Introduction: 4th Al-Biruni Interdisciplinary Conference

توانا بود هر که دانا بود      ز دانش دل پیر بر نا بود
He is the mighty who is knowledgeable With knowledge the mind of an old remains young

ساقي حديث سرو و گل و لاله مي رود                              وين بحث با ثلاثۀ غسّاله مي­رود

شکر شکن شوند همۀ طوطيان هند                                   زين قند پارسي که به بنگاله مي­رو
[O Cupbearer! the tale of Cypress, Rose and Tulip goes on and on And with the three washers this dispute goes on and on
All the parrots of Hindustan become sugar shatterers As this sugar candy of Farsi (Persian) to Bengal goes on and on
(Hafiz of Shiraz)]

Abu Rayhan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Biruni (Al-Biruni) is an outstanding unparalleled scholar in the history of human sciences and civilization. No doubt, he is a symbol of scientific, philosophical, cultural and social thoughts. George Sarton describes Biruni as “one of the very greatest scientists of Islam, and, all considered, one of the greatest of all times”. A. I. Sabra, accordingly, describes Biruni as “one of the great scientific minds in all history”.

Biruni was born on 5 September 973 AD in Kath in the region of Khawarizm of what was then Iran (nowadays Uzbekistan) and died on 13th December 1048 AD in the city of Ghazni, the capital city of the Ghaznavid ruler. 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 generous views and extensive efforts contributed to the historical, philosophical, scientific and inter-cultural development of a world marked by intellectuality and humanism as well as coexistence and peace.

On the occasion of the observance of the 968th demise anniversary of Abu Rayhan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Biruni (973 – 1048 AD), Abu Rayhan Biruni Foundation, Dhaka, in collaboration with Payame Noor University, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. considering the backwardness of contemporary Muslim scholars in the fields of scientific, philosophical, religious and literary studies as well as persisting conflicts among various groups of people throughout the world, announces the 4th Biruni (Al-Biruni) Interdisciplinary International Conference and hereby calls for informative academic research papers by scholars at home and abroad.

Muslim contributions to the field of science, philosophy, religion and literature are an indisputable universal truth. The emergence of Islam with the verses of the Holy Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) glorified the process of the development of Arabic Literary tradition. Hence, the traditions of Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Tarikh emerged significantly during the early period of Islam.

Refinement of the Persian literary tradition in Iran and its impact on the languages and culture of the Indo-Pak-Bangladesh Sub-continent is another important development. Al-Quran itself

bears unbound appeal to the study of science, philosophy, history, religion, culture in numerous verses. Quranic cosmology regarding the movement of earth and the sun is far beyond the human imagination – ‘Each, floating (moving with balance) in an orbit [36:40]’; and ‘Travel throughout the earth and observe the consequences of the people who lived [here] before [30:42]’ depict a clear convergence of scientific, historic and social knowledge.

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 much matters of Indian science, philosophy and religion into Arabic and many of the 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, today, 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 universities, colleges and other educational institutions has been established during the colonial period and follow the colonial and imperialistic system of education which has a dangerous setback that our people do not know their own, the glorious history of the foundation and expansion of Human knowledge and social morals and obligations. Unless and until the Muslims of the world come forward to try to regain their lost identity by repelling backwardness as well as all the existing adversities persisting within themselves and their society.

It is also time for us to reconsider our ongoing visions and missions, which are fully contaminated by the deceptive plans of the satanic powers, that we should fight each other in the name of Shia and Sunni, or Salafi and Wahhabi and so on. We should have to be united to make a strong Muslim Ummah with the spirit of Islam, leaving aside the sectorial or cynical divisions. Thus, it is time for academics, researchers and literati as well as scholars to step forward to address these issues with the spirit of responsibility, sincerity and finally of the aspiration towards prevailing harmony and knowledge, peace and sustainable development, considering the fragile security and safety conditions of the contemporary world in general and of the Muslim world in particular.

The proposed conference is interdisciplinary in format and will provide scope for writers, researchers and academics to come up with resourceful papers, recommendations and suggestions.

We hope researchers, professors, teachers as well as outstanding research students from all over the world, especially from Europe, America, Australia, China, Japan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, will participate in this interdisciplinary congress by sending their abstracts and papers in advance as well as by presenting them for the benefit of the audience in attendance.

The presented papers will be published as ‘Collection of papers’ with ISBN number after reviewing and necessary editing by the members of the expert panel and editorial board.

With Thanks

Abu Musa Mohammad Arif Billah (PhD from SOAS, University of London)

Chairman, Abu Rayhan Biruni Foundation (ARBF); www.arbfbd.org

Ex-Chairman, Department of Persian and Urdu, University of Dhaka.

Convenor: 4th Biruni (Al-Biruni) Interdisciplinary International Conference