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Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi ( ), also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, (c. 945/946 - 1000) was a notable medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim (The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions).

Biography

Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalemmarker in 946 AD. He had the advantage of an excellent education and after having made the Pilgrimage to Mekkamarker in his twentieth year, determined to devote himself to the study of geography. For the purpose of acquiring the necessary information he undertook a series of journeys which lasted over a score of years, and carried him in turn through all the countries of Islam. It was only in 985 that he set himself to write his book, which gives us a systematic account of all the places and regions he had visited. Le Strange comments of Al-Mukaddassi work: ' His description of Palestine, and especially of Jerusalem, his native city, is one of the best parts of the work. All he wrote is the fruit of his own observation, and his descriptions of the manners and customs of the various countries, bear the stamp of a shrewd and observant mind, fortified by profound knowledge of both books and men'. (From: Guy le Strange, 1890: Palestine Under The Muslims pp. 5-6.)

Further reading

  • Al-Muqaddasi (Basil Anthony Collins (Translator)): The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions. Ahasan al-Taqasim Fi Ma'rifat al-Aqalim. Garnet Publishing, Reading, 1994, ISBN 1873938144
  • Al-Mukaddasi, Shams Al-Deen Abu Abdallah: Description of Syria, Including Palestine. Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1866 (Translated by Le Strange when he was living in Haifa at the end of the nineteenth century.)
  • Collins, Basil Anthony: Al-Muqaddasi; the man and His Work, Michigan Geographical Publication, 1974,


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