Imam Jafar al-Sadiq’s student came to be known as the father of modern chemistry — Nimiras Blog

Jabir ibn Hayyan (d. ca 815) was born in Tus, Khurasan, in modern-day Iran. He subsequently moved to Kufa, in Iraq, where he became a student of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (d. 765), who had widespread reputation as a religious scholar and was also proficient in natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, anatomy, alchemy, and other subjects. He founded the Imami Shi’i Ja’fari madhab or the school of religious law, named after him, which centred around the doctrine of Imamat, emphasising that the legitimate Imams  had sole possession of knowledge or ‘ilm of the exoteric (zahir) and esoteric (batin).

Jabir ibn-Hayyan. Image: Wikipedia


Commonly referred to as the father of modern chemistry, Jabir ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation; he aimed to free alchemy from superstition and turn it into a science. Several sources agree that his writings comprise esoteric vocabulary commonly used by the Ismaili and other esoteric interpretations. Jabirian treatises emphasised that “every element in nature had a dual reality, one that was ‘obvious’ (zahir) and the other which was ‘intangible’ (batin)” (cited in Famous People).

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