Ilmu Geografi (Metereologi) dan Islam

Oleh Dr Sayid Mujtaba Rukni Musawi Lari

geografiKisah-kisah mengenai para pelayar Arab yang berkunjung ke China, Jepang, dan kepulauan rempah-rempah Indonesia memberikan bukti nyata keunggulan kapal-kapal dagang bangsa Arab dan juga tingginya pengetahuan meteorologi dan geografi mereka.  Yang mengagumkan lagi bahwa pelayaran mereka bisa langsung dari Marokko ke Mindanao (Filipina Selatan).

Tapi, selain menjelajahi laut-laut di Asia Tenggara, para pelayar itu juga masuk jauh ke pantai timur Afrika, dan bahkan hingga ke sungai-sungai yang terhubung dari Laut Hitam hingga bagian-bagian pelosok Rusia.

Jurnal atau laporan pelayaran Sulaiman, seorang kapten laut dari Seraf — yakni suatu pelabuhan di Teluk Persia — telah dikaji oleh Dr David Stonach dari British  Institute  of  Persian  Studies.  Jurnal ini dipublikasikan pada akhir abad ke-9 Masehi yang memuat informasi tentang sejumlah pelayaran Sulaiman ke India dan China.  Jurnal tersebut telah diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Latin.

***

PAKAR geografi Ibn Hauqal (975 Masehi) menulis: “Saya telah menulis garis lintang dan garis  bujur  tempat-tempat  di bumi ini, yang meliputi semua negeri-negeri serta batas-batasnya; dan juga daerah-daerah kekuasaan Islam dengan peta rinci pada setiap bagiannya di mana di situ saya telah beri tanda sejumlah tempat misalnya kota-kota, sungai-sungai, danau-danau, jenis-jenis pertanian, jalan-jalan, jarak-jarak suatu tempat dengan tempat lainnya, komoditas-komoditas dagang dan banyak lagi lainnya yang dapat bermanfaat bagi para penguasa dan aparatnya, juga untuk orang banyak.”

***

ABU Reihan al-Biruni, Ibn Batuta, dan Abu’l Haussan merupakan nama-nama lain yang dikenal dalam sejarah ilmu geografi. Mereka ini telah melakukan perjalanan ke berbagai penjuru dunia seraya mengadakan observasi cermat serta membuat catatan-catatan rinci dan teliti yang oleh banyak pihak dianggap sebagai prestasi mengagumkan di bidang ilmu pengetahuan. [**]

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Artikel ini diterjemahkan dari buku “Western Civilization Through Muslim Eyes” (1977) oleh Forum Studi Politik dan Teknologi Nasional  (Forum SPTN ).  Forum SPTN  adalah mitra kerja  BUTONet 2.  Artikel  ini pernah dimuat dalam Jurnal  ISLAM LiBeRaL?  edisi Juni 2004. 

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