Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Mas‘udi
|Died||Jumadi ul-Thani, 345 AH|
September, AD 956
|Notable work(s)||Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawhar ("|
Apart from what Al-Mas‘udi writes of himself little is known. Born in
Al-Mas‘udi's travels actually occupied most of his life from at least 903/915 CE to very near the end of his life. His journeys took him to most of the
Persianprovinces, Armenia, Georgiaand other regions of the Caspian Sea; as well as to Arabia, Syriaand Egypt. He also travelled to the Indus Valley, and other parts of India, especially the western coast; and he voyaged more than once to East Africa. He also sailed on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Caspian.
Al-Mas‘udi may have reached
Little is known of his means and funding of his extensive travels within and beyond the lands of Islam, and it has been speculated that like many travelers he may have been involved in trade.
Towards the end of The Meadows of Gold, al-Mas‘udi wrote:
The information we have gathered here is the fruit of long years of research and painful efforts of our voyages and journeys across the East and the West, and of the various nations that lie beyond the regions of
Islam. The author of this work compares himself to a man who, having found pearls of all kinds and colours, gathers them together into a necklace and makes them into an ornament that its possessor guards with great care. My aim has been to trace the lands and the histories of many peoples, and I have no other.
We know that al-Mas‘udi wrote a revised edition of Muruj adh-dhahab in 956 CE; however, only a draft version from 947 is extant. Al-Mas‘udi in his Tanbih states that the revised edition of Muruj adh-dhahab contained 365 chapters.