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The Muqaddimah (Arabic: مقدّمة ابن خلدون, Tamazight: ⵜⴰⵣⵡⴰⵔⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵉⴱⵏ ⵅⵉⴷⵓⵏ Tazwarit n Ibn Xldun, English: "Introduction"), also known as the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun or the Prolegomena (Greek: Προλεγόμενα), is a book written by the North African historian Ibn Khaldun in 1377 which records an early view of universal history. Some modern thinkers view it as the first work dealing with the philosophy of history[1] or the social sciences[2] of sociology,[1][3][4][5] demography,[3] historiography[4][6] or cultural history.[7][8] and economics,[9][10] The Muqaddimah also deals with Islamic theology, political theory and the natural sciences of biology and chemistry. Ibn Khaldun wrote the work in 1377 as the preface or first book of his planned world history, the Kitab al-Ibar (lit. Book of Advice), but already in his lifetime it became regarded as an independent work.


Ibn Khaldun starts the Muqaddimah with a thorough criticism of the mistakes regularly committed by his fellow historians and the difficulties which await the historian in his work. He notes seven critical issues:

"All records, by their very nature, are liable to error...

  1. ...Partisanship towards a creed or opinion...
  2. ...Over-confidence in one's sources...
  3. ...The failure to understand what is intended...
  4. ...A mistaken belief in the truth...
  5. ...The inability to place an event in its real context
  6. ...The common desire to gain favor of those of high ranks, by praising them, by spreading their fame...
  7. ...The most important is the ignorance of the laws governing the transformation of human society."

Against the seventh point (the ignorance of social laws) Ibn Khaldun lays out his theory of human society in the Muqaddimah.

Sati' al-Husri suggested that Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah is essentially a sociological work, sketching over its six books a general sociology; a sociology of politics; a sociology of urban life; a sociology of economics; and a sociology of knowledge.

Scientific methodEdit

Ibn Khaldun often criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical data." As a result, he introduced the scientific method to the social sciences, which was considered something "new to his age", and he often referred to it as his "new science" and developed his own new terminology for it.[11]

His historical method also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history,[3] leading to his development of historiography.



Ana madde: Asabiyyah

The concept of "'asabiyyah" (Arabic: 'tribalism', 'clanism', 'communitarism' or in a modern context 'nationalism') is one of the most well-known aspects of the Muqaddimah. Ibn Khaldun uses the term Asabiyyah to describe the bond of cohesion among humans in a group forming community. The bond, Asabiyyah, exists at any level of civilization, from nomadic society to states and empires.[12] Asabiyyah is most strong in the nomadic phase, and decreases as civilization advances.[12] As this Asabiyyah declines, another more compelling Asabiyyah may take its place; thus, civilizations rise and fall, and history describes these cycles of Asabiyyah as they play out.[12]

Ibn Khaldun argues that each dynasty has within itself the seeds of its own downfall. He explains that ruling houses tend to emerge on the peripheries of great empires and use the unity presented by those areas to their advantage in order to bring about a change in leadership. As the new rulers establish themselves at the center of their empire, they become increasingly lax and more concerned with maintaining their lifestyles. Thus, a new dynasty can emerge at the periphery of their control and effect a change in leadership, beginning the cycle anew.

Ibn Khaldun's model is an instinctive one, not requiring a conceptual social contract present in classical republicanism.

Conflict theoryEdit

Ibn Khaldun conceived both a central social conflict ("town" versus "desert") as well as a theory (using the concept of a "generation") of the necessary loss of power of city conquerors coming from the desert.

Similarities to modern sociologyEdit

The sociology of the Muqaddimah is more similar to the theories developed by Hegel or Marx in emphasizing dialectic or feedback loops, or systems theory as applied to fields such as corporate social responsibility, than to the theories of Durkheim and others who emphasized structures. There is a remarkable similarity between modern economic ideas and some ideas developed by Ibn Khaldun.


See also Islamic economic jurisprudence
Dosya:Ibn Khaldoun.jpg
Statue of Ibn Khaldun in Tunis
When civilization [population] increases, the available labor again increases. In turn, luxury again increases in correspondence with the increasing profit, and the customs and needs of luxury increase. Crafts are created to obtain luxury products. The value realized from them increases, and, as a result, profits are again multiplied in the town. Production there is thriving even more than before. And so it goes with the second and third increase. All the additional labor serves luxury and wealth, in contrast to the original labor that served the necessity of life.[13]
Ibn Khaldun on economic growth
Businesses owned by responsible and organized merchants shall eventually surpass those owned by wealthy rulers.[14]
Ibn Khaldun on economic growth and the ideals of Plato

Ibn Khaldun wrote on economic and political theory in the Muqaddimah, relating his thoughts on asabiyya to the division of labor: the greater the social cohesion, the more complex the division may be, the greater the economic growth.

Ibn Khaldun noted that growth and development positively stimulate both supply and demand, and that the forces of supply and demand are what determine the prices of goods.[15] He also noted macroeconomic forces of population growth, human capital development, and technological developments effects on development.[16] Ibn Khaldun held that population growth was a function of wealth.[17]

Ibn Khaldun understood that money served as a standard of value, a medium of exchange, and a preserver of value, though he did not realize that the value of gold and silver changed based on the forces of supply and demand.[18] Ibn Khaldun also introduced the labor theory of value. He described labor as the source of value, necessary for all earnings and capital accumulation, obvious in the case of craft. He argued that even if earning “results from something other than a craft, the value of the resulting profit and acquired (capital) must (also) include the value of the labor by which it was obtained. Without labor, it would not have been acquired.”[9]

His theory of asabiyyah has often been compared to modern Keynesian economics, with Ibn Khaldun's theory clearly containing the concept of the multiplier. A crucial difference, however, is that whereas for John Maynard Keynes it is the middle class's greater propensity to save that is to blame for economic depression, for Ibn Khaldun it is the governmental propensity to save at times when investment opportunities do not take up the slack which leads to aggregate demand.[19]

Another modern economic theory anticipated by Ibn Khaldun is supply-side economics.[20] He "argued that high taxes were often a factor in causing empires to collapse, with the result that lower revenue was collected from high rates." He wrote:[21]

« "It should be known that at the beginning of the dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments." »</div>

Laffer CurveEdit

Ibn Khaldun introduced the concept now popularly known as the Laffer Curve, that increases in tax rates initially increase tax revenues, but eventually increases in tax rates cause a decrease in tax revenues. This occurs as too high a tax rate discourages producers in the economy.

Ibn Khaldun used a dialectic approach to describe the sociological implications of tax choice (which now forms a part of economics theory):

« In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...and sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation. »</div>

This analysis is very similar to the modern economic concept known as the Laffer Curve. Laffer does not claim to have invented the concept himself, instead attributing it to Ibn Khaldun and, more recently, John Maynard Keynes.[22]


The Muqaddimah is also held to be a foundational work for the schools of historiography, cultural history, and the philosophy of history.[7][23] The Muqaddimah also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history.[3]

Franz Rosenthal wrote in the History of Muslim Historiography:

« Muslim historiography has at all times been united by the closest ties with the general development of scholarship in Islam, and the position of historical knowledge in MusIim education has exercised a decisive influence upon the intellectual level of historical writing....The Muslims achieved a definite advance beyond previous historical writing in the sociological understanding of history and the systematisation of historiography. The development of modern historical writing seems to have gained considerably in speed and substance through the utilization of a Muslim Literature which enabled western historians, from the seventeenth century on, to see a large section of the world through foreign eyes. The Muslim historiography helped indirectly and modestly to shape present day historical thinking.[24] »</div>

Historical methodEdit

In the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun warned of seven mistakes that he thought that historians regularly committed. In this criticism, he approached the past as strange and in need of interpretation. The originality of Ibn Khaldun was to claim that the cultural difference of another age must govern the evaluation of relevant historical material, to distinguish the principles according to which it might be possible to attempt the evaluation, and lastly, to feel the need for experience, in addition to rational principles, in order to assess a culture of the past. Ibn Khaldun often criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical data." As a result, he introduced a scientific method to the study of history, which was considered something "new to his age", and he often referred to it as his "new science", now associated with historiography.[11] His historical method also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history,[3] and he is thus considered to be the "father of historiography"[6][25] or the "father of the philosophy of history".[1]

Ibn Khaldun' makes the following comments on his scientific historical method in his Muqaddimah:[26]

  1. "History is a science"
  2. "History has a content and the historian should account for it"
  3. "The historian should account for the elements that gather to make the human history"
  4. "He should also work according to the laws of history"
  5. "History is a philosophical science"
  6. "History is composed of news about the days, states and the previous centuries. It is a theory, an analysis and justification about the creatures and their principles, and a science of how the incidents happen and their reasons"
  7. "Myths have nothing to do with history and should be refuted"
  8. "To build strong historical records, the historian should rely on necessary rules for the truth comparison"

Philosophy of historyEdit

Ibn Khaldun is considered a pioneer of the philosophy of history.[1] Franz Rosenthal writes on the Muqaddimah:

« It can be regarded as the earliest attempt made by any historian to discover a pattern in the changes that occur in man's political and social organization. Rational in its approach, analytical in its method, encyclopaedic in detail, it represents an almost complete departure from traditional historiography, discarding conventional concepts and cliches and seeking, beyond the mere chronicle of events, an explanation—and hence a philosophy of history.[27] »</div>

Systematic biasEdit

The Muqaddimah emphasized the role of systemic bias in affecting the standard of evidence. Khaldun was quite concerned with the effect of raising the standard of evidence when confronted with uncomfortable claims, and relaxing it when given claims that seemed reasonable or comfortable. He was a jurist, and sometimes participated reluctantly in rulings that he felt were coerced, based on arguments he didn't respect. Besides al-Maqrizi (1364–1442),[26] Ibn Khaldun had few successors in his thinking about history until Arnold J. Toynbee, a 20th century British historian.

Ibn Khaldun also examines why, throughout history, it has been common for historians to sensationalize historical events and, in particular, exaggerate numerical figures:

« Whenever contemporaries speak about the dynastic armies of their own or recent times, and whenever they engage in discussions about Muslim or Christian soldiers, or when they get to figuring the tax revenues and the money spent by the government, the outlays of extravagant spenders, and the goods that rich and prosperous men have in stock, they are quite generally found to exaggerate, to go beyond the bounds of the ordinary, and to succumb to the temptation of sensationalism. When the officials in charge are questioned about their armies, when the goods and assets of wealthy people are assessed, and when the outlays of extravagant spenders are looked at in ordinary light, the figures will be found to amount to a tenth of what those people have said. The reason is simple. It is the common desire for sensationalism, the ease with which one may just mention a higher figure, and the disregard of reviewers and critics. This leads to failure to exercise self-criticism about one's errors and intentions, to demand from oneself moderation and fairness in reporting, to reapply oneself to study and research. Such historians let themselves go and made a feast of untrue statements. "They procure for themselves enter­taining stories in order to lead (others) astray from the path of God."[28] (Qur'an 31.6»</div>

Military historyEdit

The Muqaddimah is the earliest known work to critically examine military history. It criticizes certain accounts of historical battles that appear to be exaggerated, and takes military logistics into account when questioning the sizes of historical armies reported in earlier sources. In the Introduction to the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun directs this criticism towards to famous historians such as Al-Masudi,[29] who is today regarded as the "Herodotus of the Arabs"[30] and who Ibn Khaldun himself regarded as one of the most famous historians up until his time.[31]

As an example, Ibn Khaldun notes that Al-Masudi and other historians reported that Moses counted the Israelite army as 600,000 or more soldiers.[32] Ibn Khaldun criticizes Al-Masudi for failing to take into account certain logistics, questioning whether Egypt and Syria could have possibly held such a large number of soldiers, or whether an army of that size would be able to march or fight as a unit. He notes that the whole available territory would have been too small for such a large army, and argues that if "it were in battle formation, it would extend" several times "beyond the field of vision." He questions how two such parties could "fight with each other, or one battle formation gain the upper hand when one flank does not know what the other flank is doing,"[33] and that a co-ordinated battle movement in such a large group "would hardly be possible."[34] He argues that the "situation in the present day testifies to the correctness of this statement" since the "past resembles the future more than one drop of water another." He then compares it to the Persian Sassanid Empire, noting that it was far more vast than the Israelite Kingdom and yet the size of the Sassanid army at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah amounted to 120,000 troops at most (citing the 8th-century historian Sayf ibn Umar). The Muqaddimah states that if the Israelites really did have such a large army, the extent of their empire would have been far larger, as "the size of administrative units and provinces under a particular dynasty is in direct proportion to the size of its militia and the groups that support the dynasty."[33]

The Muqaddimah further notes that Moses lived only a few generations after Jacob, the founder of the Israelite tribes, according to the Levite tribe genealogy, as described by Al-Masudi. Ibn Khaldun argues that it "is improbable that the descendants of one man could branch out into such a number within four generations." The Muqaddimah also states that there was a general assumption that Soloman's army was similarly large, but Ibn Khaldun refutes this, noting that Soloman came only eleven generations after Jacob, and argues that the "descendants of one man in eleven generations would not branch out into such a number, as has been assumed." He then agrees with another statement from the "Israelite Stories" suggesting that Soloman's army had 12,000 soldiers and 1,400 horses. He notes that this was when the Israelite state was at its strongest, making other claims giving larger numbers for the Israelite army unlikely.[35] Ibn Khaldun notes that Jews have claimed the unrealistically large increase in the Israelite population within several generations was possible because it was a miracle of God, a claim that Ibn Khaldun did not dismiss completely. He considers such a miracle highly unlikely, but appears to be open to the possibility.[34]

Islamic theologyEdit

The Muqaddimah contains discussions on Islamic theology which show that Ibn Khaldun was a follower of the orthodox Ash'ari school of Sunni Islamic thought and a supporter of al-Ghazali's religious views. He was also a critic of Neoplatonism, particularly its notion of a hierarchy of being. He argued that theosis requires the participation of revelation and is not possible through reason alone. He based his argument on the "irreducibility of the empirical nature of our knowledge of facts, which cannot then be converted into abstract and pure concepts at a higher level of human consciousness."[36]

The Muqaddimah covers the historical development of kalam and the different schools of Islamic thought, notably the Mu'tazili and Ash'ari schools. Ibn Khaldun, being a follower of the Ash'ari school, criticizes the views of the Mu'tazili school, and bases his criticisms on the views of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, whom he describes as "the mediator between different approaches in the kalam." Ibn Khaldun also covers the historical development of Islamic logic in the context of theology, as he viewed logic as being distinct from early Islamic philosophy, and believed that philosophy should remain separate from theology. The book also contains commentaries on verses from the Qur'an.[37]

Islamic psychologyEdit

In Islamic psychology, Ibn Khaldun wrote the following on dream interpretation:

« Often, we may deduce (the existence of) that high spiritual world and the essences it contains, from visions and things we had not been aware of while awake but which we find in our sleep and which are brought to our attention in it and which, if they are true (dreams), conform with actuality. We thus know that they are true and come from the world of truth. "Confused dreams," on the other hand, are pictures of the imagination that are stored inside by perception and to which the ability to think is applied, after (man) has retired from sense perception.[38] »</div>

Science of hadithEdit

Ibn Khaldun discussed the science of hadith. He disagreed with the use of reason in the evaluation of a hadith, arguing that "there is no place for the intellect in them, save that the intellect may be used in connection with them to relate problems of detail with basic principles."[39]

On the authority of the Sahih al-Bukhari, the Muqaddimah also argues that, despite the Islamic belief that the Torah was altered by the Jews, the Muslims should neither believe nor disbelieve historical claims concerning the Torah made by Jews and Christians, particularly in regards to miraculous events. He states that:[34]

« the statement concerning the alteration (of the Torah by the Jews) is unacceptable to thorough scholars and cannot be understood in its plain meaning, since custom prevents people who have a (revealed) religion from dealing with their divine scriptures in such a manner. This was mentioned by al-Bukhari in the Sahih»</div>

Sharia law and Fiqh jurisprudenceEdit

Ibn Khaldun was an Islamic jurist and discussed the topics of Sharia (Islamic law) and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) in his Muqaddimah. Ibn Khaldun wrote that "Jurisprudence is the knowledge of the classification of the laws of God." In regards to jurisprudence, he acknowledged the inevitability of change in all aspects of a community, and wrote:

« The conditions, customs and beliefs of peoples and nations do not indefinitely follow the same pattern and adhere to a constant course. There is rather, change with days and epochs, as well as passing from one state to another... such is the law of God that has taken place with regard to His subjects.[40] »</div>

Ibn Khaldun further described Fiqh jurisprudence as "knowledge of the rules of God which concern the actions of persons who own themselves bound to obey the law respecting what is required (wajib), forbidden (haraam), recommended (mandūb), disapproved (makruh) or merely permitted (mubah)."[41]

Natural sciencesEdit


Some of Ibn Khaldun's thoughts, according to some commentators, anticipate the biological theory of evolution.[42] Ibn Khaldun asserted that humans developed from "the world of the monkeys", in a process by which "species become more numerous" in Chapter 1 of the Muqaddimah:[42]

« This world with all the created things in it has a certain order and solid construction. It shows nexuses between causes and things caused, combinations of some parts of creation with others, and transformations of some existent things into others, in a pattern that is both remarkable and endless. »</div>
« One should then take a look at the world of creation. It started out from the minerals and progressed, in an ingenious, gradual manner, to plants and animals. The last stage of minerals is connected with the first stage of plants, such as herbs and seedless plants. The last stage of plants, such as palms and vines, is connected with the first stage of animals, such as snails and shellfish which have only the power of touch. The word 'connection' with regard to these created things means that the last stage of each group is fully prepared to become the first stage of the newest group. »</div>
« The animal world then widens, its species become numerous, and, in a gradual process of creation, it finally leads to man, who is able to think and reflect. The higher stage of man is reached from the world of monkeys, in which both sagacity and perception are found, but which has not reached the stage of actual reflection and thinking. At this point we come to the first stage of man. This is as far as our (physical) observation extends.[43] »</div>

Ibn Khaldun believed that humans are the most evolved form of animals, in that they have the ability to reason. The Muqaddimah also states in Chapter 6:

« We explained there that the whole of existence in (all) its simple and composite worlds is arranged in a natural order of ascent and descent, so that everything constitutes an uninterrupted continuum. The essences at the end of each particular stage of the worlds are by nature prepared to be transformed into the essence adjacent to them, either above or below them. This is the case with the simple material elements; it is the case with palms and vines, (which constitute) the last stage of plants, in their relation to snails and shellfish, (which constitute) the (lowest) stage of animals. It is also the case with monkeys, creatures combining in themselves cleverness and perception, in their relation to man, the being who has the ability to think and to reflect. The preparedness (for transformation) that exists on either side, at each stage of the worlds, is meant when (we speak about) their connection.[44] »</div>
« Plants do not have the same fineness and power that animals have. Therefore, the sages rarely turned to them. Animals are the last and final stage of the three permutations. Minerals turn into plants, and plants into animals, but animals cannot turn into anything finer than themselves.[45] »</div>

His evolutionary ideas appear to be similar to those found in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity Ibn Khaldun was also an adherent of environmental determinism. He explained that black skin was due to the hot climate of sub-Saharan Africa and not due to their lineage. He thus dispelled the Hamitic theory, where the sons of Ham were cursed by being black, as a myth.[46]


Ibn Khaldun was a critic of the practice of alchemy in the Islamic world. In chapter 23 of his work, entitled Fi 'ilm al-kimya, he discussed the history of alchemy, the views of alchemists such as Geber,[47] and the theories of the transmutation of metals and elixir of life.[48] In chapter 26, entitled Fi inkar thamrat al-kimya wa istihalat wujudiha wa ma yansha min al-mafasid, he wrote a systematic refutation of alchemy on social,[47] scientific, philosophical and religious grounds.[49]

He begins his refutation on social grounds, arguing that many alchemists are incapable of earning a living because of the thought of becoming rich through alchemy and end up "losing their credibility because of the futility of their attempts".[50]

He also argues that some alchemists resort to fraud, either openly by applying a thin layer of gold/silver on top of silver/copper jewellery, or secretly using an artificial procedure of covering whitened copper with sublimated mercury, though only skilled experimenters can carry out the latter. He admits, however, that most alchemists are honest and carry out their investigations in good faith with the belief that the transmutation of metals is possible, but on the basis that there has never been any successful attempt to date, he argues that transmutation is an implausible theory without any reliable scientific evidence to support it. He reports the earlier opinions of al-Farabi, Avicenna and al-Tughrai on alchemy, and then proceeds to advance his own arguments against it. One such argument is that "human science is powerless even to attain what is inferior to it" and that alchemy "resembles someone who wants to produce a man, an animal or a plant." Another sociological argument he uses is that, even if transmutation were possible, the disproportionate growth of gold and silver "would make transactions useless and would run counter to divine wisdom." He ends his arguments with a restatement of his position:[48]

« Alchemy can only be achieved through psychic influences (bi-ta'thirat al-nufus). Extraordinary things are either miracles or witchcraft... They are unbounded; nobody can claim to acquire them.[51] »</div>

Other theoriesEdit

Climate theoryEdit

The Muqaddimah anticipated the meteorological climate theory of environmental determinism, later proposed by Montesquieu in the 18th century. Like Montesquieu, Ibn Khaldun studied "the physical environment in which man lives in order to understand how it influences him in his non-physical characteristics." He explained the differences between different peoples, whether nomadic or sedentary peoples, including their customs and institutions, in terms of their "physical environment-habitat, climate, soil, food, and the different ways in which they are forced to satisfy their needs and obtain a living." This was a departure from the climatic theories expressed by authors from Hippocrates to Jean Bodin. It has been suggested that Ibn Khaldun may have had an influence upon Montesquieu's theory through the traveller Jean Chardin, who travelled to Persia and described a theory resembling Ibn Khaldun's climatic theory.[52]

Political theoryEdit

The Muqaddimah deals with various questions of political theory. In some ways, his political theories show the influence of Aristotle, while in other ways they anticipate the works of Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes.

In the Muqaddimah's Introductory Remarks, Ibn Khaldun agrees with the classical republicanism of Aristotelian proposition that man is political by nature, and that man's interdependence creates the need for the political community. Yet Ibn Khaldun argues, like Hobbes later, that men and tribes need to defend themselves from potential attack by beast or even unjust men, and thus political communities are formed. The glue which holds such tribes together and eventually forms "royal authority" or the state, according to Ibn Khaldun, is 'asabiyah or group feeling. Ibn Khaldun argues that the best type of political community is the Caliphate or the Islamic state, and argues that the neo-Platonist political theories of al-Farabi and Ibn Sina and the "perfect state" (Madina al-Fadilah) are useless because God's Law, the sharia, has been revealed to take account of public interest and the afterlife. The second most perfect state, Ibn Khaldun argues, is one based on justice and consideration for public welfare in this life, but not based on religious law and so not beneficial to one's afterlife. Ibn Khaldun calls this state blameworthy. Yet the worst type of state, according to Ibn Khaldun, is a tyranny wherein government usurps property rights and rules with injustice against the rights of men.

Ibn Khaldun also anticipates Machiavelli by attempting to answer the question of whether it is better for the ruler to be feared or loved. Ibn Khaldun, like Machiavelli, answers that it is best to be both. However, unlike Machiavelli, Khaldun believes that if that is not possible then it is better to be loved than feared because fear creates many negative effects in the state's population.

Ibn Khaldun writes that civilizations have lifespans like individuals, and that every state will eventually fall because sedentary luxuries distract them, and eventually government begins to overtax citizens and begin injustice against property rights, and "injustice ruins civilization." Eventually after one dynasty or royal authority falls, it is replaced by another, in a continuous cycle.

The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellner considered Ibn Khaldun's definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself", the best in the history of political theory.[53]

Assessment of various civilizationsEdit

While discussing his "new science", now associated with the social sciences, Ibn Khaldūn states that no other author before him, as far as he was aware, had written about it. However, he was aware that much knowledge of the past had been lost, and thus he was open to the possibility that someone might have anticipated him but that their work had not survived:

Perhaps they have written exhaustively on this topic, and their work did not reach us. There are many sciences. There have been numerous sages among the nations of mankind. The knowledge that has not come down to us is larger than the knowledge that has. Where are the sciences of the Persians that ‘Umar ordered to be wiped out at the time of the conquest? Where are the sciences of the Chaladaeans, the Syrians and the Babylonians, and the scholarly products and results that were theirs? Where are the sciences of the Copts, their predecessors? The sciences of only one nation, the Greeks, have come down to us, because they were translated through Al-Ma'mun's efforts. He was successful in this direction because he had many translators at his disposal and spent much money in this connection.[54]

Ibn Khaldūn characterized Aristotle as "the First Teacher", for his having "improved the methods of logic and systematized its problems and details."[55]

Arabic and Persian civilizationsEdit

Ibn Khaldun makes a clear distinction between two types of Arab people; those who are Arab by descent, i.e. of ethnic Arab descent, and those who are Arab by language, i.e. ethnically non-Arab populations who speak Arabic as a first language. He never refers to that final group as being Arabs, rather he called them by their ethnicity or places of origin (i.e. 'Persians' or 'the inhabitants of Egypt'):

« In that connection, "non-Arab" meant non-Arab by descent. Such non-Arabs had a long (history of) sedentary culture which, as we have established, causes cultivation of the crafts and habits, including the sciences. Being non-Arab in language is something quite different, and this is what is meant here.[56] »</div>

About ethnic Arabs, he wrote:

The Arabs dominate only of the plains, because they are, by their savage nature, people of pillage and corruption. They pillage everything that they can take without fighting or taking risks, then flee to their refuge in the wilderness, and do not stand and do battle unless in self-defense. So when they encounter any difficulty or obstacle, they leave it alone and look for easier prey. And tribes well-fortified against them on the slopes of the hills escape their corruption and destruction, because they prefer not to climb hills, nor expend effort, nor take risks.[57]

On the Arab conquests of the 7th century:

Religious propaganda gives a dynasty at its beginning another power in addition to that of the group feeling it possessed as the result of the number of its supporters... This happened to the Arabs at the beginning of Islam during the Muslim conquests. The armies of the Muslims at al-Qadisiyah and at the Yarmuk numbered some 30,000 in each case, while the Persian troops at al-Qadisiyah numbered 120,000, and the troops of Heraclius, according to al-Waqidi, 400,000. Neither of the two parties was able to withstand the Arabs, who routed them and seized what they possessed.[58]

Some of the content in the book is also related to the "Hadith of Persians and belief":

« Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih and after him, al-Farisi and Az-Zajjaj. All of them were of non-Arab (Persian) descent... They invented rules of (Arabic) grammar...[59] great jurists were Persians... only the Persians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the prophet becomes apparent, "If learning were suspended in the highest parts of heaven the Persians would attain it"... The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Persians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them... as was the case with all crafts... This situation continued in the cities as long as the Persians and Persian countries, Iraq, Khorasan and Transoxiana, retained their sedentary culture.[60] »</div>

Here again he uses the term "Arab" to refer to the ethnic Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula and "Ajam" to refer to non-Arabs in general, though it often it referred more specifically to Iranian peoples from a sedentary Persian culture on the Iranian plateau. Ibn Khaldun made a distinction between being linguistically Arabized and being culturally Arabized. Cultural Arabization to him meant adopting a tribal, bedouin and desert livestyle and was opposite to the sedentary, urban culture, which was inherently non-Arab. Throughout his work he makes the point that Arabs during the early Muslim expansion, were indeed de-Arabized and to some degree adopted Persian and Greek sedentary culture. Also note that in medieval Islamic literature, there were two regions known as Iraq: the Iraq-e-Arab (Arab Iraq) and the Iraq-e-Ajam (Persian Iraq). The Persian Iraq mentioned by Ibn Khaldun is the historic Iraq-e-Ajam (Persian Iraq) which constitutes the triangle of Isfahan, Shiraz and Hamadan.

Ibn Khaldun, however, notes that by his time, the study of science in Persian culture had declined and was eventually surpassed by the culture of Egypt of the Mamluk Sultanate:

« This situation continued in the cities as long as the Persians and the Persian countries, the 'Iraq, Khurasan, and Transoxania, retained their sedentary culture. But when those cities fell into ruins, sedentary culture, which God has devised for the attainment of sciences and crafts, disappeared from them. Along with it, scholarship altogether disappeared from among the non-Arabs (Persians), who were (now) engulfed by the desert attitude. Scholarship was restricted to cities with an abundant sedentary culture. Today, no (city) has a more abundant sedentary culture than Cairo (Egypt). It is the mother of the world, the great center (Iwan) of Islam, and the mainspring of the sciences and the crafts.[61] »</div>
« Some sedentary culture has also survived in Transoxania, because the dynasty there provides some sedentary culture. Therefore, they have there a certain number of the sciences and the crafts, which cannot be denied. Our attention was called to this fact by the contents of the writings of a (Transoxanian) scholar, which have reached us in this country. He is Sa'd-ad-din at-Taftazani. As far as the other non-Arabs (Persians) are concerned, we have not seen, since the imam Ibn al-Khatib and Nasir-ad-din at-Tusi, any discussions that could be referred to as indicating their ultimate excellence.[62] »</div>

Ibn Khaldun discussed the history of science, and wrote the following on the history of Islamic science:

« The Muslims desired to learn the sciences of foreign nations. They made them their own through translations. They pressed them into the mould of their own views. They took them over into their own language from the non-Arab languages and surpassed the achievements of the non-Arabs in them.[63] »</div>

Jewish civilizationEdit

On the Jewish civilization:

« The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defence...[64] They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people. This is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority for about four hundred years. Their only concern was to establish their religion... The Israelites dispossessed the Canaanites of the land that God had given them as their heritage in Jerusalem and the surrounding region, as it had been explained to them through Moses. The nations of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Armenians, the Edomites, the Ammonites, and the Moabites fought against them. During that time political leadership was entrusted to the elders among them. The Israelites remained in that condition for about four hundred years. They did not have any royal power and were harassed by attacks from foreign nations. Therefore, they asked God through Samuel, one of their prophets, that he permit them to make someone king over them. Thus, Saul became their king. He defeated the foreign nations and killed Goliath, the ruler of Philistines. After Saul, David became king, and then Solomon. His kingdom flourished and extended to the borders of the land of the Hijaz and further to the borders of Yemen and to the borders of the land of the Byzantines. After Solomon, the tribes split into two dynasties. One of the dynasties was that of the ten tribes in the region of Nablus, the capital of which is Samaria (Sabastiyah), and the other that of the children of Judah and Benjamin in Jerusalem. Their royal authority had had an uninterrupted duration of a thousand years.[65] »</div>

Sub-Saharan AfricaEdit

Ibn Khaldūn's description of the various Sub-Saharan African states:

The Western Sahel:

Many translations of Ibn Khaldun were translated during the colonial era in order to fit the colonial propaganda machine.[66] The Negro land of the Arabs Examined and Explained was written in 1841 and gives excerpts of older translations that were not part of colonial propaganda:

When the conquest of the West (by the Arabs) was completed, and merchants began to penetrate into the interior, they saw no nation of the Blacks so mighty as Ghanah, the dominions of which extended westward as far as the Ocean. The King's court was kept in the city of Ghanah, which, according to the author of the Book of Roger (El Idrisi), and the author of the Book of Roads and Realms (El Bekri), is divided into two parts, standing on both banks of the Nile, and ranks among the largest and most populous cities of the world. The people of Ghanah had for neighbours, on the east, a nation, which, according to historians, was called Susu; after which came another named Mali; and after that another known by the name of Kaukau; although some people prefer a different orthography, and write this name Kagho. The last-named nation was followed by a people called Tekrur. The people of Ghanah declined in course of time, being overwhelmed or absorbed by the Molaththemun (or muffled people; that is, the Morabites), who, adjoining them on the north towards the Berber country, attacked them, and, taking possession of their territory, compelled them to embrace the Mohammedan religion. The people of Ghanah, being invaded at a later period by the Susu, a nation of Blacks in their neighbourhood, were exterminated, or mixed with other Black nations. [[67]]

Ibn Khaldun suggests a link between the decline of Ghana and rise of the Almoravids. However, there is little evidence of there actually being an Almoravid conquest of Ghana[[68]][69] Of those further south of Ghana he writes (it should be noted that the English translation of the text used the word "Negro" as a translation for the Arabic world "Zanj"),

To the south of this...there is a Negro people called Lamlam. They are unbelievers. They brand themselves on the face and temples. The people of Ghanah and Takrur invade their country, capture them, and sell them to merchants who transport them to the Maghrib. There, they constitute the ordinary mass of slaves. Beyond them to the south, there is no civilization in the proper sense. There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves and eat herbs and unprepared grain. They frequently eat each other. They cannot be considered human beings.[70]


In the middle of the first zone along the Nile, lie the countries of the Nubah and the Abyssinians and some of the oases down to Assuan. A settled part of the Nubah country is the city of Dongola, west of the Nile. Beyond it are 'Alwah 83 and Yulaq.84 Beyond them, a six days' journey north of Yulaq, is the mountain of the cataracts. This is a mountain which rises to a great height on the Egyptian side but is much less elevated on the side of the country of the Nubah, The Nile cuts through it and flows down precipitately in tremendous cascades for a long distance. Boats cannot get through. Cargoes from the Sudanese boats are taken off and carried on pack animals to Assuan at the entrance to Upper Egypt. In the same way, the cargoes of the boats from Upper Egypt are carried over the cataracts. The distance from the cataracts to Assuan is a twelve day's journey. The oases on the west bank of the Nile there are now in ruins. They show traces of ancient settlement.

Abyssinia (Ethiopia):

In the middle of the first zone, in its fifth section, is the country of the Abyssinians, through which a river flows, which comes from beyond the equator and 85 flows toward the land of the Nubah, where it flows into the Nile and so on down into Egypt. Many people have held fantastic opinions about it and thought that it was part of the Nile of the Qumr (Mountain of the Moon). Ptolemy mentioned it in the Geography. He mentioned that it did not belong to the Nile.[71]



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External linksEdit

ar:مقدمة ابن خلدون bs:Mukadima es:Muqaddima fa:مقدمه ابن خلدون fr:Muqaddima ja:歴史序説 tr:Mukaddime

The Muqaddimah

THE ORIGINAL "introduction" (muqaddimah) to Ibn Khaldun's great History covers only a few pages (below, pp. 15-68). As is customary in Muslim historical works, these introductory pages contain a eulogy of history. This is followed by a discussion, illustrated with historical examples, of errors historians have committed and the reasons for them. One of these is a principal reason why even great historians occasionally err, namely, their ignorance of changes in the environment within which history unfolds. The remainder of what is now called the Muqaddimah originally constituted the first book of the History, and was designed to prove this thesis. It was intended to elucidate the fundamental principles of all history, which determine the true historian's reconstruction of the past.

However, during its author's lifetime the original introduction and the first book became an independent work known under the title of Muqaddimah. In the 1394 edition of his Autobiography, Ibn Khaldun speaks of the first book of his History in this way. At the same time, the table of contents prefixed to our oldest manuscripts of the Muqaddimah states that "this first book went by the name of Muqaddimah until (that name) came to be a characteristic proper name for it." Thus, it is not surprising that, in a late addition to the Muqaddimah itself, Ibn Khaldun refers to it as the Muqaddimah 87 and that he gave lectures exclusively devoted to it 88 To all later ages, Muqaddimah was the title almost universally used.

With respect to its literary form, the Muqaddimah would not seem to deserve unqualified praise.89 Like the last two volumes of the History, it is Ibn Khaldun's original creation in the main; it is not influenced by the literary character of its sources, as is frequently the case in Muslim historical writing and as is the case with the middle volumes of Ibn Khaldun's work. The Muqaddimah was written in the precise, cultured speech that was used in academic discussion by Ibn Khaldun, his friends, and his contemporaries in the Muslim West. This language is as much, or as little, down-to-earth as the formal speech of the educated anywhere in the world tends to be. Both the language and the style of the Muqaddimah clearly reflect the discursive manner of the academic lecturer, concerned primarily with an audience that is listening to him, and driving his points home viva voce. A large segment of Muslim literature was influenced in style and content by classroom needs; thus, it became customary and easy for an author to use the lecture style even when not writing for school use or for a listening audience. This was the case when Ibn Khaldun wrote the Muqaddimah, quite apart from the consideration that he used the work later as a textbook for lectures.

Another factor to make for prolixity was Ibn Khaldun's use of a new terminology that was largely his own. Since the reader, or listener, could not be assumed to be acquainted with it, it required constant repetition and redefinition. In addition, there was the old problem of proper cross-referencing which the manuscript literature prior to the invention of printing was never able to solve.90 Since it was difficult to refer to some previous statement briefly and unambiguously, it always seemed safer for an author to repeat the same information as often as his exposition might require. In consequence, Ibn Khaldun's style often appears to be redundant. It may even be said that the Muqaddimah could easily be reduced to about half its size and would then be a much more readable work, especially to readers unable to savor the richness of the original language or unwilling to follow all the nuances and subtle variations in the workings of a great scholar's mind.

Nevertheless, as a glance at the Table of Contents shows, the Muqaddimah is logically organized and follows its subject rigorously through to the end. The work begins with man's physical environment and its influence upon him, and his nonphysical characteristics. This is followed by a discussion of primitive social organization, the character of leadership in it, and the relationship of primitive human societies with each other, as well as their relationship to the higher, urban form of society. Then the government of the state, the highest form of human social organization, is discussed in general and that of the caliphate, the special Muslim case, in particular; this part includes a discussion of how changes come about in the dynasties charged with the administration of a given state. Then the author turns to urban life as the most developed form of human association and civilization. Finally, much space is devoted to higher civilization, to commerce, the crafts, and the sciences, considered both as conditions and consequences of urban life and, as such, indispensable for the understanding of history. A better form of presentation for Ibn Khaldun's ideas and material could hardly be imagined.

As a scholarly craftsman, Ibn Khaldun proves his mettle in miniature sketches of the historical development of the various crafts and sciences. His information, based upon his teachers' instruction, was rather restricted, especially in comparison with the vast amount of Arabic literature from all periods that the modern scholar has at his disposal. For the early epochs of Muslim literature, Ibn Khaldun usually depended upon the traditional information contained in a few classics, without attempting to verify it, and he did not hesitate to jump from the oldest times directly to periods nearer his own. The results, therefore, often seem superficial and rather arbitrary to modern scholarship. They are, however, deceptively convincing, even though they do not always stand up to the scrutiny of a much later stage of scholarship, and thus testify to the insight, vigor, and skill of Ibn Khaldun.

Another measure of Ibn Khaldun's scholarly craftsmanship is the way he handles the quotations that he inserts in his work. They run the gamut from reliability to unreliability, from doubly checked, exact quotations to vague and inaccurate allusions from memory. At the one extreme, for instance, is the text of Tapir's long Epistle to his son.91 Ibn Khaldun first quoted it from Ibn alAthir's History. Then he checked and corrected it, although, it seems, rather haphazardly, against the text quoted in the Annals by at-Tabari, whom he rightly held in the highest esteem 92 The Annals do, in fact, contain the original text of Tahir's Epistle, which Ibn al-Athir had taken over into his work. Whenever Ibn Khaldun doubted the reliability of his manuscript source for a quotation, he had no illusions about the matter, nor did he leave his readers in the dark.93

At the other extreme, there are general references that profess to indicate the contents of a work but fail to do so correctly. One such is the reference to a book by Ibn 'Arabi.94 There are references that cannot be located, at least not at the place cited. These were clearly quotations from memory,95 and even the best-trained memory cannot always be trusted. The circumstances under which the Muqaddimah was composed in the seclusion of Qal'at Ibn Salamah, explain, of course, such lapses; but Ibn Khaldun certainly had many opportunities later on to correct other quotations, as he corrected that of Tahir's Epistle, and yet he failed to do so.

Further, there are summary references to a number of sources for the same subject, none of them quite accurate. There are quotations that reproduce their source exactly, and others that render the meaning of the source correctly but take some liberty in the wording, mainly by shortening the original. In general, Ibn Khaldun most frequently used this last procedure, which the nature of his material demanded, in particular, in the historical presentation.

While the form of the Muqaddimah and the scholarly details of its composition are not without significance for the proper appreciation of the work and its author, its main interest is as a contribution to human thought. Brief summary of the contents hardly does it justice. Much of its value lies in the light it sheds upon details in Ibn Khaldun's political, sociological, economic, and philosophic thinking. The complete text as provided in the following pages is a better guide to the meaning of the work than any summary presentation. Therefore, only a few leading ideas of Ibn Khaldun's system are here singled out for remark.

The center of Ibn Khaldun's world is man, in the same sense that for most Muslim historians and philosophers he is the center of speculation.

Greek geography as it had been transmitted to the Muslims taught that man is dependent on his physical environment; it must provide physical conditions that enable him to sustain life. The extreme north and the extreme south are too cold or too hot for human beings to exist there. The best conditions are offered in the middle regions of the earth between its northern and southern extremes. The physical environment also influences man's character, his appearance, and his customs, in accordance with differences in the climate and fertility of given areas.96

Beyond man, there is the supernatural, which has many different manifestations. It extends from the sublime realm of the omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal Muslim Deity - for the supreme oneness and intellectuality of Graeco-Muslim philosophy had become hardly distinguishable from the monotheistic God - down to the most primitive magic and superstition. Ibn Khaldun sincerely believed in the reality of all the supernatural's manifestations. Muslim religious tradition firmly supported him in this attitude; not only belief in the divine aspect of the supernatural, but also belief in magic, were parts of the religious credo, as the Qur'an and alleged facts of Muhammad's life both attest. The famous Risalah of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, a brief textbook on Malikite jurisprudence, for instance, presupposes the reality of sorcery, the evil eye, and the divinatory power of dreams. On the other hand, it repudiates astrology as being incompatible with Islam.97 Ibn Khaldun studied this work in his youth and almost certainly must have known it by heart.

However, despite his belief in the reality of the supernatural, Ibn Khaldun relegated its influence to a realm outside of, or beyond, the ordinary course of human affairs. Magic and sorcery existed for him, though he contended that much fraud and sleight of hand enter into their actual practice, as he knew from his own experience and from hearsay. Astrology and alchemy, on the other hand, do not exist; their claims can be disproved by rational arguments. Notwithstanding the reality of some of the black arts, they do not interfere in the processes of human history and are in no way able to do so.

Similarly, Ibn Khaldun restricted the influence of the Divine to the extraordinary in human affairs. It may manifest itself occasionally in psychological attitudes; for instance, psychological factors can be more decisive for the outcome of a battle than numbers and equipment. However, the divine influence on human affairs shows itself mainly in an unusual, rare "extra push," in the added impetus to greatness that it may provide. Religious fervor and the appearance of prophets, who, incidentally, cannot succeed in this world without concrete political support, can intensify and accelerate political movements. History offers instances of this, the most prominent one being the phenomenal, superhuman success of Islam.

Thus, supernatural influence upon human affairs in one way or another was for Ibn Khaldun an established, indubitable fact. However, he thought of it as out of the ordinary and not as a necessity in the historical drama, the processes of which may go on unfolding without ever being disturbed by it. In this sense, Ibn Khaldun's philosophy can be called secular, as scholars have occasionally described it. His secularism does not imply, however, any opposition to the supernatural world, let alone disavowal of it; to him its existence was as certain as anything observed by means of his senses. In his mind the only matter for inquiry was the degree of relationship between man and the supernatural. The civilization in which Ibn Khaldun lived was permeated with a tradition of mysticism many centuries old. Ibn Khaldun was inclined to consider constant and active contact with the Divine to be primarily the prerogative of the individual, and to acknowledge no more than a casual relationship between the supernatural and the forms of human social organization.

To explain the origins of human social organization, man's first step in his historical career, Ibn Khaldun adopted a theory that Muslim philosophy had already, fairly generally, accepted. As he himself tells us,98 the view had developed in discussion of a particular religious problem, namely, that of the necessity of prophecy. But it is characteristic of the working of his mind, that Ibn Khaldun generalized and secularized the applicability of this deeply pessimistic theory. Man, with his God-given power of thinking, is acknowledged to be at the pinnacle of an ascending world order which progresses from minerals, plants, and animals toward human beings. Basically, however, man is an animal, and human organization starts from the realization that, if left to his own animal instincts, man would eat man.99

Ibn Khaldun found this theory expounded in two great works by Avicenna, the Kitab ash-Shifd' and its abridged version, the Kitab an-Najdh.100 A full elaboration appeared in the large philosophical encyclopedia compiled by the thirteenth-century writer ash-Shahrazuri. In all probability, this work was never available to Ibn Khaldun. Nonetheless, since ash-Shahrazuri's statement is close to the spirit of Ibn Khaldun's thinking, it is worth quoting here. As in Avicenna's works, the theory of the origins of human social organization is presented in the form of premises for proving the existence of prophecy: 101

(1) The individual human being cannot accomplish all the things that are necessary for his livelihood, unless he has co-operation from someone else. He needs food, clothing, shelter, and weapons, not only for himself, but also for his wives, his children, his servants, and his dependent relatives. All the things mentioned are technical matters. In order to learn them, a man by himself would require a longer time than the time he could keep alive without these things. Assuming that he could (somehow manage) to live (on his own), it would be (only) with great difficulty and trouble. He would not be able to obtain the various kinds of intellectual perfection (that are the goal of humanity). Thus, of necessity there must exist a group the members of which cooperate to acquire many different crafts and (technical) skills. In this way, each individual accomplishes something from which his fellow men can profit. Full cooperation will (in this way) materialize, and the life of the human species and of other animal species will reach perfection. . . . The sages called this social organization "urbanization" (tamaddun, from Greek poliz, town). Therefore, they said "man is political by nature." (This is to be understood) in the sense that he needs this kind of social organization in order to live, to provide for his own livelihood, to improve his situation in this world, and to perfect his soul for the next world.

(II) The proper order of such social organization, which is political and based upon co-operation, can materialize only when there exists mutual intercourse governed by justice among the people, because (otherwise) each individual would want all the needed benefits for himself and would come to grief in conflict with the others competing with him for them... .

(III) This religious law must have (as its founder) a person who lays down all these general norms... .

In contrast to ash-Shahrazuri, Ibn Khaldun does not consider religious inspiration a requirement for the person charged with keeping people from devouring each other. Any individual in a position to exercise a restraining influence upon his fellow men will do; besides, on the highest moral plane, there exist individuals with native ability for such a role in society. A person with such restraining influence upon others is called wazi by Ibn Khaldun. The term, and the idea implied, is borrowed from the literature of traditions (of the Prophet and the early Muslims). According to this literature, al-Hasan (al-Basri), upon being appointed judge, had remarked that people cannot do without wazi's; one of the explanations for wazi' in this context is "the ruler and his men who keep the people apart." 102

The ability to think, God's special gift to man, is the particular human quality or innate gift that enables human beings to cooperate. Among the other animals, cooperation can be observed only on a very restricted scale. As a rule they are stronger than man, because they possess sharp teeth, claws, etc. To compensate man for lacking this type of physical endowment, he was given the ability to think, and his hands serve him as skillful instruments for executing his ideas.

As soon as several human beings, with their God-given power of thinking, begin to cooperate with each other and to form some kind of social organization, umran results. Umran (translated here as "civilization") is one of the key terms in Ibn Khaldun's system. It is derived from a root which means "to build up, to cultivate," and is used to designate any settlement above the level of individual savagery. In Ibn Khaldun's time and place, ruins left by many great and prosperous cities attested to the prior existence of high civilization; it could be seen that large agglomerations of human beings had been stopped in their growth and expansion by geographical factors. Thus, Ibn Khaldun naturally arrived at the idea (which, incidentally, seems to be by and large correct) that progress in civilization is in direct proportion to the number of people co-operating for their common good. Thus, umran acquired the further meaning of "population," and Ibn Khaldun frequently uses the word in this sense. Wherever people are cooperating with each other, no matter on how limited a scale, there is 'umran. When the number of these people increases, a larger and better umran results. This growth in numbers, with a corresponding progress in civilization, finally culminates in the highest form of sedentary culture man is able to achieve; it declines from this peak when the number of cooperating people decreases.

The two fundamentally different environments in which all human co-operation takes place and the forms of social organization develop, were distinguished by Ibn Khaldun as "desert, desert life" (badawah, cf. Bedouins) and "town, sedentary environment." The literal translation of badawah and cognate words by "desert (Bedouins)" requires some explanation, as it only partially expresses the concept Ibn Khaldun had in mind when he used these words. Ibn Khaldun was familiar with the essential characteristics of nomadism, and often stressed the detriment to higher civilization inherent in the Bedouin way of life. In this connection, he used badawah to express the concept of nomadism. However, in Arabic as spoken outside the Arabian peninsula, the term badawah was applied to the largely sedentary rural people living at some distance from the great population centers, and Ibn Khaldun preferably used it in this sense. Thus, by referring to "desert, Bedouins" and "settled area, sedentary urban people," Ibn Khaldun did not consciously make a distinction between nomadism and sedentary life as sociological phenomena. He simply grouped together nomads and (sedentary) backwoods people, on the one hand, and contrasted them with sedentary urban people as inhabitants of large population centers, on the other. Ibn Khaldun's "Bedouins" were not, as a rule, nomads living in the desert, but dwelt chiefly in villages, and practiced agriculture and animal husbandry for a livelihood. It must also not be forgotten that, in Ibn Khaldun's experience, the term "urban population" did not have the same meaning as it has today. Cities in his day permitted, and required, a good deal of agricultural activity. In Ibn Khaldun's thinking, the sociological distinction amounts to no more than a quantitative distinction as to the size and density of human settlements.

The question arises: What causes differences in the size of human settlements? If all the elements in nature existed in the same quantity and strength, none greater or lesser, stronger or weaker, than another, there would be no mixture, no creation nor generation. Correspondingly, did all human beings share equally the urge and need for co-operation, there would be no difference in the quality or size of the resulting human social organizations. There must be some factor that causes such differences as do exist, some incitement for the desire for co-operation to exist on a larger scale among some human beings than among others. Only thus can large states have originated.

That some such factor exists, Ibn Khaldun recognized and called 'asabiyah "group feeling." 103 Arab lexicographers correctly connect the term with the word asabah "agnates." Thus, it originally signified something like "making common cause with one's agnates." 104 However, in Ibn Khaldun's mind the term appears to have been associated with the related words isdbah and Qur'anic usbah, both meaning "group" in a more general sense.105 The group with which a human being feels most closely connected is primarily that of his relatives, the people with whom he shares a common descent. But as a feeling and a state of mind the asabiyah can also be shared by people not related to each other by blood ties but by long and close contact as members of a group.

Ibn Khaldun's use of the term is noteworthy because it has been much used in Muslim literature in a different meaning. Islam generally condemned 'asabiyah as a quality and state of mind. It is traditionally considered to mean "bias," or, more specifically, blind support of one's group without regard for the justice of its cause.106 As such, any show of asabiyah is depreciated as an atavistic survival of the pagan, pre-Islamic mentality. Ibn Khaldun, of course, was fully aware of this customary usage. In a locus classicus 107 he discriminates between an objectionable pagan asabiyah and "the natural asabiyah that is inseparable (from human beings). The latter is the affection a man feels for a brother or a neighbor when one of them is treated unjustly or killed. Nothing can take it away. It is not forbidden (by Muslim religious law). On the contrary, it is something desirable and useful in connection with the holy war and with propaganda for Islam."

There are a few passages in other writers where asabiyah is similarly spoken of as a praiseworthy quality. Thus, from his own reading, Ibn Khaldun knew that on one occasion the historian Ibn al-Athir employed asabiyah in the meaning of "giving helpful group support to anyone who needed and claimed it." 108 He was also aware that asabiyah could be applied to praiseworthy emotions, e.g. patriotism, in which case, as Ibn al-Khatib had said,109 asabiyah was then inoffensive to either religion or worldly rank. Still, it cannot as yet be determined just how original and daring Ibn Khaldun was when he gave the term the positive meaning he did. It is uncertain to what degree he may have followed the example of the intellectual circle in which he moved, and whose backing he received. Jurisprudence stressed the privileged position agnates had in many respects, but it remains to be seen whether the juridical literature ever discussed the abstract concept of asabiyah in this context. Possibly, Ibn Khaldun got some support from this quarter.110 At any rate, so far as our present knowledge goes, it seems that his use of the term asabiyah in so positive a sense is his most original single intellectual contribution to the Muqaddimah.

Preponderance of 'asabiyah renders one group superior to others; it also determines leadership within a given group. The leading or ruling element within one or more groups will be that person or, more frequently, that family, the importance and ramifications of whose blood relationships give them the strongest and most natural claim to control of the available asabiyahs. And no group can retain its predominance, nor any leader his dominant position in the group, when their former asabiyah is no longer there to support them.

The leader who controls an 'asabiyah of sufficient strength and importance may succeed in founding a dynasty and in winning mulk, "royal authority," for himself and his family. In Ibn Khaldun's vocabulary, the word for both "dynasty" and "state" is dawlah, although the idea of "state" also finds approximate expression in the occasional use of such terms as amr and kalimah.111 In Ibn Khaldun's view of history, according to which the whole world and everything in it depends upon man, there is no room for an abstract concept of "the state." A state exists only in so far as it is held together and ruled by individuals and the group which they constitute, that is, the dynasty. When the dynasty disappears, the state, being identical with it, also comes to an end.

According to Ibn Khaldun, the described process of the formation of states does not apply to the early Muslim state. Early Muslim history, with its concept of a pure, unworldly type of state, represented by the first four caliphs, must be considered an exception to the law of 'asabiyah that governs the formation of states in general. However, this particular case represents one of the rare interventions of the supernatural in human affairs. Therefore, Ibn Khaldun was able to follow the orthodox Muslim view of early Islamic history (and of the recurrence of the early conditions at a later date in the days of the Mahdi as well), and felt justified in dealing extensively with the caliphate and its institutions, even though they were, for him, entirely atypical.

Since the founding of a dynasty or state involves large numbers of people, it is, of necessity, linked to the most developed stage of 'umran, that in which it becomes hadarah "sedentary culture." A dynasty requires large cities and towns and makes their existence possible; in turn, they permit the development of luxury. According to the philosophic ideas mentioned above as to the origins of man's social organization, all human activities are undertaken to enable the individual to preserve his life and to secure his livelihood. To that end, each man has to contribute his labor, which is his only basic capital, to satisfy the fundamental needs of his group. When there is a large number of human beings, a large amount of labor, even an excess supply of it, becomes available. A certain amount of labor may then be channeled into the production of things and the provision of services that are scarcely necessities but may be called "conveniences." Finally, the available pool of excess manpower is large enough to permit the cultivation of crafts that serve no actual need but are concerned with mere luxuries.112 Once this stage in the development of civilization is reached, man is able to develop the sciences which, although they do not produce any material object or immediate gain, nonetheless constitute fulfillment of mankind's higher and truly human aspirations in the domains of the spirit and the intellect.

This development towards luxury carries its own penalty with it in the form of causing degeneration. The pristine simplicity and rudeness of manners (often called "desert life" and "desert attitude") that flourished in small human organizations, become corroded.113 Obviously, Ibn Khaldun had a lingering and rather sentimental admiration for "the good old days" when Arab civilization was imbued with the desert attitude. However, he fully recognized the superiority of sedentary culture, the goal of all of man's efforts to become civilized, and was resigned to the inevitability of the development leading to and past it.

The principal victim of this inevitable tendency towards luxury is state and dynasty. Like an individual, the dynasty is endowed with a natural span of life. It runs its full course in three generations-"from shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves," so to speak. It passes from obscurity through power and wealth back into obscurity. Three interrelated factors produce this development and accelerate the eventual "senile decay" of the dynasty: indulgence in luxury, loss of asabiyah, and financial trouble.114 The desire of the ruling group to gain exclusive control over all the sources of power and wealth brings about strained relations and, eventually, a fatal estrangement between the dynasty and the men whose asabiyah supports and maintains it. Its members thus come to need military support from outside sources, and must have money to procure it. Further, their growing addiction to luxurious habits also requires more and more money. To raise the needed sums, they must increase the tax load and try to open up new sources of revenue. Finally, the point of diminishing returns is reached in tax collections and other schemes for securing added revenues.

As a jurist, Ibn Khaldun was naturally much interested in questions of government finance and business matters. The Muslim legal and economic literature in our possession clearly reflects the great practical importance assigned these questions in juridical activity. Yet, this literature is dominated by theoretical considerations and is greatly inclined to follow traditional forms. It is far from containing complete information about the innumerable aspects of financial and economic life that occupied the day-by-day attention of lawyers and jurists and were discussed in academic legal circles. Written formulations of legal questions were largely obliged to follow theoretical lines; practical economic and financial matters were not considered worthy of being treated in books. Thus, Ibn Khaldun's attention to practical questions in a literary work showed admirable boldness. He succeeded in giving a picture of the role of capital and labor in society that not only does credit to his acumen, but bears witness to the high level the legal circles of his time had reached in their understanding of these matters.

In the course of its rapid progress toward senility and final collapse, the dynasty loses control of its own destiny. Often the ruler becomes a ruler in name only, controlled by some outsider who is not a member of the dynasty but who wields the actual power. However, there are limitations to the outsider's sway since no asabiyah ("group feeling") sustains him. Thus, as a rule, he is unable to take over complete authority; eventually he may supersede the dynasty by founding one of his own. To achieve this, however, the challenging person or group must be fired and propelled by possession of a new asabiyah.

All dynastic history moves in circles. As it approaches senility, the dynasty slowly shrinks inwards from its borders toward its center, under the persistent pressure of the new "outside" leader and his group. Eventually, the ruling dynasty collapses. The new leader and his group thereupon constitute a new dynasty, which takes power -only to suffer, in three more generations, the fate of its predecessors.

Here, another problem arises. How, under these conditions, can the survival of any higher civilization be explained? In the first place, there is the great and inevitable attraction of a higher civilization for people on a lower level. Defeated peoples always show a strong tendency towards imitating the customs of their conquerors in every detail. While still struggling against the ruling dynasty, and during the first period of their power after having displaced it, the less civilized groups take over some of the advantages of civilization that the ruling dynasty had possessed. Thus, they do not start completely afresh, and some of the gains of the older civilization, at least, are preserved. Ibn Khaldun's answer to the problem of how all higher civilization is preserved lies in the word malakah "habit." Malakah is a loan-translation of the Greek exiz, which also was translated into the Latin habitus, from which our "habit" is derived."' Through continuous repetition, an individual may master a craft or a science, thus making it his "habit." This even explains the knowledge of the Arabic language with which the Arabs of former times were born, but which had to be acquired as a "habit" by later generations. Once a person has acquired the "habit" of a craft or science, it is difficult, if not impossible, for him to master another; but mastery of the first habit remains with him permanently. Since the acquisition of habits is a matter of education, they can be passed on to others who aspire to them, provided that proper methods of education and instruction are known and that their exercise does not lapse during political upheavals. Thus, we have an explanation for the survival of past civilizations, though it may manifest itself only in minor remnants and in certain customs and practices that can be recognized as cultural survivals only by the trained observer.

In Ibn Khaldun's orthodox Muslim environment, it was believed that human intellectual power was always constant and capable of producing the highest civilization at any given time. Therefore, Ibn Khaldun could hardly have assumed that steady progress in human civilization was possible or even necessary. There was, however, another widespread popular notion in his time. Nations of earlier times were believed to have been better endowed physically for achieving a high and materially splendid civilization than contemporary nations. Ibn Khaldun felt compelled to refute this notion as emphatically as possible. In his opinion it was merely the decay of political organization and the power of government that gave his contemporaries the impression that the civilization of their day was inferior to that of the past. In fact, in Ibn Khaldun's thinking, there could be no essential difference between the faculties and achievements of former and contemporary generations, for political and cultural life was moving in never ending, always repeated circles.

After this brief survey of some leading ideas in the Muqaddimah, we may ask what the sources are from which Ibn Khaldun drew inspiration and information for his comprehensive picture of human society. He himself acknowledged his great indebtedness to the Muslim literature of political administration and the Furstenspiegel. In particular, he referred to al-Mawardi's Ahkdm as-sultaniyah, a rather theoretical compilation of basic data on political law and administration, and to the Furstenspiegel of the Spaniard at-Turtushi, a mediocre achievement compared with other works of its kind but still containing much relevant material. Ibn Khaldun's references to these two works seem to be from memory: he certainly was familiar with their contents, but he may not have looked into them for some years when he composed the Muqaddimah. In addition to this type of works whose general influence he rightly stressed, Ibn Khaldun often indicates the sources from which he derived specific pieces of information.

Much of his material and many of his best ideas Ibn Khaldun owed to his juridical training. In particular, discussions of legal matters with his teachers, fellow students, and colleagues must have contributed greatly to his knowledge. A search for other works in which the material of such oral discussions might have been preserved would not, presumably, be too successful. For, as stated before, Muslim juridical literature is predominantly theoretical in spirit and traditional in form; furthermore, manuscript literature in general is selective and reluctant to admit new disciplines or topics. Each new written work must repeat all or nearly all of the material previously known, else that material would be lost. For all these reasons, we should not expect to find many echoes of the oral exchange of ideas between Ibn Khaldun and his friends, or among lawyers of other periods, in the legal literature.

Moreover, owing to well-known historical circumstances, the amount of Arabic literature from Spain and northwest Africa still extant is proportionally much smaller than that of the Muslim East. We know very little of the Western writings of Ibn Khaldun's time or from the period immediately preceding.116 Under these circumstances, we should perhaps be justified in assuming that practically every matter of detail found in the Muqaddimah was probably not original with Ibn Khaldun, but had been previously expressed elsewhere. Even his characterization of `asabIyah as a positive factor in society, or his demand for knowledge of social conditions as prerequisite to the historian's correct evaluation of historical information, although seemingly original ideas, may have been inspired by a source yet to be rediscovered.

Our evidence does not permit us to attribute a great amount of originality to Ibn Khaldun so far as the details of his work are concerned. Yet, he was right when he claimed that the Muqaddimah was profoundly original and constituted a new departure in scholarly research. Its originality in the intellectual sense is obvious. The Muqaddimah re-evaluates, in an altogether unprecedented way, practically every single individual manifestation of a great and highly developed civilization. It accomplishes this both comprehensively and in detail in the light of one fundamental and sound insight, namely, by considering everything as a function of man and human social organization.

How Ibn Khaldun conceived this idea is a question that will probably never be answered, at least not until we learn much more about the workings of the minds of exceptionally gifted individuals. The circumstances of his life gave him the external qualifications needed for the writing of a work like the Muqaddimah, and there were other factors that created a favorable atmosphere for its production. It is true that Ibn Khaldun used comparatively few direct examples from contemporary history. This fact becomes still more apparent if one compares the Muqaddimah with Machiavelli's Il Principe (though the two works are so different in scope and outlook that they should hardly be mentioned in the same breath). The Principe is full of events its author had witnessed in his own time, while Ibn Khaldun was more used to deductive than to inductive reasoning. Moreover, as an active politician, he probably felt it necessary to exercise the greatest care in interpreting contemporary events while the chief actors were still alive or while their power remained with their descendants. However, he had wide political experience and a happy ability to view the contemporary political happenings of northwestern Africa with the detachment of a spiritual foreigner, forever comparing them in his own mind with the greatness of his own Spanish homeland.117

But surely there must have been others, perhaps many others, who were similarly situated, and yet did not write a Muqaddimah. As it is, we can hardly do better than to state simply that here was a man with a great mind, who combined action with thought, the heir to a great civilization that had run its course, and the inhabitant of a country with a living historical tradition -albeit reduced to remnants of its former greatness-who realized his own gifts and the opportunities of his historical position in a work that ranks as one of mankind's important triumphs.

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THE SERVANT of God who needs the mercy of God who is so rich in His kindness, 'Abd-ar-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Khaldun al-Hadrami-God give him success!-says:1 Praised be God! He is powerful and mighty. In His hand, He holds royal authority and kingship.2 His are the most beautiful names and attributes. His knowledge is such that nothing, be it revealed in secret whispering or (even) left unsaid, remains strange to Him. His power is such that nothing in heaven and upon earth is too much for Him or escapes Him.

He created us from the earth as living, breathing creatures. He made us to settle3 on it as races and nations. From it, He provided sustenance and provisions for us.

The wombs of our mothers and houses are our abode. Sustenance and food keep us alive. Time wears us out. Our lives' final terms, the dates of which have been fixed for us in the book (of destiny), claim us. But He lasts and persists. He is the Living One who does not die.

Prayer and blessings upon our Lord and Master, Muhammad, the Arab4 prophet, whom Torah and Gospel have mentioned and described;5 him for whose birth the world that is was (already) in labor before Sundays were following upon Saturdays in regular sequence and before Saturn and Behemoth had become separated;6 him to whose truthfulness pigeon and spider bore witness.7

(Prayer and blessings) also upon his family and the men around him who by being his companions8 and followers gained wide influence and fame and who by supporting him found unity while their enemies were weakened through dispersion. Pray, O God, for him and them, for as long as Islam shall continue to enjoy its lucky fortune and the frayed rope of unbelief shall remain cut! Give manifold blessings (to him and them)!


HISTORY is a discipline widely cultivated among nations and races. It is eagerly sought after. The men in the street, the ordinary people, aspire to know it. Kings and leaders vie for it.

Both the learned and the ignorant are able to understand it. For on the surface history is no more than information about political events, dynasties, and occurrences of the remote past, elegantly presented and spiced with proverbs. It serves to entertain large, crowded gatherings and brings to us an understanding of human affairs. (It shows) how changing conditions affected (human affairs), how certain dynasties came to occupy an ever wider space in the world, and how they settled the earth until they heard the call and their time was up.

The inner meaning of history, on the other hand, involves speculation and an attempt to get at the truth, subtle explanation of the causes and origins of existing things, and deep knowledge of the how and why of events. (History,) therefore, is firmly rooted in philosophy. It deserves to be accounted a branch of (philosophy).9

The outstanding Muslim historians made exhaustive collections of historical events and wrote them down in book form. But, then, persons who had no right to occupy themselves with history introduced into those books untrue gossip which they had thought up or freely invented, as well as false, discredited reports which they had made up or embellished. Many of their successors followed in their steps and passed that information on to us as they had heard it. They did not look for, or pay any attention to, the causes of events and conditions, nor did they eliminate or reject nonsensical stories.

Little effort is being made to get at the truth. The critical eye, as a rule, is not sharp. Errors and unfounded assumptions are closely allied and familiar elements in historical information. Blind trust in tradition is an inherited trait in human beings. Occupation with the (scholarly) disciplines on the part of those who have no right is widespread. But the pasture of stupidity is unwholesome for mankind. No one can stand up against the authority of truth, and the evil of falsehood is to be fought with enlightening speculation. The reporter merely dictates and passes on (the material). It takes critical insight to sort out the hidden truth; it takes knowledge to lay truth bare and polish it so that critical insight may be applied to it.

Many systematic historical works have been composed, and the history of nations and dynasties in the world has been compiled and written down. But there are very few (historians) who have become so well known as to be recognized as authorities, and who have replaced the products of their predecessors by their own works. They can almost be counted on the fingers of the hands; they are hardly more numerous than the vowels in grammatical constructions (which are just three). There are, for instance, Ibn Ishaq; 10 at-Tabari;11 Ibn al-Kalbi;12 Muhammad b. 'Umar al-Wagidi;13 Sayf b. 'Umar al-Asadi;14 al-Mas'udi,15 and other famous (historians) who are distinguished from the general run (of historians) .

It is well known to competent persons and reliable experts that the works of al-Masudi and al-Waqidi are suspect and objectionable in certain respects.16 However, their works have been distinguished by universal acceptance of the information they contain and by adoption of their methods and their presentation of material. The discerning critic is his own judge as to which part of their material he finds spurious, and which he gives credence to. Civilization, in its (different) conditions, contains (different) elements to which historical information may be related and with which reports and historical materials may be checked.

Most of the histories by these (authors) cover everything because of the universal geographical extension of the two earliest Islamic dynasties 17 and because of the very wide selection of sources of which they did or did not make use. Some of these authors, such as al-Mas'idi and historians of his type, gave an exhaustive history of the pre-Islamic dynasties and nations and of other (pre-Islamic) affairs in general. Some later historians, on the other hand, showed a tendency toward greater restriction, hesitating to be so general and comprehensive. They brought together the happenings of their own period and gave exhaustive historical information about their own part of the world. They restricted themselves to the history of their own dynasties and cities. This was done by Ibn Hayyan, the historian of Spain and the Spanish Umayyads,18 and by Ibn ar-Raqiq, the historian of Ifrigiyah and the dynasty in Kairouan (al-Qayrawan).19

The later historians were all tradition-bound and dull of nature and intelligence, or, (at any rate) did not try not to be dull. They merely copied 20 the (older historians) and followed their example. They disregarded the changes in conditions and in the customs of nations and races that the passing of time had brought about. Thus, they presented historical information about dynasties and stories of events from the early period as mere forms without substance, blades without scabbards, as knowledge that must be considered ignorance, because it is not known what of it is extraneous and what is genuine. (Their information) concerns happenings the origins of which are not known. It concerns species the genera of which are not taken into consideration, and whose (specific) differences are not verified.21 With the information they set down they merely repeated historical material which is, in any case, widely known, and followed the earlier historians who worked on it. They neglected the importance of change over the generations in their treatment of the (historical material), because they had no one who could interpret it for them. Their works, therefore, give no explanation for it. When they then turn to the description of a particular dynasty, they report the historical information about it (mechanically) and take care to preserve it as it had been passed on down to them, be it imaginary or true. They do not turn to the beginning of the dynasty. Nor do they tell why it unfurled its banner and was able to give prominence to its emblem, or what caused it to come to a stop when it had reached its term. The student, thus, has still to search for the beginnings of conditions and for (the principles of) organization of (the various dynasties). He must (himself) investigate why the various dynasties brought pressures to bear upon each other and why they succeeded each other. He must search for a convincing explanation of the elements that made for mutual separation or contact among the dynasties. All this will be dealt with in the Introduction to this work.

Other historians, then, came with too brief a presentation (of history). They went to the extreme of being satisfied with the names of kings, without any genealogical or historical information, and with only a numerical indication of the length of reigns.22 This was done by Ibn Rashiq in the Mizan al-'amal,23 and by those lost sheep who followed his method. No credence can be given to what they say. They are not considered trustworthy, nor is their material considered worthy of transmission, for they caused useful material to be lost and damaged the methods and customs acknowledged (as sound and practical) by historians.

When I had read the works of others and probed into the recesses of yesterday and today, I shook myself out of that drowsy complacency and sleepiness. Although not much of a writer,24 I exhibited my own literary ability as well as I could, and, thus, composed a book on history. In (this book) I lifted the veil from conditions as they arise in the various generations. I arranged it in an orderly way in chapters dealing with historical facts and reflections. In it I showed how and why dynasties and civilization originate. I based the work on the history of the two races that constitute the population of the Maghrib at this time and people its various regions and cities, and on that of their ruling houses, both long- and short-lived, including the rulers and allies they had in the past. These two races are the Arabs and the Berbers. They are the two races known to have resided in the Maghrib for such a long time that one can hardly imagine they ever lived elsewhere, for its inhabitants know no other human races.

I corrected the contents of the work carefully and presented it to the judgment of scholars and the elite. I followed an unusual method of arrangement and division into chapters. From the various possibilities, I chose a remarkable and original method. In the work, I commented on civilization, on urbanization, and on the essential characteristics of human social organization, in a way that explains to the reader how and why things are as they are, and shows him how the men who constituted a dynasty first came upon the historical scene. As a result, he will wash his hands of any blind trust in tradition. He will become aware of the conditions of periods and races that were before his time and that will be after it.

I divided the work into an introduction and three books:

The Introduction deals with the great merit of historiography, (offers) an appreciation of its various methods, and cites errors of the historians.

The First Book deals with civilization and its essential characteristics, namely, royal authority, government, gainful occupations, ways of making a living, crafts, and sciences, as well as with the causes and reasons thereof.

The Second Book deals with the history, races, and dynasties of the Arabs, from the beginning of creation down to this time. This will include references to such famous nations and dynasties - contemporaneous with them,25 as the Nabataeans,26 the Syrians, the Persians, the Israelites, the Copts, the Greeks, the Byzantines, and the Turks.

The Third Book deals with the history of the Berbers and of the Zanatah who are part of them; with their origins and races; and, in particular, with the royal authority and dynasties in the Maghrib.

Later on, there was my trip to the East, in order to find out about the manifold illumination it offers and to fulfill the religious duty and custom of circumambulating the Ka'bah and visiting Medina, as well as to study the systematic works and tomes on (Eastern) history. As a result, I was able to fill the gaps in my historical information about the non-Arab (Persian) rulers of those lands, and about the Turkish dynasties in the regions over which they ruled. I added this information to what I had written here (before in this connection). I inserted it into the treatment of the nations of the various districts and rulers of the various cities and regions that were contemporary with those (Persian and Turkish) races. In this connection I was brief and concise and preferred the easy goal to the difficult one. I proceeded from general genealogical (tables)27 to detailed historical information.

Thus, (this work) contains an exhaustive history of the world. It forces stubborn stray wisdom to return to the fold. It gives causes and reasons for happenings in the various dynasties. It turns out to be a vessel for philosophy, a receptacle for historical knowledge. The work contains the history of the Arabs and the Berbers, both the sedentary groups and the nomads. It also contains references to the great dynasties that were contemporary with them, and, moreover, clearly indicates memorable lessons to be learned from early conditions and from subsequent history. Therefore, I called the work "Book of Lessons and Archive of Early and Subsequent History, Dealing with the Political Events Concerning the Arabs, Non-Arabs, and Berbers, and the Supreme Rulers Who Were Contemporary with Them." 28

I omitted nothing concerning the origin of races and dynasties, concerning the synchronism of the earliest nations, concerning the reasons for change and variation in past periods and within religious groups, concerning dynasties and religious groups, towns and hamlets, strength and humiliation, large numbers and small numbers, sciences and crafts, gains and losses, changing general conditions, nomadic and sedentary life, actual events and future events, all things expected to occur in civilization. I treated everything comprehensively and exhaustively and explained the arguments for and causes of it(s existence).

As a result, this book has become unique, as it contains unusual knowledge and familiar if hidden wisdom. Still, after all has been said, I am conscious of imperfection when (I look at) the scholars of (past and contemporary) times.29 I confess my inability to penetrate so difficult a subject. I wish that men of scholarly competence and wide knowledge would look at the book with a critical, rather than a complacent eye, and silently correct and overlook the mistakes they come upon. The capital of knowledge that an individual scholar has to offer is small. Admission (of one's shortcomings) saves from censure. Kindness from colleagues is hoped for. It is God whom I ask to make our deeds acceptable in His sight. He suffices me. He is a good protector.30


The excellence of historiography. -An appreciation of

the various approaches to history. -A glimpse at the different kinds of errors to which historians are liable.

Something about why these errors occur.31

IT SHOULD BE KNOWN that history is a discipline that has a great number of (different) approaches. Its useful aspects are very many. Its goal is distinguished.

(History) makes us acquainted with the conditions of past nations as they are reflected in their (national) character. It makes us acquainted with the biographies of the prophets and with the dynasties and policies of rulers. Whoever so desires may thus achieve the useful result of being able to imitate historical examples in religious and worldly matters.

The (writing 32 of history) requires numerous sources and greatly varied knowledge. It also requires a good speculative mind and thoroughness. (Possession of these two qualities) leads the historian to the truth and keeps him from slips and errors. If he trusts historical information in its plain transmitted form and has no clear knowledge of the principles resulting from custom, the fundamental facts of politics, the nature of civilization, or the conditions governing human social organization, and if, furthermore, he does not evaluate remote or ancient material through comparison with near or contemporary material, he often cannot avoid stumbling and slipping and deviating from the highroad of truth. Historians, Qur'an commentators and leading transmitters have committed frequent errors in the stories and events they reported. They accepted them in the plain transmitted form, without regard for its value. They did not check them with the principles underlying such historical situations, nor did they compare them with similar material. Also, they did not probe (more deeply) with the yardstick of philosophy, with the help of knowledge of the nature of things, or with the help of speculation and historical insight. Therefore, they strayed from the truth and found themselves lost in the desert of baseless assumptions and errors.

This is especially the case with figures, either of sums of money or of soldiers, whenever they occur in stories. They offer a good opportunity for false information and constitute a vehicle for nonsensical statements. They must be controlled and checked with the help of known fundamental facts.

For example, al-Mas'udi and many other historians report that Moses counted the army of the Israelites in the desert.33 He had all those able to carry arms, especially those twenty years and older, pass muster. There turned out to be 600,000 or more. In this connection, (al-Mas'udi) forgets to take into consideration whether Egypt and Syria could possibly have held such a number of soldiers. Every realm may have as large a militia as it can hold and support, but no more. This fact is attested by well-known customs and familiar conditions. Moreover, an army of this size cannot march or fight as a unit. The whole available territory would be too small for it. If it were in battle formation, it would extend two, three, or more times beyond the field of vision. How, then, could two such parties fight with each other, or one battle formation gain the upper hand when one flank does not know what the other flank is doing! The situation at the present day testifies to the correctness of this statement. The past resembles the future more than one (drop of) water another.

Furthermore, the realm of the Persians was much greater than that of the Israelites. This fact is attested by Nebuchadnezzar's victory over them. He swallowed up their country and gained complete control over it. He also destroyed Jerusalem, their religious and political capital. And he was merely one of the officials of the province of Fars.34 It is said that he was the governor of the western border region. The Persian provinces of the two 'Iraqs,35 Khurasan, Transoxania, and the region of Derbend on the Caspian Sea36 were much larger than the realm of the Israelites. Yet, the Persian army did not attain such a number or even approach it. The greatest concentration of Persian troops, at alQadisiyah, amounted to 120,000 men, all of whom had their retainers. This is according to Sayf 37 who said that with their retainers they amounted to over 200,000 persons. According to 'A'ishah and az-Zuhri,38 the troop concentration with which Rustum advanced against Sa'd at al-Qadisiyah amounted to only 60,000 men, all of whom had their retainers.

Then, if the Israelites had really amounted to such a number, the extent of the area under their rule would have been larger, for the size of administrative units and provinces under a particular dynasty is in direct proportion to the size of its militia and the groups that support the (dynasty), as will be explained in the section on provinces in the first book.39 Now, it is well known that the territory of the (Israelites) did not comprise an area larger than the Jordan province and Palestine in Syria and the region of Medina and Khaybar in the Hijaz.40 Also, there were only three generations41 between Moses and Israel, according to the best-informed scholars. Moses was the son of Amram, the son of Kohath (Qahat or Qahit), the son of Levi (Lewi or Lawi),42 the son of Jacob who is Israel-Allah. This is Moses' genealogy in the Torah.43 The length of time between Israel and Moses was indicated by al-Mas'udi when he said: "Israel entered Egypt with his children, the tribes, and their children, when they came to Joseph numbering seventy souls. The length of their stay in Egypt until they left with Moses for the desert was two hundred and twenty years. During those years, the kings of the Copts, the Pharaohs, passed them on (as their subjects) one to the other."44 It is improbable that the descendants of one man could branch out into such a number within four generations.45

It has been assumed that this number of soldiers applied to the time of Solomon and his successors. Again, this is improbable. Between Solomon and Israel, there were only eleven generations, that is: Solomon, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed ('Ubidh, or ' Ufidh), the son of Boaz (Ba'az, or Bu'iz), the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab ('Amminddhab, or Hamminddhab), the son of Ram, the son of Hezron (Had/srun, or Hasran), the son of Perez ( Baras, or Bayras), the son of Judah, the son of Jacob. The descendants of one man in eleven generations would not branch out into such a number, as has been assumed. They might, indeed, reach hundreds or thousands. This often happens. But an increase beyond that to higher figures46 is improbable. Comparison with observable present-day and well-known nearby facts proves the assumption and report to be untrue. According to the definite statement of the Israelite Stories,47 Solomon's army amounted to 12,000 men, and his horses48 numbered 1,400 horses, which were stabled at his palace. This is the correct information. No attention should be paid to nonsensical statements by the common run of informants. In the days of Solomon, the Israelite state saw its greatest flourishing and their realm its widest extension.

Whenever49 contemporaries speak about the dynastic armies of their own or recent times, and whenever they engage in discussions about Muslim or Christian soldiers, or when they get to figuring the tax revenues and the money spent by the government, the outlays of extravagant spenders, and the goods that rich and prosperous men have in stock, they are quite generally found to exaggerate, to go beyond the bounds of the ordinary, and to succumb to the temptation of sensationalism. When the officials in charge are questioned about their armies, when the goods and assets of wealthy people are assessed, and when the outlays of extravagant spenders are looked at in ordinary light, the figures will be found to amount to a tenth of what those people have said. The reason is simple. It is the common desire for sensationalism, the ease with which one may just mention a higher figure, and the disregard of reviewers and critics. This leads to failure to exercise self-criticism about one's errors and intentions, to demand from oneself moderation and fairness in reporting, to reapply oneself to study and research. Such historians let themselves go and made a feast of untrue statements. "They procure for themselves entertaining stories in order to lead (others) astray from the path of God."50 This is a bad enough business.

It 51 may be said that the increase of descendants to such a number would be prevented under ordinary conditions which, however, do not apply to the Israelites. (The increase in their case) would be a miracle in accordance with the tradition which said that one of the things revealed to their forefathers, the prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was that God would cause their descendants to increase until they were more numerous than the stars of heaven and the pebbles of the earth. God fulfilled this promise to them as an act of divine grace bestowed upon them and as an extraordinary miracle in their favor. Thus, ordinary conditions could not hinder (such an event), and nobody should speak against it.

Someone might come out against this tradition (with the argument) that it occurs only in the Torah which, as is well known, was altered by the Jews. (The reply to this argument would be that) the statement concerning the alteration (of the Torah by the Jews) is unacceptable to thorough scholars and cannot be understood in its plain meaning, since custom prevents people who have a (revealed) religion from dealing with their divine scriptures in such a manner. This was mentioned by al-Bukhari in the Sahih.52 Thus, the great increase in numbers in the case of the Israelites would be an extraordinary miracle. Custom, in the proper meaning of the word, would prevent anything of the sort from happening to other peoples.

It is true that a (co-ordinated battle) movement in (such a large group) would hardly be possible, but none took place, and there was no need for one. It is also true that each realm has its particular number of militia (and no more). But the Israelites at first were no militiamen and had no dynasty. Their numbers increased that much, so that they could gain power over the land of Canaan which God had promised them and the territory of which He had purified for them. All these things are miracles. God guides to the truth.

The53 history of the Tubba's, the kings of the Yemen and of the Arabian Peninsula, as it is generally transmitted, is another example of silly statements by historians. It is said that from their home in the Yemen, (the Tubba's) used to raid Ifriqiyah and the Berbers of the Maghrib. Afriqus b. Qays b. Sayfi, one of their great early kings who lived in the time of Moses or somewhat earlier,54 is said to have raided Ifriqiyah. He caused a great slaughter among the Berbers. He gave them the name of Berbers when he heard their jargon and asked what that "barbarah" was.55 This gave them the name which has remained with them since that time. When he left the Maghrib, he is said. to have concentrated some Himyar tribes there. They remained there and mixed with the native population. Their (descendants) are the Sinhajah and the Kutamah. This led at-Tabari, al-Jurjani,56 al-Mas'udi, Ibn al-Kalbi,57 and al-Bayhaqi58 to make the statement that the Sinhajah and the Kutamah belong to the Himyar. The Berber genealogists do not admit this, and they are right. Al-Mas'udi also mentioned that one of the Himyar kings after Afriqus, Dhul-Adh'ar, who lived in the time of Solomon, raided the Maghrib and forced it into submission. Something similar is mentioned by al-Mas'udi concerning his son and successor, Yasir.59 He is said to have reached the Sand River60 in the Maghrib and to have been unable to find passage through it because of the great mass of sand. Therefore, he returned.

Likewise, it is said that the last Tubba',61 As'ad Abu Karib, who lived in the time of the Persian Kayyanid king Yastasb,62 ruled over Mosul and Azerbaijan. He is said to have met and routed the Turks and to have caused a great slaughter among them. Then he raided them again a second and a third time. After that, he is said to have sent three of his sons on raids, (one) against the country of Firs, (one) against the country of the Soghdians, one of the Turkish nations of Transoxania, and (one) against the country of the Rum (Byzantines)63 The first brother took possession of the country up to Samarkand and crossed the desert into China. There, he found his second brother who had raided the Soghdians and had arrived in China before him. The two together caused a great slaughter in China and returned together with their booty. They left some Himyar tribes in Tibet. They have been there down to this time. The third brother is said to have reached Constantinople. He laid siege to it and forced the country of the Rum (Byzantines) into submission. Then, he returned.

All this information is remote from the truth. It is rooted in baseless and erroneous assumptions. It is more like the fiction of storytellers. The realm of the Tubba's was restricted to the Arabian peninsula. Their home and seat was San'a' in the Yemen. The Arabian peninsula is surrounded by the ocean on three sides: the Indian Ocean on the south, the Persian Gulf jutting out of the Indian Ocean to al-Basrah on the east, and the Red Sea jutting out of the Indian Ocean to Suez in Egypt on the west. This can be seen on the map. There is no way from the Yemen to the Maghrib except via Suez. The distance between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean is two days' journey or less. It is unlikely that the distance could be traversed by a great ruler with a large army unless he controlled that region. This, as a rule, is impossible. In that region there were the Amalekites and Canaan in Syria, and, in Egypt, the Copts. Later on, the Amalekites took possession of Egypt, and the Israelites (took possession) of Syria. There is, however, no report that the Tubba's ever fought against one of these nations or that they had possession of any part of this region. Furthermore, the distance from the Yemen to the Maghrib is great, and an army requires much food and fodder. Soldiers traveling in regions other than their own have to requisition grain and livestock and to plunder the countries they pass through. As a rule, such a procedure does not yield enough food and fodder. On the other hand, if they attempted to take along enough provisions from their own region, they would not have enough animals for transportation. So, their whole line of march necessarily takes them through regions they must take possession of and force into submission in order to obtain provisions from them. Again, it would be a most unlikely and impossible assumption that such an army could pass through all those nations without disturbing them, obtaining its provisions by peaceful negotiation. This shows that all such information (about Tubba' expeditions to the Maghrib) is silly or fictitious.

Mention of the (allegedly) impassable Sand River has never been heard in the Maghrib, although the Maghrib has often been crossed and its roads have been explored by travelers and raiders at all times and in every direction.64 Because of the unusual character of the story, there is much eagerness to pass it on.

With regard to the (alleged) raid of the Tubba's against the countries of the East and the land of the Turks, it must be admitted that the line of march in this case is wider than the (narrow) passage at Suez. The distance, however, is greater, and the Persian and Byzantine nations are interposed on the way to the Turks. There is no report that the Tubba's ever took possession of the countries of the Persians and Byzantines. They merely fought the Persians on the borders of the 'Iraq and of the Arab countries between al-Bahrayn and al-Hirah, which were border regions common to both nations.65 These wars took place between the Tubba' Dhul-Adh'ar and the Kayyanid king Kaygawus, and again between the Tubba' al-Asghar 66 Abu Karib and the Kayyanid Yastasb (Bishtasp). There were other wars later on with rulers of the dynasties that succeeded the Kayyanids, and, in turn, with their successors, the Sassanians. It would, however, ordinarily have been impossible for the Tubba's to traverse the land of the Persians on their way to raid the countries of the Turks and Tibet, because of the nations that are interposed on the way to the Turks, because of the need for food and fodder, as well as the great distance, mentioned before. All information to this effect is silly and fictitious. Even if the way this information is transmitted were sound, the points mentioned would cast suspicion upon it. All the more then must the information be suspect since the manner in which it has been transmitted is not sound. In connection with Yathrib (Medina) and the Aws and Khazraj, Ibn Ishaq67 says that the last Tubba' traveled eastward to the 'Iraq and Persia, but a raid by the Tubba's against the countries of the Turks and Tibet is in no way confirmed by the established facts. Assertions to this effect should not be trusted; all such information should be investigated and checked with sound norms.68 The result will be that it will most beautifully be demolished.

God is the guide to that which is correct.

Even 69 more unlikely and more deeply rooted in baseless assumptions is the common interpretation of the following verse of the Surat al-Fajr: "Did you not see what your Lord did with 'Ad -Iram, that of the pillars?"70

The commentators consider the word Iram the name of a city which is described as having pillars, that is, columns. They report that 'Ad b. 'Us b. Iram had two sons, Shadid and Shaddid, who ruled after him. Shadid perished. Shaddad became the sole ruler of the realm, and the kings there submitted to his authority. When Shaddad heard a description of Paradise, he said: "I shall build something like it." And he built the city of Iram in the desert of Aden over a period of three hundred years. He himself lived nine hundred years. It is said to have been a large city, with castles of gold and silver and columns of emerald and hyacinth, containing all kinds of trees and freely flowing rivers. When the construction of (the city) was completed, Shaddad went there with the people of his realm. But -when be was the distance of only one day and night away from it, God sent a clamor from heaven, and all of them perished. This is reported by at-Tabari, ath-Tha'alibi,71 az-Zamakhshari,72 and other Qur'an commentators. They transmit the following story on the authority of one of the men around Muhammad, 'Abdallah b. Qilabah.73 When he went out in search of some of his camels, he hit upon (the city) and took away from it as much as he could carry. His story reached Mu'awiyah, who had him brought to him, and he told the story. Mu'awiyah sent for Ka'b al-ahbar74 and asked him about it. Ka'b said, "It is Iram, that of the pillars. Iram will be entered in your time by a Muslim who is of a reddish, ruddy color, and short, with a mole at his eyebrow and one on his neck, who goes out in search of some of his camels." He then turned around and, seeing Ibn Qilabah, he said: "Indeed, he is that man."

No information about this city has since become available anywhere on earth. The desert of Aden where the city is supposed to have been built lies in the middle of the Yemen. It has been inhabited continuously, and travelers and guides have explored its roads in every direction. Yet, no information about the city has been reported. No antiquarian, no nation has mentioned it. If (the commentators) said that it had disappeared like other antiquities, the story would be more likely, but they expressly say that it still exists. Some identify it with Damascus, because Damascus was in the possession of the people of 'Ad. Others go so far in their crazy talk as to maintain that the city lies hidden from sensual perception and can be discovered only by trained (magicians) and sorcerers. All these are assumptions that would better be termed nonsense.

All these suggestions proffered by Qur'an commentators were the result of grammatical considerations, for Arabic grammar requires the expression, "that of the pillars," to be an attribute of Iram. The word "pillars" was understood to mean columns. Thus, Iram was narrowed down in its meaning to some sort of building. (The Qur'an commentators) were influenced in their interpretation by the reading of Ibn az-Zubayr75 who read (not 'Adin with nunation but) a genitive construction: 'Ad of Iram. They then adopted these stories, which are better called fictitious fables and which are quite similar to the (Qur'an) interpretations of Sayfawayh which are related as comic anecdotes.76

(In fact,) however, the "pillars" are tent poles. If "columns" were intended by the word, it would not be farfetched, as the power of (the people of Ad) was well known, and they could be described as people with buildings and columns in the general way. But it would be farfetched to say that a special building in one or another specific city (was intended). If it is a genitive construction, as would be the case according to the reading of Ibn az-Zubayr, it would be a genitive construction used to express tribal relationships, such as, for instance, the Quraysh of Kinanah, or the Ilyis of Mudar, or the Rabi'ah of Nizir. There is no need for such an implausible interpretation which uses for its starting point silly stories of the sort mentioned, which cannot be imputed to the Qur'an because they are so implausible.

Another fictitious story of-the historians, which-they all report, concerns the reason for ar-Rashid's destruction of the Barmecides. It is the story of al-'Abbasah, ar-Rashid's sister, and Ja'far b. Yahya b. Khalid, his client. Ar-Rashid is said to have worried about where to place them when he was drinking wine with them. He wanted to receive them together in his company. Therefore, he permitted them to conclude a marriage that was not consummated. Al-'Abbasah then tricked (Ja'far) in her desire to be alone with him,77 for she had fallen in love with him. Jafar finally had intercourse with her-it is assumed, when he was drunk-and she became pregnant. The story was reported to ar-Rashid who flew into a rage.

This story78 is irreconcilable with al-'Abbasah's position, her religiousness, her parentage, and her exalted rank. She was a descendant of 'Abdallah b. 'Abbas and separated from him by only four generations, and they were the most distinguished and greatest men in Islam after him. Al-'Abbasah was the daughter of Muhammad al-Mahdi, the son of Abu Ja'far 'Abdallah al-Manslir, the son of Muhammad as-Sajjad, the son of the Father of the Caliphs 'Ali. 'Ali was the son of 'Abdallah, the Interpreter of the Qur'an, the son of the Prophet's uncle, al-'Abbas. Al-'Abbasah was the daughter of a caliph and the sister of a caliph. She was born to royal power, into the prophetical succession (the caliphate), and descended from the men-around-Muhammad aril his uncles. She was connected by birth with the leadership of Islam, the light of the revelation, and the place where the angels descended to bring the revelation. She was close in time to the desert attitude of true Arabism, to that simple state of Islam still far from the habits of luxury and lush pastures of sin. Where should one look for chastity and modesty, if she did not possess them? Where could cleanliness and purity be found, if they no longer existed in her house? How could she link her pedigree with (that of) Ja'far b. Yahya and stain her Arab nobility with a Persian client? His Persian ancestor had been acquired as a slave, or taken as a client, by one of her ancestors, an uncle of the Prophet and noble Qurashite, and all (Ja'far) did was that he together with his father was dragged along (by the growing fame of) the 'Abbisid dynasty and thus prepared for and elevated to a position of nobility. And how could it be that ar-Rashid, with his high-mindedness and great pride, would permit himself to become related by marriage to Persian clients! If a critical person looks at this story in all fairness and compares al-'Abbasah with the daughter of a great ruler of his own time, he must find it disgusting and unbelievable that she could have done such a thing with one of the clients of her dynasty and while her family was in power. He would insist that the story be considered untrue. And who could compare with al-'Abbasah and ar-Rashid in dignity!

The reason for the destruction of the Barmecides was their attempt to gain control over the dynasty and their retention of the tax revenues. This went so far that when ar-Rashid wanted even a little money, he could not get it. They took his affairs out of his hands and shared with him in his authority. He had no say with them in the affairs of his realm. Their influence grew, and their fame spread. They filled the positions and ranks of the government with their own children and creatures who became high officials, and thus barred all others from the positions of wazir, secretary, army commander, doorkeeper (hajb), and from the military and civilian administration. It is said that in the palace of ar-Rashid, there were twenty-five high officials, both military and civilian, all children of Yahya b. Khalid. There, they crowded the people of the dynasty and pushed them out by force. They could do that because of the position of their father, Yahya, mentor to Harun both as crown prince and as caliph. (Harun) practically grew up in his lap and got all his education from him. (Harun) let him handle his affairs and used to call him "father." As a result, the (Barmecides), and not the government, wielded all the influence.78a Their presumption grew. Their position became more and more influential. They became the center of attention. All obeyed them. All hopes were addressed to them. From the farthest borders, presents and gifts of rulers and amirs were sent to them. The tax money found its way into their treasury, to serve as an introduction to them and to procure their favor. They gave gifts to and bestowed favors upon the men of the ('Alid) Shi'ah79 and upon important relatives (of the Prophet). They gave the poor from the noble families (related to the Prophet) something to earn. They freed the captives. Thus, they were given praise as was not given to their caliph. They showered privileges and gifts upon those who came to ask favors from them. They gained control over villages and estates in the open country and (near) the main cities in every province.

Eventually, the Barmecides irritated the inner circle. They caused resentment among the elite and aroused the displeasure of high officials. Jealousy and envy of all sorts began to show themselves, and the scorpions of intrigue crept into their soft beds in the government. The Qahtabah family, Ja'far's maternal uncles, led the intrigues against them. Feelings for blood ties and relationship could not move or sway them (the Qahtabah family) from the envy which was so heavy on their hearts. This joined with their master's incipient jealousy, with his dislike of restrictions and (of being treated with) highhandedness, and with his latent resentment aroused by small acts of presumptuousness on the part of the Barmecides. When they continued to flourish as they did, they were led to gross insubordination, as is shown, for instance, by their action in the case of Yahya b. 'Abdallah b. Hasan b.' al-Hasan b. 'All b. Abi Talib, the brother of "the Pure Soul" (an-Nafs az-Zakiyah), Muhammad al-Mahdi, who had revolted against al-Mansur.80

This Yahya had been brought back by al-Fadl b. Yahya from the country of the Daylam under a safe-conduct of arRashid written in his own hand. According to at-Tabari,81 (al-Fadl) had paid out a million dirhams in this matter. Ar-Rashid handed Yahya over to Ja'far to keep him imprisoned in his house and under his eyes. He held him for a while but, prompted by presumption, Ja'far freed Yahya by his own decision, out of respect for the blood of the Prophet's family as he thought, and in order to show his presumption against the government. When the matter was reported to ar-Rashid, he asked Ja'far about (Yahya). Ja'far understood and said that he had let him go. Ar-Rashid outwardly indicated approval and kept his grudge to himself. Thus, Ja'far himself paved the way for his own and his family's undoing, which ended with the collapse of their exalted position, with the heavens falling in upon them and the earth's sinking with them and their house. Their days of glory became a thing of the past, an example to later generations.

Close examination of their story, scrutinizing the ways of government and their own conduct, discloses that all this was natural and is easily explained. Looking at Ibn 'Abdrabbib's report 82 on ar-Rashid's conversation with his greatgranduncle Dawud b. 'Ali concerning the destruction of the Barmecides as well as al-Asma'i's evening causeries with arRashid and al-Fadl b. Yahya, as mentioned in the chapter on poets in the 'Igd,83 one understands that it was only jealousy and struggle for control on the part of the caliph and his subordinates that killed them. Another factor was the verses that enemies of the Barmecides among the inner circle surreptitiously gave the singers to recite, in the intention that the caliph should hear them and his stored-up animosity against them be aroused. These are the verses:

Would that Hind could fulfill her promise to us

And deliver us from our predicament,

And for once act on her own.

The impotent person is he who never acts on his own.84

When ar-Rashid heard these verses, he exclaimed: "Indeed, I am just such an impotent person." By this and similar methods, the enemies of the Barmecides eventually succeeded in arousing ar-Rashid's latent jealousy and in bringing his terrible vengeance upon them. God is our refuge from men's desire for power and from misfortune.

The stupid story of ar-Rashid's winebibbing and his getting drunk in the company of boon companions is really abominable. It does not in the least agree with ar-Rashid's attitude toward the fulfillment of the requirements of religion and justice incumbent upon caliphs. He consorted with religious scholars and saints. He had discussions with alFudayl b. 'Iyad,85 Ibn as-Sammak,86 and al-'Umari,87 and he corresponded with Sufyan.88 He wept when he heard their sermons. Then, there is his prayer in Mecca when he circumambulated the Ka'bah.89 He was pious, observed the times of prayer, and attended the morning prayer at its earliest hour. According to at-Tabari and others, he used every day to pray one hundred supererogatory rak'ahs.90 Alternately, he was used to go on raids (against unbelievers) one year and to make the pilgrimage to Mecca the other. He rebuked his jester, Ibn Abi Maryam, who made an unseemly remark to him during prayer. When Ibn Abi Maryam heard ar-Rashid recite: "How is it that I should not worship Him who created me?" 91 he said: "Indeed, I do not know why." Ar-Rashid could not suppress a laugh, but then he turned to him angrily and said: "O Ibn Abi Maryam, (jokes) even during the prayer? Beware, beware of the Qur'an and Islam. Apart from that, you may do whatever you wish."92

Furthermore, ar-Rashid possessed a good deal of learning and simplicity, because his epoch was close to that of his forebears who had those (qualities). The time between him and his grandfather, Abu Ja'far (al-Mansur), was not a long one. He was a young lad when Abu Ja'far died. Abu Jafar possessed a good deal of learning and religion before he became caliph and (kept them) afterwards. It was he who advised Malik to write the Muwatta', saying: "O Abu 'Abdallah, no one remains on earth more learned than I and you. Now, I am too much occupied with the caliphate. Therefore, you should write a book for the people which will be useful for them. In it you should avoid the laxity of Ibn 'Abbas and the severity of Ibn 'Umar,93 and present (watti') it clearly to the people." Malik commented: "On that occasion, al-Mansur indeed taught me to be an author." 94

Al-Mansur's son, al-Mahdi, ar-Rashid's father, experienced the (austerity of al-Mansur) who would not make use of the public treasury to provide new clothes for his family. One day, al-Mahdi came to him when he was in his office discussing with the tailors the patching of his family's worn garments. Al-Mahdi did not like that and said: "O Commander of the Faithful, this year I shall pay for the clothes of the members of the family from my own income." AlMansur's reply was: "Do that." He did not prevent him from paying himself but would not permit any (public) Muslim money to be spent for it. Ar-Rashid was very close in time to that caliph and to his forebears.95 He was reared under the influence of such and similar conduct in his own family, so that it became his own nature. How could such a man have been a winebibber and have drunk wine openly? It is well known that noble pre-Islamic Arabs avoided wine. The vine was not one of the plants (cultivated) by them. Most of them considered it reprehensible to drink wine. Ar-Rashid and his forebears were very successful in avoiding anything reprehensible in their religious or worldly affairs and in making all praiseworthy actions and qualities of perfection, as well as the aspirations of the Arabs, their own nature.

One may further compare the story of the physician Jibril b. Bukhtishu' reported by at-Tabari and al-Mas'udi.96 A fish had been served at ar-Rashid's table, and Jibril had not permitted him to eat it. (Jibril) had then ordered the table steward to bring the fish to (Jibril's) house. ArRashid noticed it and got suspicious. He had his servant spy on Jibril, and the servant observed him partaking of it. In order to justify himself, Ibn Bukhtishu' had three pieces of fish placed in three separate dishes. He mixed the first piece with meat that had been prepared with different kinds of spices, vegetables, hot sauces, and sweets. He poured iced water over the second piece, and pure wine over the third. The first and second dishes, he said, were for the caliph to eat, no matter whether something was added by him (Ibn Bukhtishu') to the fish or not. The third dish, he said, was for himself to eat. He gave the three dishes to the table steward. When ar-Rashid woke up and had Ibn Bukhtishu' called in to reprimand him, the latter had the three dishes brought. The one with wine had become a soup with small pieces of fish, but the two other dishes had spoiled, and smelled differently. This was (sufficient) justification of Ibn Bukhtishu" s action (in eating a dish of fish that he had prevented the caliph from eating). It is clear from this story that ar-Rashid's avoidance of wine was a fact well known to his inner circle and to those who dined with him.

It is a well-established fact that ar-Rashid had consented to keep Abu Nuwas imprisoned until he repented and gave up his ways, because he had heard of the latter's excessive winebibbing.97 Ar-Rashid used to drink a date liquor (nabidh), according to the `Iraqi legal school whose responsa (concerning the permissibility of that drink) are well known.98 But he cannot be suspected of having drunk pure wine. Silly reports to. this effect cannot be credited. He was not the man to do something that is forbidden and considered by the Muslims as one of the greatest of the capital sins. Not one of these people (the early 'Abbasids) had anything to do with effeminate prodigality or luxury in matters of clothing, jewelry, or the kind of food they took. They still retained the tough desert attitude and the simple state of Islam. Could it be assumed they would do something that would lead from the lawful to the unlawful and from the licit to the illicit? Historians such as at-Tabari, al-Mas'udi, and others are agreed that all the early Umayyad and `Abbasid caliphs used to ride out with only light silver ornamentation on their belts, swords, bridles, and saddles, and that the first caliph to originate riding out in golden apparel was al-Mu'tazz b. alMutawakkil, the eighth caliph after ar-Rashid.99 The same applied to their clothing. Could one, then, assume any differently with regard to what they drank? This will become still clearer when the nature of dynastic beginnings in desert life and modest circumstances is understood, as we shall explain it among the problems discussed in the first book, if God wills.100

A parallel or similar story is that reported by all (the historians) about Yahya b. Aktham, the judge and friend of al-Ma'mun.101 He is said to have drunk wine together with al-Ma'mun and to have gotten drunk one night. He lay buried among the sweet basil until he woke up. The following verses are recited in his name:

O my lord, commander of all the people!

He who gave me to drink was unjust in his judgment.

I neglected the cupbearer, and he caused me to be,

As you see me, deprived of intelligence and religion.

The same applies to Ibn Aktham and al-Ma'mun that applies to ar-Rashid. What they drank was a date liquor (nabidh) which in their opinion was not forbidden. There can be no question of drunkenness in connection with them. Yahyi's familiarity with al-Ma'mun was friendship in Islam. It is an established fact that Yahya slept in al-Ma'mum's room. It has been reported, as an indication of al-Ma'mun's excellence and affability, that one night he awoke,102 got up, and felt around for the chamber pot. He was afraid to wake Yahya b. Aktham. It also is an established fact that the two used to pray together at the morning prayer. How does that accord with drinking wine together! Furthermore, Yahya b. Aktham was a transmitter of traditions. He was praised by Ibn Hanbal103 and Judge Ismi'il.104 At-Tirmidhi105 published traditions on his authority. The hadith expert al-Mizzi mentioned that al-Bukhari transmitted traditions on Yahya's authority in works other than the Jami' (as-Sahih).106 To vilify Yahya is to vilify all of these scholars.

Furthermore, licentious persons accuse Yahya b. Aktham of having had an inclination for young men. This is an affront to God and a malicious lie directed against religious scholars. (These persons) base themselves on storytellers' silly reports, which perhaps were an invention of Yahya's enemies, for he was much envied because of his perfection and his friendship with the ruler. His position in scholarship and religion makes such a thing impossible. When Ibn Hanbal was told about these rumors concerning Yahya, he exclaimed: "For God's sake, for God's sake, who would say such a thing!" He disapproved of it very strongly. When the talk about Yahya was mentioned to Ismi'il, he exclaimed: "Heaven forbid that the probity ('adalah) 107 of such a man should cease to exist because of the lying accusations of envious talebearers." 108 He said: "Yahya b. Aktham is innocent in the eyes of God of any such relationship with young men (as that) of which he is accused. I got to know his most intimate thoughts and found him to be much in fear of God. However, he possessed a certain playfulness and friendliness that might have provoked such accusations." Ibn Hibban mentioned him in the Thiqat.109 He said that no attention should be paid to these tales about him because most of them were not correct.

A similar story is the one about the basket reported by Ibn 'Abdrabbih, author of the 'Iqd, in explanation of how al-Ma'mun came to be al-Hasan b. Sahl's son-in-law by marrying his daughter Buran.110 One night, on his rambles through the streets of Baghdad, al-Ma'mun is said to have come upon a basket that was being let down from one of the roofs by means of pulleys and twisted cords of silk thread. He seated himself in the basket and grabbed the pulley, which started moving. He was taken up into a chamber of such-andsuch a condition-Ibn 'Abdrabbih described the eye and soul-filling splendor of its carpets, the magnificence of its furnishings, and the beauty of its appearance. Then, a woman of extraordinary, seductive beauty is said to have come forth from behind curtains in that chamber. She greeted al-Ma'mun and invited him to keep her company. He drank wine with her the whole night long. In the morning he returned to his companions at the place where they had been awaiting him. He had fallen so much in love with the woman that he asked her father for her hand. How does all this accord with alMa'mun's well-known religion and learning, with his imitation of the way of life of his forefathers, the right-guided ('Abbasid) caliphs, with his adoption of the way of life of those pillars of Islam, the (first) four caliphs, with his respect for the religious scholars, or his observance in his prayers and legal practice of the norms established by God! How could it be correct that he would act like (one of those) wicked scoundrels who amuse themselves by rambling about at night, entering strange houses in the dark, and engaging in nocturnal trysts in the manner of Bedouin lovers! And how does that story fit with the position and noble character of al-Hasan b. Sahl's daughter, and with the firm morality and chastity that reigned in her father's house!

There are many such stories. They are always cropping up in the works of the historians. The incentive for inventing and reporting them is a (general) inclination to forbidden pleasures and for smearing the reputation of others. People justify their own subservience to pleasure by citing men and women of the past (who allegedly did the same things they are doing). Therefore, they often appear very eager for such information and are alert to find it when they go through the pages of (published) works. If they would follow the example of the people (of the past) in other respects and in the qualities of perfection that were theirs and for which they are well known, "it would be better for them," 111 "if they would know."112

I once criticized a royal prince for being so eager to learn to sing and play the strings. I told him it was not a matter that should concern him and that it did not befit his position. He referred me to Ibrahim b. al-'Mahdi 113 who was the leading musician and best singer in his time. I replied: "For heaven's sake, why do you not rather follow the example of his father or his brother? Do you not see how that activity prevented Ibrahim from attaining their position?" The prince, however, was deaf to my criticism and turned away.

Further silly information which is accepted by many historians concerns the 'Ubaydid (-Fatimids), the Shi'ah caliphs in al-Qayrawan and Cairo.114 (These historians) deny their 'Alid origin and attack (the genuineness of) their descent from the imam Ismail, the son of Ja'far as-Sadiq. They base themselves in this respect on stories that were made up in favor of the weak 'Abbasid caliphs by people who wanted to ingratiate themselves with them through accusations against their active opponents and who (therefore) liked to say all kinds of bad things about their enemies. We shall mention some such stories in our treatment of the history of (the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids). (These historians) do not care to consider the factual proofs and circumstantial evidence that require (us to recognize) that the contrary is true and that their claim is a lie and must be rejected.

They all tell the same story about the-begilnli g of the Shi'ah dynasty. Abu 'Abdallah al-Muhtasib115 went among the Kutamah urging acceptance of the family of Muhammad (the 'Alids). His activity became known. It was learned how much he cared for 'Ubaydallah al-Mahdi and his son, Abu1-Qasim. Therefore, these two feared for their lives and fled the East, the seat of the caliphate. They passed through Egypt and left Alexandria disguised as merchants. Isa anNawshari, the governor of Egypt and Alexandria, was informed of them. He sent cavalry troops in pursuit of them, but when their pursuers reached them, they did not recognize them because of their attire and disguise. They escaped into the Maghrib. Al-Mu'tadid 116 ordered the Aghlabid rulers of Ifriqiyah in al-Qayrawan as well as the Midrarid rulers of Sijilmasah to search everywhere for them and to keep a sharp lookout for them. Ilyasa', the Midrarid lord of Sijilmasah, learned about their hiding place in his country and detained them, in order to please the caliph. This was before the Shi'ah victory over the Aghlabids in al-Qayrawan. Thereafter, as is well known, the ('Ubaydid-Fatimid) propaganda spread successfully throughout Ifriqiyah and the Maghrib, and then, in turn, reached the Yemen, Alexandria and (the rest of) Egypt, Syria and the Hijaz. The ('Ubaydid-Fatimids) shared the realm of Islam equally with the Abbasids. They almost succeeded in penetrating the home country of the 'Abbasids and in taking their place as rulers. Their propaganda in Baghdad and the 'Iraq met with success through the amir al-Basasiri, one of the Daylam clients who had gained control of the 'Abbasid caliphs. This happened as the result of a quarrel between al-Basasiri and the non-Arab amirs.117 For a whole year, the ('Ubaydid-Fatimids) were mentioned in the Friday prayer from the pulpits of Baghdad. The 'Abbasids were continually bothered by the ('UbaydidFatimid) power and preponderance, and the Umayyad rulers beyond the sea (in Spain) expressed their annoyance with them and threatened war against them. How could all this have befallen a fraudulent claimant to the rulership, who was (moreover) considered a liar?118 One should compare (this account with) the history of the Qarmatian.119 His genealogy was, in fact, fraudulent. How completely did his propaganda disintegrate and his followers disperse! Their viciousness and guile soon became apparent. They came to an evil end and tasted a bitter fate. If the 'Ubaydid(-Fatimids) had been in the same situation, it would have become known, even had it taken some time.

Whatever qualities of character a man may have,.

They will become known, even if he imagines they are concealed from the people120

The ('Ubaydid-Fatimid) dynasty lasted uninterruptedly for about two hundred and seventy years. They held possession of the place where Ibrahim (Abraham) had stood 121 and where he had prayed, the home of the Prophet and the place where he was buried, the place where the pilgrims stand and where the angels descended (to bring the revelation to Muhammad). Then, their rule came to an end. During all that time, their partisans showed them the greatest devotion and love and firmly believed in their descent from the imam Ismail, the son of Ja'far as-Sadiq. Even after the dynasty had gone and its influence had disappeared, people still came forward to press the claims of the sect. They proclaimed the names of young children, descendants of (the 'UbaydidFatimids), whom they believed entitled to the caliphate. They went so far as to consider them as having actually been appointed to the succession by preceding imams. Had there been doubts about their pedigree, their followers would not have undergone the dangers involved in supporting them. A sectarian does not manipulate his own affairs, nor sow confusion within his own sect, nor act as a liar where his own beliefs are concerned.

It is strange that Judge Abu Bakr al-Baqillani'122 the great speculative theologian, was inclined to credit this unacceptable view (as to the spuriousness of the 'Ubaydid-Fatimid genealogy), and upheld this weak opinion. If the reason for his attitude was the heretical and extremist Shi'ism of (the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids, it would not be valid, for his denial of their 'Alid descent) does not invalidate 123 (the objectionable character of) their sectarian beliefs, nor would establishment of their ('Alid) descent be of any help to them before God in the question of their unbelief. God said to Noah concerning his sons: "He does not belong to your family. It is an improper action. So do not ask me regarding that of which you have no knowledge."124 Muhammad exhorted Fatimah in these words: "O Fatimah, act (as you wish). I shall be of no help to you before God."124a

When a man comes to know a problem or to be certain about a matter, he must openly state (his knowledge or his certainty). "God speaks the truth. He leads (men into) the right way."125 Those people (the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids) were constantly on the move because of the suspicions various governments had concerning them. They were kept under observation by the tyrants, because their partisans were numerous and their propaganda had spread far and wide. Time after time they had to leave the places where they had settled. Their men, therefore, took refuge in hiding, and their (identity) was hardly known, as (the poet) says:

If you would ask the days what my name is, they would

not know,

And where I am, they would not know where I am.126

This went so far that Muhammad, the son of the imam Isma'il, the ancestor of 'Ubaydallah al-Mahdi, was called "the Concealed (Imam)."127 His partisans called him by that name because they were agreed on the fact he was hiding out of fear of those who had them in their power. The partisans of the 'Abbasids made much use of this fact when they came out with their attack against the pedigree of (the 'UbaydidFatimids). They tried to ingratiate themselves with the weak ('Abbasid) caliphs by professing the erroneous opinion that (the 'Alid descent of the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids was spurious). It pleased the 'Abbasid clients and the amirs who were in charge of military operations against the enemies of the ('Abbasids). It helped them and the government to make up for their inability to resist and repel the Kutimah Berbers, the partisans and propagandists 128 of the 'Ubaydid(-Fatimids), who had taken Syria, Egypt, and the Hijaz away from (the 'Abbasids). The judges in Baghdad eventually prepared an official statement denying the 'Alid origin (of the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids).129 The statement was witnessed by a number of prominent men, among them the Sharif ar-Radi 130 and his brother al-Murtada,131 and Ibn al-Bathawi.132 Among the religious scholars (who also witnessed the document) were Abu Hamid al-Isfarayini,133 al-Quduri,134 as-Saymari135 Ibn al-Akfani,136 al-Abiwardi,137 the Shi'ah jurist Abu 'Abdallah b. an-Nu'man,138 and other prominent Muslims in Baghdad. The event took place one memorable 139 day in the year 402 [1011] in the time of al-Qadir. The testimony (of these witnesses) was based upon hearsay, on what people in Baghdad generally believed. Most of them were partisans of the 'Abbasids who attacked the 'Alid origin (of the 'UbaydidFatimids). The historians reported the information as they had heard it. They handed it down to us just as they remembered it. However, the truth lies behind it. Al-Mu'tadid's 140 letter concerning 'Ubaydallah (addressed) to the Aghlabid in al-Qayrawan and the Midrarid in Sijilmasah, testifies most truthfully to the correctness of the ('Alid) origin of the ('Ubaydid-Fatimids), and proves it most clearly. AlMu'tadid (as a very close relative) was better qualified than anyone else to speak about the genealogy of the Prophet's house.141

Dynasty and government serve as the world's market place,142 attracting to it the products of scholarship and craftsmanship alike. Wayward wisdom and forgotten lore turn up there. In this market stories are told and items of historical information are delivered. Whatever is in demand on this market is in general demand everywhere else. Now, whenever the established dynasty avoids injustice, prejudice, weakness, and double-dealing, with determination keeping to the right path and never swerving from it, the wares on its market are as pure silver and fine gold. However, when it is influenced by selfish interests and rivalries, or swayed by vendors of tyranny and dishonesty, the wares of its market place become as dross and debased metals. The intelligent critic must judge for himself as he looks around, examining this, admiring that, and choosing this.

A similar and even more improbable story is one privately discussed by those who attack the ('Alid) descent of Idris b. Idris b. 'Abdallah b. Hasan b. al-Hasan b. 'All b. Abi Talib, who became imam after his father in Morocco.143 They hint at the punishable crime of adultery by insinuating that the unborn child left after the death of the elder Idris was in fact the child of Rashid, a client of the Idrisids. How stupid of these God-forsaken men! They should know that the elder Idris married into the Berber tribes and, from the time he came to the Maghrib until his death, was firmly rooted in desert life. In the desert, no such thing could remain a secret. There are no hiding places there where things can be done in secret. The neighbors (if they are women) can always see and (if they are men) always hear what their women are doing, because the houses are low and clustered together without space between them. Rashid was entrusted with the stewardship of all the women after the death of his master, upon the recommendation of friends and partisans of the Idrisids and subject to the supervision of them all. Furthermore, all Moroccan Berbers agreed to render the oath of allegiance to the younger Idris as his father's successor. They voluntarily agreed to obey him. They swore that they were willing to die for him, and they exposed themselves to mortal danger protecting him in his wars and raids. Had they told each other some such scandalous story or heard it from someone else, even a vengeful enemy or scandal-mongering rebel, some of them at least would have refused to do those things. No, this story originated with the 'Abbasid opponents of the Idrisids and with the Aghlabids, the 'Abbasid governors and officials in Ifriqiyah

This happened in the following manner. When the elder Idris fled to the Maghrib after the battle of Fakhkh,144 alHadi sent orders to the Aghlabids to lie in wait and keep a sharp watch out for him. However, they did not catch him, and he escaped safely to the Maghrib. He consolidated his position, and his propaganda was successful. Later on, arRashid became aware of the secret Shi'ah leanings of Wadih, the 'Abbasid client and governor of Alexandria, and of his deceitful attitude in connection with the escape of Idris to the Maghrib, and (ar-Rashid) killed (Wadih). Then, ashShammakh, a client of (ar-Rashid's) father, suggested to arRashid a ruse by means of which to kill Idris. (Ash-Shammakh) pretended to become his adherent and to have broken with his 'Abbasid masters. Idris took him under his protection and admitted him to his private company. Once, when Idris was alone, ash-Shammakh gave him some poison and thus killed him. The news of his death was received by the 'Abbasids most favorably, since they hoped that it would cut the roots and blunt the edge of the 'Alid propaganda in the Maghrib. News of the unborn child left after Idris' death had not (yet) reached them. Thus, it was only a brief moment until the ('Alid) propaganda reappeared. The Shi'ah was successful in the Maghrib, and Shi'ah rule was renewed through Idris, Idris' son. This was a most painful blow to the 'Abbasids. Weakness and senility had already taken hold of the Arab dynasty. No longer could (the 'Abbasids) aspire to the control of remote regions. Far away as the elder Idris was in the Maghrib, under the protection of the Berbers, ar-Rashid had just enough power, and no more, to poison him with the help of a ruse. Therefore, the 'Abbasids now had recourse to their Aghlabid clients in Ifrigiyah. They asked them to heal the dangerous breach caused by (the Idrisids), to take measures against the woe that threatened to befall the dynasty from that direction, and to uproot (the Idrisids) before they could spread. Al-Ma'mun and the succeeding caliphs wrote to the Aghlabids to this effect. However, the Aghlabids were also too weak (to control) the Berbers of Morocco, and might better have tried to embarrass their own rulers as (the Idrisids embarrassed them), because the power of the caliphate had been usurped by non-Arab slaves, who diverted to their own purposes its entire control and authority 145 over men, taxes, and functionaries. It was as the contemporary ('Abbasid) poet described it:146

A caliph in a cage

Between Wasif and Bugha

He says what they tell him,

Like a parrot.

The Aghlabid amirs, therefore, were afraid of possible intrigues and tried all kinds of excuses. Sometimes, they belittled the Maghrib and its inhabitants. At other times, they tried to arouse fear of the power of Idris and his descendants who had taken his place there. They wrote the 'Abbasids that he was crossing the borders of his territory. They included his coins among their gifts, presents, and tax collections, in order to show his growing influence and to spread terror about his increasing power, to magnify (the dangers) which would lie in attacking and fighting him, as they were being asked to do, and to threaten a change in allegiance if they were forced to that. Again, at other times, they attacked the descent of Idris with the (aforementioned) lie, in order to harm him. They did not care whether the accusation was true or not. The distance (from Baghdad) was great, and, weak-minded as the 'Abbasid children and their non-Arab slaves were, they took anybody's word and listened to anybody's noise. They went on in this manner until the Aghlabid rule came to an end.

The nasty remark (about the Idrisid genealogy) then became known to the mob. Some slanderers listened eagerly to it, using it to harm the Idrisids when there were rivalries. Why do such God-forsaken men stray from the intentions of the religious law, which knows no difference between definite (fact) and (mere) guess? 146a Idris was born in his father's bed, and "the child belongs to the bed."147 It is a (Muslim) article of faith that the descendants of Muhammad are above any such thing (as adultery). God removed every turpitude from them and cleansed them. Idris' bed is free of all uncleanliness and all turpitude. This is decided in the Qur'an.148 Whoever believes the contrary confesses his guilt and invites unbelief.

I have refuted the accusation against Idris here at length, in order to forestall doubts and strike out against the envious. I heard the story with my own ears from a man who was hostile to (the Idrisids) and attacked their descent with this lying invention. In his self-deception, he passed on the story on the authority of certain historians of the Maghrib who had turned their backs on Muhammad's descendants and were skeptical concerning their ancestors. But the situation (of the Idrisids) is above all that and not susceptible of such a (taint). (No space should be devoted to refuting such an accusation, since) to deny a fault where (the existence of) a fault is impossible is (in itself) a fault.149 However, I did defend them here in this world and, thus, I hope that they will defend me on the Day of Resurrection.

It should be known that most of those who attack the ('Alid) descent of (the Idrisids) are themselves persons who claim to be descendants of Muhammad or pretend to be connected with his descendants, and who envy the descendants of Idris. The claim to (Muhammadan) descent is a great title to nobility among nations and races in all regions. Therefore, it is subject to suspicion. Now, both in their native Fez and in the other regions of the Maghrib, the descent of the Idrisids is so well known and evident that almost no one can show or hope to show as well-established a pedigree. It is the result of continuous transmission by the more recent nations and generations on the authority of the older preceding ones. The Idrisids count the house of their ancestor Idris, the founder and builder of Fez, among their houses. His mosque is adjacent to their quarter and streets. His sword is (suspended) unsheathed atop the main minaret of their residence. There are other relics of his which have been attested to many times in an uninterrupted tradition, so that the tradition concerning them is almost as valuable as direct observation (as to its reliability). Other descendants of Muhammad can look at these signs which God gave to the Idrisids. They will see the Muhammadan nobility of the Idrisids enhanced by the majesty of the royal authority their ancestors exercised in the Maghrib. They will realize that they themselves have nothing of the sort and that they do not measure up even halfway to any one of the Idrisids. They will also realize that those who claim to be Muhammad's descendants but do not have such testimonies to confirm their claim as the Idrisids have, may at best find their position conceded (as possibly true), because people are to be believed with regard to the descent they claim for themselves,150 but there is a difference between what is known and what is mere guess, between what is certain and what is merely conceded as possibly true.

When they realize these facts, they are choked in their own spittle (which they swallow in impotent jealousy). Their private envy causes many of them to wish that they could bring down the Idrisids from their noble position to the status of ordinary, humble persons. Therefore, they have recourse to spite and persistent malevolence and invent erroneous and lying accusations such as the one discussed. They justify themselves by the assumption that all guesses are equally probable. They ought to (prove) that! We know of no descendants of Muhammad whose lineage is so clearly and obviously established as that of the descendants of Idris of the family of al-Hasan. The most distinguished Idrisids at this time are the Banu 'Imran in Fez. They are descendants of Yahya al-Juti b. Muhammad b. Yahya al-'Addam b. alQasim b. Idris b. Idris. They are the chiefs of the 'Alids there. They live (at the present time) in the house of their ancestor Idris. They are the leading nobility of the entire Maghrib. We shall mention them in connection with the Idrisids, if God wills.151 They are the descendants of 'Imran b.Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Yahya b. 'Abdallah b. Muhammad b. 'All b. Muhammad b. Yahya b. Ibrahim b. Yahya alJuti. The chief of their (house) at this time is Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. 'Imran.

To these wicked statements and erroneous beliefs one may add the accusations that weak-minded jurists in the Maghrib leveled against the imam al-Mahdi, the head of the Almohad dynasty.152 He was accused of deceit and insincerity when he insisted upon the true oneness of God and when he complained about the unjust people before his time. All his claims in this respect were declared to be false, even down to his descent from the family of Muhammad, which his Almohad followers accept. Deep down in their hearts it was envy of al-Mahdi's success that led the jurists to declare him a liar. In their self-deception, they thought that they could compete with him in religious scholarship, juridical decisions, and religion. He then turned out to be superior to them. His opinion was accepted, what he said was listened to, and he gained a following. They envied this success of his and tried to lessen his influence by attacking his dogmas and declaring his claims to be false. Furthermore, they were used to receive from al-Mahdi's enemies, the Lamtunah kings (the Almoravids), a respect and an honor they received from no one else, because of the simple religion (of the Almoravids). Under the Lamtunah dynasty, religious scholars held a position of respect and were appointed to the council, everybody according to his influence among his people in his respective village. The scholars, therefore, became partisans (of the Almoravids) and enemies of their enemies. They tried to take revenge on al-Mahdi for his opposition to them, his censure of them, and his struggle against them. This was the result of their partisanship for the Lamtunah and their bias in favor of the Lamtunah dynasty. Al-Mahdi's position was different from theirs. He did not share their beliefs. What else could be expected of a man who criticized the attitude of the ruling dynasty as he did and was opposed in his efforts by its jurists? He called his people to a holy war against them. He uprooted the dynasty and turned it upside down, despite its great strength, its tremendous power, and the strong force of its allies and its militia. Followers of his killed in the struggle were innumerable. They had sworn allegiance to him until death. They had protected him from death with their own lives. They had sought nearness to God by sacrificing themselves for the victory of the Mahdi's cause as partisans of the enterprise that eventually gained the upper hand and replaced the dynasties on both shores.153 (Al-Mahdi himself) remained always frugal, retiring, patient in tribulation, and very little concerned with the world to the last; he died without fortune or worldly possessions. He did not even have children, as everybody desires but as one often is deceived in desiring. I should like to know what he could have hoped to obtain by this way of life were it not (to look upon) the face of God, for he did not acquire worldly fortune of any kind during his lifetime. Moreover, if his intention had not been good, he would not have been successful, and his propaganda would not have spread. "This is how God formerly proceeded with His servants.154

The (jurists') disavowal of (al-Mahdi's) descent from Muhammad's family is not backed up by any proof. Were it established that he himself claimed such descent, his claim could not be disproved, because people are to be believed regarding the descent they claim for themselves.155 It might be said that leadership over a people is vested only in men of their own skin. This is correct, as will be mentioned in the first156 chapter of this book. But157 al-Mahdi exercised leadership over all the Masmudah. They agreed to follow him and be guided by him and his Harghah group, and, eventually, God gave complete success to his propaganda. In this connection, it must be realized that al-Mahdi's power did not depend exclusively on his Fatimid descent, and the people did not follow him on that account (only). They followed him because of their Harghah-Masmudah group feeling and because of his share in that group feeling which was firmly rooted in him. (Al-Mahdi's) Fatimid descent had become obscured and knowledge of it had disappeared from among the people, although it had remained alive in him and his family through family tradition. His original (Fatimid) descent had, in a way, been sloughed off, and he had put on the skin of the Harghah-Masmudah and thus appeared as one of their skin. The fact that he was originally of Fatimid descent did not harm him with regard to his group feeling, since it was not known to the members of the group. Things like that happen frequently once one's original descent has become obscured.

One might compare (with the above) the story of Arfajah and Jarir concerning the leadership of the Bajilah.158 Arfajah had belonged to the Azd but had put on the skin of the Bajilah so successfully that he was able to wrangle with Jarir over the leadership before 'Umar, as has been reported. This example makes one understand what the truth is like.

God is the guide to that which is correct.

Lengthy discussion of these mistakes has taken us rather far from the purpose of this work. However, many competent persons and expert historians slipped in connection with such stories and assertions, and they stuck in their minds. Many weak-minded and uncritical persons learned these things from them, and even (the competent historians) themselves accepted them without critical investigation, and thus (strange stories) crept into their material. In consequence, historiography became nonsensical and confused, and its students fumbled around. Historiography came to be considered a domain of the common people. Therefore, today, the scholar in this field needs to know the principles of politics, the (true) nature of existent things, and the differences among nations, places, and periods with regard to ways of life, character qualities, customs, sects, schools, and everything else. He further needs a comprehensive knowledge of present conditions in all these respects. He must compare similarities or differences between the present and the past (or distantly located) conditions. He must know the causes of the similarities in certain cases and of the differences in others. He must be aware of the differing origins and beginnings of (different) dynasties and religious groups, as well as of the reasons and incentives that brought them into being and the circumstances and history of the persons who supported them. His goal must be to have complete knowledge of the reasons for every happening, and to be acquainted with the origin of every event. Then, he must check transmitted information with the basic principles he knows. If it fulfills their requirements, it is sound. Otherwise, the historian must consider it as spurious and dispense with it. It was for this reason alone that historiography was highly considered by the ancients, so much so that at-Tabari, al-Bukhari, and, before them, Ibn Ishaq and other Muslim religious scholars, chose to occupy themselves with it. Most scholars, however, forgot this, the (real) secret of historiography, with the result that it became a stupid occupation. Ordinary people as well as (scholars) who had no firm foundation of knowledge, considered it a simple matter to study and know history, to delve into it and sponge on it. Strays got into the flock, bits of shell were mixed with the nut, truth was adulterated with lies.

"The final outcome of things is up to God."159

A160 hidden pitfall in historiography is disregard for the fact that conditions within the nations and races change with the change of periods and the passing of days. This is a sore affliction and is deeply hidden, becoming noticeable only after a long time, so that rarely do more than a few individuals become aware of it.

This is as follows. The condition of the world and of nations, their customs and sects, does not persist in the same form or in a constant manner. There are differences according to days and periods, and changes from one condition to another. This is the case with individuals, times, and cities, and, in the same manner, it happens in connection with regions and districts, periods and dynasties.

"This is how God formerly proceeded with His servants."161

The old Persian nations, the Syrians, the Nabataeans, the Tubba's, the Israelites, and the Copts, all once existed. They all had their own particular institutions in respect of dynastic and territorial arrangements, their own politics, crafts, languages, technical terminologies, as well as their own ways of dealing with their fellow men and handling their cultural institutions. Their (historical) relics testify to that. They were succeeded by the later Persians, the Byzantines, and the Arabs. The old institutions changed and former customs were transformed, either into something very similar, or into something distinct and altogether different. Then, there came Islam with the Mudar dynasty. Again, all institutions underwent another change, and for the most part assumed the forms that are still familiar at the present time as the result of their transmission from one generation to the next.

Then, the days of Arab rule were over. The early generations who had cemented Arab might and founded the realm of the Arabs, were gone. The power was seized by others, by non-Arabs like the Turks in the east, the Berbers in the west, and the European Christians162 in the north. With their 162a passing, entire nations ceased to exist, and institutions and customs changed. Their glory was forgotten, and their power no longer heeded.

The widely accepted reason for changes in institutions and customs is the fact that the customs of each race depend on the customs of its ruler. As the proverb says: "The common people follow the religion of the ruler." 163

When politically ambitious men overcome the ruling dynasty and seize power, they inevitably have recourse to the customs of their predecessors and adopt most of them. At the same time, they do not neglect the customs of their own race. This leads to some discrepancies between the customs of the (new) ruling dynasty and the customs of the old race.

The new power, in turn, is succeeded by another dynasty, and customs are further mixed with those of the new dynasty. More discrepancies come in, and the discrepancy between the new dynasty and the first one is much greater (than that between the second and the first one). Gradual increase in the degree of discrepancy continues. The eventual result is an altogether distinct (set of customs and institutions). As long as there is this continued succession of different races to royal authority and government, discrepancies in customs and institutions will not cease to occur.

Analogical reasoning and comparison are well known to human nature. They are not safe from error. Together with forgetfulness and negligence, they sway man from his purpose and divert him from his goal. Often, someone who has learned a good deal of past history remains unaware of the changes that conditions have undergone. Without a moment's hesitation, he applies his knowledge (of the present) to the historical information and measures the historical information by the things he has observed with his own eyes, although the difference between the two is great. Consequently, he falls into an abyss of error.

This may be illustrated by what the historians report concerning the circumstances of Al-Hajjaj.164 They state that his father was a schoolteacher. At the present time, teaching is a craft and serves to make a living. It is a far cry from the pride of group feeling. Teachers are weak, indigent, and rootless. Many weak professional men and artisans who work for a living aspire to positions for which they are not fit but which they believe to be within their reach. They are misled by their desires, a rope which often slips from their hands and precipitates them into the abyss of ruinous perdition. They do not realize that what they desire is impossible for men like them to attain. They do not realize that they are professional men and artisans who work for a living. And they do not know that at the beginning of Islam and during the (Umayyad and 'Abbasid) dynasties, teaching was something different. Scholarship, in general, was not a craft in that period. Scholarship was transmitting statements that people had heard the Lawgiver (Muhammad) make. It was teaching religious matters-that-were not known, by wavy of oral transmission. Persons of noble descent and people who shared in the group feeling (of the ruling dynasty) and who directed the affairs of Islam were the ones who taught the Book of God and the Sunnah of the Prophet, (and they did so) as one transmits traditions, not as one gives professional instruction. (The Qur'an) was their Scripture, revealed to the Prophet in their midst. It constituted their guidance, and Islam was their religion, and for it they fought and died. It distinguished them from the other nations and ennobled them. They wished to teach it and make it understandable to the Muslims. They were not deterred by censure coming from pride, nor were they restrained by criticism coming from arrogance. This is attested by the fact that the Prophet sent the most important of the men around him with his embassies to the Arabs, in order to teach them the norms of Islam and the religious laws he brought. He sent his ten companions165 and others after them on this mission.

Then, Islam became firmly established and securely rooted. Far-off nations accepted Islam at the hands of the Muslims. With the passing of time, the situation of Islam changed. Many new laws were evolved from the (basic) texts as the result of numerous and unending developments. A fixed norm was required to keep (the process) free from error. Scholarship came to be a habit.166 For its acquisition, study was required. Thus, scholarship developed into a craft and profession. This will be mentioned in the chapter on scholarship and instruction.167

The men who controlled the group feeling now occupied themselves with directing the affairs of royal and governmental authority. The cultivation of scholarship was entrusted to others. Thus, scholarship became a profession that served to make a living. Men who lived in luxury and were in control of the government were too proud to do any teaching. Teaching came to be an occupation restricted to weak individuals. As a result, its practitioners came to be despised by the men who controlled the group feeling and the government.

Now, Yusuf, the father of al-Hajjaj, was one of the lords and nobles of the Thaqif, well known for their share in the Arab group feeling and for their rivalry with the nobility of the Quraysh. Al-Hajjaj's teaching of the Qur'an was not what teaching of the Qur'an is at this time, namely, a profession that serves to make a living. His teaching was teaching as it was practiced at the beginning of Islam and as we have just described it.

Another illustration of the same (kind of error) is the baseless conclusion critical readers of historical works draw when they hear about the position of judges and about the leadership in war and the command of armies that judges (formerly) exercised. Their misguided thinking leads them to aspire to similar positions. They think that the office of judge at the present time is as important as it was formerly. When they hear that the father of Ibn Abi 'Amir, who had complete control over Hisham, and that the father of Ibn 'Abbad, one of the rulers of Sevilla, were judges,168 they assume that they were like present-day judges. They are not aware of the change in customs that has affected the office of judge, and which will be explained by us in the chapter on the office of judge in the first book. 169 Ibn Abi 'Amir and Ibn 'Abbad belonged to Arab tribes that supported the Umayyad dynasty in Spain and represented the group feeling of the Umayyads, and it is known how important their positions were. The leadership and royal authority they attained did not derive from the rank of the judgeship as such, in the present-day sense that (the office of judge constitutes an administrative rank). In the ancient administrative organization, the office of judge was given by the dynasty and its clients to men who shared in the group feeling (of the dynasty), as is done in our age with the wazirate in the Maghrib. One has only to consider the fact that (in those days judges) accompanied the army on its summer campaigns and were entrusted with the most important affairs, such as are entrusted only to men who can command the group feeling needed for their execution.

Hearing such things, some people are misled and get the wrong idea about conditions. At the present time, weakminded Spaniards are especially given to errors in this respect. The group feeling has been lost in their country for many years, as the result of the annihilation of the Arab dynasty in Spain and the emancipation of the Spaniards from the control of Berber group feeling. The Arab descent has been remembered, but the ability to gain power through group feeling and mutual co-operation has been lost. In fact, the (Spaniards) came to be like (passive) subjects,170 without any feeling for the obligation of mutual support. They were enslaved by tyranny and had become fond of humiliation, thinking that their descent, together with their share in the ruling dynasty, was the source of power and authority. Therefore, among them, professional men and artisans are to be found pursuing power and authority and eager to obtain them. On the other hand, those who have experience with tribal conditions, group feeling, and dynasties along the western shore, and who know how superiority is achieved among nations and tribal groups, will rarely make mistakes or give erroneous interpretations in this respect.

Another illustration of the same kind of error is the procedure historians follow when they mention the various dynasties and enumerate the rulers belonging to them. They mention the name of each ruler, his ancestors, his mother and father, his wives, his surname, his seal ring, his judge, doorkeeper, and wazir. In this respect, they blindly follow the tradition of the historians of the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasties, without being aware of the purpose of the historians of those times. (The historians of those times) wrote their histories for members of the ruling dynasty, whose children wanted to know the lives and circumstances of their ancestors, so that they might be able to follow in their steps and to do what they did,171 even down to such details as obtaining servants from among those who were left over from the (previous) dynasty 172 and giving ranks and positions to the descendants of its servants and retainers. Judges, too, shared in the group feeling of the dynasty and enjoyed the same importance as wazirs, as we have just mentioned. Therefore, the historians of that time had to mention all these things.

Later on, however, various distinct dynasties made their appearance. The time intervals became longer and longer. Historical interest now was concentrated on the rulers themselves and on the mutual relationships of the various dynasties in respect to power and predominance. (The problem now was) which nations could stand up (to the ruling dynasty) and which were too weak to do so. Therefore, it is pointless for an author of the present time to mention the sons and wives, the engraving on the seal ring, the surname, judge, wazir, and doorkeeper of an ancient dynasty, when he does not know the origin, descent, or circumstances of its members. Present-day authors mention all these things in mere blind imitation of former authors. They disregard the intentions of the former authors and forget to pay attention to historiography's purpose.

An exception are the wazirs who were very influential and whose historical importance overshadowed that of the rulers. Such wazirs as,-for -instance,- al-Ijajjaj,--the Band Muhallab, the Barmecides, the Banu Sahl b. Nawbakht, Kaffir al-Ikhshidi, Ibn Abi 'Amir, and others should be mentioned. There is no objection to dealing with their lives or referring to their conditions for in importance they rank with the rulers.

An additional note to end this discussion may find its place here.

History refers to events that are peculiar to a particular age or race. Discussion of the general conditions of regions, races, and periods constitutes the historian's foundation. Most of his problems rest upon that foundation, and his historical information derives clarity from it. It forms the topic of special works, such as the Muruj adh-dhahab of al-Mas'udi. In this work, al-Mas'udi commented upon the conditions of nations and regions in the West and in the East during his period (which was) the three hundred and thirties [the nine hundred and forties]. He mentioned their sects and customs. He described the various countries, mountains, oceans, provinces, and dynasties. He distinguished between Arabic and non-Arabic groups. His book, thus, became the basic reference work for historians, their principal source for verifying historical information.

Al-Mas'udi was succeeded by al-Bakri 173 who did something similar for routes and provinces, to the exclusion of everything else, because, in his time, not many transformations or great changes had occurred among the nations and races. However, at the present time-that is, at the end of the eighth [fourteenth] century-the situation in the Maghrib, as we can observe, has taken a turn and changed entirely. The Berbers, the original population of the Maghrib, have been replaced by an influx of Arabs, (that began in) the fifth [eleventh] century. The Arabs outnumbered and overpowered the Berbers, stripped them of most of their lands, and (also) obtained a share of those that remained in their possession. This was the situation until, in the middle of the eighth [fourteenth] century, civilization both in the East and the West was visited by a destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish.174 It swallowed up many of the good things of civilization and wiped them out. It overtook the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration. It lessened their power and curtailed their influence. It weakened their authority. Their situation approached the point of annihilation and dissolution. Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs were obliterated, settlements and mansions became empty, dynasties and tribes grew weak. The entire inhabited world changed. The East, it seems, was similarly visited, though in accordance with and in proportion to (the East's more affluent) civilization. It was as if the voice of existence in the world had called out for oblivion and restriction, and the world had responded to its call. God inherits the earth and whomever is upon it.

When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had changed and the whole world been altered, as if it were a new and repeated creation, a world brought into existence anew. Therefore, there is need at this time that someone should systematically set down the situation of the world among all regions and races, as well as the customs and sectarian beliefs that have changed for their adherents, doing for this age what al-Mas'udi did for his. This should be a model for future historians to follow. In this book of mine, I shall discuss as much of that as will be possible for me here in the Maghrib. I shall do so either explicitly or implicitly in connection with the history of the Maghrib, in conformity with my intention to restrict myself in this work to the Maghrib, the circumstances of its races and nations, and its subjects and dynasties, to the exclusion of any other region.175 (This restriction is necessitated) by my lack of knowledge of conditions in the East and among its nations, and by the fact that secondhand information would not give the essential facts I am after. Al-Mas'udi's extensive travels in various countries enabled him to give a complete picture, as he mentioned in his work. Nevertheless, his discussion of conditions in the Maghrib is incomplete. "And He knows more than any scholar." 176 God is the ultimate repository of (all) knowledge. Man is weak and deficient. Admission (of one's ignorance) is a specific (religious) duty. He whom God helps, finds his way (made) easy and his efforts and quests successful. We seek God's help for the goal to which we aspire in this work. God gives guidance and help. He may be trusted.

It remains for us to explain the method of transcribing non-Arabic sounds whenever they occur in this book of ours.

It should be known that the letters (sounds) 177 of speech, as will be explained later on,178 are modifications of sounds that come from the larynx. These modifications result from the fact that the sounds are broken up in contact with the uvula and the sides of the tongue in the throat, against the palate or the teeth, and also through contact with the lips. The sound is modified by the different ways in which such contact takes place. As a result, the letters (sounds) sound distinct. Their combination constitutes the word that expresses what is in the mind.

Not 179 all nations have the same letters (sounds) in their speech. One nation has letters (sounds) different from those of another. The letters (sounds) of the Arabs are twentyeight, as is known. The Hebrews are found to have letters (sounds) that are not in our language. In our language, in turn, there are letters sounds) that are not in theirs. The same applies to the European Christians, the Turks, the Berbers, and other non-Arabs.

In order to express their audible letters (sounds), literate Arabs 180 chose to use conventional letters written individually separate, such as ', b, j, r, t, and so forth through all the twenty-eight letters. When they come upon a letter (sound) for which there is no corresponding letter (sound) in their language, it is not indicated in writing and not clearly expressed. Scribes sometimes express it by means of the letter which is closest to it in our language, the one either preceding or following it.181 This is not a satisfactory way of indicating a letter (sound) but a complete replacement of it.

Our book contains the history of the Berbers and other non-Arabs. In their names and in some of their words, we came across letters (sounds) that did not correspond with our written language and conventional orthography. Therefore, we were forced to indicate such sounds (by special signs). As we said, we did not find it satisfactory to use the letters closest to them, because in our opinion this is not a satisfactory indication. In my book, therefore, I have chosen to write such non-Arabic letters (sounds) in such a way as to indicate the two letters (sounds) closest to it, so that the reader may be able to pronounce it somewhere in the middle between the sounds represented by the two letters and thus reproduce it correctly.

I derived this idea from the way the Qur'an scholars write sounds that are not sharply defined, such as occur, for instance, in as-sirat according to Khalaf's reading.182 The s is to be pronounced somehow between s and z. In this case, they spell the word with s and-write a z into it.183 thus - indicate a pronunciation somewhere in the middle between the two sounds.184

In the same way, I have indicated every letter (sound) that is to be pronounced somehow in the middle between two of our letters (sounds). The Berber k, for instance, which is pronounced midway between our clear k and j (g) or q, as, for instance, in the name Buluggin, is spelled by me with a k with the addition of one dot-from the j-below, or one dot or two-from the q-on top of it.185 This indicates that the sound is to be pronounced midway between k and j (g) or q. This sound occurs most frequently in the Berber language. In the other cases, I have spelled each letter (sound) that is to be pronounced midway between two letters (sounds) of our language, with a similar combination of two letters. The reader will thus know that it is an intermediate sound and pronounce it accordingly. In this way, we have indicated it satisfactorily. Had we spelled it by using only one letter (sound) adjacent to it on either side,185a we would have changed its proper pronunciation to the pronunciation of the particular letter (sound) in our own language (which we might have used), and we would have altered the way people speak. This should be known.

God gives success.

{| border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" height="531" width="783" Book One of the Kitab al-'Ibar

The nature of civilization. Bedouin and settled life, the achievement of superiority, gainful occupations, ways of making a living, sciences, crafts, and all the other things that affect(civilization). The causes and reasons thereof.

IT1 SHOULD be known that history, in matter of fact, is information about human social organization, which itself is identical with world civilization. It deals with such conditions affecting the nature of civilization as, for instance, savagery and sociability, group feelings, and the different ways by which one group of human beings achieves superiority over another It deals with royal authority and the dynasties that result (in this manner) and with the various ranks that exist within them. (It further deals) with the different kinds of gainful occupations and ways of making a living, with the sciences and crafts that human beings pursue as part of their activities and efforts, and with all the other institutions that originate in civilization through its very nature.

Untruth naturally afflicts historical information. There are various reasons that make this unavoidable. One of them is partisanship for opinions and schools. If the soul is impartial in receiving information, it devotes to that information the share of critical investigation the information deserves, and its truth or untruth thus becomes clear. However, if the soul is infected with partisanship for a particular opinion or sect, it accepts without a moment's hesitation the information that is agreeable to it. Prejudice and partisanship obscure the critical faculty and preclude critical investigation. The result is that falsehoods are accepted and transmitted.

Another reason making untruth unavoidable in historical information is reliance upon transmitters. Investigation of this subject belongs to (the theological discipline of) personality criticism.2

Another reason is unawareness of the purpose of an event. Many a transmitter does not know the real significance of his observations or of the things he has learned about orally. He transmits the information, attributing to it the significance he assumes or imagines it to have. The result is falsehood.

Another reason is unfounded assumption as to the truth of a thing. This is frequent. It results mostly from reliance upon transmitters.

Another reason is ignorance of how conditions conform with reality. 2a Conditions are affected by ambiguities and artificial distortions. The informant reports the conditions as he saw them but on account of artificial distortions he himself has no true picture of them.

Another reason is the fact that people as a rule approach great and high-ranking persons with praise and encomiums. They embellish conditions and spread the fame (of great men). The information made public in such cases is not truthful. Human souls long for praise, and people pay great attention to this world and the positions and wealth it offers. As a rule, they feel no desire for virtue and have no special interest in virtuous people.

Another reason making untruth unavoidable - and this one is more powerful than all the reasons previously mentioned is ignorance of the nature of the various conditions arising in civilization. Every event (or phenomenon), whether (it comes into being in connection with some) essence or (as the result of an) action, must inevitably possess a nature peculiar to its essence as well as to the accidental conditions that may attach themselves to it. If the student knows the nature of events and the circumstances and requirements in the world of existence, it will help him to distinguish truth from untruth in investigating the historical information critically. This is more effective in critical investigation than any other aspect that may be brought up in connection with it.

Students often happen to accept and transmit absurd information that, in turn, is believed on their authority. AlMas'udi,3 for instance, reports such a story about Alexander. Sea monsters prevented Alexander from building Alexandria. He took a wooden container in which a glass box was inserted, and dived in it to the bottom of the sea. There he drew pictures of the devilish monsters he saw. He then had metal effigies of these animals made and set them up opposite the place where building was going on. When the monsters came out and saw the effigies, they fled. Alexander was thus able to complete the building of Alexandria.

It is a long story, made up of nonsensical elements which are absurd for various reasons. Thus, (Alexander is said) to have taken a glass box and braved the sea and its waves in person. Now, rulers would not take such a risk .4 Any ruler who would attempt such a thing would work his own undoing and provoke the outbreak of revolt against himself, and (he would) be replaced by the people with someone else. That would be his end. People would not (even) wait one moment for him to return from the (dangerous) risk he is taking.

Furthermore, the jinn are not known to have specific forms and effigies. They are able to take on various forms. The story of the many heads they have is intended to indicate ugliness and frightfulness. It is not meant to be taken literally.

All this throws suspicion upon the story. Yet, the element in it that makes the story absurd for reasons based on the facts of existence is more convincing than all the other (arguments). Were one to go down deep into the water, even in a box, one would have too little air for natural breathing. Because of that, one's spirit5 would quickly become hot. Such a man would lack the cold air necessary to maintain a well-balanced humor of the lung and the vital spirit. He would perish on the spot. This is the reason why people perish in hot baths when cold air is denied to them. It also is the reason why people who go down into deep wells and dungeons perish when the air there becomes hot through putrefaction, and no winds enter those places to stir the air up. Those who go down there perish immediately. This also is the reason why fish die when they leave the water, for the air is not sufficient for (a fish) to balance its lung. (The fish) is extremely hot, and the water to balance it's humor is cold. The air into which (the fish) now comes is hot. Heat, thus, gains power over its animal spirit, and it perishes at once. This also is the reason for sudden death,6 and similar things.

Al-Mas'udi reports another absurd story, that of the Statue of the Starling in Rome7 On a fixed day of the year, starlings gather at that statue bringing olives from which the inhabitants of Rome get their oil. How little this has to do with the natural procedure of getting oil!

Another absurd story is reported by al-Bakri. It concerns the way the so-called "Gate City" was built.8 That city had a circumference of more than a thirty days' journey and had ten thousand gates. Now, cities are used for security and protection, as will be mentioned.9 Such a city, however, could not be controlled and would offer no security or protection.

Then, there is also al-Mas'udi's story of the "Copper City." 10 This is said to be a city built wholly of copper in the desert of Sijilmasah which Musa b. Nusayr 11 crossed on his raid against the Maghrib. The gates of (the Copper City) are said to be closed. When the person who climbs the walls of the city in order to enter it, reaches the top, he claps his hand and throws himself down and never returns. All this is an absurd story. It belongs to the idle talk of storytellers. The desert of Sijilmasah has been crossed by travelers and guides. They have not come across any information about such a city.12 All the details mentioned about it are absurd, (if compared with) the customary state of affairs. They contradict the natural facts that apply to the building and planning of cities. Metal exists at best in quantities sufficient for utensils and furnishings. It is clearly absurd and unlikely that there would be enough to cover a city with it.

There 13 are many similar things. Only knowledge of the nature of civilization makes critical investigation of them possible. It is the best and most reliable way to investigate historical information critically and to distinguish truth and falsehood in it. It is superior to investigations that rely upon criticism of the personalities of transmitters. Such personality criticism should not be resorted to until it has been ascertained whether a specific piece of information is in itself possible, or not. If it is absurd, there is no use engaging in personality criticism. Critical scholars consider absurdity inherent in the literal meaning of historical information, or an interpretation not acceptable to the intellect, as something that makes such information suspect. Personality criticism is taken into consideration only in connection with the soundness (or lack of soundness) of Muslim religious information, because this religious information mostly concerns injunctions in accordance with which the Lawgiver (Muhammad) enjoined Muslims to act whenever it can be presumed that the information is genuine. The way to achieve presumptive soundness is to ascertain the probity (`adalah) and exactness of the transmitters.

On the other hand, to establish the truth and soundness of information about factual happenings, a requirement to consider is the conformity (or lack of conformity of the reported information with general conditions). Therefore, it is necessary to investigate whether it is possible that the (reported facts) could have happened. This is more important than, and has priority over, personality criticism. For the correct notion about something that ought to be14 can be derived only from (personality criticism), while the correct notion about something that was can be derived from (personality criticism) and external (evidence) by (checking) the conformity (of the historical report with general conditions).

If 15 this is so, the normative method for distinguishing right from wrong in historical information on the grounds of (inherent) possibility or absurdity, is to investigate human social organization, which is identical with civilization. We must distinguish the conditions that attach themselves to the essence of civilization as required by its very nature; the things that are accidental (to civilization) and cannot be counted on; and the things that cannot possibly attach themselves to it. If we do that, we shall have a normative method for distinguishing right from wrong and truth from falsehood in historical information by means of a logical demonstration that admits of no doubts. Then whenever we hear about certain conditions occurring in civilization, we shall know what to accept and what to declare spurious. We shall have a sound yardstick with the help of which historians may find the path of truth and correctness where their reports are concerned.

Such 16 is the purpose of this first book of our work. (The subject) is in a way an independent science. (This science) has its own peculiar object-that is, human civilization and social organization. It also has its own peculiar problems, that is, explaining the conditions that attach themselves to the essence of civilization, one after the other. Thus, the situation is the same with this science as it is with any other science, whether it be a conventional 17 or an intellectual one.

It should be known that the discussion of this topic is something new, extraordinary, and highly useful. Penetrating research has shown the way to it. It does not belong to rhetoric, one of the logical disciplines (represented in Aristotle's Organon), the subject of which is convincing words by means of which the mass is inclined to accept a particular opinion or not to accept it.18 It is also not politics, because politics is concerned with the administration of home or city in accordance with ethical and philosophical requirements, for the purpose of directing the mass toward a behavior that will result in the preservation and permanence of the (human) species.

The subject here is different from that of these two disciplines which, however, are often similar to it. In a way, it is an entirely original science. In fact, I have not come across a discussion along these lines by anyone. I do not know if this is because people have been unaware of it, but there is no reason to suspect them (of having been unaware of it). Perhaps they have written exhaustively on this topic, and their work did not reach us.19 There are many sciences. There have been numerous sages among the nations of mankind. The knowledge that has not come down to us is larger than the knowledge that has. Where are the sciences of the Persians that 'Umar ordered wiped out at the time of the conquest!20 Where are the sciences of the Chaldaeans, the Syrians, and the Babylonians, and the scholarly products and results that were theirs! Where are the sciences of the Copts, their predecessors! The sciences of only one nation, the Greek, have come down to us, because they were translated through al-Ma'mun's efforts. (His efforts in this direction) were successful, because he had many translators at his disposal and spent much money in this connection. Of the sciences of others, nothing has come to our attention.

The accidents involved in every manifestation of nature and intellect deserve study. Any topic that is understandable and real requires its own special science. In this connection, scholars seem to have been interested (mainly) in the results (of the individual sciences). As far as the subject under discussion is concerned, the result, as we have seen, is just historical information. Although the problems it raises are important, both essentially and specifically, (exclusive concern for it) leads to one result only: the mere verification of historical information. This is not much. Therefore, scholars might have avoided the subject.

God knows better. "And you were given but little knowledge." 21

In the field under consideration here, we encounter (certain) problems, treated incidentally by scholars among the arguments applicable to their particular sciences, but that in object and approach are of the same type as the problems (we are discussing). In connection with the arguments for prophecy, for instance, scholars mention that human beings cooperate with each other for their existence and, therefore, need men to arbitrate among them and exercise a restraining influence.22 Or, in the science of the principles of jurisprudence, in the chapter of arguments for the necessity of languages, mention is made of the fact that people need means to express their intentions because by their very nature, cooperation and social organization are made easier by proper expressions 23 Or, in connection with the explanation that laws have their reason in the purposes they are to serve, the jurists mention that adultery confuses pedigrees and destroys the (human) species; that murder, too, destroys the human species; that injustice invites the destruction of civilization with the necessary consequence that the (human) species will be destroyed.24 Other similar things are stated in connection with the purposes embedded in laws. All (laws) are based upon the effort to preserve civilization. Therefore, (the laws) pay attention to the things that belong to civilization. This is obvious from our references to these problems which are mentioned as representative (of the general situation).

We also find a few of the problems of the subject under discussion (treated) in scattered statements by the sages of mankind. However, they did not exhaust the subject. For instance, we have the speech of the Mobedhan before Bahram b. Bahram in the story of the owl reported by al-Mas'udi 25 It runs: "O king, the might of royal authority materializes only through the ' religious law, obedience toward God, and compliance with His commands and prohibitions. The religious law persists only through royal authority. Mighty royal authority is accomplished only through men. Men persist only with the help of property. The only way to property is through cultivation.26 The only way to cultivation is through justice. Justice is a balance set up among mankind. The Lord set it up and appointed an overseer for it, and that (overseer) is the ruler."

There also is a statement by Anosharwan 27 to the same effect: "Royal authority exists through the army, the army through money, money through taxes, taxes through cultivation, cultivation through justice, justice through the improvement of officials, the improvement of officials through the forthrightness of wazirs, and the whole thing in the first place through the ruler's personal supervision of his subjects' condition and his ability to educate them, so that he may rule them, and not they him."

In the Book on Politics that is ascribed to Aristotle and has wide circulation, we find a good deal about (the subject which is under discussion here). (The treatment,) however, is not exhaustive, nor is the topic provided with all the arguments it deserves, and it is mixed with other things. In the book, (the author) referred to such general (ideas) 28 as we have reported on the authority of the Mobedhan and Anosharwan. He arranged his statement in a remarkable circle that he discussed at length. It runs as follows: 29 "The world is a garden the fence of which is the dynasty. The dynasty is an authority through which life is given to proper behavior. Proper behavior is a policy directed by the ruler. The ruler is an institution supported by the soldiers. The soldiers are helpers who are maintained by money. Money is sustenance brought together by the subjects. The subjects are servants who are protected by justice. Justice is something familiar,30 and through it, the world persists. The world is a garden ...", and then it begins again from the beginning. These are eight sentences of political wisdom. They are connected with each other, the end of each one leading into the beginning of the next. They are held together in a circle with no definite beginning or end. (The author) was proud of what he had hit upon and made much of the significance of the sentences.

When our discussion in the section on royal authority and dynasties 31 has been studied and due critical attention given to it, it will be found to constitute an exhaustive, very clear, fully substantiated interpretation and detailed exposition of these sentences. We became aware of these things with God's help and without the instruction of Aristotle or the teaching of the Mobedhan.

The statements of Ibn al-Muqaffa32 and the excursions on political subjects in his treatises also touch upon many of the problems of our work. However, (Ibn al-Muqaffa`) did not substantiate his statements with arguments as we have done. He merely mentioned them in passing in the (flowing) prose style and eloquent verbiage of the rhetorician.

Judge Abu Bakr at-Turtushi33 also had the same idea in the Kitab Siraj al-Muluk. He divided the work into chapters that come close to the chapters and problems of our work. However, he did not achieve his aim or realize his intention. He did not exhaust the problems and did not bring clear proofs. He sets aside a special chapter for a particular problem, but then he tells a great number of stories and traditions and he reports scattered remarks by Persian sages such as Buzurjmihr34 and the Mobedhan, and by Indian sages, as well as material transmitted on the authority of Daniel, Hermes, and other great men. He does not verify his statements or clarify them with the help of natural arguments. The work is merely a compilation of transmitted material similar to sermons in its inspirational purpose. In a way, at-Turtushi aimed at the right idea, but did not hit it. He did not realize his intention or exhaust his problems.

We, on the other hand, were inspired by God. He led us to a science whose truth we ruthlessly set forth.35 If I have succeeded in presenting the problems of (this science) exhaustively and in showing how it differs in its various aspects and characteristics from all other crafts, this is due to divine guidance. If, on the other hand, I have omitted some point, or if the problems of (this science) have got confused with something else, the task of correcting remains for the discerning critic, but the merit is mine since I cleared and marked the way.

God guides with His light whomever He wants (to guide).36

In 37 this book, now, we are going to explain such various aspects of civilization that affect human beings in their social organization, as royal authority, gainful occupation, sciences, and crafts, (all) in the light of various arguments that will show the true nature of the varied knowledge of the elite and the common people, repel misgivings, and remove doubts. We say that man is distinguished from the other living beings by certain qualities peculiar to him, namely: (1) The sciences and crafts which result from that ability to think which distinguishes man from the other animals and exalts him as a thinking being over all creatures.38 (2) The need for restraining influence and strong authority, since man, alone of all the animals, cannot exist without them. It is true, something has been said (in this connection about bees and locusts. However, if they have something similar, it comes to them through inspiration,39 not through thinking or reflection. (3) Man's efforts to make a living and his concern with the various ways of obtaining and acquiring the means of (life). This is the result of man's need for food to keep alive and subsist, which God instilled in him, guiding him to desire and seek a livelihood. God said: "He gave every thing its natural characteristics, and then guided it." 40 (4) Civilization. This means that human beings have to dwell in common and settle together in cities and hamlets for the comforts of companionship and for the satisfaction of human needs, as a result of the natural disposition of human beings toward co-operation in order to be able to make a living, as we shall explain. Civilization may be either desert (Bedouin) civilization as found in outlying regions and mountains, in hamlets (near suitable) pastures in waste regions, and on the fringes of sandy deserts. Or it may be sedentary civilization as found in cities, villages, towns, and small communities that serve the purpose of protection and fortification by means of walls. In all these different conditions, there are things that affect civilization essentially in as far as it is social organization.

Consequently,41 the discussion in this work falls naturally under six chapter headings:

(1) On human civilization in general, its various kinds, and the portion of the earth that is civilized.

(2) On desert civilization, including a report on the tribes and savage nations.

(3) On dynasties, the caliphate, and royal authority, including a discussion of government ranks.

(4) On sedentary civilization, countries, and cities.

(5) On crafts, ways of making a living, gainful occupations, and their various aspects. And

(6) On the sciences, their acquisition and study.

I have discussed desert civilization first, because it is prior to everything else, as will become clear later on. (The discussion of) royal authority was placed before that of countries and cities for the same reason. (The discussion of) ways of making a living was placed before that of the sciences, because making a living is necessary and natural, whereas the study of science is a luxury or convenience.42 Anything natural has precedence over luxury. I lumped the crafts together with gainful occupations, because they belong to the latter in some respects as far as civilization is concerned, as will become clear later.

God gives success and support.


HUMAN1 SOCIAL ORGANIZATION is something necessary. The philosophers expressed this fact by saying: "Man is `political' by nature."2 That is, he cannot do without the social organization for which the philosophers use the technical term "town" (polis).

This is what civilization means. (The necessary character of human social organization or civilization) is explained by the fact that God created and fashioned man in a form that can live and subsist only with the help of food. He guided man to a natural desire for food and instilled in him the power that enables him to obtain it.

However, the power of the individual human being is not sufficient for him to obtain (the food) he needs, and does not provide him with as much food as he requires to live. Even if we assume an absolute minimum of food-that is, food enough for one day, (a little) wheat, for instance-that amount of food could be obtained only after much preparation such as grinding, kneading, and baking. Each of these three operations requires utensils and tools that can be provided only with the help of several crafts, such as the crafts of the blacksmith, the carpenter, and the potter. Assuming that a man could eat unprepared grain, an even greater number of operations would be necessary in order to obtain the grain: sowing and reaping, and threshing to separate it from the husks of the ear. Each of these operations requires a number of tools and many more crafts than those just mentioned. It is beyond the power of one man alone to do all that, or (even) part of it, by himself. Thus, he cannot do without a combination of many powers from among his fellow beings, if he is to obtain food for himself and for them. Through cooperation, the needs of a number of persons, many times greater than their own (number), can be satisfied.

Likewise, each individual needs the help of his fellow beings for his defense, as well. When God fashioned the natures of all living beings and divided the various powers among them, many dumb animals were given more perfect powers than God gave to man. The power of a horse, for instance, is much greater than the power of man, and so is the power of a donkey or an ox. The power of a lion or an elephant is many times greater than the power of (man).

Aggressiveness is natural in living beings. Therefore, God gave each of them a special limb for defense against aggression. To man, instead, He gave the ability to think, and the hand. With the help of the ability to think, the hand is able to prepare the ground for the crafts. The crafts, in turn, procure for man the instruments that serve him instead of limbs, which other animals possess for their defense. Lances, for instance, take the place of horns for goring, swords the place of claws to inflict wounds, shields the place of thick skins, and so on. There are other such things. They were all mentioned by Galen in De usu partium.3

The power of one individual human being cannot withstand the power of any one dumb animal, especially not the power of the predatory animals. Man is generally unable to defend himself against them by himself. Nor is his (unaided) power sufficient to make use of the existing instruments of defense, because there are so many of them and they require so many crafts and (additional) things. It is absolutely necessary for man to have the co-operation of his fellow men. As long as there is no such co-operation, he cannot obtain any food or nourishment, and life cannot materialize for him, because God fashioned him so that he must have food if he is to live. Nor, lacking weapons, can he defend himself. Thus, he falls prey to animals and dies much before his time. Under such circumstances, the human species would vanish. When, however, mutual co-operation exists, man obtains food for his nourishment and weapons for his defense. God's wise plan that man(kind) should subsist and the human species be preserved will be fulfilled.

Consequently, social organization is necessary to the human species. Without it, the existence of human beings would be incomplete. God's desire to settle the world with human beings and to leave them as His representatives on earth4 would not materialize. This is the meaning of civilization, the object of the science under discussion.

The afore-mentioned remarks have been in the nature of establishing the existence of the object in (this) particular field. A scholar in a particular discipline is not obliged to do this, since it is accepted in logic that a scholar in a particular science does not have to establish the existence of the object in that science.5 On the other hand, logicians do not consider it forbidden to do so. Thus, it is a voluntary contribution.

God, in His grace, gives success.

When6 mankind has achieved social organization, as we have stated, and when civilization in the world has thus become a fact, people need someone to exercise a restraining influence and keep them apart, for aggressiveness and injustice are in the animal nature of man. The weapons made for the defense of human beings against the aggressiveness of dumb animals do not suffice against the aggressiveness of man to man, because all of them possess those weapons. Thus, something else is needed for defense against the aggressiveness of human beings toward each other. It could not come from outside, because all the other animals fall short of human perceptions and inspiration. The person who exercises a restraining influence, therefore, must be one of themselves. He must dominate them and have power and authority over them, so that no one of them will be able to attack another. This is the meaning of royal authority.

It has thus become clear that royal authority is a natural quality of man which is absolutely necessary to mankind. The philosophers mention that it also exists among certain dumb animals, such as the bees and the locusts7 One discerns among them the existence of authority and obedience to a leader. They follow the one of them who is distinguished as their leader by his natural characteristics and body. However, outside of human beings, these things exist as the result of natural disposition and divine guidance, and not as the result of an ability to think or to administrate. "He gave everything its natural characteristics, and then guided it."8

The philosophers go further. They attempt to give logical proof of the existence of prophecy and to show that prophecy is a natural quality of man. In this connection, they carry the argument to its ultimate consequences and' say that human beings absolutely require some authority to exercise a restraining influence. They go on to say that such restraining influence exists through the religious law (that has been) ordained by God and revealed to mankind by a human being. (This human being) is distinguished from the rest of mankind by special qualities of divine guidance that God gave him, in order that he might find the others submissive to him and ready to accept what he says. Eventually, the existence of a (restraining) authority among them and over them becomes a fact that is accepted without the slightest disapproval or dissent.

This proposition of the philosophers is not logical, as one can see. Existence and human life can materialize without (the existence of prophecy) through injunctions a person in authority may devise on his own or with the help of a group feeling that enables him to force the others to follow him wherever he wants to go. People who have a (divinely revealed) book and who follow the prophets are few in number in comparison with (all) the Magians9 who have no (divinely revealed) book. The latter constitute the majority of the world's inhabitants. Still, they (too) have possessed dynasties and monuments, not to mention life itself. They still possess these things at this time in the intemperate zones to the north and the south. This is in contrast10 with human life in the state of anarchy, with no one to exercise a restraining influence. That would be impossible.

This shows that (the philosophers) are wrong when they assume that prophecy exists by necessity. The existence of prophecy is not required by logic. Its (necessary character) is indicated by the religious law, as was the belief of the early Muslims.

God gives success and guidance.


The parts of the earth where civilization is found. Some

information about oceans, rivers, and zones.11

IN 12 THE BOOKS of philosophers who speculated about the condition of the world, it has been explained that the earth has a spherical shape and is enveloped by the element of water. It may be compared to a grape floating upon water.13

The water withdrew from certain parts of (the earth), because God wanted to create living beings upon it and settle it with the human species that rules as (God's) representative over all other beings.14 One might from this get the impression that the water is below the earth. This is not correct. The natural "below" of the earth is the core and middle of its sphere, the center to which everything is attracted by its gravity. All the sides of the earth beyond that and the water surrounding the earth are "above." When some part of the earth is said to be "below," it is said to be so with reference to some other region (of the earth).

The part of the earth from which the water has withdrawn is one-half the surface of the sphere of the earth. It has a circular form and is surrounded on all sides by the element of water which forms a sea called "the Surrounding Sea" (al-Bahr al-Muhit). It is also called lablayah,15 with thickening of the second l, or oceanos.16 Both are non-Arabic words. It is also called "the Green Sea" and "the Black Sea."

The part of the earth that is free from water (and thus suitable) for human civilization has more waste and empty areas than cultivated (habitable) areas. The empty area in the south is larger than that in the north. The cultivated part of the earth extends more toward the north. In the shape of a circular plane it extends in the south to the equator and in the north to a circular 17 line, behind which there are mountains separating (the cultivated part of the earth) from the elemental water. Enclosed between (these mountains) is the Dam of Gog and Magog. These mountains extend toward the east. In the east and the west, they also reach the elemental water, at two sections (points) of the circular (line) that surrounds (the cultivated part of the earth).
The part of the earth that is free from water is said to cover one-half or less of the sphere (of the earth). The cultivated part covers one-fourth of it. It is divided into seven zones.18
The equator divides the earth into two halves from west to east. It represents the length of the earth. It is the longest line on the sphere of (the earth), just as the ecliptic and the equinoctial line are the longest lines on the firmament. The ecliptic is divided into 360 degrees. The geographical degree is twenty-five parasangs, the parasang being 12,000 cubits or three miles, since one mile has 4,000 cubits. The cubit is twenty-four fingers, and the finger is six grains of barley placed closely together in one row.19 The distance of the equinoctial line, parallel to the equator of the earth and dividing the firmament into two parts, is ninety degrees from each of the two poles. However, the cultivated area north of the equator is (only) sixty-four degrees.20 The rest is empty and uncultivated because of the bitter cold and frost, exactly as the southern part is altogether empty because of the heat. We shall explain it all, if God wills.

Information about the cultivated part and its boundaries and about the cities, towns, mountains, rivers, waste areas, and sandy deserts it contains, has been given by men such as Ptolemy in the Geography 21 and, after him, by the author of the Book of Roger.22 These men divided the cultivated area into seven parts which they called the seven zones. The borders of the seven zones are imaginary. They extend from east to west. In width (latitudinal extension) they are identical, in length (longitudinal extension) different. The first zone is longer than the second. The same applies to the second zone, and so on. The seventh zone is the shortest. This is required by the circular shape that resulted from the withdrawal of the water from the sphere of the earth.

According to these scholars, each of the seven zones is divided from west to east into ten contiguous sections. Information about general conditions and civilization is given for each section.

(The geographers) mentioned that the Mediterranean which we all know branches off from the Surrounding Sea in the western part of the fourth zone. It begins at a narrow straits about twelve miles wide between Tangier and Tarifa, called the Street (of Gibraltar). It then extends eastward and opens out to a width of 600 miles. It terminates at the end of the fourth section of the fourth zone, a distance of 1,160 parasangs from its starting point. There, it is bordered by the coast of Syria. On the south, it is bordered by the coast of the Maghrib, beginning with Tangier at the Straits, then lfrigiyah, Barqah, and Alexandria. On the north, it is bordered by the coast of Constantinople, then Venice, Rome, France, and Spain, back to Tarifa at the Street (of Gibraltar) opposite Tangier. The Mediterranean is also called the Roman Sea or the Syrian Sea. It contains many populous islands. Some of them are large, such as Crete, Cyprus, Sicily, Majorca, and Sardinia.23

In the north, they say, two other seas branch off from the Mediterranean through two straits. One of them is opposite Constantinople. It starts at the Mediterranean in a narrow straits, only an arrow-shot in width. It flows for a three days' run and touches Constantinople. Then, it attains a width of four miles. It flows in this channel for sixty miles, where it is known as the Straits of Constantinople. Through a mouth six miles wide, it then flows into the Black Sea,24 and becomes a sea that, from there, turns eastward in its course. It passes the land of Heracleia (in Bithynia) 25 and ends at the country of the Khazars, 1,300 miles from its mouth. Along its two coasts live the Byzantine, the Turkish, the Bulgar (Burjin)'26 and the Russian nations.

The second sea that branches off from the two straits of the Mediterranean is the Adriatic Sea (Gulf of Venice). It emerges from Byzantine territory at its northern limit. Then, from Sant' Angelo (de' Lombardi), its western boundary extends from the country of the Venetians to the territory of Aquileia, 1,100 miles from where it started. On its two shores live the Venetians, the Byzantines (Rum), and other nations. It is called the Gulf of Venice (Adriatic Sea).

From the Surrounding Sea, they say, a large and wide sea flows on the east at thirteen degrees north of the equator. It flows a little toward the south, entering the first zone. Then it flows west within the first zone until it reaches the country of the Abyssinians and the Negroes (the Zanj)27 and Bib al-Mandeb in the fifth section of (the first zone), 4,500 parasangs from its starting point. This sea is called the Chinese, Indian, or Abyssinian Sea (Indian Ocean). It is bordered on the south by the country of the Negroes (Zanj) and the country of Berbera which Imru'ul-Qays mentioned in his poem.28 These "Berbers" do not belong to the Berbers who make up the tribes in the Maghrib. The sea is then bordered by the area of Mogadishu, Sufilah, and the land of al-Wigwiq,29 and by other nations beyond which there is nothing but waste and empty areas. On the north, where it starts, it is bordered by China, then by Eastern and Western India (al-Hind and as-Sind), and then by the coast of the Yemen, that is, al-Ahqif, Zabid, and other cities. Where it ends, it is bordered by the country of the Negroes, and, beyond them, the Beja.30

Two other seas, they say, branch off from the Indian Ocean. One of them branches off where the Indian Ocean ends, at Bib al-Mandeb. It starts out narrow, then flows widening toward the north and slightly to the west until it ends at the city of al-Qulzum in the fifth section of the second zone, 1,400 miles from its starting point. This is the Sea of al-Qulzum or Sea of Suez (Red Sea). From the Red Sea at Suez to Fustat 31 is the distance of a three days' journey. The Red Sea is bordered on the east by the coast of the Yemen, the Hijiz, and Jiddah,32 and then, where it ends, by Midyan (Madyan), Aila (Aylah), and Faran.33 On the west, it is bordered by the coast of Upper Egypt, 'Aydhib, Suakin, and Zayla' (Zila'), and then, where it begins, by the country of the Beja. It ends at al-Qulzum. It (would) reach the Mediterranean at al-'Arish. The distance between (the Red Sea and the Mediterranean) is a six days' journey. Many rulers, both Muslim and pre-Islamic, have wanted to cut through the intervening territory (with a canal) but this has not been achieved.

The second sea branching off from the Indian Ocean and called the Persian Gulf (the Green Gulf), branches off at the region between the west coast of India and al-Ahqaf in the Yemen. It flows toward the north and slightly to the west until it ends at al-Ubullah on the coast of al-Basrah in the sixth section of the second zone, 440 parasangs from its starting point. It is called the Persian Gulf (Persian Sea). It is bordered on the east by the coast of Western India, Mukrin, Kirmin, Firs, and al-Ubullah where it ends. On the west, it is bordered by the coast of al-Bahrayn, the Yamamah, Oman, ash-Shihr, and al-Ahgaf where it starts. Between the Persian Gulf and al-Qulzum lies the Arabian Peninsula, jutting out from the mainland into the sea. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the south, by the Red Sea to the west, and by the Persian Gulf to the east. It adjoins the 'Iraq in the region between Syria and al-Basrah, where the distance between (Syria and the 'Iraq) is 1,500 miles. (In the 'Iraq) are al-Kufah, al-Qidistyah, Baghdad, the Reception Hall of Khosraw (at Ctesiphon)34 and al-Hirah. Beyond that live non-Arab nations such as the Turks, the Khazars, and others. The Arabian Peninsula comprises the Hijaz in the west, the Yamamah, al-Bahrayn, and Oman in the east, and in the south the Yemen along the coast of the Indian Ocean.

In the cultivated area (of the earth), they say, there is another sea to the north in the land of the Daylam. This sea has no connection with the other seas. It is called the Sea of Jurjan and Tabaristan (Caspian Sea). Its length is 1,000 miles, and its width 600. To the west of it lies Azerbaijan and the Daylam territory; to the east of it the land of the Turks and Khuwirizm; to the south of it Tabaristan; and to the north of it the land of the Khazars and the Alans.

These are all the famous seas mentioned by the geographers.

They further say that in the cultivated part of (the earth), there are many rivers. The largest among them are four in number, namely, the Nile, the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the River of Balkh which is called Oxus (Jayhun).

The Nile begins at a large mountain, sixteen degrees beyond the equator at the boundary of the fourth section of the first zone. This mountain is called the Mountain of the Qumr.35 No higher mountain is known on earth. Many springs issue from the mountain, some of them flowing into one lake there, and some of them into another lake. From these two lakes, several rivers branch off, and all of them flow into a lake at the equator which is at the distance of a ten days' journey from the mountain. From that lake, two rivers issue. One of them flows due north, passing through the country of the Nubah and then through Egypt. Having traversed Egypt, it divides into many branches lying close to each other. Each of these is called a "channel." All flow into the Mediterranean at Alexandria. This river is called the Egyptian Nile. It is bordered by Upper Egypt on the east, and by the oases on the west. The other river turns westward, flowing due west until it flows into the Surrounding Sea. This river is the Sudanese Nile.36 All the Negro nations live along its borders.

The Euphrates begins in Armenia in the sixth section of the fifth zone. It flows south through Byzantine territory (Anatolia) past Malatya to Manbij, and then passes Siflin, ar-Raggah, and al-Kufah until it reaches the Marsh (alBatha') between al-Basrah and Wasit. From there it flows into the Indian Ocean. Many rivers flow into it along its course. Other rivers branch off from it and flow into the Tigris.

The Tigris originates in a number of springs in the country of Khilat, which is also in Armenia. It passes on its course southward through Mosul, Azerbaijan, and Baghdad to Wasit. There, it divides into several channels, all of which flow into the Lake of al-Basrah and join the Persian Gulf. The Tigris flows east of the Euphrates. Many large rivers flow into it from all sides. The region between the Euphrates and the Tigris, where it is first formed, is the Jazirah of Mosul, facing Syria on both banks of the Euphrates, and facing Azerbaijan on both banks of the Tigris.

The Oxus originates at Balkh, in the eighth section of the third zone, in a great number of springs there. Large rivers flow into it, as it follows a course from south to north. It flows through Khurasan, then past Khurasan to Khuwarizm in the eighth section of the fifth zone. It flows into Lake Aral (the Lake of Gurganj) which is situated at the foot [north?] of the city of (Gurganj). In length as in width, it extends the distance of one month's journey. The river of Farghanah and Tashkent (ash-Shash),37 which comes from the territory of the Turks, flows into it. West of the Oxus lie Khurasan and Khuwarizm. East of it lie the cities of Bukhari, at-Tirmidh, and Samarkand. Beyond that are the country of the Turks, Farghanah, the Kharlukh,38 and (other) non-Arab nations.

(All) this was mentioned by Ptolemy in his work and by the Sharaf (al-Idrisi) in the Book of Roger. All the mountains, seas, and rivers to be found in the cultivated part of the earth are depicted on maps and exhaustively treated in geography. We do not have to go any further into it. It is too lengthy a subject, and our main concern is with the Maghrib, the home of the Berbers, and the Arab home countries in the East.

God gives success.


The northern quarter of the earth has more civilization

than the southern quarter. The reason thereof.

WE KNOW FROM OBSERVATION and from continuous tradition that the first and the second of the cultivated zones have less civilization than the other zones. The cultivated area in the first and second zones is interspersed with empty waste areas and sandy deserts and has the Indian Ocean to the east. The nations and populations of the first and second zones are not excessively numerous. The same applies to the cities and towns there.

The third, fourth, and subsequent zones are just the opposite. Waste areas there are few. Sandy deserts also are few or non-existent. The nations and populations are tremendous. Cities and towns are exceedingly numerous. Civilization has its seat between the third and the sixth zones. The south is all emptiness.

Many philosophers have mentioned that this is because of the excessive heat and slightness of the sun's deviation from the zenith in the south. Let us explain and prove this statement. The result will clarify the reason why civilization in the third and fourth zones is so highly developed and extends also to the fifth, <sixth,> and seventh zones.

We say: When the south and north poles (of heaven) are upon the horizon, they constitute a large circle that divides the firmament into two parts. It is the largest circle (in it) and runs from west to east. It is called the equinoctial line. In astronomy, it has been explained in the proper place that the highest sphere moves from east to west in a daily motion by means of which it also forces the spheres enclosed by it to move. This motion is perceptible to the senses. It has also been explained that the stars in their spheres have a motion that is contrary to this motion and is, therefore, a motion from west to east. The periods of this movement differ according to the different speeds of the motions of the stars.

Parallel to the courses of all these stars in their spheres, there runs a large circle which belongs to the highest sphere and divides it into two halves. This is the ecliptic (zodiac). It is divided into twelve "signs." As has been explained in the proper place, the equinoctial line intersects the ecliptic at two opposite points, namely, at the beginning of Aries and at the beginning of Libra. The equinoctial line divides the zodiac into two halves. One of them extends northward from the equinoctial line and includes the signs from the beginning of Aries to the end of Virgo. The other half extends southward from it and includes the signs from the beginning of Libra to the end of Pisces.

When the two poles fall upon the horizon <which takes place in one particular region> among all the regions of the earth, a line is formed upon the surface of the earth that faces the equinoctial line and runs from west to east. This line is called the equator. According to astronomical observation, this line is believed to coincide with the beginning of the first of the seven zones. All civilization is to the north of it.

The north pole gradually ascends on the horizon of the cultivated area (of the earth) until its elevation reaches sixtyfour degrees. Here, all civilization ends. This is the end of the seventh zone. When its elevation reaches ninety degrees on the horizon - that is the distance between the pole and the equinoctial- line-then it is at its zenith, and the equinoctial line is on the horizon. Six of the signs of the zodiac, the northern ones, remain above the horizon, and six, the southern ones, are below it.

Civilization is impossible in the area between the sixtyfourth and the ninetieth degrees, for no admixture of heat and cold occurs there because of the great time interval between them. Generation (of anything), therefore, does not take place.

The sun is at its zenith on the equator at the beginning of Aries and Libra. It then declines from its zenith down to the beginning of Cancer and Capricorn. Its greatest declination from the equinoctial line is twenty-four degrees.

Now, when the north pole ascends on the horizon, the equinoctial line declines from the zenith in proportion to the elevation of the north pole, and the south pole descends correspondingly, as regards the three (distances constituting geographical latitude).39 Scholars who calculate the (prayer) times call this the latitude of a place. When the equinoctial line declines from the zenith, the northern signs of the zodiac gradually rise above it, proportionately to its rise, until the beginning of Cancer is reached. Meanwhile, the southern signs of the zodiac correspondingly descend below the horizon until the beginning of Capricorn is reached, because of the inclination of the (two halves of the zodiac) upwards or downwards from the horizon of the equator, as we have stated. The northern horizon continues to rise, until its northern limit, which is the beginning of Cancer, is in the zenith. This is where the latitude is twenty-four degrees in the Hijaz and the territory adjacent. This is the declination from the equinoctial at the horizon of the equator at the beginning of Cancer. With the elevation of the north pole (Cancer) rises, until it attains the zenith. When the pole rises more than twenty-four degrees, the sun descends from the zenith and continues to do so until the elevation of the pole is sixty-four degrees, and the sun's descent from the zenith, as well as the depression of the south pole under the horizon, is the same distance. Then, generation (of anything) stops because of the excessive cold and frost and the long time without any heat.

At and nearing its zenith, the sun sends its rays down upon the earth at right angles. In other positions, it sends them down at obtuse or acute angles. When the rays form right angles, the light is strong and spreads out over a wide area, in contrast to what happens in the case of obtuse and acute angles. Therefore, at and nearing its zenith, the heat is greater than in other positions, because the light (of the sun) is the reason for heat and calefaction. The sun reaches its zenith at the equator twice a year in two points of Aries and Libra. No declination (of the sun) goes very far. The heat hardly begins to become more temperate, when the sun has reached the limit of its declination at the beginning of Cancer or Capricorn and begins to rise again toward the zenith. The perpendicular rays then fall heavily upon the horizon there (in these regions) and hold steady for a long time, if not permanently. The air gets burning hot, even excessively so. The same is true whenever the sun reaches the zenith in the area between the equator and latitude twentyfour degrees, as it does twice a year. The rays exercise almost as much force upon the horizon there (at this latitude) as they do at the equator. The excessive heat causes a parching dryness in the air that prevents (any) generation. As the heat becomes more excessive, water and all kinds of moisture dry up, and (the power of) generation is destroyed in minerals, plants, and animals, because (all) generation depends on moisture.

Now, when the beginning of Cancer declines from the zenith at the latitude of twenty-five degrees and beyond, the sun also declines from its zenith. The heat becomes temperate, or deviates only slightly from (being temperate). Then, generation can take place. This goes on until the cold becomes excessive, due to the lack of light and the obtuse angles of the rays of the sun. Then, (the power of) generation again decreases and is destroyed. However, the destruction caused by great heat is greater than that caused by great cold, because heat brings about desiccation faster than cold brings about freezing.

Therefore, there is little civilization in the first and second zones. There is a medium degree of civilization in the third, fourth, and fifth zones, because the heat there is temperate owing to the decreased amount of light. There is a great deal of civilization in the sixth and seventh zones because of the decreased amount of heat there. At first, cold does not have the same destructive effect upon (the power of) generation as heat; it causes desiccation only when it becomes excessive and thus has dryness added. This is the case beyond the seventh zone. (All) this, then, is the reason why civilization is stronger and more abundant in the northern quarter. And God knows better!

The 40 philosophers concluded from these facts that the region at the equator and beyond it (to the south) was empty. On the strength of observation and continuous tradition, it was argued against them that (to the contrary) it was cultivated. How would it be possible to prove this (contention)? It is obvious that the (philosophers) did not mean to deny entirely the existence of civilization there, but their argumentation led them to (the realization) that (the power of) generation must, to a large degree, be destroyed there because of the excessive heat. Consequently, civilization there would be either impossible, or only minimally possible. This is so. The region at the equator and beyond it (to the south), even if it has civilization as has been reported, has only a very little of it.

Averroes 41 assumed that the equator is in a symmetrical position 42 and that what is beyond the equator to the south corresponds to what is beyond it to the north; consequently, as much of the south would be cultivated as of the north. His assumption is not impossible, so far as (the argument of) the destruction of the power of generation is concerned. However, as to the region south of the equator, it is made impossible by the fact that the element of water covers the face of the earth in the south, where the corresponding area in the north admits of generation. On account of the greater amount of water (in the south), Averroes' assumption of the symmetrical (position of the equator) thus turns out to be impossible. Everything else follows, since civilization progresses gradually and begins its gradual progress where it can exist, not where it cannot exist.

The assumption that civilization cannot exist at the equator is contradicted by continuous tradition. And God knows better!


After this discussion, we wish to draw a map of the earth,43 as was done by the author of the Book of Roger. Then, we shall give a detailed description of the map.


THIS DESCRIPTlON is twofold. There is a detailed description and a general description.

The detailed description consists of a discussion of each country, mountain, sea, and river of the cultivated part of the earth. This discussion will be found in the following section.

The general description consists of a discussion of the division of the cultivated part of the earth into seven zones, their latitudinal (extension), and the length of their days. Such is the contents of this section.

Let us begin to explain these things. We have mentioned before that the earth floats upon the elemental water like a grape.45 God's plan for civilization and for the elemental generation of life resulted in making part of (the earth) free of water.

The part that is free of water is said to constitute one-half the surface of the earth. The cultivated part is one-fourth of it. The rest is uncultivated. According to another opinion, the cultivated part is only one-sixth of it. The empty areas of the part which is free of water lie to the south and to the north. The cultivated area in between forms a continuum that stretches from west to east. There is no empty area between the cultivated part and the (Surrounding) Sea in these two directions.

They further said: Across the cultivated part of the earth an imaginary line runs from west to east facing the equinoctial line (of the firmament) in regions where the two poles of the firmament are on the horizon. At this line civilization begins. It extends from there northwards.

Ptolemy said: "As a matter of fact, civilization extends beyond that line to the south." He indicated the latitudinal extension, as will be mentioned .46

Ishaq b. al-Hasan al-Khazini 47 expresses the opinion that beyond the seventh zone (to the north) there is another civilization. He indicated its latitudinal extension, as we shall



















Empty beyond the equator because of the heat








Lamlam Country




Maghzawah (Maguzawa?)




Kanem [Country


Eastern India








































Germany (Alaminiyah)






























Desert of Berenice




Inner Oases




Upper Egypt










Stinking Land




Waste Country






























Western India


Empty in the north because of the cold

mention. 48 Al-Khazini is one of the leading scholars in this craft (geography).

* Further, the ancient philosophers divided the cultivated part of the earth in the north into seven zones by means of imaginary lines running from west to east. They maintain that these zones have different latitudinal extensions. This will be discussed in detail.

The first zone runs along the equator, north of it. South of it, there is only the civilization to which reference was made by Ptolemy. Beyond that are waste regions and sandy deserts, up to the circle of water which is called the Surrounding Sea. To the north, the first zone is followed, successively, by the second through the seventh zones. (The seventh zone) constitutes the northern limit of civilization. Beyond it are only empty and waste regions, down to the Surrounding Sea as (in the south). However, the empty regions in the south are much larger than those in the north.*

As to latitudes and length of days in the various zones, it should be known that the two poles of the firmament are upon the horizon at the equator in the west and the east.

It should be known that, as was mentioned above, the philosophers divided the cultivated part of the earth into seven parts from south to north. These parts they called zones. The whole of the cultivated area is distributed over these zones. Each zone extends from west to east.

The first zone runs from west to east with the equator as its southern border. Beyond it, there are only waste regions and sandy deserts, and civilization of a sort that, if it actually exists, is more like non-civilization. To the north, the first zone is followed, successively, by the second through the seventh zones. The seventh zone constitutes the northern limit of civilization. Beyond it (to the north) are only empty and waste regions until the Surrounding Sea is reached. The situation is the same here as it is beyond the f'irst zone to the south. However, the empty areas in the north are much smaller than those in the south.

The sun there is at the zenith. As we follow the cultivated part of the earth farther and farther north, the north pole ascends slightly, and the south pole descends correspondingly, (at the horizon). Furthermore, the sun moves a corresponding distance from (its zenith at) the equinoctial line. These three distances are equal to each other. Each of them is called geographical latitude. This is well known to the scholars who determine the (prayer) times.

People hold different opinions as to the latitudinal extension (of the cultivated part of the earth) and as to the latitudinal extension (breadth) of the various zones. Ptolemy holds the opinion that the latitudinal extension of the entire cultivated part of the earth is 771/2. The latitudinal extension of the cultivated part beyond the equator to the south is 11°.48a Thus, the latitudinal extension of the zones in the north is 661/2. According to him, the first zone extends to 16°; 48b the second to 20°; the third to 27°; the fourth to 33°; the fifth to 38°; the sixth to 43°; the seventh to 48°.49 He then determined the degree on the firmament as having a length of 662/3 miles, (were it to be) measured on the surface of the earth.50 Thus, the first zone from south to north is 1,067 miles (wide); the second zone, 2,333 miles; the third zone, 2,790 miles; the fourth zone, 2,185 miles; the fifth zone, 2,520 miles; the sixth zone, 2,840 miles, and the seventh zone, 3,150 miles.

*The length of night and day differs in the various zones by reason of the declination of the sun from the equinoctial line and the elevation of the north pole above the horizon. This causes a difference in the arcs of day and night.

The length of night and day dyers in the different zones by reason of the declination of the sun from the equinoctial line and the elevation of the north pole above the horizon. This causes a deference in the arcs of day and night.

At the boundary of the first zone, the longest night-which occurs when the sun enters Capricorn-and the longest day which occurs when the sun enters Cancer-reach a maximum of thirteen hours. The same is the case at the boundary of the second zone in the north. The length of day there reaches its maximum of thirteen and one-half hours when the sun enters Cancer, the summer tropic. The longest night -when the sun enters Capricorn, the winter tropic is as long. For the shortest day and night, there thus remains the difference between thirteen and one-half and twenty-four, which is the combined number of hours of day and night, or one complete revolution of the firmament. The same is the case also at the boundary of the third zone in the north, where night and day reach a maximum length of fourteen hours; at the boundary of the fourth zone, where they reach a maximum length of fourteen and one-half hours; at the boundary of the fifth zone, where they reach a maximum length of fifteen hours; at the boundary of the sixth zone, where they reach a maximum length of fifteen and one-half hours; and at the boundary of the seventh zone, where they reach a maximum length of sixteen hours. There, civilization ends. The difference in the maximum length of night and day in the various zones, consequently, is an evenly distributed, gradual increase of half an hour in each, all the way from the first zone in the south to the last zone in the north.

In connection with these zones, "geographical latitude" refers to the distance between the sun at its zenith in a given place and the equinoctial line where it is at the zenith on the equator. It likewise corresponds to the depression of the south pole below the horizon in that particular place, as well as to the elevation of the north pole. As was mentioned before,51 these three distances are equal to each other. They are called "geographical latitude."

At the boundary of the first zone, the longest nightwhich occurs when the sun enters Capricorn - and the longest day-which occurs when the sun enters Cancer-reach, according to Ptolemy, a maximum of twelve and one-half hours; at the boundary of the second zone, a maximum of thirteen hours; at the boundary of the third zone, a maximum of thirteen and one-half hours; at the boundary of the fourth zone, a maximum of fourteen hours; at the boundary of the fifth zone, a maximum of one half-hour more; at the boundary of the sixth zone, a maximum of fifteen hours; and at the boundary of the seventh zone, a maximum of one half-hour more. For the shortest day and night, there thus remains the difference between the last figure and twenty-four, which is the combined number of hours of day and night, or one complete revolution of the firmament. The difference in the maximum length of night and day in the various zones, consequently, is an evenly distributed, gradual increase of half an hour in each, all the way from the first zone in the south to the last zone in the north.*

Ishaq b. al-Hasan al-Khazini maintains that the latitudinal extension of civilization beyond the equator (to the south) is 16° 25', and the longest night and day there, thirteen hours. The latitudinal extension of the first zone and the length of day and night there are the same as beyond the equator (to the south). The second zone extends to 24°, 51a and the length of its (longest) day and night at its farthest point is thirteen and one-half hours. For the third zone, the figures are 30° and fourteen hours. For the fourth zone, they are 36° and fourteen and one-half hours. For the fifth zone, they are 41° and fifteen hours. For the sixth zone, they are 45° and fifteen and one-half hours. For the seventh zone, they are 481/2° and sixteen hours. The latitudinal extension of civilization beyond the seventh zone (to the north) reaches from the boundary of the seventh zone to (latitude) 63°, and the length of the (longest) day and night to twenty hours.

Other leading scholars in the discipline, apart from Ishaq al-Khazini, maintain that the latitudinal extension of the cultivated area beyond the equator (to the south) is 16° 27'. The first zone extends to 20° 15'; the second to 27° 13'; the third to 33° 20'; the fourth to 381/2°;52 the fifth to 43°; the sixth to 47° 53'; or, according to another opinion, to 46° 50'; and the seventh to 51° 53'. Civilization beyond the seventh zone extends to 77°.

In Abu Jafar al-Khazini,53 one of the leading scholars in the discipline, one also finds that the latitudinal extension of the first zone is from 1° to 20° 13'; of the second, to 27° 13'; of the third, to 33° 39'; of the fourth, to 38° 23'; of the fifth, to 42° 58'; of the sixth, to 47° 2'; and of the seventh, to 60°45'.54

This is as much as I know about the different opinions concerning latitudinal extension and length of day and night in the zones and concerning their width as indicated in miles.

God "created everything. Then, He determined it." 55

The geographers have subdivided each of the seven zones lengthwise from west to east in ten equal sections. They mention the countries, cities, mountains, and rivers of each section, and the traveling distances between them.

We shall now briefly summarize the best-known countries, rivers, and seas of each section. Our model will be the data set forth in the Nuzhat al-mushtaq which al-'Alawi alIdrisi al-Hammudi 56 composed for the Christian king of Sicily, Roger, the son of Roger. Al-Idrisi's family had given up its rule of Malaga, and he had settled at (Roger's) court in Sicily. He composed the book in the middle of the sixth [twelfth] century. He utilized many books by authors such as al-Mas'udi, Ibn Khurradadhbih, al-Hawgali, al-'Udhri, Ishaq al-Munajjim,57 Ptolemy and others.

We shall begin with the first zone and go on from there to the last one.

The first zone

The Eternal Islands (the Canaries) from which Ptolemy began the determination of geographical longitude, are in the west. They are not part of the land mass of the first zone. They lie in the Surrounding Sea. A number of islands constitute them. The largest and best known are three in number. They are said to be cultivated.

We have heard 58 that European Christian ships reached them in the middle of this century, fought with the (inhabitants), plundered them, captured some of them, and sold some of the captives along the Moroccan coast where they came into the service of the ruler. After they had learned Arabic, they gave information about conditions on their island. They said that they tilled the soil with horns. Iron was lacking in their country. Their bread59 was made of barley. Their animals were goats. They fought with stones, which they hurled backwards. Their worship consisted of prostrations before the rising sun. They knew no (revealed) religion and had not been reached by any missionary activity.

These islands can be reached only by chance, and not intentionally by navigation. Navigation on the sea depends on the winds. It depends on knowledge of the directions the winds blow from and where they lead, and on following a straight course from the places that lie along the path of a particular wind. When the wind changes and it is known where a straight course along it will lead, the sails are set for it, and the ship thus sails according to nautical norms evolved by the mariners and sailors 60 who are in charge of sea voyages. The countries situated on the two shores of the Mediterranean are noted on a chart (sahifah) which indicates the true facts regarding them and gives their positions along the coast in the proper order. The various winds and their paths are likewise put down on the chart. This chart is called the "compass."61 fit It is on this (compass) that (sailors) rely on their voyages. Nothing of the sort exists for the Surrounding Sea. Therefore, ships do not enter it, because, were they to lose sight of shore, they would hardly be able to find their way back to it. Moreover, the air of the Surrounding Sea and its surface harbors vapors that hamper ships on their courses. Because of the remoteness of these (vapors), the rays of the sun which the surface of the earth deflects, cannot reach and dissolve them. It is, therefore, difficult to find the way to (the Eternal Islands) and to have information about them.

The first section of the first zone contains the mouth of the Nile which has its origin in the Mountain of the Qumr, as we have mentioned.62 (This Nile) is called the Sudanese Nile. It flows toward the Surrounding Sea and into it at the island of Awlil.63 The city of Sila,64 Takrur,65 and Ghanah66 are situated along this Nile. At this time, all of them belong to the Mali people,67 a Negro nation. Moroccan merchants travel to their country.

Close to it in the north is the country of the Lamtunah and of the other groups of the Veiled Berbers (Sinhajah), as well as the deserts in which they roam. To the south of this Nile, there is a Negro people called Lamlam. They are unbelievers. They brand themselves on the face and temples. The people of Ghanah and Takrur invade their country, capture them, and sell them to merchants who transport them to the Maghrib. There, they constitute the ordinary mass of slaves. Beyond them to the south, there is no civilization in the proper sense. There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves and eat herbs and unprepared grain. They frequently eat each other.68 They cannot be considered human beings. All the fruits of the Negro territory come from fortified villages in the desert of the Maghrib, such as Touat (Tawat, Tuwat), Tigurarin,69 and Ouargla (Wargalan).70 In Ghanah, an 'Alid king and dynasty are said to have existed. (These 'Alids) were known as the Banu Salih. According to the author of the Book of Roger, (Salih) was Salih b. 'Abdallah b. Hasan b. al-Hasan, but no such Salih is known among the sons of 'Abdallah b. Hasan .71 At this time the dynasty has disappeared, and Ghanah belongs to the Mali ruler.

To the east of this territory, in the third section of the first zone, is the territory of Gawgaw72 It lies along a river that has its origin in certain mountains there, flows westward, and disappears in the sand in the second section. The realm of Gawgaw was independent. The Mali ruler then gained power over the territory, and it came into his possession. At this time it is devastated as the result of a disturbance that happened there and that we shall mention when we discuss the Mali dynasty in its proper place in the history of the Berbers.73

To the south of the country of Gawgaw lies the territory of Kanim, a Negro nation74 Beyond them are the Wangarah75 on the border of the (Sudanese Nile) to the north. To the east of the countries of the Wangarah and the Kanim, there is the country of the Zaghay 76 and the Tajirah,77 adjoining the land of the Nubah in the fourth section of the first zone. The land of the Nubah is traversed by the Egyptian Nile throughout its course from its beginning at the equator to the Mediterranean in the north.

This Nile originates at the Mountain of the Qmr, sixteen degrees above 78 the equator. There are different opinions as to the correct form of the name of this mountain. Some scholars read the name as qamar "moon," because the mountain is very white and luminous. Yaqut, in the Mushtarik,79 as well as Ibn Sa'id,80 reads qumr, with reference to an Indian people.81

Ten springs issue from this mountain. Five of them flow into one lake and five into another lake. There is a distance of six miles between the two lakes. From each of the two lakes, three rivers come forth. They come together in a swampy [?] lake (batihah) at the foot of which a mountain emerges. This mountain cuts across the lake at the northern end and divides its waters into two branches. The western branch flows westward through the Negro territory, and finally flows into the Surrounding Sea. The eastern branch flows northward through the countries of the Abyssinians and the Nubah and the region in between. At the boundary of Egypt, it divides. Three of its branches flow into the Mediterranean at Alexandria, at Rosetta,82 and at Damietta. One flows into a salt lake before reaching the sea.

In the middle of the first zone along the Nile, lie the countries of the Nubah and the Abyssinians and some of the oases down to Assuan. A settled part of the Nubah country is the city of Dongola, west of the Nile. Beyond it are 'Alwah 83 and Yulaq.84 Beyond them, a six days' journey north of Yulaq, is the mountain of the cataracts. This is a mountain which rises to a great height on the Egyptian side but is much less elevated on the side of the country of the Nubah, The Nile cuts through it and flows down precipitately in tremendous cascades for a long distance. Boats cannot get through. Cargoes from the Sudanese boats are taken off and carried on pack animals to Assuan at the entrance to Upper Egypt. In the same way, the cargoes of the boats from Upper Egypt are carried over the cataracts. The distance from the cataracts to Assuan is a twelve day's journey. The oases on the west bank of the Nile there are now in ruins. They show traces of ancient settlement.

In the middle of the first zone, in its fifth section, is the country of the Abyssinians, through which a river flows, which comes from beyond the equator and 85 flows toward the land of the Nubah, where it flows into the Nile and so on down into Egypt. Many people have held fantastic opinions about it and thought that it was part of the Nile of the Qumr (Mountain of the Moon). Ptolemy mentioned it in the Ge'ography. He mentioned that it did not belong to the Nile.

In the middle of the first zone, in the fifth section, the Indian Ocean terminates. It comes down from the region of China and covers most of the first zone to the fifth section. Consequently, there is not much civilization there. Civilization exists only on the islands in (the Indian Ocean) which are numerous and said to number up to one thousand. (Civilization also exists) on the southern coast of the Indian Ocean, the southernmost limit of the cultivated part of the earth, as also on its northern coast. Of these coasts, the first zone contains only a part of China to the east and the whole of the Yemen in the sixth section of this zone, where two seas branch off northwards from the Indian Ocean, namely, the Red Sea (Sea of al-Qulzum) and the Persian Gulf. Between them lies the Arabian Peninsula, comprising the Yemen, ash-Shihr to the east on the shore of the Indian Ocean, the Hijaz, the Yamimah, and adjacent regions which we shall mention in connection with the second zone and the regions farther north.

On the western shore of the Indian Ocean is Zayla' (Zila'), which is on the boundary of Abyssinia, and the desert plains of the Beja north of Abyssinia, which lie between the mountain of al-'Alliqi 86 in the southernmost part of Upper Egypt and the Red Sea which branches off from the Indian Ocean. North of Zayla' (Zila') in the northern part of this section is the straits of Bib al-Mandeb, where the sea that branches off there is narrowed by the promontory of alMandeb which juts into the Indian Ocean from south to north along the west coast of the Yemen for twelve miles. As a result, the sea becomes so narrow that its width shrinks to approximately three miles. This is called Bib al-Mandeb. Yemenite ships pass it on their way to the coast of Suez near Egypt (Cairo). North of Bib al-Mandeb are the islands of Suakin and Dahlak. Opposite it to the west are the desert plains of the Beja, a Negro nation, as we have just mentioned. To the east, on the coast of (the straits of Bib al-Mandeb) is the Tihimah of the Yemen. It includes the place of Haly b. Ya'qub.87

To the south of Zayla' (Zila') on the western coast of the Indian Ocean are the villages of Berbera which extend one after the other all along the southern coast of the (Indian Ocean) to the end of the sixth section. There, to the east, the country of the Zanj adjoins them. Then 88 comes the city of Mogadishu, a very populous city with many merchants, yet nomad in character, on the southern coast of the Indian Ocean. Adjoining it to the east is the country of the Sufilah on the southern coast in the seventh section of the first zone.

East of the country of the Sufilah on the southern shore, lies the country of al-Wiqwiq 89 which stretches to the end of the tenth section of the first zone, where the Indian Ocean comes out of the Surrounding Sea.

There are many islands in the Indian Ocean. One of the largest islands is the island of Ceylon (Sarandib) which is round in shape and has a famous mountain said to be the highest mountain on earth. It lies opposite Sufilah. Then, there is the island of Java (Malay Archipelago),90 an oblong island that begins opposite the land of Sufilah and extends northeastward until it approaches the coasts that constitute China's southern boundary. In the Indian Ocean, to the south China is surrounded by the islands of al-Wiqwaq, and to the east by the islands of Korea.91 There are numerous other islands in the Indian Ocean. These islands produce different kinds of perfumes and incense. They also are said to contain gold and emerald mines. Most of their inhabitants are Magians.92 They have numerous rulers. These islands present remarkable cultural features that have been mentioned by geographers.

The northern coast of the Indian Ocean, in the sixth section of the first zone, is occupied by the whole of the Yemen. On the Red Sea side lie Zabid, al-Muhjam,93 and the Tihamah of the Yemen. Next beyond that is Sa'dah, the seat of the Zaydi imams, lying far from the (Indian) Ocean to the south, and from the Persian Gulf to the east. In the region beyond that are the city of Aden and, north of it, San'a'. Beyond these two cities, to the east, is the land of al-Ahqaf and Z, afar. Next comes the land of Hadramawt, followed by the country of ash-Shihr between the (Indian) Ocean in the south and the Persian Gulf. This part of the sixth section is the only part that is not covered by water in the middle region of the first zone. Apart from it, a small portion of the ninth section is not covered by water, as well as a larger area in the tenth section that includes the southernmost limit of China. One of China's famous cities is the city of Canton.94 Opposite it to the east are the islands of Korea which have just been mentioned.

This concludes the discussion of the first zone.

The second zone

The second zone is contiguous with the northern boundary of the first zone. Opposite its western limit) in the Surrounding Sea are two of the Eternal Islands, which have been mentioned.

At the southernmost part of the first and second sections of the second zone, there is the land of Qamnuriyah.95 Then, to the east, there are the southernmost parts of the land of Ghanah. Then, there are the desert plains of the Zaghay Negroes. In the northernmost part, there is the desert of Nisar.96 It extends uninterruptedly from west to east. It has stretches of desert which are crossed by merchants on their way from the Maghrib to the Sudan country. It includes the desert plains of the Veiled Sinhajah Berbers. There are many subgroups, comprising the Gudalah,97 the Lamtunah, the Massufah,98 the Lamtah, and the Watrigah. Directly to the east of the waste regions is the land of Fezzan. Then, there are the desert plains of the Azgar, a Berber tribe, which extend due east in the southernmost part of the third section. This is followed, still in the third section, by part of the country of Kawar, a Negro nation. Then, there is a portion of the land of at-Tajuwin.99 The northernmost part of the third section is occupied by the remainder of the land of Waddin, followed directly to the east by the land of Santariyah which is called the Inner Oases.100

The southernmost limit of the fourth section is occupied by the remainder of the land of at-Tajuwin.

The middle of the fourth section, then, is intersected by Upper Egypt along the banks of the Nile, which flows from its source in the first zone to its mouth at the sea. In this section it passes through two mountain barriers, the Mountain of the Oases in the west, and the Muqattam in the east. At the southern part of the section lie Esna and Armant. There is a continuous riverbank region up to Assyut and Qus, and then to Sawl. There, the Nile divides into two branches. The right branch ends up at al-Lahun, still in the fourth section. The left branch ends up at Dalas. The region between them is the southernmost part of (Lower) Egypt. East of Mount Mugattam are the deserts of 'Aydhab, extending from the fifth section to the Sea of Suez, that is, the Red Sea (Sea of al-Qulzum) which branches off northwards from the Indian Ocean to the south. On the eastern shore of the Red Sea, in the same section, is the Hijaz, extending from the Mountain of Yalamlam to Yathrib (Medina). In the middle of the Hijaz is Mecca-God honor it!-and on its seashore there is the city of Jiddah, which is opposite 'Aydhab on the western shore of the Red Sea.

In the sixth section to the west is the Najd, having as its southernmost limit Jurash and Tabalah,101 (and extending) up to 'Ukaz in the north. North of the Najd, in the sixth section, is the remainder of the Hijaz. Directly to the east of (the Najd) lies the country of Najran and Janad. North of that is the Yamamah. Directly to the east of Najran, there is the land of Saba' and Ma'rib, followed by the land of ash-Shihr, which ends at the Persian Gulf. This is the other sea that branches off northward from the Indian Ocean, as has been mentioned, and turns westward on its course in the sixth section. The northeastern area of (the sixth section) constitutes a triangle. At its southernmost part is the city of Qalhat, the coast (seaport) of ash-Shihr. North of it, on the coast, is the country of Oman, followed by the country of alBahrayn with Hajar, at the end of the (sixth) section.

The southwestern part of the seventh section contains a portion of the Persian Gulf connecting with the other portion of it in the sixth section. The Indian Ocean covers all the southernmost area of the seventh section. There, Western India lies along it, up to the country of Mukran which belongs to Western India. Opposite it, is the country of atTawbaran 102 which also belongs to Western India. All of Western India lies in the western part of the seventh section. Western India is separated from Eastern India by stretches of desert, and is traversed by a river (the Indus) which comes from Eastern India and flows into the Indian Ocean in the south. Eastern India begins on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Directly to the east there lies the country of Ballahra.103 North of it is Multan, the home of the great idol.104 The northernmost part of Eastern India is the southernmost part of the country of Sijistan.

The western part of the eighth section contains the remainder of the country of Ballahra that belongs to Eastern India. Directly to the east of it lies the country of Gandhara.105 Then, at the southernmost part (of the section), on the shore of the Indian Ocean, there is the country of Malabar (Munibar). North of it, in the northernmost part (of the section), there is the country of Kabul. Beyond (Kabul) to the east 105a is the territory of the Kanauj, between inner and outer Kashmir at the end of the zone.

The ninth section, in its western part, contains farthest Eastern India, which extends to the eastern part (of the section) and stretches along its southernmost part up to the tenth section. In the northernmost part here, there is a portion of China. It includes the city of Khayghun.106 China then extends over the whole tenth section up to the Surrounding Sea.

Third Zone

The third zone is contiguous with the northern boundary of the second zone. The first section, about one-third of the way from the southernmost part of the zone, contains the Atlas Mountain 107 which runs from the western part of the first section at the Surrounding Sea to the eastern end of the section. This mountain is inhabited by innumerable Berber nations, as will be mentioned.108 In the region between this mountain and the second zone, at the Surrounding Sea, there is the Ribat (Monastery) Missah.109 East of here are the adjoining countries of (as-)Sus 110 and Noun (Nul). Directly to the east of (these countries) is the country of Dar'ah, followed by the country of Sijilmasah and then by a portion of the desert of Nisar, the stretch of desert that we mentioned in describing the second zone.

The Atlas Mountain towers over all these countries of the first section. The western region of the Atlas has few passes and roads but near the Moulouya (Malwiyah) River, and from there on to where it ends, the Atlas has a great number of passes and roads. This region contains the Masmudah nations: at the Surrounding Sea the Saks1wah, then the Hintatah, the Tinmallal, the Gidmiwah,111 and then the Haskurah who are the last Masmudah in this area. Then there are the Zanigah,112 that is, the Sinhijah- tribes. At the boundary of the first section of the third zone, there are some Zanatah tribes. To the north, Mount Awras (L'Aures), the mountain of the Kutamah, adjoins (the Atlas). After that, there are other Berber nations which we shall mention in their proper places.

The Atlas Mountain in the western part of the section towers over Morocco to the north of it. In the southern part of (Morocco) lie Marrakech, Aghmat, and Tadla. On the Surrounding Sea there, are the Ribat Asfi and the city of Sale (Sala). East 112a of the country of Marrakech lie Fez, Meknes, Taza, and Qasr Kutamah,113 This is the area that is customarily called the Farthest Maghrib (Morocco) by its inhabitants. On the shore of the Surrounding Sea in that region lie Arcila (Azila) 114 and Larache (al-'Ara'ish). Directly to the east of this area, there is the country of the Middle Maghrib whose center is Tlemcen (Tilimsan). On the shores of the Mediterranean there, lie Hunayn,115 Oran, and Algiers. The Mediterranean leaves the Surrounding Sea at the Straits of Tangier in the western part of the fourth zone, 116 and then extends eastward to Syria. Shortly after it leaves the narrow straits, it widens to the south and to the north and enters the third and fifth zones. This is why many places within the third zone are on the Mediterranean coast, from Tangier up to al-Qasr as-saghir, then Ceuta, the country of Badis, and Ghassasah. Algiers, which comes next, is near Bougie (Bajayah) on the east. Then, east of Bougie at the boundary of the first section is Constantine, a day's journey from the Mediterranean. South of these places, toward the south of the Middle Maghrib, is the territory of Ashir, with Mount Titteri, followed by Msila (al-Masilah) and the Zab. The center of (the Zab) is Biskra, north of Mount Awras which connects with the Atlas, as has been mentioned. This is the eastern end of the first section.

The second section of the third zone is like the first section in that about one-third of the distance from its southern (limit) lies the Atlas Mountain which extends across this section from west to east and divides it into two portions. The Mediterranean covers one area in the north. The portion south of the Atlas Mountain is all desert to the west. To the east, there is Ghadames. Directly to the east (of this portion) is the land of Waddan, the remainder of which is situated in the second zone, as has been mentioned. The portion north of the Atlas Mountain between the Atlas and the Mediterranean contains in the west Mount Awras, Tebessa, and Laribus (al-Urbus). On the seacoast is Bone (Bunah). Directly east of these places lies the country of Ifriqiyah, with the city of Tunis, then Sousse (Susah), and al-Mahdiyah on the seacoast. South of these places and north of the Atlas Mountain, is the country of the Djerid (Jarid, al-Jarid), Tozeur (Tuzar), Gafsa (Qafsah), and Nefzoua (Nafzawah). Between them and the coast is the city of Kairouan (alQayrawan), Mount Ousselat (Ouselet, Waslat), and Sbeitla (Subaytilah). Directly east of these places lies Tripoli on the Mediterranean. Facing it in the south are the mountains of the Hawwarah tribes, Dammar (Mount Demmer), and Maqqarah (the city of Maggara), which connect with the Atlas and are opposite Ghadames which we mentioned at the end of the southern portion. At the eastern end of the second section lies Suwayqat Ibn Mathkud 116a on the sea. To the south are the desert plains of the Arabs in the land of Waddan.

The third section of the third zone is also traversed by the Atlas Mountain, but at the limit (of the section) the Atlas turns northward and runs due north up to the Mediterranean. There, it is called Cape Awthan. The Mediterranean covers the northern part of the third section, so that the land between it and the Atlas narrows. Behind the mountain to the southwest, there is the remainder of the land of Waddan and the desert plains of the Arabs. Then, there is Zawilat Ibn Khattab,117 followed by sandy deserts and waste regions to the eastern boundary of the section. To the west of the area between the mountain and the sea, there is Sirte (Surt) at the sea. Then, there are empty and waste regions in which the Arabs roam. Then, there is Ajdabiyah and, where the mountain makes a turn, Barca (Barqah). Next comes Tulaymithah (Ptolemais) on the sea. Then, to the east of the mountain, after it makes the turn, are the desert plains of the Hayyib 118 and the Ruwahah, which extend to the end of the section.

The southwestern part of the fourth section of the third zone contains the desert of Berenice. North of it is the country of the Hayyib and the Ruwahah. Then, the Mediterranean enters this section and covers part of it in a southern direction almost to the southern boundary. Between it and the end of the section, there remains a waste region through which the Arabs roam. Directly to the east of it is the Fayyum, at the mouth of one of the two branches of the Nile. This branch passes by al-Lahfin in Upper Egypt, in the fourth section of the zone, and flows into the Lake of the Fayyum. Directly to the east of (the Fayyum) is the land of Egypt with its famous city (Cairo), situated on the other branch of the Nile, the one that passes through Dalas in Upper Egypt at the boundary of the second section. This latter branch divides a I, log second time into two more branches below Cairo, at Shattanawf and Zifta(h).119 The right branch again divides into two other branches at Tarnut.120 All these branches flow into the Mediterranean. At the mouth of the western branch is Alexandria; at the mouth of the middle branch is Rosetta; and at the mouth of the eastern branch is Damietta. Between Cairo and the Mediterranean coast at these points lies the whole of northern Egypt, which is densely settled and cultivated.

The fifth section of the third zone contains all or most of Syria, as I shall describe it. The Red Sea ends in the southwest (of the section) at Suez, because in its course from the Indian Ocean northward, it turns eventually westward. A long portion of its western extension lies in this section, with Suez at its western end. Beyond Suez, on this part of (the Red Sea), there are the mountains of Paran (Faran), Mount Sinai (atTur), Aila (Aylah) in Midyan (Madyan), and, where it ends, al-Hawra'.121 From there, its shoreline turns southward towards the land of the Hijaz, as has been mentioned in connection with the fifth section of the second zone.

A portion of the Mediterranean covers much of the northwestern part of the fifth section. On its (coast) lie alFarama 122 and al-'Arish. The end of this portion of the Mediterranean comes close to al-Qulzum. The area in between there is narrow. It becomes a kind of gate leading into Syria. West of this gate is the desert plain (at-Tih), a bare country in which nothing grows, where the Israelites wandered for forty years after they had left Egypt and before they entered Syria, as the Qur'an tells.123 In this portion of the Mediterranean, in the fifth section, lies part of the island of Cyprus. The remainder (of Cyprus) lies in the fourth zone, as we shall mention. Along the coastline of that narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, are al'Arish, the boundary of Egypt, and Ascalon. Between them, there is a (narrow) strip of land (separating the Mediterranean and) the Red Sea. Then, this portion of the Mediterranean turns to the north into the fourth zone at Tripoli and 'Argah.124 That is the eastern end of the Mediterranean. This portion of the Mediterranean comprises most of the Syrian coast. East and slightly to the north of Ascalon, is Caesarea. Then, in the same general direction, are Acco, Tyre, Sidon, and 'Arqah. The sea then turns north into the fourth zone.

Opposite these places on the coast of this portion of the Mediterranean, in the fifth section, there is a big mountain which rises from the coast at Aila (Aylah) on the Red Sea. It runs northeastward until it leaves the fifth section. It is called Amanus (al-Lukkam). It is a kind of barrier between Egypt and Syria. At the one end, near Aila (Aylah), lies al-'Aqabah which the pilgrims pass through on their way from Egypt to Mecca. After it, to the north, is Abraham's tomb at Mount ash-Sharah 125 which is a continuation of the afore-mentioned Amanus north of al-'Aqabah. It extends due east, and then turns slightly (to the south). East of there is al-Hijr, the land of the Thamild, Tema (Tayma'), and Dumat al-Jandal, the northernmost part of the Hijaz. South of it is Mount Radwa.126 Farther south, there are the castles of Khaybar. Between Mount ash-Sharah and the Red Sea lies the desert of Tabuk. North of Mount ash-Sharah is the city of Jerusalem near the Amanus. Then, there is the Jordan and Tiberias. East of it lies the (Jordan) depression (Ghor, al-Ghawr)126a which extends to Adhri'at and the Hawran. Directly to the east of (the Hawran) is Dumat al-Jandal which constitutes the end of the Hijaz and the fifth section. Where the Amanus turns north at the end of the fifth section is the city of Damascus, opposite Sidon and Beirut on the coast. The Amanus lies between (Sidon and Beirut, on the one hand), and (Damascus, on the other). Directly east 127 of Damascus and facing it, is the city of Ba'lbakk. Then, there is the city of Emesa at the northern end of the fifth section, where the Amanus breaks off. East of Ba'lbakk and Emesa are the city Palmyra and desert plains extending to the end of the fifth section.

The southernmost part of the sixth section contains the desert plains of the Arab Bedouins, (which are) located to the north of the Najd and the Yamimah in the area between the Mountain of al-'Arj and as-Sammin and extending to alBahrayn and Hajar at the Persian Gulf. In the northernmost part of the sixth section, to the north of the desert plains, lie al-Hirah, al-Qidisiyah, and the swampy lowlands of the Euphrates. Beyond that to the east is the city of al-Basrah. In the northeastern part of the sixth section, the Persian Gulf ends, at 'Abbidan and al-Ubullah. The mouth of the Tigris is at 'Abbidan. The Tigris divides into many branches and takes in other branches from the Euphrates. All of them come together at 'Abbidan and flow into the Persian Gulf. This portion of the Persian Gulf is wide in the southernmost part (of the section). It narrows toward its eastern boundary, and where it ends in the north it (also) is narrow. On the western coast lie the northernmost portion of al-Bahrayn, Hajar, and al-Ahsa'. To the west of this portion of the Persian Gulf, lie al-Khatt, as-Sammin,128 and the remainder of the land of the Yamimah.

The eastern coast comprises the shores of Fars. In their southernmost part, at the eastern end of the sixth section, along a line stretching from the Persian Gulf eastward and beyond it to the south, are the mountains of al-Qufs 129 which are in Kirman. North of Hurmuz on the coast of the Persian Gulf, are Sirif and Najiram. In the east, toward the end of the sixth section and north of Hurmuz, is the country of Firs, comprising, for instance, Sibur, Darabjird, Fasi, Istakhr, ash-Shihijin, and Shiriz, the principal city. North of the country of Firs, at the end of the Persian Gulf, lies the country of Khuzistin which includes al-Ahwiz, Tustar, Jundishibur, Susa (as-Sus), Rimhurmuz, and other cities. Arrajin is on the boundary between Firs and Khuzistin. To the east of the country of Khuzistin are the Kurdish Mountains, which extend to the region of Isfahin. The Kurds live there. They roam beyond the mountains into the country of Firs. They are called az-zumum.130

The southwestern part of the seventh section contains the remainder of the Mountains of al-Qufs to which are adjacent in the south and north the countries of Kirman (and Mukran). They include the cities of ar-Rudhan, ash-Shirajan, Jiruft (Jayruft), Yazdshir, and al-Fahraj. North of the land of Kirman is the remainder of the country of Fars up to the border of Isfahan. The city of Isfahan lies in the northwest corner of the seventh section. East of the countries of Kirman and Firs, there is the land of Sijistin to the south, and the land of Kuhistan to the north. Between Kirmin-Firs and Sijistan-Kuhistin, in the middle of this section, is the great desert which has few roads because of the difficult terrain. Cities in Sijistin are Bust and at-Tiq. Kuhistan belongs to the country of Khurisin. One of Khurisan's best known places is Sarakhs,131 on the boundary of the section.

The eighth section contains, in the southwest, the plains of the Khalaj,132 a Turkish nation. They adjoin the land of Sijistan in the west and the land of Kabul of Eastern India in the south. North of these desert plains are the mountains and country of al-Ghar starting with Ghaznah, the key to India. Where al-Ghur ends in the north, lies Astarabadh. Then, to the north is the country of Herat in the middle of Khurasan, extending to the boundary of the section. It includes Isfarayin, Qishan, Bushanj, Marw-ar-rudh, at-Taliqan, and al-Juzajan. This part of Khurasan extends to the river Oxus. Khurasanian places on this river are the city of Balkh to the west, and the city of at-Tirmidh to the east. The city of Balkh was the seat of the Turkish realm.

The Oxus comes from the country of Wakhan in the area of Badakhshan which borders on India, in the southeast corner of this section. It soon turns west to the middle of the section. There, it is called the Kharnab River. It then turns north, passes Khurasan, flows due north, and finally flows into Lake Aral in the fifth zone, as we shall mention. In the middle of the eighth section where it turns from the south to the north, five large rivers belonging to the country of Khuttal and Wakhsh133 flow into it on the east. Other rivers, coming from the Buttam Mountains to the east and north of Khuttal, also flow into it. The Oxus, thus, becomes wider and larger, so much so that no other river equals it in these respects. One of the five rivers flowing into the Oxus is the Wakhshab134 which comes from the country of Tibet that extends over the southeastern portion of this section. It flows toward the northwest. Its course is blocked by a great mountain which runs from the middle of this section in the south toward the northeast, and leaves this section close to its northern (boundary) to pass into the ninth section. It crosses the country of Tibet toward the southeast portion of this section. It separates the Turks from the country of Khuttal. It has only one road in the middle of this section to the east. AlFadl b. Yahya constructed a dam there with a gate in it,135 like the Dam of Gog and Magog. When the Wakhshab leaves the country of Tibet and comes up against that mountain, it flows under it for a long distance, until it enters the country of Wakhsh and flows into the Oxus at the border of Balkh. (The Oxus) then sweeps on to at-Tirmidh in the north and flows into the country of al-J(izajan.

East of the country of al-Ghur, in the region between (this country) and the Oxus, is the country of al-Bamiyan, which belongs to Khurasan. There on the eastern bank of the river is the country of Khuttal, most of which is mountainous, and the country of Wakhsh. This is bordered in the north by the Buttam Mountains, which come from the border of Khurasan, west of the Oxus, and run eastward. Finally, where they end, a large mountain range begins, behind which lies the country of Tibet and under which there flows the Wakhshab, as we have stated. (The two mountain ranges) join at the gate of al-Fadl b. Yahya. The Oxus passes between them. Other rivers flow into it, among them the river of the country of Wakhsh, which flows into it from the east, below at-Tirmidh in the north.135a The Balkha River136 comes from the Buttam Mountains where it starts at alJuzaj an, and flows into it from the west. On the western bank of this river (Oxus) lies Amul, which belongs to Khurasan. East of this river (Oxus) are the lands of the Soghd and Usrushanah, which belong to the country of the Turks. East of them is the land of Farghanah, which extends to the eastern end of the section. The entire country of the Turks here is crossed by the Buttam Mountains on the north.

In the western part of the ninth section lies the country of Tibet, up to the middle of the section. In the south is India, and in the east, to the boundary of the section, is China. In the northernmost part of this section, north of the country of Tibet, is the country of the Kharlukh,137 which belongs to the country of the Turks, extending to the northern boundary of the section. Adjacent to it on the west is the land of Farghanah,138 and on the east is the land of the Turkish Tughuzghuz,139 extending to the northeastern end of the section.

The southern part of the tenth section is entirely occupied by the remaining northernmost portion of China. In the north is the remainder of the country of the Tughuzghuz. East of them is the country of the Turkish Kirghiz,140 extending to the eastern end of the section. North of the land of the Kirghiz is the country of the Turkish Kimak.141

Opposite (the Kirghiz and Kimak countries), in the Surrounding Sea, lies the Hyacinth (Ruby) Island in the middle of a round mountain that completely blocks access to it. Climbing to the top of the mountain from the outside is extremely difficult. On the island, there are deadly snakes and many pebbles of hyacinth (ruby). The people of that region contrive to mine them with the help of divine inspiration.

The regions in the ninth and tenth sections extending beyond Khurasan and Khuttal are desert plains where innumerable Turkish nations roam. They are wandering nomads who have camels, sheep, cattle, and horses for breeding, riding, and eating. There are very many, (indeed) innumerable groups. There are Muslims among them in the area adjacent to the Oxus. They make raids on the unbelievers among them, who follow the Magian 142 religion. They sell their captives to their near (neighbors), who export them to Khurasan, India, and the `Iraq.

The fourth zone

The fourth zone is contiguous with the northern part of the third (zone). Its first section, in the west, contains a portion of the Surrounding Sea which, oblong in shape, extends from the southern to the northern boundary of the section. The city of Tangier is situated on it in the south. North of Tangier, the Mediterranean branches off from this portion of the Surrounding Sea in a narrow straits that is only twelve miles wide, Tarifa and Algeciras (lying) to the north of it and Qasr al-Majaz 143 and Ceuta to the south of it. It runs east until it reaches the middle of the fifth section of the fourth zone, gradually widening and eventually covering the (first) four sections and most of the fifth section of the fourth zone, as well as adjacent regions of the third and fifth zones, as we shall mention.

The Mediterranean is also called the "Syrian Sea." It contains many islands. The largest of them, from west to east, are Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca, Sardinia, Sicily-which is the largest of them -the Peloponnesos, Crete, and Cyprus. We shall mention each of them in its particular section.

At the end of the third section of the fourth zone and in the third section of the fifth zone, the Adriatic Sea (Straits of the Venetians) branches off from the Mediterranean. It runs in a northern direction, then turns westward in the northern half of the section, and finally ends in the second section of the fifth zone.

At the eastern boundary of the fourth section of the fifth zone, the Straits of Constantinople branches off from the Mediterranean. In the north, it makes a narrow passage only an arrow shot in width, extending up to the boundary of the zone and on into the fourth section of the sixth zone, where it turns into the Black Sea, running eastward across the whole of the fifth, and half of the sixth, sections of the sixth zone, as we shall mention in the proper place.

Where the Mediterranean leaves the Surrounding Sea through the Straits of Tangier and expands into the third zone, there remains a small portion of this section south of the Straits. The city of Tangier is situated in it, at the confluence of the two seas. After Tangier comes Ceuta on the Mediterranean, then Tetuan (Tittawin), and Badis. The remainder of this section to the east is covered by the Mediterranean, which extends into the third (zone). Most of the cultivated area in this section is north of it and north of the Straits. All this is Spain.

The western part of Spain, the area between the Surrounding Sea and the Mediterranean, begins at Tarifa, at the confluence of the two seas. East of it, on the shore of the Mediterranean, is Algeciras, followed by Malaga, Almunecar, and Almeria. Northwest of these cities and close to the Surrounding Sea, there is Jerez (de la Frontera), followed by Niebla. Opposite these two cities, in the Surrounding Sea, is the island of Cadiz. East of Jerez and Niebla are Sevilla, followed by Ecija, Cordoba, and Marbella [?],144 then Granada, Jaen, and Ubeda, then Guadix and Baza. Northwest of these cities on the Surrounding Sea are Santamaria and Silves. (North)east of these two cities are Badajoz, Merida, and Evora'145 followed by Ghafiq 146 and Trujillo, and then Calatrava. Northwest of these cities on the Surrounding Sea, there is Lisbon on the Tajo. East of Lisbon, on the Tajo, are Santarem and Coria. Then, there is Alcantara. Facing Lisbon on the east, there rises the Sierra (de Guadarrama) which starts in the west there and runs eastward along the northern boundary of the section. It ends at Medinaceli beyond the middle of (the section). Below (at the foot of) the Sierra, is Talavera, east of Coria, followed by Toledo, Guadalajara, and Medinaceli. Where the Sierra begins, in the region between the Sierra and Lisbon, is Coimbra. This is western Spain.

Eastern Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean. Here, Almeria is followed by Cartagena, Alicante, Denia, and Valencia, up to Tarragona 147 at the eastern boundary of the section. North of these cities are Lorca and Segura, adjacent to Baza and Calatrava, which belong to western Spain. To the east, then, comes Murcia, followed by Jativa north of Valencia,148 then Jucar,149 Tortosa, and 150 Tarragona at the boundary of the section. Then, north of these cities, there are the lands of Chinchilla and Huete, which are adjacent to Segura and Toledo in the west. Northeast of Tortosa, then, is Fraga. East of Medinaceli, there is Calatayud, followed by Saragossa and Lerida at the northeastern end of the section.

The second section of the fourth zone is entirely covered by water, except for a portion in the northwest which includes the remainder of the Pyrenees,151 the "Mountain of Passes and Roads." It comes there from the boundary of the first section of the fifth zone. It starts at the southeastern limit of the Surrounding Sea on the boundary of this section, runs southeastward, and enters the fourth zone upon leaving the first section for the second, so that a portion of it falls into the fourth zone. Its passes lead into the adjacent mainland, which is called the land of Gascogne. It contains the cities of Gerona and Carcassonne. On the shores of the Mediterranean in this portion, is the city of Barcelona, followed by Narbonne.

The sea which covers this section contains many islands, most of which are uninhabited because they are small. In the west, there is the island of Sardinia, and in the east the large island of Sicily. Its circumference is said to be seven hundred miles. It contains many cities, the best known among them being Syracuse, Palermo, Trapani, Mazzara, and Messina. Sicily is opposite Ifriqiyah. Between Sicily and Ifriqiyah are the islands of Gozzo and Malta.

The third section of the fourth zone is also covered by the sea, except for three portions in the north. The one in the west belongs to the land of Calabria, the one in the middle to Lombardy, and the one in the east to the country of the Venetians.

The fourth section of the fourth zone is also covered by the sea, as has been mentioned. It contains many islands. Most of them are uninhabited, as is the case in the third section. The inhabited islands are the Peloponnesos, in the northwest, and Crete, which is oblong in shape and stretches from the middle of the section to the southeast. A large triangular area of the fifth section in the southwest is covered by the sea. The western side of (this triangle) goes to the northern boundary of the fifth section. The southern side goes across about two-thirds of the section. There remains at the eastern side of the section a portion of about one-third. Its northern part runs west along the seacoast, as we have stated. Its southern half contains the northernmost region of Syria. It is traversed in the middle by the Amanus. The Amanus eventually reaches the northern end of Syria, where it turns in a northeasterly direction. At the point where it turns, it is called "Chain Mountain."152 There, it enters the fifth zone. After it turns, it traverses a portion of the Jazirah in an easterly direction. West of where it turns, there rise contiguous mountain ranges. They finally end at an inlet of the Mediterranean, near the northern end of the section. Through these mountains, there are passes which are called ad-Durub (mountain passes). They lead into Armenia. This section contains a portion of Armenia situated between these mountains and the Chain Mountain.

The southern region, as we have mentioned before, comprises the northernmost region of Syria, and the Amanus extends across it from south to north in the area between the Mediterranean and the boundary of the section. On the seacoast is Antarsus,153 at the beginning of the section to the south. It borders on 'Arqah and Tripoli which lie on the shore of the Mediterranean in the third zone. North of Antarsus is Jabalah, followed by Lattakiyah, Alexandretta, and Selefke. North of these cities is the Byzantine territory.

The Amanus, which lies between the sea and the end of the section, is hugged, in Syria in the southwestern part of the section, by the fortress of llisn al-Khawabi, which belongs to the Isma'ili Assassins who at this time are called Fidawis. The fortress (also) is called Masyat.154 It lies opposite Antarsus to the east. On the side opposite this fortress, east of the Amanus, is Salamlyah, north of Emesa. North of Masyat, between the mountain and the sea, lies Antioch. Opposite it, east of the Amanus, is al-Ma'arrah, and east of al-Ma'arrah, al-Marighah. North of Antioch, there is al-Massisah, followed by Adhanah and Tarsus, at the furthest point of Syria. Facing (Antioch), west of the mountain, is Qinnasrin, followed by 'Ayn Zarbah. Opposite Qinnasrin, east of the mountain, is Aleppo, and opposite 'Ayn Zarbah is Manbij, the furthest point of Syria.

The area to the right of the Durub, between them and the Mediterranean, comprises the Byzantine territory (Anatolia). At this time, it belongs to the Turkomans and is ruled by Ibn Uthman (the Ottomans).155 On the shore of the Mediterranean there, are Antalya and al--'Alaya.

Armenia, which lies between the Durub and the Chain Mountain, comprises Mar'ash, Malatya, and Ankara,155a up to the northern end of the section. In Armenia, in the fifth section, originate the river Jayhan and, to the east of it, the river Sayhan. The Jayhan flows south until it has traversed the Durub. It then passes by Tarsus and al-Massisah, then turns northwestward and eventually flows into the Mediterranean south of Selefke. The Sayhan runs parallel to the Jayhan. It is opposite Ankara and Mar'ash, traverses the Durub Mountains, reaches Syria, then passes by 'Ayn Zarbah, then turns away from the Jayhan, and turns northwestward. It joins the Jayhan west of al-Massisah.

The Jazirah, which is surrounded by the portion of the Amanus that turns into the Chain Mountain, contains in the south ar-Rafiqah and ar-Raqqah, followed by Harran, Saruj, Edessa, Nisibis, Samosata, and Amid, north of the Chain Mountain, at the northeastern end of the section. The Euphrates and the Tigris traverse this area in the middle. They originate in the fifth zone, pass southward through Armenia, and cross the Chain Mountain. The Euphrates, then, flows west of Samosata and Saruj in an easterly direction. It passes west of ar-Rafiqah and ar-Raqqah and on into the sixth section. The Tigris flows east of Amid and shortly thereafter turns to the east. Then, it soon passes on into the sixth section.

The sixth section of the fourth zone contains the Jazirah to the west. Immediately east of it is the country of the 'Iraq, which terminates near the boundary of the section. At the boundary of the 'Iraq is the Mountain of Isfahan which comes from the south of the section and runs in a westerly direction. When it reaches the middle of the northern end of the section, it runs west. Eventually, leaving the sixth section, it joins on its course due west, the Chain Mountain in the fifth section.

The sixth section is divided into two portions, a western and an eastern. The western portion, in the south, contains the point where the Euphrates leaves the fifth section, and, in the north, the point where the Tigris leaves it. As soon as the Euphrates enters the sixth section, it passes Qirqisiya'. There, a (river) branches off from the Euphrates. It flows north into the Jazirah and disappears there in the ground. Shortly past Qirqisiya', the Euphrates turns south and passes to the west of the Khabir and on west of ar-Rahbah. A (river) branches off there from the Euphrates and flows south. Siffin lies to the west of it. (This river) then turns east and divides into a number of branches. Some of them pass by alKufah, others by Qasr Ibn Hubayrah and al-Jami'ayn (alHillah). Now, in the south of the section all of them enter the third zone and disappear into the ground east of al-Hirah and al-Qadisiyah. The Euphrates flows directly east from arRahbah, and passes north of Hit. It then flows south of azZab155b and al-Anbar, and into the Tigris at Baghdad.

When the Tigris leaves the fifth section for the sixth section, it flows due east, opposite the Chain Mountain which connects with the Mountain of al-'Iraq on its course due west, and passes north of Jazirat Ibn 'Umar. Then it passes Mosul in the same way, and Takrit. It reaches al-Hadithah, turns south, leaving al-Hadithah to the east of it, and likewise the Greater and the Lesser Zab. It flows directly south and to the west of al-Qadisiyah. Eventually it reaches Baghdad and joins with the Euphrates. Then it flows south, to the west of Jarjaraya, and eventually leaves the section and enters the third zone. There it divides into many branches. They unite again and there flow into the Persian Gulf at 'Abbidin. The region between the Tigris and the Euphrates, before they have come together at Baghdad, is the Jazirah. Below Baghdad, another river joins the Tigris. It comes from northeast of (the Tigris). It reaches an-Nahrawin opposite Baghdad to the east. Then it turns south and joins with the Tigris before entering the third zone. For the region between this river and the mountains of al-'Iriq and Kurdistan, there remains Jaluli' and, east of it at the mountain, Hulwin and Saymarah.

The western portion of the section contains a mountain that starts from the Kurdish mountains and runs east toward the end of the section. It is called the Mountain of Shahrazur. It divides the (western portion) into two subdivisions. The southern subdivision contains Khunajin, northwest of Isfahan. This section is called the country of al-Bahlus.156 In the middle of the southern subdivision is Nahiwand, and, in the north, Shahrazur, west of the point where the two mountain ranges meet, and ad-Dinawar (is) on the east, at the boundary of the section. The other subdivision contains part of Armenia, including its principal place, al-Marighah. The portion of the Mountain of al-'Iraq that faces it is called the Mountain of Birimma.157 It is inhabited by Kurds. The Greater Zab and the Lesser Zib at the Tigris are behind it. At the eastern end of this section lies Azerbaijan, which includes Tabriz and al-Baylagan.158 In the northeast corner of the section is a small portion of [the Black Sea,] the Caspian (Sea of the Khazars).159

The seventh section of the fourth zone contains, in the southwest, the largest portion of the country of al-Bahlus, including Hamadhin and Qazwin. The remainder of it is in the third zone; Isfahan is situated there. (Al-Bahlus and Isfahan) are surrounded on the south by mountains which come from the west, pass through the third zone, leave it in the sixth section for the fourth zone, and join the eastern portion of the Mountain of al-'Iraq, as has been mentioned before. They (also) surround the eastern portion of the country of al-Bahlus. These mountains which surround Isfahan run north from the third zone, enter this seventh section, and then inclose the country of al-Bahlus on the east. Below (at the foot of) them, is Qishin, followed by Qumm. Near the middle of their course, they turn slightly west; then, describing an arc, they run northeastward, and eventually enter the fifth zone. Where they turn (west) and make the circle, ar-Rayy lies to the east. Where they turn (west), another mountain range starts and runs west to the boundary of the seventh section. South of the mountains there is Qazwin. North of them and alongside the connecting mountains of arRayy, extending in a northeastern direction to the middle of the section and then into the fifth zone, lies the country of Tabaristan in the region between these mountains and a portion of the Caspian Sea (Sea of Tabaristan). From the fifth zone, it enters the seventh section about halfway between west and east. Where the mountains of ar-Rayy turn west, there lie other, connecting mountains. They run directly east and slightly south, and eventually enter the eighth section from the west. Between the mountains of ar-Rayy and these mountains, at their starting point, there remains Jurjan, which includes Bistam.160 Behind these (latter) mountains, there is a part of the seventh section that contains the remainder of the desert area between Fars and Khurisan, to the east of Qishin. At its farthest point, near these mountains, is Astaribidh. On the eastern slopes of these mountains, and extending to the boundary of the section, lies the country of Nisabur, which belongs to Khurisin. South of the mountains and east of the desert area, lies Nisabur, followed by Marw ash-Shihijan 161 at the end of the section. North of it and east of Jurjan, are Mihrajin, Khazarun, and Tus, the eastern end of the section. All these places are north of the mountains. Far to the north of them is the country of Nasa, which is surrounded by barren stretches of desert, in the northeastern corner of the section.

The eighth section of the fourth zone, in the west, contains the Oxus which flows from south to north. On its western bank, there are Zamm 162 and Amul which belong to Khurasan, as well as at-Tahiriyah and Gurganj which belongs to Khuwarizm. The southwest corner of the section is surrounded by the mountains of Astarabadh, which were found already in the seventh section. They enter this section from the west and encircle the (southwestern) corner, which includes the remainder of the country of Herat. In the third zone, the mountains pass between Herat and al-Juzajan, and eventually connect with the Buttam Mountain, as we mentioned there. East of the Oxus in the south of this section, is the country of Bukhara, followed by the country of the Soghd, with Samarkand as its principal place. Then comes the country of Usritshanah, which includes Khujandah at the eastern end of the section. North of Samarkand and Usrushanah, is the land of Ilaq.163 North of Ilaq is the land of Tashkent (ash-Shish), which extends to the eastern boundary of the section and occupies a portion of the ninth section that in the south includes the remainder of the land of Farghanah.

From this portion of the ninth section, comes the river of Tashkent (Syr Darya). It cuts through the eighth section, and eventually flows into the Oxus where the latter leaves the eighth section in the north for the fifth zone. In the land of Ilaq, a river coming from the ninth section of the third zone, from the borders of Tibet, flows into the river of Tashkent, and before the latter leaves the ninth section, the river of Farghanah flows into it. Parallel to the river of Tashkent lies Mount Jabraghun, which starts from the fifth zone, turns southeast, and eventually enters the ninth section and runs along the borders of the land of Tashkent. Then, it turns in the ninth section, continues along the boundaries of Tashkent and Farghanah, goes on to the southern part of the section, and then enters the third zone. Between the river of Tashkent and the bend of this mountain in the middle of the section, there is the country of Farab. Between it and the land of Bukhari and Khuwarizm are barren stretches of desert. In the northeast corner of this section is the land of Khujandah,163a which includes Isbijab 164 and Taraz.165

The ninth section of the fourth zone, to the west beyond Farghanah and Tashkent, contains the land of the Kharlukh in the south, and the land of the Khallukh 166 in the north. The whole eastern part of the section to its farthest point is occupied by the land of the Kimak. It extends over the whole tenth section to the Qufaya Mountains 167 which are at the eastern end of the section and lie there on a portion of the Surrounding Sea. They are the Mountains of Gog and Magog. All these nations are Turkish peoples.

The fifth zone

Most of the first section of the fifth zone is covered by water, except a small portion of the south and of the east. In this western region, the Surrounding Sea enters into the fifth, sixth, and seventh zones from the circle it describes around the zones. The portion to the south that is free from water has a triangular shape. It there touches Spain and comprises the remainder of it. It is surrounded on two sides

by the sea, as if by the two sides of a triangle. It occupies the remainder of western Spain, including Montemayor 168 on the seacoast at the beginning of the section in the southwest. Salamanca is to the east, and Zamora to the north. East of Salamanca, at the southern end, is Avila, and east of it, the land of Castilla with the city of Segovia. North of it is the land of Leon and Burgos. Beyond it to the north is the land of Galicia, which extends to the corner of this portion. At the Surrounding Sea there, at the far point of the western side (of the triangle), the portion includes the region of Santiago-that is, (Saint) Jacob.

Of eastern Spain, the triangular portion contains the city of Tudela, at the southern end of the section and to the east of Castilla. To the northeast of Tudela are Huesca and Pamplona directly to the east of (Huesca). West of Pamplona, there is Estella (Qastallah), followed by Najera 169 in the region between Estella and Burgos. This (triangular) portion contains a large mountain. It faces the sea and the northeast side of the triangle, in close proximity both to it and to the seacoast at Pamplona in the east. We have mentioned before that it connects in the south with the Mediterranean in the fourth zone. It constitutes a barrier for Spain in the north. Its passes are gates leading from Spain to the country of Gascogne, which belongs to the European Christian nations. In the fourth zone, there belong to (Gascogne) Barcelona and Narbonne on the shore of the Mediterranean; north of them, Gerona and Carcassonne; and in the fifth zone, Toulouse, north of Gerona.

The eastern portion of this section has the shape of an oblong triangle with its acute angle beyond the Pyrenees to the east. On the Surrounding Sea, at the top where it connects with the Pyrenees, this portion includes Bayonne. At the end of it, in the northeastern region of the section, is the land of Poitou, which belongs to the European Christians and extends to the end of the section.

The western region of the second section contains the land of Gascogne. North of it are the lands of Poitou and Bourges.170 Both countries have been mentioned by us. East of the country of Gascogne lies a portion of the Mediterranean. It projects into this section like a tooth, in an easterly direction. To the west, the country of Gascogne juts out into a gulf of the Mediterranean[?]. At the northern extremity of this portion is the country of Genoa, along which to the north lie the Alps.171 At their northern limit lies the land of Burgundy. East of the gulf of Genoa, which comes from the Mediterranean, another gulf comes from the same sea. The two gulfs include a portion of land in the shape of a peninsula on which, in the west, lies Pisa, and in the east the great city of Rome, the capital of the European Christians and the residence of the Pope, their highest religious dignitary. It contains magnificent, historically famous buildings, imposing monuments,172 and gigantic churches. One of the remarkable things at Rome is the river that flows through it from east to west, the bed of which is paved with copper.173 Rome contains the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul, who are buried in it. North of the country of Rome is the country of Lombardy, which extends to the boundary of the section. On the eastern shore of the gulf on which Rome is situated, lies Naples. It is adjacent to the country of Calabria, which (also) belongs to the lands of the European Christians. North of it, a portion of the Adriatic Sea (Gulf of Venice) comes into this section from the third section, turns west, and faces north in this section, and extends to about one-third of it. A large portion of the country of the Venetians is situated on this portion of the Adriatic Sea, in the south,174 in the region between (the Adriatic Sea) and the Surrounding Sea. North of it lies the country of Aquileia in the sixth zone.

The third section of the fifth zone contains in the west the country of Calabria, between the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean. Part of the mainland in the Mediterranean in the fourth zone forms a portion of land in the shape of a peninsula, between two gulfs that extend due north from the Mediterranean into this section.175 East of the country of Calabria is the country of the Lombards,176 along a portion of land formed by the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean, of which one end enters the fourth zone and the Mediterranean.

To the east, this section is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, which belongs to the Mediterranean. It flows due north, then turns west opposite the northern end of the section. Alongside it, a large mountain (range) comes from the fourth zone. It faces it (the sea) and runs parallel to it on its way north, then turns west along it in the sixth zone, and eventually ends opposite a straits in the north of it, in the country of Aquileia, a German (Alamanni) nation, as we shall mention. At this straits and between it and this mountain (range), where the mountains and the sea go off to the north, lies the country of the Venetians. Where the mountains and the sea go off to the west, they border the country of Jarwasiyi, and then the country of the Germans (Alamanni), at the end of the straits.

The fourth section of the fifth zone contains a portion of the Mediterranean which enters it from the fourth zone. (This portion of the sea) is strongly indented by arms of the sea which jut out in a northerly direction and are separated by portions of land in the shape of peninsulas. At the eastern end of the section lies the Straits of Constantinople. (This narrow body of water) comes from this southern part (of the section), flows due north, and eventually enters the sixth zone. There, it immediately turns eastward (and joins) the Black Sea in the fifth section; (the latter also occupies) part of the fourth and sixth sections of the sixth zone, as we shall mention. Constantinople is to the east of this straits at the northern end of the section. It is a large city and was the seat of the Byzantine emperors. There are many stories about the magnificent architectural and other monuments there. The portion of this section between the Mediterranean and the Straits of Constantinople comprises the country of Macedonia, which belonged to the (ancient) Greeks, whose royal authority had its origin there. East of the straits and extending to the end of the section, there is a portion of the land of Batus.177 This, I believe, is the desert plains where, at the present time, the Turkomans roam. There is (located) the realm of Ibn 'Uthman (the Ottomans), with its chief city Bursa (Brussa).178 Before them, it belonged to the Byzantines, from whom it was taken away by other nations, and eventually came into possession of the Turkomans.

The southwestern part of the fifth section of the fifth zone contains the land of Batus (Anatolia). North of it and extending to the boundary of the section, is the country of Amorium. East of Amorium is the Qubagib (Tokhma Su) 178a which flows into the Euphrates. It has its source in a mountain there and flows south until it joins the Euphrates, before the latter leaves this section and crosses over into the fourth zone. West of (the Euphrates), at the (southern) end of the section, the Sayhan, and west of it, the Jayhan, originate. Both rivers flow alongside (the Euphrates). They have been mentioned before. East of (the Euphrates) there, the Tigris originates. It always flows alongside (the Euphrates), and eventually joins it at Baghdad. In the southeastern corner of this section, behind the mountain where the Tigris originates, lies Mayyafariqin. The Qubaqib, which we have mentioned, divides this section into two portions. The one covers the southwest and contains the land of Batus (Anatolia), as we have said. The northernmost part of (the land of Batus), the region extending to the northern end of the section and beyond the mountain where the Qubaqib originates, is the land of Amorium, as we have said. The other portion covers the northeastern and southeastern third (of the section). In the south of this the Tigris and Euphrates originate. In the north, there is the country of al-Baylagin, which adjoins the land of Amorium behind Mount Qubagib 179 and extends far. At its end, where the Euphrates originates, is Kharshanah.180 In the northeast corner is a portion of the Black Sea that connects with the Straits of Constantinople.

The sixth section of the fifth zone contains in the southwest the country of Armenia, which extends eastward beyond the middle of the section. Arzan (Erzerum) is in the southwest (of Armenia). To the north (of it) lie Tiflis and Dabil. East of Arzan is the city of Khilat, followed by Bardha'ah. In the southeast is the (capital) city of Armenia. There, Armenia, entering the fourth zone, includes. alMaraghah, east of the Mountain of the Kurds which is called Mountain of Barimma, and which has been mentioned before in connection with the sixth section of the fourth zone. In this section, and in the fourth zone, Armenia is bordered to the east by the country of Azerbaijan. (Azerbaijan's) easternmost point in this section is Ardabil, on a portion of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea enters this section from the east from the seventh section, and is called the Sea of Tabaristan (Caspian Sea). On its northern shore, in this section, it contains a portion of the country of the Khazars. They are Turkomans. At the northern end of this portion of the Caspian Sea, a mountain range begins and runs due west to the fifth section, crosses it, encircles Mayyafariqin, and enters the fourth zone at Amid, where it connects with the Chain Mountain in the northernmost part of Syria, and from there (goes on to) connect with the Amanus, as has already been mentioned.

In these mountains in the northern part of this section, there are passes that constitute a sort of gates giving entry from both sides. To the south, is the country of the "Gates," which extends eastward to the Caspian Sea. The city of Derbend,181 which belongs to this country, lies on the Caspian Sea. In the southwest, the country of the "Gates" adjoins Armenia. East of (the country of the Gates), between it and southern Azerbaijan, is the country of Arran (Ar-Ran),182 which extends to the Caspian Sea. North of these mountains, there lies a portion of this section comprising in the west the realm of the Sarir;183 The northwest corner of that portion, which constitutes the (northwest) corner of the whole section, is also occupied by a small portion of the Black Sea that connects with the Straits of Constantinople. (This) has been mentioned before. This portion of the Black Sea is surrounded by the country of the Sarir. Trebizond, which belongs to (that country), lies on it. The country of the Sarir extends between the mountains of the "Gates" and the northern part of the section. It eventually reaches a mountain in the east that constitutes a barrier between it and the land of the Khazars. On the far boundary of the (country of the Sarir), is the city of Sul. Behind this mountain barrier, there is a portion of the land of the Khazars reaching the northeast corner of this section, between the Caspian Sea and the northern end of the section.

The seventh section of the fifth zone is entirely covered in the west by the Caspian Sea, a portion of which protrudes into the fourth zone to the south. On (the shores of) this portion are situated, as we have mentioned in connection with the (fourth zone), the country of Tabaristin and the mountains of the Daylam up to Qazwin. In the west of this portion and connecting with it, there is the small portion that lies in the sixth section of the fourth zone. Connecting with it in the north is the portion that lies in the eastern part of the sixth section above. A part of the northwest corner of this section, where the Volga flows into it, is not covered by the Caspian Sea. In the eastern region of this section there (also) remains a part which is not covered by the Caspian Sea. It consists of desert plains in which the Ghuzz, a Turk nation, roam. They are also called the Khtiz. (Ghuzz) looks like an Arabization, with kh becoming gh, and doubling of the z.184 This part is surrounded by a mountain (range) to the south that enters the eighth section, runs not quite halfway through the western part, turns north, eventually touches the Caspian Sea, hugs it closely all the way through its remaining portion in the sixth zone, then turns at its end, and separates from it. There, it is called Mount Shiyah.185 It runs westward to the sixth section of the sixth zone, then turns back south to the sixth section of the fifth zone. It is this end of the mountain (range) that lies in this section between the land of the Sarir and the land of the Khazars. The land of the Khazars extends along the slopes of the mountain called Mount Shiyah in the sixth and seventh sections, as will be mentioned.

The whole eighth section of the fifth zone contains desert plains where the Ghuzz, a Turkish nation, roam. In the southwest is Lake Aral, into which the Oxus flows. Its circumference is three hundred miles. Many rivers flow into it from these desert plains. In the northeast is the Lake of Ghurghun,186 a fresh-water lake. Its circumference is four hundred miles. In the northern region of this section stands Mount Murghar,187 which means "Snow Mountain," because the snow on it never melts. It lies at the far end of the section. South of the Lake of Ghurghun there is a mountain of solid stone where nothing grows. It is called Ghurghun Mountain. The lake is named after it. In the Ghurghun and Murghar Mountains north of the lake, innumerable rivers have their origin. They flow into the lake from both sides.

The ninth section of the fifth zone contains the country of the Adhkish,188 a Turkish nation, west of the country of the Ghuzz, and east of the country of the Kimak. In the east at its end, (the section) is hugged by the Qifaya Mountains that surround Gog and Magog. They stretch there from south to north, assuming this direction right after entering from the tenth section, which they had, in turn, entered from the end of the tenth section of the fourth zone. There, they border the Surrounding Sea on the northern boundary of the section. They then turn west in the tenth section of the fourth zone and extend almost to the middle of the section. From where they begin to this point, they surround the country of the Kimak. Entering the tenth section of the fifth zone, they cross it in a westerly direction to its end. South of them remains a portion of that section that stretches west in an oblong shape and contains the end of the country of the Kimak.

The mountains, then, enter the ninth section at its northeastern border, soon turn north, and run due north to the ninth section of the sixth zone, where the Dam (of Gog and Magog) is situated, as we shall mention. There remains the portion that is surrounded by the Qufaya Mountains in the northeast corner of this section. It is oblong in shape and stretches southward. It belongs to the country of Gog. The tenth section of the fifth zone is entirely covered by the land of Gog, except for a portion of the Surrounding Sea which covers part of it in the east from south to north, and except for the portion that the Qufaya Mountains leave in the southwest on their way through the section. Everything else is the land of Gog.

The sixth zone

Half of the first section of the sixth zone is mostly covered by the sea, which stretches eastward in a curving line along the northern part, then runs southward along the eastern part, and ends near the southern part (of the section). A portion of land in this part is not covered by the sea. It is similar in shape to a peninsula, formed by two arms of the Surrounding Sea. It is long and wide. All this is the land of Brittany. At the entrance to it, between those two arms (of the sea) and in the southeast corner of this section, there is the country of Sees which is adjacent to the country of Poitou. (The country of Poitou) has been mentioned before in connection with the first and second sections of the fifth zone.

The second section of the sixth zone is entered by the Surrounding Sea in the west and north. In the northwest, it covers an oblong portion (extending) over more than half (the south-north extension) of (the section),188a east of Brittany (which was mentioned) in the first section. (This portion of the sea) connects with the other portion in the north (that extends) from west to east. It widens somewhat in the western half of (the section). There, a portion of the island of England is situated. It is a large, far-flung island which contains a number of cities and is the seat of a magnificent realm. The remainder of (England) lies in the seventh zone. South of and adjacent to this western part and the island located there, (and still) in the western half of this section, are the countries of Normandy and Flanders. Then, there is (northern) France in the southwest of this section, and, east of it, the country of Burgundy. All these countries belong to the European Christian nations. The eastern half of the section contains the country of the Germans (Alamanni). The south is taken up by the country of Aquileia, with the country of Burgundy farther north, and then the lands of Lorraine and Saxony. On a portion of the Surrounding Sea in the northeast corner, is the land of Frisia. All these countries belong to the German (Alamanni) nations.

The western part of the third section of the sixth zone contains, in the south, the country of Bohemia,189 and in the north, the country of Saxony. The eastern part contains, in the south, the country of Hungary, and in the north, the country of Poland. (Hungary and Poland) are separated by the Carpathian Mountains (Balwat). They come from the fourth section, run northwest, and eventually end in the country of Saxony at the boundary of the western half (of this section).

The fourth section of the sixth zone, in the south, contains the country of Jathuliyah,189a and, in the north, the country of Russia. They are separated by the Carpathian Mountains, from the beginning of the section in the west to its end in the eastern half. East of the land of Jathuliyah is the country of Jarmaniyah. In the southeast corner, there is the land of Constantinople and the city of Constantinople at the end of the straits coming from the Mediterranean, where it connects with the Black Sea. A small portion of the Black Sea connecting with the straits appears in the southeast corner of the section. The corner between the straits and the Black Sea contains Musannah [?].190

The fifth section of the sixth zone, in the south, contains the Black Sea, stretching due east from the straits at the end of the fourth section. It traverses the whole of this section and part of the sixth section, covering a distance (in length) of 1,300 miles from its beginning and (in width) of 600 miles. Beyond the Black Sea in the south of this section, there remains a piece of the mainland which is oblong in shape and stretches from west to east. The (western portion) of it contains Heracleia 191 on the shore of the Black Sea, (a city) adjacent to the country of al-Baylaqan in the fifth zone. In the east(ern portion) of it is the land of the Alans, with its principal place, Sinope, on the Black Sea. North of the Black Sea in this section is the land of the Bulgars (Burjan) 192 in the west, and in the east the country of Russia. All (these countries) lie on the shores of the Black Sea. The country of Russia surrounds the country of the Bulgars (Burjan), (bordering it) in the east(ern portion) of this section, in the north(ern portion) of the fifth section of the seventh zone, and in the west(ern portion) of the fourth section of the sixth zone.

The sixth section of the sixth zone contains in the west the remainder of the Black Sea, where it turns slightly north. Between the Black Sea and the northern boundary of the section is the country of the Comans.193 Following the northward direction of the Black Sea, there is the remainder of the country of the Alans, which was at the southern end of the fifth section and which here becomes wider as it extends northwards. In the eastern part of this section, the land of the Khazars continues, and farther east lies the land of the Burtas.194 In the northeast corner is the land of the Bulgars (Bulghar). In the southeast corner is the land of Balanjar,195 which is there traversed by a portion of Mount Shiyah.196 These mountains follow (the coast of) the Caspian Sea later on in the seventh section, and, after separating from it, run west across this part (of the sixth section), and enter the sixth section of the fifth zone, where they are linked with the Mountains of the "Gates." The country of the Khazars lies on both sides of them.

The seventh section of the sixth zone contains in the south an area that Mount Shiyah cuts across, to the western boundary of the section, after leaving the Caspian Sea. It is a portion of the country of the Khazars. East of (the country of the Khazars) is the portion of (the coast of) the Caspian Sea that is traversed by Mount (Shiyah) in the northeast. Beyond Mount Shiyah, in the northwest, is the land of the Burps. In the east(ern portion) of the section is the land of the Bashqirs 197 and the Pechenegs,198 Turkish nations.

The entire southern part of the eighth section of (the sixth zone) is occupied by the land of the Khulukh Turks.199 The northern region contains in the west the Stinking Land200 and, in the east, the land Gog and Magog are said to have laid waste before the Dam was constructed. In this Stinking Land, the Volga, one of the largest rivers in the world, originates. It passes through the country of the Turks and flows into the Caspian Sea in the seventh section of the fifth zone. The Volga makes many turnings. It originates in a mountain in the Stinking Land, from which three streams issue and unite to form one river. It flows due west to the boundary of the seventh section of the sixth zone and turns north into the seventh section of the seventh zone, where it flows along the southwestern boundary. It leaves the seventh zone in the sixth section, flows a short distance west, then turns south a second time, and returns to the sixth section of the sixth zone, where a branch comes out of it and flows westward into the Black Sea in that section. (The Volga itself next) passes through a portion of the country of the Bulgars (Bulghar) in the northeast, leaves the sixth zone in the seventh section to turn south a third time, flows through Mount Shiyah, traverses the country of the Khazars, and enters the fifth zone in the seventh section. There it flows into the Caspian Sea, in that portion of the southwest corner of the section which is not covered by the sea.

The ninth section of the sixth zone, in the west, contains the country of the Khifshakh Turks-the Qipchaqs-and the country of the Turgish,201 who are also Turks. In the east, it contains the country of Magog which is separated from the west by the afore-mentioned surrounding 201a Qufaya Mountains. They start at the Surrounding Sea in the eastern part of the fourth zone, and follow (the Surrounding Sea) to the northern boundary of the zone. There, they leave it and run northwesterly until they enter the ninth section of the fifth zone, where they return to their former due northerly course into the ninth section of (the sixth zone), which they cross from south to north, bearing a little to the west. There, in the middle of (the mountains), is the Dam built by Alexander. The mountains, then, continue due north into the ninth section of the seventh zone, which they traverse from the south on up to the Surrounding Sea in the north. They follow along it from there westward into the fifth section of the seventh zone, where they encounter a portion of the Surrounding Sea to the west.

In the middle of this ninth section is the Dam built by Alexander, as we have said. Correct information about it is found in the Qur'an. 'Ubaydallah b. Khurradadhbih mentioned in his geographical work 202 that al-Wathiq saw in a dream that the Dam had opened. Frightened, he awakened and sent Salim (Sallam) the dragoman to investigate the Dam and to bring back information about it and a description of it, which he did. This is a long story that has nothing to do with the purpose of our work.

The tenth section of the sixth zone is occupied by the country of Magog, extending to the end of (the section). There it borders on a portion of the Surrounding Sea which surrounds (the section) to the east and north. (This portion) is oblong in the north and widens somewhat in the east.

The seventh zone

The Surrounding Sea covers most of the seventh zone in the north (from the beginning) to the middle of the fifth section, where it touches the Qufaya Mountains that surround Gog and Magog.

The first and second sections are covered by water, except for the portion not covered by water where the island of England is located, most of which lies in the second section. In the first section, there is a corner of England which extends towards the north. The remainder, with a portion of the sea that encircles it, lies in the second section of the sixth zone. It was mentioned there. The channel connecting England with the mainland is there twelve miles wide. Beyond the island of England, in the north of the second section, is the island of Raslandah203 oblong in shape, stretching lengthwise from west to east.

Most of the third section of the seventh zone is covered by water, except for an oblong portion in the south that is wider in its eastern part. Here, the land of Poland continues. It was mentioned in connection with the third section of the sixth zone, as lying in the north of it. In the western part of the portion of the sea covering this section, there lies a round, wide (island). It is connected with the mainland by an isthmus in the south, which leads to the land of Poland. North of it is the island of Norway,204 oblong in shape, which stretches lengthwise from west to east in the north (of the section).

The fourth section of the seventh zone is entirely covered in the north by the Surrounding Sea from the western to the eastern (boundaries of the section). Its southern part is not covered by the sea. To the west, it contains the land of the Finland [?] 205 Turks. To the east lies the country of Tavast,206 followed by the land of Estonia [?] 207 extending to the eastern boundary of the section. (Estonia) is permanently covered by snow and has little civilization. It borders on the country of Russia in the fourth and fifth sections of the sixth zone.

The fifth section of the seventh zone contains in the west the country of Russia. In the north, (Russia) 207a extends to where the portion of the Surrounding Sea and the Qufaya Mountains meet, as we have mentioned before. The eastern region of the section contains the continuation of the land of the Comans, which lies on (the shore of) a portion of the Black Sea in the sixth section of the sixth zone. It reaches the Lake of T-r-m-y 208 in this section. This is a fresh-water lake into which drain many rivers from the mountains south and north of it. In the northeast of this section is the land of the Nabariyah 209 Turks, which extends to the boundary of the section.

The sixth section of the seventh zone contains in the southwest the continuation of the land of the Comans. In the middle of that region is Lake Gh-n-w-n.210 This is a freshwater lake into which drain the rivers from the mountains in the regions east of it. It is constantly frozen because of the severe cold, except for a short while during the summer. East of the country of the Comans is the country of Russia, which started in the northeast of the fifth section of the sixth zone. In the southeast corner of this (the sixth) section, is the remainder of the land of the Bulgars (Bulghar) that started in the northeastern part of the sixth section of the sixth zone. In the middle of this portion of the land of the Bulgars, there is the point where the Volga makes its first turn to the south, as has been mentioned. The Qufaya Mountains stretch all along the northern boundary of the sixth section from the west to the east.

The seventh section of the seventh zone, in the west, contains the remainder of the land of the Pechenegs, a Turkish nation. Beginning in the northeastern part of the preceding sixth and southwest of this section, it then, in the south, enters the sixth zone. In the east, there is the remainder of the land of the Bashqirs, followed by the remainder of the Stinking Land, which extends to the eastern boundary of the section. The northern boundary of the section is formed by the surrounding Qufaya Mountains stretching (all along it) from the west to the east.

The eighth section of the seventh zone contains in the southwest the continuation of the Stinking Land. East of it is the Sunken 211 Land, a remarkable place. It is an immense opening in the earth, so deep that the bottom cannot be reached. The appearance of smoke during the day and of fire at night, which by turns flares up and disappears, leads to the conclusion that the place is inhabited. A river is occasionally seen there. It cuts through it from south to north. In the east of this section is the Waste Country, which borders the Dam. Across the northern limit of the section are the Qufaya Mountains, stretching all along it from the west to the east.

The ninth section of the seventh zone contains in the west the country of the Khifshakh, that is, the Qipchaqs. It is traversed by the Qufaya Mountains where they turn away from the north (of the section) at the Surrounding Sea and run southeast through the middle (of the section). They then leave (this zone) for the ninth section of the sixth zone and pass across it. There, in the middle of them, is the Dam of Gog and Magog, which we have already mentioned. The eastern part of this section contains the land of Magog, behind the Qufaya Mountains, on the sea. It 211a is not very wide and is oblong in shape and surrounds it in the east and north.

The tenth section of the seventh zone is entirely covered by the sea.


This finishes the discussion of the world map with the seven zones.

In the creation of heaven and earth and the difference between night and day, there are signs for those who know.212

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The Textual History of the Muqaddimah


THE TEXT of the Muqaddimah is very well attested and documented. Few, if any, works written before modern times can boast of being as well represented by manuscripts. Four manuscripts written during Ibn Khaldun's lifetime exist in Turkey alone. Two undated ones also exist, which were written, at the latest, shortly after his death. Manuscripts written during an author's lifetime may, of course, contain an inferior text, but in this particular case the quality of the old manuscripts is, in general, very high. One of them (A) is a copy presented to the library of the ruler of Egypt, apparently by Ibn Khaldun himself. Another (B) was written under Ibn Khaldun's eye by his proven amanuensis (who may also have been a friend and admirer). A third copy (C) bears testimony to its accuracy in Ibn Khaldun's own hand.

All these manuscripts have the same textual value that, in the period after the invention of printing, would be ascribed to a book printed under its author's supervision. There may be occasional mistakes, but a carefully written manuscript usually compares favorably with a printed text. Most manuscripts of this type may be confidently regarded as authentic copies of the text, and any factual mistakes or miswriting they contain may be considered the author's own.

Under these circumstances, we should expect the variant readings to be comparatively few and insignificant. Collation shows this to be, indeed, the case. There does exist a great number of very considerable variations among the texts, but these are not variant readings in the ordinary sense. They are additions and corrections made by Ibn Khaldun at different periods of his life. The existence of such extensive emendations demonstrates in a fascinating manner that the medieval author worked much as his modern colleague does. Once the text of the Muqaddimah is established with the help of the extant manuscripts, the principal result will be found to be the light it throws upon the history of the text in the hands of its author.

In translating the Muqaddimah a certain amount of duplication is unavoidably caused by the existence of an earlier and a later text. Though it would be desirable to translate all variations of the different texts known to have been seen by the author, such an undertaking is impracticable, if not impossible, for a work as long as the Muqaddimah. But the manuscript evidence of the Muqaddimah also shows that, basically, the text of the work is well established and utterly reliable for purposes of translation.

The excellent quality of the Arabic text of the Muqaddimah has often been doubted by Western scholars, but it is an indisputable fact. Such textual difficulties as do occur would not, in any case, be cleared up by a complete collation of manuscripts. In preparing this translation, I have therefore collated only some of the outstanding ones. An exhaustive utilization of all the manuscripts can be expected in the forthcoming edition of the Muqaddimah by Muhammad Tawit at-Tanji, who has already published the text of Ibn Khaldun's Autobiography.118 Since at-Tanji has traveled widely in search of Muqaddimah manuscripts, his edition will surely make it possible to elucidate their interrelationship and to clear up the many problems connected with their history.

The following remarks should be considered as entirely provisional, pending the appearance of at-Tanji's edition. Earlier scholars who have dealt with the manuscripts of Ibn Khaldun 119 have often had to rely upon incomplete or secondhand information, and therefore their statements are sometimes more than a bit confused. In order to avoid this danger so far as is within my abilities, I have restricted myself to manuscripts that I have seen myself, with the single exception of the Fez manuscript. Needless to say, my remarks are subject to such revision as a more thorough study of the manuscripts than I was able to undertake may one day make possible.

During my stay in Turkey in the summer of 1952, I consulted the following manuscripts of the Muqaddimah:


(In Istanbul unless otherwise noted)


Nuru Osmaniye


Atif Effendi

Ragib Papa

Murad Molla

Millet Library

University Library

Orhan Cami, Bursa (Brussa)


Esad 2418

Damad Ibrahim 863

Reis el-kuttap ( =Abir I) 679

Halet Eff. 617








Ahmet III, 3042



Hamidiye 982

Hekimoklu Ali Papa 805

MS. ar. 2743

Huseyin Celebi 793120

The large number of manuscripts of the Muqaddimah in Turkey reflects the great interest of the Ottoman Turks .121 From this point of view, practically all the manuscripts are of considerable historical import. Here, however, only the oldest and best manuscripts will be briefly described. The letters in the margin are the sigla by which the manuscripts will be designated whenever they are referred to. (The identification of the manuscripts in this web edition appears in bold.)

'A (1) MS. Damad Ibrahim 863. The manuscript contains 433 folios and is not dated. It clearly seems to have been written by the same hand that wrote MS. Damad Ibrahim 867, which contains the sixth part of the Ibar. The latter manuscript is dated Safar 4, 797 [November 29, 1394]. The scribe gives his name as 'Abdallah b. Hasan b. Shihib, a name strangely similar to that of the scribe of our manuscript B of the Muqaddimah. But the handwriting is entirely different, so that there is no possibility that the scribes could be identical; this seems anyhow unlikely.

As in some other manuscripts, the text of A is distributed over two parts with separate title pages and tables of contents. Part One contains the beginning, up to and including chapter three, while Part Two contains the rest of the work.

The title page informs us that the manuscript was written for the library of Ibn Khaldun's patron, the Mameluke ruler al-Malik az-Zahiri, with the given name of Barquq (1382-99).122 In the manuscript (fols. 7b ff), the work itself is dedicated to Barquq in a long and sincerely affectionate dedication. Ibn Khaldun even changes its title to include the name of his benefactor: az-Zahirl fi l-'ibar bi-akhbar al-'Arab wa-l-'Ajam wa-l-Barbar; also, at the end of the first part (fol. 235a) and at the end of the second part, reference is again made to the new title az-Zahiri. This is further evidence that the manuscript was written during Barquq's lifetime. It is less easy to understand why manuscript B, which was also written during Barquq's life, makes no mention either of the title az-Zahiri or of the dedication of the work to him. On the other hand, it is not difficult to see why the manuscript sent to Fez refrained from advertising Ibn Khaldun's renaming of the work.

Manuscript A, the oldest of the preserved manuscripts, is not the best among them. Both B and C are superior to it. A appears to have been written by a professional copyist. The text is nonetheless reliable and comes as close to being the equivalent of a published edition of a modern author as any work of the manuscript age. A copy of A formed the basis of Quatremere's edition of the Muqaddimah, which thus has the most solid basis that the great French scholar, almost a hundred years ago, could have hoped for.

(2) Another manuscript, written in 798 [1396], is the famous copy of the Muqaddimah at Fez. For a long time there has been a sort of mystery around it that is only now beginning to be solved. Much has been written about it in the scholarly literature. Brief reference may be made to it here, though I have not seen it myself.

The manuscript forms part of a complete copy of the Ibar that Ibn Khaldun sent as a waqf donation to the Qarawlyin Mosque in Fez. Al-Maqqari, in 1629/30, in his voluminous biography of Ibn al-Khatib, mentioned that he had seen and used the eight-volume copy of the Ibar in the Qarawiyin Mosque in Fez and that a notation in Ibn Khaldun's own handwriting was on it.123

In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, J. Graberg of Hemso heard about the existence of an "autograph copy" of the Muqaddimah in the Qarawiyin Mosque. However, he was unable to gain access to it.124

A copy of the manuscript was apparently used in Nasr alHurini's Bulaq edition of 1274 [1857], but nothing definite can be added in this connection at the present time.

In his Catalogue des livres arabes de la Bibliotheque de la Mosquee d'E1-Qarouiyine (Fez, 1918), A. Bel listed as No. 1266 a manuscript of the 'Ibar with a waqf notice in Ibn Khaldun's handwriting but failed to say whether No. 1270, which he listed as containing the Muqaddimah, belonged to the same set or not.125 Following up Bel's lead, in 1923 E. Levi-Provencal was able to publish the photograph of a waqf deed, dated Safar 21, 799 [November 24, 1396], which he found at the beginning of Volume v of the Ibar.126 The same page also contained a notation in Ibn Khaldun's hand: "Praised be God! That which is attributed to me (here) is correct. Written by 'Abd-ar-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Khaldun." E. LeviProvencal was also shown a copy of Volume III of the Ibar. However, he was unable to obtain any information as to the Muqaddimah manuscript of this set. The scribe of the manuscripts seen was 'Abdallah b. al-Hasan Walad al-Fakhuri, who also copied manuscript B.

In 1930, G. Bouthoul stated that he had examined a twovolume copy of the Muqaddimah in Fez. It was, he said, written in Maghribi script and contained poems in the vulgar language at the end, some of which had been composed by Ibn Khaldun in his youth.127 These statements have not been verified. In his reprint of de Slane's translation of the Muqaddimah, Bouthoul published, as a frontispiece to Volume iii (Paris, 1938), a reproduction of the waqf notice which, he said,"... appears at the front of the copy of the Prolegomena." However, the photograph turns out to be merely another shot of the same page that had been reproduced before by E. Levi-Provencal.

There are, however, other indications that the copy of the Muqaddimah from Ibn Khaldun's waqf set of the 'Ibar is, in fact, preserved in Fez. Recently, A. J. Arberry informed me that he was shown a two-volume copy in Fez. (*However, I was assured in Fez in 1963 that the Muqaddimah is lost.)

B (3) MS. Yeni Cami 888. The manuscript contains 273 large folios. One folio, comprising 3:449, 1. 20, to 3:464,1. 17 of this translation, is missing.

The manuscript is dated Jumada 1 10, 799 [February 9, 1397]. The scribe was 'Abdallah b. Hasan b. al-Fakhkhar, who also copied the Fez set and the Aya Sofya and Topkapusaray copies of Ibn Khaldun's Autobiography. He copied manuscript B from a manuscript "crowned" with the handwriting of the author, who had also added some marginal notes and additions to it, all of which he copied. We are further told that Ibn Khaldun himself read most of this manuscript copy. His "reading" may have been no more than perfunctory. There can be no doubt, however, as to the excellence of Ibn al-Fakhkhar's work.

The manuscript is not divided into two parts. The table of contents at the beginning covers the whole work. Ibn Khaldun's additions to the original manuscript from which B was copied, occasionally have not been incorporated in the body of the text of B, but are written on separately inserted slips of paper. It may be noted that one event mentioned on an inserted slip occurred less than a year before B was copied. (See note 157 to Ch. iii, below.)

C(4) MS. Atif Effendi 1936. The text of the Muqaddimah covers 303 folios. The manuscript breaks off with fol. 302b, corresponding to 3:413 (n. 1620), below; it is continued by another hand for a few lines, and then concludes with Ibn Khaldun's subscription from the end of the Muqaddimah. Between fols. 129b and 130a, one quire of the manuscript has been copied in a later hand on seven additional leaves numbered 130a-136b, to replace a missing portion of the original. This situation is indicated, in Arabic, at the bottom left of fol. 129b: "From here on, one quire is missing. We hope that God will restore it in the original." This is followed by a notation in Turkish: "In the handwriting of the late Weysi (Wissi) Effendi," the famous litterateur who lived from 1561 to 1628.128 He purchased the manuscript in Cairo on April 7, 1598, a note on the title page informs us.

The first flyleaf of the manuscript contains the following notation: ". . . I happened to read this book, the first volume of the Kitab al-'Ibar fi akhbar al-'Arab wa-l-'Ajam wa-l-Barbar. I have found it full of many useful notes and numerous ingenious observations. No previous (work) contains as many interesting remarks or is so rich a treasure-trove of novel, useful notes. The excellence of its composition as well as its order and arrangement show the author's perfect scholarship and his preeminence over his contemporaries in learning and the transmission of knowledge. I wrote these lines realizing the great importance of the book, as a testimony to its author, God give him the opportunity to enjoy it and similar (works), by [?] the Prophet and his family! These lines were written by the weak slave (of God), Muhammad b. Yusuf b. Muhammad al-Isfijabi, on Saturday, Sha'ban 24, 804 [April 29, 14021."

In the upper left-hand corner of the title page appears the following note in Maghribi writing:

This is the draft of the Muqaddimah of the Kitab al-'Ibar ft akhbar al'Arab wa-l-'Ajam wa-l-Barbar. The contents are altogether scientific 129 and form a kind of artistic preface to the historical work. I have collated and corrected it. No manuscript of the Muqaddimah is more correct than this one. Written by the author of the work, 'Abd-ar-Rahman Ibn Khaldun, God give him success and in His kindness forgive him.

The note is framed by a gold border, the work of some later owner of the manuscript, who has also called attention to the autograph of Ibn Khaldun in a note of his own.130

1. Autograph of Ibn Khaldun (upper left corner)

From MS. C (Atif Effendi 1936)

The title page contains fifteenth-century notes of sales. Some concern the Tantada'i family. It seems that Badr-ad-din Hasan at-Tantada'i, a blind scholar who lived from about 1400 to 1483 131 bought the manuscript in 1465. He must have given it away while he was still alive, for in 1479 his son Baha'-ad-din Muhammad purchased it from his brothers Ahmad and Yahya. Further information about the manuscript may be gleaned from the title page - the story of its purchase by Weysi (Wissi) Effendi mentioned above, for instance. One of the owners' notes is dated in the year 1665/66. Another, dated in 1705/6, is that of a Mecca judge, but there is no reason to believe that the manuscript was at that time in Mecca. The judge may have been a resident of Istanbul.

The verso of the title page contains the table of contents for the entire work, since (like manuscript B) manuscript C is not divided into two parts. At the top, we find the following notation: "Completion of the writing of the book, 804 [1401/4]"

There can be no doubt that C was written during Ibn Khaldun's lifetime. However, until recently, the problem of whether the note in his handwriting is genuine may well have arisen, for until then the only authentic specimen of Ibn Khaldun's handwriting available for comparison was the two lines in Maghribi handwriting in the Fez manuscript. Similarity between them and the writing in C is not striking, although there are a number of points of similarity. Other probable autographs of Ibn Khaldun (recently reproduced by W. J. Fischel in his Ibn Khaldun and Tamerlane, pp. 8 f., 11, and by atTanji in his edition of the ,Autobiography) are all written in a good Eastern hand and are therefore of no help for establishing the authenticity of the note in Maghribi writing in C. The problem has now been decided by H. Ritter's 132 publication of eleven lines in Ibn Khaldun's Western handwriting from the Tadhkirah al jadidah of his pupil Ibn Hajar. These lines indubitably are in the same hand as that of C. Only a scribe well acquainted with Ibn Khaldun's handwriting, using it as a model, could have forged the specimen in C. This, however, is most unlikely and need not be considered seriously. The autograph manuscript of Ibn Khaldun's Lubab al-Muhassal (cf. p. xIv, above) is of comparatively little help in this connection. The script as it appears on the specimens from the middle and the end of the manuscript reproduced in the edition, is not strikingly similar to the one used in C or in the note published by Ritter, nor is it markedly different. But it should be noted that the Lubab al-Muhassal was written from forty-four to fifty years earlier than the other two documents, and Ibn Khaldun's signatures definitely look alike in all cases.

The fact that Ibn Khaldun continued using his Western handwriting in Egypt does not necessarily dispose of the genuineness of the specimens in Eastern script. We do not know whether Ibn Khaldun's early education included a course in Eastern handwriting, but he probably used the Eastern script rarely, if ever, before he went to Egypt. However, it may have been much easier to wear Western dress in the East (as Ibn Khaldun did) than to attempt to use the Western script there. Ibn Khaldun himself tells us 133 that the Western script was difficult for Egyptians to read; on one occasion, as a favor to a Western poet, he had one of the latter's poems transcribed in the Eastern script for presentation to Barquq. Although in this case, Ibn Khaldun presumably did not do the actual copying himself, yet it seems almost certain that, on many occasions, he considered it advisable to use the Eastern handwriting in Egypt. In particular, when making notes on a copy of one of his works written in the Eastern script, he may have preferred to use it. There are obvious traces of Western calligraphic style in the presumed specimens of Ibn Khaldun's Eastern handwriting, especially in the forms of s and d.134 However, if Ibn Khaldun did not have considerable previous experience in writing an Eastern hand before coming to Egypt-and this seems doubtful -it is remarkable that a man past fifty succeeded so well in changing his accustomed style.135 It may thus be that the presumed specimens of his Eastern hand were not written by him after all.

The text of C contains many of the additions and corrections that constitute the later stages of the text of the Muqaddimah. Most of them were written by the writer of the entire manuscript. Unfortunately, the name of the scribe is not given; but, of course, he was a person other than Ibn Khaldun.

How are we to interpret the historical data just reviewed? The most likely explanation, which, however, still involves guesswork, seems to be as follows. Manuscript C was copied in 804 [1401/2] from an early text of the Muqaddimah, presumably Ibn Khaldun's own copy. The additions and corrections found in it were transferred verbatim to C by the same scribe.136 Ibn Khaldun had indicated on his copy the year 804 as the date when he had stopped working on the Muqaddimah (for the time being, at least). Later in the same year, al-lsfijabi, probably the first owner of C, affixed his admiring note at the beginning of the work, after reading it.

Manuscript C was used in later centuries as model for other copies. For example, Nuru Osmaniye 3424, which was copied by a certain Mehmet Muezzinzade for 'Ali Pasha (d. 1716) 137 and which is dated Rabi' 1 4, 1127 [March 10, 1715], has the same lacuna at the end as C. The same is true of the manuscript which in Quatremere's edition was referred to as A,138 though it remains to be seen whether that manuscript was copied from our manuscript C directly or indirectly. The manuscript Hamidiye 982 contains a note to the effect that it was collated with the Atif Effendi manuscript, that is, with C, by a certain Hajj 'Abd-ar-Razzaq in 1177 [1763/64]. (Cf. below, p. xcix.)

D(5) MS. Huseyin Celebi 793 in Bursa (Brussa). This manuscript was noted in Une Liste des manuscrits choisis parmi les bibliothiques de Bursa, publiee a l'occasion du XXII. Congres International des Orientalistes (Istanbul, 1951), p. 49. The catalogue number and the date of the manuscript are not, however, correctly designated on this list. Dr. Ahmed Ates first called my attention to this manuscript.

The manuscript contains 239 folios. It is dated Wednesday, Sha'ban 8, 806 [February 20, 1404]. The name of the scribe is given as Ibrahim b. Khalil as-Sa'di ash-Shafi'i al-Misri. On its title page it has an owner's note dated in the year 850 [1146/47], written by Yahya b. Hijji ash-Shafi'i, of the famous family of scholars. Starting early as a student and bibliophile, he was only twelve or thirteen years old when he wrote the note in manuscript D. He died in 888 [1483].139 Ibn Hijji's note would seem to make it practically certain that D was, indeed, written in 806, and is not a later copy of the manuscript written in that year, as might well be possible otherwise. For it must be pointed out that D, despite its date, is not an exceptionally good manuscript but contains a number of omissions and a great many other mechanical mistakes.

Manuscript D clearly was based on C, or was derived from the archetype from which C itself was copied. This origin is indicated, for instance, where D inserts a meaningless man yaqsidu after ghayriyah at Vol. 111, p. 68, line 6, of the Paris edition (in this translation, 3:86, 1. 19, below). In C a mark after ghayriyah indicates that a marginal note is to be added at this place. However, man yaqsidu does not belong there. It is to be inserted after waqasd in line 15 (3:87, 1. 5, below), where the fact that it was omitted is indicated by another omission mark after wa-qasd. The intended marginal note to ghayriyah apparently was never written.

Manuscript D had subsequently a rather curious history. The original colophon of the year 806 was frequently included in later copies, and these copies were mistaken for the original.140 Thus, Nuru Osmaniye 3423 has been mistaken for the manuscript of 806, but script and paper exclude the possibility that it was written in the fifteenth century. In fact, its similarity to Nuru Osmaniye 3424, mentioned above, p. xcvii, dates it in the early eighteenth century.

Another copy of D is the manuscript Hekimoglu Ali Pasa 805, which has a flyleaf notation to the effect that it was written in 1118 [1706/7] for one Abu1-Khayr Ahmad. The second part of the manuscript Halet Effendi 617 is likewise a copy of D.

E(6) MS. Ahmet III, 3042, Vol. 1. The manuscript contains 297 folios. It is not dated but has an owner's note of the year 818 [1415/16] in the name of one Muhammad b. 'Abd-ar-Rahman adDarib. Consequently, it must have been written in or before that year. The manuscript is important because (apart from the basic text of C) it is the only old manuscript available that contains an early form of the text of the Muqaddimah.

Another volume found under the same catalogue number contains Ibn Khaldun's personal copy of the Autobiography.141It was written out by Ibn al-Fakhkhar (cf. above, p. xciii). However, if my memory does not deceive me, manuscript E is in a different hand.

(7) MS. Halet Effendi 617 consists of two parts, in 235 and 181 folios, respectively. The second part has already been mentioned as a copy of D. The first part, however, dates back to the fifteenth century. It has an owner's note in the name of a Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Qusawi (?), dated 853 [1449].
(8) MS. Ragib Pasa 978 contains 382 folios. It is of recent date, no earlier than the early eighteenth century. The note of a reader who tried to collate and correct the manuscript is dated in 1153 [1740/41]. One of the marginal notes in the manuscript refers to az-Zurqani, the commentator of Malik's Muwatta', who died in 1122 [1710].

This manuscript, the text of which has yet to be studied, is interesting because it contains occasional marginal notes originating from a manuscript written by a certain al-Qatari, claimed by him to have been copied from "the original manuscript." This Qatari evidently was the Abu s-Salah Muhammad al-Hanafi alQatari who wrote the manuscript Nuru Osmaniye 3066, dated Monday, Dhu 1-Qa`dah 14, 1082 [March 13/14, 1672]. In another Nuru Osmaniye manuscript, 9065, which the same scribe finished on Sunday, Dhu1-Qa'dah 90,1101 [September 4(?), 1690, he was described as an imam and preacher of the Jami' al-Wazir (Mosque of the Wazir) in the Border City (thaghr) of Jidda. However, there is no further information about "the original manuscript" that al-Qatari claimed to have used. Judging from such passages as those below, p. 192 (n. 260), and p. 230 (n. 349), it cannot have been C, unless in its present state C has not preserved all the inserted slips it once contained. (Cf. above, p. xcvii [n. 198].)


Editions of the Muqaddimah are as numerous as manuscripts. The work is studied in the schools and colleges of the Arab countries. At least in recent years, it seems that each year produces a new reprint of the text, but most of these editions are worthless. A constantly increasing number of misprints disfigures them. It would be reassuring, though not particularly instructive, to review all these editions and investigate their interdependence. Since I have been unable to do this, my remarks are restricted to such observations as I can make about editions in my private possession. The rare Paris edition is not among these but is, of course, well represented in the great libraries.

Publication and translation of small portions of the Muqaddimah before 1857-58 are associated with such names as HammerPurgstall and Silvestre de Sacy. Today, their works have little more than bibliographical interest, and full listing may, therefore, be reserved as a task for the compiler of the complete bibliography of Ibn Khaldun, which has been needed for so long. In the meantime, de Slane's observations, in the introduction to his translation of the Muqaddimah (Vol. i, pp. cxv-cxvi -see p. cviii, below), and those by G. Gabrieli (see note 119, above) suffice. Cf. now W. J. Fischel's bibliography, pp. 483 f . of Vol. 3, below, as well as the one by H. Peres in Studi orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi Della rida (Rome, 1956), II, 304-29.

(1) The first complete scholarly European edition of the Muqaddimah was brought out by Etienne Marc Quatremere in Paris in 1858, under the title of Prolegomenes d'Ebn-Khaldoun. It was printed by Firmin Didot Freres in three volumes, figuring as Volumes xvi, xvii, and xviii of the Notices et Extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Impiriale, published by the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. Quatremere had died only the year before at the age of seventy-five, regretted as a scholar of great merits but also, it seems, one who was at odds with his colleagues and with the world in general.

Quatremere did not live to publish an introduction to his edition. According to W. M. de Slane, the French translator of the Muqaddimah, Quatremere based his text on four manuscripts, presently located as follows. Quatremere's manuscript A, dated 1146 [1733], is in the Bibliotheque Nationale, catalogued as No. 1524 of the Arabic manuscripts. MS. B, dated 1151 [1738], is in Munich as No. 373 in Aumer's catalogue.142 MS. C, a copy made in 1835/36 of the Damad Ibrahim manuscript referred to above (pp. xc ff.) by the letter A, is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale, catalogued as No. 1517. MS. D, the oldest manuscript among the four used by Quatremere and dated 1067 [1656/57], is No. 5136 among the Arabic manuscripts of the Bibliotheque Nationale.143

On the surface, the manuscript basis of Quatremere's edition seems rather shaky. However, Quatremere was fortunate in being able to use a copy of the oldest extant manuscript (our A), which, apparently, was very reliable. His good fortune extended further, in that among his manuscripts he discovered the last and most complete text of the Muqaddimah as it came from Ibn Khaldun's pen. Thus, he was able to offer in his edition a good complete text. The only exception to this statement concerns some particularly difficult passages such as the poems at the end of the Muqaddimah, where Quatremere's edition fails us completely. That his edition includes a good number of minor misprints may be blamed, in part, on the fact that the printing firm chosen by Quatremere did not specialize in printing long Arabic texts. However, few printed editions of Arabic texts are free from misprints. The misprints in Quatremere's edition, though numerous, do not amount to much as a major shortcoming of his edition. The principal reproach to be laid against him is that he neglected to indicate textual differences and variant readings among his manuscripts, as accurately and carefully as we could wish. These may have seemed of small importance to him, and they often are; however, he made it difficult for later scholars to judge the quality of his work correctly.

As a matter of fact, Quatremere's edition has often been maligned unfairly, and still is undervalued at the present time. The editor's negligence in indicating manuscript variants is part of the reason. The obvious fact that the manuscripts used were of recent date has also aroused mistrust. However, it should be stated bluntly that much of the unfair treatment meted out to Quatremere's work must be laid at the door of William MacGuckin de Slane, the French translator of the Muqaddimah. With an unusual pettiness, such as betrays some personal grudge, de Slane went so far as to note even the most minor and obvious misprints in Quatremere's edition, and treated them as major, damning blunders in the footnotes to his translation. He left no doubt as to how poorly he regarded Quatremere's work, and de Slane was supported in this view by Dozy, who wrote an influential review of the translation. In his review, R. Dozy brushed Quatremere's edition aside as a product of the scholar's senility. Between them, de Slane and Dozy set the stage for an unfriendly reception of Quatremere's work. It has been more for this reason, than for any more solidly based one, that doubts concerning the quality of Quatremere's text have been voiced and demands for a new edition raised. While a new edition will mean a great step forward, it will not expose major factual defects in Quatremere's text.

(2) While Quatremere's edition was still in press, an Egyptian edition of the Muqaddimah appeared, which had been printed at Bulaq near Cairo. Finished in Safar, 1274 [September/October, 1857], it was printed in a very large format and succeeded in compressing the entire text to 316 pages. The editor was Nasr al-Hurini (d. 1874)144 an Egyptian scholar of considerable merit. Although it was intended to form the first volume of a complete edition of the 'Ibar, only the Muqaddimah was published at this time.

To judge by occasional marginal notes, al-Hurini apparently used two manuscripts, which he called the Fez and the Tunis manuscripts. Of course, there is no consistent indication of variant readings. Al-Hurini often corrected the text according to his own judgment, a fact de Slane noted in the introduction to his translation (pp. cix f.). Indeed, it seems that in practically all instances where the Bulaq edition diverges from the manuscripts that have come to my attention, we have to reckon with free corrections by the editor. Sometimes his text gives the impression of being superior, but this superiority lacks documentary confirmation. Only in a few passages, as, for instance, 3:235 and 3:446 (n. 1813), below, do we find indisputable instances of a superior text in the Bulaq edition. Thus, the text of the Bulaq edition may usually be disregarded even where it is tempting to rely on its lectio facilior. Final judgment on it, however, should be postponed until the entire manuscript evidence has been thoroughly investigated.

However, Bulaq has some importance of its own by virtue of the fact that it provides the earliest text of the Muqaddimah presently available in printed form, with the fewest number of the author's later corrections and additions, The Tunis manuscript preserves Ibn Khaldun's original dedication to the Hafsid ruler. The Fez manuscript appears to go back to Ibn Khaldun's donation copy (see pp. xci ff above). In these respects the Bulaq edition supplements the Paris edition which represents a much later stage of the text of the Muqaddimah.

(3) Ten years later, in 1284 [1867/68], the complete text of the Ibar was published in Bulaq in seven volumes. The first volume contains the Muqaddimah in 534 pages. The text is identical with that published previously and even retains al-Hurini's notes. However, it may be noted that in the chapter on letter magic, the new edition contains the magical table between pp. 436 and 437, and some of the material on magic that had been omitted from the first Bulaq text (pp. 255-57). So far as the quality of the text of the rest of the Ibar is concerned, it clearly leaves much to be desired.145

(4) All later Oriental reprints, so far as I know, are based upon the Bulaq text and take no cognizance of the Paris edition. One very successful reprint of this sort was undertaken in Beirut in 1879 (and published early in 1880). I have before me a second, identical edition of the year 1886.

The technically very ambitious project of publishing a fully vocalized edition of the Muqaddimah, in usum scholarum, was also undertaken in Beirut.146 I have before me a photomechanical reproduction of the vocalized Beirut edition. This reproduction was put together in the Printing House of Mustafa Muhammad in Cairo, and although it is not dated, it must be about twenty to twenty-five years old. The "publisher" does not indicate the origin of his text but states on the title page that he is reserving all rights for himself and that his edition has been checked by a committee of scholars against a number of manuscripts!

The long chapter on letter magic is omitted in my copy, as are all the long dialect poems and some of the muwashshahahs and zajals at the close of the Muqaddimah. In addition, the vocalized text is slightly censored, omitting comments that appear to reflect adversely upon Christianity (p. 480 and 3:82, below), as well as remarks dealing with sexual matters (2:295, below). The difficult and exhausting task of vocalizing the entire text of the Muqaddimah has been fairly successfully executed. However, the text as such is unusually poor, shot through with mistakes and marred by many omissions.

There are many other Egyptian reprints of the Muqaddimah. Some of these do not follow the Beirut edition, but the Bulaq text. In this way each has perpetuated itself in successive reprint editions marked by increasing numbers of mistakes. I have before me editions of 1327 [1909] and 1348 [1.930], as well as one very recent reprint of the Beirut text, undated but printed in Cairo, that is an especially outrageous insult to the noble art of printing.

(5) Some editions of brief excerpts of the Muqaddimah are mentioned below, p. cix. See also footnote 31 to Ibn Khaldun's Introduction.

(6) The plans of at-Tanji for a critical edition of the Muqaddimah were mentioned above, p. lxxxix.


Before passing on to the translations, a word may be said about the gradual growth of the text of the Muqaddimah. From the available evidence, as presented in the preceding pages, it is possible to draw the following picture of the history of the text in Ibn Khaldun's hands.

Ibn Khaldun himself informs us that he wrote the Muqaddimah during a period of five months ending in the middle of the year 779 [November, 1377]; see 3:480, below. He was far from any large library, and had to rely largely on his memory and notes. He then went to Tunis, where he had access to the books he needed to consult, and there he finished the entire History. He presented a copy to the Hafsid Abu1-'Abbas of Tunis (1370-94).147 It is possible that one of the manuscripts on which the Bulaq edition was based contains this oldest text. But none of the available manuscripts or editions has it. The earliest texts at present available are those of the Bulaq edition and manuscript E, but since they already contain indications of Ibn Khaldun's stay in Egypt, they can be no earlier than 1382.

Ibn Khaldun's habit of correcting and expanding the History continued while he was in Egypt. In one particular case it is expressly stated that Ibn Khaldun lectured on the Muqaddimah in Egypt148 He probably devoted more time to his work when he was out of office than when he was judge, but he never ceased trying to improve the Muqaddimah or collecting additional material for it, even when in office.149 He was constantly reading pertinent material and even had Egyptian Bedouins recite poetry to him (3:438 f., below), But it seems that, primarily, the material for his additions and corrections derived from his lectures on the Muqaddimah and other subjects. This would explain why the sections dealing with traditions and jurisprudence -subjects on which he lectured ex-officio and in which his students were professionally interested-show the most numerous traces of larger and smaller revisions.

It would be wrong to consider the successive stages of the text of the Muqaddimah as "recenssions" in the proper sense of the term. For instance, Ibn Khaldun never changed the passages where he speaks of himself as still being in the Maghrib. His additions and corrections were jotted down unsystematically in a longdrawn-out process, much as a modern author might add notes in the margins of his published works.

Ibn Khaldun's corrections rectify obvious mistakes committed earlier, as, for instance, in his treatment of the division of the earth into zones (pp. 111 ff., below). Or, in the case of quotations, they supply a better text obtained with the help of some new source: an example is Tahir's Epistle to his son.150 Ibn Khaldun had already corrected his original quotation from Ibn al-Athir with the help of at-Tabari by the time A was written, and C still preserves the marginal corrections which later copyists entered in the body of the text.

The table of contents at the beginning of the work, which treats the Muqaddimah as an independent work,151 must nonetheless have been added by the author at an early stage, for it appears already in A. Ibn Khaldun also adds quotations from works he has come across in further reading, as a sort of afterthought. Or, he expands and changes the text, because it no longer seems to express adequately or fully the ideas he has in mind. A minor instance of this kind of correction (or revision) can be found in a passage where Ibn Khaldun thought it advisable to tone down a strong expression of monistic mysticism (2:398, below). The most prominent emendations in the text of the work are of this kind, although there are not a great many of them. An outstanding example of Ibn Khaldun's concern for clear expression is the very considerable enlargement of his introductory remarks to the sixth chapter, dealing with the sciences (2:411 ff., below). The earliest text in which the expanded version occurs is manuscript C, so it must have entered the text of the Muqaddimah between 1397 and 1402. This interval may perhaps be further restricted to the period between 1397 and 1399, because Ibn Khaldun was thereafter extremely busy with official duties. However, it should not be forgotten that, even while on official business, Ibn Khaldun found time to study. In fact, the last-dated entry in the Muqaddimah refers to reading accomplished during his stay in Damascus in the spring of 802 [1400] (2:229 f., below); and he found time to insert the note bearing upon it in manuscript C.

A later stage, the latest we know of, in fact, is represented by the Bursa manuscript D of 806 [1404]. It shows that Ibn Khaldun was still working on his book two years before his death. Characteristic of this stage in the development of the text of the Muqaddimah was his replacement of a distich near the end with another very beautiful one (3:478, below). It shows that Ibn Khaldun retained his fine appreciation of poetry up to a time of life when many men, and especially men of affairs, no longer give much thought to it.152

That most of Ibn Khaldun's additions and corrections were incorporated into the body of the text in the manuscripts written during his lifetime is shown by manuscript D. This process did not always come off without mishaps, as a striking example below (pp. 365 f.) indicates.

In general, it is possible to show at what stage in the textual history of the Muqaddimah almost any addition or correction was made by Ibn Khaldun. Undoubtedly, if a manuscript of the preEgyptian "recension" of the work were to become available, still greater precision would be attained. The history of the text of the Muqaddimah offers a classical example of how an author's variant readings originate and how they influence the traditional appearance of his work.


(1) The first complete translation of the Muqaddimah ever published was a Turkish version. In the year 1730 Pirizade Effendi (1674-1749) translated the Muqaddimah from the beginning through the fifth chapter. This Turkish text was published in Cairo in 1275 [1859],153 in a lithographed edition of 617 pages in large format; the translation ended on p. 522. On the remaining pages, the work was completed by a reproduction of the Arabic text based on the first Bulaq edition. A few pages on Ibn Khaldun's life serve as introduction, compiled by Ahmet Jevdet Effendi, later Pasha (1822-95). The latter also translated the remaining sixth chapter of the Muqaddimah, which was published in Istanbul in 1277[1860/61 ),154 accompanied by copious explanatory notes.

(2) A complete French translation, under the title of Prolegomenes historiques d'Ibn Khaldoun, was published by William MacGuckin de Slane on the basis of Quatremere's edition and with comparison of the Paris manuscripts used by Quatremere, the first Bulaq edition, and the Turkish translation (in part). The three volumes appeared in Paris in the years 1862, 1865, and 1868, as Vols. xix to xxi of the Notices et Extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Imperiale.

De Slane did an altogether admirable job of presenting a highly readable and, in the main, accurate translation of the work. The "freedom" of his version has often been unjustly censured, for it was intentional, and a "free" translation is perfectly legitimate for a work with the stylistic character of the Muqaddimah. There are occasional mistakes of translation, some of them caused by the difficulty of the subject matter and the language, others of a sort that might easily have been avoided. Explanatory footnotes are sparse, and de Slane usually did not bother to indicate the sources for his statements. However, the concluding words of R. Dozy's review of de Slane's work still stand: "Rarely has so difficult a book been translated so well."155

A photomechanical reproduction of de Slane's translation was published in Paris in 1934-38, with a brief preface by G. Bouthoul. Important corrections to the translation were provided by R. Dozy in the review by him which appeared in Journal asiatique, XIV6 (1869), 133-218. More recently, a number of valuable corrections were published by A. Bombaci, "Postille alla traduzione De Slane della Muqaddimah di Ibn Haldun,".in Annali dell'Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, N,5. III (1949), 439-72.

For many years after the publication of de Slane's translation, scholars, almost to a man, relied on it for their quotations from the Muqaddimah. The occasional exceptions have been noted in footnotes to this translation at the appropriate passages. Only in recent years have fresh translations of comparatively large sections of the Muqaddimah begun to be made.156

(3) In English, there are a few brief passages in R. A. Nicholson, Translations of Eastern Poetry and Prose (Cambridge, 1922). Recently, a rather large selection of brief excerpts was published by Charles Issawi, under the title of An Arab Philosophy of History (London, 1950).

(4) The book by Erwin Rosenthal, entitled Ibn Khalduns Gedanken fiber den Staat (Munich and Berlin, 1932), consists largely of excerpts from the Muqaddimah, in German translation. A large volume of selections in German translation was published by A. Schimmel in Tubingen in 1951, under the title of Ibn Chaldun: Ausgewdhlte Abschnitte aus der muqaddima.

(5) A short selection of Arabic passages with accompanying French translation was published by G. Surdon and L. Bercher under the title of Recueil de textes de sociologie et de droit public musulman contenus dans les "Prolegomenes" d'Ibn Khaldoun, "Bibliotheque de l'Institut d'Etudes Superieures Islamiques d'Alger," No. 6 (Algiers, 1951). The translators profess their particular concern for bringing out the basically juridical flavor of Ibn Khaldun's terminology.


A work such as the Muqaddimah, modern in thought yet alien in language and style, may be presented to the modern reader in one of three ways. It may be translated as literally as the second language permits. The translator may go farther and use modern phraseology and style. Or, finally, the work may be recast and given the form it would have had it been written by a contemporary author in the second language.

If a translation is to impress the modern reader with the full worth and significance of the original, the last-mentioned approach would seem to be the ideal one. Realizing this, scholars have frequently chosen to publish selected and rearranged passages of the Muqaddimah. However, a complete rewriting in this manner, besides being hardly practicable, would almost necessarily produce a subjective interpretation of the Muqaddimah, and thereby obscure Ibn Khaldun's thought..

The second approach to translation was what de Slane attempted. It, too, has pitfalls. One is the danger of distorting the author's ideas by modernizing them, and thereby attributing to him thoughts that were utterly foreign to him. Moreover, a work dealing with a great variety of subjects, and the Muqaddimah is certainly such a work, depends to a great extent in its formal and intellectual organization upon the threads of association that the author's particular terminology and way of expression provide.

The drawback of any completely literal translation is obvious: it may easily be incomprehensible to the general reader. Further, a literal translation often entirely perverts the literary character of the original. It is transformed from a literary product using the normal and accepted forms of its own language into a work rendered strained and unnatural by not conforming to the style of the language into which it was translated.

The present translation was begun in the belief that a mixture of the literal and modernizing types of rendering would produce the most acceptable result. Yet, it must-be confessed that with each successive revision, the translator has felt an irresistible urge to follow ever more faithfully the linguistic form of the original.

The literalness of the present version is intended to reduce to a minimum the amount of interpretation always necessary in any translation. The reader unfamiliar with the Arabic original ought to be encumbered by no more than an unavoidable minimum of subjective interpretation. Moreover, Ibn Khaldun's particular terminology, which he evolved with great pains for his "new science," had to be preserved as far as possible; to some degree, it must have impressed his contemporary readers as unusual. Therefore, at least the outstanding terms, such as 'umran, 'asabiyah, baddwah, were preserved in the translation by rather artificial loan renderings ("civilization," "group spirit," "desert life or attitude"). This involved the occasional occurrence of expressions such as "large civilization." But any other procedure would irrevocably have destroyed the essential unity of Ibn Khaldun's work, which is one of its main claims to greatness.157 For the sake of literalness, an attempt has been made to translate passages that are repeated in the original, in identical or nearly identical words, in the same fashion each time. However, since such repetitions occur frequently in the text of the Muqaddimah, the attempt probably remained unsuccessful, or, at best, only partly successful. Some modernizing tendency remains in the translation but it chiefly affects syntactical and stylistic features, and only very rarely the vocabulary.

Ibn Khaldun's contemporaries praised the literary quality of the Muqaddimah highly. Ibn Khaldun himself, in a poetical dedication of his History, used rather exuberant language in speaking of the linguistic perfection of his work:

I tamed rude speech. It may be said that

Refractory language becomes in (my work) amenable to the words I utter158

This self-praise was, of course, a routine authors had to follow in the past when the advertising methods of the modern publishing business were as yet unknown. But others chimed in with their praise. The style of the Muqaddimah was said to be "more brilliant than well-strung pearls and finer than water fanned by the zephyr." It was called a "Jahizian" style, reminiscent of the verbal fireworks of al-Jahiz, the celebrated model of good Arabic style.159 All these testimonies may have been rather perfunctory; still, they certainly have some basis in fact. It is true, as has often been remarked, that Ibn Khaldun did not always adhere strictly to the accepted norms and rules of classical Arabic, which were artificial to him and remote from the speech habits of his time. But Ibn Khaldun's long, rolling, involved sentences, his skillful and yet restrained application of rhetorical figures, and his precise use of a large, though not farfetched, vocabulary make it indeed a pleasure to read the Muqaddimah, or to hear it read aloud.160

However, the modern translator's agreement with such positive appraisals of the linguistic and stylistic qualities of the Muqaddimah is somewhat forced. For, alas! all the factors that enhance the beauty of the work in its original language and justified the admiration of Ibn Khaldun's contemporaries, are so many thorns in the translator's flesh. His long sentences have constantly to be broken up into smaller units, and the cohesiveness of the author's style is thereby loosened. In keeping with a common stylistic feature of Arabic speech, Ibn Khaldun could repeat pronouns through whole pages, thus confronting his translator with the task of supplying the appropriate nouns. Ibn Khaldun also was extremely fond of a threefold parallelismus membrorum, another source of embarrassment to the translator. The ordinary twofold parallelism, well known from the Bible, is difficult enough to translate, an imitation of the threefold one practically impossible. Sometimes, one word or phrase may do as a translation of all three members, but more often than not, the threefold parallelism can only be broken up into seemingly redundant phrases. Another stylistic feature is a kind of inversion by means of which later elements of a story are given first, and the earlier elements are given later, in a sentence introduced by "after." This can be brilliant in Arabic but is most often unpalatable in modern English translation (although it would have been somewhat more acceptable in another age, in the eighteenth century, for instance).

The large number of parentheses (in the translation) is the result of the need for clarifying stylistic changes. These parentheses have been used in order to indicate to the reader that in these passages the translator has added something that is not literally found in the Arabic text. They may be disregarded, and the text enclosed by them should be considered an integral part of the context. In a few cases, however, the words in parentheses serve another purpose, namely, that of explaining the preceding words.

In the choice of explanatory footnotes the translator has more leeway. Ibn Khaldun's own ideas and the way he expressed them offer no particular difficulties to the understanding. But the numerous passages where technical details are discussed or earlier authors are quoted sorely try the translator's knowledge of words and things. Incidentally, Ibn Khaldun himself is on record as admitting that he did not quite understand the text he copied (at 2:224 and 3:183, below). Like many other Arabic works, the Muqaddimah contains some passages where it obviously was much easier for the author to copy his source than it is for the translator to find out the meaning of the text copied. In general, where the translator has succeeded in understanding Ibn Khaldun's text correctly, very little in the way of added explanation is necessary.

However, historical understanding and interpretation of the work pose greater problems. The Muqaddimah was composed nearly at the end of the intellectual development of medieval Islam, and the work covers practically all its aspects. A well-nigh incalculable number of notes and excursuses would be required if one were to comment on the historical significance of Ibn Khaldun's statements and put each of them in proper perspective. Nearly a century ago de Slane felt that he could provide unlimited notes and explanations to his translation (cf. his introduction, p. ii), but he refrained from doing so for the sake of brevity. In the end, he did very little indeed in the way of annotation.161 Since his time, the material that has a sound claim to consideration in the notes has grown immeasurably. A hundred years ago, very few printed Arabic texts existed, and nearly all the pertinent information was still buried in manuscripts. Even nowadays, when a good part of Arabic literature has become available in printed form, it is often necessary, in connection with the Muqaddimah, to refer to manuscripts. In fact, our knowledge has outgrown the stage where the historical problems of a work like the Muqaddimah, considered in its entirety, can be elucidated by means of footnotes. The important task of interpretation must be left to monographs on individual sections of the text, a scholarly labor that has been attempted so far only on a very small scale.162 In the notes to this translation, the major problem has been one of selection, that of providing references that give the fullest possible information in easily accessible form.

In some respects, it has been possible to be briefer than de Slane. Nowadays, many of Ibn Khaldun's examples from political history no longer require comment, nor, from the point of view of modern historiography and sociology, does the acceptability of Ibn Khaldun's historical interpretations have to be argued.163

A reference to C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, where authors and works of literature are concerned, makes it possible to dispense with further references, save, perhaps, for very recent bibliographical material, which has been carefully examined before inclusion. The Encyclopedia of Islam and that splendid time-saving tool, the Concordance et Indices de la tradition musulmane, were also, in many cases, considered sufficient as guides to further study.

Apart from obvious references of this kind, and a certain amount of necessary philological comment,164 the selection of notes has been guided by one dominant consideration. Works that Ibn Khaldun himself knew, knew about, or may reasonably be supposed to have known or known about, have been emphasized. Knowledge of Ibn Khaldun's sources is of immeasurable assistance in better understanding his historical position and significance. While a very small start in this direction could be made in the footnotes to this translation, I am convinced that this kind of comment should be given preference over any other.

When I had completed my version, I compared it with the previous translations as carefully as possible, giving particular attention to de Slane's. I have not considered it necessary to acknowledge de Slane's help whenever I have corrected mistakes of my own. Nor have I felt it necessary to signal passages where I think de Slane erred. The reader ignorant of Arabic may be slightly puzzled when he observes the divergences, often considerable, between this translation and that of de Slane. Nonetheless, my hope is that he will put greater reliance in the present translation, although its recent origin, of course, is no guarantee of its correctness.

Rendering proper names is a minor problem in all translations from the Arabic, as here. Arabic proper names can easily be transcribed, and the method of transcription employed here needs no special comment. However, foreign proper names, and especially place names in northwestern Africa (the Maghrib), make for complications. European place names, Spanish ones most notably, have been translated into their accepted English or current native form. Place names from the East are given in transcription, except when a generally accepted English form exists. There may, however, be differences of opinion as to what constitutes a generally accepted English form. Thus, some of the proper names as well as generally known Arabic terms retained in the translation have been deprived of their macrons or circumflexes, while others, with perhaps an equal claim to such distinction, have been left untouched; as a rule, preference has been given to accurate transcription. With a very few exceptions, place names from northwestern Africa have been given in what may be considered the most widely used and acceptable of the various French forms; usually, a transcription of the Arabic form has been added. In the case of Berber names, we will know how Ibn Khaldun pronounced them, once a study of the manuscripts of the 'Ibar has been made. For the time being, we know his pronunciation only in those cases where the manuscripts of the Muqaddimah and the Autobiography indicate it, and his pronunciation has, of course, been followed. In modern scholarly literature, there seems to be little agreement on the finer points of the transcription of ancient Berber tribal and personal names.

Much more might be said about technical details arising out of the present translation. However, if they were wrongly handled, mere knowledge of that fact would not repair the harm done to, nor, if they were correctly applied, increase by itself the usefulness of, the translation of what has been called with little, if any, exaggeration, "undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."165

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