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Illustration from
'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' of Al-Biruni
(Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī )
Copy from Tabriz, 1307AD

The peasant and the false prophet Bihafrid

A larger image of The peasant and the false prophet Bihafrid, in 'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' by Al-Biruni, Tabriz, Iran, 1307AD. University of Edinburgh Or.Ms.161 f.92v.

Shelfmark: Or.Ms.161
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Chronology of Ancient Nations
Subset Index: f.92v
Creator: Al-Biruni
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author
Date: 1307

Detail of page from the Chronology of Ancient Nations by Al-Biruni. Image shows Bihafarid, a religious leader from Iran, convincing a peasant to join his sect by telling him that he has just returned from heaven and has been given Green garment as proof of his trip. Combining elements of Zoroastrianism and Islam, Bihafarid's sect, which developed following a trip to China, naturally faced opposition from both religious groups. Written by the famous astronomer and polymath Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni, the Chronology of Ancient Nations is a compendium and chronicle of a vast number of calendars and chronological systems from a variety of different cultural and religious groups from throughout the late antique and medieval periods in the Hellenic world, Central Asia and the Near East. Completed in the year 1000, it even includes details of festivals and liturgical practices, in addition to more specific information. This particular manuscript is thought to have been copied in 1307 and was the archetype for the three later versions which were used by Edward Sachau to translate the document from Arabic into English during the nineteenth century.
Chelkowski, P. J. (1975), 'The scholar and the saint : studies in commemoration of Abuʾl-Rayhan al-Biruni and Jalal al-Din al-Rumi', New York.
Source: University of Edinburgh

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