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Gondia Education Society's C.J. Patel College, Tirora , Dist.- Gondia 441911. Subject : THEOROTICAL AND APPLIED GEOGRAPHY Topic AL-MASUDI Is presented by Dr. Nanabhau S. Kudnar M.A., B.Ed., SET, NET, Ph.D., M.B.A . Head, Department of Geography C.J . Patel College Tirora .


Al-Masudi 2


Index Al-Masudi Explorers, Travelers and Writers Birth, travels, literary output and intellectual environment Explorations and Discoveries Books and Contributions 3


Al-Masudi Name: Abu al- Hasan Ali ibn al- Husayn ibn Ali al- Mas'udi Born: c. 896, Baghdad, died September 956, Cairo, Egypt Al- Masudi was born in Baghdad and is known as the 'Herodotus of the Arabs' He traveled extensively in India, the Middle East, and Africa. Abul Hasan Ali Ibn al-Husain al- Masudi is one of the great versatile figures of the Islamic world 4

Explorers, Travelers and Writers:

Explorers, Travelers and Writers He is a well-known writer and explorer of the East Starting from Baghdad, he went to India, visiting Multan and Mansura, returned to Persia and after touring Kerman again went to India. On his return trip he visited Madagascar, Zanzibar, Oman and he reached Basrah where he settled afterwards . Masudi also visited the southern shore of the Caspian sea and travelled through Central Asia and Turkistan. He toured Gujrat in 303 A.H. According to him, Chemur, a port of Gujrat was inhabited by more than 10 thousand Arabs and their descendants. 5

Birth, literary output & intellectual environment:

Birth, literary output & intellectual environment Al-Mas'udi was a descendant of Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Mas'udi's travels actually occupied most of his life from at least 303/915 to very near the end. His journeys took him to most of the Persian provinces, Armenia, Azerbaijan and other regions of the Caspian Sea; as well as to Arabia, Syria and Egypt. Others include Sri Lanka and China among his travels He lived at a time when books were readily available and relatively cheap. Aside from large public libraries in major towns like Baghdad, many individuals, like Mas'udi's friend al-Suli, had private libraries, often containing thousands of volumes . Very soon afterwards there were paper mills in most large towns and cities. The introduction of paper coincided with the coming to power of the Abbasid dynasty, and there is no doubt that the availability of cheap writing material contributed to the growth of the Abbasid bureaucracy, postal system and lively intellectual life. 6

Explorations and Discoveries:

Explorations and Discoveries The works of Ibn Hauqal, Makrizi Istakhri, Masudi, Beruni, Idrisi, Qazwini, Wardi and Abul Fida contain store of geographical knowledge specially on this branch of science, called by them "Rasnul Ard". Masudi described the effect of environment on the mode of life and attitudes of the people. He also gave an account of the periodic winds i.e the Monsoons of the Hearken also Known as the Bay of Bengal. He also had a clear concept about the Sphere city of the Earth. He composed a map of the then known world which represented a significant advance upon earlier maps. It shows a large landmass Al Masudi identifies as unknown territory lying beyond “the ocean of darkness and fog”. The landmass suggests the contour of South America. Al Masudi was an accomplished geologist and mineralogist. He studied earthquakes and in one his treatises he analyzed the earthquake of 855 CE. He also propounded a theory of evolution from minerals to plants to animals to man. 7

Explorations and Discoveries:

Explorations and Discoveries Al-Masudi had a conception of the sphericity of the earth. He believed that the surface of the sea is curved, since when a ship approached the land, the coast and the objects thereon gradually become more and more visible. He compared the merits and demerits of the earth being spherical instead of flat, saying that had it been flat, all lands would have remained eternally submerged under the sea. One of the most important contributions of AI-Masudi lies in the field of physical geography. Modern ideas of geomorphology include both the comparative study of landforms and analytical study of processes concerned in their formation. 8

Books and Contributions:

Books and Contributions Muruj -al- Thahab : In this book he has described in a most absorbing manner his experience of various countries, peoples and climates. Muruj al- Zaman : In this book he has described in detail the geography and history of the countries that he had visited. Kitab al- Ausat : In which he has compiled historical events chronologically. Kitab al- Tanbih wa al- Ishraf : In which he has given a summary of his earlier book as well as an errata. With his scientific and analytical approach he has given an account of the causes of the earthquake of 955 A.D., as well as the discussions of the water of the Red Sea and other problems in the earth sciences. Masu'di also made important contributions to music and other fields of science. Muruj al- Thahab he provides important information on early Arab music as well as music of other countries. He propounded several aspects of evolution viz., from minerals to plant, plant to animal and animal to man. His researches and views extensively influenced the sciences of historiography, geography and earth sciences for several countries. 9


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