Fortune of Azerbaijani scientists in exile in the Middle Ages

Azerbaijan - scientific centre of the East

Living an emigrant life was an ordinary case for Azerbaijani scientists, philosophers and thinkers in the Middle Ages. Naturally, if a scientist belonged to a palace, there was no need to leave the motherland and find a shelter abroad.

There were several reasons why the Azerbaijani scientists were leaving the country in the Middle Ages:

- not to accept the absolute authoritarian regimes and wish to get free of execution;

- not to be satisfied with the scientific potentiality of the area where he lived, and wish to gain more knowledge (they were leaving for other scientific centres of that time - Sham, Nishapur, Bagdad, and Samarkand);   

-  rulers' pressure (e.g., after Amir Teymur's crusade to Azerbaijan he ordered to take the local scientists and craftsmen to Samarkand. After this order the leave of scientists, craftsmen and thinkers who were the cream and pillars of society caused great gaps.

Those scientists who had left Azerbaijan for another foreign country benefited from the scientific traditions existing in Azerbaijan and enriched the intellectual prosperity of that country. E.g., Jamaladdin Bukhari even in faraway China fostered the development of science. Fao Mun Chi and some other Chinese scientists studied astronomy at Maragha observatory then. Having worked together for a while Fao Mun Chi and Jamaladdin Bukhari left for Beijing taking the draft project of the observatory with them then. Only then, it was possible to construct an observatory in Beijing.

"Dar ush-Shafa" scientific centre was established in Tabriz in early in the XIV century. The scientists brought up at that centre were esteemed educated men in some Eastern countries later. It is safe to say that in the Middle Ages Eastern countries should be grateful to Azerbaijani scientists who lived abroad.

There are too many Azerbaijani scientists who emigrated in the Middle Ages. But only Eynalguzat Miyanachin, a philosopher, and the author of the book 'Complaint of a stranger' was very luckless. For his pantheist outlook he was persecuted by religious figures in his young days.

'Complaint of a stranger' describes the common sorrow of all our scientists who had a  migrant life in the Middle Ages. Fortunately, Eynalguzat Miyanachin's migrant life wasn't so long as some other scientists'. He returned to Hamadan a few years later. A year later, in 1131, at the age of 33, he was executed by the decision of religious figures at the religious school where he worked as a teacher.   

In order to enrich his education, Khatib Tabrizi (XI century) left his motherland and his family and travelled one by one about all the cities of the East. His desire to get education brought him first to Syria. Arabic scientists taught Khatib the cores of religion, lexicography and poetry. Then he left for Egypt and took up lessons on Arabic grammar from Tahir ibn Babashaz, a palace scientist. In 1067, by the financial support of Seljuk Turk judges "Nizamiyye" religious school was opened in Baghdad in honour of an outstanding  vizier Nizamulmulk  . History, Literature, Linguistics, Astronomy, Mathematics and some other secular sciences were taught at that school. Khatib Tabrizi had taught literature for 40 years at that school since its first days. He was the founder and head of the library at the school.

On January 3, 1109, Sunday, the great scientist died of a heart attack.  Khatib Tabrizi was buried in "Bab Abraz" graveyard in Baghdad.


Elmin Nuri