List of Arabic encyclopedias

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This is a list of encyclopedias in the Arabic language.


The Arabic word for encyclopedia is mawsooa (موسوعة). It is derived from the word wase'e (واسع), which means "wide".

The early Arabic compilations of knowledge in the Middle Ages included many comprehensive works, and much development of what would become known as the scientific method, historical method, and citation. About year 960, the Brethren of Purity of Basra were engaged in their Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity. Other notable works include Abu Bakr al-Razi's encyclopedia of science, the Mutazilite al-Kindi's prolific output of 270 books, and Ibn Sina's medical encyclopedia, which was a standard reference work for centuries. Also notable are works of universal history (or sociology) from the Asharites, al-Tabri, al-Masudi, al-Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings, Ibn Rustah, Ali ibn al-Athir, and Ibn Khaldun, whose Muqadimmah contains cautions regarding trust in written records that remain wholly applicable today. These scholars had an incalculable influence on methods of research and editing, due in part to the Islamic practice of isnad which emphasized fidelity to written record, checking sources, and skeptical inquiry.

By preserving Latin and Greek texts which would otherwise have been lost, they helped to rekindle the search for knowledge and methods of natural philosophy which would rise in Western Europe during the Renaissance.

Following the conquests of much of the Arab world by the Ottoman Empire, the Arabic encyclopedias started to dwindle, along with scientific research, the "golden age" of the Arab world was over. After the 1950s and the liberation of the Arab states from colonial powers, new encyclopedias started to be published, like the Marafa, and with the Internet and an Arab League proposal of creating an online encyclopedia in Arabic, it started to flourish again.[1]

Historic encyclopedias[edit]

Contemporary encyclopedias[edit]











See also[edit]