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Bibliotheca Persica 

Persian Heritage Series 
Number 36 

Naser-e Khosraw’s 

Book of Travels 

Center tor Iranian Studies 
Columbia University, New York 

Persian Heritage Series 

The Persian Heritage Series aims at making Persian literary, historical 
and scientific texts available in translation. The translations in the series 
are intended not only to satisfy the needs of the students of Persian his- 
tory and culture, but also to respond to the demands of the intelligent 
reader who seeks to broaden his intellectual and artistic horizons 
through an acquaintance with major world literatures. 

General Editor 
Ehsan Yarshater (Columbia University) 

Advisory Council 

I. Gershevitch (Cambridge University) 
G. Lazard (University of Paris) 

B. Spuler (University of Hamburg) 

R. N. Frye (Harvard University) 

Late Members 

A. J. Arberry (Cambridge University) 

W. B. Henning (University of California) 
H. Massé (University of Paris) 

T. C. Young (Princeton University) 

G. Morgenstierne (University of Oslo) 

G. Tucci (University of Rome) 

The volumes in the Persian Heritage Series form part of the 

A current list of the published titles in the Persian 
Heritage and related series appears at the end of this volume. 

7 Persian Heritage Series 
Edited by Ehsan Yarshater 
Number 36 

Naser-e Khosraw’s 
Book of Travels 


Translated from Persian, 

with introduction and annotation by 

W. M. Thackston, Jr. 

Senior Preceptor in Persian 
Harvard University 

Bibljothera Persjra 

5. NT CR ay 



oe ee 

Published by 

The Persian Heritage Foundation under 
the imprint of Bibliotheca Persica 

© 1986 The Persian Heritage Foundation 
All rights reserved 
Printed in the United States of America 

No part of this book may be used or reproduced 

in any manner whatsoever without written permission 
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in 
critical articles and reviews. 

For information, address State University of New York 
Press, State University Plaza, Albany, N.Y., 12246 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Naser-e Khosraw, 1004-ca. 1088. 
The book of travels = (Safarnama) 

(Persian heritage series; no. 36) 
Translation of: Safarnamah. 
Includes index. 
1. Near East—Description and travel. 1. Thackston, 
W. M. (Wheeler McIntosh), 1944-— _ IL. Title. 
III. Title: Safarnama. IV. Series. 
DS46.N313 1985 915.6'044 85-4657 
ISBN 0-88706-—067-6 
ISBN 0-88706-066-8 (pbk.) 

1098765 432 1 


PREFACE by Ehsan Yarshater 

Azerbaijan and Beyond 

The Region of Diyar Bakr 

Into Syria 

Description of Tripoli 

Beirut, Sidon, and Tyre 

From Acre to Jerusalem 


A General Description of Jerusalem 
The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

A Description of the Dome of the Rock 

A Description of the Gangways Leading to the Platform 

A Description of the Shrine of Abraham at Hebron 
Journey to Egypt 

A Description of Cairo and the Provinces 

A Description of the City of Cairo 

A Description of the City of New Cairo 

A Description of the “Opening of the Canal” 

A Description of the City of Old Cairo 

A Description of the Sultan’s Banquet 

The Conduct of the Sultan 

The Voyage to Mecca 

A Description of the City of Jidda 

A Description of the City of Mecca 

A Description of Arabia and the Yemen 

A Description of the Haram Mosque and the Ka‘ba 
The Shape of the Stone 

A Description of the Ka‘ba Door 

A Description of the Interior of the Ka‘ba 

A Description of the Opening of the Ka‘ba Door 
The Minor Pilgrimage from Je‘rana 

A Description of Ta’ef 


dae FRE 

Book of Travels 


A Description of Lahsa’ 

A Description of the City of Basra . 

A Description of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide at Basra 








Naser-e Khosraw, the well-known Persian poet, moralist and 
theologian was a mundane, prosperous and wine-loving bureau- 
crat in the Saljugq administration, until 1045, when a visionary 
dream brought to a head his latent tendencies and transformed 
him overnight into a devoted man of faith. The following year 
he planned a pilgrimage to Mecca which was eventually ex- 
tended into a seven year journey. It took him from Marv in 
northeastern Persia to Nishabur, Rayy, and Azerbaijan and 
then through Armenia and eastern Anatolia to Syria and Pale- 
stine and finally to Mecca. He returned, however, to Jerusalem 
and took the route by land and sea to Egypt, where he became 
fascinated by the country’s prosperity and its orderly adminis- 
tration under the Fatimids. It was here apparently that he em- 
braced the Isma‘ili doctrine. : 

After visiting Mecca three more times and returning to Egypt 
twice, he finally headed for his home country by going to south 
Yemen, crossing the arabian desert to Basra in southern Iraq, 
and then by way of Isfahan to Balkh in modern Afghanistan. 
The Safarnama or Book of Travels is a record of this journey. 

Naser soon, however, found himself harrassed by the Sunni 
authorities and took refuge in the nearby village of Yomgan, 
where he lived in forced retirement at least for 15 years, de- 
voting his time to writing and to intense Isma‘ili missionary 

A man of considerable culture and curiosity, Naser-e Khosraw 
met in the course of his travels with many people, wondered 
at many monuments and public buildings, and set down his ob- 
servations in his travel book. Written in a concise style some- 
time resembling an abridgement, and enlivened from time to 
time by Naser’s dry sense of humor, the Safarndma contains 
many keen and valuable observations on peoples and places, 
as well as on the economic and social conditions of countries 
that he visited. In his lively descriptions, Cairo, Jerusalem, and 
Mecca and their monuments stand out. His account of a small 
“communistic” Carmathian city-state in al-Ahsa’s near Bahrain is 
of special interest. 

Despite its reputation, the Safarndma, had never been translated 


Book of Travels 

into English in its entirety, Guy LeStrange’s translation of the 
sections on Syria and Palestine (Pilgrim’s Text Society, volume 
IV, London: 1883) having remained a partial rendering. The 
present complete translation by Dr. Wheeler Thackston is ac- 
companied by a glossary of proper names, places, and terms, 
all in vigorous transliteration for the benefit of specialists, and 
an appendix listing the places visited by Naser, together with a 
map of the route followed by him, as well as explanatory notes, 
which are designed to help those interested in philological, his- 
torical, and geographical aspects of the text. 

Ehsan Yarshater 



While on an official trip in the autumn of 1045, Naser, son of 
Khosraw of Qobadiyan (Marv District in northeastern Khora- 
san), by his own account, experienced a dream-vision that jolted 
him out of a “forty-year sleep of heedlessness” and awakened in 
him a desire to abandon the life of a civil administrator for a 
“quest for truth.” Several months after this experience Naser 
obtained a leave of absence from his post and, ostensibly intend- 
ing to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, settled his debts and set out 
from Marv toward Nishapur, the cultural capital of Khorasan. 
However, instead of joining a caravan bound for the Hejaz, he 
began a peregrination that took him across the Caspian coast of 
Iran, into eastern Anatolia and down into Syria and Palestine. 
Although he did make a pilgrimage from Jerusalem, he did not 
return to his native Khorasan but rather retraced his steps to 
Jerusalem and thence made his way to Egypt and Cairo, the seat 
of the Fatimid caliphate. From Egypt he made his way to the 
Hejaz, across the Arabian peninsula and through Iran to return, 
some seven years after his departure, to his home in Balkh. The 
record of his adventures, observations and experiences is con- 
tained in his travelogue, the Safarndma. 

Of Naser’s life we have little information, and of his early 
years practically nothing is known. From the fact that both he 
and his brother Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd al-Jalil were employed in gov- 
ernmental service (the brother is mentioned in the Safarndma as 
a member of the entourage of Abu Nasr, vizier to the prince of 
Khorasan), it may be inferred that the family belonged to the 
clerical/administrative class that regularly supplied the bureaux 
of state with those of its young men who had attained through 
rudimentary schooling a competence in the “three R’s.” That 
Naser was not rigorously trained in the religious and theological 
“Arabic” sciences of a systematic Islamic education is evident in 
his philosophical works. ' 

It is known of Naser that at some point in his life he embraced 

'See V. A. Ivanow, Nasir-i Khusraw and Ismailism (Leiden: Brill, 1948). For an 
evaluation of Naser-e Khosraw’s contribution to Ismaili thought, see Henry Cor- 
bin, “Nasir-i Khusraw and Iranian Isma’ilism,” in The Cambridge History of Iran, 
vol. 4, Ed. R. N. Frye, pp. 520-542. 


4 L, 
y ey 
VLSHHOD coyept 
u2,2H = S®FFL . 
NYLSaaYHAOL sawnd 
Pad One. ueysueg 
 syyeseg’* mdsqsin 7 
ary ° 




Ismailism, which cause he served actively as missionary in the 
Caspian region of Iran and later as exile in Yomgan (Badakh- 
shan), writing treatises and poetry, where he is last known to 
have been in 1061. Although it cannot be proved, it makes good 
sense to assume that his conversion to Ismailism took place be- 
fore he set out on the journeys described in the Safarndma, for 
he made in effect a tour of every important center of Ismailism 
west of Transoxania, and the only places upon which he ex- 
pends favorable comment throughout his travels are those ruled 
by Ismailis. If he was not being sent from one Ismaili stronghold 
to another, there is little to justify his eccentric skirting of 
the central Islamic world. And he makes no attempt to explain 
himself. He was not a rich man who could indulge himself in 
Wanderlust: he mentions once or twice in passing that he was ac- 
companied only by a brother and one Indian servant. His obser- 
vations of all he saw constantly betray the civil administrator: he 
admires fortifications, waterworks, strategic situations of towns, 
prices, etc. He was obviously captivated by monumental archi- 
tecture and pomp and circumstance: the Dome of the Rock 
shrine complex at Jerusalem and the mosque precincts at Mecca 
are meticulously described, as are the public displays of Fatimid 
ceremony in Cairo. He mentions rare and delightful fruits and 
vegetables he encounters, he converses with unusual persons in 
out-of-the-way places, and he never misses an opportunity to 
visit a saint or prophet’s shrine. Yet there is little in his narrative 
that would characterize him as a professional traveler or a par- 
ticularly interested observer of the people he met or the places 
he visited. 

The Ismaili sect, to which Naser belonged from at least middle 
age and for which he worked and wrote in his later years, was at 
this period in its history actively engaged in propaganda and 
conversion. The movement had originated as a schism from 
Shi‘ism, the branch of Islam that recognized as the only legiti- 
mate successors to the Prophet Muhammad and interpreters of 
the revealed law the lineal descendants of the Prophet through 
his daughter Fatema and her husband ‘Ali b. Abi Taleb. Because 
of a difference of opinion over the seventh imam, the Ismailis 
split from the majority of the Shi‘a, whose line of imams contin- 
ued down to the twelfth and who are consequently known as 
“Twelvers,” whereas the Ismaili line continued on. In Naser’s 


Book of Travels 

time the twelver branch of Shi‘ism had recently entered into its 
eschatological phase with the Greater Occulation of the repre- 
sentatives of the Twelfth Imam in 940, and the Twelver Shi‘ites 
had no capital or power base of their own from which to direct 
propaganda. There were, however, numerous Shr‘ite pockets 
scattered throughout the Islamic world, notably in Daylam and 
Tabarestan (through which Naser passed) and in Transoxania, 
of which Naser makes no mention whatsoever. 

The Sevener, or Ismaili, branch of Shi‘ism, by contrast, had 
ruled Egypt since the Fatimid conquest in 969 and ran its covert 
and overt propaganda machine from Cairo, where Naser spent 
a goodly portion of his seven-year absence from his homeland. 
There he was most likely being trained in missionary techniques. 

In Transoxania and eastern Iran, at precisely the time that 
Naser left his administrative post and began his travels, the 
power of the Seljuk Turks was rapidly spreading: Marv had ca- 
pitulated to them in 1037, and Herat and Nishapur in 1038, and 
Balkh and Tokharestan were taken in 1040. Unlike their prede- 
cessors the Ghaznavids, the Seljuks, who were adamant Sunnis, 
were actively opposed to all forms of Shi‘ism and were deter- 
mined to rid their territory of all Shi‘ite opposition. If he was al- 
ready an Ismaili, it is not at all unlikely that the advent of the Sel- 
juks into Khorasan had something to do with Naser’s decision to 
absent himself from the province. 

In his travelogue Naser does not touch upon theological or 
sectarian debates, and he makes scant mention of the political 
turmoils of the time. Yet his observations on the places he visited 
give us an interesting, if superficial, view into the eleventh-cen- 
tury Islamic world. More importantly they provide us with an in- 
sight into a personality of that time. Generally speaking, aside 
from the facts and figures Naser records, most of which are eas- 
ily found elsewhere, what he chooses to convey to his reader tells 
us more about himself than it does about what he saw and gives 
us a rare glimpse into the attitudes of a man from an age very 
different from our own. 


The Travelogue of Naser-e Khosraw 

Thus writes Abu Mo‘in Hamid al-din Naser son of Khosraw of 
Qobadiyan in the district of Marv: 

I was a clerk by profession and one of those in charge of the 
sultan’s revenue service. In my administrative position I had ap- 
plied myself for a period of time and acquired no small reputa- 
tion among my peers. 

In the month of Rabi‘ II in the year 437 [October 1045],' 
when the prince of Khorasan was Abu Solayman Chaghri Beg 
Daud son of Mika’il son of Saljuq, I set out from Marv on offi- 
cial business to the district of Panj Deh in Marv Rud, where I 
stopped off on the very day there happened to be a conjunction 
of Jupiter and the lunar node. As it is said that on that day God 
will grant any request made of him, I therefore withdrew into a 
corner and prayed two rak‘ats, asking God to grant me true 
wealth. When I rejoined my friends and companions, one of 
them was reciting a poem in Persian. A particular line of poetry 
came into my head, and I wrote it down on a piece of paper for 
him to recite. I had not yet handed him the paper when he be- 
gan to recite that very line! I took this to be a good omen and 
said to myself that God had granted my behest. 

From there I went to Juzjanan, where I stayed nearly a month 
and was constantly drunk on wine. (The Prophet says, “Tell the 
truth, even if on your own selves.”) One night in a dream I saw 
someone saying to me, “How long will you continue to drink of 
this wine, which destroys man’s intellect? If you were to stay so- 
ber, it would be better for you.” 

In reply I said, “The wise have not been able to come up with 
anything other than this to lessen the sorrow of this world.” 

“To be without one’s senses is no repose,” he answered me. 
“He cannot be called wise who leads men to senselessness. 
Rather, one should seek out that which increases reason and 

“Where can I find such a thing?” I asked. 

“Seek and ye shall find,” he said, and then he pointed toward 
the gebla and said nothing more. When I awoke, I remembered 

'See Appendix A on Islamic dates. 

Book of Travels 

everything, which had truly made a great impression on me. 
“You have waked from last night’s sleep,” I said to myself. 
“When are you going to wake from that of forty years?” And I 
reflected that until I changed all my ways I would never find 

On Thursday the 6th of Jomada II of the year 437 [19 Decem- 
ber 1045], which was by Persian reckoning the middle of the 
month of Day, the last month before the year 414 of the Yazd- 
gerdi era,’ I cleansed myself from head to foot, went to the 
mosque, and prayed to God for help both in accomplishing what 
I had to do and in abstaining from what he had forbidden. 

Afterwards I went to Shoburghan and spent the night in a vil- 
lage in Faryab. From there I went via Samangan and Talaqan to 
Marv Rud and thence to Marv. Taking leave from my job, I an- 
nounced that I was setting out for the Pilgrimage to Mecca. I set- 
tled what debts I owed and renounced everything worldly, ex- 
cept for a few necessities. 

On the 23rd of Sha‘ban [5 March 1046] I set out for Nishapur, 
traveling from Marv to Sarakhs, which 1s a distance of thirty par- 
asangs. From there to Nishapur is forty parasangs. 

On Saturday the 11th of Shawwal [21 April] I came to Nisha- 
pur. On Wednesday, the last day of the month, there was a lunar 
eclipse. The prince at this time was Toghrel Bég Mohammad, 
brother to Chaghri Bég. He had ordered a school built near the 
Saddlers’ Bazaar, which was being constructed then. He himself 
had gone to Isfahan for his first conquest of that city. 

On the 2nd of Dhu’l-Qa‘da I left Nishapur and, in the com- 
pany of Khwaja Mowaffaq, the sultan’s agent, came to Qumes 
via Gavan. There I paid a visit to the tomb of Shaikh Bayazid of 

On Friday the 8th of Dhu’l-Qa‘da [17 May] I went out to 
Damghan. The first of Dhu’l-Hejja 437 [9 June 1046] I came to 
Semnan by way of Abkhwari and Chashtkhwaran, and there I 
stayed for a period of time, seeking out the learned. I was told of 
a man called Master ‘Ali Nasa’i, whom I went to see. He was a 
young man who spoke Persian with a Daylamite accent and wore 
his hair uncovered. He had a group of people about him read- 
ing Euclid, while another group read medicine and yet another 

The Persian Yazdgerdi era was calculated from the beginning of the reign of 
Yazdgerd III, the last Sasanian shah of Iran (A.D. 632). See Appendix A. 

The Travelogue of Ndser-e Khosraw 

mathematics. During our conversation he kept saying, “I read 
this with Avicenna,” and “I heard this from Avicenna.” His ob- 
ject of this was, of course, for me to know that he had been a stu- 
dent of Avicenna. When I became engaged in discourse with 
some of these people, he said, “I know nothing of arithmetic 
[styaqg] and would like to learn something of the arithmetic art.” I 
came away wondering how, if he himself knew nothing, he could 
teach others. 

From Balkh to Rayy I reckoned the distance to be 350 para- 
sangs. From Rayy to Sava is said to be thirty parasangs, from 
Sava to Hamadan thirty, from Rayy to Isfahan fifty, and to Amol 
thirty. Between Rayy and Amol is Mount Damavand, which is 
shaped like a dome and is called Lavasan. They say that on the 
top of the mountain is a pit from which ammonia is extracted, 
and also sulphur. Leather skins are hauled up and filled with 
ammonia, and when full they are rolled down the mountainside, 
there being no road over which they can be transported. 

On the 5th of Moharram 438 [12 July 1046], corresponding to 
the 10th of Mordad 415 of the Persian calendar, I set out for 
Qazvin and came to the village of Quha, where there was a 
drought. A maund of barley bread was being sold for two dir- 
hems. [Displeased,] I left. 

On the 9th of Moharram [16 July] I arrived in Qazvin, which 
has many orchards with neither walls nor hedges, so that there is 
nothing to prevent access to the gardens. I thought Qazvin a 
nice city: its walls were well fortified and furnished with crenel- 
lations, and the bazaars were well kept, only water was scarce 
and limited to subterranean channels.’ The head of the city was 
an Alid. Of all the trades practiced in the city, shoemaking had 
the largest number of craftsmen. 

On the 12th of Moharram 438 [19 July 1046] I left Qazvin 
along the road to Bil and Qapan, village dependencies of Qaz- 
vin. From there my brother, a Hindu slave-boy we had with us, 
and I came to a village called Kharzavil. As we had few provi- 

°The “subterranean channels” of which Naser speaks were formerly called 
karéz (today called gandat) and are still in use for bringing water for irrigation 
from distant sources. Many of these channels have been maintained from an- 
cient times, such as the one mentioned on page 101; see Mohammad al-Karagi, 
La Civilisation des eaux cachées, ed. and trans. with commentary by Aly Mazaheri, 
Université de Nice, Institut d’Etudes et de Recherches Interethniques et Inter- 
culturelles, Etudes Preliminaires 6 (Nice: I.D.E.R.I.C., 1973). 

Book of Travels 

sions, my brother went into the village to buy some things from 
the grocer. Someone asked him, “What do you want? I’m the 

“Whatever you have will be all right with us,” said my brother, 
“for we are strangers passing through.” Yet whatever edibles he 
mentioned, the man only said, “We don’t have any.” From then 
on, wherever we saw anyone like this man, we would say, “He’s 
the grocer from Kharzavil!” 

Passing on from there, we encountered a steep descent. Three 
parasangs farther was a village belonging to Taram called Baraz- 
al-Khayr [?]. It was tropical and had many pomegranate and fig 
trees, most of which grew untended. Passing on, we came to a 
river called Shahrud, on the banks of which was a village called 
Khandan, where a toll was levied for the duke, who was one of 
the Daylamite kings. As this river passes through this village, it 
joins with another river called Sapidrud. When these two rivers 
have united, the water flows down into a valley to the east of the 
mountains of Gilan, then on to Gilan itself and finally empties 
into the Caspian Sea. They say that fourteen hundred rivers spill 
into the Caspian, the circumference of which is said to be twelve 
hundred parasangs. In the midst of the sea there are islands 
with many inhabitants, as I heard from many people. 

But let me return to my own story. From Khandan to Shami- 
ran there are three parasangs of desert that is quite rocky. The 
latter is the metropolis of Taram. Beside the city is a high for- 
tress, the foundation of which is laid on solid granite. It is sur- 
rounded by three walls, and in the middle of the fortress is a 
water channel connected to the river, the water of which is 
drawn up into the fortress. There are a thousand sons of the ar- 
istocracy kept inside that fortress so that no one can rise up in re- 
bellion. It is said that the prince has many such fortresses in 
Daylam and that he rules with such complete justice and order 
that no one is able to take anything from anyone else. When the 
men go to the mosque on Fridays, they all leave their shoes out- 
side, and no one steals them. The prince signs himself thus on 
paper: “Ward of the march of Daylam, the gil of Gilan, Abu 
Saleh, client to the Prince of the Faithful.” His name is Jostan 

In Shamiran I saw a good man from Darband whose name 
was Abu Fad! Khalifa, son of ‘Ali the Philosopher, He was a wor- 

Azerbayan and Beyond 

A ”~ 
, a tig on” 
nner (Marand Atl; 

‘ ~ 

nnn A 
as A 
ae Lal 
~ Ay 
A Bestim ve. 
~ . From Marv 437/1046 
“ A TABARESTAN es Nishapur’’ A 
~ a An A Damghan 
~ ~ wer aS 
6 A Appa G AC AWA a 
a” aps ee *Rayy ‘Semnan 
~ ~ JEBAL Zuzan °* 
an Ou 
i “A ‘ 
= Siva 
* Hamadan as 
~ n ~ 
AA fs iG a KAVIR Seg 
oa ee A DESERT 
at Ae ~ wae JEBAL Qi'en 
A at one aio? ra 
~ ~ 6 a n4 abas 
i AA AA P poll QOHESTAN on 
n v 
~? AA ete a~A x 2. m) a 
a “~~ ran Ax : 4 
xa CU > NEI — 
“x Ace * Isfahan a 
a7 a 

Naser’s route of travel through northern Iran 

thy fellow and displayed much generosity and nobility of charac- 
ter to us. We discoursed together, and a friendship sprang up 
between us. 

“Where do you intend to go from here?” he asked me. 

“My intention is to make the Pilgrimage,” I said. 

“What I desire,” he replied, “is that on your return journey 
you pass through here so I may see you again.” 

Azerbayan and Beyond 

On the 26th of Moharram [2 August] I left Shamiran. On the 
14th of Safar [20 August] I arrived in Sarab. On the 16th of 
Safar [22 August] I parted from Sarab and, passing through 
Sa‘idabad, arrived in Tabriz on the 20th of Safar 438 [26 August 

Book of Travels 

1046]. That was the 25th of the month of Shahrivar by the old 
reckoning. This city is the principal town of Azerbaijan and is in 
a flourishing state. I paced off the length and breadth, each of 
which was fourteen hundred paces. In the sermon they name 
the padshah of Azerbaijan in this manner: Exalted Prince Sayf 
al-Dawla Sharaf al-Mella Abu Mansur Vahsudan son of Moham- 
mad, client to the Prince of the Faithful. I was told that an earth- 
quake had occurred in this city on Wednesday night the 17th of 
Rabi‘ I 434 [4 November 1042], which was during the interca- 
lary days. After the night prayer, part of the city was totally de- 
stroyed while other parts were unharmed. They said that forty 
thousand people lost their lives. 

In Tabriz I saw a poet named Qatran, who wrote decent po- 
etry, but he could not speak Persian very well. He came to me 
and brought the works of Manjik and Daqiqi, which read aloud 
to me. Whenever he came across a meaning too subtle for him, 
he asked me. I explained it to him and he wrote it down. He also 
recited his own poetry to me. 

On the 14th of Rabi® I [18 September] I parted from Tabriz 
on the Marand road and, accompanied by one of Prince Vahsu- 
dan’s soldiers, came to Khoy. From there also I traveled with a 
courier up to Bargri. From Khoy to Bargri is thirty parasangs. 
We arrived on the 12th of Jomada I [14 November]. From there 
we came to Van and Vastan, where they sell pork in the bazaar 
as well as lamb. Men and women sit drinking wine in the shops 
without the slightest inhibition. From there we arrived in the city 
of Akhlat on the 18th of Jomada I [20 November]. This city is 
the border town between the Muslims and the Armenians, and 
from Bargri it is nineteen parasangs. The prince, Nasr al-Dawla, 
was over a hundred years old and had many sons, to each of 
whom he had given a district. In the city of Akhlat they speak 
three languages, Arabic, Persian, and Armenian. It is my suppo- 
sition that this is why they named the town Akhlat.* Their com- 
mercial transactions are carried on in cash money, and their rotl 
is equivalent to three hundred dirhems. 

On the 20th of Jomada [22 November] I left there and came 
to an outpost. It was snowing and extremely cold. On the plain 

4Naser thinks the name of the town is derived from the Arabic root khalata “to 

mix”; it is called Khlat‘ in Armenian and was formerly known as Khelat in Ara- 
bic. The derivation Naser supposes is unlikely 

The Region of Diydr Bakr 

up to the town there is a section of the road with planks laid on 
the ground so that on snowy and blizzardy days people can find 
their way over the wood. From there I went on to Betlis, which 
lies in a valley. We bought some honey, a hundred maunds for 
one dinar, at the rate they sold to us. We were told that in this 
town there were men who produced three to four hundred jars 
of honey a year. 

Leaving that place, I saw a fortress called Qef Onzor, which 
means “stop and look.” Passing on, I came to a place where there 
was a mosque said to have been built by Oways Qarani. 

There I saw men who roamed about the mountainsides and 
cut a wood something like cypress. I asked what they did with it, 
and they explained that when one end of this wood is placed in 
fire, pitch comes out the other end. It is then collected in pits, 
put into containers, and sent all over for sale. 

The regions that I have briefly mentioned after Akhlat are de- 
pendencies of Mayyafareqin. We went to the town of Arzan, 
which is a flourishing place with running water and orchards, 
gardens, and good bazaars. During the Persian month of Adhar 
they were selling two hundred maunds of grapes, which they 
call raz-e armanush, for one dinar. 

The Region of Diyar Bakr 

From there we went to Mayyafareqin, which is 28 parasangs 
distant. From Balkh to Mayyafareqin by the way we came was 
552 parasangs. It was Friday the 26th of Jomada I 438 [28 No- 
vember 1046]. At the time the leaves on the trees were still 
green. The place has an enormous fortification made of white 
stone, each slab of which weighs five hundred maunds, and 
every fifty ells is a huge tower of this same white stone. The top 
of the rampart is all crenellated and looks as though the master 
builder had just finished working on it. The city has one gate on 
the west side set in a large gateway with a masonry arch and an 
iron door with no wood in it. It has a Friday mosque that would 
take too long to describe. Briefly, the ablution pool faces forty 
chambers, through each of which run two large canals, one of 
which is visible and is for use, while the other is concealed be- 

Book of Travels 

neath the earth and is for carrying away refuse and flushing the 
cisterns. Outside of the city are caravanserais and bazaars, baths, 
and another congregational mosque used on Fridays. To the 
north is another town called Mohdatha, and it too has bazaars, a 
congregational mosque, and baths, all of which are well laid out. 
In the sermon they style the sultan of the district thus: the Great 
Prince ‘Ezz al-Eslam Sa‘d al-Din Nasr al-Dawla Sharaf al-Mella 
Abu Nasr Ahmad, and he is said to be a hundred years old. The 
rotl there is equal to 480 stone dirhems. That same prince has 
built a city at a distance of four parasangs from Mayyafareqin 
and called it Nasriyya. From Amed to Mayyafaregin is nine par- 

On the 6th of Day, old reckoning, we arrived in Amed, the 
foundation of which is laid on a monolith rock. The length of 
the city is two thousand paces, and the breadth the same. There 
is a wall all around made of black rock, each slab weighing be- 
tween a hundred and a thousand maunds. The facing of these 
stones is so expert that they fit together exactly, needing no mud 
or plaster in between. The height of the wall is twenty cubits, 
and the width ten. Every hundred ells there is a tower, the half 
circumference of which is eighty ells. The crenellations are also 
of this same black stone. Inside the city are many stone stairs by 
means of which one can go up onto the ramparts, and atop every 
tower is an embrasure. The city has four gates, all of iron with 
no wood, and each gate faces one of the four cardinal directions. 
The east gate is called the Tigris Gate, the west gate the Byzan- 
tine Gate, the north the Armenian Gate, and the south the Tell 
Gate. Outside this wall just described is yet another wall, made of 
that same stone, the height of which is ten ells and the top of 
which is completely covered with crenellations. Inside the cren- 
ellation is a passageway wide enough for a totally armed man to 
pass and to stop and fight with ease. The outside wall also has 
iron gates, placed directly opposite the gates in the inside wall so 
that when one passes from a gate in the first wall one must trav- 
erse a space of fifteen ells before reaching the gate in the second 
wall. Inside the city is a spring that flows from a granite rock 
about the size of five millstones. The water is extremely pleasant, 
but no one knows where the source is. The city has many or- 
chards and trees thanks to that water. The ruling prince of the 
city is a son of that Nasr al-Dawla who has been mentioned. 

The Region of Diyar Bakr 

I have seen many a city and fortress around the world in the 
lands of the Arabs, Persians, Hindus, and Turks, but never have 
I seen the likes of Amed on the face of the earth or have I heard 
anyone else say that he had seen its equal. The congregational 
mosque too is of black stone, and a more perfect, stronger con- 
struction cannot be imagined. Inside the mosque stand two-hun- 
dred-odd stone columns, all of which are monolithic. Above the 
columns are stone arches, and above the arches is another colon- 
nade shorter than the first. Above that is yet another row of 
arches. All the roofs are peaked, and all the masonry is carved 
and painted with designs. In the courtyard of the mosque is 
placed a large stone atop which is a large, round pool of stone. It 
is as high as a man, and the circumference is ten ells. From the 
middle of the pool protrudes a brass waterspout from which 
shoots clean water; it is constructed so that the entrance and the 
drain for the water are not visible. The enormous ablution pool 
is the most beautiful thing imaginable—only the stone from 
which Amed is built is all black, while that of Mayyafareqin is 
white. Near the mosque is a large church, elaborately made of 
the same stone, and the floor is laid in marble designs. Beneath 
the dome, which is the Christians’ place of worship, I saw a lat- 
ticed iron door, the likes of which I had never seen before. 

From Amed to Harran there are two roads: along one of them 
are no settlements, and this one is forty parasangs long; along 
the other road are many villages, most of the inhabitants of 
which are Christian, and that way is sixty parasangs long. We 
went by caravan along the settled route. The plain is extremely 
level except for a few places so rocky that the animals could 
hardly go a pace without stepping on a rock. 

On Friday the 25th of Jomada II 438 [27 December 1046], or 
the 22nd of Day, old reckoning, we arrived in Harran. The 
weather at that time was like the weather in Khorasan at Naw- 
ruz. From there we went to a town named Qarul,’? where a 
young man invited us into his home. When we had come into the 
house, a bedouin Arab sixty years old came in and sat down next 
to me. 

“Teach me the Koran,” he said. I recited him the chapter be- 

*“Qarul” is probably the modern Urfa, medieval Edessa. Qarul is not men- 

tioned by the Arab geographers, however. 

Book of Travels 

ginning “Qol a‘udho be-rabbe’l-nds.” He recited it back to me. 
When I had said the part that goes “mena’l-jennate wa'l-nas,” he 
said, “Should I say ‘a-ra’ayta’l-nas’ too?” “There is no more to this 
chapter,” I replied. Then he asked, “Which chapter has the part 
in it about the naggalat al-hatab?” He did not even know that in 
the chapter called Tabbat the words hammalat al-hatab occur, not 
nagqgalat al-hatab!’ That night, no matter how many times I re- 
cited the chapter beginning “Qol a‘udho be-rabbe’l-nas,” he could 
not learn it. A sixty-year-old Arab! 

Into Syria 

Saturday the 3rd of Rajab 438 [3 January 1047] we came to 
Saruj. The next day we crossed the Euphrates and arrived in 
Manbej, the first town you come to in Syria. It was the first of the 
month of Bahman in the old reckoning, and the weather was ex- 
tremely pleasant. There were no buildings outside of the town. 
From there I went to the city of Aleppo. 

From Mayyafareqin to Aleppo is one hundred parasangs. I 
found Aleppo to be a nice city. It has a huge rampart, twenty- 
five cubits high, I estimated, and an enormous fortress, as large 
as the one at Balkh, set on rock. The whole place is populous, 
and the buildings are built one atop another. This city is a place 
where tolls are levied on the merchants and traders who come 
and go among the lands of Syria, Anatolia, Diyar Bakr, Egypt, 
and Iraq. 

The city has four gates: the Gates of the Jews, the Gate of 
God, the Garden Gate, and the Antioch Gate. The standard 
weight used in the bazaar there is the Zaheri rotl, which is 480 
dirhems. Twenty parasangs to the south is Hama, and after that 
Homs. Damascus Is fifty parasangs from Aleppo; from Aleppo 
to Antioch is twelve parasangs, and the same to Tripoli. They 
say it is two hundred parasangs to Constantinople. 

°In the first instance, the Koranic verse Naser is trying to teach the man ends 
with the words men al-jennate wa’l-nas (“from the djinn and people”). The Arab 
asks, “A-ra’ayta’'l-nds?” (“Did you see the people?”), a non sequitur that indicates 
he has understood nothing but the last word. In the second instance the Arab 

asks Naser for the chapter that speaks of the “wood-carrier,” but he uses a word 
for “carrier” other than the one used in the Koranic text. 


Into Syria 

On the 11th of Rajab [11 January] we left the city of Aleppo. 
Three parasangs distant was a village called Jond Qennasrin. 
The next day, after traveling six parasangs, we arrived in the 
town of Sarmin, which has no fortification walls. 

Six parasangs farther on was Ma‘arrat al-No‘man, which is 
quite populous. It has a stone wall. Beside the city gate I saw a 
cylindrical column of stone, which had something written on it 
in a script that was not Arabic. I asked someone what it was, and 
he said that it was a talisman against scorpions. If ever a scorpion 
were brought in from outside and turned loose, it would run 
away and not stay in the town. I estimated that column to be 
about ten ells high. I found the bazaars to be flourishing, and 
the Friday mosque built on a rise in the middle of town so that 
from whatever place one wants to go up to the mosque, one has 
to ascend thirteen steps. Their whole agriculture consists of 
wheat, which is plentiful. Figs, olives, pistachios, almonds, and 
grapes also abound. The city water comes from both rain and 

In the city was a man named Abu’-‘Ala’ of Ma‘arra. Although 
blind, he was the head of the city and very wealthy, with many 
slaves and servants. Everyone in the city, in fact, was like a slave 
to him, but he himself had chosen the ascetic life. He wore 
coarse garments and stayed at home. Half a maund of barley 
bread he would divide into nine pieces and content himself with 
only one piece throughout the entire day and night. Besides 
that, he ate nothing. I heard it said that the door to his house was 
always open and that his agents and deputies did all the work of 
the city, except for the overall supervision, which he saw to him- 
self. He denied his wealth to no one, although he himself was 
constantly fasting and vigilant at night, taking no part in the af- 
fairs of the world. This man has attained such a rank in poetry 
and literature that all the learned of Syria, the Maghreb, and 
Iraq confess that in this age there is no one of comparable stat- 
ure. He has composed a book called al-Fosul wa’l-ghayat, in which 
he speaks in enigmatic parables. Although eloquent and amaz- 
ing, the book can be understood only by a very few and by those 
who have read it with him. He has even been accused of trying 
to rival the Koran. There are always more than two hundred 
persons from all over gathered about him reading literature and 
poetry. I have heard that he himself has composed more than a 



Book of Travels 

hundred thousand lines of poetry. Someone once asked him 
why, since God had given him all this wealth and property, he 
gave it away to the people and hardly ate anything himself. His 
answer was, “I own nothing more than what I eat.” When I 
passed through that place he was still alive. 

On the 15th of Rajab 438 [15 January 1047] we went to Kafr 
Tab and thence to Hama, a fine, populous city on the banks of 
the Orontes. The reason this river is called ‘Asi [“rebellious” in 
Arabic] is because it runs into Byzantium, that is, when it goes 
from the lands of Islam to the lands of the infidels it becomes 
“rebellious.” On the river are many water wheels. From there 
the road forks, one way leading along the coast through western 
Syria and the other to the south and Damascus. We took the 
coastal route. 

In the mountains we saw a spring that they say flows every 
year after the middle of Sha‘ban.’ For three days it flows, after 
which there is not a drop of water until the next year. Many peo- 
ple go there on pilgrimage and seek propitiation of God. They 
have built edifices and pools there. Passing on from that place, 
we came to a field covered with narcissus in bloom, and the en- 
tire place looked white because of all the flowers. Afterwards, we 
arrived in a town called ‘Erqa. Two parassangs past ‘Erga we 
came to the seashore. Five parasangs to the south along the 
shore we came to Tripoli. From Aleppo to Tripoli is forty para- 
sangs the way we came. 

Description of Tripoli 

On Tuesday the 5th of Sha‘ban [4 February] we arrived. The 
outskirts of the city are all agricultural, with orchards and gar- 
dens, with lots of sugar cane and many groves of oranges, citron, 
bananas, lemons, and dates. Just at that time they were making 
molasses. The city of Tripoli is so situated that three sides face 
the water, and when the water is rough, some of the waves lap 
against the city walls. On the eastern side of the city, which faces 

‘Since Islamic months are lunar (see Appendix A), the spring would begin ap- 
proximately eleven days earlier each year, a fact that may have occasioned Na- 
ser’s comment. 


Description of Tripoli 

dry land, they have made a large moat with a strong iron gate. 
The walls are of hewn stone and have battlements and embra- 
sures, and there are balistae on top of the walls, as they live in 
constant dread of naval attack by the Byzantines. The area of the 
city is one thousand cubits square. The buildings are four and 
five stories tall, and there are even some of six. The lanes and 
bazaars are so nice and clean you would think each was a king’s 
palace. Every type of food, fruit, and other edible I ever saw in 
Persia was to be found here, but a hundred times more plenti- 
ful. In the midst of the city is a well-kept, beautifully adorned, 
and solidly constructed mosque. In the yard is a large dome, be- 
neath which is a marble pool with a brass fountain. In one of the 
bazaar streets, water spills out from five spouts for people to 
draw water. The excess runs down over the ground and down 
into the sea. There are said to be twenty thousand people in this 
city, and it has many villages and dependencies. ‘They make very 
good paper there, like the paper of Samarqand, only better. 

This city belongs to the sultan of Egypt because, as it is said, 
once an infidel Byzantine army came and attacked the city. The 
sultan of Egypt defeated that army and lifted the land tax. 
There are now always soldiers garrisoned there and a comman- 
der over the soldiers to protect the city from its enemies. It is 
also a customs station, as ships from Byzantium, Europe, Anda- 
lusia, and the Maghreb dock there. They pay ten percent to the 
sultan, which income provides for the soldiers’ maintenance. 
The sultan keeps ships there that go to Byzantium, Sicily, and 
the Maghreb to trade. The people of this city are all Shi‘ites, and 
the Shi‘ites have built nice mosques in every land. They have edi- 
fices there like caravanserais, which they call mashhads, but no 
one lives in them. Outside the city of Tripoli there is not a single 
structure except for a couple of mashhads. 

We continued south along the shore. One parasang away | 
saw a fort called Qalamtn, which had a spring inside. From 
there I went to Taraborzon, which is five parasangs from Trip- 
oli. Thence we went to Byblos, which is a triangular city with one 
angle to the sea. Surrounding it is a very high, fortified wall. All 
around the city are date palms and other tropical trees. I saw a 
child holding both a red and a white rose, both in bloom, and 
that was on the 5th of the last Persian month, Esfandarmadh, 
old reckoning, of the year 415 of the Persian calendar. 




oaiane i hoy 



"y saypaydng 

wa f 




Betrut, Sidon, and Tyre 

Beirut, Sidon, and Tyre 

From Byblos we went to Beirut, where I saw a stone arch situ- 
ated so that the road ran right through it. I estimated the arch to 
be fifty ells high, and on all sides were slabs of white stone, each 
of which weighed over a thousand maunds. This edifice was 
made of bricks up to a height of twenty ells, and on top were set 
up marble cylinders, each eight ells tall and so thick that two 
men could scarcely reach around. On top of these columns were 
more arches on both sides, of such exactly fitted masonry that 
there was neither plaster nor mud in between. Above this was a 
great arch right in the middle, fifty cubits high. I estimated that 
each stone in that arch was eight cubits long and four wide, so 
that each one must have weighed approximately seven thousand 
maunds. All these stones had designs carved in relief —better in 
fact than one usually sees executed in wood. Except for this 
arch, no other edifice remains in that area. I asked what place 
this had been and was told that it is said to have been the gate to 
Pharaoh’s garden and was extremely old. The whole plain there- 
abouts abounds with marble columns, capitals, and bases, all of 
carved marble—round, square, hexagonal, and octagonal 
—and of a kind of stone so hard that iron makes no impression 
on it. Yet there is no mountainous terrain nearby from which 
the stone might have been quarried, and all other stone there is 
soft enough to be hewn with iron. In the outlying regions of 
Syria there are more than five hundred thousand of these fallen 
columns, capitals, and bases, and no one knows what they were 
or from where they were brought. 

From there we went to Sidon, which is also on the edge of the 
sea. Much sugarcane is planted there, and the city has a strong 
stone wall with three gates and a Friday mosque with a very 
pleasant atmosphere. It is covered completely with multicolored 
mats. The bazaar is so nicely arrayed that when I saw it I 
thought the city had been decorated either for the arrival of the 
sultan or because of the proclamation of some good news. When 
I inquired, they said that the city was customarily kept that way. 
The gardens and orchards were such that one would think an 
emperor had laid out a pleasure garden with belvederes, and 
most of the trees were laden with fruit. 


Book of Travels 

Five parasangs away we came to the city of Tyre, which is lo- 
cated beside the sea. From the shore runs a spit on which the city 
is built. It is such that the walls are not more than a hundred 
yards on dry land, the rest being in the sea. The ramparts are all 
masonry, and the joints are plugged with pitch so that the sea- 
water cannot seep through. I estimated the city to be a thousand 
cubits square, with buildings of five to six stories and many 
fountains. The bazaars are nice, and prosperity abounds. The 
city of Tyre is renowned among the cities of the Syrian coast for 
its wealth and riches. The inhabitants are mostly Shi‘i. There was 
a judge there, however, who was Sunni by sect, named Ebn Abi 
‘Aqil; he was of a pleasant countenance and rich. By the city gate 
is a shrine furnished with many carpets, mats, and gold and sil- 
ver lamps and lanterns. The town is situated on a high spot, and 
its water comes from the mountains. Up to the city gate are stone 
arches atop which water is brought into the city. Opposite the 
city in the mountains is a valley, and if one goes eighteen para- 
sangs to the east, one comes to Damascus. 


When we had gone seven parasangs we came to the city of 
Acre, which there they write ‘Akka. The city is situated on a rise, 
and some of the ground is uneven and sloping while other parts 
are level. Along the coast, they only build towns where there is 
elevated ground for fear of being inundated by seawater when 
the waves strike the shore. The Friday mosque is in the middle 
of the town and is on the highest spot. All the columns are mar- 
ble. To the right of the gebla, outside the mosque, is the prophet 
Saleh’s tomb. The courtyard of the mosque is partially paved in 
stone and partially planted with grass. They say that Adam culti- 
vated that very spot. I measured the city, the length of which was 
two thousand cubits and the breadth five hundred. The walls 
are extremely strong, and the southwestern portion is on the 
sea. To the south is a mind. Most of these coastal towns have a 
mina, which is like a stable for ships. Built right against the town, 
it has walls out into the water and an open space of fifty ells with- 
out a wall but with a chain stretched from one wall to the other. 



When a ship is about to enter the mind, they loosen the chain so 
that it goes beneath the surface of the water, allowing the ship to 
pass over; afterwards the chain is raised again lest strangers 
make untoward attempts on the ships. To the left of the eastern 
gate is a spring, to get to which one must descend twenty-six 
steps. This spring is called the Cow Spring, and they say that 
Adam discovered it and watered his own cattle from it, whence it 
derives its name. 

To the east of Acre is a mountain where various prophets’ 
shrines are located, but this place is off the main road to Ramla. 
I had an intention to see these holy pilgrimage sites and to gain 
God’s blessings from them, but the people of Acre told me that 
there were evil people along the way who would set upon a 
stranger and take whatever he might have. What valuables I had 
I deposited therefore in the Acre mosque and set out from town 
by the eastern gate. Early on Saturday the 23rd of Sha‘ban 438 
[22 February 1047] I visited the tomb of ‘Akk, the founder of 
Acre, who had been a great and pious man. Since I had no guide 
with me to show me the way, I had become confused, when sud- 
denly, thanks to God’s great goodness, I chanced upon a Persian 
man from Azerbaijan who had visited those holy sites before and 
had returned a second time. I prayed two rak‘ats in thanks to 
God and rendered thanks to Him for giving me a companion so 
that I could fulfill the intention I had made. 

Then I came to a village called al-Berwa, where I visited the 
tombs of Esau and Simeon. Next I came to a small cave they 
called Dammun, which I visited too, since they say it is the tomb 
of Dhu’l-Kefl. Then I came to a village named E‘bellin, where 
they claim is the tomb of Hud. I made a visit. Inside the enclo- 
sure is a mulberry tree. The tomb of the prophet Ezra, which I 
visited, is there also. 

Heading south, I came to another village called Hazira, to the 
west of which is a valley where there is a freshwater spring flow- 
ing from a rock. Next to the spring was a mosque built on a rock, 
and inside were two stone chambers with stone roofs and a door 
so small that it was difficult to enter. Inside are two adjacent 
tombs, one of Jethro and the other of his daughter, Moses’ wife. 
The people of this village keep up the mosque and shrine very 
well, cleaning them and maintaining the lamps. Next I came toa 
village called Irbid, to the south of which was a hill with an en- 


Book of Travels 

closure containing the tombs of four of Jacob’s sons, brothers of 
Joseph. Proceeding farther, I saw a hill in which was a cave con- 
taining the tomb of Moses’ mother. I made a visit and then went 
on through a valley, which ends at a small sea, along the shore of 
which is located the city of Tiberias. The sea is about six para- 
sangs long and three wide, and the water is fresh and potable. 
The city is on the western side of the sea, and all the bath and 
sewage water empties into the sea, yet the people of the town 
and shore district all drink from the water of the sea. 

I heard that once a prince of this city ordered the sewage 
drains that emptied into the sea stopped up. When they did this, 
the water turned so foul it wasn’t fit to drink. He then ordered 
the drains reopened, and the water became good again. This 
town has a fortified wall extending from the shoreline all 
around the town; there is no wall on the water side. There are 
many buildings in the water, and the bed of the lake is rock. 
They have made belvederes on the top of the marble columns 
that are in the water. The lake is full of fish. 

The town has a Friday mosque; by its gate is a spring with a 
bathhouse over it. The water is so hot that unless it is mixed with 
cold water you cannot stand it. They say that it was built by Solo- 
mon, and I went inside to try it out. 

On the west side of the city of Tiberias is a mosque called the 
Jasmine Mosque, which is exceptionally fine. Right in the middle 
of the mosque is a large platform containing several niches; 
around the platform are jasmine bushes, which is why it is so 
called. On the east side is a colonnade containing the tomb of 
Joshua son of Nun. Beneath the platform are the tombs of the 
Seventy Prophets who were slain by the children of Israel. To 
the south of the city is the Dead Sea, the water of which is salty, 
although it is south of Tiberias and the fresh water of the Sea of 
Galilee flows into it. Lot’s city was on the shore of this sea, but no 
trace of it remains. I heard from someone that in the bitter 
waters of the Dead Sea is something shaped like a cow that grows 
up from the bottom and resembles stone, but not so hard.* It is 
gathered, broken into pieces, and peddled around in the towns 
because one piece of it planted at the base of a tree will keep 

*A type of water moss known in Persian as gavab (“water-ox”), called tohlob and 

thawr al-ma’ in Arabic. See Mohammad Hosayn b. Khalaf Tabrizi, Borhan-e gate’, 
ed. Mohammad Mo'‘in (Tehran: Ebn-e Sina, 1330-42/195 1-63), vol. 3, p. 1766. 


From Acre to Jerusalem 

worms from attacking the roots and will repel underground ver- 
min from a whole orchard. This, at any rate, is what I was told. 
Druggists also buy it because a worm called nogra that gets into 
medicines is repelled by this substance. In the town of Tiberias 
they make reed prayer mats sold there for five dinars. 

To the west of Tiberias is a mountain where there is a piece of 
granite inscribed in Hebrew to the effect that at the date of in- 
scription the Pleiades were on the edge of Aries. The tomb of 
Abu Horayra is there also, outside the city to the south, but no 
one can go there because the people are Shi‘i and whenever any- 
one does go, the children make a racket, attack, and harass and 
throw stones. For this reason I was unable to visit that place. 
Upon returning I came to a village called Kafr Kanna; on the 
top of a hill to the south there is a cell with an immovable door, 
said to be the tomb of the prophet Jonah. By the door to the cell 
is a freshwater well. Having made my visit, I returned to Acre, a 
distance of four parasangs. We remained in Acre for one day 
more and then left. 

From Acre to Jerusalem 

We came to a village called Haifa. Along the village road is 
much sand of the type used by Persian goldsmiths, which they 
call makki [Meccan]. The village of Haifa is on the coast and has 
many palm groves and orchards. The shipbuilders there make 
large seagoing vessels they call judz. 

One parasang from there is another village called Kanisa, 
where the road turns away from the coast toward the hills. To 
the east are desert plains called the Valley of Crocodiles. After a 
parasang or two, the road again joins the coast. Here we saw the 
bones of many sea animals that had been fossilized because of 
constant pounding by waves. Seven parasangs from Acre, we 
came to a town called Caesarea, a nice place with running water, 
palm groves, orange and citron groves, and a fortified rampart 
with an iron gate. There are springs inside the town and a Fri- 
day mosque so situated that when seated inside one can look out 
over the sea. There is a marble vase there as thin as Chinese por- 
celain, although it holds a hundred maunds of water. 

Book of Travels 

Saturday the last of Sha‘ban [28 February 1047] I left there. 
For one parasang there was that Meccan sand, then once again 
we saw many fig and olive trees. All along the way the hills and 
plain were planted with trees. Having gone a few parasangs, we 
arrived in a town called Kafr Saba and Kafr Sallam. From here 
to Ramla is three parasangs, the whole way orchards, as I have 

Sunday the first of Ramadan [1 March] we arrived in Ramla, 
which is eight parasangs from Caesarea. It is a large town witha 
fortified rampart of stone and mortar, tall and strong, with iron 
gates. From the city to the shore is three parasangs. Their water 
supply is rainwater, and inside every building are pools to collect 
it so that there will be a constant supply. In the Friday mosque 
there are large pools from which anyone can draw water when 
they are full. I measured the courtyard and found it to be three 
hundred paces by two hundred. Across a porch was an inscrip- 
tion to the effect that on the 15th of Moharram 425 [10 Decem- 
ber 1033] there was a violent earthquake that destroyed many 
buildings, but no people were injured. 

There is much marble here, and most of the buildings and 
houses are made of sculpted marble. They cut the marble with 
toothless saws and Meccan sand. The saw is drawn along the 
length of the shaft, not across the grain, as with wood. From the 
stone they make slabs. I saw all colors of marble—speckled, 
green, red, black, white, and multicolored. There is a kind of 
grape there that is better than grapes elsewhere and is exported 
all over. The city of Ramla is said to belong to Syria and western 

On the 3rd of Ramadan [3 March] we left Ramla and came to 
a village called Latrun.° Farther on we came to a village called 
Qaryat al-‘Enab. All along the way I noticed great quantities of 
rue growing wild. We saw a spring with very good fresh water 
flowing out of rock; it was made with troughs all around and 
had several outbuildings about. From there we started up a hill 
as though ascending a mountain, on the other side of which one 
would expect to come down to a city. Once we had gone up a 
way, however, a vast plain came into view, partially rocky and 
partially soil. Atop the hill is the city of Jerusalem. From Tripoli, 

All manuscripts give Khatun; Schefer observes that it should be Latrun. 


Description of Jerusalem 

which is on the coast, to Jerusalem is 56 parasangs. From Balkh 
to Jerusalem is 876 parasangs. 


The 5th of Ramadan 438 [5 March 1047] we entered Jerusa- 
lem. It had been one solar year from the time we left home, and 
throughout our travels we had not stopped anywhere long 
enough to have rested completely. 

Jerusalem, which the people of Syria and that region call 
“Qods,” is visited during the season by people of the area who 
are unable to make the Pilgrimage to Mecca. They perform the 
requisite rituals and offer a sacrifice on the customary holiday. 
Some years more than twenty thousand people come during the 
first days of Dhu 1-hejja bringing their children to celebrate their 
circumcision. From the Byzantine realm and other places too 
come Christians and Jews to visit the churches and synagogues 
located there. The large church will be described later. 

The outlying villages and dependencies of Jerusalem are all in 
the hills, and all cultivation, olives, figs, and so on, is totally with- 
out irrigation, yet prosperity is widespread and prices cheap. 
There are villagers who collect each up to five thousand maunds 
of olive oil in pits and tanks to be exported all over the world. 
They say there has never been a faminine in the land of Syria, 
and I heard from reliable sources that a great man once saw the 
Prophet in a dream and said, “O Prophet of God, assist us in our 
livelihood!” In response the Prophet said, “The bread and olives 
of Syria are with me.” 

A General Description of Jerusalem 

Now I will describe the city of Jerusalem. It is situated on top 
of a hill and has no source of water save rain. The villages, on 
the other hand, have springs, but there are none inside the city. 
Around the city is a fortified rampart of stone and mortar with 
iron gates. Near the city there are no trees, since it is built on 



Book of Travels 

rock. It is a large city, there being some twenty thousand men 
there when I saw it. The bazaars are nice, the buildings tall, and 
the ground paved with stone. Wherever there was a rise or hill it 
has been graded down level so that when it rains the whole 
ground is washed clean. There are many artisans in the city, 
each group having its own separate quarter. The eastern wall is 
attached to the congregational mosque. 

Passing out of the mosque you come out onto a large, expan- 
sive, and flat plain called Sahera. They say that this is where the 
Resurrection will take place, where all men will be gathered to- 
gether. For this reason many people have come there from all 
over the world and taken up residence in order to die in that 
city. When God’s appointed time comes, they will already be in 
the stipulated place. O God! on that day wilt Thou be Thine own 
servants’ protector and Thy mercy. Amen. O Lord of the uni- 

On the edge of the plain is a large cemetery, where there are 
many spots in which men pray and make special requests, which 
are granted by God. O God, receive our supplications and for- 
give our sins and evil deeds. Have mercy upon us, O Most Mer- 

Between the cathedral mosque and the Plain of Sahera is a 
large, deep valley shaped like a trench. Therein are large edi- 
fices laid out by the ancients. I saw over the door of one house a 
carved stone dome, and a thing more amazing than this could 
scarcely exist: I could not figure out how it had been raised. Ev- 
erybody said it was Pharaoh’s House and that this was the Valley 
of Gehenna."° I asked how it came to be called thus and was 
told that, in the days of the caliphate of Omar, the Plain of 
Sahera had been the site of an army camp. When Omar looked 
at that valley, he said, “This is the Valley of Gehenna.” The com- 
mon people say that anyone who goes to the edge of the valley 
can hear the voices of the people in hell. I went there but heard 

Half a parasang south of the city, one goes down a hill to a 
spring, called ‘Ayn Selwan [the Spring of Siloam], that flows 
from rock. They have built many buildings around it, and it 

'°The Valley of Gehenna is known in Judeo-Christian sources as the Valley of 
Jehoshaphat. “Gehenna” (Arabic jahannam) is the Islamic proper name for Hell. 


The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

waters the gardens. They say that whoever washes in that water 
will be cured of chronic illness. Much has gone into pious en- 
dowment for that spring. 

Jerusalem has a fine, heavily endowed hospital. People are 
given potions and draughts, and the physicians who are there 
draw their salaries from the endowment. 

The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

The hospital and Friday mosque are on the eastern side of the 
city, and one wall of the mosque" is on the Valley of Gehenna. 
Looking at the wall from outside the mosque, one can see that it 
is one hundred cubits high and made of large, unmortared 
stones. Inside the mosque [area] the top of the wall is level. The 
mosque was built in that place because it is the site of the very 
rock which God commanded Moses to make the direction of 
prayer. When this commandment came, Moses did make it the 
direction of prayer; not long thereafter he died. Then, in the 
time of Solomon, as that rock was still the direction of prayer, 
the mosque was built around the rock, with the rock in the mid- 
dle. This rock remained the direction people faced for prayer 
until the time of the Prophet Mohammad, when God com- 
manded the direction to be toward the Ka‘ba [in Mecca], a de- 
scription of which will come in its proper place. 

I wanted to measure the dimensions of this sanctuary, but I 
thought that first I should get a general idea of the plan and lay- 
out, after which I could make my measurements. For a long time 
I wandered about the area, looking at it from different vantages. 
Then, on the northern side, near the Dome of Jacob, I discov- 
ered an inscription in stone over an arch to the effect that the 
length of this sanctuary is 704 cubits and the width 455 cubits in 
royal ells (the royal ell being what is called the gaz-e shayegan in 
Khorasan, and equivalent to slightly less than 1% ells). The 
ground of the area is paved with stone and the joints are filled 
with lead. 

''Throughtout this section Naser refers to the entire precincts of the Haram 

al-Sharif, the sanctuary of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, as “the 
mosque” (masjed). 


TOT VENT? Pree ror et Pe renee ome wrereETT TTT TS GT gy 

Book of Travels 

The sanctuary is located to the east of the city and bazaar, so 
that to get to it from the bazaar one goes east. It has a splendid 
gateway, thirty ells high and twenty wide, from which two 
“wings” open out on each side. The gateway, the facing of the 
wings, and the open hall of the gateway are adorned with de- 
signs and patterned with colored tiles set in plaster. The whole 
produces an effect dazzling to the eye. There is an inscription on 
the tiles of the gateway with the titles of the sultan of Egypt. 
When the sun strikes this, the rays play so that the mind of the 
beholder is absolutely stunned. Over the gateway is a huge dome 
made of stone, with two ornate doors set therein. The facing on 
these doors is of Damascene brass and looks like gold. They are 
covered with designs and are fifteen ells high and eight wide. 
These doors are called the Bab Daud [Gate of David].” Inside 
and to the right of these doors you find two great colonnades, 
each of which has twenty-nine marble pillars with capitals and 
bases of colored marble, with lead-caulked joints. Over the col- 
umns are masonry arches placed one atop the other, without 
mortar, such that each arch contains no more than four or five 
blocks of stone. These colonnades run to near the magqsiira. To 
the left of the doors, that is, to the north, is a long colonnade 
with sixty-four arches atop marble columns and another gate 
called Bab al-Saqar [Gate of Hell]. The length of the mosque ex- 
tends from north to south, to where the magqstra opens out, but 
the shape of the court is square, with the qgebla to the south. 

On the north side are two more adjacent doors, each of which 
is seven ells wide and twelve high. These doors are called Bab al- 
Asbat [Gate of the Tribes]. Beyond these doors, which are along 
the breadth of the sanctuary leading eastward, there is another 

'?The following correlation between the gates of the sanctuary mentioned by 
Naser and gates as they are today has been made by Sir C. W. Wilson (Appendix 
C in Le Strange’s translation of the Palestine section of the Safarndma, pp. 
67-72): Naser’s Bab Daud is the Bab al-Selsela; the gate called al-Saqar by Naser 
is thought to be the modern Bab al-Nazer; Naser’s Bab al-Asbat is now known as 
Bab al-Hetta; the Bab al-Abwab of Naser’s text is the modern Bab al-Asbat; the 
gate leading to the Sufis’ Cloisters should be the modern Bab al-‘ Atm; the double 
gates of Bab al-Rahma and Bab al-Tawba are the modern Golden Gate; Naser’s 
Bab al-Nabi should be the Gate of the Old Aqsa; the Bab al-‘Ayn may be the 
modern Single Gate or Triple Gate, now closed; the Bab al-Hetta, so called by 
Naser, should be the now closed Bab al-Nabi, also known as Bab al-Boraq; and 
what Naser refers to as the Bab al-Sakina is known as the Bab al-Salam and ad- 
joins the Bab al-Selsela. 


The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

huge gateway containing three adjacent doors of the same di- 
mensions as the Gates of the Tribes. All are ornately done in 
iron and brass of the best workmanship imaginable. This gate is 
called Bab al-Abwab [Gate of Gates] because in all other places 
the gateways come in pairs, and this gate alone is triple. 

Between these two gateways, on the northern side, in a colon- 
nade in which the arches rest on solid pillars, is a dome sup- 
ported by tall columns and decorated with lamps. It is called Ja- 
cob’s Dome, as it is supposed to have been his place of prayer. 
On the broad side of the mosque is another colonnade, and in 
the wall is a doorway. Outside that are the cloisters of the Sufis, 
for that is their place of prayer and contains fine mehrabs. There 
are always many Sufis in residence at prayer, except on Fridays 
when they go inside the mosque to hear the exaltation. 

At the north corner of the sanctuary is a fine colonnade and a 
large, beautiful dome on which is inscribed: “This is the mehrab 
of Zechariah the prophet.” They say that he used to pray con- 
stantly in this place. 

Along the eastern wall, in the middle of the sanctuary, is a 
large gateway of stone so finely hewn that one would say it has 
been made of a single block. It is fifty ells high and thirty wide, is 
carved in designs, and has two beautiful doors leading into it. 
Between the two doors is not more than one foot of wall space. 
These doors are elaborately made of iron and Damascene brass 
with rings and studs. They say these doors were made by Solo- 
mon son of David for his father. 

Going inside through these two doors, and facing east, you 
find to your right two doors, one called Bab al-Rahma [Gate of 
Mercy] and the other, Bab al-Tawba [Gate of Repentance]. It is 
said that it was at these very doors that God accepted David’s re- 
pentance. On this spot is a beautiful mosque that was once a hall 
but has now been made into a mosque and decorated with all 
sorts of carpets. It has an independent staff. Men often go there 
to pray and seek communion with God. For the very reason that 
David’s repentance was accepted in that place, all people are 
hopeful to be forgiven their sins as well. They say that David had 
scarcely crossed the threshold when an inspiration came to him 
to the effect that God had accepted his repentance. There he re- 
mained, occupying himself with acts of obedience. I, Naser, 
prayed there and asked God for grace in piety and to be 


ia a i ai a a 

hah Ui 

PUPP CNT eT eee eee trerrer erry 

107 areata ar NNRIRET Oo) r cs MAAAIAAM LI NAL bs) Ll PA ici baad te shdd HAMMAM DAL onaaaatnaaa Phd Seesauadaneas RATT 

Book of Travels 

cleansed of the sin of disobedience. May God the Exalted grant 
grace to all his servants in accordance with his pleasure and 
grant repentance of sin, through the sanctity of Mohammad and 
his pure offspring! 

In the south corner of the east wall is an underground 
mosque, to reach which you must descend many steps. It is 
twenty by fifteen ells and has a stone roof supported by marble 
columns. It contains Jesus’s cradle, which is made of stone and is 
large enough for men to pray in. I too prayed there. It is firmly 
fastened to the floor so that it cannot be moved. This is the cra- 
dle the Child Jesus was placed in when he spoke to people.” In 
this mosque the cradle takes the place of the mehrab. On the east 
side is the mehrab of Mary and another said to be that of Zacha- 
riah. The Koranic verses concerning Zachariah and Mary are in- 
scribed in these niches, and it is said that this was Jesus’ birth- 
place. One of the columns has the imprint of two fingers and 
looks as though someone had grasped it. They say that when 
Mary was in labor, she held onto this very column. This mosque 
is known as Mahd ‘Isa [Jesus’ Cradle], and many brass and silver 
lamps are hung here and kept burning throughout the night. 

Passing out through the door, again on the east wall at a cor- 
ner of the large sanctuary area, you see another very beautiful 
mosque, twice as large as Jesus’ Cradle Mosque, called al-Aqsa 
Mosque. This marks the spot to which God transported Moham- 
mad from Mecca on the night of his heavenly ascent, and thence 
to heaven, as is mentioned in the Koran: “Praise be unto him, 
who transported his servant by night, from the sacred temple of 
Mecca to the farther temples of Jerusalem” [Koran 17:1]. 

In that place is a skillfully constructed edifice with magnificent 
carpets and an independent staff who are always attendant. On 
the outside again, along the southern wall and beyond the cor- 
ner, there is an uncovered courtyard about 200 ells long. The 
length of the mosque along the west wall is 420 ells, with the 
maqsura to the right along the south wall; it [the mosque] is 150 
ells wide. It has 280 marble columns supporting a stone arcade, 
the tops and bottoms of which are decorated and the joints filled 
with lead so that the construction is extremely tight. Between 
every two columns is a distance of six ells, and the ground 1s 

'*Jesus is mentioned in the Koran (19:29f.) as having spoken from the cradle. 


The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

flagged in colored marble tile, the joints again caulked in lead. 
The magsura, in the middle of the south wall, is large enough for 
sixteen columns and an enormous dome inlaid in tile, as has 
been described. It is filled with Maghrebi carpets, lamps, and 
lanterns each hung by a separate chain. There is a large mehrab 
inlaid with tile; on either side of the niche are two marble pillars 
the color of red carnelian, and the whole low wall of the magqsura 
is of colored marble. To the right is Mo‘awiya’s mehrab, and that 
of Omar to the left. The ceiling is covered with wood carved in 
elaborate designs. Along the wall of the magsura toward the 
courtyard are 15 gateways and ornate doors, each of which is 10 
ells tall and 6 wide, 10 of them on the wall that is 420 ells long 
and 5 on the wall that is 150 ells long. One of these gates in par- 
ticular is done in such beautifully ornate brass that one would 
think it was made of gold burnished with silver. It has the name 
of the Caliph Ma’mun on it and is said to have been sent by him 
from Baghdad. 

When all the gates are opened, the inside of the mosque is as 
light as an open courtyard. However, when the wind is blowing 
or it is raining, the gates are closed, and then light comes from 
skylights. On each side of the covered portion are chests from 
each of the principal cities of Syria and Iraq, and mojdawers sit 
there just as they do in the Haram Mosque in Mecca. 

Along the great outer wall, already described, is an arcade 
with forty-two arches, all the columns of which are of colored 
marble. This arcade joins the western one. Inside the covered 
portion [of the mosque] is a tank sunk into the earth such that, 
when covered, it is level with the floor; this is for collecting rain- 
water. In the south wall is a gate at the ablution pool. When any- 
one needs water for making ablutions, he goes there and renews 
his ablutions, for the mosque is so large that if you had to leave 
it, you would certainly miss your prayer. 

The roofs are all covered with lead, and there are many tanks 
and cisterns sunk into the ground, since the mosque rests en- 
tirely on rock. However much it rains, no water is allowed to es- 
cape and go to waste, since it all drains into cisterns from which 
it can be drawn later. There are lead conduits through which the 
water flows. Beneath the drains are stone troughs, and in the 
bottom of each of these is a hole leading to a channel through 
which the water flows uncontaminated into the tanks. Three 


Book of Travels 

parasangs outside the city I saw a large reservoir in which moun- 
tain water is kept. There is a canal from there into the city 
mosque. Of all the city, the greatest abundance of water is found 
in the Friday mosque; however, in all the houses there are pools 
for rainwater, wherein each person collects the water from his 
own roof. The baths and everything else operate on rainwater as 
well. The cisterns in the mosque never need repair because they 
are made of granite, but even should there have been a crack or 
chink, the rock is so solidly reinforced that it never breaks. They 
say Solomon made all this. The tops of the cisterns look like 
ovens; and the well-covers, which are placed on top of every cis- 
tern lest anything fall in, are stone. The water of this city is the 
best and cleanest imaginable. Even when only a little rain falls, 
the water runs for two or three days. Even when no trace of a 
cloud remains in the sky, drops of rainwater continue to trickle. 

I have already said that Jerusalem is built on top of a hill and 
that the ground is not level. The site of the mosque alone is level 
and even; outside the mosque, wherever the ground goes down, 
the wall becomes correspondingly somewhat taller, rather than 
having the top of the wall follow the rising and falling of the 
ground. At every place in the city lower than the mosque, a door 
has been cut to lead up to the courtyard through a tunnel. One 
of these doors is called Bab al-Nabi [Prophet’s Gate]. This pas- 
sageway is on the gebla side, that is, the south, and is built so that 
it is ten ells wide; the height, depending on the number of steps, 
varies from five to twenty ells. The roof of this passageway lies 
under the pavement of the mosque and is strong enough for a 
building of such enormity to be built on top of it with no trace of 
strain. There are stones so enormous that the mind of man can- 
not comprehend how human strength could have moved them. 
They say this structure was made by Solomon son of David and 
that our Prophet Mohammad, on the night of his heavenly as- 
cent, entered the mosque by this passage; this door indeed faces 
the road to Mecca. On the wall nearby is a large shield carved in 
stone. It is said that Hamza son of ‘Abd al-Mottaleb, the uncle of 
the Prophet, sat there with his shield on his back and that this is 
an impression of that shield. 

At this gateway to the mosque, where this passageway has 
been constructed, is hung a double-leafed door. The outside 
wall at this point is nearly fifty ells high. The reason for this gate 


The Sanctuary of Jerusalem 

is so that the people of the quarter adjoining this end of the 
mosque should not have to go to another quarter when they 
want to enter. In the wall to the right of the door is a stone fif- 
teen cubits high and four wide; there is no stone larger in the 
mosque, where there are many stones four to five ells long set at 
a height of thirty to forty ells in the walls. 

Along the breadth of the mosque is a gate facing east called 
Bab al-‘Ayn [Gate of the Spring], outside of which is a hill lead- 
ing down to the Spring of Siloam. There is also another gate at 
ground level called Bab al-Hetta [Gate of Forgiveness]; it is said 
that it was through this gate that God commanded the children 
of Israel to enter the mosque, as he said: “Enter into this city, 
and eat of the provisions thereof plentifully as ye will; and enter 
the gate worshiping, and say, Forgiveness! [hetta] we will pardon 
you your sins and give increase unto the well-doers” [Koran 

Yet another gate is called Bab al-Sakina [Gate of the Divine 
Presence]'* and in the adjacent vestibule is a mosque with many 
mehrabs; the first door is kept closed so that no one can enter. 
They say that the Ark of the Covenant mentioned by God in the 
Koran was once placed there but was later borne away by the 

All the gates to the Jerusalem sanctuary number nine, as de- 

Now I will describe the platform in the middle of the mosque 
courtyard, and the Rock located inside, which was the gebla be- 
fore the emergence of Islam. The platform had to be con- 
structed because the rock was too high to be enclosed under a 
roof; therefore the platform was built with the Rock as its foun- 
dation. The width is 330 cubits, the length 300 cubits, and the 
height 12 ells. The court is level and nicely paved with marble, 
and the walls, the joints of which are caulked with lead, are all 
four faced with marble so as to form an enclosure. The platform 
is so constructed that access can be gained only by specially built 
gangways. Going up onto the platform, you can look out over 
the roof of al-Aqsa Mosque. There is a cistern built below the 
ground to store rainwater, which runs through niches into the 

'4The name of this gate is taken from the post-Biblical concept of the shékinah, 

the “aura of the presence of God” that surrounded the Ark of the Covenant. 
The term occurs in Koran 2:248. 


Je peseeg nace erpcrceer ese: weg tony neseey eyes: 
ey bey pejebe febele t uw we 

wate etaletelel alee gt glalghaeitatat el tb belied ‘ ‘ 

is a 

Book of Travels 

cistern, and this the cleanest and best water in the entire sanctu- 
ary complex. There are four domes on the platform, the largest 
of which is the Qobbat al-Sakhra [Dome of the Rock], which 
used to be the gebla. 

A Description of the Dome of the Rock 

The mosque complex has been designed so that the platform 
is in the middle of the court, and the Dome of the Rock in the 
middle of the platform. It is an octagonal edifice, and each of 
the eight sides is thirty-three cubits long. There are four doors 
facing the cardinal points of the compass with one blank wall be- 
tween each two doors. The whole wall is of masonry twenty cu- 
bits in measure. The Rock itself is one hundred ells in circumfer- 
ence, although it is not a perfect shape; that is, it is neither 
circular nor square, but a rock of irregular form like any moun- 
tain stone. On each of the four sides of the Rock is a square pier 
the height of the wall. Between each two square piers stands a 
pair of cylindrical marble pillars the same height as the piers. 
Resting on these twelve piers and pillars is the base of the dome, 
beneath which lies the Rock itself; the circumference is 120 cu- 
bits. Between the wall and these piers (as I call the square ones) 
and pillars (as I call the round ones hewn from one piece of 
stone) are six more piers of hewn stone; between each two of 
these are three columns of colored marble. They are equally 
spaced so that in the outer row there are two columns between 
each two piers, whereas in the inner row there are three columns 
between each two piers. On the capital of each pier are set four 
volutes, from each of which springs an arch; on the capital of 
each column are set two volutes so that from each column there 
spring two arches, whereas the capital of every pier is the spring 
of four arches. 

The great dome rests on the twelve piers around the Rock and 
is so shaped that from one good parasang away the dome ap- 
pears like a mountain. From the base of the dome to the top is 
thirty cubits. The dome sits atop the octagonal structure’s 
straight walls twenty ells high with buttresses forming the angles 
of the supporting walls on top of the platform, which is itself 


The Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem, viewed from the south (gebla) side, 
showing the Maqam-e Ghori. Note that the triple stairway described by 
Naser has been replaced. (Photographed by Felix Bonfils. From the 
Collections of the Harvard Semitic Museum, HSM 372.) 


PRPS AEs natecna naenie Theanine Fain eee tee ok el Oe ele rr ee Ded tee tee ee etn ad ins it ihahed shade this Fadaanente beeneeeneneela 



a phtahablananantedtageeeeee neh er ee 


19S EryorT: 

eitseemaamammeiehiaaaeaiaenancicsamnearedaataat daa 

Book of Travels 

twelve ells high. Thus, from the ground of the sanctuary court 
to the summit of the dome is a total of sixty-two ells. The roof 
and ceiling of this structure are covered with geometric designs, 
and the column capitals and walls are ornate beyond descrip- 

The Rock itself rises to the height of a man above the floor 
and is surrounded by a marble balustrade to keep people away. 
It is a bluish rock that no one has ever set foot on. On the gebla 
side is a depression that looks as though someone’s foot had 
sunk in, as into soft clay, for even the imprint of the toes re- 
mains; there are seven such marks. What I heard is that Abra- 
ham was here, and that when Isaac was a small child he walked 
there and these are his footprints. 

There are always people in the Dome of the Rock as mojdwers 
and devotees. The place is nicely furnished with carpets of silk, 
and in the middle of the building is a silver lamp suspended over 
the Rock by a silver chain. There are many silver lamps here, 
and on each one is written its weight. They were donated by the 
sultan of Egypt. As I figured, there were a thousand maunds of 
silver. I saw one enormous candle, seven cubits long and three 
spans thick; it was as white as camphor and mixed with amber- 
gris. They said that every year the sultan of Egypt sends many 
candles, one of which was this one, for it had the sultan’s name 
written in gold letters around the bottom. 

This place is the third most holy place of God, and it is well 
known among those learned in religion that prayer made in 
Jerusalem is worth twenty-five thousand ordinary prayers. 
Every prayer said in Medina is worth fifty thousand, and every 
prayer said Mecca is worth one hundred thousand. May God 
grant to all his servants success in attaining this! 

I have already stated that all the roofs and domes are covered 
with lead and that on each of the four sides of the structure is a 
large double door made of teak. These doors are always kept 

Next to this structure is another dome called Qobbat al-Selsela 
[the Dome of the Chain], which is where David hung the chain 
that could not be reached by anyone other than the innocent, 
for the guilty and unjust could never pull it. This is well known 
to the learned.'? That dome rests on eight marble columns and 

'°For the legend of David's chain of justice, see al-Kesa’i, Tales of the Prophets of 
al-Kisa’t, tr. W. M. Thackston, Jr. (Boston: Twayne, 1978), pp. 286-288. 


The Gangways Leading to the Platform 

six stone piers, and it is open on all sides except the gebla direc- 
tion, which is walled up and has a beautiful mehrab. 

Also on the platform is another dome, which rests on four 
marble columns; it too is walled on the gebla side and has a fine 
mehrab. This is called Gabriel’s Dome. There are no carpets in 
this dome, the ground being paved with flat slabs of rock. They 
say that on the night of the Prophet’s heavenly ascent, the Boraq 
was brought here for the Prophet to mount.!® 

Twenty cubits away from Gabriel’s Dome is another dome 
called the Prophet’s Dome. This too rests on four marble piers. 

They say that on the night of the heavenly ascent, the Prophet 
first prayed in the Dome of the Rock and placed his hand on the 
Rock. When he had come out, the Rock rose up because of his 
majesty. He put his hand on the Rock, and it froze in its place, 
half of it being still suspended in the air. From there the Prophet 
came to the dome that is attributed to him and mounted the 
Boraq, for which reason that dome is so venerated. Beneath the 
Rock is a large cave where candles are kept burning. They say 
that when the Rock moved to rise up, this space was left, and, 
when it froze, this cave remained. 

A Description of the Stairways 
Leading to the Platform 

There are six stairways up to the platform, each of which has a 
name. From the gebla side are two ways up the platform. Stand- 
ing at a point along one side of the platform, one sees a set of 
stairs to the right and another to the left. The one to the right is 
called Maqam al-Nabi [the Prophet’s Station]; the one to the left, 
Maqam-e Ghori [the Ghorid Station]. The Prophet’s Station is so 
called because the Prophet mounted the platform by these stairs 
and thence into the Dome of the Rock. The road to the Hejaz is 
indeed on that side. Now these stairs are twenty cubits broad and 
are made of hewn stone, each step being one or two slabs of 
square-hewn stone. They are so arranged that they can be scaled 
on horseback. At the top of the stairs are four piers of a green 
marble that resembles emerald, except that the marble has many 

'°The Boraq is the heavenly animal upon which the Prophet ascended into 
heaven. In late medieval iconography the Borag is a winged horse with a human 
female head. 


cn er ee Eee 

Book of Travels 

different colored flecks in it. Each column is ten cubits tall and 
so thick that only with difficulty could two men reach around it. 
Atop these four columns rise three arches placed so that the 
middle one is directly opposite the steps. The top of the arcade is 
flat, with a gallery and crenellations above so that the whole 
looks squared off. The pillars and arches are covered with gold 
and enamel designs and are too beautiful to describe. The balus- 
trades around the platform are all of a flecked green marble that 
looks like a meadow with flowers in bloom. 

The Ghorid Station stairway consists of a triple flight, that is, a 
middle stairway directly opposite the platform flanked on either 
side by stairways, so that people can go up by any one of three 
different ways. Here too are similar columns, arches, and a gal- 
lery made, as I have already said, of hewn stone. Each step is of 
two or three long slabs. Across the arcade is inscribed in gold 
and fine calligraphy, “By the order of Prince Layth al-Dawla 
Nushtakin the Ghorid.” They say that this Layth al-Dawla was a 
slave of the sultan of Egypt and that he had these stairs and 
gangways built. 

On the west side of the platform there are also two stairways 
all as elaborately constructed as what I have already described. 
On the east side is only one stair, likewise elaborate, with col- 
umns, arches, and crenellations. This is called Maqam Sharqi 
[Eastern Station]. On the north side is another approach, higher 
and broader than the others, but also with columns and arches. 
It is called Maqam Shami [Syrian Station]. I reckoned that a 
hundred thousand dinars must have been spent on these six 
stairways and approaches. 

Toward the north side of the courtyard of the Sanctuary, but 
not on the platform, is something like a small mosque sur- 
rounded by a masonry enclosure. Its walls are no!’ higher than 
a man, and it is called Mehrab Da’ud [David’s Oratory]. Nearby 
the enclosure is a rock about as tall as a man, the top of which is 
no larger than what could be covered by a small rug. It is a 
rough stone and is said to have been Solomon’s footstool. They 
say that Solomon sat there while the Sanctuary was being built. 

This much I saw and sketched myself inside the Jerusalem 
Sanctuary, and I made notes in a diary I had with me right 

'7Read, with Tehran edition, nabdshad for Dabir-Siyaqi’s bashad. 


The Shrine of Abraham at Hebron 

there. Among the strange things I saw in the Jerusalem Sanctu- 
ary was a walnut tree. | 

I then decided to make a visit to the tomb of Abraham, the 
Friend of God. On Wednesday the first of Dhu’l-Qa‘da 438 [29 
April 1047] I set out for my destination. From Jerusalem to the 
shrine is six parasangs to the south. Along the way are many vil- 
lages and much cultivation and orchards of trees that need no ir- 
rigation, such as grapes, figs, olives, wild'® sumac, and so forth. 
Two parasangs outside the city is a cluster of four villages where 
there is a spring and also many gardens and orchards. It is called 
“Paradise” because it is such a nice spot. One parasang outside 
Jerusalem the Christians have a place they hold in great venera- 
tion, and there are always many pilgrims and people holding re- 
treat there. It is called Bethlehem, and the Christians, many 
from Byzantium, make sacrifices there. I spent my first night 
out from the city in that place. 

A Description of the Shrine 
of Abraham at Hebron 

The people of Syria and Jerusalem call this shrine Khalil [He- 
bron],'? whereas the proper name of the village, which they do 
not use, is Matlun. The shrine is endowed with many villages in 
addition to this one. The village has a spring that flows from 
rock. Not much water comes from it, and it is a long way off, but 
a channel has been dug to bring the water to just outside the vil- 
lage, where a covered cistern has been constructed to store the 
water lest it go to waste and so that there will be enough for the 
people of the village and also for the pilgrims who come there. 
The shrine itself is on the south side of the village, to the south- 
east. There are four masonry walls eighty cubits long, forty cu- 
bits wide, and twenty cubits high. The top of each wall is two cu- 
bits thick. There is a mehrab and a maqsura along the width of the 
structure, and in the magqsura are fine mehrabs and two tombs 
placed so that the heads are toward the gebla. Each one is carved 

'®Read, with Tehran and Berlin editions, khwadréy for Dabir-Siyaqi’s khwad. 

‘Hebron, where the Shrine of Abraham is located, is known in Arabic as al- 
Khalil, after Abraham’s epithet, Khalil Allah (“Friend of God”); see 2 Chronicles 


Book of Travels 

from stone and is about as long as a man. The one to the right is 
the tomb of Isaac, son of Abraham, and the other is his wife’s. 
The distance between the two is ten ells. Inside this shrine the 
floor and walls are decorated with costly rugs and Maghrebi car- 
pets even finer than brocade. I saw a prayer carpet said to have 
been sent by a prince of the army who was a slave of the sultan of 
Egypt. He was supposed to have bought it in Egypt for thirty 
gold dinars, which is more than he would have paid for Byzan- 
tine brocade. I never saw its equal anywhere. Coming out of the 
maqsura into the shrine courtyard, you see two structures oppo- 
site the gebla: the one to the right is a large building that contains 
the tomb of Abraham, the Friend of God. Inside there is an- 
other structure that you cannot walk all the way around, but it 
has four small windows through which visitors can look and see 
the tomb as they walk about. The whole structure is covered with 
brocade hangings from floor to ceiling, and the tomb 1s three ells 
long. Many lamps and silver lampholders are suspended 
therein. The other monument, to the left of the gebla, contains 
the tomb of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Between these two struc- 
tures is a vestibule-like passageway containing the doors to the 
two small monuments. Here also are hung many lamps and 
lampholders. Coming out of these two houses, you see two more 
mausolea: the one on the right contains the remains of the 
Prophet Jacob, and the one to the left, those of his wife. Next to 
these are buildings that were Abraham’s guesthouses. Alto- 
gether there are six tombs in this shrine. 

Outside these four walls is a hill where the tomb of Joseph son 
of Jacob is located under a nicely built dome with a stone tomb. 
On the side where the ground is level, beyond Joseph’s Dome 
and the shrine, is a large cemetery to which bodies have been 
brought for interment from all parts. On the roof of the maqsura 
inside the shrine are cells to house guests who stop there. The 
place is heavily endowed with villages and freeholding in Jerusa- 
lem. Most of the crop is barley, wheat being less cultivated; there 
are, of course, many olives. Visitors, guests, and travelers are 
given bread and olives. There are also many gristmills where 
oxen and mules grind flour all day long. There are also young 
girls who bake bread every day, each loaf weighing one maund. 
Everyone who goes there is given a daily ration of one loaf of 
bread, a bowl of lentils cooked with olive oil, and raisins, a cus- 
tom that has been maintained from the time of Abraham him- 


The Shrine of Abraham at Hebron 

self down to the present. On some days there are five hundred 
people present, all of whom receive this hospitality. They say 
that a long time ago, before this shrine was built, no one could 
enter and that the visit had to be made from outside. Then, 
when the Mahdi was established in the land of Egypt, he or- 
dered the structure opened up. Many utensils, hangings, and 
carpets were placed therein and major reparations were made 
inside the shrine. The entrance is in the middle of the north wall 
and is four ells above the ground. On either side are stone steps 
leading up on one side and down on the other. There is a small 
iron door mounted there. 

From there I returned to Jerusalem and then set out on foot 
with a group of people heading for the Hejaz. Our guide was a 
strong, pleasant-featured man who went on foot and was called 
Abu Bakr Hamadani. The middle of Dhu ’l-Qa‘da 438 [May 
1047] I departed from Jerusalem. After three days we came to a 
place called ‘Ar‘ar, where there were gardens with running 
water. We then came to another stopping place called Wadi al- 
Qora. After that we stopped in one more place and in ten days 
reached Mecca. 

That year there were no caravans from anywhere, and food- 
stuffs were not to be found. We stopped in the Druggists’ Lane 
just opposite the Prophet’s Gate. On Monday we were at ‘Arafat, 
although the people were in danger of marauding Arabs. Re- 
turning from ‘Arafat, we stayed two days in Mecca and then set 
out again for Syria and Jerusalem. 

On the 5th of Moharram 439 [2 July 1047] we arrived in Jeru- 
salem. I have not detailed anything of Mecca and the Pilgrimage 
here because I will describe it all under my last Pilgrimage. 

The Christians have a church in Jerusalem called Bay‘at al- 
Qomama [Church of the Resurrection], which they hold in par- 
ticular veneration. Every year many people come from Byzan- 
tium to visit it, and the Byzantine king himself comes in disguise 
so that no one will recognize him. In the days when the ruler of 
Egypt was al-Hakem be-Amr Allah, the Byzantine emperor 
came. al-Hakem found out about it and said to one of his equer- 
ries, “In the mosque of Jerusalem a man of such-and-such a de- 
scription wearing such-and-such clothes will be seated. Go to 
him and say that al-Hakem has sent you. Tell him not to imagine 
that I have no knowledge of his presence and not to fear, for I 
have no ill intent with regard to him.” It was this very al-Hakem 


Book of Travels 

who ordered this church plundered and pulled down, and it re- 
mained in this state of ruination for a time. Afterwards the em- 
peror sent emissaries with many gifts to seek a reconciliation and 
to intercede for permission to rebuild the church. It is large 
enough to hold eight thousand people inside and is extremely 
ornate, with colored marble and designs and pictures. It is ar- 
rayed with Byzantine brocades and is painted. Much gold has 
been used, and in several places there are pictures of Jesus rid- 
ing on an ass and also pictures of other prophets such as Abra- 
ham, Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob and his sons, which are var- 
nished in oil of sandarac and covered with fine, transparent 
glass that does not block any of the painting. This they have 
done so that dust and dirt cannot harm the pictures, and every 
day servants clean the glass. There are several other places just 
as elaborate, but it would take too long to describe them. There 
is one place in this church painted in two parts to represent 
heaven and hell and their inhabitants; in all the world there is 
nothing to equal it. Many priests and monks remain here to read 
the Gospel, pray, and occupy themselves with acts of devotion all 
day and night. 

Journey to Egypt 

After Jerusalem I decided to voyage to Egypt by sea and 
thence again to Mecca. As there was such an adverse wind that 
the ship could not set out to sea, I therefore proceeded by land. 
Passing through Ramla, I came to a town on the edge of the sea 
called Ascalon, which had a fine bazaar and cathedral mosque. I 
saw an old arch said to have been at one time [part of] a mosque. 
It was of stone and so huge that it would have cost a great deal to 
pull it down. Beyond there I saw many villages and towns that 
would take too long to describe fully. 

Shortly, I arrived at a port called Tina, from which you pro- 
ceed to Tennis. I boarded a boat and sailed over to Tennis, 
which is on an island. It is a pleasant city and so far from the 
mainland that you cannot even see the shore from rooftops. The 
city is populous and has good bazaars and two cathedral 
mosques. I estimated there were ten thousand shops, a hundred 


Journey to Egypt 

of which were pharmacies. In the summer they sell kashkab in the 
market, since it is a tropical climate and people suffer so from 
the heat. 

They weave multicolored linen for turbans, bandages, and 
women’s clothing. The colored linen of Tennis is unequaled 
anywhere except by the white linen woven in Damietta. That 
which is woven in the royal workshop is not sold to anyone. I 
heard that the king of Fars once sent twenty thousand dinars to 
Tennis to buy one suit of clothing of their special material. [His 
agents] stayed there for several years but were unsuccessful in 
obtaining any. What the weavers are most famous for is their 
“special” material. I heard that someone there had woven a tur- 
ban for the sultan of Egypt that cost five hundred gold dinars. I 
saw the turban myself and was told it was worth four thousand 
dinars. In this city of Tennis they weave [a type of cloth called] 
bugalamun, which is found nowhere else in the world. It is an iri- 
descent cloth that appears of different hues at different times of 
the day. It is exported east and west from Tennis. I heard that 
the ruler of Byzantium once sent a message to the sultan of 
Egypt that he would exchange a hundred cities of his realm of 
Tennis alone. The sultan did not accept, of course, knowing that 
what he wanted with this city was its linen and bugalamun. 

When the water of the Nile rises, it pushes the salt water of the 
sea away from Tennis so that the water is fresh for ten para- 
sangs. For that time of the year large, reinforced, underground 
cisterns called masna‘as have been constructed on the island. 
When the Nile water forces the salty seawater back, they fill 
these cisterns by opening a watercourse from the sea into them, 
and the city exists for a whole year on this supply. When anyone 
has an excess of water, he will sell to others, and there are also 
endowed masna‘as from which water is given out to foreigners. 

The population of this city is fifty thousand, and there are at 
any given time at least a thousand ships at anchor belonging 
both to private merchants and to the sultan; since nothing is 
there, everything that is consumed must be brought in from the 
outside. All external transactions with the island are made there- 
fore by ship, and there is a fully armed garrison stationed there 
as a precaution against attack by Franks and Byzantines. I heard 
from reliable sources that one thousand dinars a day go from 
there into the sultan’s treasury. Everyday the people of the city 


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2 SS Ge oe KN 

Book of Travels 

turn that amount over to the tax collector, and he in turn remits 
it to the treasury before it shows a deficit. Nothing is taken from 
anyone by force. The full price is paid for all the linen and buqa- 
lamun woven for the sultan, so that the people work will- 
ingly—not as in some other countries, where the artisans are 
forced to labor for the vizier and sultan! They weave covers for 
camel litters and striped saddle-cloths for the aristocrats; in re- 
turn, they import fruits and foodstuffs from the Egyptian coun- 

They also make superior iron tools such as shears, knives, and 
so on. I saw a pair of shears imported from there to Egypt and 
selling for five dinars. They were made so that when the pin was 
taken out, the shears came apart, and when the pin was replaced 
they worked again. 

In that locale women are afflicted at times with a peculiar ill- 
ness that causes them to cry out two or three times like an epilep- 
tic, after which they regain their senses. In Khorasan I had 
heard that there was an island where the women cry like cats, 
which is similar to what I have just described. From Tennis to 
Constantinople it is a twenty-day voyage by ship. 

We set out for Egypt. When we reached the seashore, we 
found a boat going up the Nile. As the Nile nears the coast, it 
splits into many branches and flows fragmented into the sea. 
The branch we were on is called Rumesh. The boat sailed along 
until we came to a town called Salehiyya, which is very fertile. 
Many ships capable of carrying up to two hundred kharvars of 
commodities for sale in the groceries of Cairo are made there. 
Were it not done in that manner, it would be impossible to bring 
provisions into the city by animal with such efficiency. We dis- 
embarked at Salehiyya and proceeded that very night to the city. 

On Sunday the 7th of Safar 439 [3 August 1047], which was 
Ormozd Day of Shahrivar, old reckoning, we were in Cairo. 

A Description of Cairo and the Provinces 

The River Nile flows from the southwest, through the city of 
Cairo, and on into the Mediterranean Sea. When the Nile 
floods, it swells to twice the size of the Oxus at Termedh. The 


Cairo and the Provinces 

water flows through Nubia before reaching Egypt. The province 
of Nubia is mountainous, while Egypt lies on the plain. The first 
place one comes to in Egypt from Nubia is Aswan, three hun- 
dred parasangs from Cairo. All the town and provincial seats are 
on the banks of the river, and that region is called Upper Egypt. 
When ships reach Aswan, they can go no further because the 
water passes through narrow defiles and turns into rapids. 

Farther upriver to the south is the province of Nubia, which is 
ruled by another king. ‘The people there are black, and their re- 
ligion is Christianity. Traders go there taking beads, combs, and 
trinkets and bring back slaves to Egypt, where the slaves are ei- 
ther Nubian or Greek. I saw wheat and millet from Nubia, both 
of which were black. 

They say that no one has been able to ascertain the source of 
the Nile, and I heard that the sultan of Egypt sent some people 
who went along the Nile banks for a year investigating but were 
unable to discover the source. It is said, however, that it comes 
from a mountain in the south called Jabal al-Qamar [Mountain 
of the Moon]. 

When the sun enters Cancer, the Nile begins its increase and 
gradually rises day by day to twenty cubits above its winter level. 
In the city of Old Cairo measuring devices have been con- 
structed, and there is an agent who receives a salary of one thou- 
sand dinars to watch and see how much the level rises. From the 
day it begins its increase, criers are sent through the city to pro- 
claim how many “fingers” God has increased the Nile that day. 
When it has risen one ell, the good news is heralded and public 
rejoicing proclaimed until it reaches eighteen cubits, the normal 
increase. Less than this is considered a deficiency, and alms are 
distributed, holy intentions vowed, and general sorrow ensues. 
More is a cause for celebration and rejoicing. Unless the level 
goes above eighteen cubits, the sultan’s land tax is not levied on 
the peasantry. 

Water channels with smaller canals branching off have been 
dug from the Nile in all directions, and the villages of the coun- 
tryside are situated along them. There are so many waterwheels 
that it would be difficult to count them. All country villages in 
Egypt are built on high places and hills because when the Nile 
floods the whole land is inundated. So that they will be flooded, 
the villages are thus placed on higher ground. People normally 


Book of Travels 

travel from village to village by boat, and from one end of the 
realm to the other they have constructed earthen dikes, along 
the top of which you can walk beside the river. That structure is 
repaired yearly by an expert at a cost of ten thousand dinars to 
the sultan’s treasury. The people of the countryside make all 
necessary preparations for the four months their land is beneath 
the water, and everyone bakes and dries enough bread to last 
these four months without spoiling. 

The water usually rises for forty days until it has risen eight- 
een cubits. Then it remains at that level for another forty days, 
neither increasing nor decreasing. Thereupon it gradually de- 
creases for another forty days until it reaches the winter level. 
When the water begins to recede, the people follow it down, 
planting as the land is left dry. All their agriculture, both winter 
and summer, follows this pattern. They need no other source of 

The city of Cairo lies between the Nile and the sea, the Nile 
flowing from south to north into the sea. From Cairo to Alexan- 
dria is thirty parasangs, and Alexandria is on the shore of the 
Mediterranean and the banks of the Nile. From there much 
fruit is brought to Cairo by boat. There is a lighthouse that I saw 
in Alexandria, on top of which used to be an incendiary mirror. 
Whenever a ship came from Istanbul and approached opposite 
the mirror, fire would fall from the mirror and burn the ship 
up. The Byzantines exerted great effort and employed all man- 
ner of subterfuge, until they finally sent someone who broke the 
mirror. In the days of al-Hakem, the sultan of Egypt, a man ap- 
peared who was willing to fix the mirror as it had once been, but 
al-Hakem said it was not necessary, that the situation was well 
under control, since at that time the Greeks sent gold and goods 
in tribute and were content for the armies of Egypt not to go 
near them. 

Alexandria’s drinking water comes from rain, and all over the 
plain of Alexandria are those fallen stone columns previously 
described. The sea extends to Qayrawan, which is 150 parasangs 
from Egypt. The largest city of the Qayrawan region is Sejel- 
masa, which is 4 parasangs from the sea. It is a large city, situ- 
ated in the desert, with strong walls. Next to it is al-Mahdiyya, 
which was built by al-Mahdi, a descendant of Prince of the Faith- 
ful Hosayn son of ‘Ali, after he took the Maghreb and Anda- 


Journey to Egypt 

lusia, which, as of this date, are in the hands of the sultan of 
Egypt. It snows there but never enough to cover the feet. To the 
right of Andalusia the sea opens out to the north. From Egypt to 
Andalusia is one thousand parasangs, and it is all Muslim. Anda- 
lusia is a large and mountainous province where it snows and 
freezes; the people have white skin and red hair. Most of them 
have cat-eyes like the Slavs. It is “under” the Mediterranean, 
since from their point of view the sea is to the east. Turning 
right at Andalusia and going north, the shore eventually joins 
Byzantium. Many go on raids to Byzantium; if they like they can 
go by ship to Constantinople, but there are many gulfs, each of 
which is two to three hundred parasangs wide and cannot be 
crossed except by ship or ferry. I heard repeatedly from reliable 
men that the circumference of this sea is four thousand para- 
sangs and that one branch of the sea leads to the Darkness, for 
they say that the head of that inlet is perpetually frozen because 
the sun never reaches there. One of the islands in this sea is 
Sicily, which can be reached from Egypt in twenty days. There 
are also many other islands. It is said that Sicily is eighty para- 
sangs square and belongs to the sultan of Egypt. Every year a 
ship goes and brings tribute to Egypt. They bring very fine linen 
and striped stuff from there, one piece of which is worth ten di- 
nars in Egypt. 

Going east from Egypt, you reach the Red Sea. The city of 
Qolzom is located on the shore of this sea and is thirty parasangs 
from Cairo. This sea is a gulf of the ocean that splits off at Aden 
to the north and ends at Qolzom. The width of this gulf is said to 
be two hundred parasangs. Between Cairo and the gulf is moun- 
tain and desert where there is neither water nor growth. Who- 
ever wants to go to Mecca from Egypt must go east. From Qol- 
zom there are two ways, one by land and one by sea. The land 
route can be traversed in fifteen days, but it is all desert and 
three hundred parasangs long. Most of the caravans from Egypt 
take that way. By sea it takes twenty days to reach al-Jar, a small 
town in the Hejaz on the sea. From al-Jar to Medina it takes 
three days. From Medina to Mecca is one hundred parasangs. 
Following the coastline from al-Jar, you will come to the Yemen 
and the coast of Aden; continuing in that direction, you will 
eventually wind up in India and China. Continuing southward 
from Aden and slightly westward, you will come to Zanzibar and 


SS Sen awe me ee. 

Book of Travels 

Ethiopia, which will be described presently. Going south from 
Egypt through Nubia, you come to the province of the Masmu- 
dis, which is a land of broad pasture lands, many animals, and 
heavyset, strong-limbed, squat, black-skinned men; there are 
many soldiers of this sort in Egypt, with hideous faces and huge 
bodies. They are called Masmudis and fight as infantry with 
swords and spears, as they are incapable of wielding any other 

A Description of the City of Cairo 

Coming south from Syria, the first city one encounters is 
(New) Cairo, Old Cairo being situated farther south. Cairo is 
called al-Qahera al-Mo‘ezziyya, and the garrison town is called 
Fostat. This came about because al-Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah, one of 
the descendents of the Prince of the Faithful Hosayn son of ‘Ali, 
having conquered the Maghreb up to Andalusia, sent his army 
from the Maghreb in the direction of Egypt. To reach there, 
they had to cross the Nile, which is impassable for two reasons: 
first, the river is too broad, and second, there are so many croco- 
diles that any animal falling into the water is immediately de- 
voured. Then, on the outskirts of the city of Cairo, they puta tal- 
isman on the road so that no men or animals would be harmed, 
but no one dares to enter the water any place other than there 
within an arrowshot of the city. Then al-Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah sent 
his armies to the spot where Cairo is today, ordering them to 
send a black dog into the water ahead of them so they could fol- 
low without fear. It is said there were on that day thirty thou- 
sand cavalrymen, all his slaves. And the black dog went in ahead 
of the army, which followed behind across the water without a 
single creature harmed. There is no indication that anyone had 
crossed the Nile on horseback before this incident, which 
occurred in 358 [A.D. 969]. The sultan himself came by ship, 
and the boats in which he arrived were emptied near Cairo, 
brought out of the water, and left abandoned on the dry land. 
The man who told me this tale saw these boats himself, seven of 
them, each 150 cubits long and 70 cubits wide. They had re- 
mained there untouched for eighty years, as it was the year 441 
[A.D. 1049] when he reached the spot. 


The City of Cairo 

When al-Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah came to Egypt, the commander- 
in-chief from the caliph in Baghdad surrendered to him, and al- 
Mo‘ezz came with his forces to the place that is now New Cairo. 
He named his army camp al-Qahera (“Victoria”) since his army 
had gained victory there. He ordered that none of his soldiers 
should enter the city or go into anyone’s house. In the desert he 
ordered a garrison built, and he commanded his retinue to lay 
the foundations for houses and buildings, which in time became 
a city whose equal is hardly to be found. 

I estimated that there were no less than twenty thousand 
shops in Cairo, all of which belong to the sultan. Many shops are 
rented for as much as ten dinars a month, and none for less than 
two. There is no end of caravanserais, bathhouses and other 
public buildings—all property of the sultan, for no one owns 
any property except houses and what he himself builds. I heard 
that in Cairo and Old Cairo there are eight thousand buildings 
belonging to the sultan that are leased out, with the rent col- 
lected monthly. These are leased and rented to people on 
tenancy-at-will, and no sort of coercion is employed. 

The sultan’s palace is in the middle of Cairo and is encom- 
passed by an open space so that no building abuts it. Engineers 
who have measured it have found it to be the size of Mayyafare- 
qin. As the ground is open all around it, every night there are a 
thousand watchmen, five hundred mounted and five hundred 
on foot, who blow trumpets and beat drums at the time of eve- 
ning prayer and then patrol until daybreak. Viewed from out- 
side the city, the sultan’s palace looks like a mountain because of 
all the different buildings and the great height. From inside the 
city, however, one can see nothing at all because the walls are so 
high. They say that twelve thousand hired servants work in this 
palace, in addition to the women and slavegirls, whose number 
no one knows. It is said, nonetheless, that there are thirty thou- 
sand individuals in the palace, which consists of twelve buildings. 
The harem has ten gates on the ground level, each with a name, 
as follows (excluding the subterranean ones): Bab al-Dhahab, 
Bab al-Bahr, Bab al-Rih, Bab al-Zahuma, Bab al-Salam, Bab al- 
Zabarjad, Bab al-‘Id, Bab al-Fotuh, Bab al-Zallaga, and Bab al- 
Sariyya[?].2° There is a subterranean entrance through which 

?°Of these gates, the following are in conformity with the palace gates as they 
are known from other medieval and modern sources: Bab al-Dhahab [Golden 
Gate], Bab al-Bahr [River Gate], Bab al-Rih [Wind Gate, reading mh for Dabir- 


Book of Travels 

the sultan may pass on horseback. Outside the city he has built 
another palace connected to the harem palace by a passageway 
with a reinforced ceiling. The walls of this palace are of rocks 
hewn to look like one piece of stone, and there are belvederes 
and tall porticos. Inside the vestibule are platforms for the min- 
isters of state; servants are blacks and Greeks. The grand vizier 
is a personnage exceptional in his asceticism, piety, trustworthi- 
ness, truthfulness, learning, and intellect. The custom of wine- 
drinking has never been permitted there, that is, in the days of 
al-Hakem, under whose reign also no woman was allowed out- 
side her own house and no one made raisins, as a precaution 
against making intoxicating beverages. No one dares to drink 
wine. Beer is not drunk either since it is said to be intoxicating, 
and thus forbidden. 

A Description of the City of New Cairo 

The city of New Cairo has five gates, Bab al-Nasr. Bab al- 
Fotuh, Bab al-Qantara, Bab al-Zowayla, and Bab al-Khalij. 
There is no wall, but the buildings are even stronger and higher 
than ramparts, and every house and building is itself a fortress. 
Most of the buildings are five stories tall, although some are six. 
Drinking water is from the Nile, and water carriers transport 
water by camel. The closer the well is to the river, the sweeter the 
well water; it becomes more brackish the farther you get from 
the Nile. Old and New Cairo are said to have fifty thousand cam- 
els belonging to water carriers. The water carriers who port 
water on their backs are separate: they have brass cups and jugs 
and go into the narrow lanes where a camel cannot pass. 

Siyaqi’s edition sari], Bab al-Zahuma, Bab al-Zabarjad [Emerald Gate] (usually 
known as Bab al-Zomorrod; apparently Naser or a later scribe has inserted the 
Persian word zabarjad for the Arabic zomorrod, both of which mean “emerald”), 
Bab al-‘Id [Festival Gate]. Bab al-Fotuh [Fate of Conquest] is one of the city 
gates; the Bab al-Zallaqa was named for a ramp leading up to the gate. Bab al- 
Salam [Gate of Peace] and Bab al-Sariyya (?, perhaps a scribal error for Bab al- 
Torba [Tomb Gate]) have not been identified. See K. A. C. Creswell, The Muslim 
Architecture of Egypt (New York: Hacket Art Books, 1978), pp. 33ff. and Paul 
ee “Essai sur l'histoire et sur la topographie du Caire,” MMAFC, vol. 1, pp. 
421 ff. 


The City of New Cairo 

In the midst of the houses in the city are gardens and orchards 
watered by wells. In the sultan’s harem are the most beautiful 
gardens imaginable. Waterwheels have been constructed to irri- 
gate these gardens. There are trees planted and pleasure parks 
built even on the roofs. At the time I was there, a house on a lot 
twenty by twelve ells was being rented for fifteen dinars a 
month. The house was four stories tall, three of which were 
rented out. The tenant wanted to take the topmost floor also for 
[an additional] five dinars, but the landlord would not give it to 
him, saying that he might want to go there sometimes, although, 
during the year we were there, he did not come twice. These 
houses are so magnificent and fine that you would think they 
were made of jewels, not of plaster, tile, and stone! All the 
houses of Cairo are built separate one from another, so that no 
one’s trees or outbuildings are against anyone else’s walls. Thus, 
whenever anyone needs to, he can open the walls of his house 
and add on, since it causes no detriment to anyone else. 

Going west outside the city, you find a large canal called al- 
Khalij [Canal], which was built by the father of the present sul- 
tan, who has three hundred villages on his private property 
along the canal. The canal was cut from Old to New Cairo, 
where it turns and runs past the sultan’s palace. Two kiosks are 
built at the head of the canal, one called Lulu [Pearl] and the 
other Jawhara [Jewel]. 

Cairo has four cathedral mosques where men pray on Fridays. 
One of these is called al-Azhar, another al-Nur, another the 
Mosque of al-Hakem, and the fourth the Mosque of al-Mo‘ezz. 
This last mosque is outside the city on the banks of the Nile. 
When you face the gebla in Egypt, you have to turn toward the 
ascent of Aries. The distance between Old and New Cairo is less 
than a mile, Old Cairo being to the south and New Cairo to the 
north. The Nile flows through Old Cairo and reaches New 
Cairo, and the orchards and outbuildings of the two cities over- 
lap. During the summer, when the plain and lowlands are inun- 
dated, only the sultan’s garden, which is on a promontory and 
consequently not flooded, remains dry. 



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Book of Travels 

A Description of the Opening of the Canal 

When the Nile is increasing, that is, from the tenth of Shahri- 
var until the thirtieth of Aban, with its level rising eighteen ells 
above the winter level, the heads of the canals and channels are 
closed throughout the land. Then the canal called al-Khalij, 
which begins in Old Cairo and passes through New Cairo, and 
which is the sultan’s personal property, is opened with the sultan 
in attendance. Afterwards, all the other canals and channels are 
opened throughout the countryside. This day is one of the big- 
gest festivals of the year and is called Rokub Fath al-Khalij (“rid- 
ing forth to open the canal”). When the season approaches, a 
large pavilion of Byzantine brocade spun with gold and set with 
gems, large enough for a hundred horsemen to stand in its 
shade, is elaborately assembled at the head of the canal for the 
sultan. In front of this canopy are set up a striped tent and an- 
other large pavilion. Three days before the Rokub, drums are 
beat and trumpets sounded in the royal stables so that the horses 
will get accustomed to the sound. When the sultan mounts, ten 
thousand horses with gold saddles and bridles and jewel- 
studded reins stand at rest all of them with saddle-cloths of Byz- 
antine brocade and bugalamun woven seamless to order. In the 
borders of the cloth are woven inscriptions bearing the name of 
the sultan of Egypt. On each horse is a spear or coat of armor 
and a helmet on the pommel, along with every other type of 
weapon. There are also many camels and mules with handsome 
panniers and howdahs, all studded with gold and jewels. Their 
coverings are sewn with pearls. 

Were I to describe everything about this day of [the opening 
of] the canal, it would take too long. 

The sultan’s soldiers stand in groups and battalions, and each 
ethnic group has a name.*' One group is called the Kotamis, 

?!The Kotamis were Berbers of the Kotama tribe who were successfully con- 
verted to Ismailism by the missionary activity of Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i, who 
paved the way for the declaration of ‘Obayd Allah as mahdi and caliph (see El’, 
II, 852). The Batelis were also of North African origin and had a quarter near 
the Bab al-Zowayla. The Masmudis were of the al-Masmuda, a North African 
tribe (see Yaqut, 1V, 544); after “Masameda” in the text, read, with the Tehran 
edition, sepahiyan “infantry soldiers” for Dabir-Siyaqi’s edition siyahan “blacks’). 
The Masharegqa, or mashreqis (“easterners”), were mainly Daylamite soldiery. The 


The “Opening of the Canal” 

and they came from Qayrawan under al-Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah 
and are said to number twenty thousand horsemen. Another 
group called the Batelis came from the Maghreb before the sul- 
tan came to Egypt; they are said to be fifteen thousand horse- 
men in number. Another group, the Masameda, are infantry 
soldiers from the lands of the Masmtdis and number twenty 
thousand. Another group, called the Masharega [Easterners], 
are Turks and Persians, non-Arab by origin; although most of 
them were born in Egypt, their name derives from their place of 
origin, and they number ten thousand powefully built men. An- 
other group is called ‘Abid al-Shera, slaves who have been pur- 
chased; they are said to be thirty thousand in number. Yet an- 
other group are called the “Bedouins,” originating from the 
Hejaz, and all fifty thousand of them carry spears. Another 
group, called Ostadhs, are servants, both white and black, and 
were bought for service; they number thirty thousand horse- 
men. Another group numbering ten thousand, who originate 
from all over the world and are just foot soldiers, are called Sa- 
ra’is: they have a separate commander-in-chief, and each ethnic 
group uses its own type of weaponry. Another group are called 
Zanjis, thirty thousand in number; they fight with swords only. 
All of these soldiers are on the sultan’s pay, and each receives a 
fixed salary and/or wage according to his rank. Never has a draft 
been written against any tax collector or peasant; rather, the tax 
collectors annually remit the taxes of each province to the cen- 
tral treasury, and at stipulated intervals the army’s pay is dis- 
bursed. Hence, no governmental agent or peasant is ever troub- 
led by demands from the army. 

There is also a contingent of princes from all over the 
world—the Maghreb, the Yemen, Byzantium, Slavia, Nubia, 
and Abyssinia—who have come here but who are not reckoned 
in the ranks of the regular army. The sons of the Chosroes of 
Daylam and their mother have also come here, and the sons of 
Georgian kings, Daylamite princes, the sons of the khagan of 
Turkistan, and people of other ranks and stations, such as schol- 

‘Abid al-shera were Nubians who had been purchased as slaves, as their name in- 
dicates. Ostadhs (“masters”), as Naser notes, were purchased military slaves. “Sa- 

rai’, if the term is correct, derives from sara (“palace, royal building”). The 
Zanjis (plural zonw) were Blacks. 



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Book of Travels 

ars, literati, poets, and jurisprudents, all of whom have fixed sti- 
pends. No aristocrat receives less than five hundred dinars, 
some drawing stipends of up to two thousand dinars. The only 
function they have to perform is to make a salaam to the grand 
vizier, when he sits in state, and then withdraw to their places. 

But let us return to our account of the opening of the canal. 
On the morning when the sultan is going out for the ceremony, 
ten thousand men are hired to hold the steeds we have already 
described. These parade by the hundred, preceded by bugles, 
drums, and clarions and followed by army battalions, from the 
Harem Gate up to the head of the canal. Each of these hirelings 
who holds a horse is given three dirhems. Next come horses and 
camels fitted with litters and caparisons, and following these 
come camels bearing howdahs. At some distance behind all of 
these comes the sultan, a well-built, clean-shaven youth with 
cropped hair, a descendant of Hosayn son of ‘Ali. He is 
mounted on a camel with plain saddle and bridle with no gold or 
silver and wears a white shirt, as is the custom in Arab countries, 
with a wide cummerbund, which is called dorra‘ in Persia but 
dabigi in Egypt. The value of this alone is said to be ten thousand 
dinars. On his head he has a turban of the same color, and in his 
hand he holds a large, very costly whip. Before him walk three 
hundred Daylamites wearing Byzantine goldspun cloth with 
cummerbunds and wide sleeves, as is the fashion in Egypt. They 
all carry spears and arrows and wear leggings. At the sultan’s 
side rides a parasol-bearer with a bejewelled, gold turban and a 
suit of clothing worth ten thousand dinars. The parasol he holds 
is extremely ornate and studded with jewels and pearls. No 
other rider accompanies the sultan, but he is preceded by 
Daylamites. To his left and right are thurifers burning amber- 
gris and aloe. The custom here is for the people to prostrate 
themselves and say a prayer as the sultan passes. After the sultan 
comes the grand vizier with the chief justice and a large contin- 
gent of religious and governmental officials. 

The sultan proceeds to the head of the canal, where court has 
been set up, and remains mounted beneath the pavilion for a 
time. He is then handed a spear, which he throws at the dam. 
Men quickly set to work with picks and shovels to demolish the 
dam, and the water, which has built up on the other side, breaks 
through and floods the canal. 

On this day the whole population of Old and New Cairo 


The “Opening of the Canal” 

comes to witness the spectacle of the opening of the canal and to 
see all sorts of wonderful sporting events. The first ship that sails 
into the canal is filled with deaf-mutes, whom they must con- 
sider auspicious. On that day the sultan distributes alms to these 

There are twenty-one boats belonging to the sultan, which are 
usually kept tied up like animals in a stable, in an artificial lake 
the size of two or three playing fields next to the sultan’s palace; 
each boat is fifty yards long and twenty wide and is so ornate 
with gold, silver, jewels, and brocade that were I to describe 
them I could fill many pages. 

The sultan also has a garden called ‘Ayn al-Shams two para- 
sangs outside the city: there is a freshwater spring after which 
the garden, said to have been Pharaoh’s, was named. Near the 
garden I saw an ancient edifice made of four large stones, each 
of which was thirty ells tall and shaped like a minaret. From the 
top of each of these water trickles, but no one knew what it used 
to be. 

There is a balsam tree in the garden, and it is said that the an- 
cestors of the present sultan brought the seeds of this tree from 
the Maghreb and planted them and that in all the world there is 
no other like it, not even in the Maghreb. Although many seeds 
are produced, they will not grow just anywhere, and even when 
a tree does grow elsewhere, it does not produce oil. The tree it- 
self looks like a myrtle tree. When it reaches maturity, the 
branches are scored, and cups are attached to catch the sap-like 
oil that comes out. When the oil is completely drained, the tree 
dries up, and the gardeners take the wood to town to sell. It has 
a thick bark that, when stripped, tastes like almond. The next 
year branches again sprout from the roots, and the process can 
be repeated. 

There are in the city of Cairo ten quarters, which they call as 
follows: Barjawan, Zowayla, al-Jawdariyya, al-Omara, al-Day- 
alema, al-Rum, al-Bateliyya, Qasr-al-Shawk, “Abid al-Shera, and 

?The quarter names that have special significance are: al-Omara [Emirs, or 
Commanders], al-Dayalema [the Daylamites], al-Rum [the Greeks], al-Bateliyya 
[the Bateli soldiers, see previous note], ‘Abid al-shera [purchased slaves], and 
Masameda [the Masmudis, see previous note]. Some of these quarters survived 
as quarters until later times; see al-Maqrizi, Ketab al-khetat al magriziyya (al-Shiyah: 
Ehya’ al-‘Olum, n.d.), vol. 2, pp. 194ff. and Ravaisse, “Essai,” I, 425. 


&o 8S @& &» «ae & « 

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Book of Travels 

A Description of the City of Old Cairo 

The city of Old Cairo is situated on a promontory. To the east 
of the city is a hill, not too high, of rock and stone. On one side 
of the city is the Ebn Tulun Mosque, built on a rise with two re- 
inforced walls. With the exception of the walls of Amed and 
Mavyafareqin, I never saw the likes of this mosque. It was built 
by one of the Abbasid emirs who was governor of Egypt. During 
the reign of al-Hakem be-Amr Allah, the grandfather of the 
present sultan, the descendants of Ebn Tulun sold the mosque 
to al-Hakem for thirty thousand dinars. Later, they were about 
to have the minaret torn down when al-Hakem sent word to 
them to inquire what they were doing, since they had sold him 
the mosque. They replied that they had not sold the minaret, so 
he gave them another five thousand dinars for it. During the 
month of Ramadan the sultan prays there, and also on Fridays. 

The city of Old Cairo was built on a hill for fear of the Nile 
waters. Once the site was just large boulders, but they have all 
been broken up and the ground leveled. Now they call such a 
place ‘agaba. Looking at Old Cairo from a distance, because of 
the way it is situated, you would think it’s a mountain. There are 
places where the houses are fourteen stories tall and others 
seven. I heard from a reliable source that one person has on top 
of a seven-story house a garden where he raised a calf. He also 
has a waterwheel up there turned by this ox to lift water from a 
well down below. He has orange trees and also bananas and 
other fruit-bearing trees, flowers, and herbs planted on the roof. 

I was told by a credible merchant that there are many houses 
in Old Cairo where chambers can be hired. These chambers are 
thirty cubits square and can hold 350 people. There are also ba- 
zaars and lanes there where lamps always must be kept lit be- 
cause no light ever falls upon the ground where people pass to 
and fro. 

In Old Cairo alone, not counting New Cairo, there are seven 
cathedral mosques built one next to the other. In the two cities 
there are fifteen Friday mosques, so that on Fridays there is a 
sermon and congregation everywhere. 

In the midst of the bazaar is the Bab al-Jawame‘ Mosque, built 
by ‘Amr son of al-‘As when he was appointed governor of Egypt 


The City of Old Cairo 

by Mo‘awiya. The mosque is held aloft by four hundred marble 
columns, and the wall that contains the mehrab is all slabs of white 
marble on which the entire Koran is written in beautiful script. 
Outside, on all four sides, are bazaars into which the mosque 
gates open. Inside there are always teachers and Koran- readers, 
and this mosque is the promenade of the city, as there are never 
less than five thousand people—students, the indigent, scribes 
who write checks and money drafts, and others. Al-Hakem 
bought this mosque from the descendants of ‘Amr son of al-‘As. 
As they were in financial distress, they had asked the sultan to 
give permission for them to tear down the mosque their ancestor 
had built in order to sell the stones and bricks. Al-Hakem gave 
them one hundred thousand dinars for the mosque with all the 
people of Old Cairo as witnesses. Then he built many amazing 
things there, one of which is a silver lampholder with sixteen 
branches, each of which is 1% cubits long. Its circumference is 
24 cubits, and it holds seven hundred-odd lamps on holiday eve- 
nings. The weight is said to be 25 kantars of silver, a kantar be- 
ing 100 rotls, a rotl being 144 silver dirhems. After it had been 
made, it was too large to get in through any of the existing 
doors, so they removed one of the doors and got it inside, after 
which the door was replaced. There are always ten layers of col- 
ored carpets spread one on top of the other in this mosque, and 
every night more than one hundred lamps are kept burning. 
The court of the chief justice is located here. 

On the north side of the mosque is a bazaar called Suq al- 
Qanadil [Lamp Market], and no one ever saw such a bazaar any- 
where else. Every sort of rare goods from all over the world can 
be had there: I saw tortoise-shell implements such as small 
boxes, combs, knife handles, and so on. I also saw extremely fine 
crystal, which the master craftsmen etch most beautifully. [This 
crystal] had been imported from the Maghreb, although they 
say that near the Red Sea, crystal even finer and more translu- 
cent than the Maghrebi variety had been found. I saw elephant 
tusks from Zanzibar, many of which weighed more than two 
hundred maunds. There was a type of skin from Abyssinia that 
resembled leopard, from which they make sandals. Also from 
Abyssinia was a domesticated bird, large with white spots and a 
crown like a peacock’s. 

Throughout Egypt is much honey and sugarcane. On the 


- = 


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Book of Travels 

third of the month of Day of the Persian year 416 I saw the fol- 
lowing fruits and herbs, all in one day: red roses, lilies, narcissi, 
oranges, citrons, apples, jasmine, basil, quince, pomegranates, 
pears, melons, bananas, olives, myrobalan, fresh dates, grapes, 
sugarcane, eggplants, squash, turnips, radishes, cabbage, fresh 
beans, cucumbers, green onions, fresh garlic, carrots, and beets. 
No one would think that all of these fruits and vegetables could 
be had at one time, some usually growing in autumn, some in 
spring, some in summar, and some in fall. I myself have no ulte- 
rior motive in reporting all this, and I have recorded what I saw 
with my own eyes, although I am not responsible for some of the 
things I only heard, since Egypt is quite expansive and has all 
kinds of climate, from the tropical to the cold; and produce is 
brought to the city from everywhere and sold in the markets. 

In Old Cairo they make all types of porcelain, so fine and 
translucent that one can see one’s hand behind it when held up 
to the light. From this porcelain they make cups, bowls, plates, 
and so forth and paint them to resemble the bugalamun so that 
different colors show depending on how the article is held. They 
also produce a glass so pure and flawless that it resembles chrys- 
olite, and it is sold by weight. 

I heard from a reputable draper that they buy a stone-dir- 
hem’s weight of thread for 3 Maghrebi dinars, which is equal to 
3% Nishapuri dinars. In Nishapur I priced the very best thread 
available there and was told that one dirhem-weight of the finest 
was sold for 5 dirhems. 

The city of Old Cairo is situated laterally along the Nile and 
has many kiosks and belvederes so that the people could draw 
water in buckets directly from the river; however, all water for 
the city is handled by water carriers, some by camel and some on 
their backs. I saw brass pitchers, each of which held three 
maunds of water, and one would think they were made of gold. 
I was told that there is a woman who leases out no less than five 
thousand of these pitchers for one dirhem a month each. When 
returned, the pitchers must be in perfect condition. 

Opposite the city of Old Cairo is an island in the Nile that at 
one time was turned into a city. It is to the west of Old Cairo and 
has a Friday mosque and gardens. The island is a rock in the 
middle of the river, and I estimated each branch of the river to 
be the size of the Oxus, but the water flows gently and slowly. 


The City of Old Cairo 

Between the city and the island is a bridge made of thirty-six 
pontoons. Part of the city is on the other side of the river and is 
called Giza. There is also a Friday mosque there but no bridge, 
so you have to cross by ferry or canoe. There are more ships and 
boats in Old Cairo than in Baghdad and Basra combined. 

The merchants of Old Cairo are honest in their dealings, and 
if one of them is caught cheating a customer, he is mounted ona 
camel with a bell in his hand and paraded about the city, ringing 
the bell and crying out, “I have committed a misdemeanor and 
am suffering reproach. Whosoever tells a lie is rewarded with 
public disgrace.” The grocers, druggists, and peddlers furnish 
sacks for everything they sell, whether glass, pottery, or paper; 
therefore, there is no need for shoppers to take their own bags 
with them. Lamp oil is derived from turnip seed and radish seed 
and is called “zayt harr.” Sesame is scarce, and the oil derived 
from it is expensive, while olive oil is cheap. Pistachios are more 
expensive than almonds, and marzipan is not more than one di- 
nar for ten maunds. Merchants and shopkeepers ride on sad- 
dled donkeys, both coming and going to and from the bazaar. 
Everywhere, at the heads of lanes, donkeys are kept saddled and 
ready, and anyone may ride them for a small fee. It is said that 
every day fifty thousand beasts are saddled for hire. No one 
other than soldiers and militiamen rides a horse, while mer- 
chants, peasants, and craftsmen ride donkeys. I saw many a dap- 
pled donkey, much like horses, but more delicate. The people of 
the city were extremely wealthy when I was there. 

In the year 439 [A.D. 1047] the sultan ordered general rejoic- 
ing for the birth of a son: the city and bazaars were so arrayed 
that, were they to be described, some would not believe that dra- 
pers’ and moneychangers’ shops could be so decorated with 
gold, jewels, coins, goldspun cloth, and embroidery that there 
was no room to sit down! 

The people are so secure under the sultan’s reign that no one 
fears his agents, and they rely on him neither to inflict injustice 
nor to have designs on anyone’s property. I saw such personal 
wealth there that were I to describe it, the people of Persia 
would never believe it. I could discover no end or limit to their 
wealth, and I never saw such ease and comfort anywhere. 

I saw one man, a Christian and one of the most propertied 
men in all Egypt, who was said to possess untold ships, wealth, 


&® See ome & me & 

Book of Travels 

and property. In short, one year the Nile failed and the price of 
grain rose so high that the sultan’s grand vizier summoned this 
Christian and said, “It has not been a good year. The sultan is 
burdened with the care of his subjects. How much grain can you 
give, either for sale or as a loan?” The Christian replied, “For the 
happiness of the sultan and the vizier, I have enough grain in 
readiness to guarantee Egypt’s bread for six years.” At that time 
there were easily five times the population of Nishapur in Cairo, 
so that anyone who knows how to estimate can figure out just 
how much grain he must have had. What a happy citizenry anda 
just ruler to have such conditions in their days! What wealth 
must there be for the ruler not to inflict injustice and for the 
peasantry not to hide anything! 

I saw a caravanserai there called Dar al-Wazir where nothing 
but flax was sold, and on the lower floor there were tailors while 
above were specialists in clothing repair. I asked the keeper how 
much the fee for this caravanserai was. He told me that it was 
twenty thousand dinars per year but that just then one corner 
had been demolished for reconstruction so that only one thou- 
sand a month, or twelve thousand per year, was being collected. 
They said that there were two hundred caravanserais in the city 
the size of this one and even larger. 

A Description of the Sultan’s Banquet 

It is customary for the sultan to give a banquet twice a year, on 
the two great holidays, and to hold court for both the elite and 
the common people, the elite in his presence and the common- 
ers in other halls and places. Having heard a great deal about 
these banquets, I was very anxious to see one with my own eyes, 
so I told one of the sultan’s clerks with whom I had struck up a 
friendship that I had seen the courts of the Persian sultans, such 
as Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna and his son Mas‘ud, who were 
great potentates enjoying much prosperity and luxury, and now 
I wanted to see the court of the Prince of the Faithful. He there- 
fore spoke a word to the chamberlain, who was called the Saheb 

The last of Ramadan 440 [8 March 1049] the hall was deco- 


The Sultan’s Banquet 

rated for the next day, which was the festival, when the sultan 
was to come after prayer and preside over the feast. Taken by 
my friend, as I entered the door to the hall, I saw constructions, 
galleries, and porticos that would take too long to describe ade- 
quately. There were twelve square structures, built one next to 
the other, each more dazzling than the last. Each measured one 
hundred cubits square, and one was a thing sixty cubits square 
with a dais placed the entire length of the building at a height of 
four ells, on three sides all of gold, with hunting and sporting 
scenes depicted thereon and also an inscription in marvelous cal- 
ligraphy. All the carpets and pillows were of Byzantine brocade 
and bugalamun, each woven exactly to the measurements of its 
place. There was an indescribable latticework balustrade of gold 
along the sides. Behind the dais and next to the wall were silver 
steps. The dais itself was such that if this book were nothing 
from beginning to end but a description of it, words would still 
not suffice. They said that fifty thousand maunds of sugar were 
appropriated for this day for the sultan’s feast. For decoration 
on the banquet table I saw a confection like an orange tree, 
every branch and leaf of which had been executed in sugar, and 
thousands of images and statuettes in sugar. The sultan’s 
kitchen is outside the palace, and there are always fifty slaves at- 
tached to it. There is a subterranean passageway between the 
building and the kitchen, and the provisioning is such that every 
day fourteen camel-loads of ice are used in the royal sherbet- 
kitchen. Most of the emirs and the sultan’s entourage received 
emoluments there, and, if the people of the city make requests 
on behalf of the suffering, they are given something. Whatever 
medication is needed in the city is given out from the harem, 
and there is also no problem in the distribution of other oint- 
ments, such as balsam. 

The Conduct of the Sultan 

The security and welfare of the people of Egypt have reached 
a point that the drapers, moneychangers, and jewelers do not 
even lock their shops—they only lower a net across the front, 
and no one tampers with anything. 


8 @@==_ ee i ~~ | 

Ss ern es BM CES 

Book of Travels 

There was once a Jewish jeweler who was close to the sultan 
and who was very rich, having been entrusted with buying all 
the sultan’s jewels. One day soldiers rose up against this Jew and 
killed him. After this act was committed, and fearing the sultan’s 
wrath, twenty thousand mounted horsemen appeared in the 
public square. When the army appeared thus in the field, the 
populace was in great fear. Until the middle of the day the 
horseman remained in the square, when finally a servant of the 
sultan came out of the palace, stood by the gate, and addressed 
them as follows: “The sultan asks whether you are in obeisance 
or not.” They all cried out at once, saying, “We are his slaves and 
obedient, but we have committed a crime.” “The sultan com- 
mands you to disperse immediately,” said the servant, and they 
departed. The murdered Jew was named Abu Sa‘id, and he had 
a son and a brother. They say that God only knows how much 
money he had. They also say that he had on the roof of his 
house three hundred silver pots with fruit trees planted in them 
so as to form a garden. The brother then wrote a note to the sul- 
tan to the effect that he was prepared to offer the treasury two 
hundred thousand dinars immediately for protection. The sul- 
tan sent the note outside to be torn up in public and said, “You 
rest secure and return to your home. No one will harm you, and 
we have no need of anyone’s money.” And they were compen- 
sated [for their loss]. 

From Syria to Qayrawan, which is as far as I went, in all towns 
and villages, mosque expenses, such as lamp oil, carpets, mats 
and rugs, salaries for custodians, janitors, muezzins, and so on, 
are handled by the sultan’s agents. One year the governor of 
Syria wrote to ask if, since oil was scarce, if would be permissible 
to use zayt harr in the mosque. In reply, he was told that he was to 
obey orders, that he was not a vizier, and that furthermore it was 
not licit to institute change in things pertaining to the House of 

The chief justice receives a monthly stipend of two thousand 
dinars, and thus every judge down the scale so that the people 
need not fear venality from the bench. 

It is customary for a representative of the sultan to appear in 
the mosques in the middle of the month of Rajab and proclaim 
the following: “O company of Muslims! The Pilgrimage season 
is at hand, and the sultan, as usual, has undertaken the outfitting 


Conduct of the Sultan 

of soldiers, horses and camels, and provisions.” During Rama- 
dan this proclamation is repeated, and from the first of Dhu’]- 
Qa‘da people set out for the appointed meeting place. At the 
middle of Dhu’l-Qa‘da the caravan moves out. The daily dis- 
bursement to the soldiers for fodder is one thousand dinars, 
over and above the twenty dinars each man receives per diem 
for the twenty-five days until they reach Mecca, where they stay 
for ten days. Thus, with the twenty-five days it takes them to re- 
turn, they are gone for two months, and sixty thousand dinars 
are spent for provisions, not counting miscellaneous disburse- 
ments for rents, bonuses, stipends, and camels that die. 

In the year 439 [A.D. 1048] an edict of the sultan to this effect 
was read to the people: “The Prince of the Faithful proclaims 
that in this year, owing to drought and the resulting scarcity of 
goods, which has caused the deaths of many, it is unwise for pil- 
grims to undertake the journey to the Hejaz. This we say in Mus- 
lim commiseration.” Therefore, the pilgrims were held in abey- 
ance until the next year, although the sultan did send the 
covering for the Ka‘ba as usual, which he does twice a year. This 
very year, since the covering was being sent via the Red Sea, I 
went along. 

On the first of Dhu’l-Qa‘da [18 April 1048] I left Egypt, and 
we reached the Red Sea on the 8th. From there we traveled for 
fifteen days by boat until we arrived at the town called al-Jar. It 
was the 22nd of the month. From there it is a four-day journey 
to Medina, which is a town on the edge of a salty, barren desert. 
It has running water, although not much, and is a palm grove. 
In that locale the gebla is directly south. The Prophet’s Mosque is 
as large as the Haram Mosque in Mecca, and the grating around 
the Prophet’s tomb is next to the pulpit. It is to the left when fac- 
ing the gebla; and so, when the preacher mentions the Prophet 
from the pulpit, he turns to his right and points to the tomb. 
The tomb is pentagonal, and there are walls all around the five 
piers. Around the tomb is a balustrade so that no one can go in. 
There is also a net stretched across the top so that birds cannot 
enter. Between the tomb and the pulpit is a grating of marble 
that is called al-Rawda [The Garden], and it is said to be one of 
the gardens of Paradise, since the Prophet said, “Between my 
grave and my pulpit is one of the gardens of Paradise.” The 
Shi‘ites say that the tomb of Fatema Zahra is there also. The 



2 Sen ee Mm TRB 

Book of Travels 

mosque has a gate. Outside the city to the south is a plain and 
cemetery called Qobur al-Shohada’ [Tombs of the Martyrs], 
where Hamza son of ‘Abd al-Mottaleb 1s buried. 

We stayed in Medina for two days; then, as time was short, we 
left. The road leads to the east. Two stations outside of Medina 
is a mountain and a defile called Johfa, which is the migdt for 
Syria, the Maghreb, and Egypt (a miqat being the place where the 
pilgrims put on the ehram [pilgrimage garb]). They say that one 
year many pilgrims had stopped there when suddenly a flash- 
flood swept down and killed them all, which is why it is called 
“Johfa” [“sweeping away”]. From Medina to Mecca is one hun- 
dred parasangs, but the whole way is easy and took us eight days. 

On Sunday the 6th of Dhu’l-Hejja [23 May 1048] we arrived 
in Mecca and entered through the al-Safa Gate. As there had 
been a drought in Mecca that year, four maunds of bread cost 
one Nishapuri dinar. The moja@wers were leaving the city, and no 
pilgrims had come from anywhere at all. On Wednesday, with 
the help of God, we completed the pilgrimage rites at ‘Arafat. 
Afterwards we stayed on in Mecca for only two days. 

Because of hunger and misery people were fleeing the Hejaz 
in every direction. At this juncture I will not explain the Pilgrim- 
age or describe Mecca. I will describe what I saw the next time I 
went to Mecca, when I remained as a mojawer for six months. 

When I returned to Egypt, it had been seventy-five days [from 
the time I left]. This year thirty-five thousand people came to 
Egypt from the Hejaz; and, since they were all hungry and na- 
ked, they received clothing and a pension from the sultan until 
the next year, when the rains came and food was once again 
plentiful enough in the Hejaz to support these people. The sul- 
tan gave them all clothing and gifts and sent them back home. 

During Rajab 440 [January 1049] the sultan’s representative 
announced once again that there was famine in the Hejaz and 
that, since it was unwise to go on the Pilgrimage, the people 
should excuse themselves from this obligation and adhere to 
God’s commandment.”* This year also no pilgrims went, al- 
though there was no shirking the sultan’s duty, and therefore 

*°That is, the Koranic injunction of pilgrimage (3:97) is interpreted to mean 
that the Pilgrimage is not incumbent upon those who are unable to attend be- 
cause of poverty, illness, or some other pressing cause (such as the famine spo- 
ken of here). Alternative rites to attendance at Mecca are given in Koran 2:196. 


Conduct of the Sultan 

the covering for the the Ka‘ba, servants, retinue for the emirs of 
Mecca and Medina, the gift for the emir of Mecca (the stipend 
for each being three thousand dinars a month), a horse, and a 
robe of honor, which are sent twice yearly, were duly expedited. 
This year a man called Qadi ‘Abd Allah, a judge from Syria, was 
entrusted with these duties. I went in his company via Qolzom. 
This time the boat reached al-Jar on the 25th of Dhu’l-Qa‘da [1 
May]. The season of the Pilgrimage being near, a camel could 
not be hired for less than five dinars. We traveled in haste and 
arrived in Mecca on the 8th of Dhu’l-Hejja [14 May]. With the 
help of God, we performed the Pilgrimage. 

A large caravan from the Maghreb had come to Medina, and 
at the gates of Medina some Arabs had demanded protection 
money from them on the way back from the Pilgrimage. A fight 
broke out, leaving more than two thousand Maghrebis killed, 
and not many ever returned home. On this same Pilgrimage a 
group from Khorasan had come by land by way of Syria and 
Egypt and then by boat to Medina. On the 6th of Dhu’l-Heyja, as 
they still had 104 parasangs to go to ‘Arafat, they had said that 
they would give forty dinars each to anyone who could get them 
to Mecca within the three remaining days in order for them to 
perform the Pilgrimage. Some Arabs came forth and got them 
to ‘Arafat in two and a half days: they took their money, tied 
them each to a fast camel, and drove them from Medina. When 
they arrived at ‘Arafat, two of them had died still tied to the 
camels; the other four were more dead than alive. At the after- 
noon prayer as we were standing there, they arrived unable to 
stand up or to speak. They finally told us that they had pleaded 
with the Arabs to keep the money they had given but to release 
them, as they had no more strength to continue. The Arabs 
however, heedless of their entreaties, kept driving the camels 
forward. In the end the four of them made the Pilgrimage and 
returned via Syria. 

Having performed the Pilgrimage, I returned to Egypt, since 
I had my books there and had no intention of returning. 

The emir of Medina came that year to Egypt, since the sultan 
customarily gave him a yearly stipend because he was a descen- 
dant of Hosayn son of ‘Ali. I was with him on the boat up to 
Qolzom. From there we continued in each other’s company to 


B Sarre MA Tee 

Book of Travels 

In the year 441, while I was in Egypt, news arrived that the 
king of Aleppo, whose ancestors had been kings of Aleppo, had 
rebelled against the sultan his overlord. The sultan had a ser- 
vant called ‘Omdat al-Dawla, who was the emir of the matalebis 
and enormously rich and propertied. (Matdlebi is what they call 
the people who dig for buried treasure in the graves of Egypt. 
From the Maghreb and the lands of Egypt and Syria come peo- 
ple who endure many hardships and spend a lot of money in 
those graves and rock piles. Many a time buried treasure is dis- 
covered, although often much outlay is made without anything 
being found. They say that in those places the wealth of the pha- 
raohs is buried. Whenever anyone does find something, one- 
fifth is given to the sultan and the rest belongs to the finder.) At 
any rate, the sultan dispatched this ‘Omdat al-Dawla to that prov- 
ince with great pomp and circumstance, outfitting him with all 
the trappings of kings, such as canopies, pavilions, and so on. 
When he reached Aleppo he waged war and was killed. He had 
so much wealth that it took two months for it to be transferred 
from his treasury to the sultan’s. He had three hundred slave- 
girls, most of them beauties, a few of whom were of the type 
taken to concubinage. The sultan ordered them to be given their 
choice of taking a husband or, if such was not their choice, hav- 
ing the remainder of the man’s unencumbered estate so that 
they might remain in their own house, no command or force be- 
ing exerted upon any of them. When the man was killed in 
Aleppo, the king was afraid the sultan would dispatch his army, 
so he sent the sultan his seven-year-old son along with his wife 
and many gifts and presents. He also offered apologies for his 
past conduct. When they arrived they were kept waiting outside 
the city for nearly two months. Neither were they admitted into 
the city nor were the presents accepted until finally, when all the 
judges of the city interceded on their behalf at court, they were 
admitted with honors. 

Among other things, if any one wants to make a garden in 
Egypt it can be done during any season at all, since any tree, 
fruit-bearing or other, can be obtained and planted. There are 
special people, called dallals, who can obtain immediately any 
kind of fruit you desire, because they have trees planted in tubs 
on rooftops. Many roofs are gardens and most of what is grown 
is fruit-producing, such as oranges, pomegranates, apples, 


Voyage to Mecca 

quince, roses, herbs, and vegetables. When a customer wishes, 
porters will go and tie the tubs to poles and carry the trees wher- 
ever desired. They will also make a hole in the ground and sink 
the tubs if wished. Then, when someone so desires, they will dig 
the tubs up and carry their fragments away, and the trees will 
not know the difference. I have never seen or heard of such a 
thing anywhere else in the world, and it is truly clever! 

The Voyage to Mecca 

Now I will describe my return voyage to Mecca from Egypt. I 
performed the prayer of the Feast [of Sacrifice] in Cairo and de- 
parted by boat on Tuesday, the 14th of Dhu’l-Hejja 441 [9 May 
1050], bound for Upper Egypt, which is to the south and is the 
province through which the Nile flows before reaching Cairo. It 
is part of the realm of Egypt, and most of Egypt’s prosperity de- 
rives from there. All along the banks of the Nile are too many 
towns and villages to describe. Finally, we reached a city called 
Asyut, an opium-producing region. 

Opium is derived from a poppy with a black seed. When the 
seed grows and forms a pod, it is crushed and a molasses-like 
syrup comes out. This is collected and preserved, for it is opium. 
The poppy seed is small and like cumin. 

In Asyut they weave turbans from sheep’s wool unequaled 
anywhere in the world. The fine woolens imported into Persia 
and called “Egyptian” are all from Upper Egypt, since wool is 
not woven in Egypt proper. In Asyut I saw a shawl of sheep’s 
wool the likes of which I saw neither in Lahore nor in Multan. It 
was so fine you would think it was silk. 

From there we went on to a town called Akhmim, where I saw 
huge stone edifices that would amaze anyone who saw them. 
There is an ancient town with a stone wall. Most buildings there 
are made of twenty-thousand-maund and_ thirty-thousand- 
maund stones. What is really amazing is that there is no moun- 
tain or quarry within ten or fifteen parasangs of this place, so 
you wonder from where and how they were brought there. 

Next we came to a town called Qus, which is a crowded and 
prosperous place. There are, in addition to a fortified wall, 


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Book of Travels 

many date groves and orchards. We remained there for twenty 
days because there were two routes from here, one through arid 
desert and the other by river, and we could not decide which 
way to take. In the end we proceeded by river and reached 
Aswan. To the south of this city is a mountain, and the river Nile 
comes out of a defile in the mountain. It is said that boats can 
proceed no farther up the river because the water flows through 
narrow defiles and also because of large rocks coming down. 
Four parasangs from this city is the province of Nubia, the pop- 
ulation of which is all Christian. The king of this province con- 
tinually sends gifts to the sultan of Egypt and makes treaties so 
that Egyptian soldiers will not enter his land and molest the pop- 
ulace. The city of Aswan is very strong lest anyone attack from 
the direction of Nubia. There is a permanent garrison stationed 
there to defend the city and province. Opposite the city in the 
middle of the Nile is an island, which is like a garden, with date 
groves, olives, and other trees and crops irrigated by 
waterwheels. There I remained for twenty-one days because 
there was a large desert before us to cross and two hundred par- 
asangs to the shore. It was the time for returning pilgrims to be 
arriving by camel. We were waiting until the camels were re- 
turned to hire one and then set off. While in Aswan I came to 
know a man called Abu ‘Abd Allah Mohammad son of Falij. He 
was a pious and righteous man and knew something about logic. 
He helped me to inspect and hire a camel, which I got for one 
and a half dinars. 

On the 5th of Rabi‘ I 442 [28 July 1050], having gone eight 
parasangs southeast, we came to a station called Dayga, which is 
in a valley in the desert and surrounded on two sides by wall-like 
mountains. Between the two is an open space one hundred cu- 
bits wide where a well had been dug; the water was plentiful but 
not very good. Past this place there are five days of desert with 
no water whatsoever, so each person had to draw a jar of water. 
Next we came to a station called Hawd, which is a stone moun- 
tain with two holes from which water flows. The water stays in a 
pool and is fresh, but someone has to go inside one of the holes 
to bring out water for the camels. It had been seven days since 
the camels had been watered or fed, since there had been no 
[water or pasturage]. The camels stopped once every twenty- 


Voyage to Mecca 

four hours, from the time the sun got hot in the day until the af- 
ternoon prayer, and they proceeded the rest of the day and 
night. The stopping-places are all known, because you cannot 
stop just anywhere, since there might not be anything to burn, 
and only in stopping-places can camel dung be found to burn 
for cooking. It was almost as though the camels themselves knew 
that if they poked along they would die of thirst; they did not 
need to be driven and, setting their own direction, went of their 
own accord, although there was no trace whatsoever of a road. 
Always headed east, there were stretches of fifteen parasangs 
with little water, only brackish, and stretches of thirty and forty 
parasangs with no water at all. On the 20th of Rabi‘ I 442 [12 
August 1050] we reached the town of ‘Aydhab, having traveled 
from Aswan about two hundred parasangs in fifteen days. 

The town of ‘Aydhab is situated by the sea and has a Friday 
mosque and a population of five hundred. It belongs to the sul- 
tan of Egypt and is a customs station for ships coming from 
Abyssinia, Zanzibar, and the Yemen. From there goods are 
transported by camel across the desert, the same way we had 
come, to Aswan and thence by boat to Cairo. To the right of this 
town, facing the qebla, is a mountain beyond which is a large des- 
ert with many herbivorous animals and people called the Ba- 
jawis. This nation has no religion and has had no prophet or 
spiritual leader because they are so far from civilization. They 
inhabit a desert more than one thousand parasangs long and 
three hundred wide. In all this expanse there are not more than 
two small hamlets, one called Bahr al-Na‘am and the other “Ay- 
dhab. The desert runs lengthwise from Egypt to Abyssinia, 
which is from north to south, and across from the Nubian River 
to the Red Sea, from west to east. This nation, the Bajawis, who 
live in this desert, are not a bad people and do not steal or make 
raids but tend their flocks. Muslims and others, however, kidnap 
their children and take them to sell in the cities of Islam. 

The Red Sea is a gulf that splits off from the ocean at Aden 
and goes northward to the hamlet of Qolzom. Every place on the 
- coast of this gulf where there is a town is called baz, for example, 
there is a place in Qolzom, ‘Aydhab, and Bahr al-Na‘am that is 
so called. More than three hundred islands are said to be in the 
Red Sea, and ships bring oil and dried curds from there. There 


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Book of Travels 

are said to be many cows and sheep on these islands, and the in- 
habitants are said to be Muslims, some belonging to Egypt and 
others to the Yemen. 

In the hamlet of ‘Aydhab there is no water from wells or 
springs, only rainwater. When rain fails, the Bajawis bring water 
to sell. During the three months we were there, we bought water 
at the rate of one or two dirhems a Jug. 

As the wind was northerly and we needed a southerly wind, 
the ship could not sail. When the people saw me, they asked me 
to preach to them. I obliged and acted as preacher until the 
winds changed and the boats could sail north and thence on to 
Jidda. They said that nowhere were such good camels to be had 
as in that desert, and they are exported even to Egypt and the 

In the town of ‘Aydhab a man whose word I trust told me that 
once a ship set out from that town for the Hejaz carrying camels 
for the emir of Mecca. One of the camels died so it was thrown 
overboard. Immediately a fish swallowed it whole, except for 
one leg that stuck out of the fish’s mouth. Then another fish 
came and swallowed whole the fish that had swallowed the 
camel. That fish is called garsh. I saw in that town a fish skin that 
in Khorasan is called safan. We in Khorasan had thought it was a 
kind of lizard, but here I saw that it was a fish because it had fins 
like a fish. 

While in Aswan I had a friend, as I have said before, named 
Abu ‘Abd Allah Mohammad son of Falij. For my arrival in “Ay- 
dhab he had written a letter to an agent he had there to the ef- 
fect that the agent should give me whatever I required and write 
him to that effect so that he could settle the account. As I had 
been in ‘Aydhab for three months, and everything I had was 
spent, of necessity I presented myself to that person with the let- 
ter. He acted very politely and said, “Oh yes, I am holding a 
great deal of his money. You may just sign for any amount you 
require.” I was surprised at Mohammad Falij’s generosity, that, 
with no prior dealings [with me], he should be so kind. Had I 
been a rogue and of a mind to do such a thing, I could have 
taken a great sum of money from him by means of that letter. 
Anyhow, I took one hundred maunds of flour, which was ex- 
tremely valuable there, and gave him a chit in that amount. He 
then sent the paper I had signed to Aswan, and before I de- 


The City of Jidda 

parted from ‘Aydhab, a reply came from Mohammad Falij that 
he should give me whatever I might require from his funds 
there, and, even if he should give me out of his own pocket, it 
would be made good, for the Prince of the Faithful ‘Ali son of 
Abu Taleb had commanded, “The believer does not hold back 
or take advantage.” I have included this little vignette so that my 
readers may know that people can rely on others, that generosity 
exists everywhere, and that there have been and still are noble 

A Description of the City of Jidda 

Jidda is a large city and has a strong wall on the edge of the 
sea. The population is five thousand. The city is situated to the 
north of the sea, has good bazaars, and the gebla of the Friday 
mosque faces east. Outside the city there are no buildings except 
a mosque known as the Mosque of the Prophet of God. The city 
has two gates, one toward the east and Mecca and the other to- 
ward the west and the sea. Going south along the coast from 
Jidda, you reach the Yemen via the city of Sa‘da, which is fifty 
parasangs away. To the north is the town of al-Jar, which is in 
the Hejaz. There are no trees or cultivation in Jidda, and all pro- 
duce is brought from the outlying countryside. It is twelve para- 
sangs to Mecca, and the emir of Jidda, a vassal to the emir of 
Mecca, is Taj al-Ma‘ali son of Abu’l-Fotuh, who is also the emir 
of Medina. I went to see the emir of Jidda, and he was generous 
enough to exempt me from the customs duties that would have 
applied to me. When I passed through the Muslim Gate, he 
wrote to Mecca saying that I was a scholar and nothing was to be 
taken from me. 

I left Jidda on Friday at the time of the afternoon prayer. On 
Sunday, the last of Jomada II, I arrived at the gate to the city of 
Mecca. There were many people from the Hejaz and the Yemen 
for the minor pilgrimage (‘omra) on the first of Rajab, which is a 
great season, like the Ramadan feast and the Pilgrimage time. As 
they are nearby and the way is easy, they come three times a 


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Book of Travels 
A Description of the City of Mecca 

The city of Mecca is situated low in the midst of mountains 
such that from whatever direction you approach, the city cannot 
be seen until you are there. The tallest mountain near Mecca is 
Abu Qobays, which is round like a dome, so that if you shoot an 
arrow from the foot of the mountain it reaches its top. Abu 
Qobays is to the east of the city, so that if you should be in the 
Haram Mosque in the month of Day you see the sun rise from 
behind the top of the mountain. On top of the mountain Is a 
stone stele said to have been erected by Abraham. The city lies 
on a plain between the mountains and measures only two arrow- 
shots square. The Haram Mosque is in the middle of the plain, 
and the city lanes and bazaars are built all around it. Wherever 
there is an opening in the mountain a rampart wall has been 
made with a gate. The only trees in the city are at the western 
gate to the Haram Mosque, called Bab Ebrahim [Abraham’s 
Gate], where there are several tall trees around a well. On the 
eastern side of the Haram Mosque a large bazaar extends from 
south to north. At the south end is Abu Qobays. At the foot of 
Abu Qobays is Mount Safa’, which is like a staircase, as rocks 
have been set in such a fashion that people can go up to pray, 
which is what is meant by [the expression] “to do Safa’ and 
Marwa.” At the other, the north end of the bazaar, is Mount 
Marwa, which is less tall and has many edifices built on it, as it 
lies in the midst of the city. In running between Safa’ and Marwa 
the people run inside this bazaar. 

For people who have come from faraway places to perform 
the minor pilgrimage, there are milestones and mosques set up 
half a parasang away from Mecca, where they bind their ehram. 
“To bind the ehram” means to take off all sewn garments and to 
wrap an ezdr, or seamless garment, about the waist and another 
about the body. Then, in loud voice, you say, “Labbayk, alla- 
homma, labbayk,”** and approach Mecca. When anyone already 
inside Mecca wants to perform the minor pilgrimage, he goes 
out to one of the markets, binds his ehram, says the Labbayk and 
comes back into Mecca with an intention to perform the minor 

*4The words of the labbayk mean approximately “(thy servant] has answered 
thy call, O God.” 


The City of Mecca 

pilgrimage. Having come into the city, you enter the Haram 
Mosque, approach the Ka‘ba, and circumambulate to the right, 
always keeping the Ka‘ba to your left. Then you go to the corner 
containing the Black Stone, kiss it, and pass on. When the Stone 
is kissed once again in the same manner, one tawf, or circumam- 
bulation, has been completed. This continues for seven taufs, 
three times quickly and four slowly. When the circumambula- 
tion is finished, you go to Maqam Ebrahim [Station of Abraham] 
opposite the Ka‘ba and stand behind the Station. There you per- 
form two rak‘ats called the “circumambulation prayer.” After- 
wards you go to the Well of Zamzam, drink some water, or rub 
some on the face, and leave the Haram Mosque by the Safa’ 
Gate. Just outside this gate are the steps up Mount Safa’, and 
here you face the Ka‘ba and say the prescribed prayer, which is 
well known. When the prayer has been said, you come down 
from Safa’ and go from south to north through the bazaar to 
Marwa. Passing through the bazaar, you go past the gates to the 
Haram Mosque where the Prophet ran and commanded others 
to run also. The length is about fifty paces, and on either side 
are two minarets. When the people coming from Safa’ reach the 
first two minarets, they break into a run until they pass the other 
two at the other end of the bazaar. Then they proceed slowly to 
Marwa. Upon reaching the end they go up Marwa and recite the 
prescribed prayer. Then they return through the bazaar and re- 
peat the run until they have gone four times from Safa’ to 
Marwa and three times from Marwa to Safa’, making seven runs 
the length of the bazaar. Coming down from Marwa the last 
time, you find a bazaar with about twenty barber-shops facing 
each other. You have your head shaven and, with the minor pil- 
grimage completed, come out of the Sanctuary. The large ba- 
zaar on the east side is called Sug al-‘Attarin [Druggists’ Market]. 
It has nice buildings, and all the shopkeepers are druggists. In 
Mecca there are two baths paved with a green stone from which 
flints are made. 

I reckoned that there were not more than two thousand citi- 
zens of Mecca, the rest, about five hundred, being foreigners 
and mojdwers. Just at this time there was a famine, with sixteen 
maunds of wheat costing one dinar, for which reason a number 
of people had left. 

Inside the city of Mecca are hospices for the natives of every 


iene heen ot en ae 


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Book of Travels 

region— Khorasan, Transoxiana, the Iraq, and so on. Most of 
them, however, had fallen into ruination. The Baghdad caliphs 
had built many beautiful structures, but when we arrived some 
had fallen to ruin and others had been expropriated. All the well 
water in Mecca is too brackish and bitter to drink, but there are 
many large pools and masna‘as, costing up to ten thousand di- 
nars each, that catch the rainwater from the hills. When we were 
there, however, they were empty. A certain prince of Aden, 
known as Pesar-e [son of] Shaddel, had brought water under- 
ground to Mecca at great personal expense. This water was used 
to irrigate crops at ‘Arafat and was limited to there, although 
conduits had been constructed and a little water reached Mecca, 
but not inside the city; therefore, a pool had been made to col- 
lect the water, and water carriers drew the water and brought it 
to the city to sell. Half a parasang out on the Borga road is a well 
called Bir al-Zahed [the Ascetic’s Well]. A nice mosque is located 
there, and the water is good. The water carriers also bring water 
from that place for sale. 

The climate of Mecca is extremely hot. I saw fresh cucumbers 
and eggplants and end of the month of Bahman. This was the 
fourth time I had been to Mecca. 

For the first of Rajab 442 [19 November 1050] until the 20th 
of Dhu’l-Hejja [5 May 1051] I was a mojdwer in Mecca. On the 
15th of Farvardin the grapes were ripe and were brought to 
town from the villages to be sold in the market. On the first of 
Ordibehesht melons were plentiful. All kinds of fruit are avail- 
able in winter, and [the markets] are never empty. 

A Description of Arabia and the Yemen 

One station south of Mecca is the province of the Yemen, 
which stretches along the coast. The Yemen and the Hejaz are 
contiguous, and both are Arabic-speaking. In local parlance the 
Yemen is called Hemyar and the Hejaz, Arabia. This land is 
bounded on three sides by water and is a peninsula. To the east 
is the Sea of Basra (Persian Gulf), to the west the Red Sea, 
which, as has already been mentioned, is a gulf, and to the south 
is the (Arabian) Ocean. The length of the peninsula that is the 


The Haram M osque &F the Ka‘ba 

Yemen and the Hejaz, from Kufa in the north to Aden in the 
south, is approximately five hundred parasangs. From Oman in 
the east to al-Jar in the west, the width is four hundred para- 
sangs. Arabia extends from Kufa to Mecca, and Hemyar from 
Mecca to Aden. There is little civilization in Arabia, its people 
being desert nomads, herdsmen, and tent-dwellers. 

Hemyar is divided into three sections. The first is Tehama, 
which is bounded on the west by the Red Sea and has many 
towns and cities, such as Sa‘da, Zabid, San‘a, and others. These 
towns are on the plain. The king of this area is an Ethiopian vas- 
sal to Pesar-e Shaddel. The second section of Hemyar is a moun- 
tainous region called Najd, which has uncultivated regions and 
is cold, with narrow passes and strong fortresses. The third sec- 
tion lies to the east and contains many cities such as Najran, 
‘Athr, Bisha, and others. This section is divided into many areas, 
each of which has a king or chieftain. There is no absolute po- 
tentate or ruler there. The people are rebellious, and most of 
them are thieves, murderers, and bandits. This area is 200 by 
250 parasangs and contains many people of all sorts. 

Ghomdan Castle is in the Yemen, in a city called San‘a. Now, 
however, nothing much remains of the castle but a mound in the 
middle of the city. They say the lord of this castle used to rule 
the whole world and that there is much treasure buried in this 
mound; but no one, neither sultan nor peasant, has ever discov- 
ered anything. In the city of San‘a they do work in agate, which 
is a stone mined in the mountains, then heated in sand over a 
stove and cured in sand in the sun. It is then ground against 
stone. In Egypt I saw a sword sent to the sultan from the Yemen 
that had a handle and pommel made of one solid piece of red 
agate; it looked like ruby! 

A Description of the Haram Mosque 
and the Ka‘ba 

As I have already stated, the Ka‘ba is situated in the middle of 
the Haram Mosque, which is in the middle of the city of Mecca. 
It runs lengthwise from east to west, and the breadth is on a 


So 86 @e oe 6 ee & « 


Book of Travels 

north-south axis. The walls, however, do not meet at right an- 
gles, for the corners are rounded so that the whole is an oval 
shape, because when the people pray in this mosque they must 
face the Ka‘ba from all directions. Where the mosque is longest, 
that is, from Abraham’s Gate to the Bani Hashem Gate, it mea- 
sures 424 cubits. The width, from Bab al-Nadwa [Council Gate] 
on the north to the Safa’ Gate on the south, the widest point, is 
304 cubits. Because of its oval shape, it is narrower in places and 
wider in others. Around the mosque are three vaulted colon- 
nades with marble columns. In the middle of the structure a 
square area has been made. The long side of the vaulting, which 
faces the mosque courtyard, has forty-five arches, with twenty- 
three arches across the breadth. The marble columns number 
184 in all and are said to have been ordered by the Baghdad ca- 
liphs and to have been brought by sea from Syria. The story goes 
that when these columns arrived in Mecca, the ropes that had 
been used to secure the columns on board ship and onto carts 
were cut and sold for sixty thousand dinars. One of the columns, 
a shaft of red marble, stands at the spot called al-Nadwa Gate; it 
is said to have been bought for its weight in dinars and is esti- 
mated at three thousand maunds. 

There are eighteen doors in the Haram Mosque, all built with 
arches supported by marble columns, but none is set with a door 
that can be closed.*” On the eastern side are four doors. Set in 

*°This passage presents a good deal of difficulty on the names of the gates 
around the sanctuary. Naser says that the east wall has four gates (he names 
three), the south wall seven gates (he names six), the west wall three (he gives 
two), and the north wall four (he names five). Since the gates have changed their 
names over the centuries with the various repairs made to the sanctuary walls, as 
well as with topographical changes outside the sanctuary (not to mention the cor- 
rupt state of the Safarnama text itself), it is almost impossible to say for certain 
which of Naser’s gates correspond to which gates as they were known earlier 
and/or later. A tentative correlation is given as follows: 

On the east wall, (1) the first gate named by Naser is the Bab al-Nabi [The 
Prophet's Gate], also known as Bab al-Jana’ez [Funeral Gate]. (2) The next gate 
on this wall is known as Bab al-‘Abbas [‘Abbas’s Gate] but is not named by Naser. 
(3) The next gate is Bab ‘Ali [‘Ali’s Gate], also known as Bab Bani Hashem [The 
Bani Hashem Gate], in conformity with Naser’s report. I do not know what to 
make of Naser’s second gate at the southeastern corner, which, as he says, is also 
known as Bab al-Nabi: he may mean Bab al-‘Abbas, which was known, along with 
Bab al-Nabi, as Bab al-Jana’ez. (4) The fourth gate on this wall, at the northeast- 
ern corner, would be the Bab Bani Shayba [The Bani Shayba Gate], which Naser 
lists with the gates of the north wall at the end of his report. 


The moft facred and antient ‘TEMPLE 


: 5 ‘ A as APA IR SE P ope ig 

cor as he 

An engraving included in the 1731 edition of Joseph Pitts, A True and 
Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mahometans. 

Legend (note that the engraving has been reversed): 

A. The black stone, which the Arabians, long before Mahomet’s time, had in great veneration. When 
the Carmathians after the taking of Mecca carried off this stone, they refused 5 thousand deniers 
[dinars] which were offered for restoring it. But after 22 years it was again reposited in its 
former place in the Caba [Ka‘ba]. 

B. The white stone thought to have been Ishmael’s Sepulchre; which is called by others the green 
pavement [Hejr]. 

C. Abraham's place [Maqam Ebrahim] where they pretend to shew the marks of his feet. 

D. The building in which is the well Zemzem [Zamzam], whose water is accounted salutary both to 
the Souls & bodies of those who drink it. [In Naser’s description the well had a much smaller 

E. The gate of the Caba, consisting of two folding doors; to kiss this they ascend the stairs at G. & so 
are conveyed thither. 

F. The pulpit in which they make harangues to the people. 

G. The rolling stairs by which they ascend to the gate of the Caba. 

H. The old gate. 

I. The place for the Hanbelitae (Halbalites], one of the four chief Sects among the Mahometans. 

K. ‘The place of the Malekitae [Malikites], who are another of the Sects. 

L. The place of the Hanifaei [Hanafites]. The Schafaei [Schafi‘ites], meet in the place called 

M. The golden fascia [keswa] fastened to a black silk veil of Damask, by which the external parts 
of the Caba are so closely covered, as no part of the walls is to be seen. 

N. Pieces of tapestry spread on the floor to perform their devotions on. 

O. The canal through which the water floweth from the top of the Caba on the stone called 
Ishmael’s Sepulchre. 

P. The place where vessels filled with the water of the well Zemzem are given to travellers to 
carry home with them. 

Q. The inner boundary next the Caba which is illuminated in the night time with lamps [mashd‘el]. 

[The two buildings above P., known as the Qobbatayn, “the two domes,” are located approximately 

where Naser describes the Seqayat al- Hajj and Khezanat al- Zayt. Pitts was in Mecca in 1680.) 



Book of Travels 

the north corner is the Bab al-Nabi [Prophet’s Gate] with three 
arches. On this same wall in the southern corner Is another door 
also called Bab al-Nabi. There are more than one hundred cu- 
bits between these two doors, and the latter has two arches. Exit- 
ing by this door, one is in the Druggist’s Market, where the 
Prophet’s house was. He used to come into the mosque to pray 
by this door. Passing by this: door, still on the east wall, one 
comes to ‘Ali’s Gate, through which “Ali, the Prince of the Faith- 
ful, used to enter for prayer. This gate has three arches. Past this 
is another minaret, to which one runs during the sa‘y from the 

On the south wall Naser states that there are seven gates: (1) the gate he calls 
Bab al-Daqqaqin [Fullers’ Gate] should be the gate known as Bab Bazan. Ebn 
Jobayr, who was there in the 1180s, says that two of the south gates were known 
as Bab al-Daqqaqin. (2) Naser’s “Bab al-Fassanin” (?) should be the gate normally 
called Bab al-Baghla [The Mule Gate], originally the Bab Bani Sofyan b. ‘Abd al- 
Asad. (3) This is Bab al-Safa’ [The Safa’ Gate], as all are agreed. (4—6) Naser 
gives two names, Bab al-Towa [The Towa Gate, after a valley in Mecca] and Bab 
al-Tammarin [The Dateseller’s Gate]: it is difficult to say which of these corre- 
sponds to the gates normally known as (4) Bab Bani Makhzum [The Bani 
Makhzum Gate], also known as Bab Ajyad al-Saghir [The Small Ajyad Gate, af- 
ter a hill in Mecca called Ajyad and Jayad], (5) Bab al-Mojahediyya, also known 
as Bab al-Rahma [The Mercy Gate] and Bab Ajyad, and (6) Bab Bani Taym [The 
Bani Taym Gate], later known as Bab Madrasat al-Sharif ‘Ajlan. (7) Naser’s “Bab 
al-Ma‘amel” [Workshop Gate], outside of which was located Abu Jahl’s house, is 
the Bab Omm Hani, also known as Bab Abi Jahl and Bab Ajyad al-Kabir [The 
Great Ajyad Gate]. 

On the west wall, Naser says that there are three gates; however, he gives only 
two names: (1) his “Bab “Orwa” is certainly a textual corruption of Bab al-Haz- 
wara, named for a marketplace that was incorporated into the sanctuary, and 
Bab al-Weda‘ [The Farewell Gate]. (2) His Bab Ebrahim [Abraham's Gate] is in 
conformity with other sources and is also known as Bab al-Khayyatin [Tailors’ 
Gate]. (3) This is unnamed by Naser but must be the Bab Bani Sahm, also known 
as Bab al-‘Omra [Minor Pilgrimage Gate] and Bab Bani Jomah. 

On the north wall, according to Naser, are four gates: (1) his Bab al-Wasit 
should be the gate known as Bab al-Sodda and Bab al-“Atig [Ancient Gate]. (2) 
This is Bab al-“Ajala, as all sources are agreed, later known as Bab al-Basetiyya 
after the madrasa of ‘Abd al-Baset. (3) Bab al-Nadwa [Council Gate] is also known 
as Bab al-Ziyada [Projection Gate]. Naser does not mention the small gate into 
the Ziyada known as Bab al-Qotbi [Qotbi’s Gate]. (4) Naser’s “Bab al- Moshawara” 
[Advisement Gate] must be the single gate usually known as Bab al-Dorayba [Lit- 
tle Lane Gate]. The last gate named by Naser, the Bab Bani Shayba, has been 
reckoned in the east wall, above. See Abu’l-Walid Mohammad b. ‘Abd Allah al- 
Azraqi, Akhbar Makka, ed. Roshdi al-Saleh Malhas (Mecca: Dar al-Thagqafa, 

1385/1965), vol. 2, pp. 87ff.; Abu’l-Hosayn Mohammad b. Jobayr, Rehlat Ebn 
Jobayr (Beirut: Dar Sader, 1384/1964), p. 82f.; Qotb al-Din Mohammad 
Nahrwali, al-E‘lam be-a‘lam bayt allah al-haram (Mecca: ‘Elmiyya, 1370/1950), pp. 
348ff.; R. F. Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah & Meccah 
(New York: Dover, 1964), vol. 2, p. 314. 


The Haram Mosque & the Ka‘ba 

Bani Hashem Gate, and which is one of the four minarets previ- 
ously described. 

In the south wall, which forms the length of the mosque, are 
seven gates. The first, at the corner and semicircular in shape, is 
Bab al-Daqqaqin [Fullers’ Gate] and has two arches. Slightly to 
the west is another two-arched gate called Bab al-Fassanin [?]. At 
an equal distance is the al-Safa’ Gate which has five arches. This 
middle gate is the largest of all and has two small arches on ei- 
ther side. It was by this gate that the Apostle of God went out to 
Safa’ to pray. The threshold of this middle gate is of a large 
white stone, although it once was black. The Apostle placed his 
holy foot there and left an imprint. This footprint was later cut 
out of the black stone and set into the white stone so that the toes 
face inside the mosque. For a blessing, some pilgrims place their 
foreheads on this print and others, their feet. I thought it more 
fitting to place my head thereupon. A bit to the west of the al- 
Safa’ Gate is the Bab al-Towa, which has two arches. A little far- 
ther on is the Bab al-T'ammarin, again with two arches. Past this 
is the Bab al-Ma‘amel, with two arches. Directly facing this gate 
is Abu Jahl’s house, which is now used as a privy. 

In the western wall, the width of the mosque, there are three 
gates, the first of which is in the south corner and is called Bab 
‘Orwa. It has two arches. In the middle of this side is the Abra- 
ham’s Gate, which has three arches. 

In the north or long wall there are four gates: in the west cor- 
ner is Bab al-Wasit with one arch; to the east is the Bab al-‘Ajala 
with one arch; in the middle of the side is the Bab al-Nadwa with 
two arches; past that is the Bab al-Moshawara with one arch, and 
finally at the northeast corner is the Bab Bani-Shayba. 

The Ka‘ba stands in the middle of the courtyard and is rectan- 
gular, with the length on a north-south axis. It is seventeen cu- 
bits long, thirty [high], and sixteen wide. The door is toward the 
east. Entering the Ka‘ba, you find the Iraqi corner on the right, 
the Black Stone corner on the left, the Yemen corner at the 
southwest, and the Syrian corner at the northwest. The Black 
Stone is set in a large stone in one corner of the Ka‘ba at about 
the height of a man’s chest. 


27 ‘s | 

@ @enpe ee & ase & ~ 


7S. . 


Book of Travels 
The Shape of the Stone 

The Black Stone is oval in shape, one hand, four fingers long 
and eight fingers wide. From the Black Stone to the door of the 
Ka‘ba is four cubits. The space between the Stone and the Ka‘ba 
door is called the Moltazem.”° The door is four cubits off the 
ground so that when standing on tiptoe you can reach the 
threshold, although a wooden staircase wide enough for ten 
men abreast has been constructed so that you can get inside 
when necessary. The floor is raised as high as the door. 

A Description of the Ka‘ba Door 

The door to the Ka‘ba is made of teak and is a double door 62 
cubits tall. Each half is 1% ells wide so that the whole door is 31% 
ells wide. The face of the door contains inscriptions and silver 
circles. The inscriptions are done in gold burnished with silver 
and contain the following Koranic verse: “Verily the first house 
appointed unto men to worship in was that which was in 
Becca.”*’ Two large silver rings sent from Ghazna are attached 
to the door too high for anyone to reach. Two other silver rings, 
smaller than the first two, are attached to the doors such that 
anyone could reach them. To these lower rings is fitted a large 
silver lock, and the doors cannot be opened without removing it. 

A Description of the Interior of the Ka‘ba 

The walls are six spans thick, and the floor is paved with white 
marble. Inside the structure are three small cabinets like plat- 
forms, one opposite the door, and the other two on the north 

*°al-Moltazem is the name given, as Naser says, to the area of the Ka‘ba wall 
between the Black Stone and the door into the interior. According to al-Azraqi it 
measures four cubits and is considered a particularly appropriate place to ren- 
der special votive prayers, in continuation of pre-Islamic custom. See Yaqut, IV, 

?7Koran 3:96. “Becca” is a variant of “Mecca”. 


The Interior of the Ka‘ba 

side. The interior columns, which are attached to the ceiling, are 
made of teak wood and, except for one round one, are carved 
on all four sides. On the north side is a long, red marble slab set 
into the floor. It is said that the Apostle prayed on this slab, 
hence anyone who knows this tries to pray there also. The walls 
are faced with multicolored marble. On the western side are six 
silver mehrabs nailed to the wall. Each one is a man’s height and 
elaborately worked in gold and burnished in silver. These niches 
are raised off the floor. From the floor to a height of four cubits 
the walls are plain; above that height they are covered with mar- 
ble up to the ceiling, elaborately decorated and mostly plated 
with gold. The tops to the three cabinets already mentioned, one 
each in the Iraq, Syria, and Yemen corners, are two wooden 
planks nailed to the walls with silver nails. These planks are from 
Noah’s ark. Each one is five yards long and one yard wide. The 
top of the cabinet behind the Black Stone is draped with red 

Inside the door, in the corner to the right, is a square struc- 
ture three yards by three, in which there is a small door leading 
to the roof. A silver door is placed there and is called the Bab al- 
Rahma [Gate of Mercy], and there is a silver lock affixed to the 
door. On the roof is another door, like a trap door, both sides of 
which are plated in silver. The ceiling is wooden, but it is all cov- 
ered with brocade so that no wood 1s visible. Over the front wall 
is an inscription in gold with the name of the sultan of Egypt 
who took Mecca from the caliphs of the house of “Abbas, al- 
Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah. There are four other large silver plaques 
nailed to the wall with silver nails, on each of which is the name 
of a sultan of Egypt who sent a plaque during his reign. Between 
the columns are hung three silver lamps. The roof of the Ka‘ba 
is covered with Yemenite marble and looks like crystal. There 
are four skylights in the corners, and over each of these is a piece 
of glass, so that the light can come in but not the rain. The rain- 
spout is in the middle of the north side; it is three yards long and 
is covered with gold writing. 

The covering of the Ka‘ba is white and has embroidery in two 
places. The embroidery bands are one ell wide and are sepa- 
rated by a distance of about ten ells. The spaces above and below 
the embroidery are equal, so that by means of the bands, the 
height is divided into three segments ten ells each. On four sides 


eo ese @e eee @& «se & 4 




Book of Travels 

of the covering are woven colored medallions geometrically dec- 
orated with gold thread. On each side are three medallions, a 
large one in the middle and a smaller one on either side. Thus 
the four sides contain a total of twelve medallions. On the north 
side, outside the building, is constructed a wall, about one and 
one-half ells high. Each end of this wall curves in toward a cor- 
ner of the Ka‘ba so that the wall is bowed and semicircular. The 
midpoint of this wall is fifteen yards away from the Ka‘ba wall. 
The wall and ground of this place are paved in colored marble 
in designs. This place is called Hejr, and the water from the 
rainspout pours into this Hejr.*° Beneath the rainspout is 
placed a green stone slab in the shape of a medallion, into which 
the water falls from the spout. The stone is large enough for a 
man to pray on. 

Abraham’s Station is to the east of the Ka‘ba. It is a rock that 
has two imprints of Abraham’s feet. It is placed in another stone 
and covered on all four sides up to a man’s height by wood 
worked as finely as can be imagined, with silver drums affixed. 
On two sides the covering is bound with chains to the large rocks 
and with two locks so that no one can tamper with it. Between 
the Station and the Ka’ba is a space of thirty cubits. 

The Well of Zamzam is forty-six cubits east of the Black Stone 
corner of the Ka‘ba. The top of the well is 3% ells square, and 
the water is brackish but can be drunk. The enclosure over the 
top is made of slabs of white marble two cubits tall, and all 
around the well are basins so that water may be poured for ablu- 
tions. The ground is covered with a latticed wooden grill be- 
neath which the water flows away. The door to the structure is 
toward the east. 

Opposite the Well of Zamzam, also to the east, is another 
square edifice with a dome. It is called Seqayat al-Hajj [Pilgrims’ 
Drinking Place] and holds water vats from which pilgrims drink. 

To the east of the Seqayat al-Hajj is another, rectangular 

28The Hejr is the area between the north wall of the Ka‘ba and the semicircu- 
lar wall known as al-Hatim. The Hejr area contains the tombs of Ishmael and his 
mother Hagar and is supposed to have been part of the original Ka‘ba of Abra- 
ham. When the Qoraysh rebuilt the Ka‘ba ca. 595, the Hejr was left uncovered 
for lack of funds. The area was included in the rebuilding of ‘Abd Allah b. 
Zobayr in 64/683 but was subsequently returned to the form in which the 
Qoraysh had left it by order of the caliph ‘Abd al-Malek in 74/693. See Yaqit, II, 
208; Burton, Personal Narrative, I1, 306 and 322ff. 


The Opening of the Ka‘ba Door 

structure with three domes. It is called Khezanat al-Zayt [Oil 
Storage]; and candles, oil, and lamps are kept there. 

All around the Ka‘ba are columns, each pair of which are 
spanned with wooden beams carved in decorative designs. 
These beams have rings and hooks for suspending lamps and 
candleholders at night, and they are called mashd‘el. Between the 
Ka‘ba and the mashd‘el is a space 150 ells across, which is where 
the circumambulation is performed. 

The buildings in the courtyard of the Haram Mosque, not 
counting the magnificent Ka’ba, are three: the well of Zamzam, 
the Seqayat al-Hajj, and the Khezanat al-Zayt. 

Beneath the arcade next to the mosque wall are chests, one for 
each of the principal cities of the Maghreb, Egypt, Syria, Anato- 
lia, the two Iraqs,*” Khorasan, Transoxiana, and so on. 

Four parasangs to the north of Mecca is a place called Borga 
with running water and trees and two parasangs square in area, 
where the emir of Mecca and his army stay. 

This year I remained as a mojdwer in Mecca from the first of 
Rajab. During that month it is customary to open the door to the 
Ka‘ba every day at sunup. 

A Description of the Opening 
of the Ka‘ba Door 

An Arab clan called the Banu Shayba holds the key to the 
Ka‘ba. They function as servants to the House and receive a sti- 
pend and robes of honor from the sultan of Egypt. Their chief 
keeps possession of the key, and when he comes to the mosque, 
five or six persons accompany him. As they approach the build- 
ing, ten or so pilgrims bring the stairs we have previously men- 
tioned and place them at the door. The old man mounts and 
stands at the threshold, and to open the door, a man on either 
side of him holds back the brocade covering as though holding a 
great robe with which he has been vested. He opens the lock and 
removes it from the rings. A great number of pilgrims will have 
assembled at the door, and when it is opened, they raise their 

*°The “two Iraqs” are “Persian Iraq,” or western Iran north of Khuzestan and 
south of Azerbaijan (also called Jebal), and “Arab Iraq,” or lower Mesopotamia. 


Book of Travels 

hands and shout in prayer. Since the voices of the pilgrims can 
be heard throughout Mecca, all know that the Ka‘ba door has 
been opened and, all at once, shout in prayer so that a great tu- 
mult fills the city. Then the old man goes inside, with the other 
two men holding back the covering, and prays two rak‘ats. Both 
wings of the door are then opened and the chief, standing at the 
threshold, delivers a sermon in a loud voice and invokes bless- 
ings upon the Messenger of God and his family. Then the old 
man and his two assistants stand aside from the door, and the 
pilgrims begin to pour in. Everyone prays two rak‘ats and then 
leaves. This continues until nearly noon. When praying inside 
the Ka‘ba, you turn your face toward the door, although any 
other direction is also licit. | counted the number of people in- 
side when the building was filled to capacity and reckoned 720. 

The common people of the Yemen who come on the Pilgrim- 
age look generally like Hindus: they wear lungis, have long hair 
and plaited beards, and carry Qatifi daggers called kattara at 
their waists, like Hindus. They say that the Hindus originated 
from the Yemen, and that katara is originally from the Arabic 

During the months of Sha‘ban, Ramadan, and Shawwal, the 
door the the Ka‘ba is opened on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fri- 
days. When Dhu’l-Qa‘da comes, it is not opened again. 

The Minor Pilgrimage from Je‘rana 

Four parasangs north of Mecca is a place called Je‘rana, where 
Mohammad was with his army. On the 16th of Dhu’l-Qa‘da, he 
donned the ehrdm and came from there to Mecca to make a mi- 
nor pilgrimage. There are two wells there, one called Bir al- 
Rasul [the Well of the Apostle] and the other Bir ‘Ali ebn Abi- 
Taleb [‘Ali’s Well]. The water of both is extremely good. They 
are ten yards apart. The custom [of the Prophet] is still main- 
tained, and at the same time people make a minor pilgrimage. 
Nearby is a small hill with bowl-like depressions in the rock. It is 

*°’The Indian double-pronged dagger is called katér in Hindi (from the San- 

skrit kattdrah) and is a loanword in Persian as kattdra. Naser erroneously specu- 
lates that the word is derived from the Arabic gattala (“killer”). 


Minor Pilgrimage from Je‘vana 

said that the Prophet kneaded dough with his own hands in 
those depressions. For this reason people go there and knead 
dough with water from those wells. Kindling is gathered from 
the many trees about, and bread is baked to be taken back home 
as a blessing. In that same area is a high hill where Belal the Ab- 
yssinian is said to have called out for prayer; hence people still 
g0 there to give the call to prayer. When I went, there was an 
enormous crowd, with more than a thousand camel litters 
stretching clear to the next well. 

The route I took this time from Egypt to Mecca was three 
hundred parasangs. From Mecca to the Yemen is twelve para- 

The Plain of ‘Arafat lies in the midst of small, hump-backed 
mountains and is two parasangs square. There was once a 
mosque there built by Abraham, but now only a ruined brick 
pulpit remains. At the midday prayer, the preacher mounts this 
pulpit and delivers the sermon. Then the call to prayer is given 
and two rak‘ats are accomplished in congregation, after the 
custom of travelers. After this, a prayer is made standing, and 
two more congregational prayers are done. Afterwards, the 
preacher mounts a camel and [everyone] goes off toward the 

One parasang from there is a small stone mountain called 
Jabal al-Rahma [the Mount of Mercy], and here people stand 
and pray until the sun sets. Pesar-e Shaddel, who was the emir of 
Aden, had water brought some distance and at great expense 
from this mountain to the Plain of ‘Arafat, where he had cis- 
terns constructed that are filled during the Pilgrimage season. 
This same Shaddel built a dome with four large arches on top of 
the Mount of Mercy so that during the day and night when peo- 
ple are at ‘Arafat, lamps visible for two parasangs can be lit atop 
the dome. It is said that the emir of Mecca took one thousand di- 
nars before giving permission to build this structure. 

On the 9th of Dhu’l-Hejja 442 [24 April 1051], with God’s 
help, I completed my fourth Pilgrimage. After the sun had set 
and the pilgrims and preacher had left ‘Arafat, everyone trav- 
eled one parasang to Mash‘ar al-Haram [Sacred Shrine], which 
is called Mozdalefa. Here a nice structure like a maqsura has been 
built for people to pray in. The stones that are cast in Mina are 
gathered up here. It is customary to spend the holiday eve in this 



AF 6B 


Book of Travels 

spot and then to proceed to Mina early the next morning after 
the dawn prayer for making the sacrifice. A large mosque called 
Khayf is there, although it is not customary to deliver the ser- 
mon or to perform the holiday prayer at Mina, as the Prophet 
did not establish a precedent. 

The tenth day is spent at Mina, and stones are cast, which 
practice is explained as a supererogatory act connected with the 

On the twelfth, everyone who intends to leave departs directly 
from Mina, and those who intend to remain a while in Mecca go 
there. Hiring a camel from an Arab for the thirteen-day journey 
to Lahsa, I bade farewell to God’s House. 

On Friday the 19th of Dhu’l-Hejja 442 [4 May 1051], the first 
of the old month of Khordad, I traveled seven parasangs from 
Mecca. There was an open plain with a mountain visible in the 
distance. Heading toward that mountain, we passed by fields 
and villages. There was a well called Bir al-Hosayn ebn Salama 
[the Well of Hosayn son of Salama]. The weather was cold. We 
continued eastward, and on Monday the 22nd of Dhu’l-Heyjja [7 
May] arrived in Ta’ef, which is twelve parasangs from Mecca. 

A Description of Ta ef 

Ta’ef is situated on top of a mountain, and in the month of 
Khordad it was so cold that you had to sit in the sun, whereas in 
Mecca melons had been plentiful. The entire district of Ta’ef 
consists of a wretched little town with a strong fortress. It has a 
small bazaar and a pitiful little mosque. There is running water, 
and pomegranate and fig trees abound. The tomb of ‘Abd Allah 
son of ‘Abbas is there near the town. On this spot the Baghdad 
caliphs had constructed a large mosque which had incorporated 
the tomb into one corner, to the right of the mehrab and pulpit. 
Now, however, people have built houses and live there. We left 

All along the way were mountains and rubble, and there were 
small fortresses and villages everywhere. In the midst of some 
rubble, they showed me a small, ruined fortress, which the 


A Description of Ta’ef 

Arabs said had been Layla’s house, although they tell many such 
strange tales.°! Further on, we came to a fortress called Motar, 
which is twelve parasangs from Ta’ef. From there, we pro- 
ceeded to a district called Thorayya, where there were many 
date-palm groves in which agriculture was maintained by means 
of irrigation from wells with waterwheels. There is said to be no 
ruler or sultan in that area: each place has an independent chief- 
tain or headman. The people are robbers and murderers and 
constantly fight among themselves. This place is twenty-five par- 
asangs from Ta’ef. 

We continued on past that place and saw a fortress called Jaz‘. 
Within half a parasang we passed four fortresses, the largest of 
which, where we stopped, was called the Bani-Nosayr Fortress, 
and it had a few date palms. 

As the man from whom I had hired my camel was from Jaz’, I 
stayed there for fifteen days, there being no khaftr [safe- 
conduct] to take us on farther. The Arab tribes of that region 
each have a particular territory in which they graze their flocks, 
and no stranger can enter one of these territories, since anyone 
who does not have a khafir will be captured and plundered. 
Therefore, from each tribe there is a khafir, who can pass 
through a given territory. The khafir is also called galavoz. 

By chance, the leader of the Arabs with whom we had trav- 
eled, the Banu Sawad, came to Jaz‘, and we took him as our 
khafir. His name was Abu Ghanem ‘Abs son of al-Ba‘ir, and we 
set out under his protection. A group of Arabs, thinking they 
had found “prey” (as they call all strangers), came headed to- 
ward us; but since their leader was with us, they passed without 
saying anything. Had he not been with us, they most certainly 
would have destroyed us. 

We had to remain among these people for a while because 
there was no khafir to take us further. Finally, we found two men 
to act as khafirs and paid them ten dinars each to take us to the 
next tribe. 

Among one tribe, some seventy-year-old men told me that in 
their whole lives they had drunk nothing but camels’ milk, since 

*'Layla was the beloved of Qays, who, forbidden to marry her, roamed like a 
madman among the animals of the desert; hence he was called “Majnun” 
(“mad”). This story was well known among the Arabs and has also inspired sev- 
eral famous Persian romances on the subject. 


eo S&S =e oem me wee 


way GP 

Book of Travels 

in the desert there is nothing but bitter scrub eaten by the cam- 
els. They actually imagined that the whole world was like this! 

Thus I was taken and handed over from tribe to tribe, the en- 
tire time in constant mortal danger. God, however, willed that 
we come out of there alive. 

In the midst of an expanse of rubble, we reached a place 
called Sarba, where there were mountains shaped like domes. | 
have never seen anything like them anywhere. They were not so 
high that an arrow could not have been shot to the top, and they 
were as bald and smooth as an egg, not the slightest crack or flaw 

Along the way, whenever my companions saw a lizard they 
killed and ate it. The Arabs, wherever they are, milk their camels 
for drink. I could neither eat the lizard nor drink camels’ milk; 
therefore, wherever I saw a kind of bush that yielded small ber- 
ries the size of a pea, I picked a few and subsisted on that. 


After enduring much hardship and suffering great discom- 
fort, on the 23rd of Safar [6 July] we came to Falaj, a distance of 
180 parasangs from Mecca. Falaj lies in the middle of the desert 
and had once been an important region, but internal strife had 
destroyed it. The only part left inhabited when we arrived was a 
strip half a parasang long and a mile wide. Inside this area there 
were fourteen fortresses inhabited by a bunch of filthy, ignorant 
bandits. These fourteen fortresses had been divided up between 
two rival factions who were constantly engaged in hostilities. 
They claimed to be the “Lords of al-Raqim” mentioned in the 
Koran.** They had four irrigation canals for their palm grove, 
and their fields were on higher ground and watered from wells. 
They plow with camels, not cows. As a matter of fact, I never saw 
a cow there. They produce very little in the way of agriculture, 
and each man has to ration himself with two seers of grain a day. 
This is baked as bread and suffices from the evening prayer un- 

**Reading with Tehran edition, raqim, for Dabir-Siyaqi’s edition, rasim. The 
“Lords of al-Raqim” are mentioned in passing in Koran 18:9. 



til the next evening, as in the month of Ramadan, although they 
do eat dates during the day. I saw excellent dates there, much 
better than in Basra and other places. These people are ex- 
tremely poverty stricken and destitute; nonetheless, they spend 
the whole day fighting and killing each other. They have a kind 
of date called maydun that weighs ten dirhems, the pit weighing 
not more than 2 danaks. They claimed that this particular date 
could be kept for twenty years without spoilage. Their currency 
is Nishapuri gold. 

I stayed four months in this Falaj under the worst possible 
conditions: nothing of this world remained in my possession ex- 
cept two satchels of books, and they were a hungry, naked, and 
ignorant people. Everyone who came to pray brought his sword 
and shield with him as a matter of course. They had no reason to 
buy books. 

There was a mosque in which we stayed. I had a little red and 
blue paint with me, so I wrote a line of poetry on the wall and 
drew a branch with leaves up through the writing. When they 
saw it, they were amazed, and everybody in the compound gath- 
ered around to look at what I had done. They told me that if 
I would paint the mehrab they would give me one hundred 
maunds of dates. Now a hundred maunds of dates was a fortune 
for them. Once while I was there, a company of Arab soldiers 
came and demanded five hundred maunds of dates. They re- 
fused to give it and fought, which resulted in the death of ten 
people from the compound. A thousand palms were cut down, 
but they did not give up even ten maunds of dates. Therefore, 
when they offered me that much, I painted the mehrab, and that 
hundred maunds of dates was an answer to our prayers, since 
we had not been able to obtain any food. 

We had almost given up hope of ever being able to get out of 
that desert, the nearest trace of civilization in any direction being 
two hundred parasangs away through fearful, devastating des- 
ert. In all those four months, I never saw five maunds of wheat 
in one place. Finally, however, a caravan came from Yamama to 
take goat’s leather to Lahsa. Goat’s leather is brought from the 
Yemen via Falaj and sold to merchants. An Arab offered to take 
me to Basra, but I had no money to pay the fare. It is only two 
hundred parasangs to Basra from there, and the hire for a 
camel was one dinar, whereas a good camel can be bought out- 



ee 2 Fe ee 

Book of Travels 

right for two or three dinars. Since I had no cash with me, they 
took me on credit on condition that I pay thirty dinars in Basra. 
I was forced to agree to these terms, although I had never in my 
life so much as set foot in Basra! 

The Arabs packed my books and seated my brother on a 
camel, and thus, with me on foot, we set out, headed toward the 
ascent of the Pleiades. The ground was flat, without so much asa 
mountain or hill, and wherever the earth was a bit harder, there 
was rainwater standing in pools. As these people travel night 
and day, without the slightest trace of a road visible, they must 
go by instinct. What is amazing is that with no indication or 
warning, suddenly they come upon a well. 

To make a long story short, in four days and nights we came 
to Yamama, which has inside a large, old fortress, and outside a 
town with a bazaar containing all sorts of artisans and a fine 
mosque. The emirs there are Alids of old, and no one has ever 
been able to wrest the region from their control, since, in the 
first place there is not, nor has there been, a conquering sultan 
or king anywhere near, and, in the second, those Alids possess 
such might that they can mount three to four hundred horse- 
men. They are of the Zaydi sect, and when they stand in prayer 
they say, “Mohammad and ‘Ali are the best of mankind,” and, 
“Come to the best deed!”** The inhabitants of this town are 
Sharifis, and they have running water, irrigation canals, and 
many palm groves in the district. They told me that when dates 
are plentiful, a thousand maunds are only one dinar. 

It is forty parasangs from Yamama to Lahsa. During the win- 
ter it is possible to travel because potable rainwater collects in 
pools, but not in summer. 

A Description of Lahsa 

To reach the town of Lahsa from any direction, you have to 
cross vast expanses of desert. The nearest Muslim city to Lahsa 

*°These words characterize the Shi‘ite (including the Zaydi) call to prayer. 
The Sunni call to prayer includes neither phrase. In Naser’s terminology “Alid” 
(‘alawt) refers to any of the Shi‘a, including (1) the Zaydis, followers of Zayd, son 
of the Fourth Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abedin (d. 94/712): members of this sect ruled 


A Description of Lahsa’ 

that has a ruler is Basra, and that is one hundred and fifty para- 
sangs away. There has never been a ruler of Basra, however, 
who has attempted an attack on Lahsa. 

All of the town’s outlying villages and dependencies are en- 
closed by four strong, concentric walls made of reinforced mud 
brick. The distance between these walls is about a parasang, and 
there are enormous wells inside the town, each the size of five 
millstones around. All the water of the district is put to use so 
that none goes outside the walls. A really splendid town is situ- 
ated inside these fortifications, with all the appurtenances of a 
large city, and there are more than twenty thousand soldiers. 

They said that the ruler had been a sharif who prevented the 
people from practicing Islam and relieved them of the obliga- 
tions of prayer and the fast by claiming that he was the ultimate 
authority on such matters. His name was Abu Sa‘id and when 
you ask the townspeople what sect they belong to, they say they 
are Busa‘idis. They neither pray nor fast, but they do believe in 
Mohammad and his mission. Abu Sa‘id told them that he would 
come among them again after his death, and his tomb, a fine 
shrine, is located inside the city. He directed that six of his [spiri- 
tual] sons** should maintain his rule with justice and equity and 
without dispute among themselves until he should come again. 
Now they have a palace that is the seat of state and a throne that 
accommodates all six kings in one place, and they rule in com- 
plete accord and harmony. They have also six viziers, and when 
the kings are all seated on their throne, the six viziers are seated 
opposite on another bench. Thus all affairs are handled in mu- 
tual consultation. At the time I was there they had thirty thou- 
sand Zanzibari and Abyssinian slaves working in the fields and 

They take no tax from the peasantry, and whenever anyone is 
stricken by poverty or contracts a debt they take care of his 
needs until the debtor’s affairs should be cleared up. And if any- 

in Gilan, Daylam and Tabarestan in Iran from 864 to 1126 and founded a dy- 
nasty in the Yemen in 901; (2) Ismailis, who followed Esma‘il, son of the Sixth 
Imam Ja‘far al-Sadeq (d. 148/765): to this sect belonged the Fatimids of Egypt; 
and (3) Twelvers (ethna‘ashari), who followed the lineal descent of imams from 
‘Ali until the Twelfth Imam Mohammad al-Montazar (ca. 264/878). 

*4Cf. Bernard Lewis, ana Origins of Isma‘ilism (Cambr idge: Cambr idge Univer- 
sity Press, 1944), p. 99, n. 5, who translates “disciples” for “sons.’ 




Book of Travels 

one is in debt to another, the creditor cannot claim more than 
the amount of the debt. Any stranger to the city who possesses a 
craft by which to earn his livelihood is given enough money to 
buy the tools of his trade and establish himself, when he repays 
however much he was given. If anyone’s property or imple- 
ments suffer loss and the owner is unable to undertake neces- 
sary repairs, they appoint their own slaves to make the repairs 
and charge the owner nothing. The rulers have several gristmills 
in Lahsa where the citizenry can have their meal ground into 
flour for free, and the maintenance of the buildings and the 
wages of the miller are paid by the rulers. The rulers are called 
simply “lord” and the viziers, “counsel.” 

There was once no Friday mosque in Lahsa, and the sermon 
and congregational prayer were not held. A Persian man, how- 
ever, named ‘Ali son of Ahmad, who was a Muslim, a pilgrim 
and very wealthy, did build a mosque in order to provide for pil- 
grims who arrived in the city. 

Their commercial transactions are carried out in lead [to- 
kens], which are kept in wrappers, each of which is equivalent to 
six thousand dirhem-weights. When paying for something, they 
do not even count out the wrappers but take them as they are. 
No one takes this currency outside, however. They also weave 
fine scarves that are exported to Basra and other places. 

They do not prevent anyone from performing prayers, al- 
though they themselves do not pray. The ruler answers most po- 
litely and humbly anyone who speaks to him, and wine is not in- 
dulged in. 

A horse outfitted with collar and crown is kept always tied 
close by the tomb of Abu Sa‘id, and a watch is continually main- 
tained day and night for such time as he should rise again and 
mount the horse. Abu Sa‘id said to his sons, “When I come again 
among you, you will not recognize me. The sign will be that you 
strike my neck with my sword. If it be me, I will immediately 
come back to life.” He made this stipulation so that no one else 
could claim to be him. 

In the time of the Baghdad caliphs one of the rulers attacked 
Mecca and killed a number of people who were circumambulat- 
ing the Ka‘ba at the time. They removed the Black Stone from 
its corner and took it to Lahsa. They said that the stone was a 


A Description of Lahsa’ 

“human magnet” that attracted people, not knowing that it was 
the nobility and magnificence of Mohammad that drew people 
there, for the Stone had lain there for long ages without anyone 
paying any particular attention to it. In the end, the Black Stone 
was bought back and returned to its place. 

In the city of Lahsa they sell all kinds of animals for meat, 
such as dog, cat, donkey, cow, sheep, and so on, and the head 
and skin of whatever animal it is is placed next to the meat so 
that the customer will know what he is buying. They fatten up 
dogs, just like grazed sheep, until they are too heavy to walk, af- 
ter which they are slaughtered and eaten. 

Seven parasangs east of Lahsa is the sea. In this sea is the is- 
land of Bahrain, which is fifteen parasangs long. There is a large 
city there and many palm groves. Pearls are found in the sea 
thereabouts, and half of the divers’ take belongs to the sultan of 
Lahsa. South of Lahsa is Oman, which is on the Arabian penin- 
sula, but three sides face desert that is impossible to cross. The 
region of Oman is eighty parasangs square and tropical; there 
they grow coconuts, which they call ndrgil. Directly east of Oman 
across the sea are Kish and Mokran. South of Oman is Aden, 
while in the other direction is the province of Fars. 

There are so many dates in Lahsa that animals are fattened on 
them and at times more than one thousand maunds are sold for 
one dinar. Seven parasangs north of Lahsa is a region called 
Qatif, where there is also a large town and many date-palms. An 
Arab emir from there once attacked Lahsa, where he main- 
tained seige for a year. One of those fortification walls he cap- 
tured and wrought much havoc, although he did not obtain 
much of anything. When he saw me, he asked whether or not it 
was in the stars for him to take Lahsa, as they were irreligious. I 
told him what was expedient [for me to say], since, in my opin- 
ion also, the bedouins and people of Lahsa were as close as any- 
one could be to irreligiosity, there being people there who, from 
one year to the next, never perform ritual ablutions. This that I 
record is told from my own experience and not from false ru- 
mors, since I was there among them for nine consecutive 
months, and not at intervals. 

I was unable to drink their milk, and whenever I asked for 
water to drink they offered me milk instead. As I did not take 


Book of Travels 

the proffered milk and asked for water, they would say, “Wher- 
ever you see water, ask for it there!” In all their lives they had 
never seen a bath or running water. 

Now let me return to my story. Having set out for Basra from 
Yamama, we encountered some way stations with water and oth- 
ers with no water. On the 20th of Sha‘ban 443 [27 December 
1051] we arrived in Basra. 

A Description of the City of Basra 

The city has a large wall, except for the portion that faces the 
water, where there is no wall. The water here is all marsh, the 
Tigris and Euphrates coming together at the beginning of the 
Basra district, and when the water of the Hawiza®? joins the 
confluence, it is called Shatt al-‘Arab. From this Shatt al-‘Arab, 
two large channels have been cut, between the mouths of which 
is a distance of one parasang, running in the direction of the 
gebla for four parasangs, after which they converge and run an- 
other one parasang to the south. From these channels numerous 
canals have been dug in all directions among palm groves and 
orchards. Of these two channels, the higher one, which is north- 
east, is called Nahr Ma‘gel, whereas the southwestern one is 
called Nahr Obolla. These two channels form an enormous rec- 
tangular “island,” on the shortest side of which Basra is situated. 
To the southwest of Basra is open plain that supports neither 
settlement nor agriculture. 

When I arrived, most of the city lay in ruins, the inhabited 
parts being greatly dispersed, with up to half a parasang from 
one quarter to another. Nonetheless, the walls were strong and 
well kept, the populace numerous, and the ruler with plenty of 
income. At that time, the emir of Basra was the son of Aba 
Kalijar the Daylamite, king of Fars. His vizier was a Persian, 
Abu Mansur Shahmardan by name. 

Every day there are three bazaars in Basra: in the morning 
transactions are held at a place called Sug al-Khoza‘a [Market of 
the Khoza‘a Tribe]; in the middle of the day at Sug ‘Othman 

*° Hawiza with Berlin edition for Tehran and Dabir-Siyaqi’s edition’s Jubara. 


The City of Basra 

(Othman’s Market]; and at the end of the day at Sug al-Qad- 
dahin [Flintmakers Market]. The procedure at the bazaar is as 
follows: you turn over whatever you have to a moneychanger 
and get in return a draft; then you buy whatever you need, de- 
ducting the price from the moneychanger’s draft. No matter 
how long one might stay in the city, one would never need any- 
thing more than a moneychanger’s draft. 

When we arrived we were as naked and destitute as madmen, 
for it had been three months since we had unloosed our hair. I 
wanted to enter a bath in order to get warm, the weather being 
chilly and our clothing scant. My brother and I were clad only in 
old lungis with a piece of coarse fabric on our backs to keep out 
the cold. “In this state who would let us into a bath?” I asked. 
Therefore, I sold a small satchel in which I kept my books and 
wrapped the few rusty dirhems I had received in a piece of pa- 
per to give the bath attendant, thinking that he might give us a 
little while longer in the bath in order for us to remove the grime 
from our bodies. When I handed him the change, he looked at 
us as though we were madmen and said, “Get away from here! 
People are coming out of the bath.” As he would not allow us in, 
we came away humiliated and in haste. Even the children who 
were playing at the bathhouse door thought we were madmen 
and, throwing stones and yelling, chased after us. We retired 
into a corner and reflected in amazement on the state of the 

Now, as we were in debt to the camel driver for thirty dinars, 
we had no recourse save the vizier of the king of Ahwaz, Abu’l- 
Fath “Ali son of Ahmad, a worthy man, learned in poetry and 
belles-lettres, and very generous, who had come to Basra with his 
sons and retinue and taken up residence but who, at present, 
had no administrative position. Therefore, I got in touch with a 
Persian, also a man of learning, with whom I had some acquain- 
tance and who had entree to the vizier but who was also in 
straightened circumstances and totally without means to be of 
assistance to me. He mentioned my situation to the vizier, who, 
as soon as he heard, sent a man with a horse for me to come to 
him just as I was. Too ashamed of my destitution and nakedness, 
I hardly thought it fitting to appear before him, so I wrote a 
note of regret, saying that I would come to him later. I had two 
reasons for doing this: one was my poverty, and the other was, 





Persian Gulf area 


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A Isfakan 

The City of Basra 

as I said to myself, that he now imagines that I have some claim 
to being learned, but when he sees my note he will figure out just 
what my worth is so that when I go before him I need not be 

Immediately he sent me thirty dinars to have a suit of clothing 
made. With that amount I bought two fine suits and on the third 
day appeared at the vizier’s assembly. I found him to be a wor- 
thy, polite, and scholarly man of pleasant appearance, humble, 
religious, and well spoken. He had four sons, the eldest of whom 
was an eloquent, polite, and reasonable youth called Ra’is Abu 
‘Abd Allah Ahmad son of ‘Ali son of Ahmad. Not only a poet 
and administrator, he was wise and devout beyond his youthful 
age. We were taken in and stayed there from the first of Sha‘ban 
until the middle of Ramadan. The thirty dinars due the Arab 
for our camel were paid by the vizier, and I was relieved of that 
burden. (May God thus deliver all His servants from the torment 
of debt!) 

When I desired to depart he sent me off by sea with gifts and 
bounteous good things so that I reached Fars in ease and com- 
fort, thanks to the generosity of that noble man. (May God de- 
light in such noble men!) 

In Basra there are thirteen shrines in the name of the Prince 
of the Faithful ‘Ali son of Abu Taleb, one of which is called the 
Banu Mazen Shrine. The Prince of the Faithful “Ali came to 
Basra during Rabi‘ I in the year 36 [September 655], while 
‘A’esha was waging war against him, and married Layla, the 
daughter of Mas‘ud Nahshali. This shrine was the house of that 
lady, and the Prince of the Faithful stayed there for seventy-two 
days, after which he returned to Kufa. There is another shrine 
next to the cathedral mosque called the Bab al-Tib Shrine. 

Inside the cathedral mosque, I saw a wooden post thirty cubits 
long and five spans, four fingers thick, although it is somewhat 
thicker at one end. This post is from India and the Prince of the 
Faithful is said to have picked it up and brought it there. The 
other eleven shrines are in different places, and I visited them 

After our worldly condition had taken a turn for the better 
and we each had on decent clothing, we went back one day to 
the bathhouse we had not been allowed to enter. As soon as we 
came through the door the attendant and everyone there stood 


= eae cquevoneny Gurpweng=n cen sorenere” ywpeemyrengreteee het ysenpaasnry oun gh yn npr rebity Saeehe dy F104 Hehe memnterey ty OY PgeeegeeNenveny ery ten » 6g behy De THRNOUNEN OFVENTT /TTTTT 


7s) was 

Book of Travels 

up respectfully. We went inside, and the scrubber and servant 
came to attend to us. When we emerged from the bath all who 
were in the dressing room rose and remained standing until we 
had put on our clothes and departed. During that time the at- 
tendant had said to a friend of his, “These are those very young 
men whom we refused admission one day.” They imagined that 
we did not know their language, but I said in Arabic, “You are 
perfectly correct. We are the very ones who had old sacks tied to 
our backs.” The man was ashamed and most apologetic. Now 
these two events transpired within twenty days, and I have in- 
cluded the story so that men may know not to lament adversity 
brought on by fate and not to despair of the Creator’s mercy, for 
He is merciful indeed. 

A Description of the Ebb and Flow 
of the Tide at Basra 

Every twenty-four hours the Sea of Oman flows twice, rising 
approximately ten ells. When high tide has been achieved it 
gradually ebbs, receding ten to twelve ells. The ten ells just men- 
tioned can be seen either on a post erected at Basra or against 
the city walls. Where the ground is flat the tide covers an enor- 
mous area inland. The Tigris and Euphrates indeed flow so 
calmly that in places it cannot be determined which direction the 
water is flowing, and when the tide floods the river water rises 
for nearly forty parasangs, and one would think the flow had re- 
versed itself and the water was backing up. In other places along 
the coast, however, the shore is relatively steep. Wherever the 
land is flat the water covers a large area, but wherever it is steep 
less ground is taken by the tide. They say that the ebb and flow 
of the tide are connected in some way to the moon because when 
the moon is at one of the nodes, which occurs on the tenth and 
[twenty] fourth [of the month], the flow is more; when the moon 
is on the east or west horizon, the ebb is maximum, and when 
the moon is in conjunction with or directly opposite the sun the 
flow is greatest and highest. During the quadratures it is the 
least, that is, the flow is not so great as during alignment with the 
sun, and the ebb is not so low as during alignment. For these rea- 


The Ebb and Flow of Tide at Basra 

sons they say that the tides have something to do with the moon, 
but God knows best. 

I found the town of Obolla, located by the channel named for 
it, to be populous, with more palaces, bazaars, mosques, and car- 
avanserais than can be described. The original part of the town 
is to the north of the channel, although there are also quarters, 
mosques, caravanserais, and bazaars to the north. There are 
such pleasant edifices there as are to be found nowhere else in 
the world, and this section is called Shate’ ‘Othman. 

The large marsh formed by the Tigris and Euphrates and 
called Shatt al-‘Arab lies to the east of Obolla, the channel cut- 
ting across the south. The Obolla and Ma‘qel Rivers join at 
Basra, as has already been stated. 

Basra has twenty districts, each of which is comprised of vil- 
lages and farms. The districts of Basra are as follows: Heshshan, 
Sharabba, Balas, ‘Aqr [al-Sadan ?], Maysan, Nahr Harb, Shatt al- 
‘Arab, Sa‘d [?], Salm [?], Jorayr, al-Mashan, al-Samd [?], al-Jaw- 
with, Jazirat al-"Ozma [?], Masroganan, al-Sharir [?], Jazirat al- 
‘Orsh al-Hamida [?], al-Howayza, al-Mofradat [?].°° 

They say that once, at the mouth of the Obolla channel, there 
was a huge whirlpool that prevented boats from passing, but a 
wealthy lady of Basra had four hundred boats constructed and 
filled with date pits. The boats were then tightly sealed and sunk 
in the whirlpool, and now ships can sail through. 

In short, the middle of Shawwal 443 [February 1052] we left 
Basra by boat. For four parasangs out of Obolla there was on 
both sides of the channel an uninterrupted series of gardens, or- 
chards, kiosks, and belvederes. Tributaries of the channel, each 
the size of a river, opened up on each side. When we reached 
Shate’ ‘Othman we disembarked just opposite the city of Obolla 
and stayed a while. 

*°Some of these names have been verified in Yaqiit, Mo‘jam al-boldan, ed. 
Ferdinand Wiistenfeld (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1866-1870). They are as follows: 
Heshshan (II, 272), Sharabba (III, 272), Balas (1, 708), ‘Agr (a ‘Aqr al-Sadan is 
given in III, 697), Maysan (IV, 714), Maftah (IV, 586), Nahr Harb (IV, 838), 
Shatt al-‘Arab (not given in Yaqut but sufficiently well known), Jorayr (II, 68), al- 
Mashan (IV, 536), al-Jawwith (II, 163, with this reading for Dabir-Siyaqi’s edi- 
tion, al-Juna), Masroqanan (IV, 528, with this reading as suggested by Dabir- 
Siyaqi for his edition’s Masarfal), al-Howayza (II, 371f.). The others (Sa‘d, Salm, 
al-Samd, Jazirat al-‘Ozma, al-Sharir, Jazirat al-‘Orsh [perhaps al-Fors] al-Ha- 
mida [perhaps a separate name], and al-Mofradat) have not been identified. 



re i 

Book of Travels 

On the 17th we boarded a type of boat called busi, and great 
multitudes of people on either side called out, “O busi, may God 
speed you in safety!” 

When we reached ‘Abbadan everyone got out of the boat. 
‘Abbadan is a coastal town something like an island because the 
marsh splits in two there, and the only way to reach the town is 
by water. To the south is the sea itself, which, during high tide, 
reaches right up to the city walls; at low tide, however, the sea re- 
cedes a little less than two parasangs. Some of our party bought 
carpets in ‘Abbadan and others something to eat. The next 
morning the ship set out again toward the north. For ten para- 
sangs the sea water was drinkable and good, since it was marsh 
water, the marsh flowing like a tongue out into the sea. 

At dawn something like a small bird could be seen on the sea. 
The closer we approached the larger it appeared. When it was 
about one parasang to our left, an adverse wind came up so they 
dropped anchor and took down the sail. I asked what that thing 
was and was told that it was called a “khashshab.” It consisted of 
four enormous wooden posts made of teak and was shaped 
something like a war machine, squarish, wide at the base and 
narrow at the top. It was about forty ells above the surface of the 
water and had tile and stone on top held together by wood so as 
to form a kind of ceiling. On top of that were four arched open- 
ings where a sentinel could be stationed. Some said this khashshab 
had been constructed by a rich merchant, others that a king had 
had it made. It served two functions: first, that area was being 
silted in and the sea consequently becoming shallow so that if a 
large ship chanced to pass, it would strike bottom. At night 
lamps encased in glass (so that the wind would not blow them 
out) were lit for people to see from afar and take precaution, 
since there was no possibility of rescue. Second, one could know 
the extent of the land and, if there were thieves, steer a ship 
away. When the khashshab was no longer visible, another one of 
the same shape came into view; but this one did not have the 
watchtower on top, as though it had not been finished.>’ 

*7In his geography Abu’l-Feda says: “To the south and east of ‘Abbadan are 
wooden [piles] (khashabat), which are markers in the sea for boats to tie up to and 
not to go beyond lest the tide be low and they strike ground. At night fire is 
placed on these markers as a beacon for ships.” Abu’l-Feda, Taqwim al-boldan, ed. 
by Reinaud and MacGuckin de Slane (Paris: L’Imprimerie Royale, 1840), p. 309. 


The Ebb and Flow of Tide at Basra 

Next we came to Mahruban, a large coastal town with a bazaar 
and fine mosque. Their only water is from rain, there being no 
freshwater wells or canals, although they have enough tanks and 
cisterns to insure an adequate supply. Three large caravanserais 
have been built there, each one as strong and as tall as a fortress. 
I saw the name of Ya‘qub son of Layth written on the pulpit of 
the Friday mosque and asked how this had come to be. They 
told me that Ya‘qub son of Layth had conquered up to this town 
but that no other emir of Khorasan had had the might to do it. 
When I was there, the town was in the hands of the sons of Aba 
Kalijar, the king of Fars. Foodstuffs and commodities all have to 
be brought in from outside since there is nothing but fish in the 
town, which serves as a customs station and port. 

South along the coast are Tavva and Kazarun, but I remained 
in Mahruban because they said the way was not safe, since the 
sons of Aba Kalijar had each rebelled against the other and had 
put the countryside into confusion. I was told that in Arrajan 
there was a great and learned man called Shaikh Sadid Moham- 
mad son of ‘Abd al-Malek. When I heard this, since I was so 
weary of staying in that town, I wrote him a note explaining my 
situation and pleaded with him to get me out of there and into a 
safe place. Three days later thirty armed foot soldiers ap- 
proached me and told me they had been sent by the shaikh to 
take me to Arrajan. Thus we were hospitably taken to Arrajan, a 
large town with a population of twenty thousand, to the east of 
which is a river that comes from the mountains. North of this 
river four large canals have been cut at great expense to bring 
water through the town and out the other side to where there 
are gardens and orchards of dates, oranges, citrons, and olives 
in abundance. The city is so constructed that for every house 
above ground there is also one below. Water flows through these 
basements and cellars so that during the summer they can be 
comfortable. The people there are of most every sect, and the 
Mu'tazilites have an imam called Abu Sa‘id of Basra, an eloquent 
man with some claim to knowledge of geometry and mathemat- 
ics. We held discussions together on dialectic theology and 

We left on the first of Moharram and headed for Isfahan via 
the mountains. Along the way we came to a mountain with a nar- 
row pass, said by the common people to have been cut by Bah- 



Book of Travels 

ram Gor with his sword. They call it Shamshir-borid [“Cut-by- 
Sword”]. There we saw a great stream that emerged on our right 
from a hole and then tumbled down a great height. The com- 
mon people said that this water flows continuously during the 
summer but stops and freezes over during the winter months. 

We reached Lurdajan, which is forty parasangs from Arrajan 
and which is the border of Fars. From there we continued on to 
Khan Lanjan, where I noticed the name of Toghrel Beg in- 
scribed over the gate. It was only seven parasangs from there to 
Isfahan, and the people of Khan Lanjan were remarkably safe 
and secure, everyone occupied with his own business. 

On the 8th of Safar 444 [9 June 1052] we reached Isfahan. It 
is one hundred and eighty parasangs from Basra to Isfahan, a 
city located on a flat plain and with a delightful climate. Wher- 
ever one sinks a well ten ells into the ground, refreshing cold 
water comes out. The city has a high, strong wall with gates, em- 
brasures, and battlements all around. Inside the city are courses 
for running water, fine tall buildings, and a beautiful and large 
Friday mosque. The city wall is said to be three and a half para- 
sangs long, and everything inside is in a flourishing state, as | 
saw nothing in ruins. There were many bazaars; one that I saw 
was only for money changers and contained two hundred stalls. 
Every bazaar has doors and gates, as do all quarters and lanes. 
The caravanserais are exceptionally clean, and in one lane, 
called Ku-Taraz, there were fifty fine caravanserais, in each of 
which were retail merchants and shopkeepers. The caravan we 
entered with had 1,300 kharvars of goods, yet there was no diffi- 
culty in finding space since there seemed to be no lack of room 
or fodder. 

When Sultan Toghrel Beg Abu Taleb Mohammad son of Mi- 
ka’il son of Saljuq took the city, he appointed as governor a 
young Nishapuri, a good administrator with a fine hand, com- 
posed, well met, a patron of learning, well spoken, and gener- 
ous, called Khwaja ‘Amid. The sultan ordered him not to levy 
taxes on the people for three years, and, as he followed this or- 
der, the peasantry that had fled returned home. He had been 
one of the bureaucrats serving under Suri.°® 

38Suri b. al-Mo‘tazz, the chief of Khorasan under the Ghaznavid Mas‘ud, ac- 

cording to M. Dabir-Siyaqi in his second edition of the Safarndma (Tehran, 
1335/1957), p. 124, n. 1. 


The Ebb and Flow of Tide at Basra 

Before our arrival there had been a great famine, but by the 
time we came they were harvesting barley, and 1% maunds of 
bread were selling for one dirhem, as were 3 maunds of barley 
bread. The people, however, were still complaining that never in 
this city had less than 8 maunds of bread been more than one 
dirhem. Of all the Persian-speaking cities, I never saw a finer, 
more commodious, or more flourishing city than Isfahan. They 
claimed that wheat, barley, and other grains could be left for 
twenty years without spoiling, although some said that before 
the walls had been built the air was even better than now and 
that it had changed with the construction of the wall so that 
some things would spoil. The villages, however, were said to be 
as good as ever. 

As the caravan was not going to leave for some time, I re- 
mained in Isfahan for twenty days. On the 28th of Safar [29 
June 1052] we departed and came to the village of Haythama- 
bad. From there we reached Na’in via the desert and mountains 
of Maskinan, a distance of thirty parasangs. From Na’in we trav- 
eled forty-three parasangs to the village of Garma in the Biya- 
ban district, which comprises some ten or twelve villages. It is 
warm there, and there are date trees. This region was formerly 
held by the Kufjan,°? but when we passed through, the prince 
Gilaki had seized the region from them and had stationed a dep- 
uty in a small fortress in a village called Piyada in order to con- 
trol the area and keep the roads safe. Whenever the Kufjan at- 
tempted banditry, Prince Gilaki’s cavalry were sent to capture 
and kill them. It was due to the maintenance of that prince the 
road was safe and the people secure. (May God keep just princes 
and have mercy on the souls of the departed!) 

Every two parasangs along this Biyaban road, small towers 
with water tanks have been built to collect rainwater in places 
that are not brackish so that people will not lose their way and 
also so that travelers may stop off and rest for a while out of the 
heat and cold. 

We saw great areas of shifting sands along the way. If anyone 
were to stray from the markers and wander into these shifting 
sands, there is no way he could come out again and he would 
surely perish. We continued past there, when brackish earth 

**The “Kufjan” have been identified with certain Baluch tribes. 


Book of Travels 

came into view, all pocked and pitted; this lasted for six para- 
sangs. If anyone went off the path, he would sink in. 

From there we went via the caravanserai of Zobayda, which is 
called Rebat-e Marami. In that caravanserai are five wells. If it 
were not for that caravanserai and water no one would be able to 
cross this desert. After that we came to four villages in the dis- 
trict of Tabas, one of which is called Rostabad. 

On the 9th of Rabi‘ I [9 July] we reached Tabas, which is one 
hundred and ten parasangs from Isfahan. Although it looks like 
a village, Tabas is actually large, but water is scarce and agricul- 
ture minimal, with the exception of date palms and orchards. 
Nishapur lies forty parasangs north, and a like distance south 
across the desert is Khabis, while there are forbidding moun- 
tains to the east. At that time, the prince of the city was Gilaki 
son of Mohammad, who had taken it by the sword. The people 
were so secure that at night they did not lock their doors and 
even left their animals in the streets, despite the fact that there 
was no city wall. No woman dared speak to a stranger, for if she 
did they would both be killed. On account of this prince’s pro- 
tection and justice there was neither thief nor murderer. 

Among the Arabs and Persians I saw four places remarkable 
for their security and justice: one, the region of Dasht during 
the reign of Lashkar Khan; two, in Daylamestan under the 
Amir-Amiran Jostan son of Ebrahim; three, Egypt during the 
reign of al Mostanser be’llah, Prince of the Faithful, and four, in 
Tabas during the reign of Prince Abu’! Hasan Gilaki son of Mo- 
hammad. In all my travels I never saw or heard of any place so 
secure as these four. 

[The prince] kept us in Tabas for seventeen days and showed 
us much hospitality. When we left he bestowed presents and 
apologized for any shortcomings. (May God rejoice in him!) He 
sent one of his equerries along with me as far as Zuzan, which is 
seventy-two parasangs away. Twelve parasangs from Tabas we 
came upon a town called Raqqa, which had running water, 
farms, gardens, trees, walls, a Friday mosque, and villages and 
agricultural dependencies. 

On the 9th of Rabi‘ II [8 August] we left Raqga and on the 
12th arrived in Tun, twenty parasangs distant. The city of Tun 
had once been large, but when I passed through, most of it had 
fallen to ruin. Although it is on the edge of the desert, it has run- 





+ Na‘in 

The Ebb and Flow of Tide at Basra 


KHORASAN * Shoburghin 

+ Faryab 
Panj Deh 

+ Talaqan 

+ Bestaim Sarakhs 

* Dimghin * Nishapur 

* Zuzan 
* Tun 
* Tabas * Qiven 


Eastern Iran and northern Afghanistan 

ning water, canals, and many gardens on the eastern side. It has 
also a strong fortress, and there are said to have been four hun- 
dred workshops where rugs were woven. There were many pis- 
tachio trees inside the houses, although the people of Balkh and 
Tokharestan imagine that pistachios grow only on mountains. 

After leaving Tun, [Prince] Gilaki’s man told me that once 
they had been traveling between Tun and Gonabedh when a 
band of thieves attacked. Out of fear, several people threw 
themselves down a canal well. One of them had a kindly father 
who came and hired someone to go down into the well and bring 
out the body of his son. They collected all the rope they had 
while lots of others gathered around to watch. Seven hundred 
ells of rope went down before that fellow reached the bottom. 
He tied the rope around the son’s dead body and they hauled 
him out. When he came back up he said that a great amount of 
water was flowing through the canal, which goes for four para- 
sangs and is said to have been built by Kay Khosraw. 



* Balkh 


Book of Travels 

On the 23rd of Rabi‘ II [22 August] we came to Qa’en, said to 
be a distance of eighteen parasangs from Tun, although a cara- 
van can make it in four days, so the estimate must be too great. 

Qa’en is a large fortified town, and all around the main city is 
a trench. The Friday mosque is also in the main city and has a 
huge arch where the magqsura is located. This arch is much larger 
than any I have seen in Khorasan, but it is not in proportion to 
the mosque. All buildings in the city are domed. 

Eighteen parasangs northeast of Qa’en is Zuzan. South to 
Herat is thirty parasangs. 

In Qa’en I saw a man named Abu Mansur Mohammad son of 
Dost, who knew something of medicine, astronomy, and logic. 

“Outside the celestial spheres and stars, what is there?” he 
asked me. 

“Things that are inside the spheres have names,” I said, “but 
not anything outside them.” 

“What say you then?” he asked, “Is there substance outside the 
spheres or not?” 

“The universe must of necessity be finite,” I said. “And its 
limit is the last sphere. Indeed, it is called ‘limit’ precisely be- 
cause there is nothing on the other side. When this limit has 
been realized, it then becomes necessary that what is outside the 
spheres not be like what is inside them.” 

“Therefore,” he continued, “that substance, which reason 
must hold to be existent, is finite and ends at that limit. If it then 
be finite, up to what point does it exist? If it is infinite and with- 
out end, how then can it ever pass out of existence?” He went on 
in this manner and finally said, “I have suffered much perplex- 
ity over all this.” 

“Who hasn’t?” I replied. 

In short, because of the disturbances in Zuzan occasioned by 
‘Obayd of Nishapur and the rebellion of the head of Zuzan, I 
stayed one month in Qa’en after I had sent Prince Gilaki’s eq- 
uerry back to him. 

From Qa’en we came to Sarakhs on the 2nd of Jomada II [29 
September 1052]. From Basra to Sarakhs I reckoned the dis- 
tance to be 390 parasangs. From Sarakhs we went via the cara- 
vanserais of Ja‘fari, ‘Amravi, and Ne‘mati, all three of which are 
close together on the road. On the 12th of Jomada II [19 Octo- 


The Ebb and Flow of Tide at Basra 

ber] we reached Marv Rud. Two days later we left and passed 
through Abgarm. On the 19th we came to Baryab, a distance of 
36 parasangs. 

The prince of Khorasan, Chaghri Bég Abu Solayman Daud 
son of Mika’il son of Saljuq was in Shoburghan, headed for 
Marv, his capital. Because of the unsafe road, we went toward 
Samangan and thence by way of Seh Darra toward Balkh. When 
we reached the caravanserai of Seh Darra, we heard that my 
brother Khwaja Abu ’l-Fath “Abd al-Jalil was in the entourage of 
the prince of Khorasan’s vizier, Abu Nasr. Now it had been 
seven years since I had left Khorasan. When we reached Dast- 
gerd, I saw loads being taken toward Shoburghan. My brother, 
who was with me, asked who these goods belonged to and was 
told that they were the vizier’s. 

“Do you know Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd al-Jalil?” he asked. 

“One of his men is with us,” they said. And immediately a man 
came to us and asked where we were coming from. 

“From the Pilgrimage,” we answered. 

“My master, Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd al-Jalil, had two brothers,” he 
said, “who went on the Pilgrimage many years ago, and he still 
longs to see them, but no one he has questioned has had any 
news of them.” 

“We have a letter from Naser,” my brother said. “When your 
master comes, we will give it to him.” A moment later, however, 
the caravan began to move, and we started to join it. 

“My master is coming just now,” said the fellow, “and if he 
misses you, he will be disappointed. Why don’t you give me the 
letter so I can give it to him and make him happy?” 

“Would you rather have Naser’s letter,” asked my brother, “or 
Naser himself—for here he is!” And the fellow was so overjoyed 
he did not know what to do. Thereupon we set out for Balkh by 
way of Miyan Rusta. Meanwhile, my brother Khwaja Abu’l-Fath 
had gone to Dastgerd by way of Dasht and was accompanying 
the prince of Khorasan’s vizier. When he heard of us he re- 
turned from Dastgerd and waited for us at the Jomukian 

On Tuesday the 26th of Jomada II 444 [23 October 1052], af- 
ter having had little or no hope and having at times fallen into 
perilous circumstances and having even despaired of our lives, 


Book of Travels 

we were all together again and joyful to see each other. We 
thanked God for that, and on that same day we arrived in Balkh, 
wherefore I composed these lines of poetry: 

‘Though the toil and travail of the world be long 

An end will doubtless come to good and bad. 
The spheres travel for us day and night: 

Whatever has once gone, another comes on its heels. 
We are traveling through what can be passed 

Until there comes that journey that cannot be bypassed. 

The distance we traversed from Balkh to Egypt and thence to 
Mecca and then via Basra to Fars and finally back to Balkh, not 
counting excursions for visiting shrines and so on was 2,220 par- 
asangs. I have recorded my adventures as I saw them. If some of 
what I heard narrated by others does not conform to the truth, I 
beg my readers to forgive me and not to reproach me. If God 
grants me success in making a journey to the East, what I may 
see will be appended hereto, if God the One wills. 

Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe, and prayers be 
upon Mohammad and his House and Companions all! 


Glossary of Persons 

Aba Kalijar ‘Emad al-Din Marzoban (r. 415—40/1024-28). Buwayhid 
prince, ruled Fars and Khuzestan from Shiraz. See EJ’, I, 131f. 
‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas (d. 68/686): known as the father of Koranic exege- 
sis, one of the first to begin scholarly collections of Prophetic oral 

material and to engage in Koranic interpretation. 

Abu Fadl Khalifa: a native of Darband whom Naser met in Shamiran. 

Abu Hurayra (d. ca. 58/678): originally from the Yemen, a contempo- 
rary of the Prophet who narrated copious hadith. He is especially 
renowned for his piety. 

Abu Jahl: one of the Prophet’s most notorious rivals in Mecca, he was 
alleged even to have plotted an assassination attempt against the 
Prophet and later became proverbial as a godless opponent of righ- 

Abu’l-‘Ala’ al-Ma‘arri (363—449/973— 1057): Syrian poet and litterateur 
noted for his asceticism and pessimistic view of humanity. He re- 
mains one of the finest Arabic poets and thinkers. 

Abu'l-Fath ‘Ali b. Ahmad: vizier to the king of Ahwaz according to 
Naser, who met him in retirement in Basra in 443/1051. He may 
have been a vizier to Aba Kalijar or to one of his sons, Abu Man- 
sur Fuladsotun or al-Malek al-Rahim Khosrawfér6z. 

Abu’l-Hasan Gilaki b. Mohammad: ruler of Tabas in 444/1052 when 
Naser passed through. His son, ‘Ala’ al-Molk Esma‘il b. Gilaki, was 
a well-known Ismaili prince in Qohestan. 

Abu Mansur Vahsudan b. Mamlan (r. 416—51/1025-—29): Ravvadid 
ruler of Azerbaijan at Tabriz. 

Abu Sa‘id al-Hasan al-Jannabi al-Lahsawi (d. 301/913): Ismaili da% (mis- 
sionary) of Hamdan Qarmat in eastern Arabia; he built up the 
Qarmati (Carmathian) state in Bahrain, 281—300/894-913. 

Abu Solayman Chaghri Bég Daud (ca. 380—452/990— 1060): brother of 
the Seljuk Toghrel Bég, in charge of the Seljuk forces that took 
Marv in 423/1036 and, for a time, ruler of Khorasan. See EI’, II, 

‘Ali Nasa’i, Abu’l-Hasan, known as al-Hakim al-Mokhtass: philosopher, 
mathematician and astronomer who was acquainted with both 
Avicenna and al-Biruni. 

‘Amr b, al-‘As al-Sahmi (ca. 570—42/663): military commander under 
whom the Muslim forces conquered Egypt. 

Bahram Gor: historically the Sasanian emperor Varahran V (r. 
421-39), his feats of prowess connect him with the ancient cult of 



| (3 

Book of Travels 

Heracles. In legendary guise he is the hero of Nezami of Ganja’s 
romance Haft paykar. 

Bayazid Bestami, Tayfur b. ‘Isa (d. 261/874 or 264/877): great mystic 
noted especially for his ecstatic utterances. 

Belal the Abyssinian, Abu ‘Abd Allah b. Rehah (d. 25/645): a Compan- 
ion to the Prophet and known for being the first muezzin in Islam. 

Daqiqi, Abu Mansur Mohammad b. Ahmad (d. ca. 980): early Persian 
poet at the Samanid and Chaghanian courts. 

Dhu'l-Kefl: said variously to have been the name of Job’s son or of a pi- 
ous Israelite who resisted Satan’s temptations. He is mentioned in 
the Koran, 21:85 and 38:48. 

Ebn Abi ‘Agil: a Sunni gad (judge) whom Naser met in Tyre. 

Fatema Zahra: sole surviving daughter of the Prophet and wife of ‘Ali 
b. Abi Taleb, venerated by Shi‘ites as the mother of the imams, the 
lineal descendants of the Prophet through her. The Fatimid dy- 
nasty was named after her. 

al-Hakem be-Amr Allah (r. 386—411/996—1021): Fatimid sultan of 

Hamza b. ‘Abd al-Mottaleb (d. 625): paternal uncle of the Prophet who 
became a legendary figure renowned for fantastic exploits and 
great prowess. His adventures, which bear no relation to the histor- 
ical person, are recorded in the popular Arabic Sirat Amir Hamza 
and in Persian romances under the name Hamzandma. 

Hud: a South Arabian prophet who was sent as an apostle to the tribe of 
‘Ad (see Koran 7:63). 

Jostan II b. Ebrahim, Abu Saleh: the sixth Mosaferid/Kangarid ruler of 
Daylam and Azerbaijan. He was reigning in 437/1045. 

Lashkar Khan: according to Naser, ruler of Dasht. Neither the person 
nor the place has been identified. 

Mahdi, al-, ‘Obayd Allah (r. 297—322/909~—34 from North Africa): the 
first Fatimid caliph. 

Mahmud (r. 388—421/998-— 1030): Ghaznavid sultan. 

Ma’mun, al- (r. 198—218/813—33): Abbasid caliph. 

Manjik, Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali Termedhi: 10th-century poet at the Cha- 
ghanian court. 

Mas‘ud (r. 421 —32/1030—42): Ghaznavid sultan. 


Glossary of Persons 

Mas‘ud Nahshali: father of Layla, a wife of ‘Ali b. Abi Taleb. 

Mo‘awiya b. Abi Sofyan (r. 41—60/661-—80): the first Umayyad caliph. 

Mo‘ezz le-Din Allah, al- (r. 341—65/953—75): Fatimid sultan of Egypt. 

Mostanser be'llah, al- (r. 427—87/1036—94): Fatimid sultan of Egypt. 

Mowaffaq, Khwaja, Hebat Allah b. Mohammad b. Hosayn: a mem- 
ber of the elite of Nishapur. It was he who handed the city over to 
Toghrel Bég’s brother Yanal at the Seljuk conquest. He was ex- 
pelled from the city when it was reconquered by the Ghaznavids. 

Nasr al-Dawla Ahmad, Abu Nasr (r. 401—53/1011-—61): Marwanid 
prince of eastern Anatolia at Diyar Bakr. 

‘Obayd Nishapuri: according to Naser, the ruler of Zuzan at the time he 
passed through in 444/1052. 

Oways Qarani: a contemporary of the Prophet and native of the 
Yemen. A model of ascetic piety for later generations, he is said to 
have pulled out all his teeth in commemoration of a tooth lost by 
the Prophet at the Battle of Ohod. 

Pesar-e Shaddel: according to Naser, a prince of Aden. 

Qatran, Abu Mansur, ‘Adodi Tabrizi (d. 465/1072): said to have been 
the first poet of Azerbaijan to compose in Dari Persian. 

Saleh: a pre-Islamic prophet to the South Arabian tribe of Thamud. He 
is mentioned in the Koran, 7:71. 

Suri, Abu’l-Fadl, b. al-Mo‘tazz: governor of Khorasan from Nishapur 
under the Ghaznavids Mahmud and Mas‘ud. 

Toghrel Bég, Rokn al-Din Mohammad b. Mika’il (r. 429—55/1038-63): 
Seljuk ruler and conqueror. 

Ya‘qub b. Layth (r. 253—65/867—79): Saffarid ruler of Sistan. 


Glossary of Places 

Anglicized names are given in italics; others are transliterated. The pro- 
vinces in which the towns and cities are placed by medieval geographers 
are given in parentheses. Variants, mainly arabizations, are also given. 

‘Abbadan (Iraq): the modern Iranian town of Abadan. See Yaqut, III, 
597; Abu'l-Feda, 308. 

Abgarm: said by Naser to be a village between Marv Rud and Faryab; 
not located in the geographies. 

Abkhwari: said by Naser to be a village between Damghan and Semnan. 
There is today a ruined village east of Damghan called Abkhwaran, 
undoubtedly the same. See Dabir-Siyaqi, p. 193. 

Acre, ‘Akka (Syria): see Yaqut, III, 704; Abu’l-Feda, 242. 

Aden, ‘Adan (Yemen): the modern town and region on the southwest- 
ern coast of the Arabian peninsula. See Yaqut, III, 616; Abu'l- 
Feda, 93. 

Ahwaz (Khuzestan): the modern Iranian town. See Yagut, I, 410; 
Abu’l-Feda, 316. 

Akhlat (Armenia): the Ahlat of modern Turkey. See Yaqut, III, 457; 
Abu'l-Feda, 394. 

Akhmim, Ekhmim (Upper Egypt): the ancient Panopolis. See Yaqut, I, 
165; Abu’l-Feda, 110. 

Aleppo, Halab (Syria): the modern city. See Yaqut, II, 304; Abu’l-Feda, 

Amed (Mesopotamia, dependency of Diyar Bakr): ancient Amida. See 
Yaqut, I, 66; Abu’l-Feda, 286. Amed is the modern city of Diyarbe- 
kir in Turkey. 

Amol (Tabarestan): the modern Iranian city on the Caspian. See Yaqut, 
I, 68; Abu’l-Feda, 434. 

Antioch, Antakya (Syria): see Yaqut, I, 382; Abu’l-Feda, 256. 

“Arafat: the mountain near Mecca. See Yaqut, III, 645. 

‘Arar: a village said by Naser to be three days distant from Jerusalem in 
the direction of Wadi al-Qora. Yaqut, III, 645, says that there are 
several places named ‘Ar‘ar and ‘Ura‘ir but does not locate them 
precisely. LeStrange, p. 58, suggests that this is probably Aroer 
(‘Aro‘er) on the Arnon. Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 159, give a vil- 
lage named ‘Ar‘ara, but it is in the wrong direction from 

Arragan, Arrajan (Khuzestan, on the Fars border): see Yaqut, I, 193; 
Abu’l-Feda, 318. 

Arzan (Armenia): a town three days distant from Akhlat. See Yaqut, I, 
205; Abu’l-Feda, 394. 


Glossary of Places 

Ascalon, ‘Asqalan (Palestine): a major town on the Mediterranean, not 
far from Gaza. See Yaqut, III, 673; Abu’l-Feda, 238. 

Aswan (Upper Egypt): same as modern town. See Yaqut, I, 269; Abu’l- 
Feda, 112. 

Asyut (Upper Egypt, ancient Lycopolis): same as modern town. See 
Yaqut, I, 272; Abu’l-Feda, 112. 

‘Athr (Yemen): see Yaqut, III, 615. 

‘Aydhab (Upper Egypt, Baja region): see Yaqut, III, 751; Abu’l-Feda, 
23, 120. 

Bahr al-Na‘am (Upper Egypt, Red Sea coast): not mentioned in the 

Balkh (Khorasan): see Yaqut, I, 713; Abu’l-Feda, 460. 

Baraz al-Khayr (?): no such name listed by geographers. Dabir-Siyaqi 
suggests that it is perhaps a scribal corruption of Borz-anjir or 
Bard-anjir. The town of Barzanj (Yaqut, I, 562), twelve parasangs 
from Bardha‘a en route to Bab al-Abwab (Darband), is a likely pos- 
sibility since Naser mentions it as being between Qazvin and Sha- 

Bargri, Bagri, Bergri (Armenia, modern Muradiye): see Abu’l-Feda, 

Baryab, same as Faryab, q.v. 

Basra (Iraq, West Tigris and East Obolla): same as the modern Iraqi 
town. See Yaqut, I, 636; Abu’l-Feda, 308. 

Beirut, Bayrut (Syria): same as the modern Lebanese city. See Yaqut, I, 
785; Abu’l-Feda, 246. 

Berwa, al- (Palestine): text has Barda, in error. The tombs of Esau and 
Simon are located here by Naser. See Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 

Bestam, Bastam (Tabarestan, Qumes): see Yaqut, I, 623: Abul’l-Feda, 

Bethlehem, Bayt Lahm (Palestine): see Yaqut, I, 779; Abu’l-Feda, 241. 

Betlis, Bedlis (Armenia): between Mayyafareqin and Akhlat. See Yaqut, 
I, 526; Abu’l-Feda, 394. 

Bil: Yaqut, I, 798, gives two villages by this name, one near Rayy and 
the other near Sarakhs. Naser lists it near Qazvin. 

Bisha (Yemen): see Yaqut, I, 791. 

Borga (Arabia): area near Medina. See Yaqut, I, 575. 

Byblos, Jobayl (Syria): the modern Lebanese town of Jubeil. See Yaqut, 
IT, 32 

Caesarea, Qaysariyya (Palestine): see Yaqut, IV, 214; Abu’l-Feda, 238. 
Cairo, al-Qahera (Egypt): Old Cairo (Fostat, see Yaqut, III, 893) was the 
site of the earliest Muslim garrison, dating from the Muslim con- 


Book of Travels 

quest of Egypt; New Cairo (al-Qahera, see Yaqut, IV, 22) was 
founded in 358/969 when the Fatimids conquered Egypt and es- 
tablished their capital there. 

Chashtkhwaran (Qumes): a village between Damghan and Semnan; to- 
day it is a field in Semnan, seven miles from Ahuan. See Dabir- 
Siyaqi, 227. 

Damascus, Demashgq al-Sham (Syria): the modern Syrian city. See Yaqut, 
II, 587; Abu’l-Feda, 252. 

Damghan (Tabarestan): chief town in the Qumes region. See Yaqut, II, 
539; Abu’l-Feda, 436. 

Dammun (Palestine): Naser gives this as the name of a village between 
Tyre and Irbid. Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 193, give a village 
named Damun in the Acre region. See also Le Strange, 14, where it 
is also called Damun. 

Darband, Bab al-Abwab (Azerbaijan): a town on the Caspian. See Abu'l- 
Feda, 404. 

Dasht: Naser mentions Dasht twice, once as a village near Dastgerd and 
again as a place remarkable for security under the rule of Lashkar 
Khan. Yaqut, II, 575f., gives several places named Dasht: (1) a vil- 
lage near Isfahan, (2) a small town in Jebal between Erbel (near 
Mosul) and Tabriz, (3) Dasht al-Arzan in Fars, and (4) Dasht Barin, 
a city in Fars. 

Dastgerd, Dastajerd (Khorasan): also known as Dastgerd Jomukiyan. 
See Yaqut, II, 573. 

Dayga, al- (Upper Egypt): a station ten parasangs from ‘Aydhab. See 
Yaqut, III, 484. 

Diyar Bakr (Eastern Anatolia): the upper Tigris region. See Yaqut, II, 

E‘bellin (?, Palestine): Naser says it is a village between Acre and Irbid. 
No further identification has been made. 

‘Erga (Syria): a small town four parasangs east of Tripoli. See Yaqut, 
III, 653; Abu’l-Feda, 254. 

Falaj, Falj, Aflaj (Arabia): a place on the road between Basra and Ya- 
mama. See Yaqut, III, 910. 

Faryab, Baryab (Khorasan, Juzjan): a district and town near Balkh. See 
Yaqut, III, 840; Abu’l-Feda, 460. 

Gavan, Jovayn (Khorasan): a district between Bestam and Nishapur. 
See Yaqut, II, 162; Abu’l-Feda, 442. 

Gonabedh, Jonabedh (Khorasan): a dependency of Nishapur, the mod- 
ern Gonabad in Khorasan. See Yaqut, II, 120. 


Glossary of Places 

Haifa, Hayfa (Palestine): see Yaqut, II, 381. 

Hama (Syria): ancient Hamath, Epiphania. Same as the modern Syrian 

"town. See Yaqut, II, 330; Abu’l-Feda, 262. 

Hamadan, Hamadhan (Jabal): the modern Iranian city. See Yaqut, IV, 
981; Abu’l-Feda, 416. 

Harran (Mesopotamia, Diyar Bakr): same as the modern Turkish town 

"of Harran. See Yaqut, II, 231; Abu’l-Feda, 276. 

Hawd: Naser names this as a place in Upper Egypt. It has not been 
identified in the geographies. 

Haythamabad: a village outside of Isfahan. See Yaqut, IV, 998. 

Hazira: Naser places it between Tyre and Irbid; not further identified. 

Hebron, Bayt Habrun, al-Khalil (Palestine): see Yaqut, II, 194 and 468; 
Abu’l-Feda, 240. 

Homs, Hems (Syria): the modern Syrian town. See Yaqut, II, 334; Abu’l- 
Feda, 260. 

Irbid, Erbed, Arbad (Syria, Jordan): the ancient Arbela. The text has 
Erbel, perhaps an alternative form. The modern town of Irbid is in 
Jordan near Tiberias. See Yaqut, I, 184, where Irbid is said to con- 
tain the tombs of Moses’s mother and four of Jacob’s sons, Dan, 
Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad. See also Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 

Jar, al- (Arabia, dependency of Medina): see Yaqut, II, 5; Abu’l-Feda, 

Jaz‘ (Arabia, east of Ta‘ef): see Yaqut, II, 71. 

Jidda, Jodda (Arabia, Hejaz): see Abu’l-Feda, 92. 

Je‘rana, al- (Arabia): see Yaqut, II, 85. 

Johfa, al-: the migat for Egyptian pilgrims. See Yaqut, II, 35; Abu’l- 
Feda, 80. 

Juzjanan (Khorasan): see Yaqut, II, 149; Abu’l-Feda, 446. 

Kafr Kanna (Palestine): a village near Tiberias. See Yaqut, IV, 290; 
Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 187. 

Kafr Saba (Palestine): a village in the Nablus district. See Yaqut, IV, 
288; Hiitteroth and Abdulfattah, 140. 

Kafr Sallam (Palestine): a village between Caesarea and Nablus. See 
Yaqut, IV, 288. 

Kafr Tab (Syria, Jond Hems): a town between Aleppo and Ma‘arrat al- 
Noman. See Yaqut, IV, 289; Abu’l-Feda, 262. Text has “Koway- 
mat,” a scribal error. 

Kanisa (?, Palestine): Naser places this village between Haifa and Cae- 
sarea; it has not been located in the Arabic geographies. Le 



fens Lee Ee D Se OE dma goeme LO lies OF mr at men os oO ee nt he RO I OG Rte FOF Rm 

Book of Travels 

Strange, 20, says it is Konaysa or Tell Kanisa, a few miles north of 
Athlit, which the Crusaders considered the site of Copernaum. 
Kazarun (Fars): a town between Shiraz and the coast. See Yaqut, IV, 

225; Abu’l-Feda, 324. 

Khabis (Kerman): see Yaqut, II, 401; Abu’l-Feda, 442. 

Khan Lanjan (Isfahan): see Yaqut, II, 394; Abu'l-Feda, 410. 

Khandan: as described by Naser, this place corresponds to the modern 
Kharzavil. See Dabir-Siyaqi, 236. 

Kharzavil: the place mentioned by Naser corresponds to the modern 
Kharzan, of which his “Khandan” may be a corruption. See Dabir- 
Siyaqi, 235. 

Khayf (Arabia): see Yaqut, II, 508; Abu’l-Feda, 81. 

Khoy, Khway, Khowayy (Azerbaijan): see Yaqut, II, 502; Abu’l-Feda, 

Kish, Kis, Qis: an island in the Indian Ocean. See Abu’l-Feda, 372. 

Lahsa, al-Ahsa’ (Arabia, dependency of Bahrain): see Abu'l-Feda, 98. 
Lavasan: name given to Damavand according to Naser. 
Lurdajan, Lurdaghan (Ahwaz): see Yaqut, IV, 369. 

Ma‘arrat al-No‘man (Syria, Jond Hems): see Yaqut, IV, 574; Abu’l- 
Feda, 264. 

Mahdiyya, al- (Maghreb, Efrigiyya): see Yaqut, IV, 693; Abu’l-Feda, 

Mahruban (Khuzestan on the Fars border): see Yaqut, IV, 699; Abu’l- 
Feda, 316. 

Manbej (Syria, Jond Qennasrin): ancient Hieropolis. Same as the mod- 
ern Syrian town of Membijj. See Yaqut, IV, 654; Abu’l-Feda, 270. 

Marand (Azerbaijan): see Abu’l-Feda, 400. 

Marv Rud, Marw al-Rudh (Khorasan): see Yaqut, IV, 506; Abu’l-Feda, 

Marv, Marw al-Shahejan (Khorasan): see Yaqut, IV, 507; Abu’l-Feda, 
446, 356. 

Marwa: a mountain in Mecca. See Yaqut, IV, 513. 

Mayyafareqin (Mesopotamia, Diyar Bakr): see Yaqut, IV, 703; Abu’l- 
Feda, 278. 

Mina, Mena (Arabia, Hejaz): a small town one farsang from Mecca. See 
Yaqut, IV, 642; Abu’l-Feda, 81. 

Mohdatha (Mesopotamia, Diyar Bakr): a town north of Mayyafaregqin, 
as described by Naser. It is not mentioned in the geographies. 
Mokran (Sind): the coastal region bounded by Kerman and Sejestan. 

See Yaqut, IV, 612; Abu’l-Feda, 348. 
Mozdalefa, al- (Arabia, Hejaz): a place one farsang from Mina. See 
Yaqut, IV, 519. 


Glossary of Places 

Multan, Moltan (Hind): same as the modern town in Pakistan. See 
yaqut, 1V, 629; Abu'l-Feda, 351. 

Na’in (Fars): the modern Iranian town near Isfahan. See Yaqut, IV, 

Najran (Arabia): see Yaqut, IV, 751; Abu’l-Feda, 92. 

Nishapur, Naysabur (Khorasan): see Yaqut, IV, 857; Abu’l-Feda, 450. 

Obolla (Iraq): see Yaqut, I, 96. 

Panj Déh: a collection of five villages near Marv Rud. See Yaqut, I, 743. 

Piyada, Biyadhaq: one of three villages, known as Seh Déh, on the road 
between Isfahan and Nishapur; the other two are Jarmaq and 
Araba. See Yaqut, II, 64. 

Qa’en (Khorasan, Qohestan): see Yaqut, IV, 22; Abu’l-Feda, 452. 

Qapan: according to Yaqut, IV, 26, a village near Tabriz. The one de- 
scribed by Naser is likely to be another of the same name between 
Qazvin and Taram. 

Qarul: no such name occurs in the geographies. From Naser’s descrip- 
tion that it lies between Mayyafareqin and Manbej, this town 
should be Edessa (modern Urfa, in Turkey). 

Qaryat al-‘Enab (Palestine): Naser describes this as a village between 
Latrun and Jerusalem. It has not been identified in the 

Qatif (Arabia, dependency of Bahrein): see Yaqut, IV, 143; Abu’l-Feda, 

Qayrawan (Maghreb, Efrigiyya): the modern Tunisian city and the area 
around it. See Yaqut, IV, 212; Abu’l-Feda, 144. 

Qazvin (Jabal): same as the modern Iranian city. See Yaqut, IV, 88; 
Abu'l-Feda, 418. 

Qef Onzor: the name of a fort near Betlis. 

Qennasrin, Qennesrin (Syria): see Yaqut, IV, 184; Abu’l-Feda, 266. 

Qobadiyan, Qobadhiyan (Balkh): see Yaqut, IV, 26; Abu'l-Feda, 445. 

Qods, al-: the Arabic name for Jerusalem. 

Qolzom (Egypt): the ancient Clysma. See Yaqut, IV, 158; Abu’l-Feda, 

Quha, Quhadh: the name of two large villages one stage from Rayy in 
the direction of Qazvin. See Yaqut, IV, 205. 

Qumes, Kumash: the region extending from Bestém to Semnan be- 
tween Khorasan and Jebal. See Yaqut, IV, 203; Abu’l-Feda, 432. 

Qus (Upper Egypt): see Yaqut, IV, 201; Abu'l-Feda, 110. 



Book of Travels 

Ramla (Palestine): see Yaqut, II, 817; Abu’l-Feda, 240. 

Raqqa (Qohestan): see Yaqut, II, 804. 

Rostabad: according to Naser, a village near Tabas. Dabir-Siyaqi sug- 
gests it may be the modern Dawlatabad east of Tabas. 

Rumesh (?): the reading of this name is highly uncertain. The manu- 
scripts seem to have “Rumesh” or “Hermes”. According to Abu'l- 
Feda, 39, the eastern branch of the Nile above the Tennis and 
Damietta lakes was known as Oshmun. 

Sa‘da (Yemen): see Yaqut, III, 388. 

Sa‘idabad (Tabarestan): see Yaqut, III, 93. 

Salehiyya (Egypt): several towns by this name are given in Yaqut, III, 
363, but none is in Egypt. 

Samangan, Semenjan (Tokharestan): a small town near Balkh. See 
Yaqut, III, 142; Abu’l-Feda, 472. 

San‘a (Yemen): same as the modern Yemeni city. See Yaqut, III, 420. 

Sarab, Sarav (Azerbaijan): a city between Ardabil and Tabriz. See 
Yaqut, III, 64. 

Sarakhs (Khorasan): a town between Nishapur and Marv. Same as the 
modern Iranian town. See Yaqut, III, 71; Abu’l-Feda, 454. 

Sarba (Arabia): Naser locates this place between Jaz‘ and Falaj. It is not 
listed in the geographies. 

Sarmin (Syria, dependency of Aleppo): see Yaqut, III, 83; Abu’l-Feda, 

Saruj (Mesopotamia, Jazira): the modern Turkish town of Sirtic. See 
Yaqut, III, 85; Abu’l-Feda, 276. 

Sava (Jabal): same as the modern Iranian town of Saveh. See Yaqut, 
III, 24; Abu’l-Feda, 418. 

Sejelmasa (Maghreb): same as the modern town. See Yaqut, III, 45; 
Abu’l-Feda, 136. 

Semnan (Tabarestan, Qumes): town between Rayy and Damghan. See 
Yaqut, III, 141; Abu’l-Feda, 436. 

Shamiran (Taram): see Yaqut, III, 148. 

Shoburghan, Shobrugan (Balkh): see Yaqut, III, 254; Abu’l-Feda, 446. 

Sidon, Sayda (Syria): same as the modern Lebanese town. See Yaqut, 
III, 439; Abu’l-Feda, 248. 

Tabas (Khorasan, Qohestan): same as the modern Iranian town. See 
Yaqut, III, 514; Abu’l-Feda, 449. 

Tabriz, Tebriz (Azerbaijan): same as the modern Iranian city. See 
Yaqut, II, 822; Abu’l-Feda, 400. 

Ta’ef (Arabia, Hejaz): same as the modern town. See Yaqut, III, 494; 
Abu’l-Feda, 94. 


Glossary of Places 

Talaqan (Khorasan): see Yaqut, III, 491; Abu’l-Feda, 458. 

Taraborzon (Syria): Naser names this town as being between Tripoli 
and Byblos, the site of the modern Batrun. The name appears to 
be a corruption of the Greek name for the site, @eou Iledowxov. 
See Dussaud, 71. 

Taram, Tarom: the region between Qazvin and Gildan. See Yaqut, I, 

Tavva, Tawwaj, Tawwaz (Fars): a town near Kazarun. See Yaqut, I, 
890; Abu'l-Feda, 326. 

Tehama (southern Hejaz): see Yaqut, I, 901; Abu’l-Feda, 78. 

Tennis: an island off the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean. See 
Yaqut, I, 882; Abu’l-Feda, 118. 

Tiberias, Tabariyya (Syria, Jordan): see Yaqut, II, 509; Abu’l-Feda, 242. 

Tina, al- (Egypt): see Yaqut, III, 572; Abu’l:Feda, 103. 

Thorayya (Arabia): Naser places it between Ta’ef and Falaj. Not identi- 
fied in other sources. 

Tripoli, Tarabolos al-Sham (Syria): same as the modern Lebanese city. 
See Yaqut, III, 521; Abu’l-Feda, 252. 

Tun (Khorasan, Quhestan): same as the modern Iranian town. See 
Abu’l-Feda, 444. 

Tyre, Sur (Syria): the ancient city and modern Lebanese town. See 
Yaqut, III, 433; Abu’l-Feda, 242. 

Van (Armenia): see Yaqut, IV, 895; Abu'l-Feda, 389. 
Vastan, Wostan (Armenia): see Abu’l-Feda, 396. 

Wadi al-Qora (Arabia): see Yaqut, IV, 878; Abu’l-Feda, 89, 80. 
Yamama (Arabia, Hejaz): see Abu’l-Feda, 96. 

Zabid (Yemen): see Yaqut, II, 915; Abu’l-Feda, 88. 
Zuzan (Khorasan, Qohestan): see Yaqut, I], 958; Abu’l-Feda, 452. 



Glossary of Terms 

Baz: Naser explains that towns on the Red Sea are called baz. The 
Borhan-e gate‘, 1, 218, gives as one meaning of bdz “the course of a 
flood,” which would be wédi in Arabic. The word may have some 
connection with the Persian bdj or bazh( gah), a toll or customs sta- 

Kharvar: a donkey-load. See Appendix B. 

Kashkab: reconstituted dried milk curd, used for refreshment and me- 
dicinal purposes. 

Khan: a caravanserai. 

Magsura: an enclosed portion of a mosque generally reserved for the 
ruler. The enclosures are normally surrounded by latticed screens 
and were originally designed to protect the ruler from assassina- 
tion while in attendance at the mosque. 

Mashhad: A shrine to commemorate the martyrdom of Hosayn b. ‘Alib. 
Abi Taleb, grandson of the Prophet; also used loosely for any 
shrine devoted to a martyr. 

Mehrab: a niche in a mosque to indicate the gebla, q.v.; also, especially in 
the Dome of the Rock area in Jerusalem, used for oratory. 

Mojdwer: a person who resides, temporarily or permanently, near a holy 
place or shrine in order to receive the blessing attendant upon the 
sacred spot. 

Nawréz (modern Persian nowruz): the Persian New Year’s Day, which 
occurs on the vernal equinox, from which the new year is reck- 

Qebla: the direction of the Ka‘ba in Mecca, toward which Muslims orient 
themselves when they pray. Naser often gives directions in terms of 
the gebla, which could be any direction, depending upon where he 

Rak‘at: a “cycle” of liturgical prayer consisting of recitation, bowing, 
kneeling and prostration. The canonical daily prayers have varying 
numbers of rak‘ats prescribed for them. 

Rebdat: a type of frontier post cum caravanserai. 

Sa‘y: a portion of the Pilgrimage ritual wherein the pilgrim runs be- 
tween Mount Safa’ and Mount Marwa seven times in order to com- 
memorate Hagar’s frantic search for water in the desert for her son 

Sharif: “noble,” loosely used to designate any descendant of the Prophet 

Zayt harr: oil derived from vegetable seed and used for lamps. 


APPENDIX A. Calendrical Systems 


The calendar adopted by Islam and by which daily life and all reli- 
gious occasions were reckoned is the Arabian lunar calendar, which 
consists of twelve lunar months of 29% days each. Since the months are 
based on the cycles of the moon, no easily calculable correspondence 
exists between the lunar and the solar calendar, and the lunar year re- 
cedes approximately eleven days every solar year. The names of the Is- 
lamic lunar months, beginning with the first, are as follows: 

1. Moharram 5. Jomada I 9. Ramadan 

2. Safar 6. Jomada II 10. Shawwal 

3. Rabi‘ I 7. Rajab 11. Dhu’l-Qa‘da 
4. Rabi‘ II 8. Sha‘ban 12. Dhu’l-Hejja 

Since a lunar calendar is impractical for fiscal purposes, the Old Per- 
sian solar calendar was retained by the bureaucracy in the eastern Is- 
lamic realms, as was the Syrian calendar in the eastern Mediterranean 
lands. By the time of Naser-e Khosraw, the Old Persian months, which 
originally corresponded to the signs of the Zodiac, had “slipped” for- 
ward by precession of the equinoxes almost twenty days. As later re- 
formed by ‘Omar Khayyam, the modern Persian months are: 

Farvardin = Aries (21 March—20 April) 
Ordibehesht = Taurus (20 April—21 May) 
Khordad = Gemini (22 May—21 June) 

Tir = Cancer (22 June—22 July) 

Mordad = Leo (23 July—22 August) 

Shahrivar = Virgo (23 August—22 September) 
Mehr = Libra (23 September—22 October) 
Aban = Scorpio (23 October—21 November) 
Adhar = Sagittarius (22 November—21 December) 
Day = Capricorn (22 December—20 January) 
Bahman = Aquarius (21 January—19 February) 
Esfand = Pisces (20 February—20 March) 

Since Naser quotes from the unreformed Old Calendar, his dates are 
approximately twenty days ahead of the reformed calendar. 

In Islamic reckoning the day begins at sunset; therefore, what we 
would call “Monday night” would be “Tuesday eve” to Naser. Even tak- 
ing into consideration the confusion that arises from this fact, it has not 


Book of Travels 

been possible to reconcile all the days of the week as given in the Safar. 
nama. Although the best conversion tables have been consulted and 
variant readings in the extant manuscripts have been reviewed, quit 

often his “Saturday the 5th” converts into a Wednesday when eles 
ted in the Christian calendar. The days of the week have therefore bee ; 
left as they stand in the Persian text; only the Islamic date has been ions 
verted into its Christian equivalent and added between square brackets 


APPENDIX B. Weights and Measures 

The “cubit” (arash, also arsh) is defined as the distance from the tip of 
the middle finger to the elbow, which would be about 1% feet, In prac- 
tice, on the basis of measurements still available from the Dome of the 
Rock in Jerusalem, the “cubit” would appear to be roughly equal to 2 
feet. The “legal cubit” (dherd‘ shar’2) is usually defined as 49.875 cm. 


The “ell” (gaz) is defined as 24 fingers, or 1% feet, but it seems to be 
used interchangeably by Naser as equivalent to the “cubit” and should 
therefore be reckoned from 1% to 2 feet. 

The “parasang” (farsang, farsakh) is the distance traveled by a caravan 
in one hour; it is 3 miles of 4000 gaz each, or 12,000 gaz, equal to a little 
less than 3% modern miles (6 km). 


Units of weight have been so varied in different locales and at differ- 
ent periods of time in the Islamic world that it is only with trepidation 
that the following approximations are offered. See Walther Hinz, 
Islamische Masse und Gewichte (Leiden, 1955). 

1 dang (daneq, danak) = 8 grains 
4 dangs = | dirhem 
6 dangs = 1 mithqal (approximately 1 % dram) 
15 mithqals = 1 seer 
40 seers = 1 maund (roughly 3% lbs.) 
100 maunds = | kharvar (roughly 350 lbs.) 


Naser quotes prices in dinars, which, unless explicitly stated as the 
Nishapur gold dinar, means the Fatimid “Maghrebi dinar” struck in 
Egypt. He gives the relative value of the two as 1 Maghrebi dinar equal 
to 1 % Nishapuri dinar. 



APPENDIX C. Naser’s Itinerary 

First Administrative Trip DIYAR BAKR Mayyafareqin 


Panj Deh, Marv Rud 

Faryab district 

Marv Rud 





Baraz al-Khayr 






Qarul (Edessa ?) 



Jond Qennasrin 
Ma‘arrat al-No‘man 
Kafr Tab 







Dammun (?) 
Kafr Kanna 



Kanisa (?) 


Kafr Saba 

Kafr Sallam 



Qaryat al-‘Enab 




Wadi al-Qora 

[Forst Hajj] Mecca 



[Second Hay] Mecca 

[Third Hajj] Mecca 
Hawd (?) 


[Fourth Hay] Mecca 

Appendix C Naser’s Itinerary 









Shate’ ‘Othman 
Khan Lanjan 






Marv Rud 
Seh Darra 
Miyan Rusta 


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SS ee ee 

A Bibliography of Naser-e Khosraw 

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Divan. Editions: (1) Tabriz, 1280/1864. (2) Edited by Zayn al-‘Abedin al- 
Sharif al-Safavi. Tehran, 1314/1896. (3) Cawnpore, Nawal Ki- 
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Hasan Taqizada. Tehran, 1307/1929. (6) Edited by Mahdi Sohayli. 
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“Auswahl aus Nasir Chusrau’s Kasiden.” Translated by Hermann 
Ethé. In Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenldndischen Gesellschaft 36 
(1882): 478-508. (2) “Ktirzere Lieder und poetische Fragmente 
aus Nacir Khusraus Divan.” Translated by Hermann Ethé. In 
Nachrichten der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Gottingen, 1882): 
124—52. (3) Pdnzdah qasida az Hakim Naser-e Khosraw-e Qobadiyani. 
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Poems from the Divan. Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson and 
Gholam-Reza Aavani. Tehran, Imperial Iranian Academy of Phi- 
losophy, 1977. 

Goshayesh-o rahayesh. (1) Edited by Sa‘id Nafisi. Ismaili Society Series A, 
no. 5. Bombay and Leiden, 1950. (3) Il Libro dello sctoglimento e della 
liberazione. Translated by Pio Filippani-Ronconi. Naples, Istituto 
Universitario Orientali, 1959. 

Jame al-hekmatayn. Edited by Henry Corbin and Mohammad Mo‘in. 
Tehran, Institut Franco-Iranien, 1953. 

Kh*dn al-ekhwan. (1) Edited by Yahya al-Khashshab. Cairo, L’Institut 
Francais d’Archéologie Orientale, 1940. (2) Edited by ‘. Qavim. 
Tehran, Barani, 1338/1959. 

Rawshan@indma. Editions: (1) Edited by Hermann Ethé. “Nasir Chus- 
rau’s Rdshanainama, oder Buch der Erleuchtung in Text und 
Uebersetzung, nebst Noten und kritisch-biographischem Appen- 
dix.” In ZDMG 33 (1879): 645-65, 34 (1880): 617-42. (2) Berlin, 
1341/1923. (3) Tehran, 1304—07/1925-—28. (4) Resdla-ye shesh fasl, 
yd Rawshan@inama. Edited by W. Ivanow. Cairo, Matba‘at al-Kateb 
al-Mesri, 1948. (5) Six Chapters or Shish Fasl, Also Called Rawsha- 
na’inama. Edited and translated by W. Ivanow. Leiden, Brill, 1949. 

Sa‘ddatnadma. (1) “Le Livre de la Félicité.” Edited and translated by E. 
Fagnan. In ZDMG 34 (1880): 643—74. (2) Berlin, 1341/1923. (3) 
Tehran, 1304—07/1925—28. 

Safarndma. Editions: (1) Sefer nameh; relation du voyage de Nassiri Khosrau. 
Edited by Charles Schefer. Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1881. (2) Delhi, 
1882. (3) Bombay, 1309/1892. (3) Tehran, 1312/1894—95 by Zayn 


A Bibliography of Ndaser-E Khosraw 

al-‘Abedin al-Sharif al-Safavi. (4) Edited by M. Ghanizada. Berlin, 
Kaviani, 1341/1922. (5) Edited by Mohammad Dabir-Siyagqi. First 
edition, second printing. Tehran, Zowvar, 1335/1957. (6) Edited by 
Mohammad Dabir-Siyaqi. Second edition. Selsele-ye Entesharat-e 
Anjoman-e Athar-e Melli, 120. Tehran, Chapkhane-ye Da- 
neshgah-e Tehran, 1354/1976. (7) Edited by Nader Vazinpur. 
Tehran, Ketabha-ye Jibi, 1971. Translations: (1) “An Account of 
Jerusalem Translated . . . from the Persian text of Nasir ibn Khus- 
ru’s Safar-namah.” Translated by A. R. Fuller. In Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society (1873): 142ff. (2) Sefer nameh; relation du voyage 
de Nassiri Khosrau. Translated by Charles Schefer. Paris, Ernest 
Leroux, 1881. (3) Diary of a Journey through Syria and Palestine by 
Ndasir-i-Khusrau, in 1047 A.D. Translated by Guy Le Strange. Lon- 
don, Library of the Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society, 1893. (4) Safar- 
nama. Translated by Yahya al-Khashshab. Cairo, Lajnat al-Ta’lif, 
1365/1945. (5) Transcribed into Tajik. Safarnoma; kniga puteshest- 
vua. Dushanbe, Irfon, 1970. 

Wajh-e din. (1) Berlin, Kaviani, 1343/1925. (2) Tehran, Tahuri, 
1348/1969. (3) Edited by Gholam-Reza A‘vani. Tehran, Imperial 
Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 2536/1977. 

Zad al-mosaferin. Edited by M. Badhl al-Rahmaan. Berlin, Kaviani, 

B. Studies, Secondary Works, etc. 

Ashurov, Gafar Ashurovich. Filosofskie vzglyady Nosiri Xusrava; na osnove 
analiza traktata “Zad-al-musafirin.” Dushanbe, 1965. 

Bertel’s, Andrei Evgen’evich. Nasir-i Khosrov 1 ismailizm. Moscow, Izd-vo 
Vostochnoi Lit-ry, 1959. 

Corbin, Henry. Etude préliminarie pur Le livre réunissant les deux sagesses. 
Tehran, Institut Franco-Iranien, 1953. 

. “Le ‘Kitab Jami‘ al-Hikmatayn’ de Nasir-e Khosraw.” Proceed- 
ings of the 22nd Congress of Orientalists. Leiden, 1957. Vol. 2, pp. 

Hali, Kh”aja Mohammad Altaf-Hosayn. Mogaddama-ye Safarndma-ye 
Hakim Naser-e Khosraw. In Persian with Urdu translation by Mo- 
hammad Seddiq Taher Shadani. Lahore, Majles-e Taraqqi-ye 
Adab, 1973. 

Ivanow, Vladimir Alekseevich. Nasir-i Khusraw and Ismailism. Leiden, 
Brill, 1948. 

——-: Problems in Nasir-i Khusraw’s Biography. Ismaili Society Series B, 
no. 10. Bombay, 1956. 

al-Khashab, Yahya. Nasir ¢ Hosraw; son voyage, sa pensée religieuse, sa phi- 
losophie et sa poésie. Cairo, P. Barbey, 1940. 


Book of Travels 

Kongre-ye Jahani-ye Naser-e Khosraw. Yadndme-ye Ndser-e Khosray. 
Mashhad, Daneshgah-e Ferdawsi, 2535/1976. 

Mohaghegh, Mehdi. “Nasir-i Khusraw and His Spiritual Nisbah.” Yad- 
ndme-ye Irdni-ye Minorsky (1969): pp. 143-148. 

Mohaqqeq, Mahdi. Tahlil-e ash'ar-e Naser-e Khosraw. Tehran, Tehran 
University Press, 1344/1965. 

Tarzi, ‘Abd al-Wahhab. Naser-e Khosraw-e Balkhi: hakim-o sha er-é ‘garn-e 
panjom-e hejri-ye Afghdnestan. Kabul, Bayhaqi, 1355 [1976]. 


Persian Heritage Series 

Attar, Muslim Saints & Mystics (No. 1), tr. A. J. Arberry 
University of Chicago Press, 1966 (Reprint 1973) 

Nezami, Chosroés et Chirine (No. 2), tr. Henri Massé 
Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris, 1970 

Rumi, Mystical Poems I (No. 3), tr. A. J. Arberry 
University of Chicago Press, 1974 

Varavini, The Tales of Marzuban (No. 4), tr. Reuben Levy 
Indiana Univ. Press, 1959 (Reprint 1968) 

Tusi, The Nasirean Ethics (No. 5), tr. G. M. Wickens 
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964 

Nezami, Le Setie Principesse (No. 6), tr. A. Bausani 
Leonardo da Vinci, Rome, 1967 

Ferdowsi, The Epic of the Kings (No. 7), tr. Reuben Levy 
University of Chicago Press, 1967 (Reprint 1973) 

Aruzi, Les quatre discours (No. 8), tr. I. de Gastines 
Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris, 1968 

Anon., The Letter of Tansar (No. 9), tr. M. Boyce 
IsMEO, Rose, 1968 

Rashid al-Din, The Successors of Genghis Khan (No. 10) 
tr. J. A. Boyle, Columbia University Press, 1971 

Mohammad ibn Ibrahim, The Ship of Sulaiman (No. 11) 
tr. J. O'Kane, Columbia University Press, 1972 

Faramarz, Samak-e Ayyar (No. 12), tr. F. Razavi 
Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris, 1972 

Avicenna, Metaphysica (No. 13), tr. P. Morewedge 
Columbia University Press, 1973 

Gurgani, Vis and Ramin (No. 14), tr. G. Morrison 
Columbia University Press, 1972 

Fasai, History of Persia Under Qajar Rule (No. 15) 
tr. H. Busse, Columbia University Press, 1972 

Aturpat-e Emetan, Dénkart III (No. 16), tr. J. De Menasce 
Libraire Klincksieck, Paris, 1974 


Book of Travels 

Sa‘di, Bustan (No. 17), tr. G. M. Wickens 
University of Toronto Press, 1974 

Anon., Folk Tales of Ancient Persia (No. 18) 
tr. F. Hekmat & Y. Lovelock, Caravan Books, Delmar, N.Y., 1974 

Bighami, Love and War (No. 19), tr. W. Hanaway, Jr. 
Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints, Delmar, N.Y., 1974 

Anon., The History of Sistan (No. 20), tr. M. Gold 
| IsMEO, Rome, 1977 

Manichaean Literature (An Anthology) (No. 22), tr. J. Asmussen 
| Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints, Delmar, N.Y., 1974 

Mystical Poems of Riimi, 2nd Selection (No. 23), tr. A. J. Arberry 
Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1979 

Rumi, Le Livre du Dedans (No. 25), tr. E. de Vitray-Meyerovitch 
Edition Sinbad, Paris, 1975 

Pa Rumi, Licht und Reigen (No. 26), tr. J. Ch. Bargel 
iff Herbert Lang Verlag, Bern, 1974 
' Samarkandi, Le Livre des sept vizirs (No. 27), tr. D. Bogdanovic 
if Edition Sinbad, Paris, 1975 
| Fe Monshi, History of Shah ‘Abbas (No. 28), tr. R. M. Savory 
| a Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado 1979 
Attar, [lahiname (No. 29), tr. J. A. Boyle 
(s Manchester University Press, 1977 
Hafez, Divan (Hafizu-Shishu) (No. 30), tr. T. Kuriyanagi 
P Heibosha Ltd., Tokyo, 1977 

Anon., /skandarnamah (No. 31), tr. M. Southgate 
Columbia University Press, 1978 

im) Nezam al-Molk, The Book of Government (No. 32), revised 
tr. H. Darke, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1978 

Nezami, Khosrau and Shirin (in Japanese) (No. 33), tr. A. Okada 
Heibosha Ltd., Tokyo, 1977 

Aturpat-i Emétan, The Wisdom of the Sasanian Sagas (Dénkard VI) 
(No. 34), tr. S. Shaked, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1979 

Razi, The Path of God’s Bondsmen (Mersdd al-‘Ebdd) (No. 35) 
tr. H. Algar, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1980 

Tabari, History (774-809 A.D.),translated and annotated by a number 
of scholars, SUNY Press, 1985 vols. 2, 18, 27, 35, 38 


In Press 

Mohammad b. Monawvar, The Tales of Abii Sa’id (Asrar al-Towhid) 
(No. 36), tr. J. O’Kane, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado 

Ferdausi, Anthologie du livre des rois (No. 37) 
tr. J. Mohl. ed. G. Lazard 


Nishaburi, History of the Saljugs (Saljiqndma) (No. 24) 
tr. K. A. Luther 

Anon., Sasanian Law Book (Mattkan-i hazar datastan) 
tr. A. Perikhanian and N. Garsoian 

Anon., Myths and Legends of Ancient Iran, tr. E. Yarshater 

Persian Studies Series 

Reuben Levy, /ntroduction to Persian Literature (unnumbered) 
Columbia University Press, 1969 

Ali Dashti, In Search of Omar Khayyam (No. 1), tr. L. P. Elwell-Sutton 
| George Allen and Unwin, London, 1971 

James Pearson, A Bibliography of Pre-Islamic Persia (No. 2) 
Mansell Information and Publishing, London, 1975 

Christopher J. Brunner, A Syntax of Western Middle Iranian (No. 3) 
Caravan Books, Delmar, New York, 1977 

John Yohannan, Persian Literature in England and America (No. 4) 
| Caravan Books, Delmar, New York 1977 

J. Ch. Biirgel, Drei Hafis Studien (No. 5) 
Herbert Lang Verlag, Bern, 1975 

M. H. Tabataba’i, Shi‘ite Islam (No. 6), tr. S. H. Nasr 
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1975 

Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids (No. 7) 
Edinburgh University Press and Colujmbia University Press, 1978 

A. Schimmel, The Triumphal Sun. A Study of the Works of Jalaladdin 
Rumi (No. 8), Fine Books, London, 1978 

M. J. McDermott, The Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mufid (No. 9) 
Dar el-Machreq, Beirut, 1978 


Book of Travels 

Biruni: A Symposium, ed. E. Yarshater and D. Bishop (No. 10) 
Columbia University, 1976 

Modern Persian Literature Series 

Karimi-Hakkak, An Anthology of Modern Persian Poetry 
(No. 1) 1978 

Sadeq Hedayat: An Anthology (No. 2) tr. B. Spooner, H. Darke, 
G. Kapucinski, et al. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1979 

Al-e Ahmad, Plaqued by the West (No. 4) 
tr. Paul Sprachman 

Farrokhzad, Bride of Acacias (No. 5) 
tr. J. Kessler and A. Banani 

Jamalzadeh, Once Upon a Time (No. 6) 
tr. Professor H. Moayyad and Paul Sprachman 

Sholevar, The Night’s Journey and The Coming of the Messiah (No. 7) 
tr. by the author Concourse Press, Philadelphia (1984) 

An Anthology of Modern Persian Drama, tr. G. Kapucinski 
Alavi, Her Eyes, tr. J. O’Kane 

Persian Art Series 


Highlights of Persian Art, ed. R. Ettinghausen and E. Yarshater 
Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1979 (No. 1) 


Sasanan Art, V. Lukonin, P. Harper, D. Huff, G. Azarpay. 




*A’esha, 93 

Aba Kalijar, 90, 97 

‘Abbadan, 96 

‘Abd Allah, Qadi, 61 

‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas, 82 

Abgarm, 103 

Abkhwari, 2 

Abraham, 32, 35, 38, 68 

Abu ‘Abd Allah Mohammad, 64, 66 

Abu Fadl Khalifa, 4 

Abu Horayra, 19 

Abu Mansur Mohammad, 102 

Abu Mansur Shahmardan, 90 

Abu Nasr Ahmad, 7 

Abu Qobays, Mount, 68 

Abu Sa‘id, 87, 88, 97 

Abu’l-A‘la al-Ma‘arri, 11 

Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd al-Jalil, 103 

Abu’l-Fath ‘Ali, 91 

Acre, 16 

Adam, 16, 17 

Aden, 43 

Agriculture, 11, 12, 15, 21, 36, 54, 
62, 70 

Akhlat, 6 

Akhmim, 63 

‘Akk, 17 

Aleppo, 10 

Alexandria, 42 

“Ali Nasa’i, 2 

‘Ali b. Abi Taleb, 93 

Amed, 7, 8 

‘Amid, Khwaja, 98 

Amol, 3 

‘Amr b. al-‘As, 52 

Antioch, 10 

Aqsa Mosque, al-, 23, 26, 29 

‘Arafat, 37, 60, 81 

‘Ar‘ar, 37 

Ark of the Covenant, 29 

Armenians, 6 

Arrajan, 97 

Arzan, 7 

Ascalon, 38 

Aswan, 41, 64 
Asyut, 63 
Avicenna, 3 
“Aydhab, 65, 66 
“Ayn Selwan, 22, 29 
‘Ayn al-Shams, 51 
Azerbaijan, 6 
Azhar, al-, 47 


Bahr al-Na‘am, 65 
Bahram Gor, 97 

Bajawis, 65 

Balkh, 3 

Banu Sawad, 83 

Banu Shayba, 79 
Baraz-al-Khayr, 4 

Bargri, 6 

Baryab, 103 

Basra, 9Off. 

Batelis, 49 

Bayazid, Shaykh, 2 
Bazaars, 11, 13, 15, 22, 53, 86 
Beirut, 15 

Belal, 81 

Berwa, al-, 17 
Bethlehem, 35 

Betlis, 7 

Bil, 3 

Boraq, 33 

Borga, 70, 79 
Buqalamun, 39, 48, 54, 57 
Byblos, 13 

Byzantines, 12, 13, 37, 42, 43 

Caesarea, 19 
Cairo, 40-63 

Cairo, New, 46 
Cairo, Old, 52 



Book of Travels 

Caspian Sea, 4 
Chaghri Beg, 1, 103 
Chashtkhwaran, 2 
Cisterns, 27, 39 
Constantinople, 10, 43 


Damascus, 10, 12 
Damavand, 3 
Damghan, 2 
Damietta, 39 
Dammun, 17 
Daqiqi, 6 

Dasht, 100 
Dastgerd, 103 
David, 32 
Daylam, 4 
Daylamites, 50 
Daygqa, 64 

Dead Sea, 18 
Dhu’l-Kefl, 17 
Diyar Bakr, 7 
Dome of the Rock, 23, 30 


E‘bellin, 17 

Ebn Abi ‘Aqil, 16 

Ebn Tulun Mosque, 52 
Edessa, 9 

Egypt, 38 

‘Erqa, 12 

Esau, 17 

Ethiopia, 44 

Euclid, 2 

Euphrates, 10, 94 

Falaj, 84-85 
Fars, 93 

Faryab, 2, 103 
Fatema Zahra, 59 



Galilee, Sea of, 18 
Gavan, 2 

Gehenna, 22, 23 
Ghomdan Castle, 71 
Gilaki, Prince, 99, 100, 102 
Gilan, 4 
Gonabedh, 101 


Haifa, 19 

Hakem, al-, 37, 42, 46, 52 
Hakem, Mosque of al-, 47 
Hama, 10, 12 

Hamadan, 3 

Hamza b. ‘Abd al-Mottaleb, 28, 60 
Haram Mosque, 59, 68, 71 ff. 

Harran, 9 

Hawd, 64 
Haythamabad, 99 
Hazira, 17 
Hebron 35-38 
Hejaz, 70 

Hejr, 78 
Hemyar, 70 
Homs, 10 

Hud, 17 


Irbid, 17 

Isaac, 32, 36, 38 
Isfahan, 3, 9, 97, 98 
Ishmael, 38 


Jabal al-Qamar, 41 
Jabal al-Rahma, 81 
Jacob, 18, 38 

Jar, al-, 43, 59 
Jaz‘, 83 

Je‘rana, 80 
Jerusalem, 21-35 
Jesus, 26 

Jethro, 17 

Jidda, 67 

Johfa, 60 
Jomukian, 103 
Jonah, 19 

Jond Qennesrin, 11 

Joseph, 18, 36 
Joshua, 18 

Jostan Ebrahim, 4, 100 

Juzjanan, | 


Ka‘ba, 61, 71ff. 
Kafr Kanna, 19 
Kafr Saba, 20 
Kafr Sallam, 20 
Kafr Tab, 12 
Kanisa, 19 

Kay Khosraw, 101 
Kazarun, 97 
Khabis, 100 
Khalij, al-, 47, 48 
Khan Lanjan, 98 
Khandan, 4 
Kharzavil, 3 
Khashshab, 96 
Khayf, 82 

Khoy, 6 

Kotamis, 48 
Kufjan, 99 


Lahsa, 82, 85, 86ff. 

Lashkar Khan, 100 
Latrun, 20 

Lavasan, 3 

Layla, 83 

Layth al-Dawla Nushtakin, 34 

Lot, 18 
Lurdajan, 98 



Ma‘arrat al-No‘man, 1] 

Mahdi, al-, 37, 42 

Mahdiyya, al-, 42 

Mahruban, 97 

Ma’mun, 27 

Manbej, 10 

Manjik, 6 

Ma‘gel River, 95 

Magqsura, 24, 26, 35, 36, 81, 102 

Marand, 6 

Marv, 1, 2 

Marv Rud, 1, 2, 103 

Marwa, 68, 69 

Mary, 26 

Mash‘ar al-Haram, 81 

Mashhads, 13, 93 

Masmudis, 44, 49 

Masna‘as, 39, 70 

Mas‘ud Nahshali, 93 

Matalebis, 62 

Matlun, 35 

Mayyafaregqin, 7, 9 

Mecca, Emir of, 61 

Mecca, 37, 60, 67—80 

Medina, 60 

Mina, 17 

Mina, 81, 82 

Miyan Rusta, 103 

Mo‘awiya, 27, 53 

Mo‘ezz, al-, 44, 49, 77 

Mo‘ezz, Mosque of al-, 47 

Mohdatha, 7 

Moltazem, 76 

Moses, 17, 18 

Mosques, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 
20, 23, 38, 47, 52, 59, 93, 98 

Mostanser be’llah, 100 

Mowaffaq, Khwaja, 2 

Mozdalefa, 81 

Mut tazilites, 97 


Na’in, 99 
Najd, 71 




Book of Travels 

Nasr al-Dawla, 6, 7 
Nasriyya, 7 

Nile River, 40 
Nishapur, 2 
Noah’s Ark, 77 
Nubia, 41, 64 


‘Obayd of Nishapur, 102 
Obolla, 95 
‘Oman, 89 

‘Omar, 22, 27 

‘Omdat al-Dawla, 62 
Opium, 63 

Orontes, 12 

Oways Qarani, 7 

Oxus, 40 


Panj Deh, | 

Pesar-e Shaddel, 70, 71, 81 
Piyada, 99 

Porcelain, Chinese, 19 
Prophet’s Mosque, 59 


Qa’en, 102 
Qalamun, 13 
Qapan, 3 

Qarul, 9 

Qaryat al-‘Enab, 20 
Qatran, 6 
Qayrawan, 42, 58 
Qazvin, 3 

Qef Onzor, 7 
Qennesrin, 11 
Qobadian, | 
Qolzom, 43, 61 
Quha, 3 

Qumes, 2 

Qus, 63 



Ramla, 17, 20, 38 

Raqqa, 100 

Rayy, 3 

Rebat-e Marami, 100 

Red Sea, 65 

Resurrection, Church of the, 37 
Rostabad, 100 

Rotl, Zaheri, 10 

Rumesh, 40 


Sadid Mohammad, Shaykh, 97 
Safa, 68 

Sahera, 22 
Sa‘idabad, 5 

Saleh, 16 
Salehiyya, 40 
Samangan, 2 
Samarqand, 13 
San‘a, 71 

Sapidrud, 4 

Sarab, 5 

Sarah, 36 

Sarakhs, 2, 102 
Sarba, 84 

Sarmin, 11 

Saruj, 10 

Sava, 3 

Seh Darra, 103 
Sejelmasa, 42 
Semnan, 2 
Shahrud, 4 
Shamiran, 4 

Shate’ ‘Othman, 95 
Shatt al-‘Arab, 95 
Shi‘ites, 13, 16, 19 
Shoburghan, 2, 103 
Shrines, 13, 93 
Sicily, 43 

Sidon, 15 

Siloam, 22, 29 
Simeon, 17 
Solomon, 18, 23, 25, 28, 34 

Sultan of Egypt, 13, 32, 77 
Suri b. al-Mo‘tazz, 98 


Tabas, 100 
Tabriz, 5 

Taj al-Ma‘ali, 67 
Talaqan, 2 
Talismans, 11 
Taraborzon, 13 
Taram, 4 

Tavva, 97 
Tehama, 71 
Termedh, 40 
Tiberias, 18 
Tigris, 94 

Tina, 38 
Toghrel Beg, 2, 98 
Tripoli, 10, 12 
Tun, 100, 101 
Tyre, 16 

Urfa, 9 


Vahsudan, 6 

Valley of Crocodiles, 19 
Van, 6 

Vastan, 6 


Wadi al-Qora, 37 


Ya‘qub b. Layth, 97 
Yamama, 86 
Yemen, 70 


Zachariah, 26 
Zamzam, Well of, 78 
Zaydis, 86 

Zayt harr, 55, 58 
Zobayda, 100 
Zuzan, 100