Baha al-Din al-Amili

(Redirected from Baha' al-Din al-Amili)

Baha al-Din Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Amili (Arabic: بهاء الدين محمد بن حسين العاملي, romanizedBahāʾ al‐Dīn Muḥammad bin Ḥusayn al‐ʿĀmilī; 18 February 1547 – 1 September 1621)[1] was a Levantine Arab[2] Twelver Shi'a scholar,[3] poet, philosopher, architect, mathematician, and astronomer who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Safavid Iran.[4] He was born in Baalbek, Ottoman Syria (now Lebanon) but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with the rest of his family.[4] He was one of the earliest astronomers in the Islamic world to suggest the possibility of the Earth's movement before the spread of Copernican heliocentrism.[1] He is considered one of the main co-founders of School of Isfahan. In later years, he was one of the teachers of Mulla Sadra.[5]

Baha al-Din al-Amili
Shaykh bahaey (right) and Mirfendereski
18th century copy of a miniature depicting Shaykh Baha'i, falsely attributed to Sadiqi Beg. This drawing is presumably a copy of a lost original by Sadiqi Beg
Born18 February 1547
Died1 September 1621(1621-09-01) (aged 74)
Isfahan, Safavid Empire (present-day Iran)
NationalitySafavid[1]
Iranian [2]
Other namesShaykh‐i Bahāʾī, Bahāddīn Āmilī
Academic background
InfluencesNimatullah Wali
Academic work
School or traditionSchool of Isfahan
Main interestsMathematics, Architecture, Astronomy, Philosophy and Poetry
Notable worksTashrīḥ al-Aflāk, al-Khashkūl, Nān wa ḥalwā
InfluencedHaydar Amuli, Mir Damad, Mulla Sadra, Mohsen Fayz Kashani
Grave of Shaykh Bahai

Baha al-Din wrote over 100 treatises and books on different topics,[1] in Arabic and New Persian. Several architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him but none can be substantiated with sources.[1] These may have included the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and Charbagh in Isfahan.[6] He is buried in Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, Iran.

Biography edit

Baha' al-Din was born near Baalbek in 1547.[4] His family had moved there from a small village near Jezzine.[4] After the execution of his father's mentor Zayn al-Din al-Juba'i al'Amili in 1558, he and his family moved to the neighbouring Safavid Empire, which was a Twelver Shi'a state; first to Isfahan, and from there to Qazvin, the royal capital.[4] At the time, the Safavid emperor was Tahmasp I (r. 1524-1576).[4] Tahmasp I appointed Shaykh Bahāʾī's father to serve as Shaykh al-Islām in several important Safavid cities to propagate Twelverism amongst the population.[4]

Shaykh Bahāʾī completed his studies in Isfahan. Having intended to travel to Mecca in 1570, he visited many Islamic countries including Iraq, Syria and Egypt and after spending four years there, he returned to Iran.

Shaykh Baha' al-Din died in 1621 in Isfahan. His body was buried in Mashhad according to his will.

Exact dates of birth and death edit

The exact dates of his birth and death are different on his grave stone and on the ceramic of the walls of the room where he is buried in. [citation needed]

Date of birth:

  • On the ceramics of the wall: 27 February 1547
  • On the grave stone: March 1546

Date of death:

  • On the ceramics of the wall: 30 August 1621
  • On the grave stone: August 1622

The dates on the wall contain day, month and year, while the dates on the grave stone only contain month and year. The ceramics of the wall are made in 1945. It seems that at that time a research is performed about the exact dates, and, therefore, the information about the day is added to the dates.[citation needed]

Pen name edit

According to Baháʼí Faith scholar ʻAbdu'l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Bahaʾ al-Din adopted the pen name (takhallus) Bahāʾ after being inspired by words of the Twelver Imams Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Imam) and Ja'far al-Sadiq (the sixth Imam), who stated that the Greatest Name of God was included in either Du'a al-Baha or Dua Umm Dawud. In the first verse of the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a Fajr prayer for Ramadan, the name Bahāʾ appears four times: Arabic: اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ, romanizedalllāhumma inni asʾaluk min bahāʾik biʾabhāh wakullu bahāʾika bahiyyun, lit.'Oh God, I ask you from your splendor with its splendor / And all your splendor is splendid/'.[7]

Astronomy and mathematics edit

 
Manuscript of The Summa of Arithmetics

His interest in the sciences is also apparent by some of his works and treaties, although many of his astronomical treatises are yet to be studied.[1] He probably have written 17 tracts and books on astronomy and related subjects. The following are some his works in astronomy:

  • Risālah dar ḥall‐i ishkāl‐i ʿuṭārid wa qamar (Treatise on the problems of the Moon and Mercury), on attempting to solve inconsistencies of the Ptolemaic system within the context of Islamic astronomy.
  • Tashrīḥ al‐aflāk (Anatomy of the celestial spheres), a summary of theoretical astronomy where he affirms the view that supports the positional rotation of the Earth. He was one of Islamic astronomers to advocate the feasibility of the Earth's rotation in the 16th century, independent of Western influences. [1]
  • Kholasat al-Hesab (The summa of arithmetic) was translated into German by G. H. F. Nesselmann and was published as early as 1843.[8]
 
Manuscript of the Anatomy of Celestial Spheres

Architecture edit

 
Painting of Imam Mosque by French traveller

Shaykh Baha' al-Din was known for his proficiency in mathematics, architecture and geometry. A number of architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him, but none can be substantiated with sources.[1]

Shaykh Baha' al-Din is attributed with the architectural planning of the city of Isfahan during the Safavid era. He was the architect of Isfahan's Imam Square, Imam Mosque and Hessar Najaf. He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque.

He is also known for his mastery of topography. One instance of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan. He designed a canal called the Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is considered one of Iran's greatest canals. He also determined the direction of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square.

 
Entrance to the ruins of Sheikh Bahai's Bathhouse

He also designed and constructed a furnace for a public bathroom, which still exists in Isfahan, known as Sheikh Bahai's Bathhouse. It is said that the furnace was powered by a single candle which was placed in an enclosure, and that the candle burned for a long time, boiling the bath's water. It is also said that according to his own instructions, the candle's fire would be put out if the enclosure was ever opened. It is believed that this happened during the restoration and repair of the building and it was not possible to make the system work again. In fact, Sheikh Bahaei used flammable gases that were naturally produced in a nearby cesspool for heating the bath's water. In 1969-70, the bathroom heating system was excavated and a series of underground pipelines made of sun-dried clay were discovered. Although there are many theories about the working of this heating system, it was concluded recently that he knew about biogas and the network was to guide toilet wells which were common to Iranian's houses and mosques.

 
People in the Manar Jonban in Isfahan

It is said that he designed the Manar Jonban (Shaking Minarets), which still exist in Isfahan; but this edifice was built in the fourteenth century during the Ilkhanid period on the tomb of Amu Abdollah Soqla, a pious Sheikh and Faqeer, who died in that same century.

The High Council of Cultural Revolution in Iran designated April 23 as the National Architect Day, marking the birth anniversary of Sheikh Bahaei.

Shia jurisprudence edit

 
Shaykh Bahai (center left) meeting Shah Abbas (center right) by Muhammad Ismail Isfahani

In the Twelver tradition, Shaykh Bahai is regarded as a leading scholar of his age and a mujaddid of the seventeenth century.[8] His erudition won him the admiration of Shah Abbas, and he was appointed the Sheikh ul-Islam of Isfahan after the death of the previous incumbent.[8] He composed works on tafsir, hadith, grammar and fiqh (jurisprudence).[8]

Mysticism edit

 
Illustrated manuscript of Nan wa Halwa

Shaykh Baha' al-Din was also an adept of mysticism. He had a distinct Sufi leaning for which he was criticized by Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi.[8] During his travels he dressed like a dervish[8] and frequented Sufi circles.[8] He also appears in the chain of both the Nurbakhshi and Ni'matullāhī orders.[8] In the work called Resāla fi’l-waḥda al-wojūdīya (Exposition of the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud), he states that the Sufis are the true believers,[8] alls for an unbiased assessment of their utterances,[8] and refers to his own mystical experiences.[8] Both his Persian and Arabic poetry are also replete with mystical allusions and symbols.[8] At the same time, Baha al-Din calls for strict adherence to the Sharia as a prerequisite for embarking on the Sufi path[8] and did not hold a high view of dervish-style antinomianism.[8]

Works edit

 
A manuscript by Shaykh Bahai

Shaykh Baha' al-Din contributed numerous works in philosophy, logic, astronomy and mathematics. His works include over 100 articles, epistles and books. Shaykh Baha' al-Din also composed poems in Persian and Arabic. His outstanding works in the Persian language are Jāmi’-i Abbāsī and two masnavis (rhymed couplets) by the names of Shīr u Shakar ("Milk and Sugar") and Nān u Halwā ("Bread and Halva").[citation needed]

His other important work is the Kashkūl, which includes stories, news, scientific topics, Persian and Arabic proverbs.

He also wrote Khulāṣat al‐ḥisāb (Arabic: خلاصة الحساب, lit. "Essentials of arithmetic"), an Arabic textbook that became popular throughout the Islamic world from Egypt to India until the 19th century. It was translated into German in Berlin by G. H. F. Nesselmann and published in 1843. A French translation appeared later 1854.[1]

Other works edit

  • Meklāt (in Arabic)
  • Kashkūl (in Persian and Arabic) (کشکول)
  • Tūtī-Nāmah (in Persian) (طوطی نامه)
  • Nān u Panīr (in Persian) (نان و پنیر)
  • Shīr u Shakar (in Persian) (شیر و شکر)
  • Nān u Halwā (in Persian and Arabic) (نان و حلوا)
  • Jāmi'-i Abbāsī (in Persian) (جامع عباسی)
  • Tashrīḥ Al-Aflāk (in Arabic) (تشريح الأفلاك)
  • Al-fawayid as-Samadiah (in Arabic)
  • Mashriq al-Shamsayn wa Iksīr al-Sa'adatayn (in Arabic) (مشرق الشمسين وإكسير السعادتين)
  • Al-Athnā' Ash'ariyyah (in Arabic) (الأثناء عشرية)
  • Zubdat al-Usūl (in Arabic) (زبدة الأصول)

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hashemipour 2007.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. Taylor & Francis; 1998. ISBN 978-0-415-18571-4. p. 85.
  3. ^ "Bahāʾ ad-dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al-ʿĀmilī | Iranian scholar". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kohlberg 2009, pp. 429–430.
  5. ^ Baha al-Din al-Amili at Encyclopædia Iranica.
  6. ^ Kheirabadi, Masoud (2000). Iranian Cities: Formation and Development. Syracuse University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8156-2860-6.
  7. ^ Khadem, Dhikru'llah (March 1976). "Bahá'u'lláh and His Most Holy Shrine". Baháʼí News. No. 540. pp. 4–5.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Encyclopædia Iranica, BAHĀʾ-AL-DĪN ʿĀMELĪ, SHAIKH MOḤAMMAD B. ḤOSAYN BAHĀʾĪ by E. Kohlberg.

References edit

External links edit