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Abu al-Fida
BornNovember , 1273
Died(1331-10-27)October 27, 1331
Other namesAbu Al-fida' Isma'il Ibn 'ali

Abu al-Fida (Arabic: أبو الفداء‎; November 1273 – October 27, 1331), fully Abu Al-fida' Isma'il Ibn 'ali ibn Mahmud Al-malik Al-mu'ayyad 'imad Ad-din and better known in English as Abulfeda,[a] was a Kurdish[1] historian, geographer and local governor of Hama.[2][3] He was a prince of the Ayyubid dynasty The crater Abulfeda on the Moon, is named after him.


Abu'l-Fida was born in Damascus,[4] where his father Malik ul-Afdal, brother of Emir Al-Mansur Muhammad II of Hama, had fled from the Mongols.

In his boyhood he devoted himself to the study of the Qur'an and the sciences, but from his twelfth year onward, he was almost constantly engaged in military expeditions, chiefly against the crusaders.[5]

In 1285 he was present at the assault of a stronghold of the Knights of St. John, and took part in the sieges of Tripoli, Acre and Qal'at ar-Rum. In 1298 he entered the service of the Mamluk Sultan Malik al-Nasir and after twelve years was invested by him with the governorship of Hama. In 1312 he became prince with the title Malik us-Salhn, and in 1320 received the hereditary rank of sultan with the title Malik ul-Mu'ayyad.[5]

For more than twenty years all together he reigned in tranquillity and splendour, devoting himself to the duties of government and to the composition of the works to which he is chiefly indebted for his fame. He was a munificent patron of men of letters, who came in large numbers to his court. He died in 1331.[5]


  • The Concise History of Humanity or Chronicles (Arabic: المختصر في أخبار البشر - تاريخ أبى الفداء‎) (History of Abu al-Fida); his chief historical work is An Abridgment of the History at the Human Race, in the form of annals extending from the creation of the world to the year 1329 (Constantinople, 2 vols. 1869).[5]
  • A Sketch of the Countries (Arabic: تقويم البلدان‎). His Geography is, like much of the history, founded on the works of his predecessors, including the works of Ptolemy and Muhammad al-Idrisi. A long introduction on various geographical matters is followed by twenty-eight sections dealing in tabular form with the chief towns of the world. After each name are given the longitude, latitude, climate, spelling, and then observations generally taken from earlier authors. Parts of the work were published and translated as early as 1650 in Europe.[5] In his works Abu'l-Fida correctly mentions the latitude and longitude of the city of Quanzhou in China.[6]
  • A book about medicine named Kunash (Arabic: الكُنّاش‎)
  • Abu'l-Fida Mosque

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Other forms of his name include Abul-Fida' al-Ḥamawi, Abul Fida Ismail Hamvi, and Abu Alfida.[citation needed]



  1. ^ The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, p. 45, at Google Books
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, (edited by) Helaine Selin, pp. 7-8, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands, 1997
  3. ^ Identifiants et Référentiels Sudoc Pour L'Enseignement Supérieur et la Recherche - Abū al-Fidā (1273-1331) (in French)
  4. ^ Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 5
  5. ^ a b c d e  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abulfeda". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 80.
  6. ^ The Travels of Ibn Batūta: With Notes, Illustrative of the History, p. 211, at Google Books


  • Gibb, H.A.R. (1986). "Abu'l Fidā". The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Volume 1: A-B. Leiden: Brill. pp. 118–119.
  • Studies on Abul-Fida' al-Ḥamawi (1273-1331 A.D.) by Farid Ibn Faghül, Carl Ehrig-Eggert, E. Neubauer. Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science (Institut für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften) at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1992.
  • Encyclopedie de l'Islam, 2nd ed. E.J. Brill, Leiden and G.P. Maisonneuve, Paris, 1960. (in French)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]