KARACHI: Students from the West acquired knowledge from the East in the past and they will soon be looking towards the East for ‘real’ light because “the sun rises in the east”.

This was stated by a speaker at a seminar held at the Iran Culture Centre on Monday to pay homage to Bahauddin Mohammad bin Izzaddin Husain Aamili, a great Persian mystic poet, linguist, hakim, jurist, philosopher, teacher, astrologist, inventor, engineer and mathematician better known as Shaikh Bahai.

The director general of the culture centre, Mohammad Raza Baqiri, said the people of this era were running after worldly goods more than spiritual ones and had no actual desire to serve humanity.

He added that one had to give up his worldly life and embrace spirituality if he wanted to excel in multiple disciplines just like Hafiz Shirazi, Omar Khayyam and Ibn Sina.

Giving a brief introduction of Shaikh Bahai, Mr Baqiri said Bahauddin was born in the month of Zilhij, 953 Al Hijra in the Lebanese city of Baalbek into a well-known family of religious scholars.

His first teacher was his own father, who taught him Arabic literature, Quranic exegesis and Hadith. He acquired intellectual education from Mullah Abdullah Qazvini in Qazvin and remained in the company of erudite scholars such as Maqaddas Ardabeli, with whom he had developed acquaintance and broadened his passion for knowledge.

Mr Baqiri said Shaikh Bahai spent almost 30 years of his life travelling, either for recreation or pilgrimage, in Makkah, Madina, Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Egypt.

He went to Makkah with his father for Haj and returned to Iran. He spent some time in Mashhad to acquire knowledge but later went to Herat, where he took over the scholarly seat of his late father and was made ‘Shaikhul Islam’.

Later, a similar position was offered to him in Isfahan after the death of his father-in-law Ali Manshar and he opted to settle down in Isfahan. He died on Shawwal 12, 1030, in Mashhad and was buried on the premises of the shrine of Imam Ali bin Musa Al Raza.

Masooma Shirazi, poet and educationist, began her speech with a couplet of Iftikhar Arif about migration. She reminisced about her own family’s migration and connected it with the migration of Shaikh Bahai from Lebanon to various countries before settling down in Isfahan.

Talking about his books written on various subjects, she said Shaikh Bahai wrote some 123 books and treatises, both in Arabic and Persian, but the latter type surpassed the former both in volume and quality.

Syed Najmi Hasan, an associate professor at a local college teaching Persian, speaking in Persian threw light on the merit of Shaikh Bahai’s life and literary works.

Earlier, naats and manqabat were recited by three different persons.

Najmuddin Musavi conducted the programme.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018