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The Well-Known Iranian Muslim Scholars

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 6th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Saani in 816 AH, the Iranian scholar and literary figure, Ali ibn Mohammad al-Hussaini al-Jorjani Astarabadi, known popularly as Mir Seyyed Sharif, passed away in Shiraz. He was a prominent figure of the Timurid era and was a student of the renowned scientist of his day, Qotb od-Din Raazi. He is the author of several books, including “Risalat-al-Kubra fi'l-Manteq” or the great treatise in logic. Among his students mention could be made of Seyyed Mohammad Nourbakhsh, the founder of the Nourbakhshiya Sufi order, and Shaikh Abi Jamhour al-Ahsa'i,
On 28th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 912 AH, the Iranian poet, Mirza Sharaf Jahan Qazvini, was born in the city of Qazvin. He was a student of the prominent scientist of his day, Amir Ghiyas od-Din. In addition to rational and traditional sciences, he was highly skilled in literature, poetry, writing, and music. He had high ethical virtues. He has left behind his divan of poems.
On 9th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 610 AH, the Iranian physician and pharmacist, Najib od-Din Abu Hamed Ali ibn Omar Samarqandi, was killed during the Mongol attack on the Khorasani city of Herat, which is currently in Afghanistan. One of his most important compilations is “al-Asbaab wa’l-Alamaat” or The Book of Causes and Symptoms, which is a comprehensive manual of therapeutics and pathology. His treatises were widely read and often commentaries were written on them.
On 11th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 220 AH, the Iranian Muslim astrologer and mathematician, Abu Ali al-Khayyat, passed away. He has left behind numerous compilations, including the books “Sair al-Amal” and “al-Mawalid”, which has recently been translated into English as the Judgment of Nativities and published in the West. His works, including the Book of Aristotle were translated into Latin in medieval Europe.
On 16th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 465 AH, the Iranian mystic Abdul-Karim ibn Hawazin al-Qushayri, died in his hometown Neyshabour in Khorasan, northeastern Iran. He was known as “Sheikh al-Islam”, and following the death of his teacher and father-in-law, Abu Ali ad-Daqqaq he became the master and teacher of the mystical order called al-Qushayriyya. He was an authority on theology, philosophy, hadith, and exegesis of the Holy Qur’an. He has left behind a large number of books, including the treatise tilted Resalat al-Qushayriyya, which is on Islamic mysticism.
On March 5, 1046 AD, the famous Persian poet and Ismaili ideologue, Nasser Khosrow Qobadiani began his 7-year journey from Central Asia and back that took him across Iran, Iraq, Syria, Arabia and Egypt. He has vividly described this journey, along with the social and political conditions of the people, in his famous book the “Safarnamah”.
On March 6, 1079 AD, the famous Iranian astronomer, Omar ibn Ibrahim al-Khayyam Neishapouri, completed the Jalali solar hijri calendar, dating it like the lunar one from the migration of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) from Mecca to Medina in Rabi al-Awwal – the 1st month of spring. This calendar was formally adopted on 15 March the same year by the Seljuq Sultan, Jalal ad-Din Malik Shah, in whose honour it was named. The team led by Khayyam, working at the imperial observatory in the Seljuq capital Isfahan, computed the length of a solar year as 365.25 days, more perfect than the Gregorian calendar used by the Christian world.
On 24th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 837 AH, the prominent Iranian poet of the Taimurid era, Seyyed Moinoddin Ali Hussaini Sarabi Tabrizi, passed away. Born in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz, he was given the title “Qassem al-Anwaar” (Distributor of Lights), by his Sufi master after a vision he had of himself standing in the mosque holding a giant candle, from which members of the congregation lit their own candles. He became a missionary, eventually residing in Herat in Khorasan, until expelled by Emperor Shahrukh. He went to Shahrukh's son, Ulugh Beg the scientist, in Samarqand in present day Uzbekistan.
On March 8, 1010 AD, Iranian poet, Abu’l-Qassem Mansour ibn Hassan, famous by his penname “Ferdowsi”, completed his masterpiece “Shahnameh” (Book of Kings) that records in verse, Iran’s history, and is considered a world famous epic.
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).
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.
On 1st of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 459 AH, the Iranian literary figure and poet, Sharaf od-Din Khaled Fini Kashani, was born in Kashan. He served as assistant to the famous Seljuqid vizier Khwajah Nizam ol-Molk Tousi, on whose assassination he resigned his governmental post and settled in the Iraq port city of Basra, spending his years in study and research. Fini Kashani has penned memoirs of his days in administrative posts at the Seljuqid court in Isfahan. It is a fine specimen of Persian prose and includes poems of prominent classical poets.
On 2nd of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 391 AH, the Iranian poet, Abu Ishaq Kesa-i Marvazi, passed away at the age of 41 in his hometown, the Khorasani city of Marv, which was seized from Iran by Russia in 1884 and now in the present day republic of Turkmenistan. His life was concurrent with the waning years of the Iranian Samanid Dynasty of Bukhara and the rise of the Turkic Ghaznavid Dynasty of Ghazna. Hence he has written poems in praise of the rulers of these two dynasties, before embracing the truth of the school of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt. Thereafter he devoted his life to writing poetry on the merits of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and his First Infallible Successor, Imam Ali (AS). He has left behind a Divan of poems.
On February 21, 1918 AD, the Iranian scholar, Mirza Sadeq Hakeem titled “Adeeb ol-Mamalek Farahani”, passed away. He was well versed in Persian literature and was also acquainted with some European languages. An accomplished poet, the theme of most of his poetry is the social life of the people of his times and their political struggles. He became the editor of the daily “Adab”, and through its columns carried out the campaign to awaken the people of Iran. He was actively involved in the Constitutional Movement and for a time was in-charge of the Ministry of Culture and the Judiciary. He also managed the “Majlis” and “Aftab” papers for numerous years.
On 20th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 1134 AH, the Iranian poet and literary figure, Lotf-Ali Bayk Azar Bigdeli, was born in Isfahan. For a while he lived in the cities of Qom and Shiraz, and upon returning from the Hajj Pilgrimage, resided in his hometown, Isfahan. Despite famine and insecurity in the wake of internal wars plaguing Iran, he continued his studies under ulema and poets. An eloquent speaker well-versed in poetry, he has left behind a large number of works, including his collection of poems, and the book “Atashkada-e Azar”, which is an anthology of contemporary and past poets.
On 6th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 414 AH the famous Iranian-Islamic mathematician and astronomer, Abu Sa'eed Ahmad ibn Mohammad ibn Abdul-Jalil as-Sijzi, passed away at the age of 77. He was from Sistan which in those days was also called Sijistan, hence his epithet as-Sijzi. He had a deep knowledge of literature which he used to his advantage. He dedicated his astronomical work to Azod od-Dowla the ruler of the Buwayhid kingdom of Iran and Iraq. He also dedicated another of his works to the ruler of Balkh in Greater Khorasan. He also worked in Shiraz making astronomical observations from 969 to 970. He also did a lot of geometry work. Abu Rayhan Birouni wrote that Sijzi believed in a heliocentric system in which the Earth was moving and that he invented an astrolabe called the "Zuraqi" based on this idea. As a mathematician, Sijzi made a special study of the intersections of conic sections and circles. He replaced the old kinematical trisection of an angle by a purely geometric solution (intersection of a circle and an equilateral hyperbola.)
On 6th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 948 AH, the Iranian mathematician, “Ghiyas od-Din Mansour” passed away and was laid to rest in the city of Shiraz. He learned rational and traditional sciences under his father and other Ulema. Upon the order of Safavid King, Shah Ismail, he was charged with repairing the Maragheh Observatory and was appointed as the prime minister in the era of the next Safavid King, Shah Tahmasb. He resigned from this post, and spent the rest of his life grooming students, and compiling books. His most important works include “Hojjat ul-Kalaam” and “al-Haqa’eq”.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 380 AH, the well-known Iranian Islamic astronomer and mathematician, Abu-Ja’far ibn Ayoub Tabari Haseb, passed away. He has left behind a Persian work titled “Shish Fasl” which presents questions and answers on astronomy.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 458 AH, the Iranian Sunni scholar of Hadith, Ahmad ibn Hussain Ibn Ali al-Khosrojerdi al-Bayhaqi, passed away at the age of 74 in his native Khorasan. Born in Khosrojerd village near Sabzevar (then known as Bayhaq), he followed the Shafe'i school in jurisprudence and the Ash'ari school in theology. He studied fiqh from Abu’l-Fath Naser ibn al-Husasin an-Nayshapuri, and hadith from Hakem an-Nayshapuri, the compiler of the famous “al-Mustadrik ala as-Sahihayn”. Known as Imam Bayhaqi, he wrote several books including “Sunan al-Kubra” (“Sunan al-Bayhaqi”), “al-Asma' wa’s-Sifaat” (The Divine Names and Attributes) and “Dala'el an-Nubuwwah” (Proofs of Prophethood).
On 14th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 1326 AH, the Iranian mathematician, Mirza Abdul-Ghaffar Tehrani, titled “Najm od-Dowlah” passed away. He was a product of the famous Dar al-Fonoun Academy. Later he taught mathematics at this academy. Among his compilations, mention can be made of “Bedayat al-Hesaab” and “Usoul-e Hendesa” on geometry.
On 22nd of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 1211 AH, the Iranian astronomer and mathematician, Mirza Hussein Doost Mohammad Isfahani, was born. He passed away at the age of 81 and was laid to rest in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq.
On 26th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 280 AH, the Iranian linguist and poet of Arabic language, Abu’l-Fazl Ahmad, known popularly as Ibn Abi Taher Tayfur, passed away at the age of 76. Born in Baghdad to Tayfur, who hailed from the Khorasani city of Marv (presently in Turkmenistan), he played an important role in the revolutionizing of Arabic literature. He was the first writer to devote a book to writers. He was buried in the Bab ash-Sham cemetery in the section reserved for notables. His works include “Kitab al-Manthour wa’l-Manzoum” (Book of Prose and Poetry), in three volumes, which is the first attested multi-author anthology. He also authored “Kitab Baghdad” (Book of Baghdad), in 6 volumes, of which only one volume has survived. He also compiled “Balaghat an-Nisa” (The Eloquence of Women), in which he has cited the famous sermon of Omm Kolthoum, the daughter of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), delivered in the aftermath of the tragedy of Karbala.
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.
On 7th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Akher in 525 AH, the Iranian mystic, jurist, and Persian poet, Abdullah bin Mohammad Mayaneji, known popularly as Ain ul-Qozzat Hamedani, was hanged in the western Iranian city of Hamedan at the relatively young age of 33. His ancestors were judges in Hamedan, and he himself attained this position at the age of 30. However, while in Baghdad he fell foul of the self-styled 29th caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime for his outspoken views, and was arrested and imprisoned on the orders of the vizier of the Seljuqid Sultan. He was transferred to Hamedan and hanged next to his school. As a follower of the Sufi master, Ahmad Ghazali, he wrote many books. His important works are “Tamhidaat” (Preludes) and “Zubdat al-Haqa’eq fi Kashf al-Khala’eq” (Essence of Truth).
On 8th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 769 AH, the acclaimed Persian poet Mahmoud ibn Amir Yameen od-Din, popularly known as Ibn Yameen Faryumadi, passed away at the age of 84. He was born in Faryumad near Sabzevar in Khorasan, northeastern Iran. He is thought to have been the court poet of the Shi’ite Muslim Sarbedar dynasty. Over 5,000 of his poems, mainly aphorisms, have been preserved, including qasidas and mathnawis of a philosophical and mystical nature.
On 28th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 1226 AH, the prominent Iranian Islamic scholar, Mullah Ali Mirza Khalili, was born. He honed his skills in theology, principles of jurisprudence, and mathematics, and spent his life on research, study, and writing of books. His works include “Khaza'in al-Ahkam”, and passed away in 1297 at the age of 71.
On 29th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 1279 AH, the Arabic literary figure and poet, Abdul-Baaqi bin Suleiman Farouqi, passed away. He was a devotee of the Infallible Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and has written odes in this regard, He has left behind several books on the Prophet Mohammad and the Ahl al-Bayt, including “al-Baqiyaat as-Salehaat”.
On 30th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 432 AH, the Iranian scholar Abu’l-Abbas Ja’far ibn Mohammad al-Mustaghfiri, passed away. Born in Nasaf near the Iranian city of Samarqand, in what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan, he is famous for his compilation of the medical manual attributed to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and titled “Tibb an-Nabi”. Both Khwaja Naseer od-Din Tousi and Allamah Mohammad Baqer Majlisi have highly praised his work. Although a follower of the school of jurisprudence founded by Abu Hanifa the son of an Iranian Zoroastrian convert to Islam from Kabul, al-Mustaghfiri was devoted to the Ahl al-Bayt or the Prophet’s Immaculate Household.
On 11th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 398 AH, the acclaimed Iranian literary figure, author, and poet, Ahmad ibn Hussain, Badi oz-Zamaan Fazel-e Hamedani, passed away in Khorasan in the northeastern Iranian city of Herat, at the age of 40. Born in the western Iranian city of Hamedan, he was highly talented in both Arabic and Persian prose and poetry. At the age of 21 he went to Gorgan, northern Iran, where he remained for two years; then journeying through Khorasan and Sistan, he finally settled in Herat under the protection of the vizier of Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznavi. He is best known for his work titled “Maqamaat” – a collection of 52 episodic stories of a rogue. Among his works is an excellent Diwan of poems.

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