Abu-l-Faraj Qudama

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[pp. 103-107]


(about 930 A.D.)

Converted to Islam and became secretary in the Abbasid court.

EI (s.v. Kudama); Brockelmann 1, 228.

K. al-Kharaj

MS. Istanbul, Keuprolu Library

Ed.: (partly) BGA 6, Leiden 1889; MC 564f who adds Paris, Bibl.Nat.Coll. Schefer, MS.5907

T.: MC and Paris, MS. 5907 A:1

Hām received as his lot, the countries of the Zanj, the Hind, Sind and Sīn, all on the southern side; then, on the western side, the countries of Nūba, Buja and Barbar.

The great kings divided the empire of the earth into four parts (aqsām) ... Another part, extending between (the territory of) the Turks and al-Hind, (was) the territory of the Blacks (Sūdān).

[p. 104] As for the Rūm, they divided the inhabited earth into three parts. The second part was limited on the West by the Green Sea, (al-baḥr al-akhḍar), on the North by the Sea of the Rūm, on the South by the Sea of the Ḥabasha and on the East by the western boundary of Miṣr, called Lūbiya. As for Lūbiya, its eastern frontier is formed by the Sea of the Ḥabasha... The fourth frontier (of Lūbiya) consists of uninterrupted deserts extending to the South, until they end on the western shore of the Sea of the Ḥabasha, which, in the vicinity of Miṣr, is called Sea of Qulzum.

... The First Climate is called after Barāmis (Marāis?)<ref>The Paris MS. clearly read Barāmis, but BGA and MC read Marāis</ref> which is the town of al-Ḥabasha.

The Second Climate begins where the First Climate ends, that is at Lat. 20° 13', and extends to 27° 12'. In the middle of this Climate the longest day is 13 hrs and a half, or 1 1/2 hrs more than on the Equator. This climate is called after the town of Aswān, which lies on the border between the Beja and Egypt.

The Nile (of Egypt) flows through the city of the Nūba, (madīnat an-Nūba), within the First Climate, continues in the same direction for one and a half degree into the Second Climate. Then it turns towards Aswān and passes by.

Another source of the Nile has its centre on the Equator. A river rises out of it and flows into the Nile basin and later joins the Nile River near the city of the Nūba. (BGA 6, pp. 230 - 231).

Let us turn to the southern frontier. There we find the frontier post (thaghr) of the Beja and the Nūba.

[p. 105] They are (now) in treaty relationship by (the agreement that they pay) a tax (ḍarībah), called baqṭ. There is no warfare. A summary of the agreement will be found in the 7th Manzalah, below. (p. 265).

From the 7th Manzalah (Paris, Bibl.Nat. MS. ar. 5907, p. 172):

The Nūba and the Beja: When the Muslims conquered Egypt, 'Amrū b. al-'Āṣ sent the cavalry against the neighbouring countries (nawāḥī) to conquer them. Among those who were sent out there was 'Uqba b. Nāfi' al-Fihrī. Nāfi’ was a brother of al-'Āṣ on the maternal side. He went with an army of Muslims. Their horses entered the lands of the Nūba in the same way as the summer expeditions (sawāif) invaded the lands of the Rūm; but the Muslims met fierce resistance (qitāl). The Nubians unleashed (showers of) arrows which made it impossible to overcome them. However, the Muslims did not cease raiding and harassing them and refused to make peace as long as 'Amrū b. al-'Āṣ remained in power. But, when Sa'd b. Abī Sharḥ (sic!) took over, he agreed to make peace (hudna), on the condition that they gave 300 slaves every year for which they received an equal amount of foodstuffs in return.

Al-Wāqidī said: - In Nubia, Mū'awiya b. Hudayj lost his eye. Abū 'Ubayd al-Qāsim b. Salām recorded the following statement from a chain of witnesses which he attributes to Yazīd ibn Ḥābīb: Between us and the Blacks (asāwid) there exists neither treaty (ʿadh), nor written agreement (mīthāq), but only a truce (hudna), according to which they receive from us a certain quantity of wheat (qamḥ) and they give us a number of slaves (raqīq). They have no objection to providing slaves from among their own people or from others. Abū 'Ubayd reported [p. 106] from 'Abdalla b. Ṣāliḥ and al-Layth b. Sa'd that the peace-treaty (ṣulḥ) between us and the Nubians stipulates that we should not invade them and they would not attack us; that they would give us a number of slaves and we would give foodstuffs in exchange. If they must sell their own women (nisāʾ) and children (abnāʾ), they do not object. The Caliph al-Mahdī ordered that the Nubians be obliged to pay, every year, 300 slaves and one giraffe, and that they be given, in exchange, a quantity of wheat (qamḥ), vinegar (khall), cloth (thiyāb) and carpets (fursh), or the corresponding price. They complained that the baqṭ, by which they were bound, was (to be paid) only once every three years, but there is no written record of this. They, however, abstained from paying it for many years (sinīn kathīrah).

As for the Beja, al-Mutawakkil 'alā Allāh had appointed one Muḥammad b. 'Abdalla al-Qummī governor of the mines region in Egypt, with authority over Qulzum and the route to the Hejaz so that he might protect the Egyptian caravan of pilgrims (ḥajj). When al-Qummī arrived at the mine he had some boats loaded with provisions (to be taken) to the Beja country. Then he went as far as the coast (sāḥil) called 'Aydhāf (sic! for 'Aydhāb) where the boats landed (wafat). Strengthened by fresh supplies, he went up (waṣala) to the stronghold (qal'ah) of the king of the Beja (malik al-bujah) and attacked him with a small force. The Beja (al-bujāwī) leading a huge crowd (duhm) of men mounted on restless camels, tried to oppose him. Al-Qummī gave the order to collect all the bells and to tie them to the neck of his horses. The camels, frightened by all the noise, took flight in utter confusion through valleys and mountains, throwing off the Beja (al-bujāwiyyīn). The Ruler (sāhib) of the Beja was killed, and the son of his [p. 107] brother took over. He asked for a truce but al-Mutawakkil refused, unless he would tread on the carpet in the Caliph's palace. He went to "Surra-man-ra'ā"<ref>cf. al-Baladhuri, n. (7).</ref> where a peace treaty (ṣulḥ) was concluded in the year 241 (= 856 A.D.), on the condition that (the Beja) would pay the tribute (itāwah) and the baqṭ. He returned (to his country) accompanied by al-Qummī. The Beja, under the treaty agreement (ʿahd) (now) pay what was imposed on them and allow the Muslims to work in the gold mines, as this too, was one of the conditions imposed on them.