The Iranian Islamic astronomer, Abu-Ma'shar Ja'far ibn Mohammad al-Balkhi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On March 9, 886 AD, the Iranian Islamic astronomer, Abu-Ma'shar Ja'far ibn Mohammad al-Balkhi, passed away in the Iraqi city of al-Waset at the age of almost hundred years. He was born in the Khorasani city of Balkh (presently in Afghanistan) and spent most of his life in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. He used ancient sources written in Pahlavi, Arabic, Sanskrit, Syriac, and Greek. He believed that all sciences have a divine origin, and the signs of God’s revelation are observed in every science.
He has left behind a large number of books; the most important of which include “al-Mudkhal al-Kabir”. Known to Europe by his Latinized name “Albumasar”, he wrote several manuals on astrology that profoundly influenced Muslim intellectual history and, through Latin translations, that of Europe.
Some of his works that were used by Roger Bacon and others are: "Kitab ad‐Dalalaat ala'l‐Ittesalaat wa‐Qiranaat al‐Kawakeb" (Book of Indications of the Planetary Conjunctions), and "Kitab al‐Milal wa'l-Duwal" (Book on Nations and Dynasties).