Skip to content
Alberuni's India

Alberuni's India
An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Astronomy, Customs, Laws and Astrology of India about AD 1030

Volume 1

Part of Cambridge Library Collection - South Asian History

  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108047197


Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Translated and annotated by orientalist Edward Sachau (1845–1930), this 1887–8 two-volume work is the account by Muslim polymath and traveller Alberuni (973–1048) of Indian political and social life in the medieval period. Sachau published the manuscript in Arabic in 1885–6, at the same time working on an English translation. Alberuni, born in Chorasmia, south of the Aral Sea, was one of the leading scholars of his day. He accompanied the Afghan ruler Mahmud on his invasion of India in the early eleventh century, and remained there for thirteen years, making a detailed study of Indian life and culture, and in particular studying the Hindu religion. Alberuni claims that his work is not polemical in nature, but a simple historical record of facts, and he commends the learning of the Hindus in philosophy, mathematics and astronomy. Volume 1 discusses Hindu beliefs, the caste system and the calendar.

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108047197
    • length: 466 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Editor's preface
    1. On the Hindus in general, as an introduction to our account of them
    2. On the belief of the Hindus in God
    3. On the Hindu belief as to created things, both 'intelligibilia' and 'sensibilia'
    4. From what cause action originates, and how the soul is connected with matter
    5. On the state of the souls, and their migrations through the world in the metempsychosis
    6. On the different worlds, and on the places of retribution in paradise and hell
    7. On the nature of liberation from the world, and on the path leading thereto
    8. On the different classes of created beings, and on their names
    9. On the castes, called 'colours' (varna), and on the classes below them
    10. On the source of their religious and civil law, on prophets, and on the question whether single laws can be abrogated or not
    11. About the beginning of idol-worship, and a description of the individual idols
    12. On the Veda, the Purānas, and other kinds of their national literature
    13. Their grammatical and metrical literature
    14. Hindu literature in the other sciences - astronomy, astrology, etc.
    15. Notes on Hindu metrology, intended to facilitate the understanding of all kinds of measurements which occur in this book
    16. Notes on the writing of the Hindus, on their arithmetic and related subjects, and on certain strange manners and customs of theirs
    17. On Hindu sciences which prey on the ignorance of people
    18. Various notes on their country, their rivers, and their ocean - itineraries of the distances between their several kingdoms, and between the boundaries of their country
    19. On the names of the planets, the signs of the zodiac, the lunar stations, and related subjects
    20. On the Brahmânda
    21. Description on earth and heaven according to the religious views of the Hindus, based upon their traditional literature
    22. Traditions relating to the Pole
    23. On Mount Meru according to the belief of the authors of the Purânas and of others
    24. Traditions of the Purânas regarding each of the seven Dvîpas
    25. On the rivers of India, their sources and courses
    26. On the shape of heaven and earth according to the Hindu astronomers
    27. On the first two motions of the universe (that from east to west according to ancient astronomers, and the precession of the equinoxes) both according to the Hindu astronomers and the authors of the Purânas
    28. On the definition of the directions
    29. Definition of the inhabitable earth according to the Hindus
    30. On Lankâ, or the cupola of the earth
    31. On that difference of various places which we call the difference of longitude
    32. On the notions of duration and time in general, and on the creation of the world and its destruction
    33. On the various kinds of the day or nychthemeron, and on day and night in particular
    34. On the division of the nychthemeron into minor particles of time
    35. On the different kinds of months and years
    36. On the four measures of time called mâna
    37. On the parts of the month and the year
    38. On the various measures of time composed of days, the life of Brahman included
    39. On measures of time which are larger than the life of Brahman
    40. On the samdhi, the interval between two periods of time, forming the connecting link between them
    41. Definition of the terms 'kalpa' and 'caturyuga', and an explication of the one by the other
    42. On the division of the caturyuga into yugas, and the different opinions regarding the latter
    43. A description of the four yugas, and of all that is expected to take place at the end of the fourth yuga
    44. On the manvantaras
    45. On the constellation of the Great Bear
    46. On Nârâyana, his appearance at different times, and his names
    47. On Vâsudeva and the wars of the Bhârata
    48. An explanation of the measure of an akshauhinî.

  • Author

    Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Bīrūnī

    Editor and Translator

    Edward C. Sachau

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.