Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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xiv                                 PREFACE.

old) to devote myself entirely to the service of science,
as he let me dwell under the shadow of his power and
let the cloud of his favour rain on me, always personally
distinguishing and befriending me, &c. ? And with
regard to this (the favour conferred upon me), he has
deigned to send his orders to the treasury and the
ministry, which certainly is the utmost that kings
can do for their subjects. May God Almighty reward
him both in this and in yonder world," &c.

Thereupon, finding that his Majesty did not require
his actual service, and besides, finding that science stood
in the highest favour with him, he composes a book on
astronomy, to which he had been addicted all his life,
and adorns it with the name of his Majesty, calling it
Canon Mctsudicus [AlkdnUn Almas'Adi), &c.

To put the phrases of this preface into plain language,
the author was in favour with King Mas'ud; he had
access to the court—living, probably, near it—and
received an income which enabled him to devote him¬
self entirely to his scientific work. Besides, all this
appears as a new state of things, the reverse of which
had been the case under the king's predecessor, his
father, Mahmud. We do not know the year in which
this change in the life of Alberuni was brought about.
Perhaps it was in some way connected with the fact
that the chancellor, Maimandi, died a.d. 1033, and that
after him one Abii-Nasr Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn
""Abdussamad became chancellor, who before, i.e. from
1017 to 1033, had administered Khwarizm, the native
country of Alberuni. He and Maimandi had been
political antagonists—not so he and 'Abdussamad.

The difference of the author's condition, as it appears
to have been under Mas'ud, from what it was under
Mahmud when he prepared the 'IvSiKa^ is further illus¬
trated by certain passages in the book itself. When
speaking of the difficulties with which he had to grapple
in his efforts to learn everything about India, he con-
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