Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī Latinized as Algorithmi, was a Persian scholar who produced works in mathematics and geography under the patronage of the Caliph Al-Ma'mun of the Abbasid Caliphate. Around 820 AD he was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Al-Khwarizmi's popularizing treatise on algebra presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. One of his principal achievements in algebra was his demonstration of how to solve quadratic equations by completing the square, for which he provided geometric justifications; because he was the first to treat algebra as an independent discipline and introduced the methods of "reduction" and "balancing", he has been described as the father or founder of algebra. The term algebra itself comes from the title of his book, his name gave rise to the terms algorithm. His name is the origin of guarismo and of algarismo, both meaning digit. In the 12th century, Latin translations of his textbook on arithmetic which codified the various Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world.
The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, translated into Latin by Robert of Chester in 1145, was used until the sixteenth century as the principal mathematical text-book of European universities. In addition to his best-known works, he revised Ptolemy's Geography, listing the longitudes and latitudes of various cities and localities, he further produced a set of astronomical tables and wrote about calendaric works, as well as the astrolabe and the sundial. Few details of al-Khwārizmī's life are known with certainty, he was born into a Persian family and Ibn al-Nadim gives his birthplace as Khwarezm in Greater Khorasan. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari gives his name as Muḥammad ibn Musá al-Khwārizmiyy al-Majūsiyy al-Quṭrubbaliyy; the epithet al-Qutrubbulli could indicate he might instead have come from Qutrubbul, a viticulture district near Baghdad. However, Rashed suggests: There is no need to be an expert on the period or a philologist to see that al-Tabari's second citation should read "Muhammad ibn Mūsa al-Khwārizmī and al-Majūsi al-Qutrubbulli," and that there are two people between whom the letter wa has been omitted in an early copy.
This would not be worth mentioning if a series of errors concerning the personality of al-Khwārizmī even the origins of his knowledge, had not been made. G. J. Toomer... with naive confidence constructed an entire fantasy on the error which cannot be denied the merit of amusing the reader. Regarding al-Khwārizmī's religion, Toomer writes: Another epithet given to him by al-Ṭabarī, "al-Majūsī," would seem to indicate that he was an adherent of the old Zoroastrian religion; this would still have been possible at that time for a man of Iranian origin, but the pious preface to al-Khwārizmī's Algebra shows that he was an orthodox Muslim, so al-Ṭabarī's epithet could mean no more than that his forebears, he in his youth, had been Zoroastrians. Ibn al-Nadīm's Kitāb al-Fihrist includes a short biography on al-Khwārizmī together with a list of the books he wrote. Al-Khwārizmī accomplished most of his work in the period between 813 and 833. After the Muslim conquest of Persia, Baghdad became the centre of scientific studies and trade, many merchants and scientists from as far as China and India traveled to this city, as did al-Khwārizmī.
He worked in Baghdad as a scholar at the House of Wisdom established by Caliph al-Ma’mūn, where he studied the sciences and mathematics, which included the translation of Greek and Sanskrit scientific manuscripts. Douglas Morton Dunlop suggests that it may have been possible that Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī was in fact the same person as Muḥammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir, the eldest of the three Banū Mūsā. Al-Khwārizmī's contributions to mathematics, geography and cartography established the basis for innovation in algebra and trigonometry, his systematic approach to solving linear and quadratic equations led to algebra, a word derived from the title of his book on the subject, "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing". On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals written about 820, was principally responsible for spreading the Hindu–Arabic numeral system throughout the Middle East and Europe, it was translated into Latin as Algoritmi de numero Indorum. Al-Khwārizmī, rendered as Algoritmi, led to the term "algorithm".
Some of his work was based on Persian and Babylonian astronomy, Indian numbers, Greek mathematics. Al-Khwārizmī corrected Ptolemy's data for Africa and the Middle East. Another major book was Kitab surat al-ard, presenting the coordinates of places based on those in the Geography of Ptolemy but with improved values for the Mediterranean Sea and Africa, he wrote on mechanical devices like the astrolabe and sundial. He assisted a project to determine the circumference of the Earth and in making a world map for al-Ma'mun, the caliph, overseeing 70 geographers. When, in the 12th century, his works spread to Europe through Latin translations, it had a profound impact on the advance of mathematics in
Claudius Ptolemy was a Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt, wrote in Koine Greek, held Roman citizenship; the 14th-century astronomer Theodore Meliteniotes gave his birthplace as the prominent Greek city Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. This attestation is quite late, and, according to Gerald Toomer, the translator of his Almagest into English, there is no reason to suppose he lived anywhere other than Alexandria, he died there around AD 168. Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to Byzantine and Western European science; the first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was entitled the Mathematical Treatise and known as the Great Treatise. The second is the Geography, a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world; the third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.
This is sometimes known as the Apotelesmatika but more known as the Tetrabiblos from the Greek meaning "Four Books" or by the Latin Quadripartitum. Ptolemaeus is a Greek name, it occurs once in Greek mythology, is of Homeric form. It was common among the Macedonian upper class at the time of Alexander the Great, there were several of this name among Alexander's army, one of whom made himself pharaoh in 323 BC: Ptolemy I Soter, the first king of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. All male kings of Hellenistic Egypt, until Egypt became a Roman province in 30 BC ending the Macedonian family's rule, were Ptolemies; the name Claudius is a Roman nomen. It would have suited custom if the first of Ptolemy's family to become a citizen took the nomen from a Roman called Claudius, responsible for granting citizenship. If, as was common, this was the emperor, citizenship would have been granted between AD 41 and 68; the astronomer would have had a praenomen, which remains unknown. The ninth-century Persian astronomer Abu Maʿshar presents Ptolemy as a member of Egypt's royal lineage, stating that the descendants of Alexander's general Ptolemy I, who ruled Egypt, were wise "and included Ptolemy the Wise, who composed the book of the Almagest".
Abu Maʿshar recorded a belief that a different member of this royal line "composed the book on astrology and attributed it to Ptolemy". We can evidence historical confusion on this point from Abu Maʿshar's subsequent remark "It is sometimes said that the learned man who wrote the book of astrology wrote the book of the Almagest; the correct answer is not known." There is little evidence on the subject of Ptolemy's ancestry, apart from what can be drawn from the details of his name. Ptolemy can be shown to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data, he was a Roman citizen, but was ethnically either a Greek or a Hellenized Egyptian. He was known in Arabic sources as "the Upper Egyptian", suggesting he may have had origins in southern Egypt. Arabic astronomers and physicists referred to him by his name in Arabic: بَطْلُمْيوس Baṭlumyus. Ptolemy's Almagest is the only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy. Babylonian astronomers had developed arithmetical techniques for calculating astronomical phenomena.
Ptolemy, claimed to have derived his geometrical models from selected astronomical observations by his predecessors spanning more than 800 years, though astronomers have for centuries suspected that his models' parameters were adopted independently of observations. Ptolemy presented his astronomical models in convenient tables, which could be used to compute the future or past position of the planets; the Almagest contains a star catalogue, a version of a catalogue created by Hipparchus. Its list of forty-eight constellations is ancestral to the modern system of constellations, but unlike the modern system they did not cover the whole sky. Across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in the Medieval period, it was the authoritative text on astronomy, with its author becoming an mythical figure, called Ptolemy, King of Alexandria; the Almagest was preserved, in Arabic manuscripts. Because of its reputation, it was sought and was translated twice into Latin in the 12th century, once in Sicily and again in Spain.
Ptolemy's model, like those of his predecessors, was geocentric and was universally accepted until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution. His Planetary Hypotheses went beyond the mathematical model of the Almagest to present a physical realization of the universe as a set of nested spheres, in which he used the epicycles of his planetary model to compute the dimensions of the universe, he estimated the Sun was at an average dis
Ibn Sa'id al-Maghribi
Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Mūsā ibn Saʿīd al-Maghribī known as Ibn Saʿīd al-Andalusī, was an Arab geographer, historian and the most important collector of poetry from al-Andalus in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ibn Said was born at Alcalá la Real near Granada to a prominent family, descended from the Companion of the Prophet Ammar ibn Yasir. Many of his family members were literary figures, grew up in Marrakesh, he subsequently studied in Seville and stayed in Tunis, Cairo and Aleppo. At the age of 30, he undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca, he was a close friend of the Muladi poet Ibn Mokond Al-Lishboni. His last years were spent in Tunis, he died there in 1286. Ibn Said al-Maghribi wrote or compiled'at least forty works on various branches of knowledge'. Ibn Said's best known achievement was the completion of the fifteen-volume al-Mughrib fī ḥulā l-Maghrib, started over a century before by Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥijārī at the behest of Ibn Said's great-grandfather ‘Abd al-Malik. Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥijārī completed 6 volumes, ‘Abd al-Malik added to them.
The work is known as the Kitāb al-Mughrib, is midway between an anthology of poetry and a geography, collecting information on the poets of Maghreb organized by geographical origin. Part of the Mughrib circulated separately as Rāyāt al-mubarrizīn wa-ghāyāt al-mumayyazīn, which Ibn Said compiled in Cairo, completing it on 21 June 1243, it is, in the words of Louis Cromption,'perhaps the most important' of the various medieval Andalucian poetry anthologies.'His aim in compiling the collection seems to have been to show that poetry produced in the West was as good as anything the East had to offer'. As an indefatigable traveller, Ibn Said was profoundly interested in geography. In 1250 he wrote his Kitab bast al- ard fi't -t ul wa-'l-'ard, his Kitab al-Jughrafiya embodies the experience of his extensive travels through the Muslim world and on the shores of the Indian Ocean. He gives an account of parts of northern Europe including Ireland and Iceland, he visited Armenia and was at the Court of Hulagu Khan from 1256 to 1265.
An example of Ibn Sa'id's own poems, which he included in the Rāyāt al-mubarrizīn wa-ghāyāt al-mumayyazīn, is "Black horse with a white chest", here from Cola Franzen's translation into English of Gómez's 1930 Spanish translation: Black hindquarters, white chest: he flies on the wings of the wind. When you look at him you see dark night giving way to dawn. Sons of Shem and Ham live harmoniously in him, take no care for the words of would-be troublemakers. Men's eyes light up when they see reflected in his beauty the clear strong black and white of the eyes of beautiful women. Geographia, in Arabic Excerpt from the Book of the Maghrib, in English Ali Ibn Musa Ibn Said al-Magribi und sein Werk al-Gusun al-yaniafi mahasin su ara al-miça as-sabia by M. Kropp, in: Islam Berlin, 1980, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 68–96 His history of the world and Islamic literature: ms. Escorial 1728. Edition by Ibrahim al-Ibyari, Cairo 1968 Arberry, A. J.. Moorish poetry: a translation of the pennants, an anthology compiled in 1243 by the andalusian ibn sa'id.
Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1428-5; the Banners of the Champions of Ibn Said al-Maghribi, translated by James Bellamy and Patricia Steiner
Ḥamdallāh Mustawfī Qazvīnī was a Persian historian and epic poet, descended from a family of Arab origin. Mustawfi is the author of Nozhat ol-Gholub, Zafar-Nameh, the Tarikh e Gozideh, his tomb is a structure with a blue turquoise conical dome, at Qazvin. In his works regarding the history of Tabriz, Mustawfi mentions that before the arrival of the Mongols the people of Tabriz spoke Pahalavi Persian and began to speak Adhari Turkish during Illkhanate rule, he mentions that the people of Maragha and Ardabil had their own Persian dialects. Verily God hath preferred amongst His creatures of the Arabs the Quraysh, among the Persians the men of Fars: for which reason the people of this province... were known as' the Best of the Persians.' List of Iranian scientists Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi at Encyclopædia Iranica
Ibn Battuta was a Muslim Moroccan scholar, explorer who travelled the medieval world. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. All, known about Ibn Battuta's life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels, which records that he was of Berber descent, born into a family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco, on 25 February 1304, during the reign of the Marinid dynasty, he claimed descent from a Berber tribe known as the Lawata. As a young man, he would have studied at a Sunni Maliki madh'hab, the dominant form of education in North Africa at that time. Maliki Muslims requested Ibn Battuta serve as their religious judge as he was from an area where it was practised. In June 1325, at the age of twenty-one, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, a journey that would ordinarily take sixteen months.
He would not see Morocco again for twenty-four years. I set out alone, having neither fellow-traveller in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose part I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I braced my resolution to quit my dear ones and male, forsook my home as birds forsake their nests. My parents being yet in the bonds of life, it weighed sorely upon me to part from them, both they and I were afflicted with sorrow at this separation, he travelled to Mecca overland, following the North African coast across the sultanates of Abd al-Wadid and Hafsid. The route took him through Tlemcen, Béjaïa, Tunis, where he stayed for two months. For safety, Ibn Battuta joined a caravan to reduce the risk of being robbed, he took a bride in the town of Sfax, the first in a series of marriages that would feature in his travels. In the early spring of 1326, after a journey of over 3,500 km, Ibn Battuta arrived at the port of Alexandria, at the time part of the Bahri Mamluk empire.
He met two ascetic pious men in Alexandria. One was Sheikh Burhanuddin, supposed to have foretold the destiny of Ibn Battuta as a world traveller saying "It seems to me that you are fond of foreign travel. You will visit my brother Fariduddin in Rukonuddin in Sind and Burhanuddin in China. Convey my greetings to them". Another pious man Sheikh Murshidi interpreted the meaning of a dream of Ibn Battuta that he was meant to be a world traveller, he spent several weeks visiting sites in the area, headed inland to Cairo, the capital of the Mamluk Sultanate and an important city. After spending about a month in Cairo, he embarked on the first of many detours within the relative safety of Mamluk territory. Of the three usual routes to Mecca, Ibn Battuta chose the least-travelled, which involved a journey up the Nile valley east to the Red Sea port of Aydhab. Upon approaching the town, however, a local rebellion forced him to turn back. Ibn Battuta took a second side trip, this time to Mamluk-controlled Damascus.
During his first trip he had encountered a holy man who prophesied that he would only reach Mecca by travelling through Syria. The diversion held an added advantage. Without this help many travellers would be murdered. After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, he joined a caravan travelling the 1,300 km south to Medina, site of the Mosque of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. After four days in the town, he journeyed on to Mecca, where completing his pilgrimage he took the honorific status of El-Hajji. Rather than returning home, Ibn Battuta decided to continue on, choosing as his next destination the Ilkhanate, a Mongol Khanate, to the northeast. On 17 November 1326, following a month spent in Mecca, Ibn Battuta joined a large caravan of pilgrims returning to Iraq across the Arabian Peninsula; the group headed north to Medina and travelling at night, turned northeast across the Najd plateau to Najaf, on a journey that lasted about two weeks. In Najaf, he visited the mausoleum of the Fourth Caliph.
Instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan, Ibn Battuta started a six-month detour that took him into Persia. From Najaf, he journeyed to Wasit followed the river Tigris south to Basra, his next destination was the town of Isfahan across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. He headed south to Shiraz, a large, flourishing city spared the destruction wrought by Mongol invaders on many more northerly towns, he returned across the mountains to Baghdad, arriving there in June 1327. Parts of the city were still ruined from the damage inflicted by Hulago Khan's invading army in 1258. In Baghdad, he found Abu Sa'id, the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanate, leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue. Ibn Battuta joined the royal caravan for a while turned north on the Silk Road to Tabriz, the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and by an important trading centre as most of its nearby rivals had been razed by the Mongol invaders. Ibn Battuta left again for Baghdad in July, but first took an excursion northwards along the river
Geography is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes. Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography is defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere; the four historical traditions in geographical research are: spatial analyses of natural and the human phenomena, area studies of places and regions, studies of human-land relationships, the Earth sciences. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".
Geography is a systematic study of its features. Traditionally, geography has been associated with place names. Although many geographers are trained in toponymy and cartology, this is not their main preoccupation. Geographers study the space and the temporal database distribution of phenomena and features as well as the interaction of humans and their environment; because space and place affect a variety of topics, such as economics, climate and animals, geography is interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary nature of the geographical approach depends on an attentiveness to the relationship between physical and human phenomena and its spatial patterns. Names of places...are not geography...know by heart a whole gazetteer full of them would not, in itself, constitute anyone a geographer. Geography has higher aims than this: it seeks to classify phenomena, to compare, to generalize, to ascend from effects to causes, and, in doing so, to trace out the laws of nature and to mark their influences upon man.
This is ` a description of the world' --. In a word Geography is a Science—a thing not of mere names but of argument and reason, of cause and effect. Just as all phenomena exist in time and thus have a history, they exist in space and have a geography. Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main subsidiary fields: human geography and physical geography; the former focuses on the built environment and how humans create, view and influence space. The latter examines the natural environment, how organisms, soil and landforms produce and interact; the difference between these approaches led to a third field, environmental geography, which combines physical and human geography and concerns the interactions between the environment and humans. Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth science, it aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of lithosphere, atmosphere and global flora and fauna patterns. Physical geography can be divided into many broad categories, including: Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society.
It encompasses the human, cultural and economic aspects. Human geography can be divided into many broad categories, such as: Various approaches to the study of human geography have arisen through time and include: Behavioral geography Feminist geography Culture theory Geosophy Environmental geography is concerned with the description of the spatial interactions between humans and the natural world, it requires an understanding of the traditional aspects of physical and human geography, as well as the ways that human societies conceptualize the environment. Environmental geography has emerged as a bridge between the human and the physical geography, as a result of the increasing specialisation of the two sub-fields. Furthermore, as human relationship with the environment has changed as a result of globalization and technological change, a new approach was needed to understand the changing and dynamic relationship. Examples of areas of research in the environmental geography include: emergency management, environmental management and political ecology.
Geomatics is concerned with the application of computers to the traditional spatial techniques used in cartography and topography. Geomatics emerged from the quantitative revolution in geography in the mid-1950s. Today, geomatics methods include spatial analysis, geographic information systems, remote sensing, global positioning systems. Geomatics has led to a revitalization of some geography departments in Northern America where the subject had a declining status during the 1950s. Regional geography is concerned with the description of the unique characteristics of a particular region such as its natural or human elements; the main aim is to understand, or define the uniqueness, or character of a particular region that consists of natural as well as human elements. Attention is paid to regionalization, which covers the proper techniques of space delimitation into regions. Urban planning, regional planning, spatial planning: Use the science of geography to assist in determining how to develop the land to meet particular criteria, such as safety, economic opportunities, the preservation of the built or natural heritage, so on.
The planning of towns, c
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