Al-Muqaddasi

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[p. 175-176]

SHAMS-AD-DĪN ABŪ ABDALLA AL-MAQDISĪ (= Al-MUQADDASĪ)

(d. 985 A.D.)

Shams ad-dīn Abū Abdalla b. Abī Bakr al-Banna al-Bashsharī al-Maqdisī (or Al-Muqaddasī), a Jerusalem born Arab traveller who visited the countries of Islam. Brockelmann 1, 230; EI (s.v. Mukaddasi)

Aḥsan at-taqāsīm fī ma'rifat al-aqālīm (two redactions)

Ed.: De Goeje, BGA 3, Leiden 1878 and 1906.

Exc.: MC 669 v - 671 r.

Transl.: English: G.S.A. Ranking-R.F. Azoo, Bibl. Ind. 1-4, Calcutta 1897-1910 (partly); French: A. Miquel, La meilleure répartition pour la connaissance des provinces, Damas 1963.

T.: BGA (1878) A:0


The Nile begins in the country of the Nūba (BGA 3, p. 20).

'Aydhāb is a town facing Jedda, whence the pilgrims coming from that side begin their pilgrimage, (ibid., p. 78).

[p. 176] ʿAllāqī is the extreme part of the [Egyptian] territory (kūrah) on the route to 'Aydhāb. The Oases were an excellent territory provided with trees and villages. One could see until now some varieties of fruit, sheep and ostriches; but [now] they have turned wild. That land adjoins the country of the Sūdān, touches the frontier of the Climate of the Maghreb. Some [geographers] reckon it as part of the Maghreb. (ibid., p. 201).

From Aswān to 'Aydhāb the route is safe (ibid., p. 215).

The territory of the Sūdān neighbours this region and Miṣr, on the southern frontier [of Egypt]. It is a desert country, vast and difficult to cross. On their mountains one finds all kinds of fruit which can be found on the mountains of the Muslims, although the majority of the inhabitants do not eat them. They also have other fruit and foodstuffs and vegetables which are not found in our countries. Their transactions are not made by means of gold or silver; the Qaramatiyyūn (Garamantes?) make transactions by means of salt, the Nūba and the Ḥabasha by means of cloth. The Nūba live beyond Miṣr, the Buja beyond 'Aydhāb and the Ḥabasha beyond Zayla'.

The slaves (khadam) whom you see [in our countries?] may be divided into three kinds (anwaʿ): the race (jins) which is exported to Miṣr is the best of all; the second race, which is exported to Aden, consists of Barbar and these are the worst slaves; the third race is similar to the Ḥabash. (ibid., p. 241 f.).