The Iranian Muslim mathematician, physician, and philosopher, al-Qattani al-Marvazi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 26th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 465 AH, the Iranian Muslim mathematician, physician, and philosopher, Ain az-Zamaan Abu’l-Hassan ibn Ali al-Qattani al-Marvazi, was born in the Khorasani city of Marv (presently in Turkmenistan). Living in a city with a rich Islamic cultural milieu, he grew up to become an expert in many scientific fields.
Like other erudite and encyclopedic savants of the Islamic Middle Ages, he wrote books in most areas of knowledge including astronomy, medicine, prosody, engineering, and literature. Being a student of Lawkari, who himself was a student of Bahmanyar, the most distinguished disciple of Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Qattan al‐Marvazi belongs to the third generation of scholars who have fully benefited from the Avicennian tradition.
He passed away in 548 AH at the age of 83 in his hometown. His writings have not survived except for a book on astronomy written in Persian and entitled “Kayhan-Shenakht” (Knowledge of the Cosmos). The book, however, is not confined to cosmology, but covers a wider range of subjects such as the configuration of the Earth, geographical factors, works dealing with the determination of the calendar and issues related to the passage of time. On purely cosmological issues, it discusses celestial movements, eccentrics and epicycles, apogees, planetary sectors, the ecliptic, the fixed stars, lunar and solar eclipses, the meridian, the azimuth, and astrology.