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The prominent Iranian-Islamic astronomer, philosopher and hadith scholar, Abu Ma'shar

Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 28th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 272 AH, the prominent Iranian-Islamic astronomer, philosopher and hadith scholar, Ja'far ibn Mohammad al-Balkhi, popularly known as Abu Ma'shar, passed away in Waset, Iraq at the ripe old age of 102 years. Born in Khorasan in the city of Balkh, presently in Afghanistan, he flourished at the Abbasid court in Baghdad as the greatest astronomer of the era and subsequent centuries. He wrote a number of practical manuals on astrology that profoundly influenced Muslim intellectual history and through Latin translations, that of Western Europe and Byzantium.
He was well versed in Persian, Arabic, Greek and Sanskrit languages, and according to the famous Persian poet of the subcontinent, he came to Benares in India to study astronomy. Abu Ma'shar, whose name was Latinized by medieval Europe as Albumasar, Albusar, or Albuxar, wrote several books including "Kitab al-Mudkhal al-Kabir ila Ilm Ahkaam an-Nujjum", "Kitāb al‐Milal wa’l-Duwal" and "Kitāb Taḥawil Sini al‐Mawālīd ("Book of the revolutions of the years of nativities"). These and other works were translated into Latin and Greek and had profound effect on western philosophers and scientists such as Albert, Roger Bacon, Pierre d'Ailly, and Pico Della Mirandola.

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