an immense encyclo- paedia of medicine extending over a million words

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi (born in 1207 Balkh, Persia)
The name Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for Love and ecstatic flight into the infinite.
Mevlana is one of the great spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order.
Escaping the Mongol invasion, Rumi and his family travelled extensively in the Muslim lands, performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia (Turkey), where he succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious sciences.
He was introduced into the mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shamsuddin of Tabriz. His love and his bereavement for the death of Shams found their expression in a surge of music, dance and lyric poems, `Divani Samsi Tabrizzi’. Rumi is the author of a huge didactic work, The `Mathnawi’, and discourses, `Fihi ma Fihi’, written to introduce his disciples to metaphysics. If there is `Fihi ma Fihi’, written to introduce his disciples to metaphysics. If there is any general idea underlying Rumi’s poetry, it is the absolute love of God. His influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam cannot be overrated.

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 A.D. in Nishapur, Persia)
Omar Khayyam’s full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abu’l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami.
Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer and, despite the difficulties which he described in this quote, he did write several works includingProblems of Arithmetic, a book on music and one on algebra before he was 25 years old.
In 1070 he moved to Samarkand in Uzbekistan which is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia. There Khayyam was supported by Abu Tahir, a prominent jurist of Samarkand, and this allowed him to write his most famous algebra work,Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra from which we gave the quote above. We shall describe the mathematical contents of this work later in this biography.

Norooz in History of Iran
The first person who re-organized the calendar successfully was Omar Khayyam, the mathematician and astronomer of 5th century HG (11-12th A.D.). He drew a chart for the year and put the start of the year at the moment of Aries entrance to the house of Sun. He made a calendar of 6 months with 31 days, and 6 months with 30 days making a year of 365 days, and suggested the addition of 1 day every four years and also addition of a months every 13,000 years. This is the most complete calendar ever made. Khayyam called it ‘the Jalali Calendar’ because of ‘Jalal’ al-Din Malekshah Saljuqi, his patron king.
This calendar called the ‘Khorshidi’(Sun based) calendar, as oppose to the Arabic ‘Ghamari’ (moon based) calendar.

Although Khayyam was Iranian and he created this calendar based on the pre-Islamic calendar of Zoroastrians, it was not used widely in Iran until the 1925 AD(1304 HS) when Reza Shah Pahlavi ordered it to be used instead of ‘Ghamari’ calendar. In the process of finding names for the months, there are some interesting mistakes happened which are note-worthy.
Norooz, in word, means a new day. It is a new day that starts the year, traditionally in the exact astronomical beginning of the Spring, but it was not always like this!

Abu-Saiid-e-Abul-Kheyr (fl. 11th century) was an Iranian Gnostic.
He was born in Meehneh-a village in the old Khorasan. His father was a pharmacist who was a firm believer in the tenets of sufi mysticism. Abu-Saiid came to know sufi mysticism through the gatherings of sophists to which his father frequented. He was taught theology and literature in his hometown, as well as in the towns of Marve and Sarakhs. He then began practicing asceticism-the cleansing of the soul through self-denial, under the guidance of some great masters and teachers. This metamorphosed him into a complete Gnostic. Thereafter, aside from a short period of preaching in Neyshaboor,he spentmost of his life in his hometown of Meehneh.

Hamid Ghazali (1058- 1128 A.D. born in Khorasan, Iran)
Abu Hamid Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Tusi al-Shafi’i al-Ghazali an Iranian Philosopher.
His father died while he was still very young but he had the opportunity of getting education in the prevalent curriculum at Nishapur and Baghdad. Soon he acquired a high standard of scholarship in religion and philosophy and was honoured by his appointment as a Professor at the Nizamiyah University of Baghdad, which was recognised as one of the most reputed institutions of learning in the golden era of Muslim history.

Abu-Rayhaan-e-Birooni (1099-1177 A.D)
Birooni was an Iranian mathematician, astronomer, historian, and geographer

Shaikh Sadi Shirazi (1194 born in Shiraz)
originally named Muslih-uddin..He remained there for about 30 years, establishing his fame as a great Persian poet and popular writer. He took the name Sadi in honor of his patron Sad b. Zengi. Between 1226 and 1256 he traveled widely, visiting Europe, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Armenia, Turkey, Arabia, Iran, and beyond the Indus to Hindustan. In a prose work called The Gulistan (or The Rose Garden) he provided prose stories that touch on practical wisdom and moral questions in an easy and entertaining style.

Shams-od-Din Muhammad Hafez (1320-1397 A.D.)
A Classic Poet from Shiraz Hafez created the best literary and Gnostic concepts in the form of eloquent and pithy lyrics. His concepts surpassed those of other contemporary philosophers, thinkers and scholars.

Ghiyath al-Din Jamshid Mas’ud al-Kashi (about 1380-1429 A.D.in Kashan, Iran)
Kashi was an Iranian mathematician and astronomer
Details of Jamshid al-Kashi’s life and works are better known than many others from this period although details of his life are sketchy.
One of the reasons we is that he dated many of his works with the exact date on which they were completed, another reason is that a number of letters which he wrote to his father have survived and give fascinating information.

Abu Bekr ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn Al-Karaji (953 – 1029)
Karaji was an Iranian Mathematician
It appears both as al-Karaji and as al-Karkhi but this is not a simple matter of two different transliterations of the same Arabic name.
The significance is that Karaj is a city in Iran and if the mathematician’s name is al-Karaji then certainly his family were from that city. On the other hand Karkh is one of the original suburbs of Baghdad which grew up outside the southern gate of the original city. The name al-Karkhi would indicate that the mathematician came from the suburb of Baghdad.

Nasir al-Din Tusi (1201-1274 A.D. was born in Tus, Khorasan and died in Baghdad)
He was an astronomer who worked at the Il-Khanid Observatory situated in Persia. In his astronomical studies, Al-Tusi was able to obtain an accurate value for the solar procession. In addition to his work on the solar procession, Al-Tusi attempted to come up with an alternative to Ptolemy’s system of epicycles.

Mogao Grottoes

Northern end of the Mogao cliff face, pitted with caves for shelter

The Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, popularly known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, were carved out of the rocks stretching for about 1,600 meters along the eastern side of the Mingsha Hill, 25 km southeast of Dunhuang.

A Tang Dynasty inscription records that the first cave in the Mogao Grottoes was made in 366 A.D. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed the Mogao Grottoes on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Despite erosion and man-made destruction, the 492 caves are well preserved, with frescoes covering an area of 45,000 square metres, more than 2,000 colored sculptured figures and five wooden eaves overhanging the caves.

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

According to archaeologists, it is the greatest and most consummate repository of Buddhist art in the world.

Heavenly Being

Many pavilions, towers, temples, pagodas, palaces, courtyards, towns and bridges in the murals provide valuable materials for the study of Chinese architecture. Other paintings depict Chinese and foreign musical performances, dancing and acrobatics.

The ‘Cave for Preserving Scriptures’, was discovered by a Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu in 1900. The cave contains more than 50,000 sutras, documents and paintings covering a period from the 4th to the 11th centuries. It was one of China’s most significant archaeological finds. These precious relics are of great historical and scientific value.

Detail from the Procession of Zhang Yichao

In 1961 the Grottoes were listed by the State Council as one of China’s key historical and cultural sites. Repairs were carried out from 1963 to 1965.

Between 1906 and 1919 the Dunhuang grottoes was looted. Much of the Hand-copied ancient books, manuscripts, literary works, Buddhist and secular decorative art works, and ancient manuscripts were removed by Aurel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Sergei Feodorovich Oldenburg and other archaeologists.

Chinese scholars such as Luo Zhenyu and Wang Guowei cultivated the study of Dunhuang culture by publishing a number of books in 1910. The Dunhuang Art Academy was established by Chang Shuhong later.

The site lay empty and ignored until a secret sealed-up cave was discovered at the end of the 19th century. It was crammed with ancient manuscripts and printed documents. Its discovery coincided with a period of great international archaeological research in the area and Sir Aurel Stein was the first to gain access in 1907. Thereafter archaeologists from France, Russia and China were drawn to Dunhuang and the great majority of manuscripts and documents from this one cave are now in Beijing, Paris, London and St. Petersburg. Documents and paintings from other Silk Road towns are to be found more widely in museums and libraries throughout Europe and Asia.

Apart from 14,000 paper scrolls and fragments from this cave at Dunhuang, the British Library Stein collection includes several thousand woodslips and woodslip fragments with Chinese writing, thousands of Tibetan and Tangut manuscripts, Prakrit wooden tablets in Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts, along with documents in Khotanese, Uighur, Sogdian and Eastern Turkic. All this material is included in The International Dunhuang Project and will be entered onto the Project database.

Heavenly wonder of ancient China goes on show

Ananova – May 2004

A Chinese star chart possibly dating from the 7th century AD mapped the heavens with an accuracy unsurpassed until the Renaissance, according to research.

The Dunhuang chart is the oldest manuscript star map in the world and one of the most valuable treasures in astronomy.

The fine paper scroll, measuring 210 by 25 centimetres, (82 by 10 inches) displays no less than 1,345 stars grouped in 257 non-constellation patterns.

Such detail was not matched until Galileo and other European astronomers began searching the skies hundreds of years later – and they had the advantage of telescopes.

The chart includes very faint stars that are extremely difficult to find with the naked eye. It also represents the sky as a sphere projected on a cylinder, a modern technique first adopted in Europe in the 15th century.

The first part of the document consists of a collection of predictions based on shapes of clouds – evidence of the important role divination played in ancient China.

Dr Francoise Praderie, from the Paris Observatory, who studied the map with fellow French astronomer Dr Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud, said: “The origin of the star chart’s manufacture and real use remains unknown. One can conjecture that it was used for military and travellers’ needs and probably also for uranomancy – divination by consulting the heavens – as suggested by the cloud divination texts preceding the charts.

“The long tradition in China of searching the sky for celestial omens has therefore led to an early and unsurpassed precision in star catalogues.”

Tutankhamun – egypt ancient

Tutankhamun Home Page

Tutankhamun Throne
Tutankhamun Eyes
Papyrus Papyrus Papyrus

The Tutankhamun Exhibition showing in Dorchester is the only exhibition on the young Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and his treasures of its kind outside Egypt. The exhibition, now in its 21st year, is displaying, amongst other wonderful objects from the tomb, the world famous Gold Death Mask, the Golden Throne and Tutankhamun’s mummy.

We offer:

  • full school service
  • guided tours
  • group visits
  • corporate parties
Death Mask Of Tutankhamun

The exhibition is unique in that all the wonderful treasures displayed have been meticulously recreated by artists and craftsmen in every detail and measurement, using wherever possible identical materials and methods including real gold. Even parts of the tomb have been recreated, allowing visitors to see some of Tutankhamun’s treasures in their original setting, exactly as they were discovered by the English archaeologist Howard Carter when he first entered the tomb in Egypt’ Valley of the Kings in November 1922.

For educational purposes or just for entertainment, come to the Tutankhamun Exhibition to lift the veil on the mysteries of Ancient Egypt. A specialist Egyptian shop operates within the museum