Geography in the era of Islamic civilization


January 20, 2022

Geography and the art of cartography in the Islamic era refers to the stage of the advancement of cartography, geography and earth sciences in Islamic civilization during the medieval period from the Abbasid Caliphate to the Ottoman Caliphate. In the medieval period, Islamic geography developed due to many factors, including: the emergence of the Islamic Golden Age, in parallel with the development of Islamic astronomy, and the translation of ancient texts, especially Hellenistic, into Arabic, due to the spread of travel, either for trade or pilgrimage, in addition to the major discoveries in Geographical and because of the agricultural revolution. The beginnings of the development of Islamic geography sciences in the eighth century AD were under the auspices of the rulers of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. Many scholars contributed to its development and development. Among its most famous scholars is Al-Khwarizmi, Abu Zayd al-Balkhi (founder of the Balkh school), al-Biruni and Ibn Sina. Islamic geography reached its zenith during Muhammad al-Idrisi in the twelfth century. And continued its development later under the rule of the Turks and the Persians, especially during the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire, and the most famous of their scholars Mahmoud Al-Kashgari and Berry Rais.


There are many incentives and events that influenced the development of Muslim geography and cartography.

The ancient flag

Islamic cartographers inherited the documents of Ptolemy's Almagest and Geography in the ninth century, which stimulated Muslims' interest in geography and maps, although they did not form any basis for their cartography. The Muslims inherited the Greek writings directly without being affected by the T-maps, which were common in Europe at that time. Since then, Muslim scholars have made many special contributions to geography and earth sciences.

The golden age of Islam

When the capital of the Muslim world was moved to Baghdad in 750, the city became a center for studies, translations and scientific recording, and attracted scholars from all corners of the world. The scholars also enjoyed the support, protection and patronage of the Abbasid Caliphs, especially Harun al-Rashid and al-Mamun. The doors of education were opened for Muslims and non-Muslims, and speakers of Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Persian and Syriac spread, although Arabic remained the common language, and Islam is the dominant religion.

Islamic Astronomy

Arabs and Muslims paid great attention to astronomy. The caravans of merchants relied on knowledge of the stars to walk at night. The sailors also benefited from it in their sailing. He also mentioned the virtues of astronomy in many verses of the Noble Qur’an. The same techniques used in astronomy were the same as those used directly in geography

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