History of Khorezm Mamun Academy
09-06-2017 847

Thousands of years ago, the largest science center of the East, ‘Dar-al Hikma and Marifa’ was established in Khorezm’s capital city Gurganj (Kunya Urgench) as a result of the effort of the Khorezmshah Ali IbnMamun and Mamun Ibn Mamun, belonging to the enlightened family of mamunids, as well as encyclopedic scholar Abu Rayhan Biruni. This educational establishment, dealt with actual problems of science at that time, continued the oldest scientific and educational traditions formed by the "Bayt al-Hikma", operating in Baghdad two centuries before Mamun Academy, as well as Central Asia, in particular, Khorezm region, and gained its proper place in the development of the science. Activity of the scientists of "Dar al-Hikma and Marifa" caught the attention of the European and Russian oriental scientists indeed in the last century. European scientist E.Zaxau, Russian orientalist academicians S.P. Tolstov, I.Yu.Krachkovskiy, A.Yu.Yakubovskiy, P.G. Bulgakov, Uzbek academician scientists Ya.G'ulomov, I.Mo'minov, M.Khayrullaev, A.Ahmedov, B.Abduhalimov and many others researched the scientific activities of the Academy, and proved that it was the Academy of Sciences of its time. Eventually, this establishment has begun to be called as the Khorezm Academy of Mamun. This residence of science, called as "Dar al-Hikma" or "Majlisi Uloma", was not a random assembly of the scientists, writers, and poetsaimed at the increase of the fame of  Khorezmshah  Empire. From that point of view it would be completely wrong to look at the issue. In other words, it did not come to existence there by chance, but it had solid foundation. Firstly, Khorezm Academy of  Mamun directly related to the roots of science and education of the ancient Khorezm, as well as, it is the result of an initial mid-century Renaissance period cultural growth. Since, enthusiasm towards the science, especially in astronomy, mathematics and other knowledge appeared rather early in the ancient Khorezm region.

Khorezm, one of the cradles of civilization,as the first President of Uzbekistan Islam  Karimov expressed, is one of the Holy places, where the cornerstone of the Uzbek statehood was founded. The Holy book "Avesta" and the religion of Zoroastrianism, which is considered as the wealth of mankind,is created in this beautiful land. The initial encyclopedic work of the ancient Middle East - "Avesta" included in itself religious, philosophical, scientific and educational views of our ancestors imbued with the humanitarian ideals for.

Three thousand years ago,irrigation-based farming culture, the unique construction of irrigation facilities, beautiful cities and magnificent architecture built in this sacred land, and their ruins are still preserved.

In addition, the fact that Khorezmians had their own writing, based onthe Aramaic alphabet, proves that they were literate and educated. Ancient examples of writings, household goods, jewelry, sculptures made by fine taste, colorful images painted on the walls of the palace, ancient  Qoyqirilgan  Qala Observatory and initial astronomical instruments, found by archeologist scientists, academician S.P. Tolstov, Ya.G. Gulyamov, I.Yu. Yakubovskiy and others, in Tuproqqala, Ayoz Qala, Qoyqirilgan Qala, Hazarasp and other ancient fortresses of the Khorezm in the middle of the last century are the evidence of high level cultural development of the Khorezm during the antic period.

According to Biruni's testimony, the ancient Khorezmians had their own calendar system related to farming activities. The necessity for periodical planning of Agricultural work played a significant role in the strong development of the mathematics and astronomy in the Khorezm region. Excavation of large channels and the construction of irrigation facilities, which are the basis of agriculture, beautiful city, palaces and other architectural buildings require the development of the science of mathematics, geometry, and topography. Unique jewelry and examples of colorful art serveas a proof of the high levels of the knowledge regarding chemistry and mineralogy. Commercial and cultural relations of Khorezm, conducted with foreign countries,influenced on the early development of the geography, cartography and ethnography. Thus, there were enough material and moral foundation for the development of exact and social sciences in Khorezm, indeed in the ancient times.

In addition to the aforementioned factors, the works of the ancient Greek scientists, scientific discoveries of our fellow countrymen Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, al-Ferghani,  as well as Ahmad al-Marvaziy and Abbas al-Javhariy, conducted researches in the ninth-century Baghdad Academy - "Bayt al-Hikma", playedalso a key role in the formation and development of the Khorezm Academy of Mamun. Scientists of the Khorezm Academy of Mamun have got spiritual nourishment from the works of the scholars mentioned above, developed and enriched their scientific conclusions and discoveries with their own newly conducted studies.

It should be noted that, at the beginning of the eighth century, the entire Movarounnakhr and the Khorezm was occupied by the Arab general Qutayba. Towns and villages of the Movarounnakhr were destroyed, ancient manuscripts and masterpiecesof the culture were burned in the fire, scientists and scholars were killed by the Arab invaders. However, the cultural life did not cease to exist. Despite the difficulty and complexity of the condition, science and education began to shine again here soon.

After the invasion of the Arabs, the government in Khorezm was divided in two parts. The southern part of the Khorezm was ruled by Abu Abdullah Muhammad, the ruler of the Afrigids, in the city of Kat, and the northern part was under the reign of Mamun ibn Muhammad (995-997), emir of the Caliphate. After the battle between two rulers, succeeded Mamun ibn Muhammad united the entire Khorezm under his reign, and received the title of  Khorezmshah, eventually moved the capital city to Gurganj. During the control of his successors, Ali ibn Mamun (997-1009) and Mamun II ibn  Mamun (1009-1017), the ancient system of government administration and cultural traditions were restored, the city life, shopping and crafts developed better than ever. According to the work of the Arab historian Istakhriy,at the beginning of the 10th century there were 9 to 13 cities in Khorezm. However, half a century later, the number of cities tripled or increased to 40. The cities such as, Gurganj, Khiva, Kat, Hazarasp, Ardakhushmison (Vayangan), and Kardaranxos (Kalazhik) became major economic and cultural centers of the East. Khorezmians  reached even to the far Spain and started trade and cultural affairs. Particularly,status of the capital, Gurganj, swelled, architecture and flourishing of the places developed in the city, beautiful palaces, caravan palace, mosques and madrassas, public buildings and market stalls were erected. This was the beginning of the creative work, developed in XII-XIII centuries, in Khorezm.

The author of the manuscript “Tarifi Shahri Xorazm” (Description of the city of Khorezm)informs that there were functioning 170 large and small markets, 5 thousand mosques, 700 madrassas and thousand bathhouses in Gurganj. Arab tourists who visited the areaduring that period noted that Khorezm and the capital city of Gurganj was beautiful, paradise resort, the population was affluent and educated.

Similarly, Al-Muqadasiy (X century) described  Khorezmians as "the people of natural wisdom, research skills and knowledge as well as jurisprudence".

Yoqut Hamawi (XIII century)said "I have never been to a place like the capital of the Khorezm,Gurganj, that is glorious, rich, and immeasurably beautiful, with knowledgeable people". Ibn Battuta (XIII century) developed the aforementioned points and valued the Khorezmians as following: "I have not been fortunate in meeting the people as Khorezmians, who are kind, hospitable, and gentle to foreigners, as well as mastered the jurisprudence".

Above mentioned socio-political and spiritual conditions prepared necessary environment for the functioning of the Khorezm Academy of Mamun. Enlightened ruler, Ali ibn Mamun, developed cultural and educational activities in Gurganj. He established royal palace library, and enriched it with the rare manuscripts, brought from different cities of the East. Talented youth learnt religious and secular sciences at the madrassa, built beside the palace. That period was the flourishing era of the science in Khorezm. Khorezmshah Ali ibn al-Ma'mun called for Abu Rayhan Biruni from Jurjon, appointed him as the chief consultant and conducting diplomatic relations with foreign countries was assigned as his duty. According to the decree of Ali ibn Ma'mun, the largest scientific and educational center of the East – the "Dar al-Hikma va Ma'rifa" or the Academy of  Mamun was established. Biruni was appointed as the Chairman of this educational establishment. The fame of the "Dar al-Hikma va Ma'rifa" increased indeed during the reign of Khorezm shah Mamun II. In this Academy, except from  Khorezmians, more than a hundred scientists, lawyers, writers, theologians, came from Bukhara, Samarkand, Jand, Marv, Nishopur, Balkh, Iran, Iraq, India, Egypt, Sham (Syria) and other regions, conducted researches and made great discoveries regarding the various fields of science. Mamunids were sovereigns that valued education and science. They promoted scientists of the Academy, supported researches with every possible kind of aid, provided the scientists with necessary conditions.

Scientists from Khorezm, mathematician and astronomer Abu Nasr Iraq, al-Kharijiy, al-Khamdaki, chemist AbulHakim Muhammad ibn Abdulmalik as Saleh al-Khwarizmi al-Kosi, Ahmad ibn Muhammad as-Suhayl Al Khwarizmi and others, as well asan encyclopedic scholar from Bukhara, famous physician Abu Ali ibnSina,historian, philosopher and poet Abul Baghdad Hayit bin Hammor, physician and philosopher Abu SahlIsa I bn Yahya al-Masihiy al-Jurjoniy, mathematician and astronomer Mahmud bin Xidral-Ho'jandiy, historian and poet Abu Mansur al-Abdulmalik ibn Muhammad ibn Ismail as Saolobiy, Abul Khayr al-Hasan ibn Sivar ibn Boba ibn Bixnam, Abu Sayd Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Iraq, al-Xamadoniy, Abu Abdullah Biyon Naysoburiy, Ahmad ibn  Hamid al-Naysoburiy, historian ibn Misxavayx, Abul-Fazl Bayhakiy, naturalist Abu Abdullah Husaynibn Ibrahim at-Tabari al-Notiliy, Ahmad ibn Muhammad as-Sahriy and other leading scientists, under the supervision of Abu Rayhan Biruni, solved many scientific and practical issues, and made a huge contribution to the development of the global science. The names of the above mentioned scientists are the list (not completed yet) of the scholars worked at the Academy, including Khorezmians as the majority of the scientists.

Scientists conducted deeply researches on secular and natural sciences, particularly on astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, mineralogy, cartography, geography, geometry, biology, medicine, philosophy, history, language, logic, literature, Islamic jurisprudence and other fields of the science. They knew Arabic, Persian, Indian, Latin, Greek and Turkish languages. After the keenly analysis of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid, Pythagoras, Galen and other Greek scholars, scientists of the Academy dedicated their comments to these works. They studied the subjects above and enriched them with new ideas. At the same time, they taught youth at the madrassas of the Gurganj, and made a major contribution to prepare talented scholars. In addition, the schools of astronomy (Biruni), mathematics (Abu Nasr), chemistry (Abul Khayr Khammor), within the academy, served to give deep knowledge to youth. So far, the madrasas of the Gurganj and a foresaid schools became the dwellings of real science. The students graduated from those madrasas and schools, eventually became prominent scholars of the East.

The scientists of Khorezm Academy of Mamun wrote mostly on humanitarian subjects and exact science, and inherited them to the next generation. Their importance has been preserved to date. Abu Rayhan Biruni (973-1048) was senior scientist, a great leader and one of the outstanding coordinators of the Mamun Academy. He was educated by his teachers, Abu Nasr Iraq, al-Masihiy and al-Khirojiy, at his childhood, and became a leading scientist in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, biology and history. Beruni is the author of 156 works regarding various subjects, and only 30 of them endured to date. "Monuments remained from ancient  People”,“India", "Mineralogy”,“ Qonuni Ma'sudiy" (Masudiy Law), "Saydana" and other works of the scholar gained great fame at his period, and still considered as rare works of the global science. His great service in the field of astronomy was  his thoughts about the sun, moon and planets, and conclusions about their position in space. He proved the scientific idea concerning rotation of the Earth around its axis, almost six centuries before European scientists. His conclusions about the measurements of the Earth are similar to the contemporary science, and rather precise and perfect. Biruni explained the interpretations of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and theory of numbers with proper order, advanced the level of trigonometry as independent science. In his researches of the geography, represented the precise coordinates of the countries, seas and islands according to the seven climates, and created the most comprehensive map of the world of his time. He made the peculiar shape of the globe with the help of astronomical instruments that he invented,and that was one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. Apart from Greek scholars, proved the connection of the Indian and Atlantic oceans via original method, and made scientific predictions about thelarge unknown continent behind the ocean – America. Biruni was one of the encyclopedic scholars, who inherited rich legacy on history, ethnography, language, literature and medicine.

Oneof the foremost scholars of  Khorezm Academy of Mamun was Abu Nasr Iraqi (died 1039). He was prominent among scientists by his researches on mathematics and astronomy. He was the author of more than 30 works on the subjects above. 12 of them is devoted to his student– Biruni. "Al Majistiy ash-shohiy" (King al-Magesti). "Risola fil Usturlob" (Book on Astrology), “A book about sent calendar schedules to Biruni", "Spheres of Menelay" and other pamphlets remained. Abu Nasr was one of the founders of the flat and spherical trigonometry. His scientific conclusions were widely used even in the fields of construction and architecture. Central Asia's most famous mathematician, philosopher and poet, Al-Farabi, praised the creative work of the scientist and cited the following about him: “the greatest of the famous scholars, who studied mathematics, was Abu Nasr Iraq”. His works brought a huge success and was titled as "Ptolemey  Soniy” (Second Ptolemy).

Abu Ali ibn Sino (980-1037), who was famous in the science of medical treatment not only in the East, but also in Europe, was one of the most prolific scholars of the Mamun  Academy. Ibn Sina was born in the village of Afshona, Bukhara. He was taught by eminent scholars at the madrasas of Bukhara and became proficient scholar of the medical science, as well as mathematics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and music. According to the invitation of Biruni, Ibn Sino came to Gurganj in 1004, and began his career with Abu Nasr Iraq, Abu Sahl Masihiy, Abul Khayr Khammar at the forefront of the Khorezm Academy of  Mamun. Ibn Sino wrote almost 450 booklets on diverse fields of science, andnearly 50 of them are connected with medical science. Initial two volumes of his famous work "Tib Qonunlari" (Regulations of the Medicine) and other works were written in Gurganj, in this Academy. Ibn Sino's medical works was considered as rare works of that period, as well as today is still appreciated in the world of medical science. His books used as a course book in European universities, and physicians used them as a reliable guide. Ibn Sina died because of a serious illnessat the age of 57, in 1037 in the Iranian city of Hamadan.

Abu Sahl al-Masihiy (970-1011) was also eminentscholar of the Academy, and was the author of dozens of books on astronomy, mathematics, natural sciences and philosophy. 8 treatises of them were on medicine, preserved till present.