Abu Zayd al-Balkhi was a 9th century Muslim polymath, whose writings touched on subjects as varied as geography, medicine, philosophy, theology, politics, poetry, ethics, sociology, grammar, literature and astronomy. Born in 849 CE (235 AH) in the Persian village of Shamisitiyan, within the Balkh (from which he gets his name) province, now a part of modern day Afghanistan, he went on to write more than 60 books and manuscripts. Unfortunately, most of the documents authored by him have been lost over the years, with only a minority of his work reaching us in the modern era. Of the few aspects of his legacy that have reached us, namely his development of the “Balkhi School” of terrestrial mapping, and his work on the Sustenance of the Soul, both show the intellectual prowess of the scholar. Al-Balkhi received his early education from his father and as he grew older, he began studying the scientific and artistic branches of knowledge of the time. In terms of his temperament, he is described as being shy and contemplative.