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May 15, 2014

A Light from the East

An international academic conference “Historical Legacy of Scientists and Thinkers of the Mediaeval East, Its Role and Significance for the Modern Civilization” is to take place in Samarkand on 15-16 May 2014.

The forum is being held in accordance with the resolution of President Islam Karimov signed 1 April 2014 and is to be attended by scholars from dozens of countries from around the world as well as representatives of prominent international organizations and research centers.

Energetic preparatory works to this international conference are in full swing in Samarkand. Notably, analysis and summarizing of works are underway to study the heritage of our great ancestors who made an invaluable input into the evolution of world civilization. Active in these endeavors have been also the scholars of the Archeology Institute of Uzbekistan’s Academy of Sciences.

The director of the institute, Candidate (PhD) in Historical Sciences Amriddin Berdimuradov has expounded on this with the UzA reporter.

As far back as three millennia ago, our forefathers laid down the foundations of the modern science and made a priceless contribution to its development, Berdimuradov says. And thus, all around the world the ideas and scientific discoveries of Eastern peoples have always been studied rather attentively from times immemorial. And it is hardly accidental that during the Middle Ages, the phrase “Light from the East” emerged and spread in the West.

However, our land has suffered numerous wars and destructions, and hence a greater share of the academic and cultural heritage has been lost irretrievably. So have many unique works of our ancestors and architectural monuments built by them. For instance, Abu Rayhan Beruni wrote 154 works, but only 24 of them have reached our days. Approximately the same can be said of the legacy of the outstanding thinkers Abu Ali ibn Sino, Abu Nasr Forobi, Ahmad Farghoni, Imam Bukhari.

From the very first days of independence, a special attention has been paid under the leadership of President Islam Karimov to the study and popularization of the rich scientific heritage of our magnificent forefathers, and to the restoration and perpetuation of their memory. Jubilees of such thinkers and scholars of the East as Imam Bukhari, Mirzo Ulugbek, Ahmad Farghoni, Abu Mansur Moturudi, Hakim Termizi, Burkhoniddin Marghinoni have been extensively celebrated. Wide-ranging efforts have been undertaken to study their scholarly and spiritual heritage and to reconstruct the places associated with them. This is where our institute’s considerable input has been.

Thus, in accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan signed 27 November 1997 on the extensive celebration of the 1,200th anniversary of Ahmad Farghoni, wide-scale archeological research works in Kuva, where the thinker was born and grew up, along with the enquiry into his life, activities, scientific legacy. These efforts have allowed us to track the stages of the evolution of the town from ancient times. The clay items discovered under the southern walls of the ancient site of the settlement in more than 8 meters deep are indicative of the fact that a site of ancient people was located there in the 4th-3rd centuries BC. The research works allowed for the collection of valuable data on the evolution of the town, its topography, settlements, temples, fortress walls, and its state in the period of life of Ahmad Farghoni.

Kuva was divided into several tracts of land, where craftsmanship was advancing dynamically. Remnants of glass production were found in the eastern side, and figuline remains were discovered in the western part. It was revealed that the town used to be seated on 700 square meters when Ahmad Farghoni lived.

Research works suggest that Kuva used to be a major manufacturing, commercial, cultural and political center. This created conditions for the development of diverse sciences and for the emergence of academics like Ahmad Farghoni.

Alisher Navoi used to refer to Abu Abdulloh Muhammad al-Hakim at-Termizi (820-932) as “the great sheikh” of the codes of Islamic norms built on the Koran and as “the only pearl” in Sufism. The intellectual left a vast legacy in the history of religious and secular science with his approximately 400 relevant treatises.

In the independent development years, efforts have been undertaken for the archeological inquiry into his mausoleum and its preservation for the posterity, along with the study of the heritage of the scholar. Excavations up to the initial level at the great platform around the mausoleum have facilitated the discovery of foundations of a range of buildings and facilities, in particular the souf for rituals and another mausoleum with a small cupola. In the northern and eastern parts of the mausoleum, some 15 small rooms were discovered dating back to 4th-5th centuries AD and who used to be constituent parts of a Buddhist temple up to the early 8th century. These facilities were reconstructed during Hakim Termizi’s days.

One of the world’s most ancient cities, Samarkand used to be instrumental in the cultural, economic and spiritual life of the Maverounnahr. Many splendid thinkers and scholars were born and grew up there and earned renown throughout the world. One of them is the native of the kishlak Moturid near Samarkand is Abu Mansur Muhammad Moturudi (870-944). The Moturudiya School founded by him won fame around the East. It was thanks to the fact that the ideas proposed by this thought were concurrent to the aspirations and views of people who regarded kindness, humanism, devotion to ideals as the essence of the Islamic religion.

Imam Moturudi was buried in the Chokardiza cemetery in Samarkand. That graveyard was completely destroyed in the 1940s-1950s, and homes were built on it. In accordance with the 3 December 1999 resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, academics of our institute conducted excavations in the Chokardiza cemetery site in 2000 owing to the 1,130th jubilee celebrations of the scholar’s birthday. As a result, the scientists found out that the overall land of the graveyard amounted to 4.5 hectares, and the width of the cultural layer was 6-7 meters. A foundation of a mosque built in the 9thcentury and reconstructed in eventual centuries was discovered during the research works beside the grave of Moturudi. It was in the base of that foundation that the landfill site of the great intellectual was discovered.

As it is well known, tombstones in the early Islamic age used to be in the shape of brick or a ceramic plate with inscriptions. Starting from the 10th century, ordinary rocks with inscriptions began to be installed on graves as a new tradition. During the enquiry into the Chokardiza cemetery, in excess of thirty such stones were founded that stored the inscribed names of the diseased and his father as well as the date of death. Our scientists established that the majority of these rocks date back to the 12th-13th centuries and that many other thinkers unknown to us are buried in that graveyard.

Burkhoniddin Marghinoni, who was born in the Ferghana region, is also buried there. He had for 13 years lived in the Marghilan mahalla of Pursiddik, where he wrote the first part of his celebrated work “Hidoya”. Later on, he moved to Samarkand where he continued his scientific activity.

In the year 2000, the 910th anniversary celebrations of this philosopher were marked at an international scale. His works, life and activities have been studied extensively. Archeological and research works have been undertaken in Rishtan, Marghilan and Samarkand. During these endeavors, the location of Rishtan and Marghilan was clarified and proved that in the 11-12th centuries they comprised arcs, settlements and rabat. In particular, the archeological excavations conducted for several years have allowed us to establish that Marghilan grew as a town two thousand years ago.

The scholars of our institute keep with archeological research and scientific enquiries in order to study and perpetuate the legacy of our great ancestors for the posterity.