Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moslem Polymaths of IRAQ in Wikipedia

Compiled by Wafaa Al-Natheema

The following Medieval Scholars were either born, have lived most of their lives or have studied in IRAQ.

They were all Moslems and all, but one (Ar-Rumi) have published their work in Arabic. Al-Biruni published his books in Arabic and Persian.

The points below reflects the errors and misconceptions committed in WIkipedia about these scholars:

1. Both Al-Farabi (alpharabius) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) are presented as Persians. In the case of al-Farabi, Wikipedia enlisted two subtitles; one on his Persian origin backed supposedly by "historic sources" without using the term 'claim,' and the other introduced his Turkic origin as a claim to denote its unreliability. Under the paragraph “Persian Origin,” it states Al-Farabi’s “Iranian-speaking Central Asian origin” It is not an Iranian language, but Persian! Addditonally, 'Iran' is a modern reference. Both Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina were born and raised in Central Asia, specifically in today’s Afghanistan/Uzbekistan, little to nothing known about the origin of their parents and both contributed during the Islamic era, yet Wikipedia insists on refering to it incorrectly as “Persian Empire” or “Samanid dynasty” and categorizing these scientists as PERSIANS.

Even though al-Farabi lived 40 years in Baghdad with no mention of him ever living or studying in any city in today's Iran, in the list of regional countries (in which he was born and lived) on the right side of the page, Wikipedia completely neglect IRAQ and enlists:

Region: Central Asia, Iran, Egypt and Syria

2. The greatest Moslem chemist of his time Jabir bin Hayan al-Kufi, born and raised in Kufa, South of IRAQ is according to Wikipedia born in Khorasan/ Iran. The Wikipedia page about this great scientist is filled with mention of Persians and Persian language/thesis and Shiites-Umayyad-Abbasid rivalry overshadowing the more important subject of his great inventions. It includes a corrupted and a damaging account in the middle of the page under the subject title of "The Geber Problem." Western writers and so-called historians twist history facts and/or make errors about Arab (and Islamic) history and in return, according to Wikipedia, Arabs have to defend and discuss their history documentation about Jaber, otherwise it is controversial and debatable so we can not take the Jaber character and his contributions for granted! Please read that paragraph carefully.

3. When there are serious discrepancies about the ethnic and regional origin of a Moslem Scholar, the phrases 'Moslem Scholar' or 'Moslem Scientist' are placed above the personal portrait on the right side of the webpage, yet when those are believed to be "definitely known" as Persians, the categorization above the portrait is typed 'Persian Scholar' for distinction. The “portrait for Jabir” has only ‘Scientist’ placed on top of it without ethnicity or even ‘Moslem’ as an adjective!

4. Even though Ibn Al-Haytham was of Arab descent, Wikipedia enlists him as ' Arab and/or Persian' on the right-side index and interestingly does not enlist his sect as normally mentioned about the so-called Persian scholars. It states that Basra city was part of Persia by stating that he was "Born circa 965, near modern-day Basra, part of present-day Iraq, and then part of Buyid Persia,[1] ..........." This reference is unacceptable by nearly all Arab and Moslem scholars because there was no such an area or dynasty as Buyid Persia in the 10 and 11 centuries.

5. Al-Bayrooni or Al-Biruni has been documented as Persian even though the origin of his parents is unknown and that he was born in a city in today's Kazakhstan. It typically mentions his sect (in the right-side list) during a time when there was no such categorization made. The interesting discrepancy is that even though it states in this Al-Biruni page, under the “Biography” section that Khawarizm was “then part of the Abbasid Empire,” Wikipedia does not label him an Arab. But when the polymaths were said to have been born in a city under “the Persian Empire,” they are automatically labeled as Persians. See the commentary about al-Khawarzmi below.

6. Jalalu~Ddine Mohammed bin Mohammed Ar-Rumi or Rumi (the famous Sufi scholar) was born in Balkh, today's Afghanistan. His father was Arab and his mother was Persian, yet he is documented in this Wikipedia link as Persian only eliminating his Arab ancestry. His father’s name was Mohammed Ibnul Hussein al-Khatibi, and was a well-respected religious scholar. Wikipedia states that Balkh (during Rumi's time) was part of the Persian Empire! Yet again during Rumi's time there was no Persian Empire, it was an Islamic era /dynasty.

7. Ibn Zakariya Ar-Raziīya_Rāzi is again labeled Persian just because his family's name is said to mean 'from the city of Rayy' (if this is truly what it means) Wikipedia states that;

"In Persian, Razi means "from the city of Rayy (also spelled Ray, Rey, or Rai, old Persian Ragha, Latin Rhagae -formerly one of the great cities of the World)", an ancient town on the southern slopes of the Elburz Range that skirts the south of the Caspian Sea, situated near Tehran, Iran. In this city (like Avicenna) he accomplished most of his work.[9 "

8. Al-Hasan al-Basri who was born in Medina in today's Saudi Arabia is also categorized as Persian indicating that his parents were Persians. Interesting enough that he is the only polymath in Wikipedia, that despite being so-called Persian, the index on the right of the page (which normally has a personal portrait) does not have the title “Persian Scholar,” instead it is “Moslem Scholar

9. Mohammed bin Mousa Al-Khawarizmi is again categorized as Persian despite that it states, he was “born maybe in Khwārizm[2][4][5], in Uzbekistan,“ Here it uses highly debatable, unprecedented and scholarly unacceptable terminology, “………which was then part of the native Iranian-Khwarizmian Afrigid dynasty[6]“ undoubtedly one of Wikipedia’s new inventions!

10. There is a seriously damaging sectarian inclusion provided in the Wikipedia pages under madh.hab or religion, which appears on the right side of the page. It discloses the sect as either Ismaeli or Shiite. According to Wikipedia, none of the Moslem polymaths were Arabs and nearly all of them were Persians and Shiites, which is incorrect!! Religious sects have no relevance in documenting the history of people worldwide. None of the Christian and Jewish polymaths, kings, artists and professionals are being categorized in Wikipedia or in any other encyclopedia by their sects (Orthodox, moderate Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and so on) whether in documenting the past or the present!.

In other words, no Moslem scholar (especially the popular) is presented in Wikipedia without being linked often incorrectly or unnecessarily to Persian ancestry!