Talk:Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī

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/background of Biruni

On the claim of Turkish origin of Biruni as claimed by Sayinli Website vs Western Secondary sources and Tertiary sources (Frye, Mackenzie, Bosworth, Encyclopaedia of Islam)[edit]

There is at least one reliable source which suggests that he was Turkish (or at least not Persian). Furthermore, the currently cited sources do not explicitly deal with his ethnicity/nationality, but only refer to him as being born in Persia, i.e., Persian by birth not by ethnicity. So we need better sources for the Persian people claim (similar to what we did a few months ago at Avicenna). Some details:

According to Turkish historian Aydın Sayılı, Biruni himself "solemnly stated that he was neither an Arab nor Persian". Sayılı suggests that Biruni "was very likely Turkish". Reference: Sayılı, Aydın; Remzi Demir, İnan Kalaycıoğulları (2009). Ord. Prof. Dr. Aydın Sayılı külliyatı 1. Atatürk Kültür Merkezi. p. 43. ISBN 9789751621061. 

An abridged version of another work by Sayılı gives more details:

Al-Bîrûnî, for example, tells us that his mother tongue was neither Arabic nor Persian. He adds, moreover, that it is impossible to write scientific books in his maternal language. He asserts that Arabic is the language appropriate for writing books of science and learning and that Persian is suitable for eulogies and evening stories, adding, however, that he himself would prefer criticism in Arabic to being praised in Persian.

Al-Bîrûnî is seen to have known Turkish from occasional references he makes to words in that language. Apparently he knew Turkish already in his very tender ages. For at least on two occasions he speaks of somewhat detailed childhood memories concerning aged Turks who brought medicines made of herbs to his native town, one of them being to the palace of Khwarazm. Moreover, Al-Bîrûnî's Turkish was, according to Zeki Velidi Togan, that of the Turks of his native country. And it is very unlikely that Al-Bîrûnî's acquaintance with Turkish was a result of his formal or private education.

We may conclude that Al-Bîrûnî was most certainly not Persian and was very likely Turkish.

The above quote is from an abridged version of Sayılı, Aydın (1986). Turkish contributions to scientific work in Islam. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi.  which is also available online. Assuming that we do not find other sources dealing explicitly with his ethnicity/nationality, I think the above arguement by Sayılı deserves to be mentioned in this article. Any thoughts? Wiqi(55) 14:25, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Actually out of all the old scientists, Biruni leaves absolutely no doubt about his ethnicity which was Iranian Chorasmian. Avicenna was Persian also as well, and he was the founder of modern Persian scientific writing. Avicenna clearly states: "In the languages we know.." and then brings examples from Persian and Arabic. But lets concentrate on Biruni.
  • First, we do not use nationalist local historians in Wikipedia. C.E. Bosworth has criticized Togan already:“Similarly such great figures as al-Farabi, al-Biruni, and Ibn Sina have been attached by over enthusiastic Turkish scholars to their race”.( Clifford Edmond Bosworth, "Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic World." In Islamic Civilization, Edited by D. S. Richards. Oxford, 1973.)[1]
  • Biruni, clearly states his mother tongue as Chorasmian which is an Iranian language. Biruni never uses Turkish but uses Chorasmian and the Encyclopaedia of Islam is very clear on this issue. L. Massignon, "Al-Biruni et la valuer internationale de la science arabe" in Al-Biruni Commemoration Volume, (Calcutta, 1951). pp 217-219.: In a celebrated preface to the book of Drugs, Biruni says: It is through the Arabic language that the sciences have been transmitted by means of translations from all parts of the world. They have been enhanced by the translation into the Arabic language and have as a result insinuated themselves into men's hearts, and the beauty of this language has commingled with these sciences in our veins and arteries. And if I compare Arabic with Persian, two languages with which I consider myself extremely familiar, I must confess I would prefer invective in Arabic to praise in Persian. ..And if it is true that in all nations one likes to adorn oneself by using the language to which one has remained loyal, having become accustomed to using it with friends and companions according to need, I must judge for myself that in my native Chorasmian, science has as much as chance of becoming perpetuated as a camel has of facing Kaaba."
  • Note the full quote above, he also mentions that Persian is not a suitable language for scientific discourse during his time. But paradoxically, he was one of the first contributors to modern Persian scientific writing. You can find the full quote in a google books search [2] (and then search the words around it)
  • In his Athar al-Baqqiya he also mentions Chorasmian as an Iranian/Persian language:

Original Arabic و أما أهل خوارزم، و إن کانوا غصنا ً من دوحة الفُرس Translation: And the people of Khwarizm, they are a branch of the Persian tree. [3]

  • He actually did not know any Turkish. Note pg 77 of the .pdf file in the intro Biruni says:"And the months of other nations including those of India, China, Tibet, Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Zangs. Although I know the name of some these months, but I am looking for further time in order to completely understand them. Because with the approach that I have taken so far, it is not correct for me to mix doubt and certainties and what I understand with what I do not understand " [4]

and pg 80 with regards to months in Turkish: "he has the order of the old-turkic (old uighur, which he calls toquz-oghuz) month names, which are just ordinals (readily recognizable in any variety) jumbled and adds a note that he doesn't know the correct order and doesn't know the origin and meanings of the names."[[5]]

  • And he has left words in Chorasmian, not in Turkish. This language has been studied by scholars:

[[6]] "The earliest examples have been left by the great Chorasmian scholar Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī."(D. N. MacKenzie, "Chorasmian language" in Encycylopaedia of Iran). "The earliest examples have been left by the great Chorasmian scholar Abu Rayhan Biruni. In his works on chronology and astronomy (ca. 390-418/1000-28) he recorded such calendrical and astronomical terms as some of the tradi­tional names of days, months, feasts, and signs of the zodiac." And as to why we do not use nationalist historians in Wikipedia, here is Clifford Edmond Bosworth with regardss to his criticsm of Togan:

  • Gotthard Strohmaier, "Biruni" in Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach, Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K, index: Vol. 1 of Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, 2006. excerpt from page 112: "Although his native Khwarezmian was also an Iranian language, he rejected the emerging neo-Persian literature of his time (Firdawsi), preferring Arabic instead as the only adequate medium of science.";
  • D.J. Boilot, "Al-Biruni (Beruni), Abu'l Rayhan Muhammad b. Ahmad", in Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden), New Ed., vol.1:1236-1238. Excerpt 1: "He was born of an Iranian family in 362/973 (according to al-Ghadanfar, on 3 Dhu'l-Hididja/ 4 September — see E. Sachau, Chronology, xivxvi), in the suburb (birun) of Kath, capital of Khwarizm". Excerpt 2:"was one of the greatest scholars of mediaeval Islam, and certainly the most original and profound. He was equally well versed in the mathematical, astronomic, physical and natural sciences and also distinguished himself as a geographer and historian, chronologist and linguist and as an impartial observer of customs and creeds. He is known as al-Ustdadh, "the Master".
  • So, Biruni was an Iranian (spoke Iranian languages) and his native language was Chorasmian. He makes that clear in his book on drugs which was distorted by Sayinli and he has provided numerous Chorasmian words in his Athar. Wikipedia uses Western scholarly sources and there is no better source than Encyclopaedia of Islam. Here, Persian is used instead of Iranian since the two have been used synonmously often and Biruni mentions that the Chorasmian language is part of the greater Persian tree. But his native language was the now deceased Chorasmian language ([[7]]). If we want to be precise, we should call him an Iranic Chorasmian scholar, but Persian is more popularly used. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 15:44, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
You misunderstood my reference to Avicenna. In his case, it is reasonable to use Persian people for two reasons. First, his native language was Persian. Second, some sources claim he was "ethnically Persian" (although other editors have questioned the quality of those sources, but I'm not concerned with this now). On the other hand, this is not the case with Biruni; his native language was not Persian, and his ethnicity is not known (at least not by any of the cited sources). Consequently, using the same language here and on Avicenna (despite not having information about Biruni's ethnicity, and despite knowing that his native language was not Persian) is rather misleading or needs better sources.
Now, none of your sources deals specifically with his ethnicity/nationality. The Bosworth quote was new to me, but it just calls Togan "over enthusiastic" and nowhere deals with arguments raised by Togan concerning Biruni or, more importantly, those raised by Aydın Sayılı. The rest of your points are based on original research. For example, you quote Biruni saying he did not know how the Turkish months correspond to months of other calendars. Then you concluded "He actually did not know any Turkish". That is not very convincing. So I don't agree with your interpretations of medieval texts, and this is why we need to cite reliable sources, which is what I'm after.
That said, I have yet to see any reliable source linking him to Persian people (i.e., he is not a native speaker of the Persian language, and was never linked to any Persian tribe or family, etc). Thus calling him Khawarizmian, Persian-born, or Persian (without "people", and strictly in the geographical sense) would be more accurate. Wiqi(55) 20:03, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I just brought well established secondary sources for you which clearly state he was an ethnic Iranian and his native language was Iranian Chorasmian and I urge you to read them, since they respond to your statement: "none of your sources deals specifically with his ethnicity/nationality". Yes they do, specially the Encyclopaedia of Islam is very clear that he is Iranian and his native language is Chorasmian (see the two articles on Biruni and Chorasmia/Khwarazm). It has a detailed article on Biruni, and not just a paragraph. On the other hand, you only brought one website which does not have a final opinion, but has actually distorted the quote of Biruni and cut-off the main portion. Outside of such fringe sources, all the high caliber Western sources (e.g. encyclopaedia of Islam on Biruni, Chorasmia, Britannica,David Neil Mackenzie..etc.) clearly state he was an Iranian (as in speaking Iranian languages) (and the native language being the Iranian Chorasmian language). You might want to look at the article Khwarazm as well.
  • The point rased by Sayili are a distortion as that is not what Biruni said. The website source is also not authoritative as it is a website and not an RS source (it is not peer-reviwed). We quote from Western scholars. Biruni's native language as he himself has said is Chorasmian. I brought the whole quote which Sayinli has cut off and distorted. And unlike Sayinli I brought the original quote from L. Massignon. Read it again: L. Massignon, "Al-Biruni et la valuer internationale de la science arabe" in Al-Biruni Commemoration Volume, (Calcutta, 1951). pp 217-219.: In a celebrated preface to the book of Drugs, Biruni says: It is through the Arabic language that the sciences have been transmitted by means of translations from all parts of the world. They have been enhanced by the translation into the Arabic language and have as a result insinuated themselves into men's hearts, and the beauty of this language has commingled with these sciences in our veins and arteries. And if I compare Arabic with Persian, two languages with which I consider myself extremely familiar, I must confess I would prefer invective in Arabic to praise in Persian. ..And if it is true that in all nations one likes to adorn oneself by using the language to which one has remained loyal, having become accustomed to using it with friends and companions according to need, I must judge for myself that in my native Chorasmian, science has as much as chance of becoming perpetuated as a camel has of facing Kaaba." Now you have to ask yourself why Sayinli cuts off the portion about Biruni's " native Chorasmian, ". Well of course, it is a website article written by a nationalistic person quoting "over enthusiatic" scholars. But any reasonable person who sees this quote from Biruni then agrees with him that he is a native Chorasmian speakers. How many classical scientists do you know that mention their native language? Biruni has done so, and it is the Khwarezmian languae (which is in the same family as modern Persian but it is an Eastern Iranian laguage)
  • Your source is a website which is not reliable and the author himself (Sayinli) is not sure about the ethnicity, while Western sources are. I can also quote dozens of Iranian scholars from Iran on Biruni's ethnicity, but we use Western sources in Wikipedia. And unlike Sayinli, those Iranians authors are 100% sure and have dealt in detail with this issue. Sayinli also quotes Togan: ""Morever, Al-Biruni's Turkish was, according to Zeki Velidi Togan, that of the Turks of his native country"" and yes we do not have "over enthusiatic" sources in Wikipedia. I showed that Sayinli has distorted Biruni's statement by cutting off the most crucial portion of it using a secondary source. Furthermore, Biruni has no Turkish glosses with the exception of the names of the Months which he mentions" Does not know the order, meaning of their names...". So if he was Turkish, he would at least know the meaning of the names of the months.
    • Also Sayinli does not bring sources from Biruni in the website article, showing it is highly

misleading. Sayinli: "Al-Bîrûnî, for example, tells us that his mother tongue was neither Arabic nor Persian. He adds, moreover, that it is impossible to write scientific books in his maternal language."

    • comment:This is a false statement, where does Biruni state that his mother tongue is not Arabic nor Persian?

The only statement Biruni makes is that his native language is the Iranian Chorasmian language. This statement by Biruni which is not mentioned by Sayinli, obviously establishes he is a Chorasmian Iranian.

    • Sayinli:"Al-Bîrûnî is seen to have known Turkish from occasional references he makes to words in that language. "
    • Comment: Actually, he only mentions months in variety of languages including Hebrew, Greek and etc. But with

regards to Turkish months he actually states: "adds a note that he doesn't know the correct order and doesn't know the origin and meanings of the names."" Note pg 77 of the .pdf file in the intro Biruni says:"And the months of other nations including those of India, China, Tibet, Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Zangs. Although I know the name of some these months, but I am looking for further time in order to completely understand them. Because with the approach that I have taken so far, it is not correct for me to mix doubt and certainties and what I understand with what I do not understand " [8] and pg 80 with regards to months in Turkish: "he has the order of the old-turkic (old uighur, which he calls toquz-oghuz) month names, which are just ordinals (readily recognizable in any variety) jumbled and adds a note that he doesn't know the correct order and doesn't know the origin and meanings of the names."[[9]]

    • Sayinli: "Apparently he knew Turkish already in his very tender ages. For at least on two occasions he speaks of somewhat detailed childhood memories concerning aged Turks who brought medicines made of herbs to his native town, one of them being to the palace of Khwarazm"
    • Where is the source for that? Furthermore, how does such a memory establish he knew Turkish!? Perhaps Indian trades came toKhwarazm as well, what does this have to do with his background?
  • All the sources I brought clearly state he was Iranian/Persian. Sayinli is not only undo weight, but also the website you brought is not an academic source. The website is a summary of a book in Turkish and who knows if that summary is accurate. We do not use Persian or Turkish or Arabic books when discussing the background of a scholar (when English sources are clear) since all these countries might have their own interests. The fact that Sayinli does not mention the explicit statement of Biruni about his native language being Khwarzmian is the case in point.
  • Chorasmian and modern Persian are both Iranian, and we need to use what Westerns sources state. Britannica, Encyclopaedia of Islam and Western sources are more authoritative than sources from Turkey. They use Iranian and Persian interchanegably, and that is what Wikipedia does as well, as Wikipedia is not more reliable than these sources. Persian has two main meanings when it comes to ethnicity: 1) native speaker of Modern Persian 2) More broadly, speakers of Iranian languages.. these sources use the two interchangeably. However, Biruni's native language and ethnicity was Iranian Chorasmian (speaker of Chorasmian Iranian language).
  • We do not interpret sources. If Britannica, Encyclopaedia of Islam and other sources mention him as Iranian/Persian family, that is what we use. And please note, "Iranian" here is not geography, as Chorasmia is far off Central Asia and not modern Iran. Iranian refers to his ethnicity/background which was Chorasmian who spoke Chorasmian Iranian language. I have challenged your Sayinli quote with better sources including I showed that Sayinli has distorted the quote of Biruni (cut off the portion where Biruni). That is he cut the part where Biruni actually mentions his native language (Chorasmian).
  • Furthermore, I brought from Biruni's own words that he does not Turkish months and the meaning of their names.
  • And that is why these sources clearly state he was Iranian (unlike Sayinli who does not mention that Biruni's native tongue is Chorasmian (a related language to modern Persian but not exactly the same)).
    • Gotthard Strohmaier, "Biruni" in Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach, Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K, index: Vol. 1 of Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, 2006. excerpt from page 112: "Although his native Khwarezmian was also an Iranian language, he rejected the emerging neo-Persian literature of his time (Firdawsi), preferring Arabic instead as the only adequate medium of science.";
    • D.J. Boilot, "Al-Biruni (Beruni), Abu'l Rayhan Muhammad b. Ahmad", in Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden), New Ed., vol.1:1236-1238. Excerpt 1: "He was born of an Iranian family in 362/973 (according to al-Ghadanfar, on 3 Dhu'l-Hididja/ 4 September — see E. Sachau, Chronology, xivxvi), in the suburb (birun) of Kath, capital of Khwarizm".
    • Encyclopaedia Britannica ": Persian scholar and scientists.

All these sources are clear here was Iranian. His native language was Chorasmian (Iranian language) (the portion cut off by Sayinli) and he was from the region of Khwarazm :

Sayinli's claim is an exceptional (false) claim and you need exceptional sources published outside of Turkey by very high caliber authors. The fact that he fails to mention to his readers the full quote of Biruni (where Biruni explicitly and clearly states his native language as Chorasmian Iranian) is a clear example of such distortion. The current academic sources (based on Biruni's own declaration and many words in Chorasmian) state that he was an Iranian Chorasmian speaker, but Western sources use Iranian and Persian interchangeably. Wikipedia follows the common scholarly Western sources and Encyclopaedia of Islam is amongst the top ones. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 20:36, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

And several more source which discuss Chorasmia and menton its Iranian character before its Turkicizations:

  • Bosworth, C.E. "Ḵh̲ W Ārazm." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. Accessed at 10 November 2007 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-4205> "The Iranian Chorasmian language survived for several centuries after Islam until the Turkification of the region, and so must some at least of the culture and lore of ancient Khwarezm, for it is hard to see the commanding figure of Biruni, a repository of so much knowledge, appearing in a cultural vacuum"
  • C.E. Bosworth, “The Ghaznavids” in History of Civilization: Central Asia in History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume IV: The Age of Achievement : A.D. 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century : Part One : The Historical Social and Economic Setting/edited by M.S. Asimov and C.E. Bosworth. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1999, 485 pages. (Vol. IV, Pt. I). ISBN 81-208-1595-5. Excerpt from page 101: “The ancient Iranian kingdom of Khwarazm had been ruled until 995 by the old established line of Afrighids of Kath, but control subsequently passed to the new line of Khwarazm Shahs, the Ma'munids of Gurganj”
  • C. E. Bosworth, "CHORASMIA ii. In Islamic times" in Encyclopaedia Iranica: "In 408/1017 they were overthrown by the vigorously expansionist empire of the Turk Maḥmūd of Ghazna. This event marked the end of rule in Ḵᵛārazm by ethnically Iranian shahs; subsequent holders of the ancient title ḵǰᵛārazmšāh were all Turks, either servile or free. At the same time the inevitable process of Turkization that followed establishment of Turkish political and military dominion began in Ḵᵛārazm, as in Transoxania, leading to the eventual submergence of the indigenous Iranian element within the Turkish population and the disappearance of Chorasmian language in favor of Turkish "
  • D. N. MacKenzie, Encyclopaedia Iranica, "CHORASMIA iii. The Chorasmian Language" [11] "Chorasmian, the original Iranian language of Chorasmia, is attested at two stages of its development...language. Late Chorasmian, written in a modified Arabic script, is attested from the 5th/11th to the 8th/14th centuries, by which time the language was evidently well on the way to disuse, having been superseded by Turkish. The earliest examples have been left by the great Chorasmian scholar Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī. In his works on chronology and astronomy (ca. 390-418/1000-28) he recorded such calendrical and astronomical terms as some of the tradi­tional names of days, months, feasts, and signs of the zodiac"

Biruni was not even fluent in type of Turkish language. Note pg 77 of the .pdf file in the intro Biruni says:"And the months of other nations including those of India, China, Tibet, Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Zangs. Although I know the name of some these months, but I am looking for further time in order to completely understand them. Because with the approach that I have taken so far, it is not correct for me to mix doubt and certainties and what I understand with what I do not understand " [12] and pg 80 with regards to months in Turkish: "he has the order of the old-turkic (old uighur, which he calls toquz-oghuz) month names, which are just ordinals (readily recognizable in any variety) jumbled and adds a note that he doesn't know the correct order and doesn't know the origin and meanings of the names."[[13]]

And with regards to Biruni being a native Iranian (Persian) Chorasmian speaker (note it is not the same as Modern Persian but it is still Iranian:

  • His own words. "And if it is true that in all nations one likes to adorn oneself by using the language to which one has remained loyal, having become accustomed to using it with friends and companions according to need, I must judge for myself that in my native Chorasmian, science has as much as chance of becoming perpetuated as a camel has of facing Kaaba"
  • D.J. Boilot, "Al-Biruni (Beruni), Abu'l Rayhan Muhammad b. Ahmad", in Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden), New Ed., vol.1:1236-1238. Excerpt 1: "He was born of an Iranian family in 362/973 (according to al-Ghadanfar, on 3 Dhu'l-Hididja/ 4 September — see E. Sachau, Chronology, xivxvi), in the suburb (birun) of Kath, capital of Khwarizm".
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica ": Persian scholar and scientists.

Gotthard Strohmaier, "Biruni" in Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach, Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K, index: Vol. 1 of Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, 2006. excerpt from page 112: "Although his native Khwarezmian was also an Iranian language, he rejected the emerging neo-Persian literature of his time (Firdawsi), preferring Arabic instead as the only adequate medium of science.";

  • D. N. MacKenzie, Encyclopaedia Iranica, "CHORASMIA iii. The Chorasmian Language" "Chorasmian, the original Iranian language of Chorasmia,...The earliest examples have been left by the great Chorasmian scholar Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī"
  • Chorasmian, an Iranian language [14]

I apologize for the long post, bt I had to show the errors (and the distortions) in Sayinli's work (false claim that Biruni mentions his mother tongue is not Arabic or Persian..etc.). Its better to use unbiased sources such as Britannica, Encyclopaedia of Islam and Iranica, Mackenzie, Bosworth and etc. are objective soures. The fact of the matter is that the native background of Biruni is 100% clear.. he was a native Iranian Khwarezmian language speakeras mentoned in the specialized articles about him such as in Encyclopaedia of Islam.

So in all these sources Persian, Iranian and Chorasmian have been used interchangeably. The fact is that Biruni is an ethnic Iranic (Iranian) and his native language was Iranian Khwarezmian language. His native language was not modern Persian bt the deceased Iranian Khwarezmian language (Biruni being the earliest Islamic era source on this ntive language of Khwarezmia). In Wikipedia we quote 3rd pary WP:RS sources on matters of dispute and not books from certain countries (say Iran or Turkey on disputed matter). Encyclopaedia of Islam has a detailed article on Biruni and there is no doubt about his background. Similarly so does Iranica. And so do many sources (Britannica). If we want to be precise, we can use Iranic Khwarizmian, but Persian is seen more often in the sources (since Persian and Iranian are used interchangebly). One can say Persian (Iranic Khwarizmian) to be more precise. I agree Iranic Khwarezmian is more precise but however most sources use Persian. If we use Iranian, some might confuse with modern citizen of Iran, whereas the reference is to Iranian peoples. Anyhow, his native language is mentioned in the footnotes and I am fine with the followings based on the popular usages: A) Persian B) Persian Khwarizmian C) Iranic Chorasmian.. Mainstream Western sources wer brought to support all three. .--Khodabandeh14 (talk) 00:24, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your efforts, Khodabandeh14. In general I agree with your conclusion. But I'm more concerned with linking to Persian people, which seem to denote certain ethnic and linguistic characteristics that do not apply to Biruni (like his native tongue, which is not Persian). Also, Iranian people is not the same as Persian people, not here on Wikipedia anyway, so we shouldn't confuse the two. If it is more accurate to call him Khawarizmian, Persian, or use Persian Khawarizmian as you suggest, then the "Persian" part should not be linked to Persian people. In any case, arguments for him belonging to a Turkish minority living in Khawarizm are worthy of being summarized (assuming that we find better sources). The current Aydın Sayılı source was first brought up by IP editors, which I felt was worthy of being discussed and somewhat "recorded" in the talk page. Wiqi(55) 00:59, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Actually, there was no Turkish minority in Chorasmia, as Biruni explicitly states: "The people of Chorasmia are branch of the Persian tree" and secondary sources mention that the language was Chorasmian and the first Turks moved into the area during the Ghaznavid era (after Biruni). Also he is clear he does not know even the meaning of the Turkish months. As I mentioned, the ethnicity of Biruni is probably one of the few that any respectable and scholalry Western source does not dispute, because we have an explicit statement from Biruni which mentions:"And if it is true that in all nations one likes to adorn oneself by using the language to which one has remained loyal, having become accustomed to using it with friends and companions according to need, I must judge for myself that in my native Chorasmian, science has as much as chance of becoming perpetuated as a camel has of facing Kaaba."(L. Massignon, "Al-Biruni et la valuer internationale de la science arabe" in Al-Biruni Commemoration Volume, (Calcutta, 1951). pp 217-219.) There is no more explicit statement thenthis, and Biruni's glosses in this Khwarezmian language shows he was a native speaker of it. Anyhow, exceptional claims require exceptional and strong sources (neutral 3rd party Professor level sources not associated with any author from modern countries which are cursed with stupid nationalism). But on the issue of Persian: Biruni (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 22 April 2007; Persian scholar

  • David C. Lindberg, Science in the Middle Ages, University of Chicago Press, p. 18:

A Persian by birth, a rationalist in disposition, this contemporary of Avicenna and Alhazen not only studied history, philosophy, and geography in depth, but wrote one of the most comprehensive of Muslim astronomical treatises, the Qanun Al-Masu'di."

  • , H. U. (1995). A Chronology of Islamic History : 570 - 1000 CE. London: Mansell Publishing. p. 167. ISBN 1897940327. "A Persian by birth, Biruni produced his writings in Arabic, though he knew, besides Persian, no less than four other languages"

The issue is that Persian people or what the Arabs called Al-Fors was equivalent to Iranian. The modern term "Persian people" for just speakers of one Iranian language is a new anachronism. In terms of the 10th century, this anachronism did not exist and the tems Prsian/Iranian were taen as equivalent. All of this is explained in the article on Persian peoples. Persian people, the variety of definitions and usage of these terms are mentioned, and it is mentioned that many scholars use these two terms (Iranian and Persians) as synonomous. Technically, both modern Persian and Chorasmian are Iranian languages, just like Egyptian Arabic and Yemenese Arabic, and classical Hejaz Arabic are all Arabic. To disect the Iranian/Persian continuum is a modern 20th century phenomenon not supported by classical sources. Anyhow, I added Persian-Chorasmian where Persian is the general term used in the wide definition. One can substitu Persian for Iranian peoples, but I believe we need to reflect most Western sources. Since Chorasmian (his native laguage) is now mentione, I think it is clear that by Persian, we mean Al-Fors in Arabic or Persian in the more classical sense (pre-20th century definition which fits Biruni). --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 02:43, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

There are plenty of sources which state that Biruni was conversant in Turkish, including an article published by Britannica reproduced here. His books also contain words and examples in Turkish. So your assertion that "he did not know any Turkish" isn't true. The Turks were everywhere in central Asia (including Khurasan); not just as nomadic tribes but also as mercenaries and slaves. Even as early as the 8th century, the power and presence of the Turks can be seen through the Turgesh-Ummayyad wars in which the Turks and Sogdians fought on the same side. We are also certain that they were Turks who lived in the outskirts of Khawarizm. Here is a quote from "Khwārazm" in the Encyclopedia of Islam: "It is likely that, as at all times in its known pre-modern history, Khwārazm's borders were under pressure from the pastoralist nomads of the surrounding steppes, probably by peoples like the Massagetes and Sakas in early times, and certainly by Turkish tribes like the Oghuz, Ḳipčaḳ, ... etc. in Islamic times. Biruni speaks in his Āthār, 236, tr. 224, of annual expeditions led by the Khwārazm-Shāhs against the Oghuz, ...". Other scholars, such as Aydın Sayılı and Richard Frye, suggest that they were indigenous Turkish populations in Khorasan even before the slave/mercenaries of the 7th-8th centuries (this view is contested by Bosworth as "hard to prove" but he considers it "moderate and balanced"). It is also worth noting that Jahiz (in the 9th century) considered the Turks and Khorasanians to be members of the same race (see Bosworth papers cited above, p.3). To conclude, there is plenty of material attesting that by the time of Biruni there were Turkish elements in the population in Khorasan, both as nomadic tribes and mercenaries/slaves. Some scholars suggest that they were Turks even earlier than the 7th century, and were part of the indigenous population of that region.
In short, Biruni was fluent in Turkish. The influence of Turks in his region is well-known. His Turkishness rests on the arguments raised by Sayılı and the theory of Sayılı and Frye. From what I read about the region, it is also wrong to consider him "Persian" in the sense of Persian people, that would be historically and linguistically false. He was a Khawarizmian, an Eastern Iranian, whereas the Persian people are Western Iranians. Scholars call the "rulers of Biruni" (i.e., the Afrighids) "Chorasmian" or "Chorasmian Iranians". In case anyone is interested, that would be the correct and non-geographic term to use for Biruni. Wiqi(55) 20:00, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Your claim: "His Turkishness rests on the arguments raised by Sayılı and the theory of Sayılı and Frye.".. is not true, since Frye never mentions Biruni as a Turk. Frye infact confirms he is Iranian in one of his books.
    • Frye: [15] "According to the Kharazmian scholar Biruni" (pg 211).. Also, if I recall, he mentions Biruni as Iranian in his other book "Golden age of Persia".
    • Frye: ""Thus might one explain a remak of al-Biruni that the Khwarezmians and Persians were closely related as well as the above mentioned Old Persian-Sogdian linguistic similarities...""[16]
  • Only Sayinli does make such a claim but Sayinli is far away from a neutral source. The fact is in Western scholarship it is very clear Biruni is an Iranian Chorasmian. Sayinli actually cuts off the portion that Biruni spoke Chorasmian as his native language. Furthermore Sayinli attributes a false statement to Biruni claiming that Biruni states:"His mother tongue is not Persian or Arabic", where-as Biruni has no such a statement. This is unfortunate that scholars from the region cannot follow neutrality when it comes to historical matters about Biruni's Chorasmian nativity. I think now with Frye, it is more than clear he was an Iranian Chorasmian.
  • There was Turkish and Iranian nomads in Central Asia as roaming nomads for sure, but that is different than the urban culture of Chorasmia and Sogdiana, and the Iranian Chorasmians, Soghdians and etc. The people Chorasmia spoke Chorasmian.. For example Biruni always uses the term Ahl ul-Khwarazm (the people of Khwarazm) and then mentions their old Iranian calendar. Thus we can assume there was no Turkish inflitration at the time of Afrighids.
  • Britannica gets constantly updated [17], so maybe an old one had wrongly written that he knew Turkish. The reason I say there is no proof that he knew Turkish is from the work of Biruni himself where he states he does not even know the meaning of the Turkish months and their order. But he knew the names and orders of the months of Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Chorasmian, Sogdians and etc. Yes one can find in google books that he also knew Greek, Syraic, Hebrew and etc. But now scholars are doubting that he knew Greek. The fact that the Iranian Afrighids led annual expeditions against the Oghuz Turks shows that Chorasmia was not Turkish, as the Turks were considered outsiders to Chorasmia. Here I'll quote a Turkish linguist (Doctor Ph.D. who has studied Biruni): "Biruni was a (iranian) Khawrezmian and spoke no turkic. in his list of turkic month names (which are merely ordinals), he adds "I don't know what theyy mean and I don't knwo the (exact) order". his ordering in fact has errors."[18](Yusef Gursey). This is a neutral Turkish scholar who has looked at Biruni. If someone doesn't know the meaning of months in Turkish (which are just the name of animals translated from the Chinese calender!), then obviously they do not know Turkish. Note I am saying from the works of Biruni, there is absolutely nothing to suggest he knew Turkish. This is the only comment he has made on Turkish (the name of the months).
  • The only languages we can firmly deduce that he knew are Arabic, Persian, Iranian Khorasmian (which he claims is his native language) and Sanskrit. In the book of Drugs he lists (For each drug, as far as possible, al-Blrunl attempts to list the names of the drug (in Arabic, Syriac, Greek, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Persian, Soghdian and other languages)[19]. Of course there is a claim he knew Hebrew, Greek, Syraic, Turkish and etc. in some books, but again at a closer examination, Yusef Gursey is right.
  • Of course the Ghaznavids who take over Chorasmia later on were Turks, and Biruni was in their court, yet what he states clearly in his Athar al-Baqqiyah makes it clear that he knew Turkish (as the Turkish scholar Yusef Gursey has mentioned above). The reason some sources make this mistake is because they do not have an idea of what the Chorasmian language is. It was a deceased and dea language and no one knew what it was until recently. So some scholars assumed haphazhardly that it is "Turkish" but its Iranian nature is now known.
  • On the term Turk being used by Jahiz, we need to be careful as well. M. A. Shaban :“These new troops were the so-called “Turks”. It must be said without hesitation that this is the most misleading misnomer which has led some scholars to harp ad nauseam on utterly unfounded interpretation of the following era, during which they unreasonably ascribe all events to Turkish domination. In fact the great majority of these troops were not Turks. It has been frequently pointed out that Arabic sources use the term Turk in a very loose manner. The Hephthalites are referred to as Turks, so are the peoples of Gurgan, Khwarizm and Sistan. Indeed, with the exception of the Soghdians, Arabic sources refer to all peoples not subjects of the Sassanian empire as Turks. In Samarra separate quarters were provided for new recruits from every locality. The group from Farghana were called after their district, and the name continued in usage because it was easy to pronounce. But such groups as the Ishtakhanjiyya, the Isbijabbiya and groups from similar localities who were in small numbers at first, were lumped together under the general term Turks, because of the obvious difficulties the Arabs had in pronouncing such foreign names. The Khazars who also came from small localities which could not even be identified, as they were mostly nomads, were perhaps the only group that deserved to be called Turks on the ground of racial affinity. However, other groups from Transcaucasia were classed together with the Khazars under the general description.”.
  • Overall the term "Turk" is used very loosely during this era. Please note the Bosworth paper: ""whereas by the beginning of the Muslim era, the lands beyond the settlments of the Goths on the north Black Sea Coast, and the lansts beyond Iranian Khwarazm, Transoxiana and Farghana, were given over, so far as we can tell, to Turkish nomadic peoples"" (Pg 1-coming of barbarians) and also: " C.E. Bosworth, "The Appearance of the Arabs in Central Asia under the Umayyads and the establishment of Islam", in History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. IV: The Age of Achievement: AD 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century, Part One: The Historical, Social and Economic Setting, edited by M. S. Asimov and C. E. Bosworth. Multiple History Series. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 1998. excerpt from page 23: "Central Asia in the early seventh century, was ethnically, still largely an Iranian land whose people used various Middle Iranian languages."...
  • Going back to the main issue (not outside topics), the term Persian is used loosely to mean Iranian in many books but to be accurate we should write Biruni was a "Persian Khwarzmian" or "Iranian Khwarzmian". Note also in the Persian peoples article: "The synonymous usage of Iranian and Persian has persisted over the centuries although some modern Western sources use Iranic/Iranian as a wider term that includes the term Persian as well as related Iranian languages and ethnic groups. "..note it is used by modern Historians as well: ". It appears that Al-Biruni being a Persian, though Muslim, had still the Persian prejudice against the Arabs"
  • I think Encyclopaedia of Islam usage of Iranian Khwarzmian is the most accurate, however for Biruni as well as Arabs, Greeks etc.. the term "Al-Furs" was a widespread term meaning Iranian in general, and not just a set of Iranian languages which later on solely took the designation of "Persian" (modern Persian) (infact Persian is a continuum in medieval literature and the most common type of Persian, which is Dari, took the term "Persian" by itself...).. And other sources use Persian [20], while mentioning Khwarazmian as native tongue (e.g. M. A. Saleem Khan, "Al-Biruni's discovery of India: an interpretative study", iAcademicBooks, 2001. pg 11: "It is generally accepted that he was Persian by origin,32 and spoke the Khwarizmian dialect" [21] and "Little is known of his ancestry except that he was Persian by origin and spoke the Khwarizmian dialect."(pg 11) and ""What made Al-Biruni so different from Mahmud was not his Iranian origin and Khwarizmian ethnicity""(pg36) [22]. So I guess now we have a source which clearly uses both "Persian" and Khwarizmian..
  • Given this, I have modified the article to use Persian Khwarizmian, since modern sources use both and the terms are defined in both articles (Persian being used here as a general term meaning Iranian as mentioned in Persian people and many sources, and Khwarizmian being his native language). I hope that is good enough and if there is an issue, one can change Persian to Iranian (although too many sources use Persian and we need to follow the sources). Thats all I will say on this issue hopefully..(enshallah). --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 21:16, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
We have indications that Turkish tribes settled in Khawarizm sometimes before the 8th century, mostly in the Khawarizmian province of Kerder. According to Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, their presence among the Khwarizmians led to the development of a hybrid language that was "neither Turkish nor Khwarizmian".[23]. In 728 AD, the people of Kerder also attempted a revolt with help from neighboring Turkish tribes (see Tabari at 110AH).[24] In addition to these Turkish settlements, Oghuz farmers used to attend Khwarizmian markets in large numbers during peace times. (Oshanin et al.) Furthermore, Khawarizm had a sophisticated system of slavery as early as the 3rd century AD [25], and like the Samanids in the 10th century, Khwarizmians also captured and employed Turkish slaves (although not as guards)[26] This confirms a strong presence of Turkish elements in pre-Ghaznavid Khwarizm.
As for Biruni not knowing Turkish, I find this hard to believe, for he worked for Turkish rulers most of his life. The sentence that you and Gursey refer to (above the Turkish and Turkuman table) is only found over the "Turkuman" table in my version (C. Eduard Sachau, 1878, p.70). We need to clear this up first. And Biruni's work is based on written sources, not his own linguistic intuitions. He ignored calendering systems lacking sources or when it did not differ much from those discussed. The typos he made are not specific to Turkish months, as his list of Khawarizmian months also contain similar typos, which are probably just copyists' mistakes.[27]
It is worth mentioning that Togan (who thinks Biruni was Turkish?) is also a notable scholar of the Khwarizmian language and cited many times in EI2. There are also other arguments to consider like his name (Biruni == "outsider"), which for some early Arabic biographers suggested that his origins may have been from the outskirts or countryside. Wiqi(55)

My friend, I am not sure if we are having a WP:FORUM discussion, but what you are doing is a variety of WP:synthesis.

  • All modern important Western sources confirm Biruni was a native Iranian Chorasmian and many use Persian/Iranian as equivalents. "Biruni" itself is a Persian word by the way, and it does not mean outsider in the context of the name of AL-Biruni. It just means outside of the city of Kath as explained by Bosworth: "The word Biruni means outer-district in Persian language and due to being born in the outer district of Kath, this became his nisba"
  • I am not sure what you are trying to point to, but what you said is WP:OR, WP:synthesis and WP:FORUM. We do not synthesize various arguments, we simply use the best Western language and Western scholarship modern soures. Else it is WP:FORUM violation.
  • Togan discovered some Khwarzmian language manuscripts on which he published (mainly a dictionary of KHwarizmian and Arabic) but he is not a scholar of the Khwarizmian language and did not know the language as a lingust. Only scholars of dead Iranian languages (which Togan is not one) know about this language. Togan simply did not know the Khwarizmian language, he is just publishing a manuscript where Khwarizmian was written in Arabic script, and giving the meaning of the Khwarizmian words from the Arabic translation of Khwarizmian. So from a linguist study of Khwarizmian, Togan has no knowledge. Discovering and partially translating an Arabic manuscript which has Khwarizmian words in Arabic script (with their meaning in the Arabic script) does not make Togan a notable scholar of that language.
  • You will find of course scholars from Turkey who claim Biruni, and you will find scholars from Iran who will claim Sufism as a whole and you will scholars from UAE who might claim Rhazes.. That is why we do not use those scholars in Wikipedia on such matters.
  • To show why your points are incorrect despite being a WP:synthesis in the first place:
    • Yaqut Hamawi is from the thirteenth century and by that time there probably existed a hybrid language, as Biruni existed was born during the Afrighids (long before the area was Turkicized). However, at the time of Biruni, the Khwarzmian language is firmly an Iranian language.
    • Your other source: ""In 110 A.H. a rising supported by neighbouring Turk tribes broke out in the north of the country, in the town of Kerder and thea around it, but it was suppressed in the same year"", so yes Turks were neighbors of Khwarizm. No was disputed that.
    • Having slaves in Khwarizm or any other part of the world does not mean "a) those slaves were Turkish. b) Turkish slaves were in Khwarizm during Afighid times. c) Biruni was a Turkish slaves). " It is a possibility, but then again it is a possibility that 20th ancestor of Shakespear might have been some immigrant from Spain.
    • Another synthesis: " for he worked for Turkish rulers most of his life. ".. those Turkish rulers like the Ghaznavids became Persianized. Their ministers, Vaziers and etc. were Iranians. Even all of the poets in their courts only praised them in Persian. And Biruni was first with the Afrighids than with Ghaznavids. Again such arguments are synthesis. The main language of the Ghaznavids (both court and empire) was Persian. That is why you won't find a single manuscript of Turkish under the Ghaznavid realm.
    • Furthermore, there is a reason that the CHorasmian languge is called Chorasmian. It is because it was the language of Chorasm. Furthermore, Biruni mentions: "The people of Khwarizmia are a branch of the Persian (Al-Fors=Iranian) tree". If the main population was anything else, then Biruni would not mention this.
    • So it is WP:synthesis in Wikipedia, or else one say Baghdad had Soghdian, and Turkish slaves, so al-Kindi was a Turk.
  • Biruni himself was very close to the Afrighids who actually lead expeditions against Oghuz Turks. He was actually forced into Ghazna after Mahmud took over Khwarizm. Other scholars such as Avicenna fled after the demise of the Samanids and came under the Buyids.
  • Biruni is very clear on Khwarzmian, Persian and Sogdian months. He states also his knowledge of these months are clear..

If copyists made some mistake about Chorasmian, he makes no comments on it himself as he has clearly stated that his native language is Khwarizmian. Also Chorasmian was a dead language two centuries after Biruni, and furthermore, it has special characters in the modified Chorasmian-Perso-Arabic alphabet (three extra symbols not in modern Persian or Arabic), which would be unfamiliar to any copyist who did not speak Sogdian or Chorasmian. However, it is WP:OR to claim that the mistakes he made on the writing of Turkish months is due to copyist mistake, because he himself clearly states: "I do no know the order, the meaning ..." of those Turkish months.

  • Eduard Sachau's table whatever it is, "Turkmen" means Oghuz Turks, but in the actual Arabic, Biruni has both "Turk" and "Turkman", and he mentions what Gursey mentions about both:"his list of turkic month names (which are merely ordinals), he adds "I don't know what they mean and I don't know the (exact) order". his ordering in fact has errors."[28]".
  • However, the actual Arabic is the most important. Note pg 77 of the .pdf file in the intro Biruni says:"And the months of other nations including those of India, China, Tibet, Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Zangs. Although I know the name of some these months, but I am looking for further time in order to completely understand them. Because with the approach that I have taken so far, it is not correct for me to mix doubt and certainties and what I understand with what I do not understand " [29]..Note these were just names of Months..Obviously someone that is a Chinese would not claim he does not know the order, meaning of Chinese months, and has "doubts" about them.
  • Also note however, he claims complete mastery over Khwarzmian, Sogdian, Persian and Arabic months as he writes detail desciptions of these months as well as the main festivals.
  • and pg 80 with regards to months in Turkish and Turkmen: "he has the order of the old-turkic(Turk andTurkoman) (and another place he calls Toghuz in the actual text) month names, which are just ordinals (readily recognizable in any variety) jumbled and adds a note that he doesn't know the correct order and doesn't know the origin and meanings of the names."[[30] (original Arabic)..
  • your claim: "Biruni's work is based on written sources, not his own linguistic intuitions"!, is a OR/synthesis and furthermore illogical. If someone does not know the meaning of the months of Turks and Turkmans, then it has nothing to do with written sources, and Biruni is making a statement about his own knowledge. Biruni clearly did the research him: "And the months of other nations including those of India, China, Tibet, Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Zangs. Although I know the name of some of these months, but I am looking for further time in order to completely understand them.".. He puts his knowledge of the months of Turks on the same level as those of Ehtiopians and Zangs, China.. On the other hand he states complete mastery over Persian, Arabic, Soghdian, KHwarizmian months. I am sure if such a scholar was from the Zang, India, China, Tibet, Khazars, Turks, Ehtiopians.. he would know the meaning of those months in his native language. Note that he is "for further time in order to completely understand them".. All that is in the original Arabic of Athar (pg77 of the link above).
  • Western sources are clear that Biruni was Iranian/Persian/Khwarizmian. Other theories are WP:UNDO, WP:FRINGE and do not deserve mention unless some serious modern scholars (not deceased ones from a certain countries in the region but Western ones) of Biruni have put is an alternative. Encyclopaedia of Islam or Britannica do not mention any fringe theories either. Fringe theories with regards to Biruni are actually impossible since: Biruni unlike many authors of the past has clearly mentioned his native language as Iranian Khwarizmian.. clearing any doubt. If a theory has supporters today (not by a deceasedTurkish scholar by the name Sayinli from a Website which is a translation of a book from probably at 50 years ago), then it should be easily justifiable from Biruni's own text (which is not given that he clearly states his native language as Iranian) and also from modern scholarly sources (Encyclopaedia of Islam and all specialist sources on Biruni himself say he is Iranian/Persian with Chorasmian as his native language, something Biruni states himsef). If a source does not even the word Biruni, then we do not use it as a synthesis on such matters.
  • I do not want to waste more time on this discussion since it is resembling WP:FORUM, the modern scholarly sources are very representative and what Gursey has mentioned, as well as what Biruni has mentioned with regatds to his native language (Iranian Chorasmian) actually means that he is one of the few scholars that one can be 100% about their origin. We do not write Wikipedia on various (some incorrect) WP:synthesis theories. Simply our job is to parrot the most common and scholarly (Encyclopaedia of Islam) sources from places that do not have a conflict of interest. Of course I think your pioints generated an interesting discussion, but I think we are both now approach WP:FORUM. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 18:38, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Scholars use "Persian" or "Iranian" in the geographical sense (similar to how sometimes they call every Islamic scholar "Arab"). The sources you keep bringing up do not engage with previous scholarship on the subject, and do not show any evidence for such claim. I prefer leaving out his ethnicity altogether (i.e., just Khwarizmian). But since you insist on having it, then we must present all sides. So far, only Sayılı/Togan has devoted any efforts to the subject. Regardless of their motivation, they are reliable by wiki standards, and their arguments should be summarized. I would've done it myself but I have no access to their works.
And none of your claims about Khwarizm turned out true (maybe you should cite sources next time). Travelers in the 10th century agree that the pre-Ghaznavid Khwarizm was one of the most diverse cities in the Islamic world, with peoples of multiple tongues, Khazars, Arabs, etc. The presence of Turkish slaves is uncontested, as Khwarizm used to "import" from the steppes many things, but "above all,"Turkish and ṢaḲlabī slaves" (see EI2, and also Estakhri, as they were numerous even before Biruni was born). If Biruni was born in Kath, then this could support the Turkish claim, becuase Kath was an Eastern Khwarizmian city, closer to the nomadic Turks. In the 10th century, one traveler described Kath as "the emporium of the Turks, Turkestan, Transoxania, and the Khazars". ("Khwarizm" in EI2)
Concerning the origins of the Khwarizmian people, their own legends speak of them as having Turkish mothers. (see Al-Muqaddasi) Furthermore, early travelers observed that looks and habits of the Khwarizmians resemble those of the Turks. Some of these remarks have also been confirmed by recent Russian scholarship. (see Oshanin et al. linked above) None of your sources actually deals with any of this, hence they are clueless or too old to be useful.
Eduard Sachau published a critical edition of Biruni's al-Āthāar. His edition has the "note" you mention but only above the "Turkuman" table (per the other MS) and NOT the Turkish table. Moreover, the names of Turkish months in Sanchu's version are different than the names in your PDF. This clearly suggests that whatever typos we find we won't be able to distinguish those made by Biruni and those made by copyists (since we have two sets or more of typos). Also according to Biruni's al-Qānūn al-Masʿūdī, only the Persian, Arabic, Syriac calendering systems were in use in his time. Also, the same paragraph you refer to (the one that explains why he omitted the dates of other nations) is also found in al-Qānūn but now referring to the Khwarizmian months, which he actually omitted and for the same reason he omitted the Turkish months. By your logic, he does not know Khwarizmian either! Wiqi(55) 22:26, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I looked at Sachau's edition and it mentions under "Turks" not "Turkomans", where it states clearly: "I have not been able to learn how long these months are, nor what they mean, nor what kind they are"(Sachau's, pg 108 of PDF edition). [31] So your claim: "The sentence that you and Gursey refer to (above the Turkish and Turkuman table) is only found over the "Turkuman" table in my version (C. Eduard Sachau, 1878, p.70)" is false. Since Sachau uses "Turk" and not Turkoman. And by the way an 1870 edition is not a critical edtion.
  • Again what you are claiming is WP:OR and violation of WP:WEIGHT. The fact that Sachu has "Turks" twice shows that his edition is an old edition, and by the way Sachu's edition is not a critical edition. So your claim that Sachau meant "Turkoman" is your own WP:OR But before I continue, your claim on how the term Iranian/Persian is used is WP:OR as I will show. The rest of it to me seems like your own WP:synthesis and if you cannot find a definite proof, that is not my problem, as Biruni has clearly stated in the most clearest term that his native language was Iranian Khwarizmian, not Turkish. I'll respond to you in several parts:

1) Lets read Encycloapedia of Islam on Khwarizm:

  • "It is likely that, as at all times in its known pre-modern history, Ḵh̲wārazm's borders were under pressure from the pastoralist nomads of the surrounding¶ steppes, probably by peoples like the Massagetes and Sakas in early times, and certainly by Turkish tribes like the Og̲h̲uz, Ḳi̊pčaḳ, Pečenegs, etc. in Islamic times. Bīrūnī speaks in his Āt̲h̲ār , 236, tr. 224, of annual expeditions led by the Ḵh̲wārazm-S̲h̲āhs against the Og̲h̲uz, so that there was an autumn festival in Ḵh̲wārazm called fag̲h̲buriyya “that of the King's expedition” (fag̲h̲bur = Iranian bag̲h̲pur). It seems certain that in the 4th/10th century a group of Oghuz, perhaps semi-sedentarised and practising some agriculture and fishing but still inclined by nature to plundering and rapine, were established near the mouth of the Syr Daryā or Jaxartes only ten stages from Ḵh̲wārazm, and their Yabg̲h̲u or leader spent his winters at their settlement of Yengi-kent (Dih-i naw, al-Qarya al-d̲j̲adīda, modern Ḏj̲ānkentkala). The fortified nature of the Ḵh̲wārazmian agricultural domains can thus be easily explained by this need for security against external marauders. " (Encyclopaedia of Islam, Khwarizm)
    • Thus we can see the Oghuz Turks were ten stages from Khwarazm. and not its inhabitants
  • Your quote which you have not brought the whole quote is: "The capital of Khuwarizm, Kith (spelt: Kazh) was "the gate to the Ghuz Turks (read: Turkan instead of Turkistan) and the store-place of the Turks, Turkistan, Transoxania, and the Khazars". " . First this is a primary source (which means it needs to be handled by secondary scholars) from Hodo al'Alam which is an anonymous work and secondary, note the keyword "gates" and "emporium", so the city of Kath was a border province. Emporium or storehouse means that it was a place that it did trades with Khazars, Turks , Transoxiana and etc. The fact it was a "gate" means that it allowed access to Ghuz Turks beyond, and this is what it means by the "ten stages".
  • Lets continue on Encyclopaedia of Islam. "The persistence of the Ḵh̲wārazmian language was, in fact, an outstanding manifestation of Ḵh̲wārazmian ethnic and cultural vitality. Linguistically, this eastern Iranian language occupies a position midway between Soghdian on the east, known to us from a large number of Manichaean, Buddhist and other texts, and the rather less well-known Parthian on the west; an especially interesting feature of Ḵh̲wārazmian is its conservative character in preserving many Avestan words (cf. the hypothesis, mentioned above, that the Gāt̲h̲ās were composed in northern Ḵh̲urāsān, then part of the pre-Achaemenid state of Chorasmia). It was a written language well before the Arab conquest, utilising, like Pahlavi, Parthian and Soghdian, an alphabet ultimately derived from the Aramaic one. " (Encyclopaedia of Islam, Khwarizm).
    • So there we have this language as mentioned as an Iranian language. Note Biruni also mentions that this language is Chorasmian. If there was any other serious languages in the area, then the name "Chorasmian" would not have been used.
  • "Bīrūnī speaks in his Āt̲h̲ār , 236, tr. 224, of annual expeditions led by the Ḵh̲wārazm-S̲h̲āhs against the Og̲h̲uz, so that there was an autumn festival in Ḵh̲wārazm called fag̲h̲buriyya “that of the King's expedition” (fag̲h̲bur = Iranian bag̲h̲pur)." (Encyclopaedia of Islam, Khwarizm)
    • So if the kings were leading annual expeditions against the Oghuz, then that means the Oghuz Turks were not natives to this area. As mentioned by Encyclopaedia of Islam, they were ten stages and Kath was a gate to this ten stages.
  • "As for the products of Ḵh̲wārazm, the sources mention fruit (especially melons, which in the Caliphates of al-Maʾmūn and al-Wāt̲h̲iḳ were exported in leaden, snowpacked containers as far as Bag̲h̲dād, and which Ibn Baṭṭūṭa also praises as ones of incomparable quality), dried fish, textiles, cheese, snow, bows, etc.; whilst imports from the steppes and forests included sheep, camels, furs, hides, honey, hardwoods, and above all, Turkish and Ṣaḳlabī slaves".. This is saying that the area was a place for trade of Turkish and Saghlabi (slavic) slaves, it does not mention Biruni was a SLav or Turkish slave. Note the word "slave" is used to show these groups were simply brought from other areas and it does not mean they were the urban educated people whom Biruni beloinged to.
  • Encyclopaedia of Islam We may also suppose that Ḵh̲wārazm was, like Transoxania, a jumping-off point for dervishes and other enthusiasts to undertake missionary work within the steppes, and Ḵh̲wārazmian g̲h̲āzī s manned ribāṭ s or frontier posts on the steppe fringes against the marauding Turks.
    • So again this mentions that Turks were outsiders to this region.
  • Finally, the mainpoint you missed about Encyclopaedia of Islam (I do not like to accuse anyone of selective quoting), but it is the WP:RS secondary courses we care about:"In the 4th/10th century Ḵh̲wārazm was nominally under the suzerainty of the Sāmānid Amīrs of Buk̲h̲ārā, but little is known of the internal history of the province during these last few decades of Afrīg̲h̲id rule. In 385/995 the Maʾmūnids of Gurgānd̲j̲ overthrew the ancient dynasty and themselves assumed the title of Ḵh̲wārazm-S̲h̲āhs, but in 408/1017 the province passed to the G̲h̲aznawids; this control by Sulṭān Maḥmūd meant the end of political power in Ḵh̲wārazm exercised by local dynasties, just as the extinction of the Sāmānids in Transoxania meant the end of direct Iranian rule there. In the cases of both regions, the assumption of power by Turkish rulers and the breaking-down of the northeastern bulwark of the Iranian world against pressure from the steppes inaugurated an accelerating process of ethnic and linguistic turkicisation;"
    • Note now this region after the Ghaznavids started to lost its Iranian character. THis goes back to the other point of Encyclopaedia of Islam: "The Ḵh̲wārazmian language survived for several centuries to come, and so must some at least of the culture and lore of ancient Ḵh̲wārazm, for it is hard to see the commanding figure of Bīrūnī, a repository of so much knowledge, appearing in a cultural vacuum. The persistence of the Ḵh̲wārazmian language was, in fact, an outstanding manifestation of Ḵh̲wārazmian ethnic and cultural vitality. Linguistically, this eastern Iranian language occupies a position midway between Soghdian on the east, known to us from a large number of Manichaean, Buddhist and other texts, and the rather less well-known Parthian on the west; an especially interesting feature of Ḵh̲wārazmian is its conservative character in preserving many Avestan words (cf. the hypothesis, mentioned above, that the Gāt̲h̲ās were composed in northern Ḵh̲urāsān, then part of the pre-Achaemenid state of Chorasmia). "

So a summary of Encyclopaedia of Islam clearly shows that the area had an Iranian character. It was a place that trade came through, but there is no mention of Khwarizm being a diverse place. It simply mentions Khwarizm as part of the Iranian world, and its people speaking the Chorasmian language. This was also the native language of Biruni which he has attested to himself. So he is an Iranian Chorasmian ethnically. Anyone that speaks Chorasmian language as their native language is Iranian by definition of speaking an Iranian language.

2) As per legends of Khwarizmian people, you did not provide a source. But that is easily explained (if what you claim), since it is not Turkish but Turanian, and that is due to the legendary Syavash marrying a Turanian, who an Iranian tribe later conflact with Turks due to geographical reasons., Here is what Biruni states about the people of Khwarizmia: "He says that the land was first colonised 980 years before Alexander the Great, sc. before the Seleucid era, i.e. in 1292 B.C., when the hero of Iranian epic Siyāvus̲h̲ came to Ḵh̲wārazm, and his son Kay Ḵh̲usraw was established on the throne 92 years later, in 1200 B.C. He starts giving names only with the Afrīg̲h̲id line of Ḵh̲wārazm-S̲h̲āhs, having placed the ascension of Afrīg̲h̲ in 616 of the Seleucid era, i.e. in 305 A.D. " (Encyclopaedia of Islam, KHwarizm). Note Syavash and KayKhusraw are both Iranians.

Also Biruni is much more reliable than Muqqadessi when it comes to Khwarizm and he clearly states:The Khwarizmians (Arabic Ahlul Khwarizm or people of Chorasmia), although a branch of the great tree of the Persian nation, imitated the SOghdians as to the beginning of the year and the place whey they add Epagomenae"(Sachau , pg 57).

"Al-Biruni, the great scholar of the Ghaznavid period, was proud of Iranian antiquities, but he praised the Arabic language" (R.N. Frye, "The Golden age of Persia", 2000, Phoenix Press. pg 46).


3)

  • Eduard Sachau's edition is far from a critical edition. He passed away in 1930. By now much more better edition of the Āthār of Biruni are available. No one uses a 1930 edition. Furthermore, you have missed this important quote which is also in Sachau's edition:
  • "The Khwarizmians (Aranic Ahlul Khwarizm or people of Chorasmia), although a branch of the great tree of the Persian nation, imitated the SOghdians as to the beginning of the year and the place whey they add Epagomenae"(Sachau , pg 57).
    • Thus you have Biruni stating clearly that CHorasmians are a branch of the Persian nation.
  • He further states: "As to the months of other nations, Hindus, Chinese, Tibetians,Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians and Negroes, we do not intent, although we have managed to learn

the names of some of them, to mention them here, posponing it till a time when we shall know them all, as it does not agree with the method which we have followed hitherto, to connect that which is doubtful and unknown with that which is certain and known"(Sachu's edition, pg 81 of the PDF edition).

    • So your claim that his knowledge of Turkish calendar was on par with Chorasmian is nonsense. His knowledge of the calendar of the Turks" is on par with his knowledge of those Tibetians, Ethiopians and etc., where he claims: "posponing it till a time when we shall know them all".
  • Furthermore, Sachau's edition mentions "Turk" not Turkoman, and trying to compare it to another manuscript which he does not use is WP:OR. Thus we need to look at modern published manuscripts like the one I brought, and under both "Turk" and "Turkoman", BIruni states: ""I don't know what they mean and I don't know the (exact) order""/


4) Your OShahin source says nothing about Khwarizmians being Turks. It simply says: "The lattter (Muqaddasi) reports that in the tenth century the Khwarizmian people came to resemble very closely the type of Turki who led a nomadic life on the periphery of the KHiva oasis" .. SO again actually clearly distinguishing between Khwarizmians and Turks. By the way, the Khwarizmians were sedentary and urban, and the Oshahin source is not that up to date (relative to Encyclopaedia of Islam or Iranica).

5)

  • You claim: "Also, the same paragraph you refer to (the one that explains why he omitted the dates of other nations) is also found in al-Qānūn but now referring to the Khwarizmian months, which he actually omitted and for the same reason he omitted the Turkish months. By your logic, he does not know Khwarizmian either"!
    • Response: Source please, post the original Arabic. Also what does this have to do with Biruni's background. The Qanun al-Mas'udi was written for GHaznavids in an area near Ghazni. So of course the Chorasmian calendar was not to be used there. Are you saying Biruni forgot his knowledge on the Khwarizmian calendar! On the Turkish clanedar he clearly states: "I have not been able to learn how long these months are, nor what they mean, nor what kind they are". He also mentions his lack of complete understand of Turkish, Ethiopian, Khazar, etc. in his Athar. Now bring the exact paragraph from Qanun al-Masu'di where he forgot about the Khwarizmian calendar and has doubts about his own knoweldge of it.
    • Okay I was able to find the Arabic version of this book.. [32]. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are referencing page 269 of the book. He is stating a totally different thing than what you have claimed. He is stating (and My Arabic may not be perfect like Biruni), but he is talking about the Magians (Zoroastrians) (he was a Muslim) in Central Asia in Sogdiana and Chorasmia. But the time of Biruni the number of Zoroastrians was reduced significantly in this area (more people were Muslims and then Christians ). At the same time he mentions “Turks” and “Chinese”, after the Magians of Sogdiana and Chorasmia. So your argument is missing this important detail “Magian of Sogdiana and Chorasmia”. He is not talking about the Chorasmian and Sogdian calenders, but the calendars of Magians in Sogdiana and Chorasmia.. He has not called their calendar the "Chorasmian" and "Sogdian" calendar!, and he is just not sure of the Zoroastrian calenders of this region (which could have been divergent sects). So yes, by very simple logic, we can state Biruni was not a Zoroastrian (Magian) from Sogdiana and Chorasmia. But we cannot state : "He did not know the Chorasmian calendar" as he is not making such a claim. Chorasmian calendar is not the same as the "calendar of Zoroastrians in Sogdiana/Chorasmia". Similarly by the same logic we can say he was not Chinese, Turkish and Manichean by the same paragraph. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 15:49, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Different theories on the statement of Biruni with regards to "branch of Persians"[edit]

Here is an answer to your most important argument for now, i.e., the "branch of Persians", with reference to your last point.

You claim: "By the time of Biruni the number of Zoroastrians was reduced significantly in this area"

My response: I agree. Biruni also confirms it.

You claim: The "Khwarizmian calendar" is not the same as the "calendar of Zoroastrians in Khwarizm and Sogdiana".

My response: Actually, there is no such a thing as "Khwarizmian calendar". The only calendar ever discussed by Biruni is the "calendar of Zoroastrians in Khwarizm and Sogdiana". This is the source of your confusion.

Here is what Biruni states just before discussing the so-called "Khwarizmian months":

ثم أذكر شهور مجوس ما وراء النهر وهم أهل خوارزم والسغد وشهورهم كشهور الفرس (from Fliescher, p.45)

Translation: "Then I discuss the months of the Zoroastrians of Transoxania who are the people of Khwarizm and Sogdiana, and their months are the same as those of the Persians."

He clearly mentions the Zoroastrians, and only as a single group. If he was speaking of two distinct people (i.e., Khwarizmians and Sogdians) he would have of used "people" twice to be grammatically correct. One "people" for one group, i.e., "Zoroastrians of Transoxania".

In fact, Biruni stated that the Khwarizmian people abandoned their old calendars for a Hijra calendar that is written in an Islamic script. He mentions the Khwarizmians while discussing other abandoned calendars, namely those of pre-Islamic Arabia and Ancient Persians. (p. 35-36) He also gave a name of one person who still knew the Khwarizmian script (perhaps suggesting the Khwarizmian language itself is no longer a written language or dying).

وأنتقل التاريخ إلى الهجرة على رسم المسلمين (p. 36)

Translation: The Date have changed to Hijra using an Islamic writing system.

Let's go back to your now famous phrase:

وأما أهل خوارزم وإن كانوا غصنا من دوحة الفرس ونبعة من سرحتهم فقد كانوا مقتدين بأهل السغد .... في شهورهم.

We know that the Khwarizmian people did not adopt this calendar, instead they have abandoned all their previous calendars to an Islamic calendar. And we know that he restricted his discussion to Zoroastrians. Thus he is not talking here of the Khwarizmian people at large (which makes little sense if he does, since they abandoned this and other calendars entirely), but, per his starting paragraph, only the Zoroastrians among the people of Khawarizm (and Sogdiana).

We also know from above that the Zoroastrians are a small minority in Khwarizm. If we try to re-understand this sentence, but now taking into account the part you missed, i.e., Zoroastrians, we'll have:

أما [مجوس] أهل خوارزم وإن كانوا غصنا من دوحة الفرس ونبعة من سرحتهم فقد كانوا مقتدين بأهل السغد .... في شهورهم.

Now the use of "branch" perfectly makes sense. You also called the Khwarizmian Zoroastrians a "branch" of the Persian Zoroastrians. This also avoids making an exceptional claim that no scholar contemporary to Biruni have made. There are other arguments of course, as this change solves other problems too. But pending any feedback/refutation, I find this theory more plausible. Also note the Fliescher is reliable, and his edition is cited in EI2. And before you keep repeating policies, know that content policies do not apply to talk pages, and I'm only answering your questions. Wiqi(55) 20:40, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I must admit that is a creative but I believe you missed several other points, and your theory does not reconcile what Biruni says in the Qanun with what he says in the Athar. Also it violates WP:OR (in the talkpage say..) due to the fact that you inserted the word "Majus" where Biruni several other time mentions the people of Khwarizm, and is not mentioning Zoroastrians. On Zoroastrians being minority, I believe this may be correct but I am not 100% sure, but it doesn't make a difference in the argument.

  • The most important argument is already mentioned by me. Biruni states his native language is Chorasmian and this is confirmed by Western sources (e.g. Frye, Bosworth, Mazkenzie, etc.). If we had such a statement from every ancient classical scholar, then people today would stop bickering. BTW Togan is mentioned as a pan-Turkist in several books including Pan-Turkism by Landau.
  • I do not see an answer at all, since you inserted the word Majus. The fact is even is the CHorasmian calendar is a Zoroastrian calendar, it does not imply Biruni is stating that "Zoroastrian Chorasmians are a branch of Persian Zoroastrians". No where does he make such a comment. Furthermore, please note:
    • First we should note: Biruni could have easily reworked some of his earlier works, so it is very possible there was modification in the Athar after the Qanun-e Masu'di.

Second what he elaborates on Khwarizmian and SOgdian Zoroastrian calendar is still very detailed, relative to Khazars (none), Chinese/Turks (just a list with no commentary except he does not know the order and meaning with regards to Turks), and etc.

    • "Kutaiba ben Muslim had extinguished and ruined in every possible way all those who knew how to write and to read the Khwarizmi writing, who knew the history of the country

and who studied their sciences. In consesquence these things are involved in so much obscurity, that it is impossible to obtain an accurate knowledge of the history of the country since the time of Islam" (Sachau, "The Chronology", London, 1879, pg 42)

  • "For after Kutaiba ben Muslim Albahili had killed their learned men and priests (Hirbod or Zoroastrian priests which is an Iranian loanword in Arabic), and had burned their books and writings, they became entirely illiterate (forgot writing and reading) and relied in every knowledge or science which they required solely upon memory;. In the long course of time they forgot that on which there had been a divergence of opinion, and kept by memory only that which had been generally agreed upon. But Allah knows best!"(Sachau, "The Chronology", London, 1879, pg 58)
  • So as you can see, Biruni's comments with regards to the Zoroastrians of the region was not without merit. Nevertheless in his athar he describes these calendars in much more detail while almost not even touching Ethiopians, Khazars, Zangs, Turks, Chinese and etc. So the statement in Qanun-e Masudi could also easily be explained by that while had 100% knowledge of the Persian, Arabic and Syraic calendars, his knowledge on the Zoroastrian calendars were still not 100% complete. But cross-referencing with Athar, we see no contradiction since his knowledge on Chorasmian and Sogdian calendars was still much more thorough. There is no other indigineous calendar in Khwarazm mentioned by Biruni, so that is the Chorasmian calendar in the sense that it was the Calendar in the region prior to Islam. This is much more plausible now given what Biruni states had happened with the burning of books and killing of learned men/priests. So my statement about lack of knowledge of Turkish calendar is not contradicted, since it is not white and black. His knowledge on Arabic, Persian, and Syraric was near perfect, his knowledge of Chorasmian and Sogdian was partial (due to the reason he himself gives) and his knowledge on Turkish, Zang, Chinese, Khazar etc. was nill (given the fact that he does not even give a detailed description of these like he does Soghdian and Chorasmian).
  • Second you cannot just say: "Fliescher", you need to provide a full source (with the name of the book, year of publication , etc.)..but anyhow I found a good Arabic version online of the Athar for free from wikipedia.
  • Now on what you claim: Of course there is a Zoroastrian calendar. Google it. [33]. There are currently actually three Zoroastrian calendars used. The Zoroastrians of Transoxiana used a different calendar than Muslims because they had different holidays.
  • On your claim:"Actually, there is no such a thing as "Khwarizmian calendar". The only calendar ever discussed by Biruni is the "calendar of Zoroastrians in Khwarizm and Sogdiana".
    • Of course this is still a Khwarizmian calendar and then a separate Soghdian calendar. The people of Khwarazm as mentioned by Biruni were ZOroastrians before becoming Muslims. So this is still a Khwarizmian calendar. The Soghdian and Khwarizmian calendars are two separate calendars desribed by Biruni in his Athar. If it wasn't a Chorasmian calendar, Biruni would not use "Ahl-e-Khwarazm". And this calendar despite being Iranian is very different than the Persian calendar. And if you do not believe this is called the Khwarzmian calendar, there are 100s of link on Khwarizmian calendar [34]. See: VA Livshitz, The Khwarezmian calendar and the eras in ancient Chorasmia", AAntASH xvi (1968), pp. 413-46. Khwarezmian calendar is different than the Persian Zoroastrian calendar but they could overlap. Much like the Persian calendar used by Iranians Muslims today overlaps in holidays with some Zoroastrian events.
  • Your claim: "He also gave a name of one person who still knew the Khwarizmian script (perhaps suggesting the Khwarizmian language itself is no longer a written language or dying)."..
    • Your conclusion is incorrect. Since Khwarizmian survived Biruni's era: ". "By far the greater part of the Chorasmian vocabu­lary preserved for us is to be found in the form of interlinear glosses throughout a single manuscript (of ca. 596/1200) of the celebrated Arabic dictionary Moqaddemat al-adab by another native Chorasmian, Zamaḵšarī."[35]" ... Khwarizmian was probably wiped out only after the Mongol invasion. Also when he references Khwarizmian as his native language, then it means it was well living. He describes it as:" And if it is true that in all nations one likes to adorn oneself by using the language to which one has remained loyal, having become accustomed to using it with friends and companions according to need, I must judge for myself that in my native Chorasmian, science has as much as chance of becoming perpetuated as a camel has of facing Kaaba."..(quoted several times above). So if he using this Khwarizmian language with his friends and companions, then it is not dying.
      • However, the script he might be referencing is the Middle Khwarizmian script before the Arabic script. See again Mackenzie's article [36]. Note the Old Chorasmian script (Aramaic based but with ideograms which makes it hard to understand) was indeed a script that possibly only a few Zoroastrian Chorasmian priests knew. It was dead for all practical accounts, but the new Arabic based script for Chorasmian was flourishing judging from the dictionary of Zamakhshari two hundrend years later. The language itself was flourishing as not only it is Biruni's native language, but his friends and companions use it.
  • Your claim: "We know that the Khwarizmian people did not adopt this calendar, instead they have abandoned all their previous calendars to an Islamic calendar. "
  • Another point. The quote: "وأنتقل التاريخ إلى الهجرة على رسم المسلمين (p. 36)" does not necessarily mean they adopted the Hijra calendar. For example the Persian solar calendar also starts at the beginning of Hijra but follows the old Zoroastrian months. Similarly the calendar made by Omar Khayyam was another Persian solar calnedar but it starts was the Hijra months. So there are solar non-Arabic calendars which start from Hijra. This could be a modified Chorasmian calendar.
  • Your claim: "You also called the Khwarizmian Zoroastrians a "branch" of the Persian Zoroastrians."
    • I never did that. And neither did Biruni. Biruni clearly states: "The Khwarizmians (Arabic Ahlul Khwarizm or people of Chorasmia), although a branch of the great tree of the Persian nation, imitated the Soghdians as to the beginning of the year and the place whey they add Epagomenae"(Sachau , pg 57). ". Note when describing ZOroastrians, he says ZOroastrians of Chorasmia and Sogdiana. Here he is referencing the people of Chorasmia, not the "Zoroastrians of Chorasmia".. This is just a well reference fact to the people being Iranian. They were of course Zoroastrians too before Islam, but Zoroastrianism was not solely in the Iranian plateau. Even Armenians for example converted to Zoroastrians (they are non-Iranian nation).
  • Also the fact of the matter is that the people of the area were ZOroastrians at one time, but they changed to Muslims. Yet the statement about the people of Khwarizm being a branch of the Persian nation is not about religion. Since Zoroastrianism belonged to several Iranian and even non-Iranian groups. He also mentions the people of Khwarizm and its

history several times, and is not referencing "Zoroastrianism". For example he mentions Iranian myths (KayKhusraw, Syavash and even the [[Turan]ian if they are mentioned are still actually Iranian).

  • Anyhow, the theory you proposed would bring about contradiction between what Biruni says in the Athar and what he says in the Qanun. My theory using what Biruni says in the Athar about Khwarazmia (losing its knowledge and records) shows that he still had gather all the knowledge he knew about the Chorasmian/Sogdian calendars, but his knowledge was not complete due to the fact that he claims these records were lost and the people themselves had lost some of the knowledge. He was still hoping to find more information despite

the lost records. Also the calendar could have been in disuse obviously or hardly used. Still the detail he provides about these calendars shows much more knowledge than Chinese, Turk, Khazars, Blacks etc. So I see no contradiction in my original claim except that his knowledge of Chorasmian calendar was not 100% complete due to the events that he describes himself and which gives the reason for it not being complete.

  • Also I do not think these calendars were in disuse (but they had conflicting versions as alluded to by Biruni again) since the Persian calendar is in the same section, and was widely used (as you noted in the Qanun).--Khodabandeh14 (talk) 03:00, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with some of your point (especially the one about the Khwarizmian vs Arabic script). However, the one about burning books seems to support my view that Biruni used "branch" in the sense of a religious sect or group. Notice that starting from the branch sentence and up to the one about burning books, the same pronoun (hum) is being used (referring to the same noun). This means that the "burning of their books" should be understood as referring to the same group mentioned in the branch sentence (i.e., Ahl Khwarizm). If we follow your interpretation, then you're suggesting that Biruni wrote that many or all the books of the Khwarizmian people were burned, and all the Khwarizmians became illiterate. If that so, then there should be some other sources mentioning this major event, no? I've tried to find some sources, but the only event I've seen is Qutayba burning the idols (and perhaps other stuff) found only in Zoroastrian holy places (this was actually part of his deal with the Khwarizmians -- see al-Dhahabi). If it's true that this event was confined to Zoroastrian holy places, then this suggests that Biruni was writing about a small group of Zoroastrian holy men (for both claims - the branch and the burning of books). So assuming we don't find any reference to burning all the books of all the Khwarizmians, then I find the "branch" being just a religious sect and confined to Zoroastrian holy men to be more plausible. That said, I'm using the original Fliescher/Sachau book, not the English translation (which doesn't seem reliable), full ref:
Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad; Eduard Sachau (1878). Chronologie orientalischer Völker: von Albêrûnî. Gedruckt auf Kosten der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, In Commission bei F.A. Brockhaus.  Wiqi(55) 01:37, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I also used the Sachau translation but there is no difference from his translation and the original text as far as I can tell in this regard. Except the term Hirbod (Zoroastrian priest) is not translated in its full definition by Sachau. On your points, Zoroastrianism has no idols but just fire temples. Also the learned class of pre-Islamic Persia were the priests. There were three classes of people, Priests, Warriors and Farmers. It had some similarities to India except there was no "untouchable" class. The Priests thus were the learned men (literate), and actually the other classes were not allowed literary. Thus by effectively cutting off the Zoroastrian priesthood, the people of Khwarizm lost their knowledge. Also note the first portion related to Qutaybah ""Kutaiba ben Muslim had extinguished and ruined in every possible way all those who knew how to write and to read the Khwarizmi writing, who knew the history of the country and who studied their sciences. In consesquence these things are involved in so much obscurity, that it is impossible to obtain an accurate knowledge of the history of the country since the time of Islam" (Sachau, "The Chronology", London, 1879, pg 42)" Is on page 42 of Sachau, before Biruni even gets into the discussion of calendars. He repeats something similar when discussing calendars.
  • Also as I mentioned the Chorasmian calendar (lets say Zoroastrian Chorasmian calendar) of the Chorasmians is different than the Zoroastrians Persians and also different the Zoroastrian Sogdians, so it seems they were three different sects as well.. I stand by my point that "Ahlul Khwarazm" is not a term for religious sect, just like Ahlul Furs is Persians and Ahlul 'Arab is Arabians. Ahlul 'Arab may refer to both Jahilliya Arabs and post-Jahilliya Arabs, but it never refers solely to Jahilliya Arabs. "The Khwarizmians , although a branch of the great tree of the Persian nation" (Sachau page 57). I agree with Sacahu's translation here. Note also the term "Fors/Furs" also is not used to mean "Zoroastrian" but Persian, hence the term Persian nation. "Persian nation" by itself is not a sect. Biruni uses Persians/Chorasmians as ethnic identities in his books. Note in the same section he brings the quote about Turks, Khazars, Ethiopians, Chinese, Zangs (none of these are sect). In a sense, the ancestors of the Khwarizmians were Zoroastrians, but their form of Zoroastrian was different (as the months name and holidays show) than the Zoroastrians of Persia. Also that Persian calendar and holidays as I mentioned was celebrated by Muslim Kings. In general the other word "Persian nation" also is a term used for Persians in the Arabic writings of the time, while for ZOroastrians, they would use "Majus". Please also note that the ancestors of Khwarizmians were Zoroastrians (Biruni mentioning the Herbords attests to this fact), so when mentioning the people of pre-Islamic CHorasmia, there is no difference between Chorasmian Zoroastrians and Chorasmians, as they were equivalent people. In other words for pre-Islamic Chorasmia, Zoroastrian=Chorasmian, but post-Islamic Khwarzmia, Chorasmian does not equal Zoroastrian. Throughout the works of Biruni we hear the word "Chorasmians, Persians, etc." , and these are used irregardless of Muslim or Zoroastrian ones.
  • On the episode of Kutayba, I generally dismiss all episodes of burning books by Muslims (like the Alexandria myth or even those in Persia proper). However, only in this singular episode, since Biruni was a proud Muslim, and he was a native Iranian Chorasmian (hence he knew the area very well), and since he was very unbiased, I cannot make a firm judgement either way.
  • I guess we will disagree on some points. I think the discussion was good nevertheless, and I am glad a concensus was achieved. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 02:40, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

On policy[edit]

The policy of Wikipedia states we do not use it as a WP:FORUM, but simply a place to make improvements to the article. Anyhow all this discussions yielded that Iranian-Chorasmian is preferable per another user's input. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 22:09, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

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Conversant in Turkish?[edit]

In the lead paragraph, it is written that Biruni was conversant in Turkish. What is the source for this claim? BrokenMirror2 (talk) 19:39, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Orphaned remark[edit]

WOW !!! How was the Samanid Empire related to Persia (Iran) (since there is a link to persia next to samanid) ÉÉÉ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.131.3.65 (talk) 21:52, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Alberonius?[edit]

Biruni's works were virtually unknown in medieval Europe - so what is the origin of his supposed Latin name Alberonius?

A search in Google Books does not give any hits earlier than 2012. AstroLynx (talk) 15:41, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

According to Jim al-Khalili, The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (New York: The Penguin Press, 2011), pp. 172-173: "In fact, remarkably, and unlike many of the great scholars of Islam, there does not exist a Latinized version of his [Biruni's] name." Note that neither the French or the German versions of this WP article mention a Latinized name for Biruni. Unless someone objects, I will remove the Alberonius citations within the next 24 hours. AstroLynx (talk) 09:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
I have removed the Alberonius cittions. AstroLynx (talk) 14:03, 3 December 2014 (UTC)