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

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



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  Page xliii  

PREFACE.                                xliii

with certain doctrines of the Hindus is apparent to
any one who is aware of the essential identity of the
systems of the Greek Neo-Pythagoreans, the Hindu
Vedanta philosophers, and the Sufis of the Muslim
world. The authors whom he quotes, Abu Yazid
Albistami and Abu Bakr Alshibli, are well-known
representatives of Sufism.    Cf. note to i. 87, 88.

As far as the present state of research allows one to
judge, the work of Alberuni has not been continued.
In astronomy he seems by his Canon Masudicus to
represent the height, and at the same time the end, of
the independent development of this science among the
Arabs. But numerous scholars toiled on in his wake,
whilst in the study of India, and for the translation of
the standard works of Sanskrit literature, he never had
a successor before the days of the Emperor Akbar.
There followed some authors who copied from his
'IvSlko., but there was none who could carry on the
work in his spirit and method after he had died,
eighteen years after the composition of the 'IvSlko..
We must here mention two authors who lived not long
after him, under the same dynasty, and probably in the
same place, Ghazna, viz., Gardezi (cf. note to ii. 6), who
wrote between a.d. 1049 ^^"^ 1052, and Muhammad
Ibn 'Ukail, who wrote between A.D. 1089 and 1099
(cf. note to i. 5). Of the later authors who studied
Alberuni's 'IvSlko. a.nd copied from it, the most notorious
is Eashid-aldin, who transferred, e.g. the whole geogra¬
phical Chapter xviii. into his huge chronicle.

When Alberuni entered India, times were not favour- india at the

IIP                     •          f'Ti           1-                •   ^             •                                 author's

able for opening friendly relations with native scholars, time.
India recoiled from the touch of the impure barbarians.
The Pala dynasty, once ruling over Kabulistan and the
Panjab, had disappeared from the theatre of history, and
their former dominions were in the firm grasp of King
Mahmud and under the administration of his slaves,
of  Turkish  descent.    The princes of North-Western
  Page xliii