The Iranian polymath, Abu Hanifah Ahmad ibn Dawoud Dinawari
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 26th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 281 AH, the Iranian polymath, Abu Hanifah Ahmad ibn Dawoud Dinawari, passed away at the age of 70 in his birthplace Dinawar – a Kurdish region halfway between Hamadan and Kermanshah in western Iran. He studied astronomy, mathematics and mechanics in Isfahan and Arabic philology and poetry in Kufa and Basra.
He also excelled in agriculture, botany, metallurgy, history and geography. His most renowned contribution is “Kitab an-Nabaat” or Book of Plants, for which he is considered the founder of Islamic botany, for his scientific classification and listing of thousands of varieties of different plants, with detailed discussion from their evolution to birth and subsequent death.
He is also among the very first writers to discuss the ancestry of the Kurdish people. He wrote a book on this subject titled “Ansaab al-Akraad” or the Ancestry of the Kurds. All his works are in Arabic including “Kitab al-Kusouf” or Book of Solar Eclipses, “Kitab al-Akhbar at-Tiwaal” or General History, “Kitab al-Boldaan” or Book of Geography, and “Kitab ash-She'r wa'sh-Shu'ara” or Book of Poetry and Poets. Dinawari's works also deal with astronomy and meteorology to agriculture. It describes the astronomical and meteorological character of the sky, the planets and constellations, the sun and moon, the lunar phases indicating seasons and rain, the atmospheric phenomena such as winds, thunder, lightning, snow, floods, valleys, rivers, lakes, wells and other sources of water.