Full name: Abu Reihan Muhammad ibn Ahmed Al-Biruni
Persian. ابوریحان بیرونی, arab. أبو الريحان البيروني
Date of birth: October 4, 973
Place of birth: Kyat, Samanid state
Date of death: December 9, 1048 (75 years old)
Place of death: Ghazni, Ghaznavid stateCountry: Gaznevid State
Scientific field: physics, mathematics, astronomy, natural sciences, history as science, chronology, linguistics, indology, earth sciences, geography, philosophy, cartography, anthropology, astrology, comparative sociology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, theology, pharmacology, history religion and mineralogy
Known as an encyclopedic scientist, writer
Abu Reihan Muhammad ibn Ahmed al-Biruni (Persian ابوریحان بیرونی, Arabic. أبو الريحان البيروني; October 4, 973, the city of Kyat, Khorezm, Samanid state – medieval Persian) and a thinker, author of numerous capital works on history, geography, philology, astronomy, mathematics, mechanics, geodesy, mineralogy, pharmacology, geology, etc. Biruni owned almost all the sciences of his time. The list of Biruni’s works, compiled by himself around 1036, contains more than a hundred titles. He wrote his scientific works in Arabic and Persian.
Al-Biruni was born on October 4, 973 in the Khorezm city of Kyat (now the city of Beruni in the Republic of Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan). According to other sources, Biruni was born on September 4, 973 . Little is known about his parents, in his own notes Biruni wrote that he did not know his father and grandfather. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Biruni was born into a Tajik family.
Biruni described the languages that he learned: “Then I switched to Arabic and Persian, in each of them I am an alien who hardly speaks it.” – Abu Reyhan Beruni. Pharmacognosy in medicine. // Abu Reyhan Beruni, Selected Works. T. 4. Translation from Arabic by U. Karimov. T., 1973, p.138
According to some orientalists, his native language was the Khorezm dialect of the Persian language. In total, he knew Khorezm, Persian, Arabic, Jewish, Syrian, Greek and Sanskrit.
Biruni placed Arabic above Persian when he wrote: “reproach in Arabic is sweeter to me than praise in Persian … this dialect is suitable only for Khossoev novels and nightly tales.”
Having left the artisan circles, he received a broad mathematical and philosophical education. The outstanding mathematician and astronomer Ibn Iraq was his teacher in the ancient capital of the Khorezmshahs, Kyat. After the capture of Kyat in 995 by the emir of Gurganj and the transfer of the capital of Khorezm to Gurganj al-Biruni, who supported the overthrown Afrigid dynasty, he left for Rei, where he worked for al-Khojandi. While at the court of one of the last Samanid rulers, the Emir of Bukhara, Abu l-Haris Mansour ibn Nuh, entered into extensive correspondence with Ibn Sina (Avicenna), with whom he discusses the issues of natural sciences and the views of Aristotle. Then he worked in Gurgan at the court of the Ziyarid Emir of Tabaristan, Shams al-Ma’ali Qaboos, to whom he dedicated the Chronology for about 1000 years. As a result, he returned to Khorezm and worked in Gurganj at the court of the Khorezmshahs Ali (997–1009) and Mamuna II.
Since 1017, after the conquest of Khorezm by Sultan Mahmud Gaznevi, he, along with other captured scholars, was forced to move to Ghazna, where he worked at the court of Sultan Mahmud and his successors Masoud and Maudud. Al-Biruni participated in the campaigns of Mahmud in India, where he lived for several years. Masoud al-Biruni dedicated his patronage to him, an essay on astronomy and spherical trigonometry, known as the “Canon of Masoud.”
In the very first work, “Chronology, or Monuments of Past Generations” (1000), al-Biruni collected and described all the calendar systems known in his time, used by various peoples of the world, and compiled a chronological table of all eras, starting from the biblical patriarchs.
In a work completed in 1030, “India, or a Book Explaining Indigenous Teachings Accepted by the Mind or Rejected,” al-Biruni gave a detailed scientific and critical description of the life, culture and science of Indians, outlined their religious and philosophical systems, accurately shifting the teaching classical Sankhya, the theory of cosmic evolution, the doctrine of the connection of the soul with the “subtle body”, etc. The famous legend about the creator of the game of chess is also set out here.
Biruni devoted 45 works to astronomy. A popular introduction to astronomical science is the Book of Admonition for the Beginners of the Science of Stars, written around 1029 and has come down to us in two versions: in Arabic and Farsi. This book consists of 530 questions and answers on geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, geography, chronology, astrolabes and astrology.
The main work of Biruni on astronomy is “Canon of Masuda on astronomy and stars”. The plan of this work is close to the standard plan of the Arab zijas, but in contrast to them, detailed experimental and mathematical proofs of all the stated provisions are given here; a number of the provisions of his predecessors, for example, the assumption of Sabit ibn Korra about the connection of the movement of the apogee of the Sun with the preceding of the equinoxes Biruni refutes, in many questions comes to new conclusions. He considered the hypothesis of the motion of the earth around the sun; he claimed the same fiery nature of the Sun and stars, in contrast to dark bodies – planets, the mobility of stars and their enormous size in comparison with the Earth, the idea of gravity. Biruni made observations on the wall quadrant with a radius of 7.5 m built by al-Nasawi in Ray, performing them with an accuracy of 2 ′. He established the angle of inclination of the ecliptic to the equator, calculated the radius of the Earth, described the color change of the moon during lunar eclipses, and the solar corona during solar eclipses.
Biruni devoted much attention to mathematics, especially trigonometry: in addition to a significant part of the Canon of Mas’ud, he devoted to her essays “On the definition of chords in a circle using a broken line inscribed in it” (here we consider a number of theorems belonging to Archimedes that have not been preserved in Greek manuscripts ), “On Indian Rashiks” (the so-called triple rule is discussed in this book), “Sphere”, “The Book of Pearls on the Plane of the Sphere” and others. The Shadows treatise, several treatises on astrolabe and other astronomical instruments are devoted to applied mathematics. a number of works on geodesy.
In 1038, Biruni wrote Mineralogy, or the Book of Briefs for the Knowledge of Jewels, in which the specific gravity of many minerals was determined and detailed information on more than fifty minerals, ores, metals, alloys, etc. was given. He also compiled Pharmacognosy in Medicine – a book about medicines, capital work, which is of great importance in our time. In this book, he described in detail about 880 plants, their individual parts and products of isolation, provided their exact characteristics, streamlined the terminology. Biruni collected and explained about 4,500 Arabic, Greek, Syrian, Indian, Persian, Khorezmian, Sogdian, Turkic and other names of plants; these synonyms are important for modern research into the history of pharmacognosy.
As a researcher, Biruni emphasized the need for thorough testing of knowledge by experience, contrasting experimental knowledge with speculative. From this perspective, he criticized the Aristotelian and Avicennian concept of “natural place” and the argument against the existence of emptiness.
In addition to his native Khorezm language, Biruni was fluent in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syriac, as well as Hebrew, Sanskrit and Hindi. This knowledge contributed to the development of principles for the translation of natural science terminology from one language to another. The transcription system created by Biruni on the basis of Arabic graphics largely anticipated the modern system of transmitting Indian words in Urdu.
Biruni in his works gives the names of the Turkic months and Turkic medicinal herbs.
Biruni in his work “Monuments of past generations” gives the Turkic names of the years according to the animal cycle: Sichkan, Od, Leopard, Tushkan, Lui, Ilan, Yunt, Kui, Pichin, Tagigu, Tunguz. In the same essay, he cites the names of the months in Turkic: Ulug-oy, Kichik-oy, Birinchi-oy, Ikkinchi-oy, Uchinchi-oy, Turtinchi-oy, Beshinchi-oy, oltinci-oy, Yetinchi-oy, Sakkizinchi-oy.
Scientific works in Persian
Despite his Iranian origin, Biruni wrote most of his scientific works in Arabic, the scientific language of his time, but Kitab al-Tafhim, one of his masterpieces, wrote in Persian and Arabic, which showed his skill in write equally in both languages. Kitab al-Tafhim is one of the most important early works of science in the Persian language and is a rich source of Persian prose and lexicography. The book skillfully and in the most detailed way examined the disciplines of the medieval quadrivium. In his scientific works, fragments are also found in another Iranian language – Khorezm.
• Statue of Al-Biruni as part of the Pavilion of Persian Scientists in front of the UN office in Vienna, Austria
• The streets of many cities of Uzbekistan: Khiva, Urgench, Bukhara, Samarkand, Termez, Tashkent, Fergana, Andijan, Gulistan bear the name of Abu Reyhan al-Biruni. The scientist’s hometown was named after him in 1957.
• In 1973, in Uzbekistan, on the initiative of Academician I. M. Muminov, events were held dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of the birth of Abu Reikhan Biruni.
• Institute of Oriental Studies named after Abu Reyhan Biruni in Tashkent.
• The metro station “Beruni” in Tashkent.
• Monuments of Biruni are installed in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tehran (Iran).
• The name of al-Biruni was the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute.
• Al-Biruni Lunar Crater, view from Apollo 14. Al-Biruni lunar crater and asteroid 9936 Al-Biruni are named in his honor.
• The famous scientist S. P. Tolstov devoted his monograph “Following the Traces of the Ancient Khorezmian Civilization” to the Khorezmian Abu Reikhan al-Biruni. • In June 2009, Iran presented the United Nations Office in Vienna with a Pavilion of Persian Scientists located on the central square of the Vienna International Center Memorial. This pavilion includes statues of four famous Persian scientists: Avicenna, Abu Reihan Biruni, Zakaria Razi (Raise) and Omar Khayyam.