Abu Rayhan Biruni also known as Al-Biruni was an Iranian scholar and polymath from Khwarezm a region which is a part of a modern day western Uzbekistan and northern Turkmenistan.
He lived from 973 to 1048 AD and spent most of his life in Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. During his illustrious career, Al-Biruni became an expert in numerous subjects, including history, physics, mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, comparative religion, and earth sciences.
In his 20s, he moved away from his homeland in pursuit of knowledge. For 3 years he travelled throughout Persia, learning from scholars about numerous subjects. When he finally settled in Jurjan (modern Gorgan) in 998, he worked for the local ruler, Shams al-Ma’ali Qabus. For the next 10 years, he lived in this small northern Irani city, doing research, writing books, and learning more.
He authored “Tarikh al-Hind” (History of India) a famous Arabic text after exploring the Hindu faith practised in India. He was given title of the ‘founder of Indology’.
He was also a pioneer in the study of comparative religion. He studied Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other religions. He treated religions objectively, striving to understand them on their own terms rather than trying to prove them wrong.
To commemorate this great scholar Iran post issued a 10 Riyal postage stamp.
Image Source: Classical Numismatic Gallery