Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | Ramadan 6, 1444 H
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An author with a difference

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The handwritten book by Ahmed bin Majid has been a major attraction at the 26th edition of Muscat International Book Fair 2022. The book fair has concluded but this ancient book can be still seen at the National Records and Archives Permanent Exhibition.

He is remembered as Shihab as-Din, ‘Star of the Faith’ and the Lion of the Sea. But he also had another aspect - a writer and because of this very talent people are still able to live through maritime history.

The manuscript of ‘Al Nunniyaa al Kubra’ written by Shihab al Din Ahmed bin Majid al Saadi al Omani consists of poetic treatises in seafaring and science of navigation in which the author describes the origins of science of sea navigation, experimental methods, measurements of certain stars and their place on the zodiac system.

This manuscript is preserved at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs.

Ahmed bin Majid al Saadi (906-825 AH / 1500 - 1421 CE) was an Omani navigator and cartographer. Born in Julfar, as per the National Records and Archives, he was educated by his father, Majid bin Muhammad as Saadi, himself a renowned marine captain and navigator. So it would have been natural that his son, Ibn Majid is respected and is considered as one of the best known navigators in the Indian Ocean and among the finest scholars in the art of navigation as well as the marine history of the Arabs.

Ahmed bin Majid is also renowned because he is the inventor of the magnetic needle (magnetic compass) which is used for navigation and orientation at sea.

He is the author of nearly forty works of poetry and prose.

Among his many books on oceanography the Fawaid fi-usul’llm (The Book of the Benefits of the Principles and Foundations of Seamanship), which was completed in the year (895-880AH/1490-1475 CE) at the end of his life, is considered as one of his best.

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