Al‐Bīrūnī and Geography

  • Akhtar H. Siddiqi
Reference work entry

The geographical knowledge of the Muslims, in part derived from the Greeks and others, and contemporaneously developed and advanced by themselves, had reached a very high level of development by the tenth century. It is in this development that the work of al‐Bīrūnī is significant. Al‐Bīrūnī presented a critical summary of the total geographical knowledge up to his own time. He made some remarkable theoretical advances in general, physical, and human geography. Al‐Bīrūnī did not confine himself to a simple description of the subject matter with which he was concerned. He compared it with relevant materials and evidence, and evaluated it critically, offering alternative solutions.

George Sarton identifies al‐Bīrūnī as one of the great leaders of this period because of his relative freedom from prejudice and his intellectual curiosity. Although his interests ranged from mathematics, astronomy, physics and the history of science to moral philosophy, comparative religion and civilization,...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Akhtar H. Siddiqi

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