Al-Muqaddasi and Human Geography: An Early Contribution to Social Sciences

Al-Muqaddasi and Human Geography: An Early Contribution to Social Sciences

Recent scholarly interest in the genesis of social sciences in Islamic culture is a noteworthy shift. Until recent times, the development of these fields was credited exclusively to the modern Western tradition, especially to the 19th century birth of humanities. The ground breaking contribution of Ibn Khaldun was recognized; however, the author of the Muqaddima stands as an isolated genius. In the following article, an attempt is made to broaden the field by highlighting the contributions of several other scholars in laying the foundation of social sciences in Islamic culture. After a short survey on Al-Biruni and Al-Raghib al-Isfahani, the focus of the article is dedicated to the 10th-century Palestinian geographer Al-Muqaddasi, who touched on various subjects of interest to the social sciences in his book Ahsan al-taqasim fi ma'rifat al-aqalim.

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