Abu al-Fida (Arabic: أبو الفداء; or Abul-Fida' al-Ḥamawi or Abul Fida Ismail Hamvi, fully Abu Al-fida' Isma'il Ibn 'ali ibn Mahmud Al-malik Al-mu'ayyad 'imad Ad-din; also transliterated Abulfeda, Abu Alfida, etc.; November 1273 – October 27, 1331) was a Kurdishhistorian, geographer and local governor of Hama. He was a prince of the Ayyubid dynasty and the author of The memoirs of a Syrian prince: Abu'l-Fidāʼ, Sultan of Ḥamāh. The crater Abulfeda on the Moon, is named after him.
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.
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 MamlukSultanMalik 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.
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.
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. In his works Abu'l-Fida correctly mentions the latitude and longtitude of the city of Quanzhou in China.
A book about medicine named Kunash (Arabic: الكُنّاش)
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. (French)