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SIR WILLIAM MUIR (1819-1905)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 958 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR WILLIAM MUIR (1819-1905), Scottish Orientalist, brother of the preceding, was born at Glasgow on the 27th of April 1819. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy, at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, and at Haileybury College, and in 1837 entered the Bengal Civil Service. He served as secretary to the governor of the North-West Provinces, and as a member of the Agra revenue board, and during the Mutiny he was in charge of the intelligence department there. In 1865 he was made foreign secretary to the Indian Government. In 1867 he was knighted (K.C.S.I.), and in 1868 he became lieutenant-governor of the North-West Provinces. In 1874 he was appointed financial member of the Council, and retired in 1876, when he became a member of the Council of India in London. He had always taken an interest in educational matters, and it was chiefly through his exertions that the central college at Allahabad, known as Muir's College, was built and endowed. In 1885 he was elected principal of Edinburgh University in succession to Sir Alexander Grant, and held the post till 1903, when he retired. Sir William Njuir was a profound Arabic scholar, and made a careful study of the history of the time of Mahomet and the early caliphate. His chief books are a Life of Mahomet and History of Islam to the Era of the Hegira; Annals of the Early Caliphate; The Caliphate, an abridgment and continuation of the Annals, which brings the record down to the fall of the caliphate on the onset of the Mongols; The Koran: its Composition and Teaching; and The Mohammedan Controversy, a reprint of five essays published at intervals between 1885 and 1887. In 1881 he delivered the Rede lecture at Cambridge on The Early Caliphate and Rise of Islam. He married in 1840 Elizabeth Huntly Wemyss (d. 1897), and had five sons and six daughters; four of his sons served in India, and one of them, Colonel A. N. Muir (d. 1899), was acting resident in Nepal. MUKADDASI' [the appellation of Shams ad Din Abu Abdallah Mahommed ibn Abmad] (/t. 967985), Arabian traveller, author of a Description of the Lands of Islam which is the most original and among the most important of Arabic geographies of the middle ages. His family name was Al Bashari. His paternal grandfather was an architect who constructed many public works in Palestine, especially at Acre, and his mother's family was opulent. His maternal grandfather, a man of artistic and literary tastes, migrated to Jerusalem from Jurjan province in Persia, near the frontier of Khorasan. His descriptions rest on extensive travels through a long series of years. His first pilgrimage was made at the age of twenty (in A.H. 356=A.D. 967), but his book was not published till A.H. 375 (A.D. 985-986), when he was forty years old. The two MSS. (at Berlin and Constantinople) represent a later recension (A.H. 378). The book became known in Europe through the copy brought from India by Sprenger, and was edited by Professor M. J. de Goeje as the third part of his Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum (Leiden, 1877). See also the English translation (unfinished) by G. S. A. Ranking and R. F. Azoo, in Bibliothech Indica, New Series, Nos. 899, 952, 1001 (Bengal Asiatic Society, 1897–1901); Mulcaddasi's Syrian chapter has been separately translated and edited in English by Guy le Strange (London, Pales-tine Pilgrims Text Society, 1886); in German by J.Gildemeister in Zeitschrift des deutschen Palestina-Vereins, vol. vii. (1884).
End of Article: SIR WILLIAM MUIR (1819-1905)
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