Ibn Duqmaq

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[pp. 525-528]


(d. 1407 A.D.)

Sārimuddīn Ibrāhīm b. Muḥ. al-Miṣrī. Governor of Damietta, wrote about geography and history and biographies.

Brockelmann 2, 50

K. al-intiṣār li-wāsitat 'iqd al-amṣār (The Book of the Victorious Accomplishment Concerning the Necklace of Metropoles", 10 vols.; only vols. 4 and 5 preserved)

Ed.: C. Vollers, Description de l'Egypte, Cairo 1893.

Exc.: MC 1323-1329 (Vollers).

T.: Vollers A:0

[p. 526] [The pulpit (minbar) presented by the Nubian King to 'Amrū]

It is written in Kitāb al-Jund al-Gharbī (The Book of the Western Army) and also in Kitāb al-Umarāʾ that 'Abdalla b. 'Abdalmalik, during his emirate in Egypt [year 89 H. = 707-708 A.D.] ordered that the great mosque (al-masjad al-jāmiʿ) be raised, because it was low. That took place in the year 89 H. [707 A.D.].

So, he pulled down the mosque at the beginning of the year 92 H. [= 710 A.D.] by order of Walīd b. 'Abdalmalik and began building it [again] in the month of Sha'bān of the same year [May/June 711 A.D.]. He appointed Yaḥyā b. Ḥanzalah as superintendent of the building ... until he completed the building, which was during the month of Ramadān of the year 93 H. [June 712 A.D.].

He constructed the new pulpit (minbar) in the year 94 H. [712-713 A.D.] and removed the [old] minbar which was in the mosque. There is a story about this (old minbar), according to which it was placed there by 'Amrū b. al-'Āsī, perhaps after the death of 'Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb. Others said that it was the minbar of 'Abd al-Άzīz b. Marwān and that he had it transferred from a church of Fusṭāṭ (Miṣr) to the mosque. It is said that Zakariā, the son of Marqunis, king of the Nūba, had made a present of it to 'Abdalla b. Sa'd ibn Abī Sarḥ, and that he had also sent a carpenter to mount it. The carpenter was called Boqtor, a native of Dendera. This minbar always remained the only one in the mosque, until Qurra b. Sharīk added another one ... It is said that no other known minbar is older than this [built] by Qurra b. Sharīk with the exception of the minbar of the Prophet. It remained all the time in the same mosque, until it [p. 527] was removed and destroyed at the time of al-'Azīz billah, under the vizirate of Ya'qūb al-Killis, on Thursday 20th Rabīʿ al-Awwal of the year 379 H. [= 30th June 974 A.D.] and was replaced with a gilded one. (Vollers IV, pp. 63 - 64).


It is said that it was named Qūṣ after Qūṣ b. Shaifāq b. Ashaman b. Miṣr. It was the port of exit to those who go to Mecca, Yemen, Nubia, Sawākin and at-Tāka. Its wālī maintains correspondence with six kings. In this town there are 16 schools (makān li-t-tadrīs). (ibid. V, p. 28; MC 1325 r).

The frontier town of Aswān is situated on the border between Egypt and Nubia. The Nile water here is very sweet, but in summer it becomes icy cold. Above Aswān [upstream], there are the cataracts (janādil). These are found in two places, one of which is three miles beyond the town upstream, right at the border of the territory of Islam. This [cataract] consists of a mountain which was cut through in order to make a way for the water. The cut was left unfinished and very steep, so that the water flows between huge boulders where no boat can pass. This place extends as far as two hundred arrows.

The other cataract is near Dunqula.

Finally, there is the frontier town of 'Aydhāb, about which people hold different opinions. According to some, this town is Egyptian territory; this opinion seems the most justifiable because the place is ruled from Egypt and is actually counted as an Egyptian district. Others consider it part of the Beja country, and still others [p. 528] think it belongs to the Ḥabash. It is a sea-port for the merchants who trade with Yemen and the port from which the pilgrims coming from Egypt sail off to Judda.<ref>Vollers V, 58. The author states that “Nubia’s [agricultural] surface equals 1762 feddans, the balance [160 feddans] being the area held by the Arabs [nomads] and Waqfs”. (Cf. Al-Ji’ānī [q.v.]).</ref> (ibid. V, pp. 33 - 35; MC 1325 v).