Ahmad ibn Fadlan
Ibn Fadlan was a 10th-century Arab Muslim traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his Risala. His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial. Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. However, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Richard N. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or the dates of his birth and death. Primary sources documents and historical texts reveal that Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was a “faqih”, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence and faith, in the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir, it appears certain from his writing that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Abbasid Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to 921 and his self-reported travels.
Ibn Fadlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to the iltäbär of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış. On 21 June 921, a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad; the purpose of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the converted Bulgar peoples living on the eastern bank of the Volga River in what is now Russia. Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor and lead counselor for Islamic religious doctrine and law. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar Khaganate, Oghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River, the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rus, i.e. the Varangians on the Volga trade route.
All told, the delegation covered some 4000 kilometers. Ibn Fadlan's envoy reached the Volga Bulgar capital on 12 May 922; when they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khan, presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph's letter, but was criticized for not bringing with him the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of the Bulgars. For a long time, only an incomplete version of the account was known, transmitted as quotations in the geographical dictionary of Yāqūt, published in 1823 by Christian Martin Frähn. Only in 1923 was a manuscript discovered by Zeki Validi Togan in the Astane Quds Museum, Iran; the manuscript, Razawi Library MS 5229, consists of 420 pages. Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan's text. Additional passages not preserved in MS 5229 are quoted in the work of the 16th century Persian geographer Amīn Rāzī called Haft Iqlīm.
Neither source seems to record Ibn Fadlān's complete report. Yāqūt offers excerpts, several times claims that Ibn Fadlān recounted his return to Bagdad, but does not quote such material. Meanwhile, the text in Razawi Library MS 5229 breaks off part way through describing the Khazars. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories; the Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, Ibn Fadlan's mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details in his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. One scholar calls it an “illuminating episode” in the text where Ibn Fadlan expresses his great anger and disgust over the fact that the Khan and the Volga Bulgars in general are practicing some form of imperfect and doctrinally unsound Islam.
In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their respective society. Many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were "like asses gone astray, they have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to reason". A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs or Rūsiyyah. Western scholarship has assumed that he was describing Volga Vikings, the North Germanic tribes travelling the Volga trade route, though the identification of the people Ibn Fadlān describes is uncertain; the Rūs appear as traders. They are described as having bodie
The Ghaznavid dynasty was a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin, at their greatest extent ruling large parts of Iran, much of Transoxiana and the northwest Indian subcontinent from 977 to 1186. The dynasty was founded by Sabuktigin upon his succession to rule of the region of Ghazna after the death of his father-in-law, Alp Tigin, a breakaway ex-general of the Samanid Empire from Balkh, north of the Hindu Kush in Greater Khorasan. Although the dynasty was of Central Asian Turkic origin, it was Persianised in terms of language, culture and habits and hence is regarded by some as a "Persian dynasty". Sabuktigin's son, Mahmud of Ghazni, declared independence from the Samanid Empire and expanded the Ghaznavid Empire to the Amu Darya, the Indus River and the Indian Ocean in the East and to Rey and Hamadan in the west. Under the reign of Mas'ud I, the Ghaznavid dynasty began losing control over its western territories to the Seljuq dynasty after the Battle of Dandanaqan, resulting in a restriction of its holdings to modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan.
In 1151, Sultan Bahram Shah lost Ghazni to the Ghurid king Ala al-Din Husayn. Two military families arose from the Turkic slave-guards of the Samanid Empire, the Simjurids and Ghaznavids, who proved disastrous to the Samanids; the Simjurids received an appanage in the Kohistan region of eastern Khorasan. The Samanid generals Alp Tigin and Abu al-Hasan Simjuri competed for the governorship of Khorasan and control of the Samanid Empire by placing on the throne emirs they could dominate after the death of Abd al-Malik I in 961, his death created a succession crisis between his brothers. A court party instigated by men of the scribal class — civilian ministers rather than Turkic generals — rejected the candidacy of Alp Tigin for the Samanid throne. Mansur I was installed instead, Alp Tigin prudently retired to south of the Hindu Kush, where he captured Ghazna and became the ruler of the city as a Samanid authority; the Simjurids enjoyed control of Khorasan south of the Amu Darya but were hard-pressed by a third great Iranian dynasty, the Buyid dynasty, were unable to survive the collapse of the Samanids and the subsequent rise of the Ghaznavids.
The struggles of the Turkic slave generals for mastery of the throne with the help of shifting allegiance from the court's ministerial leaders both demonstrated and accelerated the Samanid decline. Samanid weakness attracted into Transoxiana the Karluks, a Turkic people who had converted to Islam, they occupied Bukhara in 992. After Alp Tigin's death in 963, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim, followed by his slave Sabuktigin, took the throne. Sabuktigin's son Mahmud of Ghazni made an agreement with the Kara-Khanid Khanate whereby the Amu Darya was recognised as their mutual boundary. Sabuktigin, son-in-law of Alp Tigin and founder of the Ghaznavid Empire, began expanding it by capturing Samanid and Kabul Shahi territories, including most of what is now Afghanistan and part of Pakistan; the 16th century Persian historian, records Sabuktigin's genealogy as descended from the Sasanian kings: "Subooktu-geen, the son of Jookan, the son of Kuzil-Hukum, the son of Kuzil-Arslan, the son of Ferooz, the son of Yezdijird, king of Persia."
However, modern historians believe this was an attempt to connect himself with the history of old Persia. After the death of Sabuktigin, his son Ismail claimed the throne for a temporary period, but he was defeated and captured by Mahmud in 998 at the Battle of Ghazni. In 997, another son of Sebuktigin, succeeded the throne, Ghazni and the Ghaznavid dynasty have become perpetually associated with him, he completed the conquest of the Samanid and Shahi territories, including the Ismaili Kingdom of Multan, Sindh, as well as some Buwayhid territory. By all accounts, the rule of Mahmud was the golden height of the Ghaznavid Empire. Mahmud carried out seventeen expeditions through northern India to establish his control and set up tributary states, his raids resulted in the looting of a great deal of plunder, he established his authority from the borders of Ray to Samarkand, from the Caspian Sea to the Yamuna. During Mahmud's reign, the Ghaznavids settled 4,000 Turkmen families near Farana in Khorasan.
By 1027, due to the Turkmen raiding neighbouring settlements, the governor of Tus, Abu l'Alarith Arslan Jadhib, led military strikes against them. The Turkmen were scattered to neighbouring lands. Although, as late as 1033, Ghaznavid governor Tash Farrash executed fifty Turkmen chiefs for raids into Khorasan; the wealth brought back from the Mahmud's Indian expeditions to Ghazni was enormous, contemporary historians give glowing descriptions of the magnificence of the capital and of the conqueror's munificent support of literature. Mahmud died in 1030. Mahmud left the empire to his son Mohammed, mild and soft, his brother, Mas'ud, asked for three provinces that he had won by his sword, but his brother did not consent. Mas'ud had to fight his brother, he became king and imprisoning Mohammed as punishment. Mas'ud was unable to preserve the empire and following a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Dandanaqan in 1040, he lost all the Ghaznavid lands in Iran and Central Asia to the Seljuks, plunging the realm into a "time of troubles".
His last act was to collect all his treasures from his forts in hope of assembling an army and ruling from India, but his own forces plundered the wealth and he proclaimed his blind brother as king again. The two brothers now exchanged positions: Mohammed was elevated from prison to the throne, while Mas'ud was consigned to a dungeon after a r
Geography and cartography in medieval Islam
Medieval Islamic geography was based on Hellenistic geography and reached its apex with Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 12th century. After its beginnings in the 8th century based on Hellenistic geography, Islamic geography was patronized by the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. Various Islamic scholars contributed to its development, the most notable include Al-Khwārizmī, Abū Zayd al-Balkhī, Abu Rayhan Biruni. Islamic cartographers inherited Geography in the 9th century; these were not slavishly followed. Instead and Persian cartography followed Al-Khwārizmī in adopting a rectangular projection, shifting Ptolemy's Prime Meridian several degrees eastward, modifying many of Ptolemy's geographical coordinates. Having received Greek writings directly and without Latin intermediation and Persian geographers made no use of European-style T-O maps. In the 11th century, the Karakhanid Turkic scholar Mahmud al-Kashgari was the first to draw a unique Islamic world map, where he illuminated the cities and places of the Turkic peoples of Central and Inner Asia.
He showed the lake Issyk-Kul as the center of the world. The earliest reference to a compass in the Muslim world occurs in a Persian talebook from 1232, where a compass is used for navigation during a trip in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf; the fish-shaped iron leaf described indicates that this early Chinese design has spread outside of China. The earliest Arabic reference to a compass, in the form of magnetic needle in a bowl of water, comes from a work by Baylak al-Qibjāqī, written in 1282 while in Cairo. Al-Qibjāqī described a needle-and-bowl compass used for navigation on a voyage he took from Syria to Alexandria in 1242. Since the author describes having witnessed the use of a compass on a ship trip some forty years earlier, some scholars are inclined to antedate its first appearance in the Arab world accordingly. Al-Qibjāqī reports that sailors in the Indian Ocean used iron fish instead of needles. Late in the 13th century, the Yemeni Sultan and astronomer al-Malik al-Ashraf described the use of the compass as a "Qibla indicator" to find the direction to Mecca.
In a treatise about astrolabes and sundials, al-Ashraf includes several paragraphs on the construction of a compass bowl. He uses the compass to determine the north point, the meridian, the Qibla; this is the first mention of a compass in a medieval Islamic scientific text and its earliest known use as a Qibla indicator, although al-Ashraf did not claim to be the first to use it for this purpose. In 1300, an Arabic treatise written by the Egyptian astronomer and muezzin Ibn Simʿūn describes a dry compass used for determining qibla. Like Peregrinus' compass, Ibn Simʿūn's compass did not feature a compass card. In the 14th century, the Syrian astronomer and timekeeper Ibn al-Shatir invented a timekeeping device incorporating both a universal sundial and a magnetic compass, he invented it for the purpose of finding the times of prayers. Arab navigators introduced the 32-point compass rose during this time. In 1399, an Egyptian reports two different kinds of magnetic compass. One instrument is a “fish” made of willow wood or pumpkin, into which a magnetic needle is inserted and sealed with tar or wax to prevent the penetration of water.
The other instrument is a dry compass. In the 15th century, the description given by Ibn Majid while aligning the compass with the pole star indicates that he was aware of magnetic declination. An explicit value for the declination is given by ʿIzz al-Dīn al-Wafāʾī. Pre modern Arabic sources refer to the compass using the term ṭāsa for the floating compass, or ālat al-qiblah for a device used for orienting towards Mecca. Friedrich Hirth suggested that Arab and Persian traders, who learned about the polarity of the magnetic needle from the Chinese, applied the compass for navigation before the Chinese did. However, Needham described this theory as "erroneous" and "it originates because of a mistraslation" of the term chia-ling found in Zhu Yu's book Pingchow Table Talks. History of geography History of cartography Bibliography "How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs" by De Lacy O'Leary Islamic Geography in the Middle Ages
A geographer is a scientist whose area of study is geography, the study of Earth's natural environment and human society. The Greek prefix, "geo," means "earth" and the Greek suffix, "graphy," meaning "description," so a geographer is someone who studies the earth; the word "geography" is a Middle French word, believed to have been first used in 1540. Although geographers are known as people who make maps, map making is the field of study of cartography, a subset of geography. Geographers do not study only the details of the natural environment or human society, but they study the reciprocal relationship between these two. For example, they study how the natural environment contributes to human society and how human society affects the natural environment. In particular, physical geographers study the natural environment while human geographers study human society. Modern geographers are the primary practitioners of the GIS, who are employed by local and federal government agencies as well as in the private sector by environmental and engineering firms.
The paintings by Johannes Vermeer titled The Geographer and The Astronomer are both thought to represent the growing influence and rise in prominence of scientific enquiry in Europe at the time of their painting in 1668–69. There are three major fields of study, which are further subdivided: Physical geography: including geomorphology, glaciology, climatology, pedology, oceanography and environmental geography. Human geography: including Urban geography, cultural geography, economic geography, political geography, historical geography, marketing geography, health geography, social geography. Regional geography: including atmosphere and lithosphereThe National Geographic Society identifies five broad key themes for geographers: location place human-environment interaction movement regions Media related to Geographers at Wikimedia Commons Steven Seegel. Map Men: Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe. University of Chicago Press, 2018. ISBN 978-0-226-43849-8
Ibn Jubayr written Ibn Jubair, Ibn Jobair, Ibn Djubayr, was an Arab geographer and poet from al-Andalus. His travel chronicle describes the pilgrimage he made to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, in the years preceding the Third Crusade, his chronicle describes Saladin's domains in Egypt and the Levant which he passed through on his way to Mecca. Further, on his return journey he passed through Christian Sicily, which had only been recaptured from the Muslims a century before, he makes several observations on the hybrid polyglot culture which flourished there. Ibn Jubayr was born in 1145 A. D. in Valencia, Spain, to an Arab family of the Kinanah tribe. He was a descendant of'Abdal-Salam ibn Jabayr who in 740 A. D. had accompanied an army sent by the Caliph of Damascus to put down a Berber uprising in his Spanish provinces. Ibn Jubayr studied in the town of Xàtiva, he became secretary to the Almohad governor of Granada. In the introduction to his Rihla Ibn Jubayr explains the reason for his travels; as secretary for the ruler of Granada in 1182, he was forced, under threat, to drink seven cups of wine.
Seized by remorse, the ruler filled seven cups of gold dinars which he gave him. To expiate his godless act, although forced upon him, Ibn Jubayr decided to perform the duty of Hajj to Mecca, he left Granada on 3 February 1183 accompanied by a physician from the city. Ibn Jubayr left Granada and crossed over the Strait of Gibraltar to Ceuta under Muslim rule, he set sail for Alexandria. His sea journey took him past the Balearic Islands and across to the west coast of Sardinia. Whilst offshore he heard of the fate of 80 Muslim men and children, abducted from North Africa and were being sold into slavery. Between Sardinia and Sicily the ship ran into a severe storm, he said of the Italians and Muslims on board who had experience of the sea that "all agreed that they had never in their lives seen such a tempest". After the storm the ship went on past Sicily and turned south and crossed over to the North African coast, he arrived in Alexandria on March 26. Everywhere that Ibn Jubayr travelled in Egypt he was full of praise for the new Sunni ruler, Saladin.
For example, he says of him that: "There is no congregational or ordinary mosque, no mausoleum built over a grave, nor hospital, nor theological college, where the bounty of the Sultan does not extend to all who seek shelter or live in them." He points out that when the Nile does not flood enough, Saladin remits the land tax from the farmers. He says that "such is his justice, the safety he has brought to his high-roads that men in his lands can go about their affairs by night and from its darkness apprehend no awe that should deter them." Ibn Jubayr is, on the other hand disparaging of the previous Shi'a dynasty of the Fatimids. Of Cairo, Ibn Jubayr notes, are the colleges and hostels erected for students and pious men of other lands by the Sultan Saladin. In those colleges students find lodging and tutors to teach them the sciences they desire, allowances to cover their needs; the care of the sultan grants them baths and the appointment of doctors who can come to visit them at their place of stay, who would be answerable for their cure.
One of the Sultan Saladin's other generous acts was that every day two thousand loaves of bread were distributed to the poor. Impressing Ibn Jubayr in that city was the number of mosques, estimated at between 8 and 12 thousand. Upon arrival at Alexandria Ibn Jubayr was angered by the customs officials who insisted on taking zakat from the pilgrims, regardless of whether they were obliged to pay it or not. In the city he visited the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which at that time was still standing, he was amazed by its size and splendour. One of the greatest wonders that we saw in this city was the lighthouse which Great and Glorious God had erected by the hands of those who were forced to such labor as'Indeed in that are signs for those who discern'. Quran 15:75 and as a guide to voyagers, for without it they could not find the true course to Alexandria, it can be seen for more than seventy miles, is of great antiquity. It is most built in all directions and competes with the skies in height. Description of it falls short, the eyes fail to comprehend it, words are inadequate, so vast is the spectacle.
He was impressed by the free colleges, hostels for foreign students and hospitals in the city. These were paid for by awqaf and taxes on Christians, he noted that there were between 12,000 mosques in Alexandria. After a stay of eight days he set off for Cairo, he reached Cairo three days later. In the city he visited the cemetery at al-Qarafah, which contained the graves of many important figures in the history of Islam, he noted while in the Cairo of Saladin, the walls of the citadel were being extended by the Mamluks with the object of reinforcing the entire city from any future Crusader siege. Another building work that he saw was the construction of a bridge over the Nile, which would be high enough not to be submerged in the annual flooding of the river, he saw a spacious free hospital, divided into three sections: one each for men and the insane. He saw the pyramids, although he was unaware of who they had been built for, the Sphinx, he saw a device, used for measuring the height of the Nile flood.
In Sicily, at the late stages of his travels, Ibn Jubayr recounts other experiences. He comments on the activity of the volcanoes: At the close of night a red flam
Ma Huan, courtesy name Zongdao, pen name Mountain-woodcutter, was a Chinese voyager and translator who accompanied Admiral Zheng He on three of his seven expeditions to the Western Oceans. Ma was a Muslim and was born in Zhejiang's Kuaiji Commandery, an area within the modern borders of Shaoxing, he knew several Classical Buddhist texts. He learned Arabic to be able to translate. In the 1413 expedition, he visited Champa, Sumatra, Siam and Hormuz. In the 1421 expedition, he visited Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Calicut and Hormuz. In the 1431 expedition, he visited Bengal, Sonargaon and Calicut. From Calicut, he was sent by Eununch Hong Bao as emissary to Mecca. During his expeditions, Ma Huan took notes about the geography, weather conditions, economy, local customs method of punishment for criminals. Returned home on his first expedition, he began writing a book about his expedition, the first draft of, ready around 1416, he expanded and modified his draft during expeditions, the final version was ready around 1451.
The title of his book was Yingya Shenglan. During the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty, there were many handcopied editions; the latest authentic text of a printed version was annotated by historian Feng Chengjun. A newer edition, based on Ming dynasty handcopied editions, was published by Ocean Publishing House in China. An annotated English translation by J. V. G. Mills was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1970, reprinted in 1997 by The White Lotus Press in Bangkok. Mills's translation was based on the edition by Feng Cheng jun; the Yingya Shenglan is considered by sinologists worldwide as a primary source for the history of Ming dynasty naval exploration, history of South East Asia and history of India. Some scholars who have done research work on Ma Huan are J. J. L. Duyvendak, F. Hirth, Paul Pelliot, Feng Chengjun, Xiang Da, J. V. G. Mills. Fei Xin, another participants of Zheng He's expeditions who wrote a book The "Mao Kun map" in Wubei Zhi Ying-yai Sheng-lan, The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores 1433 by Ma Huan, translated by J.
V. G. Mills, with foreword and preface, Hakluty Society, London 1970; when Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars and Monks who created the "Riches of the East" Da Capo Press, Perseus Books, 2008. ISBN 0-306-81556-7. J. V. G. Mills. Ma Huan: Ying-yai sheng-lan ‘The overall survey of the ocean's shores’, translated from the Chinese text edited by Feng Ch'eng-chün. Cambridge University Press