Mecca spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula, the plain of Tihamah in Saudi Arabia, is the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region. The city is located 70 km inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m above sea level, 340 kilometres south of Medina, its resident population in 2012 was 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah. As the birthplace of Muḥammad, the site of Muhammad's first revelation of the Quran, Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, by majority description Islam's holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad's descendants, the sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities, it was conquered by Ibn Saud in 1925.
In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, home to structures such as the Abraj Al Bait known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world's fourth tallest building and the building with the third largest amount of floor area. During this expansion, Mecca has lost some historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. Today, more than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million during the few days of the Hajj; as a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Muslim world, although non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city. "Mecca" is the familiar form of the English transliteration for the Arabic name of the city, although the official transliteration used by the Saudi government is Makkah, closer to the Arabic pronunciation. The word "Mecca" in English has come to be used to refer to any place that draws large numbers of people, because of this some English speaking Muslims have come to regard the use of this spelling for the city as offensive.
The Saudi government adopted Makkah as the official spelling in the 1980s, but is not universally known or used worldwide. The full official name is Makkah al-Mukarramah or Makkatu l-Mukarramah, which means "Mecca the Honored", but is loosely translated as "The Holy City of Mecca"; the ancient or early name for the site of Mecca is Bakkah. An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure. Believed to be a synonym for Mecca, it is said to be more the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that surrounds and includes the Ka‘bah; this form is used for the name Mecca in the Quran in 3:96, while the form Mecca is used in 48:24. In South Arabic, the language in use in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad, the b and m were interchangeable. Other references to Mecca in the Quran call it Umm al-Qurā, meaning "Mother of All Settlements"/"mother of villages". Another name of Mecca is Ṫihāmah.
Another name for Mecca, or the wilderness and mountains surrounding it, according to Arab and Islamic tradition, is Faran or Pharan, referring to the Desert of Paran mentioned in the Old Testament at Genesis 21:21. Arab and Islamic tradition holds that the wilderness of Paran, broadly speaking, is the Tihamah and the site where Ishmael settled was Mecca. Yaqut al-Hamawi, the 12th century Syrian geographer, wrote that Fārān was "an arabized Hebrew word, one of the names of Mecca mentioned in the Torah." Mecca is governed by the Municipality of Mecca, a municipal council of fourteen locally elected members headed by a mayor appointed by the Saudi government. As of May 2015, the mayor of the city was Dr. Osama bin Fadhel Al-Bar. Mecca is the capital of the Makkah Region; the provincial governor was prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from 2000 until his death in 2007. On 16 May 2007, prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud was appointed as the new governor; the early history of Mecca is still disputed, as there are no unambiguous references to it in ancient literature prior to the rise of Islam.
The Roman Empire took control of part of the Hejaz in 106 CE, ruling cities such as Hegra, located to the north of Mecca. Though detailed descriptions were established of Western Arabia by Rome, such as by Procopius, there are no references of a pilgrimage and trading outpost such as Mecca; the first direct mention of Mecca in external literature occurs in 741 CE, in the Byzantine-Arab Chronicle, though here the author places it in Mesopotamia rather than the Hejaz. Given the inhospitable environment and lack of historical references in Roman and Indian sources, historians including Patricia Crone and Tom Holland have cast doubt on the claim that Mecca was a major historical trading outpost; the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus writes about Arabia in his work Bibliotheca historica, describing a holy shrine: "And a temple has been set up there, holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians". Claims have been made. However, the geographic location Diodorus describes is located in northwest Arabia, around the area of Leuke Kome, closer to Petra and within the form
Ḥamdallāh Mustawfī Qazvīnī was a Persian historian and epic poet, descended from a family of Arab origin. Mustawfi is the author of Nozhat ol-Gholub, Zafar-Nameh, the Tarikh e Gozideh, his tomb is a structure with a blue turquoise conical dome, at Qazvin. In his works regarding the history of Tabriz, Mustawfi mentions that before the arrival of the Mongols the people of Tabriz spoke Pahalavi Persian and began to speak Adhari Turkish during Illkhanate rule, he mentions that the people of Maragha and Ardabil had their own Persian dialects. Verily God hath preferred amongst His creatures of the Arabs the Quraysh, among the Persians the men of Fars: for which reason the people of this province... were known as' the Best of the Persians.' List of Iranian scientists Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi at Encyclopædia Iranica
Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī, known as Al-Biruni in English, was an Iranian scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarazm – a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, northern Turkmenistan. Biruni is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics and natural sciences, distinguished himself as a historian and linguist, he studied all fields of science and was compensated for his research and strenuous work. Royalty and powerful members of society sought out Al-Biruni to conduct research and study to uncover certain findings, he lived during the Islamic Golden Age, in which scholarly thought went hand in hand with the thinking and methodology of the Islamic religion. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy, he was conversant in Khwarezmian, Arabic and knew Greek and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan.
In 1017 he travelled to South Asia and authored a study of Indian culture after exploring the Hinduism practised in India. He was given the title "founder of Indology", he was an impartial writer on customs and creeds of various nations, was given the title al-Ustadh for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. He was born in the outer district of the capital of the Afrighid dynasty of Khwarezm. To conduct research, Al-Biruni used different methods to tackle the various fields. Many consider Al-Biruni one of the greatest scientists in history, of Islam because of his discoveries and methodology, he lived during the Islamic Golden Age, which promoted astronomy and encouraged all scholars to work on their research. Al-Biruni spent the first twenty-five years of his life in Khwarezm where he studied Islamic jurisprudence, grammar, astronomy, medicine and dabbled in the field of physics and most other sciences as well; the Iranian Khwarezmian language, the language of Biruni, survived for several centuries after Islam until the Turkification of the region, so must some at least of the culture and lore of ancient Khwarezm, for it is hard to see the commanding figure of Biruni, a repository of so much knowledge, appearing in a cultural vacuum.
He was sympathetic to the Afrighids, who were overthrown by the rival dynasty of Ma'munids in 995. He left his homeland for Bukhara under the Samanid ruler Mansur II the son of Nuh. There he corresponded with Avicenna and there are extant exchanges of views between these two scholars. In 998, he went to the court of the Ziyarid amir of Tabaristan, Shams al-Mo'ali Abol-hasan Ghaboos ibn Wushmgir. There he wrote his first important work, al-Athar al-Baqqiya'an al-Qorun al-Khaliyya on historical and scientific chronology around 1000 A. D. though he made some amendments to the book. He visited the court of the Bavandid ruler Al-Marzuban. Accepting the definite demise of the Afrighids at the hands of the Ma'munids, he made peace with the latter who ruled Khwarezm, their court at Gorganj was gaining fame for its gathering of brilliant scientists. In 1017, Mahmud of Ghazni took Rey. Most scholars, including al-Biruni, were taken to the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty. Biruni was made court astrologer and accompanied Mahmud on his invasions into India, living there for a few years.
He was forty-four years old. Biruni became acquainted with all things related to India, he may have learned some Sanskrit. During this time he wrote his study of India, finishing it around 1030. Along with his writing, Al-Biruni made sure to extend his study to science while on the expeditions, he sought to find a method to measure the height of the sun, created an early version of an astrolabe for that purpose. Al-Biruni was able to make much progress in his study over the frequent travels that he went on throughout the lands of India. Ninety-five of 146 books known to have been written by Bīrūnī were devoted to astronomy and related subjects like mathematical geography, his religion contributed to his research of astronomy, as in Islam and prayer require knowing the precise directions of sacred locations, which can only be found using astronomical data. Biruni's major work on astrology is an astronomical and mathematical text, only the last chapter concerns astrological prognostication, his endorsement of astrology is limited, in so far as he condemns horary astrology as'sorcery'.
In discussing speculation by other Muslim writers on the possible motion of the Earth, Biruni acknowledged that he could neither prove nor disprove it, but commented favourably on the idea that the Earth rotates. He wrote an extensive commentary on Indian astronomy in the Tahqiq ma li-l-hind translation of Aryabhatta's work, in which he claims to have resolved the matter of Earth's rotation in a work on astronomy, no longer extant, his Miftah-ilm-alhai'a: he rotation of the earth does in no way impair the value of astronomy, as all appearances of an astronomic character can quite as well be explained according to this theory as to the other. There
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
Geography and cartography in medieval Islam
Medieval Islamic geography was based on Hellenistic geography and reached its apex with Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 12th century. After its beginnings in the 8th century based on Hellenistic geography, Islamic geography was patronized by the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. Various Islamic scholars contributed to its development, the most notable include Al-Khwārizmī, Abū Zayd al-Balkhī, Abu Rayhan Biruni. Islamic cartographers inherited Geography in the 9th century; these were not slavishly followed. Instead and Persian cartography followed Al-Khwārizmī in adopting a rectangular projection, shifting Ptolemy's Prime Meridian several degrees eastward, modifying many of Ptolemy's geographical coordinates. Having received Greek writings directly and without Latin intermediation and Persian geographers made no use of European-style T-O maps. In the 11th century, the Karakhanid Turkic scholar Mahmud al-Kashgari was the first to draw a unique Islamic world map, where he illuminated the cities and places of the Turkic peoples of Central and Inner Asia.
He showed the lake Issyk-Kul as the center of the world. The earliest reference to a compass in the Muslim world occurs in a Persian talebook from 1232, where a compass is used for navigation during a trip in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf; the fish-shaped iron leaf described indicates that this early Chinese design has spread outside of China. The earliest Arabic reference to a compass, in the form of magnetic needle in a bowl of water, comes from a work by Baylak al-Qibjāqī, written in 1282 while in Cairo. Al-Qibjāqī described a needle-and-bowl compass used for navigation on a voyage he took from Syria to Alexandria in 1242. Since the author describes having witnessed the use of a compass on a ship trip some forty years earlier, some scholars are inclined to antedate its first appearance in the Arab world accordingly. Al-Qibjāqī reports that sailors in the Indian Ocean used iron fish instead of needles. Late in the 13th century, the Yemeni Sultan and astronomer al-Malik al-Ashraf described the use of the compass as a "Qibla indicator" to find the direction to Mecca.
In a treatise about astrolabes and sundials, al-Ashraf includes several paragraphs on the construction of a compass bowl. He uses the compass to determine the north point, the meridian, the Qibla; this is the first mention of a compass in a medieval Islamic scientific text and its earliest known use as a Qibla indicator, although al-Ashraf did not claim to be the first to use it for this purpose. In 1300, an Arabic treatise written by the Egyptian astronomer and muezzin Ibn Simʿūn describes a dry compass used for determining qibla. Like Peregrinus' compass, Ibn Simʿūn's compass did not feature a compass card. In the 14th century, the Syrian astronomer and timekeeper Ibn al-Shatir invented a timekeeping device incorporating both a universal sundial and a magnetic compass, he invented it for the purpose of finding the times of prayers. Arab navigators introduced the 32-point compass rose during this time. In 1399, an Egyptian reports two different kinds of magnetic compass. One instrument is a “fish” made of willow wood or pumpkin, into which a magnetic needle is inserted and sealed with tar or wax to prevent the penetration of water.
The other instrument is a dry compass. In the 15th century, the description given by Ibn Majid while aligning the compass with the pole star indicates that he was aware of magnetic declination. An explicit value for the declination is given by ʿIzz al-Dīn al-Wafāʾī. Pre modern Arabic sources refer to the compass using the term ṭāsa for the floating compass, or ālat al-qiblah for a device used for orienting towards Mecca. Friedrich Hirth suggested that Arab and Persian traders, who learned about the polarity of the magnetic needle from the Chinese, applied the compass for navigation before the Chinese did. However, Needham described this theory as "erroneous" and "it originates because of a mistraslation" of the term chia-ling found in Zhu Yu's book Pingchow Table Talks. History of geography History of cartography Bibliography "How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs" by De Lacy O'Leary Islamic Geography in the Middle Ages
Ibn Battuta was a Muslim Moroccan scholar, explorer who travelled the medieval world. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. All, known about Ibn Battuta's life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels, which records that he was of Berber descent, born into a family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco, on 25 February 1304, during the reign of the Marinid dynasty, he claimed descent from a Berber tribe known as the Lawata. As a young man, he would have studied at a Sunni Maliki madh'hab, the dominant form of education in North Africa at that time. Maliki Muslims requested Ibn Battuta serve as their religious judge as he was from an area where it was practised. In June 1325, at the age of twenty-one, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, a journey that would ordinarily take sixteen months.
He would not see Morocco again for twenty-four years. I set out alone, having neither fellow-traveller in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose part I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I braced my resolution to quit my dear ones and male, forsook my home as birds forsake their nests. My parents being yet in the bonds of life, it weighed sorely upon me to part from them, both they and I were afflicted with sorrow at this separation, he travelled to Mecca overland, following the North African coast across the sultanates of Abd al-Wadid and Hafsid. The route took him through Tlemcen, Béjaïa, Tunis, where he stayed for two months. For safety, Ibn Battuta joined a caravan to reduce the risk of being robbed, he took a bride in the town of Sfax, the first in a series of marriages that would feature in his travels. In the early spring of 1326, after a journey of over 3,500 km, Ibn Battuta arrived at the port of Alexandria, at the time part of the Bahri Mamluk empire.
He met two ascetic pious men in Alexandria. One was Sheikh Burhanuddin, supposed to have foretold the destiny of Ibn Battuta as a world traveller saying "It seems to me that you are fond of foreign travel. You will visit my brother Fariduddin in Rukonuddin in Sind and Burhanuddin in China. Convey my greetings to them". Another pious man Sheikh Murshidi interpreted the meaning of a dream of Ibn Battuta that he was meant to be a world traveller, he spent several weeks visiting sites in the area, headed inland to Cairo, the capital of the Mamluk Sultanate and an important city. After spending about a month in Cairo, he embarked on the first of many detours within the relative safety of Mamluk territory. Of the three usual routes to Mecca, Ibn Battuta chose the least-travelled, which involved a journey up the Nile valley east to the Red Sea port of Aydhab. Upon approaching the town, however, a local rebellion forced him to turn back. Ibn Battuta took a second side trip, this time to Mamluk-controlled Damascus.
During his first trip he had encountered a holy man who prophesied that he would only reach Mecca by travelling through Syria. The diversion held an added advantage. Without this help many travellers would be murdered. After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, he joined a caravan travelling the 1,300 km south to Medina, site of the Mosque of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. After four days in the town, he journeyed on to Mecca, where completing his pilgrimage he took the honorific status of El-Hajji. Rather than returning home, Ibn Battuta decided to continue on, choosing as his next destination the Ilkhanate, a Mongol Khanate, to the northeast. On 17 November 1326, following a month spent in Mecca, Ibn Battuta joined a large caravan of pilgrims returning to Iraq across the Arabian Peninsula; the group headed north to Medina and travelling at night, turned northeast across the Najd plateau to Najaf, on a journey that lasted about two weeks. In Najaf, he visited the mausoleum of the Fourth Caliph.
Instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan, Ibn Battuta started a six-month detour that took him into Persia. From Najaf, he journeyed to Wasit followed the river Tigris south to Basra, his next destination was the town of Isfahan across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. He headed south to Shiraz, a large, flourishing city spared the destruction wrought by Mongol invaders on many more northerly towns, he returned across the mountains to Baghdad, arriving there in June 1327. Parts of the city were still ruined from the damage inflicted by Hulago Khan's invading army in 1258. In Baghdad, he found Abu Sa'id, the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanate, leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue. Ibn Battuta joined the royal caravan for a while turned north on the Silk Road to Tabriz, the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and by an important trading centre as most of its nearby rivals had been razed by the Mongol invaders. Ibn Battuta left again for Baghdad in July, but first took an excursion northwards along the river