Abu Rayhan al-Berouni, the Great Muslim Scientist
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On September 5, in 973 AD, the prominent Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Mohammad Ibn Ahmad al-Berouni, was born in Kath in the Iranian land of Khwarezm, a region adjoining the Aral Sea and presently in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan. He was a multisided genius and wrote prolifically on history, geography, mathematics, astronomy, mineralogy, and various other topics.
He authored over 180 books. His work on geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, and algebra, is titled "at-Tafhim" in which he has calculated the weight of objects. Beiruni, who was a follower of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, has written about the spherical shape of the Earth and its revolving on its axis as it orbits round the Sun, several centuries before the Europeans were to discover these facts.
He was conversant in Arabic, Persian, Greek and Sanskrit, and after visiting India and spending several months in the company of its sages, he wrote the valuable book, “Tahqiq ma lil-Hind”. Among his valuable compilations, mention could be made of “Kitab at-Tafhim li-Awa’il Sina‘at at-Tanjim” (The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astronomy), and “Aasaar al-Baqiyah an-il-Qoroun al-Khaliya” (The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries), which is a comparative study of calendars of different cultures and civilizations, interlaced with mathematical, astronomical, and historical information.
He also wrote the “Qanoun al-Mas'oudi”, an extensive encyclopedia on astronomy, geography, and engineering. He passed away in the city of Ghazni, in present day Afghanistan at the age of 77 years, after being affiliated to the court of the Turkic conqueror, Sultan Mahmoud and his son, Sultan Mas’oud.