Tuesday, July 9, 2013

015 - Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir - Bosnians

Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir (Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto) (Benazir Bhutto) (June 21, 1953 - December 27, 2007).  First woman ever to lead a modern Islamic nation, having twice been elected Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988-1990 and 1993-1996).

Benazir Bhutto was born the eldest child of Begum Nusrat Ispahani Bhutto and Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto of a prominent Shi'a Muslim family of Larkana, in Karachi, Pakistan.  She attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and then the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi.  After two years of schooling at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree.  She passed her O-level examinations at the age of 15.  She then went on to complete her A-Levels at the Karachi Grammar School.

After completing her early education in Pakistan, she pursued her higher education in the United States.  From 1969 to 1973, she attended Radcliffe College at Harvard University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative government.  She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  

Between 1973 and 1977, Bhutto studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, during which time she completed additional courses in International Law and Diplomacy.  In December 1976, she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.

Benazir's father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto, was removed from office following a military coup in 1977 led by the then military chief General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three months.  However, later, instead of fulfilling the promise of holding general elections, General Zia-ul-Haq charged Zulfikar Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri.  Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death by the martial law court.  

Despite the accusation being widely doubted by the public, and despite many clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979.  Appeals for clemency were dismissed by acting President Zia-ul-Haq.  Benazir Bhutto and her mother were held in a "police camp" until the end of May, after the execution.

Benazir Bhutto was imprisoned just before her father's execution and spent most of her five-year jail term in solitary confinement under extremely harsh conditions.

In 1985, Benazir Bhutto's brother Shahnawaz was killed under suspicious circumstances in France.  The killing of another of her brothers, Mir Murtaza, in 1996, would contribute to destabilizing her second term as Prime Minister.

On December 18, 1987, Benazir Bhutto married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi.  The couple had three children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar and Aseefa.

Benazir Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her father's imprisonment and subsequent execution.  Having been allowed in 1984 to return to the United Kingdom, she became a leader in exile of the Pakistan People's Party, her father's party, even though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1988. Zia died in a mysterious explosion of his aircraft.  She had succeeded her mother as leader of the PPP and the pro-democracy opposition to the Zia-ul-Haq regime.

On November 16, 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto's PPP won the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly.  Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of a coalition government on December 2, becoming at age 35 the youngest person -- and the first woman -- to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times.  In 1989, she was awarded the Prize for Freedom by the Liberal International.  Bhutto's accomplishments during this time were in initiatives for nationalist reform and modernization, that some conservatives characterized as Westernization.  Bhutto's government was dismissed in August 1990 following charges of corruption, for which she never was tried.  Zia's protege, Nawaz Sharif, subsequently came to power.  Bhutto was re-elected in October 1993 but was dismissed three years later (in November 1996) amid various corruption scandals by then president Farooq Leghari, who used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government.  The Supreme Court affirmed President Leghari's dismissal in a 6-1 ruling.

During both her stints in power, the role of Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, proved highly controversial.  He played a prominent role in both her administrations, and was accused by various Pakistani governments of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers -- charges he denied, as did Bhutto herself.  Nevertheless, many commentators argued that the downfall of Bhutto's government was accelerated by the alleged greed of her husband.  Although none of corruption and criminal charges against Zardari were proved in court, he did serve some eight years in jail.  He was freed on bail in 2004, amid accusations that the charges against him were weak and going nowhere.  

In 1996, after being dismissed by the then-president of Pakistan on charges of corruption, her party lost the October elections.  Bhutto served as leader of the opposition whilst Nawaz Sharif served as Prime Minister for the next three years. In 1999, she was convicted of failing to appear in court, but the Supreme Court later overturned that judgment.  Soon after the conviction, audiotapes of conversations between the judge and some top aides of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were discovered that showed that the judge had been under pressure to convict.

Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 to live abroad, but questions about her and her husband's wealth continued to follow her.  She appealed against a conviction in the Swiss courts for money-laundering.  During her years outside Pakistan, Bhutto lived with her three children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004.  

Bhutto returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007 after President Pervez Musharraf signed into law an ordinance granting her and others an amnesty from corruption charges.  Observers noted that the military regime saw her as a natural ally in its efforts to isolate religious forces and their surrogate militants.  

Although Bhutto was greeted by enthusiastic crowds, within hours of her arrival, her motorcade was attacked by a suicide bomber.  She survived this first assassination attempt, although more than 100 bystanders died in the attack.  

In the months before her death, Bhutto emerged as a strong contender for power.  Some in Pakistan believed her secret talks with the military regime amounted to betrayal of democratic forces as these talks shored up President Musharraf's grip on the country.  Others said such talks indicated that the military might at long last be getting over its decades old mistrust of Bhutto and her party, and interpreted it as a good omen for democracy.  Western powers saw in her a popular leader with liberal leanings who could bring much needed legitimacy to Musharraf's role in the "war against terror."

With national elections scheduled for January 2008, and with her Pakistan People's Party poised for a victory that would make Bhutto prime minister once again.  Only a few weeks before the election, on December 27, 2007, tragedy occurred.  After a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, a gunman fired at her car before detonating a bomb, killing himself and more than 20 bystanders.  Bhutto was rushed to a hospital but soon succumbed to injuries suffered in the attack.  
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto see Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir
Benazir Bhutto see Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir

Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali
Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali (Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto) (Zulfiqar 'Ali Bhutto) (Shaheed Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto) (Shaheed Zulfikar Bhutto) (January 5, 1928 - April 4, 1979).  President (1971-1973) and Prime Minister (1973-1977) of Pakistan.   Bhutto was born into a family of landlords living in the Larkana district of the Sindh province of Pakistan.  He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Berkeley in 1950 and later received a master’s degree in jurisprudence from Oxford University.

After teaching international law for a year at Southampton University, Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 1953 and opened a law practice.  In 1958, he joined President Ayub Khan’s cabinet, and in 1963 he became foreign minister.  In that capacity, he strengthened Pakistan’s ties with China and other countries in Asia and Africa.

Following the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, Bhutto, a pro-China advocate, denounced Ayub Khan’s pro-United States policies and left his cabinet in 1966.  In 1967, he organized the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), with a socialist manifesto that became a rallying ground for the mass movement against Ayub Khan’s regime.  Ayub Khan resigned in 1969, entrusting the government to General Yahya Khan, who reimposed martial law and promised to hold elections on the basis of universal suffrage.  These elections were held in 1970, giving a majority of National Assembly seats to the Awami League, an exclusively East Pakistan based party.  The refusal of Yahya Khan’s regime to accept this outcome precipitated the secession of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971.  

Thereafter Bhutto, whose party had won a majority of National Assembly seats from West Pakistan, took over as head of state.  A new constitution was passed in 1973, allowing for elections to be held in 1977.  These resulted in another victory for Bhutto’s party.  The remaining parties disputed the validity of this result and started street agitation demanding new elections.  In the midst of this agitation, General Zia-ul Haq staged a coup and removed Bhutto from the office of prime minister.  In September 1977, Bhutto was arrested, charged with conspiracy in a murder case involving the death of a political opponent, and condemned to death.  He was executed on April 4, 1979, by the Zia regime, sparking fierce public protests.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan. His daughter Benazir Bhutto also served twice as prime minister. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007.  Educated at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States and University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Bhutto was noted for his stagnating economic initiatives and repressive internal policies. He was executed in 1979 by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for authorizing the murder of a political opponent, in a move that was done under the directives of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born to Khursheed Begum née Lakhi Bai and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto of a prominent Sunni Muslim family. His father was Shahnawaz Bhutto. Bhutto was the son of a prominent political figure in the Indian colonial government. Zulfikar was born in his parent's residence near Larkana in what later became the province of Sindh. He was their third child — their first one, Sikandar Ali, died from pneumonia at age seven in 1914 and the second child, Imdad Ali, died of cirrhosis at the age of 39 in 1953. His father was a wealthy landlord, a zamindar, and a prominent politician in Sindh, who enjoyed an influential relationship with the officials of the British Raj. As a young boy, Bhutto moved to Worli Seaface in Bombay (now Mumbai) to study at the Cathedral and John Connon School. During this period, he also became a student activist in the Muslim League's Pakistan Movement. In 1943, his marriage was arranged with Shireen Amir Begum (died January 19, 2003 in Karachi). He later left her, however, in order to remarry. In 1947, Bhutto was admitted to the University of Southern California.

During this time, Bhutto's father, Sir Shahnawaz, played a controversial role in the affairs of the state of Junagadh (now in Gujarat). Coming to power in a palace coup as the dewan, he secured the accession of the state to Pakistan, which was ultimately negated by Indian intervention in December, 1947. In 1949, Bhutto transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned an honors degree in political science. Here he would become interested in the theories of socialism, delivering a series of lectures on the feasibility of socialism in Islamic countries. In June, 1950 Bhutto travelled to England to study law at Christ Church, Oxford. Upon finishing his studies, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1953 (the same school at which Muhammad Ali Jinnah studied law) .

Bhutto married his second wife, the Iranian-Kurdish Begum Nusrat Ispahani, a Shi'a Muslim, in Karachi on September 8, 1951. Their first child, a daughter, Benazir, was born in 1953. She was followed by Murtaza in 1954, a second daughter, Sanam, in 1957, and the youngest child, Shahnawaz Bhutto, in 1958. Zulfikar accepted the post of lecturer at the Sindh Muslim College, from where he was also awarded an honorary law degree by the then college President, Mr. Hassanally A. Rahman before establishing himself in a legal practice in Karachi. He also took over the management of his family's estate and business interests after his father's death.

In 1957, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the youngest member of Pakistan's delegation to the United Nations. He would address the United Nations Sixth Committee on Aggression on October 25, 1957 and lead Pakistan's deputation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Seas in 1958. In the same year, Bhutto became the youngest Pakistani cabinet minister when he was given charge of the energy ministry by President Muhammad Ayub Khan, who had seized power and declared martial law. He was subsequently promoted to head the ministries of commerce, information and industries. Bhutto became a close and trusted advisor to Ayub, rising in influence and power despite his youth and relative inexperience in politics. Bhutto aided Ayub in negotiating the Indus Water Treaty with India in 1960. In 1961, Bhutto negotiated an oil exploration agreement with the Soviet Union, which also agreed to provide economic and technical aid to Pakistan.

In 1962, Bhutto was appointed Pakistan's foreign minister. His swift rise to power also brought him national prominence and popularity. As foreign minister, Bhutto significantly transformed Pakistan's pro-Western foreign policy. While maintaining a prominent role for Pakistan within the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the Central Treaty Organization, Bhutto began asserting a foreign policy course for Pakistan that was independent of United States influence. Bhutto criticized the United States for providing military aid to India during and after the Sino-Indian War of 1962, which was seen as an abrogation of Pakistan's alliance with the United States. Bhutto worked to establish stronger relations with the People's Republic of China. He visited Beijing and helped Ayub negotiate trade and military agreements with the Chinese regime, which agreed to help Pakistan in a large number of military and industrial projects. Bhutto also signed the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement on March 2, 1963 that transferred 750 square kilometers of territory from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Chinese control. Bhutto asserted his belief in non-alignment, making Pakistan an influential member in non-aligned organizations. Believing in pan-Islamic unity, Bhutto developed closer relations with nations such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

Bhutto advocated hardline and confrontational policies against India over the Kashmir conflict and other issues. A brief skirmish took place in August 1965 between Indian and Pakistani forces near the international boundary in the Rann of Kutch. Bhutto joined Ayub in Tashkent to negotiate a peace treaty with the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Ayub and Shastri agreed to exchange prisoners of war and withdraw respective forces to pre-war boundaries. This agreement was deeply unpopular in Pakistan, causing major political unrest against Ayub's regime. Bhutto's criticism of the final agreement caused a major rift between him and Ayub Khan. Initially denying the rumors, Bhutto resigned in June, 1966 and expressed strong opposition to Ayub's regime.

Following his resignation, large crowds gathered to listen to Bhutto's speech upon his arrival in Lahore on June 21, 1967. Tapping a wave of anger and opposition against Ayub, Bhutto began travelling across the country to deliver political speeches. On November 30, 1967 Bhutto founded the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Lahore, establishing a strong base of political support in Punjab, Sindh and amongst the Muhajir communities. Bhutto's party became a part of the pro-democracy movement involving diverse political parties from all across Pakistan. PPP activists staged large protests and strikes in different parts of the country, increasing pressure on Ayub to resign. Bhutto's arrest on November 12, 1968 sparked greater political unrest. After his release, Bhutto attended the Round Table Conference called by Ayub in Rawalpindi, but refused to accept Ayub's continuation in office and the East Pakistani politician Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Six point movement for regional autonomy.

Following Ayub's resignation, the new president General Yahya Khan promised to hold parliamentary elections on December 7, 1970. Bhutto's party won a large number of seats from constituencies in West Pakistan. However, Sheikh Mujib's Awami League won an outright majority from the constituencies located in East Pakistan. Bhutto refused to accept an Awami League government and famously promised to "break the legs" of any elected PPP member who dared to attend the inaugural session of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Capitalizing on West Pakistani fears of East Pakistani separatism, Bhutto demanded that Sheikh Mujib form a coalition with the PPP. Under substantial pressure from Bhutto and other West Pakistani political parties, Yahya postponed the inaugural session of the National Assembly after talks with Sheikh Mujib failed. Amidst popular outrage in East Pakistan, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of "Bangladesh" on March 26, 1971 after Mujibur was arrested by the Pakistani Army, which had been ordered by Yahya to suppress political activities. While supportive of the army's genocide and working to rally international support, Bhutto distanced himself from the Yahya regime. He refused to accept Yahya's scheme to appoint Bengali politician Nurul Amin as prime minister, with Bhutto as deputy prime minister. Indian intervention in East Pakistan led to the defeat of Pakistani forces, which surrendered on December 16, 1971. Bhutto and others condemned Yahya for failing to protect Pakistan's unity. Isolated, Yahya resigned on December 20 and transferred power to Bhutto, who became the president, army commander-in-chief, as well as the first civilian chief martial law administrator.

As president, Bhutto placed Yahya under house arrest, brokered a ceasefire and ordered the release of Sheikh Mujib, who was held prisoner by the army. To implement this, Bhutto reversed the verdict of Mujib's court trial that had taken place earlier, in which the presiding Brigadier Rahimuddin Khan (later General) had sentenced Mujib to death. Appointing a new cabinet, Bhutto appointed General Gul Hasan as Chief of Army Staff. On January 2, 1972, Bhutto announced the nationalization of all major industries, including iron and steel, heavy engineering, heavy electricals, petrochemicals, cement and public utilities. A new labor policy was announced increasing workers rights and the power of trade unions. Although he came from a feudal background himself, Bhutto announced reforms limiting land ownership and a government take-over of over a million acres (4,000 km²) to distribute to landless peasants. More than 2,000 civil servants were dismissed on charges of corruption. Bhutto also dismissed the military chiefs on March 3 after they refused orders to suppress a major police strike in Punjab. He appointed General Tikka Khan as the new Chief of the Army Staff in March 1972. Bhutto felt the General would not interfere in political matters and would concentrate on rehabilitating the Pakistan Army. Bhutto convened the National Assembly on April 14, rescinded martial law on April 21 and charged the legislators with writing a new constitution.

Bhutto visited India to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and negotiated a formal peace agreement and the release of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war. The two leaders signed the Shimla Agreement, which committed both nations to establish a new yet temporary Cease-fire Line in Kashmir and obligated them to resolve disputes peacefully through bi-lateral talks. Bhutto also promised to hold a future summit for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute and pledged to recognize Bangladesh. Although he secured the release of Pakistani soldiers held by India, Bhutto was criticized by many in Pakistan for allegedly making too many concessions to India. It is theorized that Bhutto feared his downfall if he could not secure the release of Pakistani soldiers and the return of territory occupied by Indian forces. Bhutto established an atomic power development program and inaugurated the first Pakistani atomic reactor, built in collaboration with Canada in Karachi on November 28. In January 1973, Bhutto ordered the army to suppress a rising insurgency in the province of Balochistan and dismissed the governments in Balochistan and the Northwest Frontier Province. On March 30, 59 military officers were arrested by army troops for allegedly plotting a coup against Bhutto. Bhutto appointed then-Brigadier Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to head a military tribunal to investigate and try the suspects. The National Assembly approved the new constitution, which Bhutto signed into effect on April 12. The constitution proclaimed an "Islamic Republic" in Pakistan with a parliamentary form of government. On August 10, Bhutto turned over the post of president to Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry, assuming the office of prime minister instead.

Bhutto officially recognized Bangladesh in July. Making an official visit to Bangladesh, Bhutto was criticized in Pakistan for laying flowers at a memorial for Bangladeshi "freedom fighters." Bhutto continued to develop closer relations with China as well as Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations. Bhutto hosted the Second Islamic Summit of Muslim nations in Lahore between February 22 and February 24 in 1974.

Bhutto, however, faced considerable pressure from Islamic religious leaders to declare the Ahmadiya communities as non-Muslims. Failing to restrain sectarian violence and rioting, Bhutto and the National Assembly amended the constitution to that effect. Bhutto intensified his nationalization program, extending government control over agricultural processing and consumer industries. Bhutto also, with advice from Admiral S.M. Ahsan, inaugurated Port Qasim, designed to expand harbor facilities near Karachi. However, the performance of the Pakistani economy declined amidst increasing bureaucracy and a decline in private sector confidence. In a surprise move in 1976, Bhutto appointed Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to replace General Tikka Khan, surpassing five generals senior to Zia.

Bhutto began facing considerable criticism and increasing unpopularity as his term progressed. He initially targeted the leader of the opposition, Abdul Wali Khan, and his opposition National Awami Party (NAP). Despite the ideological similarity of the two parties the clash of egos both inside and outside the National Assembly became increasingly fierce and started with the Federal governments decision to oust the NAP provincial government in Balochistan for alleged secessionist activities and culminating in the banning of the party and arrest of much of its leadership after the death of Hayat Khan Sherpao, a close lieutenant of Bhutto, in a bomb blast in the frontier town of Peshawar.

Dissidence also increased within the PPP and the murder of dissident leader Ahmed Raza Kasuri's father led to public outrage and intra-party hostility as Bhutto was accused of masterminding the crime. Powerful PPP leaders such as Ghulam Mustafa Khar openly condemned Bhutto and called for protests against his regime. The political crisis in the NWFP and Balochistan intensified as civil liberties remained suspended and an estimated 100,000 troops deployed there were accused of human rights abuses and killing large numbers of civilians.

On January 8, 1977 many opposition political parties grouped to form the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). Bhutto called fresh elections and the PNA participated in those elections with full force and managed to contest the elections jointly even though they had grave differences in their opinions and views. The PNA faced defeat but did not accept the results, accusing their opponents of rigging the election. They first claimed rigging on 14 seats and finally on 40 seats in the national assembly and boycotted the provincial elections. Provincial elections were held amidst low voter turnout and an opposition boycott. The PNA declare the newly-elected Bhutto government as illegitimate. Muslim leaders such as Maulana Maududi called for the overthrow of Bhutto's regime. Intensifying political and civil disorder prompted Bhutto to hold talks with PNA leaders, which culminated in an agreement for the dissolution of the assemblies and fresh elections under a form of government of national unity. However on July 5, 1977, Bhutto and members of his cabinet were arrested by troops under the order of General Zia.

General Zia announced that martial law had been imposed, the constitution suspended and all assemblies dissolved. Zia also ordered the arrest of senior PPP and PNA leaders but promised elections in October. Bhutto was released on July 29 and was received by a large crowd of supporters in his hometown of Larkana. He immediately began touring across Pakistan, delivering speeches to large crowds and planning his political comeback. Bhutto was arrested again on September 3 before being released on bail on September 13. Fearing yet another arrest, Bhutto named his wife, Nusrat, president of the Pakistan People's Party. Bhutto was imprisoned on September 17 and a large number of PPP leaders and activists arrested and disqualified from contesting in elections.

Bhutto's trial began on October 24 on charges of "conspiracy to murder" Ahmed Raza Kasuri. On July 5, 1977 the military, led by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, staged a coup. Zia relieved prime minister Bhutto of power, holding him in detention for a month. Zia pledged that new elections would be held in 90 days. He kept postponing the elections and publicly retorted during successive press conferences that if the elections were held in the presence of Bhutto, his party would not return to power again.

Upon his release, Bhutto traveled the country amid adulatory crowds of PPP supporters. He took the train traveling from the south to the north and on the way, would address public meetings at different stations. Several of these trains were late, some by days, in reaching their respective destinations and as a result Bhutto was banned from traveling by train. The last visit he made to the city of Multan in the province of Punjab marked the turning point in Bhutto's political career and ultimately, his life. In spite of the administration's efforts to block the gathering, the crowd was so large that it became disorderly, providing an opportunity for the administration to declare that Bhutto had been taken into custody because the people were against him and it had become necessary to protect him from the masses for his own safety.

On September 3 the Army arrested Bhutto again on charges of authorizing the murder of a political opponent in March 1974. A 35-year-old politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri tried to run as a PPP candidate in elections, despite having previously left the party. The Pakistan Peoples Party rebuffed him. Three years earlier, Kasuri and his family had been ambushed, leaving Kasuri's father, Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan, dead. Kasuri claimed that he was the actual target, accusing Bhutto of being the mastermind. Kasuri later claimed that he had been the victim of 15 assassination attempts.

Bhutto was released 10 days after his arrest after a judge, Justice KMA Samadani, found the evidence contradictory and incomplete. Justice Samadani had to pay for this; he was immediately removed from the court and placed at the disposal of the law ministry. Three days later Zia arrested Bhutto again on the same charges, this time under martial law. When the PPP organized demonstrations among Bhutto's supporters, Zia canceled the upcoming elections.

Bhutto was arraigned before the High Court of Lahore instead of in a lower court, thus automatically depriving him of one level of appeal. The judge who had granted him bail was removed. Five new judges were appointed, headed by Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Maulvi Mushtaq Ali, who denied bail. The trial lasted five months, and Bhutto appeared in court on a dock specially built for the trial.

Proceedings began on October 24, 1977. Masood Mahmood, the director general of the Federal Security Force (since renamed the Federal Investigation Agency), testified against Bhutto. Mahmood had been arrested immediately after Zia's coup and had been imprisoned for two months prior to taking the stand. In his testimony, he claimed Bhutto had ordered Kasuri's assassination and that four members of the Federal Security Force had organized the ambush on Bhutto's orders.

The four alleged assassins were arrested and later confessed. They were brought into court as co-accused but one of them recanted his testimony, declaring that it had been extracted from him under torture. The following day, the witness was not present in court; the prosecution claimed that he had suddenly fallen ill.

Bhutto's defense challenged the prosecution with proof from an army logbook the prosecution had submitted. It showed that the jeep allegedly driven during the attack on Kasuri was not even in Lahore at the time. The prosecution had the logbook disregarded as incorrect. During the defense's cross-examination of witnesses, the bench often interrupted questioning. The 706-page official transcript contained none of the objections or inconsistencies in the evidence pointed out by the defense.

When Bhutto began his testimony on January 25, 1978, Chief Justice Maulvi Mustaq closed the courtroom to all observers. Bhutto responded by refusing to say any more. Bhutto demanded a retrial, accusing the Chief Justice of bias, after Mustaq allegedly insulted Bhutto's home province. The court refused his demand.

On March 18, 1978, Bhutto was declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Bhutto did not seek an appeal. While he was transferred to a cell in Rawalpindi central jail, his family appealed on his behalf, and a hearing before the Supreme Court commenced in May. Bhutto was given one week to prepare. Bhutto issued a thorough rejoinder to the charges, although Zia blocked its publication. Chief Justice S. Anwarul Haq adjourned the court until the end of July 1978, supposedly because five of the nine appeals court judges were willing to overrule the Lahore verdict. One of the pro-Bhutto judges was due to retire in July.

Chief Justice S. Anwarul Haq presided over the trial, despite being close to Zia, even serving as Acting President when Zia was out of the country. Bhutto's lawyers managed to secure Bhutto the right to conduct his own defense before the Supreme Court. On December 18, 1978, Bhutto made his appearance in public before a packed courtroom in Rawalpindi. By this time he had been on death row for 9 months and had gone without fresh water for the previous 25 days. He addressed the court for four days, speaking without notes.

The appeal was completed on December 23, 1978. On February 6, 1979, the Supreme Court issued a guilty verdict, a decision reached by a bare 4-to-3 majority. The Bhutto family had seven days in which to appeal. The court granted a stay of execution while it studied the petition. By February 24, 1979 when the next court hearing began, appeals for clemency arrived from many heads of state. Zia said that the appeals amounted to trade union activity among politicians.

On March 24, 1979 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Zia upheld the death sentence. Bhutto was hanged at Central jail, Rawalpindi, on April 4, 1979, and was buried in Village Cemetery at Garhi Khuda Baksh.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto remains a controversial figure in Pakistan. While he was hailed for being a nationalist, Bhutto was roundly criticized for opportunism and intimidating his political opponents. He gave Pakistan its third constitution, oversaw Pakistan's nuclear program, held peace talks with India, and was more of an Internationalist with a secular image. His socialist policies are blamed for slowing down Pakistan's economic progress owing to poor productivity and high costs. Bhutto is also criticized for human rights abuses perpetrated by the army in Balochistan. Many in Pakistan's military, notably the former president and former general,. Pervez Musharaf condemn Bhutto for having caused the crisis that led to the Bangladesh Liberation War. However, in spite of all the criticism—and subsequent media trials—Bhutto still remains the most popular leader of the country.
Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto see Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali
Zulfiqar 'Ali Bhutto see Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali
Shaheed Zulfikar 'Ali Bhutto see Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali
Shaheed Zulfikar Bhutto see Bhutto, Zulfikar 'Ali

Bigi (Musa Yarullah Bigi) (December 24, 1874 - 1949). Volga-Ural Muslim philosopher and religious scholar.  Born in Rostov on the Don, Bigi was the son of the mullah Yarullah Devlikam, originally from the Kikine village of Penza Gubernia, and of Fatma, the daughter of Imam Habibullah of the same village.  He attended the Kulbue madrasah in Kazan but left without graduating and returned to Rostov to enroll in the Russian science gymnasium from which he graduated in 1895, when he left for Bukhara to continue his Islamic studies.  After four years, he returned to Rostov only to leave again for an extended Middle Eastern trip.

Bigi traveled to Istanbul and then to Cairo, where he studied at al-Azhar and attended classes offered by Muhammad ‘Abduh.  After four years, studying Islamic philosophy, theology, and jurisprudence, he returned to Rostov and married, but instead of seeking employment as a mullah or madrasah teacher and settling down, he left his wife Asma in his mother’s care and went to St. Petersburg to attend classes at the Law Faculty.  As a scholar interested in tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis) and fiqh (law), he wanted to acquire the knowledge necessary to compare the Islamic and Western legal systems.  Bigi’s closer acquaintance with Russian society during his stay in St. Petersburg resulted in a politicization of his thought and a deeper appreciation of Islam as a political force.  While in St. Petersburg (1905-1917), he contributed eighteen essays to the Pan-Islamist journal Ulfat.  He continued, however, to dedicate most of his time to research and scholarly writing, and his only active involvement in politics was the contribution he made as secretary to the Muslim Congress.

In 1910 and 1911, Bigi was employed as teacher of Arabic and Islamic history and theology at the Khosaeniya madrasah in Orenburg.  As a scholar and teacher, Bigi was an exemplary practitioner of ijtihad (interpretation of Islam), but some of his interpretations were considered so far-fetched by the religious establishment that he was forced to leave Orenburg, despite the support of the well-respected scholar Rizaeddin Fakhreddin.  

The revolutions of 1917 triggered Bigi’s hope for the beginning of an era of freedom for Muslims, and he chose not to leave Russia.  Soon, however, he was to face bitter disappointment.  In response to Bukharin’s "ABC of Communism," Bigi wrote in 1920 an “ABC of Islam” (Islam alifbasi), which he presented to the Congress of Scholars in Ufa.  Of the work’s 236 points, 68 concerned the situation of the Muslims in Russia, and the remainder were devoted to Muslims elsewhere.  The government retaliated with arrest and imprisonment, but after three months Bigi was released owing to a press campaign launched in Turkey and Finland on his behalf.  Despite this experience, Bigi chose to stay in Soviet Russia and in 1926 participated in the Muslim Congress at Mecca representing his country.  A year later he received permission to perform the pilgrimage.  Bigi returned to Russia after this trip as well, because he still believed that he could serve his people by fighting to keep their heritage alive.

By 1930, however, even the idealist Bigi understood that all doors had been closed and neither political nor cultural pluralism was acceptable to the leaders of Soviet Russia.  Consequently, he left his wife and six children behind and fled Russia.  He stopped in Chinese Turkestan and then went to Afghanistan and India; in 1931 he traveled to Egypt and Finland; and in 1932 he took part in the first Congress of Turkish History in Ankara.  The years of 1933 to 1937 took Bigi to Finland, Germany, and the Middle East, while in 1938 he traveled to China and Japan.  In 1939, he went to India and Afghanistan with the intention of settling in the latter, but after being imprisoned by the British for eighteen months, he went to India instead.  Bigi remained there until 1947, when he went to Egypt.  He died there on October 25, 1949, having spent his last days in poverty in a charitable hospice.

Musa Yarullah Bigi left 122 works.  The majority were written in Arabic and were devoted to issues of Islamic theology and jurisprudence; others addressed the social, political, and religious life of the Muslims of Russia and were written in Tatar.  Several of his scholarly endeavors should be noted as illustrations of Bigi’s qualities as mujtahid.  In Sherhu’l-luzumiyat, a volume of commentaries on the work of the tenth-century Islamic poet and philosopher al-Ma’ari, he argued, sharing al-Ma’ari’s skepticism, that none of the existing religions could be pleasing to God because they all contained moral if not physical oppression.

Bigi pursued the same iconoclastic line of thought in Rahmat-i ilahiya burhannari (The Storms of God’s Clemency), which challenged the official dogma that God’s mercy and forgiveness were not extended to unbelievers, arguing that on the contrary, God extended his forgiveness to everyone.  Bigi was attacked by conservative ‘ulama’ through their publication Din va magishat (Religion and Life), as well as by liberal mullahs and jaded (modernist) intellectuals.  One of the most vocal criticisms coming from the jaded reformers was articulated by Ismail Gasprali (Gasprinskii) in his article “Woe from Philosophy.”  Fakhreddin was among the few defenders of Bigi, but he stated the issue from a different perspective, pointing to the historical precedents for the same interpretation.

When he discovered editorial changes in one of the copies of the Qur’an, Bigi was relentless in his criticism of mullahs, arguing that the changes reflected the ignorance of those who had tampered with the original text, whom he attacked in Tarikhu’l Qur’an va’l-masahif  (A History of the Qur’an and Qur’anic Texts).  Bigi also advocated translation of the Qur’an into Tatar, which he felt would contribute to making individual religious experience a more meaningful and conscientious act.  He stressed that in a civilized world, it was the duty of the community to translate the Qur’an into the languages of the people and to ascertain the accuracy of existing translations.  Bigi himself worked on a Tatar translation of the Qur’an, but it may have been destroyed together with his personal archives after his departure from Russia.

Bigi wrote extensively on issues concerning the position of women in Islam (Khatun, Aila masalalare, Hukuku’n-nisa fi’l-Islam); Sunnah and sharia‘ah (Kitabu’s-sunna); Shariat esaslari; and the social and political life of Russian Muslims (Islahat esaslari; Khalq nazarinda bir nicha masale).  His most important contributions to Islamic thought, however, are his ijtihad works, of which two more deserve attention:  Uzun kunlarde ruza (Fasting during Long Days), and Buyuk mevzularda ufak fikirlar (Small Thoughts on Big Issues).  In the first essay, he discusses the ritual obligation of fasting with regard to Muslims living in the far north where the length of daylight and darkness does not coincide with that of the Islamic heartlands and renders a sharp criticism to dogmatics.  In the second, he criticizes those who opposed Sufism and Sufi brotherhoods.  Bigi valued the philosophical message of mysticism and was interested in the Sufi orders, and even in Christian monasticism.

Despite the breadth and originality of his thoughts and writings, Bigi did not have a strong impact on either Islamic thought in Russia or elsewhere, probably in large part because the door to Islamic studies was closed in Russia after 1917, and his works remained unknown.  After leaving his country, he was socially and intellectually an outsider; although he was respected for his knowledge, his wanderings prevented him from planting the seeds of his ijtihad thought firmly in the soil of any Muslim country.   
Musa Yarullah Bigi see Bigi

Bihbahani ('Abd Allah Bihbahani) (1840-1910). Iranian religious scholar and one of the main leaders of the Constitutional Revolution.  In 1891, alone among prominent clerics of Tehran, he opposed the celebrated tobacco boycott, thereby gratifying the prime minister of the day and the British legation.  In the following decade, he gradually assumed a more patriotic stance, however, denouncing the extravagance of the court and its subordination to Russia.  In November 1905, he concluded an alliance with Sayyid Muhammad Tabataba’i, a respected and enlightened religious leader, to seek fundamental changes in the government.  This alliance is commonly regarded as the origin of the Constitutional Revolution.  Bihbahani played a leading role in all the events of the movement, himself entering the Majlis that resulted from it.  He was assassinated on July 16, 1910 by four men linked to a secularist group in the Majlis (parliament).  
'Abd Allah Bihbahani see Bihbahani

Bihbihani (Aqa Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Bihbihani) (Muhammad Baqir Bihbahani) (c.1705- c.1792). Shi‘ite mujtahid of Persia and proponent of the Usuliyya.  He was commonly regarded by his contemporaries as the “renewer” (in Arabic, mujaddid) of the eighteenth century.  By the end of his life, he had been able almost completely to uproot the influence of the Akhbariyya from the Shi‘ite shrines in Iraq and to establish the Usuliyya as normative for all of the Twelver Shi‘is.  He was in effect the ancestor of all those mujtahids who have sought since his time to assert a guiding role in Iranian society.

Born in Isfahan, Bihbihani was taken as a child by his father -- a pupil of Muhammad Baqir Majlisi -- to Karbala in Iraq, which was to be his home for the rest of his life.  After completing his studies in Karbala, Bihbahani first intended to return to Iran, but he decided to stay behind to combat the rival Akhbari school of jurisprudence.  A vigorous debater and prolific writer, he attained the goal he had set himself and uprooted the Akhbaris from Karbala and other centers of Shi‘ite learning.  The numerous pupils he trained returned to Iran in the early nineteenth century to inaugurate a tradition of assertive religious leadership that has continued down to the present day.  {See also Akhbariyya; Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir; mujtahid; Shi'a; Twelvers; and Usuliyya.}
Aqa Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Bihbihani see Bihbihani
Muhammad Baqir Bihbahani see Bihbihani
“renewer” see Bihbihani

Bihzad (Kamal al-Din Bihzad)  (Ostad Kamal od-din Bihzad) (c.1450-1536).  Persian illustrator (miniature and manuscript painter).  His patrons were the poet Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i, the Timurid ruler in Khurasan, Husayn Bayqara (who reigned from 1470 to 1506) and the Safavid Shahs Isma‘il I and Tahmasp I.  Born in Herat (in present day northwest Afghanistan), his artistic activity began around 1480 at the Timurid court of Sultan Husain Baiqara, where his first patron was Ali Shir Neva’i.  Bihzad’s name is synonymous with the Timurid style of painting (sometimes called the Herat school), which reached its high point under his direction in the second half of the fifteenth century.  Bihzad’s work represented the consummation of a new style of painting, characterized by refinement of composition, lifelike representation, a heightened sense of pictorial drama, and perfection of color technique.  After the conquest of Herat by the Safavids in 1510, Bihzad entered the service of the Safavid Shah Isma‘il in Tabriz, where he was appointed head of the royal library and artists’ ateliers in 1522.  Not only did he exert a great influence on the development of the Safavid style of painting, but, through his numerous pupils, the Timurid style was carried to Bukhara, where Timurid artistic traditions were preserved until the late sixteenth century under the patronage of the Shaibanid Uzbeks, as well as to the Mughal courts of India.

Bihzad was born in Herat (now in Afghanistan) and was taught by his guardian, the painter Mirak Naqqash (fl. 1494–1507). Bihzad worked in the royal library of the Timurid rulers, where an academy of scholars, calligraphers, and artists codified, copied, and illustrated classical works. In 1510, under the patronage of the new Safavid dynasty, Bihzad accompanied the court to Tabriz, Persia (now Iran). There, as director of the royal library after 1522, he influenced Persian painting and, through his works and his students, that of India and Turkey as well.

Of the many works completed in the style of Bihzad, scholars ascribe 32 to him. All were produced at Herat between 1486 and 1495. In these illustrations, richly clad courtiers move amid palaces, flowering gardens, and mountain landscapes. Bihzad developed new, subtle color relationships and a highly refined compositional skill. His genius won him the epithet "marvel of his age."  

Kamal al-Din Bihzad see Bihzad
Ostad Kamal od-din Bihzad see Bihzad

Bilal (Bilal ibn Rabah) (Ibn Hamama) (Bilal ibn Habashi) (Bilal ibn Rabah) (Bilal ibn Riyah) (d.c.641).  Manumitted slave of Abyssinian (Ethiopian) origin whose early interest in Islam and stentorian voice won him his freedom and the honor of being the first person to hold the position of muezzin, calling the Muslims to prayer.  After being purchased and freed by Abu Bakr, he lived in Abu Bakr’s house, made the Hijra with Muhammad, and accompanied Muhammad on his campaigns.  He was one of only five non-Arabs to receive stipends from the pay register drawn up by the caliph ‘Umar I.

Bilal died at the age of sixty around 641 at Damascus after having participated in the Wars of the Conquest.  Today, Bilal is particularly honored as being the first Muslim of African descent -- the first Black Muslim.  

Bilal ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habeshi was an Ethiopian born in Mecca in the late 6th century, sometime between 578 and 582.

The Prophet Muhammad chose Bilal as his muezzin, effectively making him the first official muezzin of the Islamic faith. He was among the slaves freed by Abu Bakr and was known for his beautiful voice with which he called people to their prayers. His name can also be spelled as, "Bilal ibn Riyah" or "ibn Rabah" and he is sometimes known as "Bilal al-Habashi" or "Bilal the Ethiopian". He died sometime between 638 to 642, dying when he was just over sixty years old.

Bilal ibn Rabah is said to have been one of the most trusted and loyal Sahaba (companions of Muhammad) and was one of Ali's earliest and most loyal followers. His respected stature during the birth of Islam is often cited by Muslims as evidence of the importance of pluralism and racial equality in the foundation of the religion.
In 622, the year of the Hijra, Bilal migrated to Medina and over the next decade accompanied Muhammad on all his military expeditions.  According to Islamic tradition, Bilal served as Muhammad's mace-bearer and steward, and as a muezzin revered by Muslims for his majestically sonorous renditions of the adhan. Bilal also carried Muhammad's spear, which was used from 624 onward to point the direction of prayer.

He fought in the Battle of Badr, in the aftermath of which he killed his former master, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, in spite of the protestation of Umayyah's capturer and long-time friend Abdur Rahman bin Awf. Bilal was also present in all of the major events and battles, including the battles of Uhud and Battle of the Trench.

Bilal's finest hour came in January 630, on an occasion regarded as one of the most hallowed moments in Islamic history. After the Muslim forces had captured Mecca, Muhammad's muezzin ascended to the top of the Kaaba to call the believers to prayer, - the first time the call to prayer was heard within Islam's holiest city..

There are contradictory reports about what happened to Bilal after the death of Muhammad in 632. What seems clear is that at some point Bilal accompanied the Muslim armies to Syria.

Bilal died there between 638 and 642, though the exact date of death and place of burial are disputed.

If there is some disagreement concerning the hard facts of Bilal's life and death, his importance on a number of levels is incontestable. Muezzin guilds, especially those in Turkey and Africa, have traditionally venerated the original practitioner of their noble profession, and African Muslims as a whole feel a special closeness and kinship to him. After all, he was an Ethiopian who had been exceptionally close to Muhammad, and is a model of steadfastness and devotion to the faith. The story of Bilal, in fact, remains the classic and most frequently cited demonstration that in Muhammad's eyes, the measure of a man was neither nationality nor social status nor race, but piety.

Bilal ibn Rabah see Bilal
Ibn Hamama see Bilal
Bilal al-Habeshi
 see Bilal
Bilal the Ethiopian see Bilal

Bilin (Bilen) (Belen) (Blin) (Bogos).  Ethnic group of south-central Eritrea.  Until the latter part of the twentieth century of the Christian calendar, most Bilin Agaw lived in the Keren region of western Eritrea Province in Ethiopia.  Many are now dispersed across Eritrea and in refugee camps in Sudan.  They call themselves and their language Bilin, some of their neighbors call them Bogos and they are listed as Bilen and Belen in the literature.  They also call themselves Gabra Tarqwe Qur (qur means "sons of").  

From earliest, pre-Bilin times to the recent past, Keren has been on the caravan route between the Red Sea and the Nile Valley in Sudan.  Ottoman Turkish occupation of the Eritrean seaport of Massawa in 1557 marked the beginning of three centuries of its sphere of influence in northern Ethiopia.  Bilin were slaved by the Turks as late as the mid-nineteenth century.  Egypt began to replace the Turks by the 1830s and controlled Bilinland by 1850.  

Bilin history is a microcosm of the changes of the past 150 years in Eritrea.  The global importance of this region, and the Keren-Bilin area central to it, was radically and almost instantly transformed when the Suez Canal was opened in 1869 by the British.  The Red Sea was changed from a remote cul-de-sac of the Indian Ocean into the artery of commercial and military navigation between Europe and the Indo-Pacific region.  The great geopolitical importance of the Red Sea and its coastal lands such as Eritrea (which means “land of the Red Sea”) continues into the present.  

In the late nineteenth century, Britain tried to diminish growing French power in the Red Sea-Sudan zone by encouraging its satellite state, Egypt, and then the new but weak European state, Italy, to control strategic Eritrea.  The Egyptian consolidation of its movement into Eritrea was under the leadership of Werner Munzinger Pasha, a Swiss soldier-scholar-adventurer.  Munzinger made himself the protector of the Bilin and occupied the Keren-Bilin region in 1872-1874.  While among the Bilin in 1859, Munzinger wrote the sole principal work to date about the people, On the Customs and Law of the Bogos.  A number of Egyptian defeats by Ethiopian armies in 1875-1876 left only Keren-Bilinland in Egyptian hands.

To gain support in its fight against Mahdist revolts in Sudan, Britain signed the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty in 1884, with Egyptian buildings and stores in the stronghold of Keren in Bilinland going to Ethiopia along with the rest of Eritrea.  Despite the treaty, Britain allowed Italy to occupy Massawa in 1885 and use this port as a base to conquer all of Eritrea in 1889, with Keren Bilinland falling in June.  

Italian Eritrea was used as the staging ground for the debacle of an Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1896 and the more successful, mechanized invasion in 1935-1936.  Bilin troops were used by the Italians in both invasions.  British and Ethiopian armies drove the Italian forces out of all of northeast Africa in 1941 with a major three and one half month battle taking place in Bilinland around Keren.  Under a United Nations directive, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia in 1952.  But in 1962, Ethiopia annexed the province.

With Eritrean separatist movements contending against Ethiopia, increasingly heavy fighting has taken place between the two sides since 1961.  Ethiopia was first aided by the West, then by the Soviet bloc.  The war resulted in tens of thousands of local casualties and caused perhaps one million of the three million Eritreans to be displaced from their homes, mostly as refugees in Sudan.  Successful guerrilla warfare of 1974-1977 by the militant and well-organized Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF), allied with the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), led to conventional open warfare against Ethiopian government forces trained and equipped by the United States and Israel.  The taking of Keren from bastion in surrounding Bilinland by the EPLF was the capstone to effective control of most of their province by Eritreans.  Wracked by war, the Kerenites and the Bilin chaffed under the rigid militant control of young, super-dedicated EPLF cadres.  In the countryside, Bilin were caught between EPLF units and Ethiopian serial attacks with modern ordnance.

In 1977, the new revolutionary government of Ethiopia began to receive large-scale military aid from the Soviet bloc.  Orchestrated by the Soviets, a lethal juggernaut of armor, heavy artillery, rockets, helicopters and jet fighter-bombers, aided by reconnaissance satellites and backed by trained infantry, knocked holes at strategic places in the Eritrean lines.  In the final pitched battle in Bilinland, about 100 T-54 tanks and other armor, supported by MIG 21 and 23 jets, were stopped for days in the narrow verdant Elabaret Valley outside of Keren.  Perhaps one-third of Ethio-Soviet was lost, as were much of the valuable commercial citrus and tomato plantations of the valley.  After several days of fighting, the EPLF pulled back from the Keren vicinity into the Bilin hinterland.

Bogos  see Bilin
Bilen see Bilin
Belen see Bilin
Gabra Tarqwe Qur see Bilin
Blin see Bilin
Bilin see Bilin

Bin Laden
Bin Laden (Osama bin Laden) (Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin `Awaḍ bin Lādin) (b. March 10, 1957 - d. May 2, 2011).  Saudi born millionaire and Islamic fundamentalist who was accused of orchestrating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on September 11, 2001.  The attacks which began with the hijacking of four commercial jets en route from East Coast cities to California, killed more than 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.  Bin Laden was also suspected of masterminding attacks on United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, as well as an attack on the United States Navy destroyer U.S.S. Cole in October 2000 while the ship was in port at Aden, Yemen.  

Bin Laden operated at the center of al-Qaida (“The Base”), an international terrorist network.  He and other al-Qaida members supported radical fundamentalist Islam and strongly opposed United States policies in the Middle East, particularly the presence of United States troops in Saudi Arabia.  In 1996, bin Laden transferred his headquarters to Afghanistan, where he controlled al-Qaida activities.  The Taliban, the ruling regime in Afghanistan, shielded bin Laden from arrest by international authorities.

Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  His family had accumulated considerable wealth in the construction business.  Bin Laden attended King Abdul Aziz University in Jidda, Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden soon became influenced by the anti-Western ideas of Sayyid Qutb and Maulana Maududi as well as by the conservative Wahhabi movement, the dominant form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia.  Wahhabis believe that any ideas not found in a literal reading of the Qur’an should be abandoned, and that Muslims must free themselves of any non-Islamic influence.  

In 1979, Osama bin Laden joined a group of Islamic guerrillas fighting a jihad (holy war) against Soviet troops who had invaded Afghanistan.  Bin Laden used his wealth to recruit Muslim fighters from around the world for the war and fought in several battles himself.  Bin Laden and the Muslim warriors, supported by the United States, succeeded in ousting the Soviets from Aghanistan in 1989, and Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia.  Bin Laden’s recruitment of Arab troops, however, marked the beginning of al-Qaida.  

The chain of events that eventually led to the attacks on America in 2001 began during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, when King Fahd of Saudi Arabia allowed United States forces to use Saudi territory for launching air strikes against Iraqi troops who had invaded neighboring Kuwait.  This decision enraged Bin Laden, who believed Islamic law required the Saudis to support their fellow Muslims, the Iraqis.  Bin Laden’s outspoken opposition to the Saudi-United States alliance caused Saudi authorities to place him under house arrest.  However, bin Laden fled to Sudan, where he lived from 1991 to 1996.  While in Sudan, he built up the Al-Qaida network and began to turn it against the United States.  In 1996, the government of Sudan, under pressure from the United States, expelled bin Laden, and he moved his terrorist training operations to Afghanistan, which was coming under the control of an extremist Islamic militia called the Taliban.  The Taliban and al-Qaida soon formed a mutually supportive relationship.

Bin Laden had set as his goals expelling the Western presence from Islamic lands, abolishing boundaries between Muslim nations, and creating a multi-ethnic Islamic society ruled by a restored caliphate  (the title of Islamic governments during Medieval times).  Working toward these goals, bin Laden and his compatriots supported Muslim rebel forces in Chechnya (a republic in southwestern Russia); Kosovo (a province in Yugoslavia); Bosnia-Herzegovina; Tajikistan; Somalia; and Yemen.  Al-Qaida also trained members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea.   

Since 2001, Osama bin Laden and his organization have been major targets of the United States' War on Terrorism. Bin Laden and fellow Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding in the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His father, Muhammed Awad bin Laden, was a wealthy businessman with close ties to the Saudi royal family. Osama bin Laden was born the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida al-Attas. Osama's parents divorced soon after he was born. Osama's mother then married Muhammad al-Attas. The couple had four children, and Osama lived in the new household with three stepbrothers and one stepsister.

Bin Laden was raised as a devout Wahhabi Muslim. From 1968 to 1976 he attended the "élite" secular Al-Thager Model School. Bin Laden studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University. Some reports suggest bin Laden earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979, or a degree in public administration in 1981. Other sources describe him as having left university during his third year, never completing a college degree. At university, bin Laden's main interest was religion, where he was involved in both interpreting the Quran and jihad and charitable work. He also wrote poetry.

In 1974, at the age of 17, bin Laden married his first wife Najwa Ghanem at Latakia. As of 2002 bin Laden had married four women and fathered anywhere from 12 to 26 children.

Bin Laden believed that the restoration of Sharia law would set things right in the Muslim world, and that all other ideologies—pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy—should be opposed. These beliefs, along with violent expansive jihad, have sometimes been called Qutbism.  Bin Laden believed that Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban was the only Islamic country in the Muslim world. Bin Laden consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believed were injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states; the need to eliminate the state of Israel; and the necessity of forcing the United States to withdraw from the Middle East. He also called on Americans to reject the "immoral" acts of fornication and homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury.

Probably the most infamous part of Bin Laden's ideology was that civilians, including women and children, were legitimate targets of jihad. Bin Laden was anti-semitic, and delivered warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies.

After leaving college in 1979 bin Laden joined Abdullah Azzam to fight the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and lived for a time in Peshawar.

By 1984, with Azzam, bin Laden established Maktab al-Khadamat, which funneled money, arms and Muslim fighters from around the Arabic world into the Afghan war. Through al-Khadamat, bin Laden's inherited family fortune paid for air tickets and accommodations, dealt with paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihad fighters. Bin Laden moved to Peshawar in 1994, and during this time met his future collaborator, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who encouraged Osama to split away from Azzam, Osama established a camp in Afghanistan, and with other volunteers fought the Soviets.

By 1988, bin Laden had split from Maktab al-Khidamat. While Azzam acted in support of Afghan fighters, bin Laden wanted a more military role. One of the main disputes leading  to the split and the creation of al-Qaeda was the insistence of Azzam that Arab fighters be integrated into the Afghan fighting groups instead of forming their own separate fighting force. Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia in 1990 as a hero of jihad, who along with his Arab legion, had brought down the mighty superpower -- the Soviet Union. However, during this time Iraq invaded Kuwait. Bin Laden met with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and told him not to depend on non-Muslim troops.  Bin Laden offered to help defend Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden's offer was rebuffed and after the American offer to help was accepted he publicly denounced Saudi Arabia's dependence on the United States military. Bin Laden's criticism of the Saudi monarchy led that government to attempt to silence him.

Around this time, Bosnia and Herzegovina essentially became a safe haven for terrorists, after it was revealed that militant elements of the former Sarajevo government were protecting extremists, some with ties to Osama bin Laden. In 1997, Rzeczpospolita, one of the largest Polish daily newspapers, reported that intelligence services of the Nordic-Polish SFOR Brigade suspected that a center for training terrorists from Islamic countries was located in the Bocina Donja village near Maglaj in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992, hundreds of volunteers joined an "all-mujahedeen unit" called El Moujahed, which was headquartered in Zenica in an abandoned hillside factory, a compound with a hospital and prayer hall. According to Middle East intelligence reports. Bin Laden financed small convoys of recruits from the Arab world through his businesses in Sudan. Among them was Karim Said Atmani who was identified by authorities as the document forger for a group of Algerians accused of plotting the bombings in the USA. He was a former roommate of Ahmed Ressam, the man arrested at the Canadian-U.S. border in mid-December 1999 with a car full of nitroglycerin and bomb-making materials. Atmani was convicted of colluding with Osama bin Laden by a French court. A Bosnian government search of passport and residency records, conducted at the urging of the United States, revealed other former mujahideen who were linked to the same Algerian group or to other suspected terrorist groups and who lived in the area 60 miles (97 km) north of Sarajevo. Khalil al-Deek, was arrested in Jordan in late December 1999 on suspicion of involvement in a plot to blow up tourist sites; a second man with Bosnian citizenship, Hamid Aich, lived in Canada at the same time as Atmani and worked for a charity associated with Osama Bin Laden. In its June 26, 1997, Report on the bombing of the Al Khobar building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the New York Times noted that those arrested confessed to serving with Bosnian Muslim forces. Further, the terrorists also admitted to ties with Osama Bin Laden. In 1999, it was revealed that Osama bin Laden and his Tunisian assistant Mehrez Aodouni were granted citizenship and a Bosnian passport in 1993 by the Government in Sarajevo. This information was denied by Bosnian government following the 9/11 attacks but it was later found out that Aodouni was arrested in Turkey and that at that time he possessed the Bosnian passport. Following this revelation, a new explanation was given that bin Laden did not personally collect his Bosnian passport and that officials at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna, which issued the passport, could not have known who bin Laden was at the time. The Bosnian daily Oslobođenje published in 2001 that three men, believed to be linked to Osama Bin Laden, were arrested in Sarajevo in July 2001. The three, one of whom was identified as Imad El Misri, were Egyptian nationals. The paper said that two of the suspects were holding Bosnian passports.

In 1998, it was reported that bin Laden was operating his terrorist network out of Albania. It was also reported that a network run by Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden sent units to fight in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Confirmation of these activities came from Claude Kader, a French national who said he was a member of Bin Laden's Albanian network. He claimed he had visited Albania to recruit and arm fighters for Kosovo. In 2000, bin Laden was operating from Kosovo planning the terrorist activities during the Insurgency in the Preševo Valley.

Connections between bin Laden and the National Liberation Army, an insurgent, terrorist, and guerrilla organization that operated in the Republic of Macedonia in 2001 were also drawn. According to the Washington Times, the NLA was fighting to keep control over the region’s drug trafficking, which had grown into a large, lucrative enterprise since the Kosovo war and that in addition to drug money, the NLA also had another prominent venture capitalist, Osama Bin Laden. According to documents written by the chief commander of the Macedonian Security Forces, bin Laden was financing the rebel group through a representative in Macedonia. Osama Bin Laden, paid $6 to $7 million for the needs of the National Liberation Army through his representative. Osama Bin Laden was planning to gain control over Macedonia so that he could control the distribution of oil to the United States through the pipeline that was planned to stretch from Bulgaria to Albania ports.

Bin Laden moved to Sudan in 1992 and established a new base for Mujahideen operations in Khartoum. Due to bin Laden's continuous verbal assault on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, on March 5, 1994, Fahd sent an emissary to Sudan demanding bin Laden's passport. His family was persuaded to cut off his monthly stipend, the equivalent of $7 million a year. By now bin Laden was strongly associated with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which made up the core of al-Qaeda. In 1995, the EIJ attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The attempt failed and the EIJ was expelled from Sudan.

In February 1996, Sudanese officials began approaching officials from the United States and other governments, asking what actions of theirs might ease foreign pressure. In secret meetings with Saudi officials, Sudan offered to expel bin Laden to Saudi Arabia and asked the Saudis to pardon him. United States officials became aware of these secret discussions, certainly by March. Saudi officials apparently wanted bin Laden expelled from Sudan. They had already revoked his citizenship, however, and would not tolerate his presence in their country. Also bin Laden may have no longer felt safe in Sudan, where he had already escaped at least one assassination attempt that he believed to have been the work of the Egyptian or Saudi regimes, or both.

In late 1995, when Bin Laden was still in Sudan, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) learned that Sudanese officials were discussing with the Saudi government the possibility of expelling Bin Laden. United States Ambassador Timothy Carney encouraged the Sudanese to pursue this course. The Saudis, however, did not want Bin Laden, giving as their reason their revocation of his citizenship.

In May 1996, under increasing pressure from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States on Sudan, bin Laden returned to Jalalabad, Afghanistan aboard a chartered jet. In Afghanistan, bin Laden and Al-Qaeda raised money from "donors from the days of the Soviet jihad", and from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). When Bin Laden left Sudan, he and his organization were significantly weakened, despite his ambitions and organizational skills.

It is believed that the first bombing attack involving bin Laden was the December 29, 1992 bombing of the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden in which two people were killed. It was after this bombing that al-Qaeda was reported to have developed its justification for the killing of innocent people. According to a fatwa issued by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, the killing of someone standing near the enemy is justified because any innocent bystander will find their proper reward in death, going to Paradise if they were good Muslims and to hell if they were bad or non-believers. The fatwa was issued to al-Qaeda members but not the general public.

In the 1990s bin Laden's al-Qaeda assisted jihadis financially and sometimes militarily in Algeria, Egypt and Afghanistan. In 1992 or 1993 bin Laden sent an emissary, Qari el-Said, with $40,000 to Algeria to aid the Islamists and urge war rather than negotiation with the government. Their advice was heeded but the war that followed killed 150,000-200,000 Algerians and ended with Islamist surrender to the government. Another effort by bin Laden was the funding of the Luxor massacre of November 17 1997, which killed sixty-two civilians, but so revolted the Egyptian public that it turned against Islamist terror. In mid-1997, the Northern Alliance threatened to overrun Jalalabad, causing Bin Laden to abandon his Nazim Jihad compound and move his operations to Tarnak Farms in the south.

A later effort that did succeed was an attack on the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Bin Laden helped cement his alliance with his hosts the Taliban by sending several hundred of his Afghan Arab fighters along to help the Taliban kill between five and six thousand Hazaras overrunning the city.

In 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri co-signed a fatwa in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders which declared the killing of the North Americans and their allies an "individual duty for every Muslim" to "liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Mecca) from their grip". At the public announcement of the fatwa, bin Laden announced that North Americans are "very easy targets."

At the end of 2000, Richard Clarke revealed that Islamic militants headed by bin Laden had planned a triple attack on January 3, 2000 which would have included bombings in Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, tourists at Mount Nebo and a site on the Jordan River, and the sinking of the destroyer USS The Sullivans in Yemen, as well as an attack on a target within the United States. The plan was foiled by the arrest of the Jordanian terrorist cell, the sinking of the explosive-filled skiff intended to target the destroyer, and the arrest of Ahmed Ressam.

Osama bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The attacks involved the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 11, and American Airlines Flight 77; the subsequent destruction of those planes and the World Trade Center in New York City, New York; severe damage to The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and the deaths of 2,974 people excluding the nineteen hijackers. In response to the attacks, the United States launched a War on Terrorism to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaeda operatives, and several countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation to preclude future attacks.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that evidence linking Al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable. The Government of the United Kingdom reached the same conclusion regarding Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's culpability for the September 11, 2001, attacks. Bin Laden initially denied involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks. On September16, 2001, bin Laden read a statement later broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel denying responsibility for the attack.

In a videotape recovered by United States forces in November 2001 in Jalalabad, bin Laden was seen discussing the attack with Khaled al-Harbi in a way that indicated foreknowledge. The tape was broadcast on various news networks on December 13, 2001.

In a 2004 Osama bin Laden video, bin Laden abandoned his denials without retracting past statements. In it he stated he had personally directed the nineteen hijackers. In the 18-minute tape, played on Al-Jazeera, four days before the American presidential election, bin Laden accused United States President George W. Bush of negligence on the hijacking of the planes on September 11.
According to the tapes, bin Laden claimed he was inspired to destroy the World Trade Center after watching the destruction of towers in Lebanon by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War.

On March 16, 1998, Libya issued the first official international Interpol arrest warrant against Bin Laden and three other people for killing two German citizens in Libya on March 10, 1994, one of which is thought to have been a German counter-intelligence officer. Bin Laden is still wanted by the Libyan government.  Osama bin Laden was first indicted by the United States on June 8, 1998, when a grand jury indicted Osama bin Laden on charges of killing five Americans and two Indians in the November 14, 1995 truck bombing of a United States - operated Saudi National Guard training center in Riyadh. Bin Laden was charged with "conspiracy to attack defense utilities of the United States" and prosecutors further charged that bin Laden is the head of the terrorist organization called al Qaeda, and that he was a major financial backer of Islamic fighters worldwide. Bin Laden denied involvement but praised the attack. On November 4, 1998, Osama bin Laden was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on charges of Murder of United States Nationals Outside the United States, Conspiracy to Murder United States Nationals Outside the United States, and Attacks on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death for his alleged role in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony by former Al Qaeda members and satellite phone records.

Bin Laden became the 456th person listed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, when he was added to the list on June 7, 1999, following his indictment along with others for capital crimes in the 1998 embassy attacks. Attempts at assassination and requests for the extradition of bin Laden from the Taliban of Afghanistan were met with failure prior to the bombing of Afghanistan in October 2001. In 1999, United States President Bill Clinton convinced the United Nations to impose sanctions against Afghanistan in an attempt to force the Taliban to extradite him. Years later, on October 10, 2001, bin Laden appeared as well on the initial list of the top 22 FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, which was released to the public by the President of the United States George W. Bush, in direct response to the attacks of 9/11, but which was again based on the indictment for the 1998 embassy attack. Bin Laden was among a group of thirteen fugitive terrorists wanted on that latter list for questioning about the 1998 embassy bombings. Bin Laden remains the only fugitive ever to be listed on both FBI fugitive lists.

Despite the multiple indictments listed above and multiple requests, the Taliban refused to extradict Osama Bin Laden. It was not until after the bombing of Afghanistan began in October 2001 that the Taliban finally did offer to turn over Osama bin Laden to a third-party country for trial, in return for the United States ending the bombing and providing evidence that Osama bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This offer was rejected by George W Bush stating that this was no longer negotiable.

Capturing Osama bin Laden had been an objective of the United States government since the presidency of Bill Clinton. Shortly after the September 11 attacks it was revealed that President Clinton had signed a directive authorizing the CIA to apprehend bin Laden and bring him to the United States to stand trial after the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa. Indeed, it was ordered that if taking bin Laden alive was deemed impossible, then deadly force was authorized. On August 20, 1998, 66 cruise missiles launched by United States Navy ships in the Arabian Sea struck bin Laden's training camps near Khost in Afghanistan, narrowly missing him by a few hours. In 1999 the CIA, together with Pakistani military intelligence, prepared a team of approximately 60 Pakistani commandos to infiltrate Afghanistan to capture or kill bin Laden, but the plan was aborted by the 1999 Pakistani coup d'état. In 2000, foreign operatives working on behalf of the CIA fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a convoy of vehicles in which bin Laden was traveling through the mountains of Afghanistan, hitting one of the vehicles but not the one bin Laden was in.

In late 2001, the United States government concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the Battle of Tora Bora.  However, the failure by the United States to commit United States ground troops to hunt him led to his escape and was the gravest failure by the United States in the war against al Qaeda. Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border.

The CIA unit dedicated to capturing Osama was shut down in late 2005.  However, from August 14 to 16, 2007, United States and Afghanistan forces raided the mountain caves in Tora Bora. The military was drawn to the area after receiving intelligence of a pre-Ramadan meeting held by al Qaeda members. After killing dozens of al Qaeda and Taliban members, they did not find either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al Zawahiri.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, United States government officials named bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda organization as the prime suspects and offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture or death. On July 13, 2007, this figure was doubled to $50 million.

After December 2001, many claims were made with regards to the location of Osama bin Laden.  However, none were proven to be true and some even placed Osama in different locations during overlapping time periods.

At the end of the 20th century, bin Laden was thought to have had thousands of militant followers worldwide, in places as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Bosnia, Chechnya, and the Philippines. In 2001, after 19 militants associated with al-Qaeda staged the September 11 attacks, the United States led a coalition that overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan. In December 2001 bin Laden went into hiding after evading capture by United States forces in the Tora Bora cave complex. In the following years United States forces searched for him along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, during which time bin Laden remained absent from the public eye. Then in October 2004—less than a week before that year’s United States presidential election—bin Laden emerged in a videotaped message in which he claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks. After that he periodically released audio messages, including in 2008, when he threatened retaliation for the deaths of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and in 2009, when he challenged the nerve of the new United States president, Barack Obama, to continue the fight against al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, United States forces continued to hunt for bin Laden, who was still thought possibly to be hiding either in Afghanistan or in the tribal regions of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. United States intelligence eventually located him in Pakistan, living in a secure compound in Abbottabad, a medium-sized city near Islamabad. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was killed when a small United States force transported by helicopters raided the compound. His body, identified visually at the site of the raid, was taken out of Pakistan by United States forces for examination and DNA identification and soon after was given a sea burial. Hours after its confirmation, bin Laden’s death was announced by President Barack Obama in a televised address. Several days after Obama’s announcement, al-Qaeda released a statement publicly acknowledging bin Laden’s death and vowing revenge.

In late May, 2011, al-Qaeda released an audio message purportedly recorded by bin Laden shortly before he was killed. In the message, bin Laden praised the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings of early 2011 and called on al-Qaeda followers to help people struggling against unjust governments.

Osama bin Laden see Bin Laden
Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin `Awaḍ bin Lādin see Bin Laden

Biruni (Abu Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni) (Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni) (Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Biruni) (Alberuni) (September 5, 973 - December 13, 1048).  One of the most original and profound scholars of medieval Islam.  Of Iranian origin, he was equally versed in the mathematical, astronomic, physical and natural sciences and also distinguished himself as a geographer and historian, chronologist and linguist and as an impartial observer of customs and creeds.

Al-Biruni  is considered to be one of the most prominent (if not "the" most prominent) of figures in the phalanx of those universally learned Muslim scholars who characterize the Golden Age of Islamic Science.   His great contributions in so many diverse fields earned him the title al-Ustadh -- “the Master” -- the Professor par excellence.    Indeed, some historians have called the period of his activity as “The Age of al-Biruni.”

Abu Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni was born in Khwarizm (now Kara-kalpakskaya in present day Uzbekistan) in 973.  He studied Arabic, Islamic law, and several other fields of knowledge.  Later, he learned Greek, Syriac, and Sanskrit.  His knowledge of several languages helped him in understanding the available disparate scholarship and to bring a fresh and original approach to his work.  Al-Biruni was of the view that whatever the subject one should use every available source in its original form, investigate the available work with objective scrutiny, and carry out research through direct observation and experimentation.

Al-Biruni was a contemporary of the famous physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and is known to have corresponded with him.  Al-Biruni’s contributions are so extensive that an index of his written works covers more than sixty pages.  His scientific work combined with the contributions of al-Haitham (Al-Hazen) and other Muslim scientists laid down the early foundation of modern science.  

Al-Biruni made original and important contributions to science.  He discovered seven different ways of finding the direction of the north and south, and discovered mathematical techniques to determine exactly the beginnings of the season.  He also wrote about the sun and its movements and the eclipse.  In addition, he invented a number of astronomical instruments.  Many centuries before the rest of the world, Al-Biruni theorized that the earth rotated on its axis and made accurate calculations of latitude and longitude.  These observations are contained in his book Al-Athar al-Baqia.  He wrote a treatise on timekeeping in the year 1000 of the Christian calendar.

Al-Biruni was the first to conduct elaborate experiments related to astronomical phenomena.  He stated that the speed of light is immense as compared with the speed of sound.  He described the Milky Way as a collection of countless fragments of the nature of nebulous stars.  Al-Biruni described his observation of the solar eclipse of April 8, 1019, and the lunar eclipse of September 17, 1019.  He observed the lunar eclipse at Ghazna and gave precise details of the exact altitude of various well-known stars at the moment of first contact.  Al-Biruni’s book Al-Tafhim-li-Awail Sina’at al-Tanjim summarizes work on mathematics and astronomy.  

Al-Biruni’s contributions in physics include an accurate determination of the specific weight of eighteen elements and compounds including many metals and precious stones.  His book Kitab-al-Jamahir discusses the properties of various precious stones.  He was a pioneer in the study of angles and trigonometry.  He worked on shadows and chords of circles and developed a method for the trisection of an angle.  He elaborated on the principle of position and discussed Indian numerals.

In the fields of geology and geography, al-Biruni contributed on geological eruptions and metallurgy, to the measurement of the longitudes and latitudes and methods of determining the relative position of one place to another.  He explained the working of natural springs and artesian wells by the hydrostatic principle of communicating vessels.  His book Al-Athar al-Baqiyah fi Qanun al-Khaliyah (The Chronology of Ancient Nations) deals with ancient history and geography.  Al-Biruni observed that flowers have 3, 4, 5, 6, or 18 petals, but never seven or nine.  

Al-Biruni is most commonly known by his association with Mahmud of Ghazna, a famous Muslim king who also ruled India, and his son Sultan Masud.  Impressed by his scholarship and fame, Mahmud took al-Biruni along with him on his journeys to India several times.   Al-Biruni traveled many places in India for about 20 years and studied Hindu philosophy, mathematics, geography and religion from various learned men.  In return, he taught them Greek and Muslim sciences and philosophy.

Al-Biruni’s book Kitab al-Hind (Ta’rikh al-Hind -- History of India), completed in 1030, provides a detailed account of Indian life, religions, languages, and cultures and includes many observations on geography.  He stated that the Indus Valley must be considered as an ancient sea basin filled with alluvials.  In this book, al-Biruni mentions two books Patanjal and Sakaya.  He translated these two Sanskrit books into Arabic.  The former book deals with after death accounts, and the latter with the creation of things and their types.  Abu-al-Fadal’s book Aein-i-Akbari, written six centuries later during the reign of Akbar, was influenced by al-Biruni’s book.

Al-Biruni wrote his famous book Al-Qanun al-Masudi Fi al-Hai‘a Wa al-Nujum (1030) after he returned from India.  The book was dedicated to Sultan Masud and it discusses several theorems of trigonometry, astronomy, solar, lunar and planetary motions, and contains a collection of twenty-three observations of equinoxes.  Another well-known books is Kitab al-Saidana.  This book is an extensive materia medicia that synthesizes Arab medicine with Indian medicine.  His investigations included a description of Siamese twins.  He also wrote on the astrolabe and a mechanical calendar.

Al-Biruni was a scientist who was always mindful of his faith, and who believed himself to be blessed in his scientific endeavors.  He said:  "My experience in the study of astronomy and geometry and experiments in physics revealed to me that there must be a Planning Mind of Unlimited Power.  My discoveries in astronomy showed that there are fantastic intricacies in the universe which prove that there is a creative system and a meticulous control that cannot be explained through sheer physical and material causes."

When Sultan Masud sent al-Biruni three camel loads of silver coins in appreciation of his encyclopedic work Al-Qanun al-Masudi (The Mas’udi Canon), al-Biruni politely returned the royal gift saying, "I serve knowledge for the sake of knowledge and not for money."

Some of al-Biruni's works which were well known in Medieval Europe were: The Chronology of Ancient Nations (Al-Athar al-Baqiya), in which al-Birunu treats the eras, traditions, and histories of the various religious and ethnic groups, known in medieval Islam; The Determination of Coordinates of Cities, the most extensive treatise on mathematical geography written in medieval times; and his Pharmacology, a detailed compilation of sources on drugs known in antiquity and medieval times.  

Without a doubt, al-Biruni was one of the greatest scientists of all times.  However, in spite of his prolific and diverse output, medieval biographers devoted only a few lines to him and the European Latin translators of Arabic manuscripts showed little interest in his works.  In comparison to the honored treatment rendered his contemporaries Ibn Sina and Ibn al-Haitham, al-Biruni was relatively ignored.  The reason for this disregard may lie in the fact that while obviously gifted in scientific and historical matters, al-Biruni was not particularly adept in the more esteemed philosophical matters and, as such, was not well regarded amongst his contemporaries.  Nevertheless, when al-Biruni died in 1048 in Ghazna (Afghanistan), his death brought to an end an illustrious and productive forty-year career.

Al-Biruni was one of the greatest scholars of medieval Islam.  He was both a singular compiler of the knowledge and scientific traditions of ancient cultures and a leading innovator in Islamic science.

Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni was born in 973 in Khiva, Khwarizm (in modern day Uzbekistan).  He was of Iranian descent and spent most of his childhood and young adult years in his homeland of Khwarizm, south of the Aral Sea.  (His sobriquet derives from birun – “suburb” -- in reference to his birth in an outlying neighborhood of Khiva.)  Little is known of al-Biruni’s childhood except for the important matter of his education, which was directed by the best local mathematicians and other scholars.  His exceptional intellectual powers must have become apparent very early.  Al-Biruni’s religious background was Shi‘a, although in later years he professed agnostic leanings.  A precocious youth, while still a student in Khwarizm, al-Biruni entered into correspondence with Avicenna (Ibn Sina), one of the leading lights of Islamic medicine.  Some of Avicenna’s replies are preserved in the British Museum.

Although he published some material as a young student, the scope of al-Biruni’s intellectual powers only became apparent when he left Khwarizm to travel and learn abroad.  In al-Biruni’s age, the key to scholarly success lay in attaching oneself to a powerful and influential court society and obtaining noble patronage.  He found the first of many such benefactors in the Samanid sultan Mansur II, after whose demise he took up residence in the important intellectual center of Jurjan, southeast of the Caspian Sea.  From here, al-Biruni was able to travel throughout northeastern Iran.

While at Jurjan, al-Biruni produced his first major work, al-Athar al-baqiyah ‘an al-qurun al-khaliyah (The Chronology of Ancient Nations).  This work is an imposing compilation of calendars and eras from many cultures.  It also deals with numerous issues in mathematics, astronomy, geography, and meteorology.  The work is in Arabic -- the major scientific and cultural language of the time -- as are nearly all of al-Biruni’s later writings, although al-Biruni himself was a native speaker of an Iranian dialect.  As would have been common among Muslim scholars of his time, al-Biruni was also fluent in Hebrew and Syriac, the major cultural and administrative languages in the Semitic world prior to the Arab conquest.  
Around 1008, al-Biruni returned to his homeland of Khwarizm at the invitation of the local shah, who subsequently entrusted him with several important diplomatic missions.  In 1017, however, his tranquil life as a scholar-diplomat took a rude turn.  The shah lost his life in a military uprising, and shortly thereafter forces of the powerful Ghaznavid dynasty of neighboring Afghanistan invaded Khwarizm.  Together with many other scholars -- as part of the booty of war -- al-Biruni found himself led away to Ghazna, which was to become his home base for the remainder of his life.

Ironically, this deportation afforded al-Biruni his greatest intellectual opportunity.  The Ghaznavids appreciated scholarly talent, and the sultan, Mahmud, attached al-Biruni to his court as official astronomer/astrologer.  Mahmud was in the process of expanding his frontiers in every direction.   The most coveted lands were in India, and during the sultan’s campaigns there al-Biruni was able to steep himself in the world of Hindu learning.  In India, he taught eager scholars his store of Greek, Persian, and Islamic knowledge.  In return, he acquired fluency in Sanskrit, the doorway to what was, for al-Biruni, essentially a whole new intellectual universe.  

In 1030, al-Biruni completed his marvelous Tar’ikh al-Hind. This masterpiece remains, in the eyes of many scholars, the most important treatise on Indian history and culture produced by anyone prior to the twentieth century.  The degree of scholarly detachment and objectivity displayed in al-Biruni's history of India is almost without parallel for the time, and the work consequently is still of enormous value to contemporary scholars.  

Almost at the same time, al-Biruni produced another work dedicated to the sultan Mas‘ud ibn Mahmud, heir to the Ghaznavid throne.  Kitab al-qanun al-Mas‘udi fi ‘l-hay’a wa ‘l-nujum (Canon Masudicus -- c. 1030) is the largest and most important of al-Biruni’s mathematical and geographical studies.

During his long and productive life, al-Biruni authored many other treatises of varying length -- he himself claimed to have produced more than one hundred -- in addition to those mentioned above.  They include essays on arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and astrology, a pioneering effort in mineralogical classification, and, toward the end of his career, material on the medical sciences.  His compendia of Indian and Chinese minerals, drugs, potions, and other concoctions, still not systematically studied, may be of immense value to pharmacology.  Some of these works have been lost.  They are known only through references by other scholars.  Many survive but await translation into European languages.

In the golden age of medieval Islam, a small number of incredibly versatile and creative intellects stood at the interface of Semitic, Hellenistic, Persian, and Hindu culture and learning.  Their syntheses and insights often brought about quantum leaps in scientific and historical thought in Islam -- so vast, in fact, that in some cases their achievements were fully appreciated only by later ages better prepared to comprehend them.  Al-Biruni was one of these intellects and, for some historians, the most important of all.  The Chronology of Ancient Nations, for example, constitutes an unprecedented attempt to periodize the history of the known world by comparing and cross-referencing large numbers of chronologies and calendrical systems.  His work provides a basis for chronological studies which has yet to be fully exploited.

Al-Biruni’s immense store of astronomical and geographical knowledge led him to the verge of modern scientific ideas about the earth and the universe.  He was familiar with the concept that Earth rotates on its axis to produce the apparent movement of celestial bodies, rather than those bodies revolving around Earth (although he did not necessarily endorse the idea).  His insights with respect to geography were profound.  On the basis of reports of various flotsam found in the seas, al-Biruni reasoned that the continent of Africa must be surrounded by water, thus taking exception with the Ptolemaic cosmography popular in Christendom, which held that Africa extended indefinitely to the south.  Upon examining the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan, al-Biruni correctly guessed that it had once been a shallow sea filled in through the centuries by alluvial deposits from the river.  Al-Biruni also explained the operation of artesian springs and wells essentially in terms of modern hydrostatic principles.  He devised a system of geographical coordinates which is still a marvel to cartographers.

In medieval Islam, the significance of scholarship may often be determined by how frequently a scholar’s materials were copied by later generations of researchers (a practice for which modern scholars are grateful, since much otherwise would now be lost.  The thirteenth century geographer Yaqut, for example, cited al-Biruni extensively in his own work.  Yaqut’s material on oceanography and general cosmography is drawn almost verbatim from his illustrious predecessor.  

Like many scholars in Islam’s golden age, al-Biruni was a polymath, a Renaissance man before there was a Renaissance.  Some modern scholars have criticized him for writing extensively on astrology, usually at the behest of his noble patrons.  Astrology, however, was in a certain sense a means of popularizing the science of the time, and al-Biruni most likely used it to reach a lay audience, just as contemporary popular science writers often simplify and make use of analogy.  He seems to have regarded astrology as a gesture to simple people who wanted immediate, practical results from science.

Al-Biruni’s astounding versatility has prompted some to place him in a league with Leonardo da Vinci as one of the greatest geniuses of all time.  The most appropriate description, however, comes from his students, patrons, and other contemporaries.  To them, al-Biruni was simply “The Master.”  

al-Ustadh see Biruni
Abu Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni see Biruni
Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni see Biruni
“The Master” see Biruni
Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Biruni see Biruni
Alberuni see Biruni

Bistami (Abu Yazid Bistami) (Bayazid Bastami) (Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami) (804-874).  Prototype of the ecstatic Sufi, renowned for his paradoxical utterances.  Little is known about his life.  His hometown, Bistam, was in northwestern Iran and his spiritual master was Abu ‘Ali Sindi, possibly from Sind in present-day Pakistan.  This has given rise to speculation about possible Hindu influences on his spiritual formation.  What distinguishes Abu Yazid among early Sufis is his renunciation of renunciation.  “How can one give up God?” he asked.  In his yearning to find God alone, Abu Yazid was continually frustrated, and yet he never ceased to yearn.  Abu Yazid’s legendary quest has been condensed in numerous anecdotes and aphorisms, of which the most famous is Subhani -- “Glory be to Me!”  Like Ana’l-Haqq (“I am Truth!”) by al-Hallaj, Subhani defies explanation, and perhaps for that reason both phrases echo through the writings of later Persian Sufis.  

Bistami was a Persian Sufi born in Bastam, Iran. Bastami's grandfather was a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam. Bistami's predecessor Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859) had formulated the doctrine of ma'rifa (gnosis), presenting a system which helped the murid (initiate) and the shaykh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this another step and emphasized the importance of ecstasy, referred to in his words as drunkenness (sukr or wajd), a means of annihilation in the Divine Presence. Before him, Sufism was mainly based on piety and obedience and he played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.

Bistami was truly the first to speak openly of "annihilation of the self in God" (fana fi 'Allah') and "subsistence through God" (baqa' bi 'Allah). His paradoxical sayings gained a wide circulation and soon exerted a captivating influence over the minds of students who aspired to understand the meaning of the wahdat al-wujud, -- Unity of Being.

Bistami died in 874 and is buried either in the city of Bistam in north central Iran, or in Semnan, Iran. Bistami had great influence on Sufi mysticism and is considered to be one of the important early teachers of Sufi Islam.

Interestingly enough, there is a shrine in Chittagong, Bangladesh that local people believe to be Bistami's tomb as well. This seems unlikely to be true, as Bistami was never known to have visited Bangladesh. However, Sufi teachers were greatly influential in the spread of Islam in Bengal and this might explain the belief. The Islamic scholars of Bangladesh usually regard the tomb at Chittagong attributed to him as a jawab, or imitation.

One explanation is the local legend that Bistami did indeed visit Chittagong. At the time of his return, he found that his local followers did not want to leave. Overwhelmed by the love of his local followers, he pierced his finger and dropped a few drops of his blood on the ground and allowed his followers to build a shrine in his name where his blood drops fell.

This is also explained by the traditional Sufi masters as a mash-had, or site of witnessing, where the spiritual presence of the saint has been witnessed, and is known to appear. This is explained through the Sufi concept of the power of the saint's soul to travel and in its spiritual form, even after death, to appear to the living. The Quran mentions that some of those who have proven their sincerity have achieved a life beyond the grave (Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; 3:169).

Abu Yazid Bistami see Bistami
Bayazid Bastami see Bistami
Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami see Bistami

Bitar  (Salah al-Din Bitar) (Salah ad-Din al-Bitar)  (b. Damascus 1912 - d. Paris July 21, 1980).  Syrian politician, foreign minister (1956-1957), and prime minister (1963-1966). Bitar, with Michel Aflaq, founded the Arab Ba'th Party in the early 1940s. During their student days in Paris in the early 1930s, the two worked together to formulate a doctrine that combined aspects of nationalism and socialism. Bitar later served as prime minister in several early Ba'thist governments in Syria, but became alienated from the party as it grew more radical, and in 1966 fled the country. He lived most of the rest of his life in Europe, and remained politically active until he was assassinated by unknown persons in 1980.

Salah ad-Din al-Bitar was born in the Midan area of Damascus in 1912, the son of a reasonably well-off Sunni Muslim grain merchant. His family was religious and many of his ancestors had been ulama and preachers in the district's mosques. Bitar thus grew up in a conservative family atmosphere, and attended a Muslim elementary school before receiving his secondary education in Maktab Anbar. He was also exposed to the political vicissitudes of the time, as Midan played a leading role in the Great Syrian Revolution of 1925 against the French, who were then the mandatory power in Syria. The district was heavily bombarded with considerable loss of life and physical damage.

Bitar traveled to France in 1929 to study in the Sorbonne. There he became acquainted with Michel Aflaq, like him the son of a Midan grain merchant, albeit from a Christian Orthodox family. The two were greatly interested in the political and intellectual movements of the time, and began applying the nationalist and Marxist thought they encountered to the situation of their homeland. Bitar returned to Syria in 1934, and took up an appointment teaching physics and mathematics at the Tajhiz al-Ula, where Aflaq was already a teacher.

In the course of the next two years, Bitar and Aflaq along with some other associates edited a review entitled al-Tali`a (The Vanguard). Al-Tali'a displayed more concern with social issues than with the national question, and the political orientation of the two young activists was closer to the Syrian Communist Party than to any of the other groups on the political scene in Damascus. They subsequently became disillusioned with the Communists in 1936, after the Popular Front government came to power in France. Although the French Communist Party became part of the government, the colonial power's approach to its subject nations was not appreciably different. The Syrian party's stance in these circumstances did not impress the young nationalist activists.

In 1939, Aflaq and al-Bitar began to attract a small following of students, and in 1941, the pair issued leaflets agitating against French rule, using the title al-ihyaa' al-'arabi - "the Arab Resurrection". Their first use of the name al-ba'th al-'arabi, which has the same meaning, came some time later. Indeed, the name al-ba'th al-'arabi had already been adopted by Zaki al-Arsuzi, a nationalist activist from Iskandarun province in north-western Syria who had come to Damascus in the wake of his native area's annexation by Turkey.

On October 24, 1942 both al-Bitar and Aflaq resigned from their teaching positions, now determined to devote their full efforts to the political struggle. They slowly gained supporters, and in 1945 the first elected Bureau of the Arab Ba'th Movement was formed, including both of them. The following year, the organization gained a substantial number of new members when most of the former supporters of Zaki al-Arsuzi, led by Wahib al-Ghanim, joined it.

In 1947 the first party congress was held in Damascus, and al-Bitar was elected secretary general. Aflaq took the pre-eminent position of 'amid, sometimes translated as "doyen"; under the constitution adopted at the congress, this made him effective leader of the party, with sweeping powers within the organization.

In 1952 Syria's military dictator, Adib al-Shishakli, banned all political parties. Al-Bitar took refuge in neighboring Lebanon, along with Aflaq. There they came into contact with Akram al-Hawrani, a far more seasoned politician who had recently established the Arab Socialist Party and boasted a considerable following among the peasantry of the Hama region in central Syria as well as a valuable foothold in the military officer corps. The three politicians agreed to unite their parties, and co-operated in the overthrow of al-Shishakli in 1954, following which a congress ratified the merger of the two parties into the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party. The rules and constitution of al-Bitar and Aflaq's party were adopted unchanged. All three were elected to the party's new National Command, along with a supporter of al-Hawrani.

Following the overthrow of al-Shishakli, Syria held its first democratic elections in five years. Al-Bitar was elected as a deputy for Damascus, defeating the secretary general of the Syrian Socialist National Party, one of the Ba'th's bitterest ideological enemies. He became Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1956 and held the post until 1958. Along with other Ba'thists, he agitated in favor of the unification of Syria with Nasser's Egypt, and when unification took place in 1958 he became Minister for Guidance of the new United Arab Republic (UAR). Like many of the other Syrian politicians who had initially supported unification, he found the experience disenchanting, and resigned his position the following year.

When a right-wing coup in Syria put an end to the UAR, al-Bitar was one of sixteen prominent politicians to sign a declaration in support of the secession. Al-Hawrani also signed, but al-Bitar was still known as a Ba'thist whereas al-Hawrani's secessionist position was well-known. Much of the party's base was outraged by al-Bitar's action, although he quickly retracted his signature. The Ba'th splintered in the aftermath of the secession, with a large part of its base turning to Nasserism. Al-Bitar remained close to Aflaq, who retained the party leadership with a pro-reunification line, albeit a more cautious one than that of the Nasserists or the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), and indeed a more cautious one than much of the party's membership wished for.

In 1963, a military coup by pro-reunification officers removed the secessionist regime from power. The officers included many Ba'thists, but also initially Nasserists and other elements. They established a National Revolutionary Command Council (NCRC) as the supreme organ of power in the land, and this body offered al-Bitar the position of prime minister at the head of a coalition cabinet made up of the various pro-reunification forces. Al-Bitar took up the appointment, and was later appointed to the NCRC as well.

However, the military Ba'thists who had taken control were not in tune with Aflaq and al-Bitar. They were of a younger generation, and a more radical disposition, traits they shared with an increasingly influential element of the civilian party membership in both Syria and Iraq. Later that year, the radical elements gained control of the party at the Sixth National Party Congress. The Congress approved a far-left program evidently inspired by Soviet socialism, and condemned what it termed "ideological notability" inside the party - an implicit attack on Aflaq and al-Bitar. The latter resigned the premiership, which passed to a military Ba'thist, Amin Hafiz. Al-Bitar was restored to the position the following year when the ruling group decided to adopt a more conciliatory approach following massive riots in Hama, which the army had had to suppress with notable loss of life. However, he was clearly not in any sense in charge of Syria - rather, he was acting as the face of a regime with which he was ideologically and personally out of sympathy.

On February 23, 1966, the Ba'th's secret military committee decided that the time had come to take power into its own hands. Members of the party's other factions fled. Bitar was captured and detained, along with other members of the party's historic leadership, in a government guest house. When the new rulers launched a purge in August that year, al-Bitar managed to make his escape and flee to Beirut. In 1969 a court condemned him to death in absentia. He was pardoned the following year by Hafiz al-Asad after the latter came to power. However, despite a brief return to Damascus he was not reconciled with al-Asad, and in 1978, after a meeting with him ended without agreement, he launched a press campaign against the Syrian president from his exile in Paris, attacking him in a new magazine which he entitled al-ihyaa' al-'arabi in an echo of the name he and Aflaq had first adopted almost forty years earlier.

On July 21, 1980 Salah ad-Din al-Bitar was shot dead in Paris. The identity of his killers was never discovered.

Bitar was probably the least philosophical of the three founders of the Ba‘th Party, but he proved to be the most successful politician of them all.  However, his period of political success lasted for only ten years and, eventually, he came to be regarded by the President of Syria, Hafiz al-Assad, as a dangerous opponent.  From his exile in Paris, Bitar used his last years to promote the cause of  Syrian opposition, through his magazine Al-Ihyatur al-Arabi (Arab Revival) and it is believed that this activity ultimately was the reason for his being assassinated.  

Salah al-Din Bitar see Bitar
Salah ad-Din al-Bitar see Bitar

Bitruji (Nur al-Din ibn Ishaq al-Bitruji) (Nur ad-Din al-Betrugi) (Abu Ishak ibn al-Bitrogi) (Alpetragius) (al-Bidrudschi) (d. 1204).  Born in Morocco, he later migrated to Spain and lived in Seville (in Arabic, Isbiliah).  He died at the beginning of the thirteenth century around 1204.  

Al-Bitruji was a leading astronomer of his time.  His Kitab al-Hay’ah was popular in Europe in the thirteenth century.  It was first translated into Hebrew and then from Hebrew into Latin.  The Latin edition of his book was printed in Vienna in 1531.  He attempted to modify Ptolemy’s system of planetary motions, but was unsuccessful primarily because he followed Aristotle’s notion of perfect (circular) motion.  However, other Spanish Arab astronomers have suggested an elliptical orbit for planetary motion. Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond named a surface feature of the Moon after al-Bitruji (Alpetragius).  It is a crater twenty-six miles in diameter.  It has a small conical peak at its center and its terraced perpendicular walls and surrounding plain shine with noticeable brightness.  

Nur al-Din ibn Ishaq Al-Bitruji and Abu Ishâk ibn al-Bitrogi; another spelling is al Bidrudschi) (known in the West by the Latinized name of Alpetragius) (died ca. 1204 AD) was an Arab astronomer and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age (Middle Ages). Born in Morocco, he settled in Seville, in Andalusia. He became a disciple of Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) and was a contemporary of Averroës (Ibn Rushd).

Al Bitrugi wrote the Kitab-al-Hay’ah, in which he advanced a theory on planetary motion that avoided both epicycles and eccentrics, and attempted to account for the phenomena peculiar to the wandering stars, by compounding rotations of homocentric spheres. This was a modification of the system of planetary motion proposed by his predecessors, Ibn Bajjah (Avempace) and Ibn Tufail (Abubacer). His efforts were unsuccessful in replacing Ptolemy's planetary model, due to the numerical predictions of the planetary positions in his configuration being less accurate than that of the Ptolemaic model, mainly because he followed Aristotle's notion of perfect circular motion.

Nur al-Din ibn Ishaq al-Bitruji see Bitruji
Alpetragius see Bitruji
Nur ad-Din al-Betrugi see Bitruji
Abu Ishak ibn al-Bitrogi see Bitruji
al-Bidrudschi see Bitruji

Black Muslims
Black Muslims (The Nation of Islam) (American Muslim Mission).  The Nation of Islam -- the Black Muslims -- began in Detroit during the Depression.  Its founder, W. D. Fard, gathered followers from among the poverty stricken African Americans of Detroit and organized the Detroit Temple.  Fard’s teachings included “the deceptive character of the white man and the glorious history of the black race.”  Illiterate followers were taught to read so that they could read for themselves the history of their great race.  Fard wrote two manuals which are now the basic documents for the movement: The Secret Ritual of the Nation of Islam and Teaching for the Lost Found Nation of Islam in a Mathematical Way.  Fard established the ritual and worship of the temple and founded the University of Islam to provide elementary and secondary education.  The Fruit of Islam, a paramilitary organization for men, was established to deal with unbelievers.  Members were taught military tactics, including the use of weapons.

As the movement developed, Fard established a hierarchy under a minister of Islam, Elijah Muhammad.  Upon Fard’s disappearance in June 1934, Elijah Muhammad ran into difficulty with the moderate element of the movement which gained control of the Detroit Temple.  He moved to Chicago and took charge of Temple No. 2.  There he began to reshape the movement and to make it more militant.  Through the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, Fard was identified with Allah, which made it possible for prayer and sacrifice to be made to him.  Muhammad assumed the titles “Prophet” and “Messenger of Allah.”  

Under Elijah Muhammad, the movement gained international prominence.  Mosques were started in most major cities of the United States.  Schools, apartment complexes, stores, and farms owned by the Nation of Islam came to be commonplace.  The publication Muhammad Speaks (now Bilalian News) came to be read by Americans of all races.

The Black Muslims have had phenomenal success with converting convicts, criminals, and dope users.  An excellent example of this transformation is the life of Malcolm Little -- Malcolm X.  There is a strict morality among the Black Muslims.  A devout member prays five times daily.  Before prayer, the proper ablution must be made.  Cleanliness of body and spirit is essential.  Dietary laws are rigidly enforced, fasting is encouraged, and tobacco and alcohol are forbidden.  There is a strict sexual code.

Traditionally, the Nation of Islam has taught that Christianity is a European religion and that it is a disgrace for persons of African descent to call themselves Christians.  Central to the traditional teachings are: (a) the black man has a manifest destiny; (b) whites are the personification of evil -- a hindrance to black freedom and moral development; (c) the original man was black; (d) there is a divinity in blackness; and (e) the white race was created by a black scientist (Yakub) who had rebelled against Allah.

Upon the death of Elijah Muhammad in February 1975, his son Wallace D. Muhammad (b. 1934) assumed the spiritual leadership of the movement and took the title of Imam.  The most significant of the changes he introduced involved a shift in the Black Muslims' attitude towards whites. Under Wallace Muhammad, whites -- Europeans and European Americans -- were permitted to become members.   Additionally, under Wallace Muhammad, the movement adopted more orthodox (Sunni) Muslim beliefs and practices, and assumed the title “The World Community of al-Islam in the West.”   Today, the Wallace Muhammad group is known as the American Muslim Mission.

In the late 1970s, however, a dissident faction, led by Louis Farrakhan, assumed the original name Nation of Islam and reasserted the principles of black separatism.  Since 1978, Louis Farrakhan has been the leader of a reconstituted Nation of Islam, the original organization having been renamed and dissolved by Warith Deen Muhammad. The Nation of Islam's National Center and headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois, and is also home to its flagship Mosque No. 2, Mosque Maryam.

As of 2005, the Nation of Islam was included in the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of active hate groups in the United States. It is estimated that there are about 20,000 members of the sect.

Noted current and former members and associates of Nation of Islam

    * Elijah Muhammad
    * Louis Farrakhan
    * Khadijah Farrakhan
    * Malcolm X - Later converted to Sunni Islam
    * Betty Shabazz - Later converted to Sunni Islam
    * Muhammad Ali - Later converted to Sunni Islam
    * Warith Deen Mohammed - Later converted to Sunni Islam
    * Ice Cube - Was associated with the Nation of Islam, but never a regular member and became a Sunni Muslim.
    * John Allen Muhammad - The Beltway Sniper, Gulf war veteran, former NOI member
    * MC Ren - Later converted to Sunni Islam
    * Mohamed-rashid Abdulle - Spokesperson of the Nation of Islam until 1993
    * Snoop Dogg
    * Benjamin Chavis Muhammad

The Nation of Islam see Black Muslims
American Muslim Mission see Black Muslims

Black Sheep Turcomen
Black Sheep Turcomen.  Shi‘a Turkish dynasty ruling in Iran (1378-1469).  
Kara Koyunlu see Black Sheep Turcomen.
Qara Qoyunlu see Black Sheep Turcomen.

Boabdil (Abu Abdullah)(Abu 'Abd-Allah Muhammad XII) (also called El Chico – “the little one”) (c.1460- 1533).  Last Moorish king of Granada.  He reigned under the name Muhammad XII.  He became king by dethroning his father Abu al-Hasan (1445?-1500?) in 1482.  However, in 1483, his forces were defeated at Lucena (now in Spain) by an army of King Ferdinand V of Aragon, and Boabdil was taken prisoner. On Boabdil’s agreement, in 1486, to rule Granada as a tributary of Spain, Ferdinand restored him to the throne.  Boabdil, however, refused to surrender the city, and Ferdinand besieged it in the spring of 1491.  Despite a valiant defense by the Moors of their last stronghold in Spain, Granada fell in January 1492.  Boabdil was allowed to retire to an estate in Spain, but he later moved to Fez in Morocco, where he died.

Abu 'Abd-Allah Muhammad XII was the twenty-second and last Nasrid ruler of Granada in Iberia. He was also called el chico, the little one, or el zogoybi, the unfortunate one. The name Boabdil is a corruption of the name Abu 'Abd-Allah. Son of Abu l-Hasan Ali, king of the taifa of Granada, he was proclaimed king in 1482 in place of his father, who was driven from the land.  Soon afterwards, Boabdil sought to gain prestige by invading Castile. He was taken prisoner at Lucena in 1484. Between 1484 and 1487, he was held prisoner. Power returned to his father and then, in 1485, to his uncle Muhammad XIII (who was also known as Abdullah Zagal).

Boabdil obtained his freedom and support to recover his throne in 1487 by consenting to hold Granada as a tributary kingdom under Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Castile and Aragon, and not to intervene to prevent the conquest of Malaga.

1487 saw the fall of Baeza, Malaga and Almeria. 1489 saw the fall of Almunecar and Salobrena. By the beginning of 1491, Granada was the only Muslim city left in Spain.

In 1491, Muhammad XII was summoned by Ferdinand and Isabella to surrender the city of Granada, and on his refusal it was besieged by the Castilians. Eventually, on January 2, 1492, Granada was surrendered. In most sumptuous attire the royal procession moved from Santa Fe to a place a little more than a mile from Granada, where Ferdinand took up his position by the banks of the Genil
where he received Muhammad XII and Muhammad XII kissed Ferdinand's hand.

Legend has it that as the royal party moved south toward exile, they reached a rocky prominence which gave a last view of the city. Muhammad XII reined in his horse and, surveying for the last time the Alhambra and the green valley that spread below, burst into tears. When his mother approached him she said : "Don't weep like a woman for what you could not defend as a man". The spot from which Muhammad XII looked for the last time on Granada is known as "the Moor's last sigh" (el último suspiro del Moro).

Muhammad XII was given an estate in Láujar de Andarax, Las Alpujarras, a mountainous area between the Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean Sea, but he soon crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Fez, where he died in 1533.

Abu Abdullah see Boabdil
El Chico  see Boabdil
“the little one” see Boabdil
Abu 'Abd-Allah Muhammad XII see Boabdil
El Zogoybi see Boabdil
"the unfortunate one" see Boabdil

Bohoras (Bohras).  Muslim community in western India comprised of Isma‘ili Shi‘a of Hindu descent.  They uphold the claims of the Fatimid Caliph al-Musta‘li bi-‘llah (d. 1101) to succeed his father al-Mustansir against his brother Nizar.  They are therefore also known as Musta‘lis, Nizar’s adherents being known as Nizaris.  Up to 1539, the head of the Bohoras resided in Yemen.
Although a few Bohoras have become Sunni, most are followers of the Tayyibi Isma‘ili Da’i Mutlaq, whose headquarters are in Bombay and Surat.  The main branches of this group are the Da’udis, the Sulaymanis, and some smaller offshoots, such as the Aliyyas and Nagoshias.  
Bohras see Bohoras
Musta'li Isma'ilis see Bohoras

Bohras.  See Bohoras.

Bokassa (Jean-Bede Bokassa) (Jean-Bedel Bokassa) (Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa) (February 22, 1921 - November 2, 1996).  Ruler of the Central African Republic.  Jean-Bede Bokassa was one of the most ruthless dictators of twentieth century Africa.  He was accused of not only killing those who dared to criticize him but of eating them as well. Jean-Bédel Bokassa, also known as Bokassa I of Central Africa and Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa) was the military ruler of the Central African Republic from January 1, 1966 and the Emperor of the Central African Empire from December 4, 1976 until he was overthrown on September 20, 1979.

Jean-Bede Bokassa (Eddine Ahmed Bokassa) was one of twelve children of a Mbaka chief in Lobaye Province, in what was then the French colony of Oubangui-Chari.  Included in his extended family were an uncle, independence leader Barthelemy Boganda, and a cousin, David Dacko, who became president of the Central African Republic twice -- before and after Bokassa.  Both of Bokassa’s parents died when he was six.

Bokassa was educated in Roman Catholic mission schools in Bangui and Brazzaville.  Having given up early plans to study for the priesthood, Bokassa joined the French army at the beginning of World War II.  He served in General de Gaulle’s Free French forces, participating in the Brazzaville campaign.  Subsequently, Bokassa served with distinction in Indo-china.  He was promoted to second lieutenant in 1956.

In 1960, Bokassa retired from the French army with the rank of captain and returned to the newly independent Central African Republic to head its fledgling army.  President Dacko attempted to cope with his country’s severe economic problems through a series of unpopular austerity measures.  When these were extended to include a significant cut in the military budget, Bokassa organized a coup and seized power on December 31, 1965.

As an army lieutenant colonel, Bokassa seized power six years after the Central African Republic won its independence from France.  After consolidating power, Bokassa declared his intention to restore the country to civilian rule when the economy stabilized.  His reform measures were unsuccessful, however, in part due to his own increasingly eccentric behavior, much of which centered on attempts to ensure his unchallenged rule of the Central African Republic.  

In 1970, Bokassa outlawed strikes and demonstrations.  In 1971, in commemoration of Mother’s Day, Bokassa released all women prisoners and executed men accused of serious crimes against women.  In 1972, the sole political party, which he controlled, proclaimed him president for life.

Bokassa’s foreign policy was largely opportunistic.  He was constantly in search of foreign aid.  In 1976, with Libyan promises of financial aid, he converted to Islam and took a Muslim name.  When Libyan promises were not kept, however, he returned to Christianity.  Relations with France were also erratic.  Bokassa desired French aid, but continually antagonized French economic interests.

In December 1976, Bokassa renamed the country the “Central African Empire,” with himself as  Emperor Bokassa I.  The following year his elaborate coronation, estimated to have cost $30 million, received international attention in the press.  Although the new constitution included a legislative body, it never met, and Bokassa retained all power.  Meanwhile, the United States announced the phased withdrawal of aid to the country.

During his reign, Bokassa made a fortune for himself by exploiting the country’s mineral resources, particularly its diamond mines while the living standard of millions of his countrymen plummeted.  

Long backed by France, which had key interests in the uranium fields of the Central African Republic, Bokassa found himself increasingly alienated by human rights abuses.  One such notable abuse occured in 1979 when 100 school children were massacred after they complained about the school uniforms that they were required to buy from Bokassa’s factory.  

The slaughter of the schoolchildren in Bangui’s Ngaragba prison incited international condemnation of Bokassa as well as a cutoff of aid from the United States.  

The incident involving the massacre, along with such incidents as the embarrassment caused by Bokassa when he divulged that he had given French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing diamonds, ultimately led to Bokassa’s downfall.  Late in 1979, while Bokassa was visiting Libya, he was ousted in a bloodless coup engineered by French troops.  

The French reinstated the first president of the Central African Republic, David Dacko, as Bokassa replacement.  Dacko, in commenting on Bokassa, noted that “He treated Central Africans like they were animals, like dogs.”

Bokassa spent seven years in exile in the Ivory Coast and in France.  In France, he lived in luxury with fifteen of his children.  Just outside Paris, Bokassa owned four chateaus, a hotel, a villa and an executive jet -- the booty seized by a tyrant.

In 1987, Bokassa returned to the Central African Republic.  He returned expecting to be welcomed with open arms.  Instead, he was arrested and became the first deposed African chief of state to be publicly tried on charges of murder, torture and cannibalism.

In the sensational trial that followed, prosecutors claimed that Bokassa’s old palace was filled with evidence of atrocities, including the frozen body of a schoolteacher hanging on a freezer hook and mounds of human flesh prepared for roasting.

Bokassa’s former cook testified that he prepared meals with human flesh and watched Bokassa eat them “with relish.”  Other witnesses testified that Bokassa enjoyed fooling visiting foreign dignitaries by serving up his opponents as roast beef.

Bokassa tearfully denied the allegations.  “I am not a cannibal,” he said.

Bokassa was acquitted of cannibalism charges but was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  The sentence was commuted to 20 years in prison.

Bokassa was freed in September of 1993.

Despite the atrocities that he committed during his reign of terror, Jean-Bede Bokassa was honored with a state funeral after he died in 1996.

Jean-Bede Bokassa see Bokassa
Eddine Ahmed Bokassa see Bokassa
Bokassa I see Bokassa

Bonan.  Bonans are among China’s smaller minority nationalities.  Most Bonans (Baoans, Paoans) live in the north central province of Gansu, but a few may still live in Qinghai Province, their former homeland.  Those in Gansu live in the villages of Dadun, Ganmei, and Gaoli, located in the foothills of Jishi Mountain, near Linxia, Dahejia and Liuji.  The Qinghai Bonans live in Tongren County, specifically in three villages on both banks of the Longwu River.  Dahejia is on the Huang (Yellow) River just inside Gansu and only a short distance downstream from Xunhua, home of the Salars.  Muslim Dongxiang live in the same general area.

Nothing concrete is known about the Bonans’ origin.  The relatively few samples of Bonan oral literature recorded so far strongly suggest that they had originally been Mongol soldiers who during either Jenghiz Khan’s time or the subsequent Mongol world empire were sent to the area around present day Tongren County.  After the fall of the Mongol Yuan state in China in 1368, most Mongols retreated to Mongolia, but a few, including the later Bonans, stayed behind.  After many generations of mingling with neighboring Tibetans, Hui, Han and Tu, a distinct nationality emerged whose members began calling themselves Bonans.

It is not known exactly when the Bonans were called that name by others, but records of the Wanli reign (1573-1620) report the existence of a Bonan camp in what is now Tongren County.  Later this camp became a town which still exists on the banks of the Longwu River under the Chinese transliteration “Baoan.”  Sometime in the early nineteenth century a portion of the Bonans converted to Islam, a factor which caused friction to develop with the surrounding Buddhist Tibetans and Tu.  Finally, in 1962, this conflict reached a point where the Islamized Bonans decided to move.  First, they lived in Xunhua, home of the fellow Salars, for several years, and then they followed the Huang River downstream to the Dahejia area, where they still live.  Those Bonans who retained their Buddhist faith stayed in Tongren but became strongly acculturated to their neighbors, especially the Tibetans.  Only a small but unknown number of persons remain in Tongren who from an ethnolinguistic point of view can still be considered Bonan.

Baoan see Bonan.
Paoan see Bonan.

Bonerate. Inhabitant of Bonerate, a small island in the Sea of Flores, Indonesia. Egalitarianism between sexes, particularly husband and wife, is a striking feature of the Muslim peoples of Bonerate.  Neither sex is confined to the household.  Both participate generally in the same economic and family tasks.  Inheritance is equal between sons and daughters.  Divorce is rare.  According to official records, Bonerate is all Sunni Muslim. 

Bornu slaves
Bornu slaves.  Bornu was an old African kingdom centered west of Lake Chad in the central Sudan.  After it converted to Islam, it became a powerful state, monopolizing the trade routes across central Sahara to Tunis and Tripoli.  In 1430, it was an ally of the Kano Kingdom of northern Nigeria.  It flourished during the sixteenth century.  Then, in 1603, it was conquered by the Moors of North Africa.  Many Bornu slaves were Muslim blacks of the western Sudan who were imported into Brazil. {See also Moors and slaves.}

The Bornu Empire (1396-1893) was a medieval African state of Nigeria from 1389 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty. In time it would become even larger than Kanem incorporating areas that are today parts of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

After decades of internal conflict, rebellions and outright invasion from the Bulala, the once strong Sayfawa Dynasty was forced out of Kanem and back into the nomadic lifestyle they had abandoned nearly 600 years ago. Around 1396, the Kanembu finally overcame attacks from their neighbors (Arabs, Berbers and Hausa) to found a new state in Bornu. Over time, the intermarriage of the Kanembu and Bornu peoples created a new people and language, the Kanuri.

But even in Bornu, the Sayfawa Dynasty's troubles persisted. During the first three-quarters of the 15th century, for example, fifteen mais (kings) occupied the throne. Then, around 1472, Mai Ali Dunamami defeated his rivals and began the consolidation of Bornu. He built a fortified capital at Ngazargamu, to the west of Lake Chad (in present-day Niger), the first permanent home a Sayfawa mai had enjoyed in a century. So successful was the Sayfawa rejuvenation that by the early 16th century Mai Ali Gaji (1497–1515) was able to defeat the Bulala and retake Njimi, the former capital. The empire's leaders, however, remained at Ngazargamu because its lands were more productive agriculturally and better suited to the raising of cattle.

With control over both capitals, the Sayfawa dynasty became more powerful than ever. The two states were merged, but political authority still rested in Bornu. Kanem-Bornu peaked during the reign of the outstanding statesman Mai Idris Aluma (c. 1571–1603).

Idris Aluma is remembered for his military skills, administrative reforms, and Islamic piety. His main adversaries were the Hausa to the west, the Tuareg and Toubou to the north, and the Bulala to the east. One epic poem extols his victories in 330 wars and more than 1,000 battles. His innovations included the employment of fixed military camps (with walls); permanent sieges and "scorched earth" tactics, where soldiers burned everything in their path; armored horses and riders; and the use of Berber camelry, Kotoko boatmen, and iron-helmeted musketeers trained by Turkish military advisers. His active diplomacy featured relations with Tripoli, Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire, which sent a 200-member ambassadorial party across the desert to Aluma's court at Ngazargamu. Aluma also signed what was probably the first written treaty or cease-fire in Chadian history.

Aluma introduced a number of legal and administrative reforms based on his religious beliefs and Islamic law (sharia). He sponsored the construction of numerous mosques and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he arranged for the establishment of a hostel to be used by pilgrims from his empire. As with other dynamic politicians, Aluma's reformist goals led him to seek loyal and competent advisers and allies, and he frequently relied on slaves who had been educated in noble homes. Aluma regularly sought advice from a council composed of heads of the most important clans. He required major political figures to live at the court, and he reinforced political alliances through appropriate marriages (Aluma himself was the son of a Kanuri father and a Bulala mother).

Kanem-Bornu under Aluma was strong and wealthy. Government revenue came from tribute (or booty, if the recalcitrant people had to be conquered), sales of slaves, and duties on and participation in trans-Saharan trade. Unlike West Africa, the Chadian region did not have gold. Still, it was central to one of the most convenient trans-Saharan routes. Between Lake Chad and Fezzan lay a sequence of well-spaced wells and oases, and from Fezzan there were easy connections to North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Many products were sent north, including natron (sodium carbonate), cotton, kola nuts, ivory, ostrich feathers, perfume, wax, and hides, but the most important of all were slaves. Imports included salt, horses, silks, glass, muskets, and copper.

Aluma took a keen interest in trade and other economic matters. He is credited with having the roads cleared, designing better boats for Lake Chad, introducing standard units of measure for grain, and moving farmers into new lands. In addition, he improved the ease and security of transit through the empire with the goal of making it so safe that "a lone woman clad in gold might walk with none to fear but God."

The administrative reforms and military brilliance of Aluma sustained the empire until the mid-1600s, when its power began to fade. By the late 1700s, Bornu rule extended only westward, into the land of the Hausa of modern Nigeria. The empire was still ruled by the mai who was advised by his councilors (kokenawa) in the state council or "nokena".

Around that time, Fulani people, invading from the west, were able to make major inroads into Bornu. By the early 19th century, Kanem-Bornu was clearly an empire in decline, and in 1808 Fulani warriors conquered Ngazargamu. Usman dan Fodio led the Fulani thrust and proclaimed a holy war (the Fulani War) on the allegedly irreligious Muslims of the area. His campaign eventually affected Kanem-Bornu and inspired a trend toward Islamic orthodoxy.  However, a Muslim scholar turned statesman, Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi, contested the Fulani advance.

Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi was a Muslim scholar and non-Sayfawa commander who had put together an alliance of Shuwa Arabs, Kanembu, and other semi-nomadic peoples. He eventually built, in 1814, a capital at Kukawa (in present-day Nigeria). Sayfawa mais remained titular monarchs until 1846. In that year, the last mai, in league with the Ouaddai Empire, precipitated a civil war. It was at that point that Kanemi's son, Umar, became king, thus ending one of the longest dynastic reigns in regional history.

Although the dynasty ended, the kingdom of Kanem-Bornu survived. Umar eschewed the title mai for the simpler designation shehu (from the Arabic shaykh).  However, Umar could not match his father's vitality and gradually allowed the kingdom to be ruled by advisers (wazirs). Bornu began a further decline as a result of administrative disorganization, regional particularism, and attacks by the militant Ouaddai Empire to the east. The decline continued under Umar's sons. In 1893, Rabih az-Zubayr leading an invading army from eastern Sudan, conquered Bornu.

Borujerdi (Mohammad Hosayn Borujerdi) (Muhammad Husayn Burujirdi) (Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi) (1875 - March 30, 1961). Iranian theologian and religious leader who by the time of his death became the sole source of emulation (marja‘ al-taqlid) for all Iranian Shi‘as.  Borujerdi was a Twelver Shi'a Marja and the leading Marja in Iran from roughly 1947 to his death in 1961.
Born in Borujerd (Burujird) Province in western Iran, Ayatollah Borujerdi came from a family known for its religious learning and piety.  At twelve, he enrolled in Borujerd’s madrasah (Islamic seminary), where his father, Sayyid ‘Ali Tabataba’i, was one of his main mentors.  At eighteen, he went to Isfahan to study jurisprudence and philosophy.

Borujerdi studied under a number of Shi'ite masters of Islamic jurisprudence such as Mohammad-Kazem Khorasani and Aqa Zia Iraqi, and specialized in fiqh. He studied the fiqahat of all the Islamic schools of thought, not just his own, along with the science of rijal. Though he is known for citing masoomeen to support many of his deductions, Borujerdi is known for elucidating many aspects himself and is an influential fiqh jurist in his own right. He had a strong influence on Islamic scholars like Morteza Motahhari and Ayatollah Shaikh Husain Montazeri.

In 1901, he left Isfahan for Najaf, where he studied with Ayatollah Muhammad Kazim Khorasani and ‘Allamah Muhammad Kazim Yazdi.  After ten years, he returned to Borujerd, where, apart from brief interruptions, he stayed for the next thirty-seven years.  While in Borujerd, he taught jurisprudence and was marja‘ al-taqlid for the people of Khorasan and southwestern Iran.  In 1945, he left Borujerd for Tehran to receive medical treatment, and, by invitation of the city of Qom’s ‘ulama’, he settled there.  Borujerdi’s arrival at the Iranian center of Shi‘a learning filled the vacuum created by the death of two leading ‘ulama’ of that city.  Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Ha’iri Yazdi and the chief source of emulation, Sayyid Abu al-Hasan al-Isfahani.  These events paved the way for Ayatollah Borujerdi’s ascendance as the new marja‘ al-taqlid of Iranian Shi‘as.

Borujerdi revived the hawza of Qom in 1945 (1364 AH), which had waned after the death in 1937 of its founder, Shaykh Abdul Karim Ha'iri. When Sayyid Abul Hassan Isfahani died the following year, the majority of Shi'a accepted Ayatullah Borujerdi as Marja'-e-Taqlid. Scholar Roy Mottahedeh reports that Borujerdi was the sole marja "in the Shia world" from 1945-6 until his death in 1961. Borujerdi was the first Marja'  to look beyond Iraq and Iran. He sent Sayyid Muhaqqiqi to Hamburg, Germany, Aqa-e-Shari'at to Karachi, Pakistan, Al-Faqihi to Madinah and Sayyid Musa Sadr to Lebanon.

He established cordial relations with Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut, the grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar. Together, the two scholars established the "House for Bringing Muslim Sects Nearer" in Cairo. Shaltut issued a famous fatwa accepting the Shi'a faith as one of the recognized sects of Islam.

Because of his lack of political ambition and conservative nature, Ayatollah Borujerdi maintained a quietist attitude toward politics, refraining from using his powerful position to mobilize his vast following.  On several important occasions, however, Borujerdi abandoned his political quietism.

On his initiative, after the attempted assassination of the shah at Tehran University on February 4, 1949, a gathering of clergy in Fayziyah Madasah in Qom passed a resolution calling on their colleagues to stay aloof from political involvement and partisan politics.  While Mohammad Mossadegh, the nationalist leader, was in power (1951-1953), Borujerdi and Ayatollah ‘Abd Allah Bihbahani opposed most of his policies, most notably the bill on female enfranchisement.  Borujerdi agreed to mediate the conflict between Mossadegh and the shah in April 1953.  Fearing a communist takeover, however, he tacitly supported the August coup of 1953 that brought the shah back to power, welcoming him on his return to Iran.  Borujerdi was also prominent in the anti-Baha’i campaign of 1955.  By accusing the Baha’is of secret activities against the monarchy and state, Borujerdi elicited the support of the shah in the campaign.  He called on the shah to purge Baha’is from all government positions and to seize their assets in order to build more mosques and madrasahs.  He instructed, however, that this should be done without the shedding of blood.  He also issued a fatwa (religiously binding authoritative statement) to boycott the consumption of Pepsi Cola, because the Iranian franchise was owned by Sabet Pasal, a wealthy Baha’i.  Borujerdi also opposed the government’s 1959 land reform bill.  This bill, among other things, affected religious endowments, diminishing the clergy’s means of subsistence and their financial independence from the state.

Borujerdi’s contribution to Shi‘a theology is primarily in the domain of hadith (deeds and words attributed to the Prophet) and the reinvigoration of the practice of independent investigation.  He also displayed interest in Sunni-Shi‘a rapprochement and worked to establish closer ties with the Egyptian Sunni ‘ulama’ of al-Azhar.   

Unlike many clergy and temporal rulers, Borujerdi and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, are said to have had cordial and mutually beneficial relations, starting with a visit by the Shah to Borujerdi's hospital room in 1944. Borujerdi is said to have generally remained aloof from politics and given the Shah his "tacit support," while the Shah did not follow his father's harsh anti-clericalism (for example he exempted clergy from military service), and until Borujerdi's death occasionally visited the cleric.

Borujerdi's belief in quietism, or separation of church from state, extended to keeping silent in public on such issues as Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq and the end of his campaign to nationalize and control the British-owned oil industry in Iran, and the Baghdad Pact alliance with the United States and United Kingdom. It is thought that as a reward for this support the Shah ensured more religious instruction in state schools, tightened control of cinemas and other offensive secular entertainment during Moharram.

Ayatollah Borujerdi passively opposed the Pahlavi regime's agrarian reforms, which he called "agrarian destruction." In his view, the confiscations of large concentrations of landholdings of aristocrats and clergy by the Pahlavi shahs disrupted the fabric of rural life and eroded religious institutions.

Future revolutionary Ruhollah Khomeini was an underling of Borujerdi and Borujerdi forbade him to take part in political activities, a ban which only ended with Borujerdi's death.

Borujerdi died in Qom on March 30, 1961. The Shah proclaimed three days of mourning and attended a memorial service in his honor.

Mohammad Hosayn Borujerdi see Borujerdi
Muhammad Husayn Burujirdi see Borujerdi
Burujirdi, Muhammad Husayn see Borujerdi
Borujerdi, Seyyed Hossein see Borujerdi

Bosnians.  “Bosnian (or Bosnian-Hercegovinian) Muslim” is synonymous with “Serbo-Croatian speaking Muslim,” the former term giving emphasis to the area where most live and the latter to the language that distinguishes them from all other Muslims.  Colloquially, they refer to themselves simply as Muslim (Muslimani), and in the Yugoslav census they are categorized as “Muslims in the ethnic sense” (Muslimani u smislu narodnosti).  Some Christian Yugoslavs, particularly in the villages and small towns of ethnically mixed regions, will refer to them incorrectly and pejoratively as Turks (Turci), but they should not be confused with the ethnic Turkish minority also living in Yugoslavia.
The ethnogenesis of the Bosnian Muslims took place after first the Bosnian Kingdom (1463) and then the Hercegovinian Duchy (1483) fell to the Ottoman Empire.  Over the following 400 year period that the Ottomans ruled Bosnia and Hercegovina, there were wholesale conversions to Islam, unlike any other area of the Ottoman Empire except Albania.  The origin of these converts is still subject to debate.  The traditional view is that the aristocracy of the medieval Bosnian and Hercegovinian states converted in order to preserve its economic and political superiority under the new regime and that the Bogomils, a heretical sect once important in area, converted en masse in reaction to previous excesses of Catholicism.  These views have now been seriously questioned, including whether the heretical sect present in Bosnia-Hercegovina even was the Bogomils.  Nor is there conclusive evidence that the converts were predominantly either Serb or Croat.  The Bosnian Muslims had their origins in a combination of all these groups, plus smaller numbers of Slavicised Muslim immigrants from elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire.

It is clear that Bosnian Muslim ethnogenesis was both a complex and a gradual process. There was no forcible conversion (except for the child levy, or devshirme), but a variety of factors created a situation favorable to conversion.  Chief among these were the various advantages afforded Muslims within the Ottoman Emprire and a tradition of shifting religious allegiances in pre-Ottoman Bosnia-Hercegovina.  The development of Bosnian towns as Ottoman centers and the influence of these on the adjacent peasantry created points from which Islam, as well as other Middle Eastern culture traits, could effectively be diffused.  

Bosnians are people who reside in, or come from, Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the modern state definition a Bosnian can be anyone who holds citizenship of the state. This includes, but is not limited to, members of the constituent ethnic groups of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. Although those who reside in the Herzegovina part of Bosnia and Herzegovina prefer to call themselves Herzegovinians in the regional sense. Ethnic minorities such as: Jews, Roma, Albanians, Montenegrins, and others may consider Bosnian to be attached to their ethnicity (eg. Bosnian Albanians). These are not confined to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as over 8,000 individuals in Slovenia declare their ethnicity as Bosnian (the majority of them are most probably of Bosnian Muslim descent).

In a 2007 survey conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 57% of the surveyors identified an ethnic designation as the primary one, while 43% opted for "being a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina". However, 75% of the surveyors answered positively to the question "As well as thinking of yourself as a [Bosniak, Croat, Serb], do you also think of yourself as being a citizen of the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina?". In the same survey, 43% said that they identify as a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina as the primary identity, 14% identified themselves solely with their specific ethnic or religious group, while 41% expressed the dual identity.

The earliest cultural and linguistic roots of Bosnian history can be traced back to the Migration Period of the Early Middle Ages. It was then that the Serbs, Croats, other Slavs and Avars from northeastern Europe, invaded the Eastern Roman Empire and settled the Balkan peninsula. There, they mixed with the indigenous paleo-Balkan peoples known collectively as the Illyrians. From the chaos of the Dark Ages, from 800 C.C., the Croatian and Serbian tribes coalesced into early principalities. As these expanded, they came to include other Slavic tribes and territories, and later evolved into centralized Kingdoms. The Croats to the west swore allegiance to Rome, influenced by neighboring Catholic kingdoms, while the Serbs to the east fell under Byzantine influence and embraced Orthodoxy; cementing their separate identities. In contrast, there was no prominent tribe in Bosnia, and an independent Bosnian state did not arise until much later. Prior to this, the core Bosnian lands (between the Drina and Bosna rivers) was in a near-constant state of flux between Serb and Croat rule. In the twelfth century, a semi-independent Bosnian banovina arose which was characterized by a weak religious structure and unclear ethnic affiliation. It rose to become a powerful kingdom in the fourteenth century, when the designation Bošnjani was first used to sometimes describe the kingdom's inhabitants. It was probably a regional name derived from the river Bosna which flows through the heart of the country. Before the collapse of the Roman Empire, the river was called the Bosona by the native Illyrians, and some scholars speculate that the name Bosnia itself derives from this term.

The Bosnian kingdom grew and expanded under the Kotromanic dynasty to include Croatian and Serbian territories. As a consequence, even more Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians dwelt within its borders, along with adherents of a native Bosnian Church whose origins and nature are a subject of continued debate among scholars. Those belonging to this sect simply called themselves Krstjani ("Christians"). Many scholars have argued that these Bosnian Krstjani were Manichaean dualists related to the Bogomils of Bulgaria, while others question this theory, citing lack of historical evidence. Both Catholic and Orthodox Church authorities considered the Bosnian Church heretical, and launched vigorous proselytizing campaigns to stem its influence. As a result of these divisions, no coherent religious identity developed in medieval Bosnia as it had in Croatia and Serbia.

As the centuries passed, the Bosnian kingdom slowly began to decline. It had become fractured by increased political and religious disunity. By then, the Ottoman Turks had already gained a foothold in the Balkans; first defeating the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo and expanding westward. The Turks eventually conquered all of Bosnia and portions of neighboring Croatia. These developments would alter Bosnian history forever, introducing an Islamic component into the already confounded Bosnian ethno-religious identity. The Bosnian Church would forever disappear, although the circumstances under which it did are as hotly debated as its nature and origins. Some historians contend that the Bosnian Krstjani converted en masse to Islam, seeking refuge from Catholic and Orthodox persecution, while others argue that the Bosnian Church had already ceased to operate many decades before the Turkish conquest. Whatever the case, a distinct Slavic Muslim community developed under Ottoman rule in Bosnia, giving rise to the modern Bosniaks.

During the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1878 to 1918, the administration of Benjamin Kallay, the Austro-Hungarian governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, enforced the idea of a strengthened unitary Bosnian nation (Bosanci) that would incorporate Muslim Bosnians as well as the Bosnian Catholics and Bosnian Orthodox Christians, who at that time were slowly beginning to separate into distinct peoples which threatened to destabilize Bosnia. Kallay symbolized the new nation with a structured, modern introduction of an official Bosnian flag, Bosnian language and coat of arms. In this way the Bosnian distinctiveness was strengthened and more importantly underlined and distanced from Serbian and Croatian nationalist interests in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, another view is that rather than being a reflection of reality or a concern for Bosnian people, the Austrian actions were merely self-serving. As Serbia grew into a regional power and possible focus of a united South Slavic state, Austria's interests were threatened- these being: to preserve its multi-ethnic empire and further expand its influence in the Balkans. Austria aimed to do this by keeping the South Slavic people separate via embedding ideas within them that they are distinct peoples, as is the old axiom "divide and conquer". Some Bosnian Muslim notables jumped at the idea, no doubt partly because they saw an opportunity to promote their personal power by avoiding Serbian or Croatian influence.

The idea was fiercely opposed by Croats and Serbs, as it came at a time when neighboring Serbia and Croatia were reinforcing their national and ethnic identity in the process of building their own nation states.

During the time when Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia and heavily influenced by Croat and Serb politics neither of the two terms Bosnian or Bosniak were recognized as a nation. Thus, Bosnian Muslims and anyone who confessed themselves to Bosnian ethnicity were listed under the category "regional affiliation" by the Yugoslavian statistics. This also applied to the last census in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991. However, because of this, the census format in former Yugoslavia was often subject of political manipulation. As a matter of fact, Muslim Bosnians requested the option Bosnian in the constitutional amendments of 1947 and 1973, but instead they had to declare themselves either as Serbs or Croats until 1963, "undecideds" or "Muslim in a national sense" (with lower case m) until 1973, and Muslims (with capital M) until 1993.

In 1990 the name Bosniaks was re-introduced to replace the term Muslim but it was too late for that term to be realistically accepted by non-Muslim ethnic groups in Bosnia.

This resulted in Bosniak, or even Muslim, as terms being (re)coined recently as a political compromise. Peculiarly enough, in the present day Bosnia it is practically impossible for a citizen to declare her/himself as Bosnian. Due to widespread practices in the Ottoman empire, the distinction (for taxation purposes, military service etc.) was made based mainly on religion and this heritage only contributed to the ethnic chaos in the Balkans that followed in the wake of the Empire's retreat from Europe.

In 1999, a Bosnian child born in Sarajevo was announced as the symbolic 6 billionth person in the world to mark the world population reaching this milestone.

Bosnian-Hercegovinian see Bosnians.
Serbo-Croatian speaking Muslim see Bosnians.

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