This page focuses on geographical texts in the Arabic-Islamic tradition, which combines works on physical, human, and mathematical geography.
An early geographical treatise in Arabic with information on the topography and administrative geography of the early Muslim Empire. By Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb al-Ya‘qūbī (d. after 905/292 AH).
Source: Muhammad Qasim Zaman, "al-Yaʿḳūbī," EI2.
A book of administrative geography and itineraries by Abbasid courtier Abū al-Qāsim ‘Ubayd-Allāh Ibn Khurradādhbih (d. ca. 911/300 AH). The first of its kind to survive in Arabic.
Geographical text distinguished from other early geographies for its fantastical stories and mentions of mirabilia. The author is Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadhānī, active in the later part of the ninith/third century AH.
This geographical text is the only volume to survive of a multi-volume encyclopedic work by Abū ‘Alī Aḥmad ibn ‘Umar ibn Rusta (active beginning of tenth/end of the third century AH). It includes astronomical information and a discussion of the shape and rotation of the Earth.
A geographic text notable for its inclusion of information about Sudan, Nubia, and southern Italy by Abū al-Qāsim al-Naṣībī, known as Ibn Hawqal, active during the second half of the tenth century/fourth century AH. The edition below is the first, which can be used, but the second edition, published in 1938 and edited by J. H. Kramers. (Find a Copy on Worldcat).
A description of the geography of the Arabian Peninsula composed by Yemeni scholar Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad al-Hamdānī, also known as Ibn al-Ḥā'ik (d. 945/334 AH). The author's works are considered to be a key source for the history of Yemen, and the Ṣifat is indispensable for the study of the region's historical geography.
A landmark work in the field of geography, divergent from the works describing countries and routes that came before in its precise definition of the hierarchical system of cities, regions, and districts in the Empire of Islam. The author is Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Muqaddasī (d. ca. 990/380 AH).
Collected geographical writings dispersed over a number of larger works by Abū al-Rayḥān Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Bīrūnī (d. ca. 1050/442 AH). This work draws on Arabic geographical knowledge that had accumulated over the previous two centuries, as well as Greek, Persian and Indic sources.
An alphabetized list of places in the Muslim world and beyond compiled by Yāqūt al-Rūmī, later al-Ḥamawī (d. 1229/626 AH). Its ease of use and quality of information make it an invaluable resource.
Volume 1 (Internet Archive) -- (أ - ثوير)
Volume 2 (Internet Archive) -- (جابان - زينة)
Volume 3 (Internet Archive) -- (ساباط - فيّ)
Volume 4 (Internet Archive) -- (قابس - يين)
Volume 5 (Internet Archive) -- Editor's Notes
Volume 6 (Internet Archive) -- Indices
A geographical treatise based on translated works of Ptolemy by Al-Malik al-Mu’ayyad ‘Imad al-Dīn Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Alī, known as Abū al-Fidā (d. 1331/732 AH).
A travelogue recounting the pilgrimage journey of Abū al-Ḥusayn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Jubayr (d. 1217/614 AH) from Spain to Mecca. During this trip, he visited the Mediterranean Islands of Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, and passed through modern-day Egypt (Cairo), Saudi Arabia (Jeddah, Mecca and Medina), Iraq (Kufa, Baghdad, Mosul), Turkey (Nusaybin, Dunaysir, Harran), Syria (Raqqa, Aleppo, Damascus) and Palestine (Acre).
Travelogue documenting the extensive journeys of Shams al-Dīn Abū ‘Abd-Allāh Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd-Allāh, known as Ibn Baṭṭūṭa (d. 1368-1369/770 or 1377/779 AH). Includes information on lands both in and outside the Islamic world, and is one of a kind in the Arabic tradition.
A historic topography of Egypt by Taqī al-Dīn Abū al-‘Abbās Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī al-Maqrīzī (d. 1442/845 AH). It is particularly valuable for its information on Cairo and its monuments, to which much space is devoted. It is a unique resource on the history of an Islamic city. Full title name: al-Mawā‘iẓ wa’l-I‘tibār fī dhikr al-khiṭaṭ wa’l-āthār.