Yaqut was a slave of a trader named Askar ibn Abi Nasr al-Hamawi who lived in Baghdad, Iraq. His master taught him accounting and trading and sent him to trade on his behalf. He later freed him of his obligations and that enabled Yaqut to dedicate himself to his scholarly tasks. He was one of the last scholars who had access to the libraries east of the Caspian Sea before the Mongol invasion of Central Asia. He travelled to the peaceful scholarly city of ancient Merv in present-day Turkmenistan. There Yaqut spent two years in libraries, learning much of the knowledge he would later use in his works. Yaqut spent the last years of his life in Aleppo and died there.