9:26 - May 20, 2022
News ID: 3478972
TEHRAN (IQNA) – Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973-1050 CE) is one of the first scientists who determined the direction of qibla and the earth’s movement and calculated the earth’s area thanks to his mastery over mathematics.

A statue of al-Biruni at Tehran's Laleh Park


Scientific heritage is among the most important types of cultural assets and the Muslim world enjoys rich resources in this regard.

Scientists often imitate the works of previous scholars; i.e. some sciences are discovered and then various scientists repeat or expand that field throughout history. However, some sciences are new and al-Biruni was of the scholars that offered new discoveries and inventions. He wrote several works out of which only three has remained today.

Carl Eduard Sachau (1845-1930 CE) was a German orientalist who translated al-Biruni’s “Kitab Ta'rikh al-Hind”, which is an encyclopedic on India, into German and English. In absence of his translation, the book could have been destroyed like some other works of the Iranian polymath.

Al-Biruni tried to incorporate mathematics into other fields of study as he believed that every science should be justifiable with mathematics. Today we see that mathematics plays a major role in other sciences such as psychology.

He translated Sanskrit books on Geometry of Euclid and Astrolabe to Arabic. He managed to calculate the sine of angle 1 while also determining the direction of qibla. Above all, he highlighted the rotational movement of the earth which had been less discussed.

Al-Biruni is known as a mathematician, astronomer, historian, and natural scientist. He was proficient in Persian, Khwarazmian, Arabic, and Sanskrit while also being familiar with ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac.


This article was a summary of remarks made by Ahmad Tamimyari, full professor of Persian literature at Allameh Tabataba'i University.

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