Al Biruni: The Existing Monuments or Chronology (1030)

Era of the Deluge.

The next following era is the era of the great deluge, in which everything perished at the time of Noah. Here, too, there is such a difference of opinions, and such a confusion, that you have no chance of deciding as to the correctness of the matter, and do not even feel inclined to investigate thoroughly its historical truth. The reason is, in the first instance, the difference regarding the period between the Era of Adam and the Deluge, which we have mentioned already; and secondly, that difference, which we shall have to mention, regarding the period between the Deluge and the Era of Alexander. For the Jews derive from the Torah, and the following books, for this latter period 1,792 years, whilst the Christians derive from their Torah for the same period 2,938 years.

The Persians, and the great mass of the Magians, deny the Deluge altogether; they believe that the rule of the world has remained with them without any interruption ever since Gayomard Gilshah, who was, according to them, the first man. In denying the Deluge, the Indians, Chinese, and the various nations of the East, concur with them. Some, however, of the Persians admit the fact of the Deluge, but they describe it in a different way from what it is described in the books of the prophets. They say, a partial deluge occurred in Syria and the West at the time of Tahmurath, but it did not extend over the whole of the then civilized world and only a few nations were drowned in it; it did not extend beyond the peak of Hulwan, and did not reach the empires of the East. Further, they relate, that the inhabitants of the West, when they were warned by their sages, constructed buildings of the kind of the two pyramids that have been built in Egypt, saying: "If the disaster comes from heaven we shall go into them; if it comes from the earth, we shall ascend above them." People are of opinion that the traces of the water of the Deluge, and the efforts of the waves, are still visible on these two pyramids half-way up, above which the water did not rise. Another report says, that Joseph had made them a magazine where he deposited the bread and victuals for the years of drought.

It is related that Tahmurath on receiving the warning of the Deluge---231 years before the Deluge--ordered his people to select a place of good air and soil in his realm. Now they did not find a place that answered better to this description than Ispahan. Thereupon, he ordered all scientific books to be preserved for posterity and to be buried in a part of that place least exposed to obnoxious influences. In favor of this report we may state that in our time in Jay, the city of Ispahan, there have been discovered hills, which, on being excavated, disclosed houses, filled with many loads of that tree-bark with which arrows and shields are covered and which is called Tuz, bearing inscriptions, of which no one was able to say what they are and what they mean.

Question: Where in this document is there evidence of scientific thinking in 11th century Islam?