The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Regions
Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Shams al-Dīn al-Muqaddasī or al-Maqdisī (Arabic: محمد بن أحمد شمس الدين المقدسي), also transliterated as el-Mukaddasi, (c. 945/946 - 991) was a medieval Arabgeographer, author of Aḥsan al-taqāsim fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm (The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Regions).
Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD. He had the advantage of an excellent education and after having made the Pilgrimage to Mecca in his twentieth year, determined to devote himself to the study of geography. For the purpose of acquiring the necessary information he undertook a series of journeys which lasted over a score of years, and carried him in turn through all the countries of Islam. It was only in 985 that he set himself to write his book, which gives us a systematic account of all the places and regions he had visited. Le Strange comments of Al-Mukaddassi work: ' His description of Palestine, and especially of Jerusalem, his native city, is one of the best parts of the work. All that he wrote is the fruit of his own observation, and his descriptions of the manners and customs of the various countries, bear the stamp of a shrewd and observant mind, fortified by profound knowledge of both books and men'. (From: Guy le Strange, 1890: Palestine Under The Muslimsp.5 - p.6)