Abbas B Firnas (d. 274 H) عباس بين فرناس

Abbas B Firnas (d. 274 H) عباس بين فرناس

Abu al-Qasim, Abbas ibn Firnas ibn Wardus, was an eclectic thinker with a range of knowledge and interests in diverse sciences, literature and arts. History books dropped his date of birth but biographers are unanimous that he died in 274 H after living for almost 80 years. This led them to infer that he was born by the end of the second Hijri century, most probably around 194 H.

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Though he hailed from a place near Ronda and grew up in Cordova (Qurtuba, Spain), he was originally a Berber who flourished in Andalusia at a time when it was the second prominent center in the disciplines of science, literature and arts in the world, after the `Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. Ibn Firnas frequented the science classes in the mosques of Cordova where he listened to scientific discourses, debates and arguments. He also attended literary forums and grasped a lot of poetry, arts, and the intricacies and minutiae of the Arabic Language.

In addition to his familiarity with philosophy, logic, and spiritual sciences, Ibn Firnas devoted time to textbooks of Arabic Language grammar, which made him an authority in the field. In fact, he shot to eminence in various sciences and arts that gave him precedence amongst his contemporary scientists for which people then called him the Hakim (the wise man) of Andalusia. The rise in his fame among scientists and physicians of his generation led to his employment in the royal Umayyad court of Cordova. He was one of the practical scientists who founded the basics of the professional scientific civilization of Andalusia as he worked on verifying the scientific data he studied and equipped himself with complicated machines, tools and instruments which demonstrated his brilliance and practical precedence.

To him is attributed the fabrication of crystals and fabrication of a clock for the court. But, most important of all, he is the most ancient of scholars in aviation and aero-dynamics. He fabricated the first air-craft, tying feathers onto himself, and jumped from a building, falling after a brief hovering, and miraculously escaping death.

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