The second congress of Sheikh Bahaee was held in Isfahan's Imam Mosque on Friday night with senior Iranian and international elites, intellectuals and officials in attendance.
Sheikh Baha' al-Din (also spelled Baha'uddin) Mohammad ibn Hossein al-'Amili (Sheikh Bahaee) was born in Baalbek, Lebanon in 1532. He lived in Jabal Amel in a village called Jaba'.
Jabal Amel had always been one of the main Shiite centers of west Asia. Even today various Shiite groups live there. They have played an important role in establishing Shiism in Iran, specially from the 13th century onwards. The Baha'i (Bahaei) progeny was among those well-known Shiite families.
As a child, he came to Iran with his father and completed his studies in Isfahan. Having intended to travel to Mecca in 1570, he visited many Islamic countries including Iraq, Syria and Egypt and after spending four years there, he returned to Iran.
Sheikh Baha' al-Din died in 1610 in Isfahan. His body was buried in Iran's holy city of Mashhad according to his will.
Sheikh Baha' al-Din contributed numerous works in philosophy, logic, astronomy and mathematics. His works include 88 articles, epistles and books. Sheikh Baha' al-Din also composed poems in Persian. His outstanding works in the Iranian language are Jame' Abbasi and two masnavis (rhymed couplets) by the names of "Milk and Sugar" and "Bread and Halva". His other work Kashkool includes stories, news, scientific topics, Persian and Arabic proverbs. He wrote Khulasat Al-Hisab and Tashrih Al-Aflak in Arabic.
Sheikh Baha' al-Din's fame was due to his excellent command of mathematics, architecture and geometry. He was the architect of Isfahan's Imam Square, Imam Mosque and Hessar Najaf. He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque. There is also no doubt about his mastery of topography. The best instance of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan. He designed a canal called Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is one of Iran's greatest canals. He also determined the direction of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Imam mosque.
He also designed and constructed a furnace for a public bathroom, which still exists in Isfahan, known as Sheikh Bahaei's bathroom. The furnace was warmed by a single candle, which was placed in an enclosure. The candle burned for a long time, warming the bath's water. According to his own instructions, the candle's fire would be put out if the enclosure was ever opened. This happened during the restoration and repair of the building and no one has been able to make the system work again. He also designed the Manar Jonban (shaking minaret), which still exists in Isfahan.
* Kashkoul (in Persian) (Persian: كشكول بهايي)
* Touti Nameh (in Persian) (Persian: طوطي نامه)
* Naan-o-Paneer (in Persian) (Persian: نان و پنير)
* Sheer-o-Shekar (in Persian) (Persian: شير و شكر)
* Naan-o-Halva (in Persian) (Persian: نان و حلوا)
* Jaame'e Abbasi (in Persian) (Persian: جامع عباسي)
* Al-favayed as-Samadieh (in Arabic)
* Mashregh osh-Shamsain wa Eksir os-Sa'adatain (in Arabic)
* Al-Athna Ashariyah (in Arabic)
* Zobdat ol-Osul (in Arabic)
In the Twelver tradition, Sheikh Bahai is regarded as a leading scholar of his age and a mujaddid of the seventeenth century. His erudition won him the admiration of Shah Abbas, and he was appointed the Sheikh ul-Islam of Isfahan after the death of the previous incumbent. He composed works on tafsir, hadith, grammar and fiqh (jurisprudence).
Sheikh Baha' al-Din is also attributed with architectural planning of the city of Isfahan during the Safavid era. His interest in the sciences is also apparent by some of his works and treaties. One of his works in astronomy is the treatise Fi Tashir al-Aflak(Anatomy of the heavens). His book Kholasat al-Hesab the summa of arithmetic was translated into German by G. H. L. Nesselmann and was published as early as 1843. Sheikh had designed a public bath called "Garmabeh-e-sheikh" in Isfahan which for a long time was running and providing hot water to public without any visible heating system of the day which usually needed tons of wood. In 1969-70 the bathroom heating system was excavated and few series of underground pipe lines made of sun dried clay were discovered even though there are many theories about the working of this heating system, it was concluded recently that he knew about biogas and the network was to guide toilet wells which were common to Iranians' houses and mosques. This genius of architect was a true testimony to Persianate Safavid Turks or Islam.
Sheikh Baha' al-Din was also an adept in mysticism. He had a distinct Sufi leaning for which he was criticized by Mohammad Baqer Majlesi. During his travels he dressed like a Dervish and frequented Sufi circles. He also appears in the chain of both the Nurbakhshi and Ne'matullaahi Sufi orders. In the work called "Resaala fi'l-wahda al-wojoudiya" (Exposition of the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Existences), he states that the Sufis are the true believers, calls for an unbiased assessment of their utterances, and refers to his own mystical experiences. His Persian poetry is also replete with mystical allusions and symbols. At the same time, Sheikh Baha' al-Din calls for strict adherence to the Sharia as a prerequisite for embarking on the Tariqah and did not hold a high view of antimonian mysticism.