(2,524 words)

(a.), azimuth or direction, a term in frequent use in Islamic astronomy. It is usually applied to the direction of a celestial object measured on the horizon, determined by the arc of the horizon between the east- or west-points and the foot of the vertical arc through the celestial object. The Arabic plural al-sumūt gave rise to the term azimuth and its equivalents in numerous European languages. But whilst in mediaeval astronomy the azimuth was usually measured from the east- or west-points, in modern astronomy it is measured clockwise from the north point.

The complementary arc measu…

Cite this page
King, D.A., “al-Samt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 26 October 2016 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

▲   Back to top   ▲