Bahāʾ al‐Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al‐ʿĀmilī was a scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and a poet in 16th-century Iran. He was born in Baalbek, Lebanon but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with his father.
In the past, people didn't have private baths in their houses; instead, there were public bathhouses, which were places with big pools of warm water, which people sat around in. The Sheikh Bahai bath was one of those public baths, which could accommodate hundreds of people at the same time and which was kept warm by just a candle.
The bath of Sheikh Bahai is located in a small street named after him in the southern section of the old bazaar close to the Masjed-e-Jomeh.The bathroom derives its principal fame from the story that it was warmed by a single candle ,which was placed in a closed space and never needed renewing.
The most famous of these was a bath called Hammam-e-Bahai (the bath of Bahai). Regardless of the time of the year, the water in the bath was always lukewarm. In their curiosity to find out how it worked, the British destroyed the bath several centuries later. To their surprise, they discovered only a small candle burning below ...see more the water reservoir, which had somehow managed to keep the water temperature steady for over 250 years!
The candle was rather larger than the ones we use on tables, and the clay pipes which circulated the water became unusable many years ago. According to his own instructions, the candle's fire would be put out once disclosed. This happened during the restoration and repair of the building and no one could make the system work again.
Sheikh Bahai was a noted philosopher and mathematician who worked for Shah Abbas I and who also designed the Sundial in the Royal Mosque which to this day accurately gives the time for mid-day prayers. An inscription over the doorway is all that identifies the building today.
Isfahan's Sheikh Bahai bathhouse is on the verge of destruction. Years of utter neglect have taken their toll on this historic monument. Unless the responsible authorities act soon to restore this building and maintain it going forward, the future will be very gloomy for the bathhouse.
After more than three centuries, Iran has duplicated Sheikh Bahaei's boiler that used a single candle as its energy source.
“Sheikh Bahaei's boiler has been replicated after 300 years and uses 30% less fuel,” Fars news agency quoted the head of the Union of Inventors in Iran's Khorasan Razavi province, Ali Asghar Berahmand, as saying on Sunday.
“The boiler is a duplicate of Sheikh Bahaei's which was heated by a single candle. But there are minor differences between the two furnaces, as we are unaware of some secrets that have yet to be brought to light,” he added.
“The small but unique boiler has won two gold medals in Switzerland and Moscow in 2006 and 2007,” he asserted.
According to Berahmand, many countries are interested in buying the furnace, which costs about 600 dollars.
“The furnace has been displayed in numerous foreign exhibitions this year,” he concluded.
Sheikh Bahaei lived almost 400 years ago, and was a philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. He has a recognized legacy of 88 articles, letters and books along with poetry in Persian and Arabic.
As the architect of Isfahan's Imam Mosque, he demonstrated his knowledge of architecture and geometry.
His design and construction of a public bath in Isfahan, still known as Sheikh Bahaei's bath, was amazing. All the water was heated by a single candle. According to his own instructions, the system would fail if the enclosure was ever opened. This happened during the restoration and repair of the building; to date, no one has been able to restart the boiler.
Sheikh Bahaei also designed the Manar Jonban, the Shaking Minarets, which continue to move in Isfahan.