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A glance at the book "Historical Geography of Kufa"
  The first edition of "Historical Geography of Kufa" written by” Louis Massignon (July 25, 1883–October 31, 1962) ",and translated by Dr. Abd-al-Rahim Qanavat, is prepared and published by "SAMT" and the Center of Research and Humanities Development ,and lunched to the bookshops.
Wednesday 6 October 2010 13:26
Code : 37711
A glance at the book "Historical Geography of Kufa"
BFnews: This book is the Persian translation of Massignon work which had been rendered in Arabic with some additional comments by "Mohammad Taghi Almosa’bi" and after him "Kamel salman-al Jaburi”, has added some other clarifications and comments to it as well. Massignon has started this text with the establishment of Kufa, then he has continued to explain about its roads, monuments, neighborhoods, economic map of the city, square, Jaame Mosque and other mosques of Kufa, Kenase, the famous neighborhood, Najaf and the tomb of Imam Ali (AS).

Kufa has located in front of Hire, where a headland of sand closes vertically to the Euphrates. Between, the flat basined land in the east, and the low dry land in the west. Here, at the edge of the desert, there is a scout post guarding Zowraaq Bridge. The Bridge, crossing Euphrates, had someday led to Ctesiphon road, but today, it is connected to Baghdad.

Before the forming of Kufa, Hire was the capital of Lakhmids who were, for 3 centuries, protected by the Iranians. However, this was the only urban desert town and the only place for continuous exchange of goods between Iranian government officials, on one hand, and the great bedouin camel drivers on the other hand. It was also the confluent and communication point of the civilian fanatic Christians, with the Aramaean villages or the small shepherd phyla who used to traffic there as well.

Hire was closer to Euphrates than Kufa, and had been dominated on the permanent bridge, which was made in order, for the passengers, to access the main trade road, connecting the remote parts of Asia to the farthest points of Yemen.

Before Islam, the places’ names were selected based on the very old reticulation of streams and surveying lands. (Iranians in the Sassanid era, used to select the names of regional divisions in this way.)

In the fourth century AH, Kufa became the central city of one the six Iraqi provinces, which included: Babylon and EYn-altamr (the 2-1 th and 6-5th zones of the tenth province) , Sura and al-nil ,2 th & 4th zones of the eleventh province) and in the Ottoman broke down to the simple area belonged to Najaf (province of Karbala) and today, it has the same position in the Iraq divisions as well, except that, the Karbala province, which was previously called Sanjaq Karbala, is now called , Leva’ Karbala.

Louis Massignon, the famous French Orientalist, who has, among the world Orientalists, been compared with those like “Goldziher and Noldke ", was born in Paris. His father, Fernand Massignon after studying medicine, left it and turned towards art. He was a professional in sculptor especially in engraving on plaster. Some ones believe that that the father business influenced on the son’s vision.

In 1900 AD, Massignon got a diploma in literature and philosophy, and a year later, got again a diploma in math, he also learned Arabic at National School of Eastern Living Languages. In 1901, he went on a trip to Algeria. In 1904 , he traveled to Morocco and wrote a brief research about there, which caused him to obtain the Excellent Researches Diploma in Religious Sciences from Sorbonne University. From those years then, he began to study Orientalism. In 1905, he participated in the 14th International Conference of Orientalists in Algeria, and met some of the great Orientalists, including Goldziher. A year later, he went to Egypt as a student of the French Center of Eastern Works in Egypt, and continued his researches. In the same years, he also published several works such as; the picture of Morocco geography in the first 15 years of the 16th century, the way of Fez and Morocco pointed Arab conquest.

He acquainted with Hallaj, In 1907 and through the poems of Attar, so that, from then up to the end of his life researching on and studying the works and thoughts of this famous Sufi of Islamic history, became one of the main activities of him.

During 1907-8, he charged the conduction of archaeological researches in Iraq .Where he was the guest of Allosies, the famous family in Baghdad, and conducted a series of researches on the famous monuments and tombs of Iraq, especially in its southern areas. As an example, he visited the village of Salman Pak, explored the ancient Kufa and Basra, and discovered the old Akhizar palace. The report on his archaeological excavations was published in a two volumes book, entitled:”A Mission in Mesopotamie. In 1910, he also published these articles as follow : "Departure of Dead in Baghdad" ,"Al-Mohmmareh", "and “the Recent War between Refa’ieh and Qaderieh", " The Popular Pilgrimage in Baghdad”, and “Researches about Manuscripts in Baghdad.”
Massignon has notable works about Shi’a sects. Among them are: “A list of resources about Nasiriyah cult”, “A list of References about Qoramateh and Bani –Euphrates”. He has also published some researches about Hazrat Zahra (SA).He also wrote an article named: "Mobahelah in Medina". Two of his most famous works in this regard are "Salman Pak" and " The first blossoms of ideality of Iranian Islam”.

Caring also Kahaf Companions, Massignon wrote and published some notes in this regard. His last article name was “The clouds of Magellan and The exploration of them by Arabs”.

During his years of activity in College De France, he lectured much on about the situation and social system of Islam and Muslims, which unfortunately none of them were developed The number of his works are estimated over 650, in the forms of compilation, translation, article, lecture and .... . He has the membership of several major scientific organizations, including the Asian Population, and assemblies like “Egypt Majma’-al Loqavi ‘and ‘Syria Majma’ Al-Elmi Al- Arabi”.

Massignon is more known in Iran, due to Dr. Ali Shariati who had apprenticed him. So far two of his work has been translated into Farsi: ‘Salman Pak’ and ‘Iranian Islam's first blossoms of Ideality’, which were translated and published by Shariati ,and ‘The Arc of Mansoor Hallaj’s Illustrated Life” translated in Persian, by the Afghan writer ,Abd al- Qafoor Ravan Farhadi who was his student as well. The book has been published, along with a brief introduction added by the late H. Khadiv Jam.

Besides, referring to the written literature and references, Louis Massignon has visited the remaining works in the city, during the two trips to Kufa, and he has also conducted archaeological excavations in Iraq. One of the reasons, why this book is so important is that it is somehow a time honored, i.e. It is Written earlier than those written in the recent years, about Kufa.

The present book is designed and developed for the students of Islamic Nations’ history and civilization in undergraduate and graduate tuition, as an assistant source for the historical geography course. It is useful for the researchers of history and the history of Islam as well.

At the end of this book, in addition to isolated list of names ,places, tribes, and groups and several maps and pictures of Kufa situations( old and new) are also provided as appendixes.

The first publication of the book "Historical Geography of Kufa" in 2000 copies, 126 pages and with the price of 14,000 Rails is now available in the book market.