Al-Muqaddasi

Description of Syria, including Palestine. 985 A.D.

Al-Muqaddasi, a medieval Arab geographer, was author of the work Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim (“The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions”). He composed this work at the age of forty after having undertaken a long series of voyages through all of the countries of Islam.
The interest in Al-Muqaddasi’s text lies in its accurate descriptions not only of Jerusalem but also of other localities in tenth century Palestine. To him we owe the memory of the Nativity as a place of worship not only for Christians but also for Muslims.

Bethlehem, the place of worship for Muslims

Bethlehem is a village about a league away, in the direction of Hebron. Jesus was born here; and there grew up here the Palm tree [mentioned in the Koran], for although in this district palms are never found, this one grew by a miracle. There is also a church, the equal of which does not exist anywhere in the surrounding countryside.

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