About Omar Khayyám, عمر خیام
Omar Khayyám, عمر خیام x (1048–1131) was a Persian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology.
Born in Nishapur, at a young age he moved to Samarkand and obtained his education there, afterwards he moved to Bukhara and became established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period. He is the author of one of the most important treatises on algebra written before modern times, the Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which includes a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle. He contributed to a calendar reform.
His significance as a philosopher and teacher, and his few remaining philosophical works, have not received the same attention as his scientific and poetic writings. Zamakhshari referred to him as “the philosopher of the world”. Many sources have testified that he taught for decades the philosophy of Ibn Sina in Nishapur where Khayyám was born and buried and where his mausoleum today remains a masterpiece of Iranian architecture visited by many people every year.
Outside Iran and Persian speaking countries, Khayyám has had an impact on literature and societies through the translation of his works and popularization by other scholars. The greatest such impact was in English-speaking countries; the English scholar Thomas Hyde (1636–1703) was the first non-Persian to study him. The most influential of all was Edward FitzGerald (1809–83), who made Khayyám the most famous poet of the East in the West through his celebrated translation and adaptations of Khayyám's rather small number of quatrains (rubaiyaas) in Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.
Khayyám's full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath 'Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nishapuri al-Khayyami (Persian: غیاث الدین ابو الفتح عمر بن ابراهیم خیام نیشاپوری). He was born in Nishapur,(modern-day Iran), then a Seljuq capital in Khorasan, which rivaled Cairo or Baghdad in cultural prominence in that era. He is thought to have been born into a family of tent makers (khayyami, lit. in Farsi "tent-maker"), which he would make this into a play on words later in life:
Khayyám, who stitched the tents of science, Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned, The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life, And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!
— Omar Khayyám
He spent part of his childhood in the town of Balkh (present northern Afghanistan), studying under the well-known scholar Sheikh Muhammad Mansuri. He later studied under Imam Mowaffaq Nishapuri, who was considered one of the greatest teachers of the Khorasan region. Throughout his life Omar Khayyám was dedicated to his efforts and abilities, in the day he would teach Algebra and Geometry in the evening he would attend the Seljuq court as an adviser of Malik-Shah I and at night he would study Astronomy and complete the important aspects of the Jalali calendar.
Omar Khayyám's years in Isfahan were very productive ones but after the death of the Seljuq Sultan Malik-Shah I (presumably by the Assassins sect), the Sultan's widow turned against him as an adviser and and soon therefore Omar Khayyám set out on his Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. He was then allowed to work as a court astrologer and was permitted to return to Nishapur where he was famous for works and continued to teach mathematics, astronomy and even medicine.
Omar Khayyám was a notable poet during the reign of the Seljuk ruler Malik-Shah I and his contributions to the developments of Mathematics, Astronomy and Philosophy inspired later generations.
He is believed to have written about a thousand four-line verses or rubaiyat (quatrains). In the English-speaking world, he was introduced through the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám which are rather free-wheeling English translations by Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883). Other English translations of parts of the rubáiyát (rubáiyát meaning "quatrains") exist, but FitzGerald's are the most well known.
Ironically, FitzGerald's translations reintroduced Khayyám to Iranians "who had long ignored the Neishapouri poet." A 1934 book by one of Iran's most prominent writers, Sadeq Hedayat, Songs of Khayyam, (Taranehha-ye Khayyam) is said to have "shaped the way a generation of Iranians viewed" the poet.
Khayyam's poetry is translated to many languages.
Khayyám's personal beliefs are not known with certainty, but much is discernible from his poetic oeuvre.