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Omar Khayam       By Mr. Taher

His full name was Ghiyath ad Din Abu Al-fath Omar ibn Ibrahim al-Khayymi Nishapori. He was born in the year 1048 A. D. in the a major city of Khorasan, Nishahpur (now in Iran). His last name, Khayyam, means "tentmaker" and probably is a referral to the occupation of his ancestors. Omar received good education in Nishapur which included the subjects such as Arabic, the Quran, the various religious subjects, mathematics, astronomy, astrology and literature. During the reign of Malik Shah Seljuk, Omar received his education first in Nishapur and then in Balkh. He then moved in another city of Khorasan, Samarkand. It was in Samarkand when he wrote a treatise in Arabic on algebra and classified types of cubic equations and presenting systematic solutions to them. This study of Omar is recognized as a significant analysis by historians of science and mathematics.

Omar worked on two major project of Malik Shah as leading man. Those projects were the construction of an astronomy observatory in Esfahan in 1074 and the other one was the reforming of a calendar which later became known as Maleki after the Seljuki monarch. This new calender Maleki was more accurate than the Gregorian system.

Omar left the service of the court of Seljukis after the death of Malik Shah. He went to Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and after returned settled down in Nishpur and took the job of teaching. According to many historians, he was in Balkh in 1112 A. D., and several years later in Marv, a city of Khorasan.

Some limited information about Omar is mostly recorded by Nizami Aruzi in his book called Chahar Maqala (Four Essay). Nizami Aruzi mentions about his visit to the grave site of Omar Khayyam. He also mentions about Omar in his "Third Discourse: On Astrologers," but not in his "Second Discourse: On Poets." Omar was not more involved with poetry except by occasional composition of ruba'i quatrains.


Dashti, 'Ali. In Search of Omar Khayyam. Translated by L. P. Elwell-Sutton. London: Allen and Unwin, 1971.

FitzGerald, Edward. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. 4th ed. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1879.

Heron-Allen, Edward. Edward FitzGerald's "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" with Their Original Persian Sources. Boston: L. C. Page, 1899.

Khayyam, Omar. The Algebra of Omar Khayyam. Translated by Daoud S. Kasir. New Youk: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1931.

Nizami Aruzi. Revised Translation of the "Chahar Maqala" (Four Discourses). Translated by Edward G. Browne. London: Cambridge University Press, 1921.