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Title: Al-Birjandi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cosmology in medieval Islam, Maragheh observatory, Al-Biruni, Nizam al-Din Nishapuri, Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A work of Birjandi's, Sharh al-Tadhkirah, a manuscript copy, beginning of the 17th century
Full name ʿAbd al‐ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al‐Birjandī
Died 1525-1526
Era Islamic Golden Age

Abd Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn Birjandi (Persian: عبدعلی مممدبن حسین بیرجندی‎) (died 1528) was a prominent 16th-century Persian astronomer, mathematician and physicist who lived in Birjand, Iran.

His works

He wrote some more than 13 books and treatises;[1] The following is a partial list of some of his works:

  • Sharh al-tadhkirah (A commentary on al-Tusi's memoir). The text, in some copies of the manuscript from 17th century, is written throughout in black and red ink with diagrams illustrating many of the astronomical elements discussed.[2] The 11th chapter of the book was translated to Sanskrit in 1729 at Jaipur by Nayanasukhopadhyaya. Kusuba and Pingree present an edition of the Sanskrit, and in a separate section, an English translation facing the Arabic original. That chapter has attracted attention among European scholars since the late 19th century.[3] Al-Birjandi on Tadhkira II, Chapter 11, and Its Sanskrit Translation by Kusuba K. and Pingree D. ISBN 978-90-04-12475-2 was published in 2001 by Brill Academic Publishers.
  • Sharh-i Bist Bab dar Ma'rifat-i A'mal-i al-Asturlab (Commentary on "Twenty Chapters Dealing with the Uses of the Astrolabe" of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi; Persian.[4]
  • Risalah fi Alat al-Rasad (Epistle on observational instruments); in Arabic.
  • Tadhkirat al-Ahbab fi Bayan al-Tahabub (Memoir of friends: concerning the explanation of friendship [of numbers]); Arabic.

He also wrote some treatises on theology.


In discussing the structure of the cosmos, al-Birjandi continued Ali al-Qushji's debate on the Earth's rotation. In his analysis of what might occur if the Earth were moving, he develops a hypothesis similar to Galileo Galilei's notion of "circular inertia",[5] which he described in the following observational test (as a response to one of Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi's arguments):

"The small or large rock will fall to the Earth along the path of a line that is perpendicular to the plane (sath) of the horizon; this is witnessed by experience (tajriba). And this perpendicular is away from the tangent point of the Earth’s sphere and the plane of the perceived (hissi) horizon. This point moves with the motion of the Earth and thus there will be no difference in place of fall of the two rocks."[6]

See also


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica
  2. ^ The Institute of Ismaili Studies - The Calligraphic Tradition in Islam
  3. ^ Powell's Books - Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science, #47: Arabic Astronomy in Sanskrit Arabic Astronomy in Sanskrit: Al-Birjand? on Tadhkira II, Chapter 11 and Its Sanskrit Tranal-Birjand? on Tadhkira II, Cha by Takanori Kusuba
  4. ^ Manuscript Exhibition 2007
  5. ^ (Ragep 2001b, pp. 63–4)
  6. ^ (Ragep 2001a, pp. 152–3)


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