Ibn Al Haytham Biography- Malak Wahdan

Abou Ali Al Hassan Ibn Al Hassan Ibn Al Haytham was born on July 1st, 965 CE in Basra, Iraq in the province of the Buyid Empire. He was usually nicknamed Ibn Al Hassan or Al Basri, after his birthplace, the city of Basra. He was also called Ptolemy the Second because of his significant contributions in philosophy, physics, science, math and astronomy.

During Al Haytham’s time in Basra, he worked as a civil servant to the government. Civil service usually refers to work done for the public sector under the supervision of the government. Deeply passionate about science and theology, Al Haytham found himself lost in the world of books where he studied everything he was interested in, and which some would say marked the beginning of his successful career.

Al Haytham first attempted to distinguish the differences between the Shi’a and Sunni sects, being a devout Muslim and a passionate theologist, but failed to do so. Al Haytham believed that nothing is flawless but God, and believed in Him and His creations blindly, resting his reason on both faith and empirical practice.

Afterwards, Al Hakim Ibn Amr Allah, the ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate at the time, called Al Haytham to Egypt, on account of his acclaimed works and fame, to help regulate the constant flooding of the Nile River. At first, he mulled over the idea of building a dam at Aswan. After he realized the irrationality of his ideas and of what he was doing, he pretended to be insane so that he would not anger the Caliphate and make him think he wasted his time. So, Al Haytham was put under house arrest from 1011 to 1021, when the Caliphate died. Then in 1040, Al Haytham died in Cairo, Egypt, having lived out a successful and fruitful life.