Al-Idrisi Abridged

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[pp. 284-285]

AL-IDRĪSĪ ABRIDGED ("Le Petit Idrisi")

(about 1192 A.D.)

A summary of Idrīsī's "Nuzhat" known under the title "Uns al-Muhaj" (The Kindness of the Cheerful). The only substantial difference from "Nuzhat" is that it adds a Climate south of the Equator, in addition to the traditional Seven Climates.

Brockelmann S 1, 877

MS: Istanbul, Hakim Oglu Library, MS 688.

T.: MC 906 and Ar.Ist.II, p. 333 A:0


In this fifth part lies the Jabal al-Qamar, which extends eastwards until it reaches the country of Ethiopia. It is a great mountain. When it is winter in the country of the Hind and the Zanj during six months, the clouds bring their moisture onto this mountain and from it spring the streams which form the Nile of the Nūbah and the Nile of Egypt. The Nile rises at Jabal al-Qamar from ten sources, five of which come together into a small lake (buṭaiḥah), and the other five into another lake: then [p. 285] two rivers flow from each lake and go southwards until their waters enter the big lake and mingle there. This lake lies across the Equator. On its western side, it is connected with a mountain called al-Maqsam and from this mountains springs (yanfajir) the Nile of the country of the Sūdān. Some people say that the water of the Nile flows beneath al-Maqsam mountain and then springs up from there to flow to the country of Kūghah, Ghāna, Sulā and Takrūr and ends into the Sea of Darkness. God knows all that properly. But Ptolemy and others deny this assertion and are of the opinion that the river of the Blacks (as-sūdān) flows out of Jabal Talā. These two parts [the 5th and 6th] include a part of the country of the Ḥabasha which are Qaljūn, Batā and between these two there is a seven days’ journey. (MC 906; Ar.Ist.II, p. 333).