Famous Iranians > Poets > HAPPY KHAYYAM DAY BY MILAD MOLAVI
Omar Khayyam Persian Poet
Iranians celebrate the birth anniversary of Omar Khayyam Neyshaburi (1048-1131) on May 18, which is the national day of the Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet.
The day begins with the casting of flowers on Khayyam's grave and the ringing of school bells in the Neyshabur. Numerous world literati and experts on Persian literature and Iranian scholars commemorate Omar Khayyam in ceremonies, exhibitions and conferences.
Khayyam is thought to have been born into a family of Nishapur artisans. According to one disputed account, known as Three Schoolmates story, Omar Khayyám, Nizam-ul-Mulk and Hassan-i-Sabah three exceptional students began studying under the same teacher at about the same time. These three students, who became friends, pledged to each other that whichever of them was to receive fortune would share it equally with the other two. One of these was Nizam-ul-Mulk, who went on to become the Minister to the Seljukid Empire. Hassan-i-Sabah demanded and was granted a place in the government, but he was ambitious, and was eventually removed from power after he participated in an unsuccessful effort to overthrow his benefactor, the Minister. Many years later, he rose to become head of the Hashshashin. Omar Khayyám was much more modest in his request, not asking for any office, but just a place to live and study science. He was granted a yearly pension of 1,200 mithkals of gold from the treasury of Nishapur. He lived on this pension for the rest of his life. Some scholars question this story, known as Three Schoolmates. They say the dates of birth of these three schoolmates do not match. According to them, Khayyam was born in 1048 , Hassan-bin-Sabah in 1034 and Nizam-ul-Mulk in 1018
Omar Khayyám is famous as a mathematician. In 1070 he wrote his greatest work on algebra. In it he classified equations according to their degree, and gave rules for solving quadratic equations, which are very similar to the ones in use today, and a geometric method for solving cubic equations with real roots, by intersecting a parabola with a circle. He also wrote on the triangular array of binomial coefficients which today is known as Pascal's triangle!! .
In 1077, Omar Khayyám authored criticisms of Euclid's theories of parallels which made their way to Europe, where they contributed to the eventual development of non-Euclidean geometry. Omar's attempt was a distinct advance. He also had other notable work in geometry, specifically on the theory of proportions.
Omar Khayyám is famous in the world for his astronomical observations. He built a star map. He also estimated and proved that the universe is not moving around earth as was believed by all at that time. By constructing a revolving platform and simple arrangement of the star charts lit by candles around the circular walls of the room, he demonstrated that earth revolves on its axis, bringing into view different constellations throughout the night and day. He also elaborated that stars are stationary objects in space which if moving around earth would have been burnt to cinders due to their large mass. All these theories were centuries later adopted by Western astronomers, as we know them now.
Eventually, Khayyám very accurately (correct to six decimal places) measured the length of the solar year as 365.24219858156 days. This calendar measurement has only a 1 hour error in every 5,500 years, whereas the Gregorian Calendar used today, has a 1 day error in every 3,330 years.
Khayyam objected to the notion that every particular event and phenomenon was the result of divine intervention. Nor did he believe in any Judgment Day or rewards and punishments after life. Instead he supported the view that laws of nature explained all phenomena of observed life.
Khayyam's viewpoint regarding religion taboos and divine revelation can be clearly realized through unbiased examination of his quatrains that as a rule of thumb should reflect his intrinsic conclusions. The following quatrains are merely specimens amongst numerous others that serve to defy many facets of dogma of his time:
Arise! and come, and of thy courtesy
Resolve my weary heart’s perplexity,
And fill my goblet, so that I may drink,
Or e’er they make their goblets out of me.
When I am dead, with wine my body lave,
For obit chant a bacchanalian stave,
And, if you need me at the day of doom,
Beneath the tavern threshold seek my grave.
Since no one can assure thee of the morrow,
Rejoice thy heart to-day, and banish sorrow
With moon bright wine, fair moon, for heaven’s moon
Will look for us in vain on many a morrow.
Let lovers all distraught and frenzied be,
And flown with wine, and reprobates, like me;
When sober, I find everything amiss,
But in my cups cry, “Let what will be, be.”