Knowledge of the Earth


As is stated in the introductory chapter, the subject of Maʻrifat al-arz̤ (Knowledge of the Earth, or Introduction to geology) is “the structure and the continual evolution that [the Earth] has been subject to in prior eons and at the present time.” The work thus can be regarded as an introductory text on geology. Following the introduction are 20 chapters on topics ranging from “rocks” (Chapter 2) to the “Quaternary Period” (Chapter 21). Sections in each chapter are numbered consecutively, and end at Section 167, “The Ice Age.” Other topics covered include the water cycle, erosion, and volcanism. Several historical events are listed, including the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and the 1902 volcanic eruption in Martinique. Written prior to the widespread acceptance of the theory of continental drift, the book describes earthquakes as having an “as of yet undetermined cause” (although the author rules out volcanism as the underlying cause). The division of the geological time periods into the primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary was already antiquated by the time book was written. The surviving work does not include figures and notes, which creates a conundrum as numerous references to figures exist within the text. (It is possible that the figures were published separately or that the present work is incomplete in some way.) The work was printed at the Dar al-Saltanah printing press in Kabul. The author, a Mr. Arjumand, was a history teacher from Persia hired at the Amaniyah School in Kabul. This school was founded by the Afghan ruler Amanullah Khan (reigned 1919–29) and was staffed by Persian and French teachers. The book was published in 1926–27 (AH 1305).

Publication Information

Dār al-Salṭanah, Kabul


Title in Original Language

معرفة الارض


Type of Item

Physical Description

204 pages ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: September 30, 2016