Special Reports

Third Biruni Intl. Conference in Dhaka

On the 966th death anniversary of Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni, a great Islamic scholar, scientist, mathematician, philosopher, historian, and linguist, Abu Rayhan Biruni Foundation (ARBF) of Dhaka, Bangladesh, organized the third Biruni Interdisciplinary International Conference on the contribution of Muslim scholars to Science, Philosophy, Religion, and Literature. The conference was held during 10-12 December. Professor Dr. Ali Asghar Rostami Abousaidi, Chancellor, Payam-e Nur University, Tehran and former Deputy Minister for Science, Islamic Republic of Iran attended the conference as the Chief Guest.

Dr Bruce B Lawrence, Professor Emeritus, Duke University, an  internationally renowned Al-Biruni and Islamic Studies scholar, delivered the  keynote address.

In addition, Professor Victor Shaw from California State University, USA and Professor Yang Lee of Gyeongsang National University, Korea oddwews The inaugural function was held offered key speeches. Eminent scholars and guests from Bangaldesh and foreign countries graced the occasion.

The inaugural session was presided over by Dr. Abu Musa Mohammad Arif Billah, Chairman of the foundation and Associate Professor of the Department of Persian Language and Literature, University of Dhaka.

Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni was born on 5 September 973 CE in Kath in the region of Khawarizm of what was then Iran (now part of Uzbekistan) and died on 13 December, 1048 CE in the city of Ghazni, the capital city of the Ghaznavid kingdom. He was a visionary and highly renowned philosopher and scientist. He contributed to the fields of science, philosophy, history, literature, culture, religion and society. His views and extensive efforts contributed to the historical, philosophical, scientific and inter-cultural development of humanity, coexistence and peace. Refinement of the Persian literary tradition in Iran and its impact on the languages and cultures of the Indo-Pak-Bangladesh Subcontinent is another important development. Muslim philosophers and scientists not only contributed to several fields but also acted as a bridge between the eastern and western civilizations. Biruni is the best example of this trend as he translated sources of Indian science, philosophy and religion into Arabic and Greek philosophy and scientific contents into Sanskrit. It can be stated that there was a huge development in the fields of Science, Philosophy, Religion and Literature during the medieval period - from the seventh to sixteenth century. Hence, it will not be too much to claim that the foundation of modern science and philosophy was laid by the contribution of Muslim scholars from the medieval period. But, unfortunately, contemporary people, especially Muslims, are not aware of their glorious past and they seem to be dependent on the western system of education. The present universities, colleges and other educational institutions have been established during the colonial period and follow the colonial and imperialistic system of education and research with the dangerous effect that our people do not know their own glorious history of the foundation and expansion of human knowledge and social morals and obligations. Unless and until Muslims of the world come forward to try to regain their lost identity by repelling their backwardness, no real change will take place in our societies. It is also time for us to reconsider our visions and missions which are contaminated by deceptive plans of western powers aiming at keeping us at loggerheads.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2016 on page no. 13

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