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September 2013

Zaynab Al-Ghazali: زينب الغزالي

Zaynab Al-GHazali II

Zaynab Al-Ghazali | زينب الغزالي

She founded the Jama’at al-Sayyidat al-Muslimat (Muslim Women’s Association)

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Zaynab Al-Ghazali (2 January 1917 – 3 August 2005) was an Egyptian activist. She was the founder of the Muslim Women’s Association (Jamaa’at al-Sayyidaat al-Muslimaat), and was closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Zaynab Al-Ghazali

  • Born: 2 January 1917 Egypt
  • Died: 3 August 2005 Egypt
  • Residence: Mahmoudiyah, Egypt
  • Occupation: Founder of the Muslim Women’s Association (Jam’iyyat al-Sayyidaat al-Muslimaat)
  • Religion: Sunni Islam

Early life

Her father was educated at al-Azhar University independent religious teacher and cotton merchant. He encouraged her to become an Islamic leader citing the example of Nusayba bint Ka’b al-Muzaniyya, a woman fought alongside Prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud. For a short time during her teens, she joined the Egyptian Feminist Union only to conclude that “Islam gave women rights in the family granted by no other society. At the age of eighteen, she founded the Jama’at al-Sayyidat al-Muslimat (Muslim Women’s Association), which she claimed had a membership of three million throughout the country by the time it was dissolved by government order in 1964.

Allegiance to Hassan Al-Banna

Hasan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, invited al-Ghazali to merge her organisation with his, an invitation she refused as she wished to retain autonomy. However, she did eventually take an oath of personal loyalty to al Banna. (Mahmood 2005: 68) The fact that her organisation was not formally affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood was to prove useful after the Ikhwan was banned, as for a time al Ghazali was able to continue to distribute their literature and host their meetings in her home.[original research?]

Muslim Women’s Association

Her weekly lectures to women at the Ibn Tulun Mosque drew a crowd of three thousand, which grew to five thousand during holy months of the year. Besides offering lessons for women, the association published a magazine, maintained an orphanage, offered assistance to poor families, and mediated family disputes. The association also took a political stance, demanding that Egypt be ruled by the Qur’an.

Some scholars, like Leila Ahmed, Miriam Cooke, M. Qasim Zaman, and Roxanne Euben argue that Al Ghazali’s own actions stand at a distance, and even undercuts some of her professed beliefs. To these scholars, among many,her career is one which resists conventional forms of domesticity, while her words, in interviews, publications, and letters which do define women largely as wives and mothers.

If that day comes [when] a clash is apparent between your personal interests and economic activities on the one hand, and my Islamic work on the other, and that I find my married life is standing in the way of Da’wah and the establishment of an Islamic state, then, each of us should go our own way. I cannot ask you today to share with me this struggle, but it is my right on you not to stop me from jihad in the way of Allah.

Moreover, you should not ask me about my activities with other Mujahideen, and let trust be full between us. A full trust between a man and a woman, a woman who, at he age of 18, gave her full life to Allah and Da’wah. In the event of any clash between the marriage contract’s interest and that of Da’wah, our marriage will end, but Da’wah will always remain rooted in me. (al Ghazali 2006)

In justifying her own exceptionality to her stated belief in a woman’s rightful role, al Ghazali described her own childlessness as a “blessing” that would not usually be seen as such, because it freed her to participate in public life. (Hoffman 1988). Her second husband died while she was in prison, having divorced her after government threats to confiscate his property. al Ghazali’s family were angered at this perceived disloyalty, but al Ghazali herself remained loyal to him, writing in her memoir that she asked for his photograph to be reinstated in their home when told that it had been removed.

Life in prison

After the assassination of Hasan al-Banna in 1949, Al-Ghazali was instrumental in regrouping the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1960s. Imprisoned for her activities in 1965, she was sentenced to twenty-five year of hard labor but was released under Anwar Sadat’s Presidency in 1971.

During the imprisonment, Zainab Al-Ghazali and members of the Muslim Brotherhood underwent inhumane tortures. Al-Ghazali recounts her being thrown into a cell locked up with dogs to confess assassination attempt on President Nassir. Al-Ghazzali during these periods of hardship she is reported to have had visions of Muhammed. Some miracles were also experienced by her, as she got food, refuge and strength during those difficult times.

After her release from prison, al-Ghazali resumed teaching and writing for the revival of Muslim Brotherhood’s magazine, Al-Dawah. She was editor of a women’s and children’s section in Al-Dawah, in which she encouraged women to become educated, but to be obedient to their husbands and stay at home while rearing their children. She wrote a book based on her experience in jail.

Return of the Pharaoh

She describes her prison’s experience, which included sufferings of many heinous forms of torture, in a book entitled Ayyam min hayyati (literally, “Days from my life”), published in English under the title Return of the Pharaoh. The “Pharaoh” referred to is President Nasser. Al Ghazali depicts herself as enduring torture with strength beyond that of most men, and she attests to both miracles and visions that strengthened her and enabled her to survive.

Legacy

Zaynab al-Ghazali was also a writer, contributing regularly to major Islamic journals and magazines on Islamic and women’s issues. Although the Islamic movement throughout the Muslim world today has attracted large number of young women, especially since 1970s, Zaynab al-Ghazali stands out thus for as the only woman to distinguish herself as one of its major leaders.

Zainab Ghazali

References:

  1. Miriam Cook “Zaynab al-Ghazālī: Saint or Subversive?” Die Welt des Islams , New Series, Vol. 34, Issue 1 (Apr., 1994), 2.
  2. Leila Ahmed Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1992),199.
  3. Roxanne L. Euben, Muhammad Qasim Zaman (eds.) “Zaynab al-Ghazali” Princeton Reaadings in Islamist thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden.(Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009), 275

________________________________

  • Al Ghazali Return of the Pharaoh The Islamic Foundation 2006
  • Hoffman, Valerie. “An Islamic Activist: Zaynab alGhazali.” In Women and the Family in the Middle East, edited by Elizabeth W. Fernea. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.
  • Mahmood, Saba Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Princeton University Press 2005

Zaynab al-Ghazali

Zaynab Al-Ghazali (b. 1917) is the prominent writer and the teacher of the Muslim Brotherhood and founder of the Muslim Women’s Association (1936-64). Her father is an Al-Azhar-educated independent religious teacher and cotton merchant. He encouraged her to become an Islamic leader citing the example of Nusaybah bint Ka’ab al-Maziniyah, a woman fought alongside the Prophet (SAWS) in the Battle of Uhud. For a short time she joined Egyptian Feminist Union only to find it a mistaken path for women. At her eighteen, she founded the Jamaa’at al-Sayyidaat al-Muslimaat (Muslim Women’s Association), which, she claims, had a membership of three million throughout the country by the time it was dissolved by government order in 1964.

Although she had acquaintance with Shaikh Hasan Al-Banna, the founder of Ikhwan, since the late 30s and actively participated in many Islamic programs, she formally joined the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun) in 1948. Her weekly lectures to women at the Ibn Tulum Mosque drew a crowd of three thousand, which grew to five thousand during holy months of the year. Besides offering lessons for women, the association published a magazine, maintained an orphanage, offered assistance to poor families, and mediated family disputes. The association also took a political stance, demanding that Egypt be ruled by the Qur’an.

In Islamic history ladies have not lagged behind in the struggle to establish truth and eradicate falsehood, to uphold Islamic values and principles, and for that matter establish Islam as a living, thriving, and forward-looking religion. Zaynab Al-Ghazali is one of such dynamic ladies.

After the assassination of Hasan al-Banna in 1949, Al-Ghazali was instrumental in regrouping the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1960s. Imprisoned for her activities in 1965, she was sentenced to twenty-five year of hard labor but was released under Anwar Sadat’s Presidency in 1971. She describes her prison’s experience, which included sufferings of many heinous forms of torture, in a book entitled Ayyam min hayyati (Days from my life). She depicts herself as enduring torture with strength beyond that of most men, and she attests to both miracles and visions that strengthened her and enabled her to survive. She sees herself as the object of President Gamal Abdul Nasser’s hatred.

After her release from prison, al-Ghazali resumed teaching and writing first for the revival of Muslim Brotherhood’s magazine, Al-Dawah. She was editor of a women’s and children’s section in Al-Dawah, in which she encouraged women to become educated, but to be obedient to their husbands and stay at home while rearing their children. God had given her the “blessing”-although not viewed such by most people-of not having conceived any children (interview, 13 September 1988).

This gave her a great deal of freedom. Her husband was also quite wealthy, so she had servants to do her house-works. She believes that Islam allows women to be active in all aspects of public life, as long as it does not interfere with their first and most sacred duty. Her second husband died while she was in prison. Having fulfilled her duty of marriage, she feels free to devote all of her energies to the Islamic cause.

In addition to being very active in Dawah work, Zaynab al-Ghazali has been a prolific writer, contributing regularly to major Islamic journals and magazines on Islamic and women’s issues. Although the Islamic movement throughout the Muslim world today has attracted large number of young women, especially since 1971s, Zaynab al-Ghazali stands out thus for as the only woman to distinguish herself as one of its major leaders.

The condition that she made to her husband prior to their marital bond is as follows:

“However, I believe one day I will take this step that I wish and dream of. If that day comes, and because of it, a clash is apparent between your personal interests and economic activities on the one hand, and my Islamic work on the other, and that I find my married life is standing in the way of Da’wah and the establishment of an Islamic state, then, each of us should go our own way.”

“I cannot ask you today to share with me this struggle, but it is my right on you not to stop me from jihad in the way of Allah. Moreover, you should not ask me about my activities with other Mujahideen, and let trust be full between us. A full trust between a man and a woman, a woman who, at he age of 18, gave her full life to Allah and Da’wah. In the event of any clash between the marriage contract’s interest and that of Da’wah, our marriage will end, but Da’wah will always remain rooted in me.”

“I accept that ordering me to listen to you is amongst your rights, but Allah is greater than ourselves. Besides, we are living in a dangerous phase of Da’wah.”

The response of her husband was: “Forgive me. Carry on your work with Allah’s blessing. If only I could live to see the establishment of an Islamic state and the Ikhwan’s goal achieved! If only I was still in my youth to work with you!”

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The Black Stone: الحجر الأسود

BlackStone

The Black Stone | الحجر الأسود

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The Black Stone (Arabic: الحجر الأسود‎ al-Ḥajar al-Aswad,‎) is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building toward which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.

The stone was venerated at the Kaaba in pre-Islamic pagan times. It was set intact into the Kaaba’s wall by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the year 605 A.D., five years before his first revelation. Since then it has been broken into a number of fragments and is now cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Its physical appearance is that of a fragmented dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims. Islamic tradition holds that it fell from Heaven to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar. Although it has often been described as a meteorite, this hypothesis is now uncertain.

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as part of the Tawaf ritual of the Hajj. Many of them try, if possible, to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba

Physical description

The fragmented black stone, front and side illustrations.

The Black Stone consists of a number of fragments held together by a silver frame, which is fastened by silver nails to the Stone. Some of the smaller fragments have been cemented together to form the seven or eight fragments visible today. The Stone’s exposed face measures about 20 centimetres (7.9 in) by 16 centimetres (6.3 in). Its original size is unclear; its recorded dimensions have changed considerably over time, as the stone has been remodelled on several occasions. In the 10th century, an observer described it as being one cubit (slightly over 1.5 feet (0.46 m)) long. By the early 17th century, it was recorded as measuring 1.5 yards (1.4 m) by 1.33 yards (1.22 m). According to Ali Bey in the 18th century, it was 42 inches (110 cm) high, and Muhammad Ali Pasha reported it as being 2.5 feet (0.76 m) long by 1.5 feet (0.46 m) wide.

The Black Stone was first described in Western literature in the 19th and early 20th centuries by European travellers in Arabia, who visited the Kaaba in the guise of pilgrims. Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt visited Mecca in 1814, and provided a detailed description in his 1829 book Travels in Arabia:

It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulated surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly well smoothed; it looks as if the whole had been broken into as many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. It is very difficult to determine accurately the quality of this stone which has been worn to its present surface by the millions of touches and kisses it has received. It appeared to me like a lava, containing several small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellow substance.

Its colour is now a deep reddish brown approaching to black. It is surrounded on all sides by a border composed of a substance which I took to be a close cement of pitch and gravel of a similar, but not quite the same, brownish colour. This border serves to support its detached pieces; it is two or three inches in breadth, and rises a little above the surface of the stone. Both the border and the stone itself are encircled by a silver band, broader below than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. The lower part of the border is studded with silver nails.

Visiting the Kaaba in 1853, Sir Richard Francis Burton noted that:

The colour appeared to me black and metallic, and the centre of the stone was sunk about two inches below the metallic circle. Round the sides was a reddish brown cement, almost level with the metal, and sloping down to the middle of the stone. The band is now a massive arch of gold or silver gilt. I found the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers broad.

Ritter von Laurin, the Austrian consul-general in Egypt, was able to inspect a fragment of the Stone removed by Muhammad Ali in 1817 and reported that it had a pitch-black exterior and a silver-grey, fine-grained interior in which tiny cubes of a bottle-green material were embedded. There are reportedly a few white or yellow spots on the face of the Stone, and it is officially described as being white with the exception of the face.

The frame around the Black Stone and the black kiswah or cloth enveloping the Kaaba were for centuries maintained by the Ottoman Sultans in their role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The frames wore out over time due to the constant handling by pilgrims and were periodically replaced. Worn-out frames were brought back to Istanbul, where they are still kept as part of the Sacred Relics in the Topkapı Palace. A 1315 illustration from the Jami al-Tawarikh, inspired by the Sirah Rasul Allah story of Muhammad and the Meccan clan elders lifting the Black Stone into place.

الحجر الأسود

The Black Stone was revered well before the preaching of Islam by Muhammad. By the time of Muhammad, it was already associated with the Kaaba, a pre-Islamic shrine that was revered as a sacred sanctuary and a site of pilgrimage. In her book, Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong asserts that the Kaaba was dedicated to Hubal, a Nabatean deity, and contained 360 idols which either represented the days of the year, or were effigies of the Arabian pantheon. The Semitic cultures of the Middle East had a tradition of using unusual stones to mark places of worship, a phenomenon which is reflected in the Hebrew Bible as well as the Qur’an.

A “red stone” was associated with the deity of the south Arabian city of Ghaiman, and there was a “white stone” in the Kaaba of al-Abalat (near the city of Tabala, south of Mecca). Worship at that time period was often associated with stone reverence, mountains, special rock formations, or distinctive trees. The Kaaba marked the location where the sacred world intersected with the profane, and the embedded Black Stone was a further symbol of this as an object that linked heaven and earth.

Muhammad is credited with setting the Black Stone in place in the wall of the Kaaba. A story found in Ibn Ishaq’s Sirah Rasul Allah tells how the clans of Mecca renovated the Kaaba following a major fire which had partly destroyed the structure. The Black Stone had been temporarily removed to facilitate the rebuilding work. The clans could not agree on which one of them should have the honour of setting the Black Stone back in its place.

They decided to wait for the next man to come through the gate and ask him to make the decision. That individual happened to be the 35-year-old Muhammad, five years before his prophethood. He asked the elders of the clans to bring him a cloth and put the Black Stone in its centre. Each of the clan leaders held the corners of the cloth and carried the Black Stone to the right spot. Then Muhammad himself set the stone in place, satisfying the honour of all of the clans.

The Stone has suffered desecrations and significant damage over the centuries. It is said to have been struck and smashed to pieces by a stone fired from a catapult during the Umayyad siege of Mecca in 756. The fragments were rejoined by ‘Abd Allah ibn Zubayr using a silver ligament. In January 930 it was stolen by the Qarmatians, who carried the Black Stone away to their base in Hajar (modern Bahrain). According to Ottoman historian Qutb al-Din, writing in 1857, Qarmatian leader Abu Tahir al-Qarmati set the Black Stone up in his own mosque, the Masjid al-Dirar, with the intention of redirecting the Hajj away from Mecca. However, this failed, and pilgrims continued to venerate the spot where the Black Stone had been.

According to historian Al-Juwayni, the Stone was returned twenty-three years later, in 952. The Qarmatians held the Black Stone for ransom, and forced the Abbasids to pay a huge sum for its return. It was wrapped in a sack and thrown into the Friday Mosque of Kufa, accompanied by a note saying “By command we took it, and by command we have brought it back.” Its abduction and removal caused further damage, breaking the stone into seven pieces. Its abductor, Abu Tahir, is said to have met a terrible fate; according to Qutb al-Din, “the filthy Abu Tahir was afflicted with a gangrenous sore, his flesh was eaten away by worms, and he died a most terrible death.”

In the 11th century, a man allegedly sent by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah attempted to smash the Black Stone, but was killed on the spot, having caused only slight damage. In 1674, according to Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, someone smeared the Black Stone with excrement so that “every one who kissed it retired with a sullied beard”. The Shi’ite Persians were suspected of being responsible and were the target of curses from other Muslims for centuries afterwards, though explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton doubted that they were the culprits; he attributed the act to “some Jew or Greek, who risked his life to gratify a furious bigotry.”

Ritual role

The Black Stone plays an important role in the central ritual of the Hajj, when pilgrims must walk seven times around the Kaaba in an counterclockwise direction. They attempt to kiss the Black Stone seven times, once for each circumambulation of the Kaaba, emulating the actions of Muhammad. In modern times, large crowds make it practically impossible for everyone to kiss the stone, so it is currently acceptable for pilgrims to simply point in the direction of the Stone on each of their circuits around the building. Some even say that the Stone is best considered simply as a marker, useful in keeping count of the ritual circumambulations (tawaf) that one has performed. Its black colour is deemed to symbolize the essential spiritual virtue of detachment and poverty for God (faqr) and the extinction of ego required to progress towards God (qalb).

Writing in Dawn in Madinah: A Pilgrim’s Progress, Muzaffar Iqbal described his experience of venerating the Black Stone during a pilgrimage to Mecca:

At the end of the second [circumabulation of the Kaaba], I was granted one of those extraordinary moments which sometimes occur around the Black Stone. As I approached the Corner the large crowd was suddenly pushed back by a strong man who had just kissed the Black Stone. This push generated a backward current, creating a momentary opening around the Black Stone as I came to it; I swiftly accepted the opportunity reciting, Bismillahi Allahu akbar wa lillahi-hamd [“In the name of God, God is great, all praise to God”], put my hands on the Black Stone and kissed it. Thousands of silver lines sparkled, the Stone glistened, and something stirred deep inside me. A few seconds passed. Then I was pushed away by the guard.

Meaning and symbolism

The Black Stone, in Muslim belief, originated in the time of Adam. According to belief, an angel spoke to the prophet Abraham, and told him to institute the rite of the stone in the hajj at Mecca.

Islamic tradition holds that the Stone fell from Heaven to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar, which became the first temple on Earth. Muslims believe that the stone was originally pure and dazzling white, but has since turned black because of the sins of the people. Adam’s altar and the stone were said to have been lost during Noah’s Flood and forgotten. Ibrahim was said to have later found the Black Stone at the original site of Adam’s altar when the angel Jibrail revealed it to him. Ibrahim ordered his son Ismael—who is an ancestor of Muhammad—to build a new temple, the Kaaba, in which to embed the Stone.

Islam strictly prohibits idolatry. Muslims believe that the Stone’s role in hajj is simply representative and symbolic in nature, not related to belief in the stone itself as having any special power. A hadith records that, when the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (580-644) came to kiss the Stone, he said in front of all assembled: “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither harm anyone nor benefit anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] kissing you, I would not have kissed you.” Most Muslims follow the example of Umar: they pay their respects to the Stone in a spirit of trust in Muhammad, not with any inherent belief in the Stone.

This, however, does not indicate their disrespect to the Black Stone, but their belief that harm and benefit are in the hands of God, and nothing else. Muhammad Labib al-Batanuni, writing in 1911, commented that the pre-Islamic practice of venerating stones (including the Black Stone) arose not because such stones are “sacred for their own sake, but because of their relation to something holy and respected.” The Indian Islamic scholar Muhammad Hamidullah summed up the meaning of the Black Stone:

The Prophet has named the (Black Stone) the ‘right hand of God’ (yamin-Allah), and for purpose. In fact one poses there one’s hand to conclude the pact, and God obtains there our pact of allegiance and submission. In the qur’anic terminology, God is the king, and … in (his) realm there is a metropolis (Umm al-Qurra) and in the metropolis naturally a palace (Bait-Allah, home of God). If a subject wants to testify to his loyalty, he has to go to the royal palace and conclude personally the pact of allegiance. The right hand of the invisible God must be visible symbolically. And that is the al-Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone in the Ka’bah.

In recent years, however, literalist views of the Black Stone have emerged. A small minority accepts as literally true an allegorical hadith which asserts that “the Stone will appear on the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah) with eyes to see and a tongue to speak, and give evidence in favor of all who kissed it in true devotion, but speak out against whoever indulged in gossip or profane conversations during his circumambulation of the Kaaba”.

Scientific origins

The nature of the Black Stone has been much debated. It has been described variously as basalt stone, an agate, a piece of natural glass or — most popularly — a stony meteorite. Paul Partsch, the curator of the Austro-Hungarian imperial collection of minerals, published the first comprehensive history of the Black Stone in 1857 in which he favoured a meteoritic origin for the Stone. Robert Dietz and John McHone proposed in 1974 that the Black Stone was actually an agate, judging from its physical attributes and a report by an Arab geologist that the Stone contained clearly discernible diffusion banding characteristic of agates.

A significant clue to its nature is provided by an account of the Stone’s recovery in 951 AD after it had been stolen 21 years earlier; according to a chronicler, the Stone was identified by its ability to float in water. If this account is accurate, it would rule out the Black Stone being an agate, basalt lava or stony meteorite, though it would be compatible with it being glass or pumice.

Elsebeth Thomsen of the University of Copenhagen proposed a different hypothesis in 1980. She suggested that the Black Stone may be a glass fragment or impactite from the impact of a fragmented meteorite that fell some 6,000 years ago at Wabar, a site in the Rub’ al Khali desert some 1,100 km east of Mecca. The craters at Wabar are notable for the presence of blocks of silica glass, fused by the heat of the impact and impregnated with beads of a nickel-iron alloy from the meteorite (most of which was destroyed in the impact).

Some of the glass blocks are made of shiny black glass, with a white or yellow interior and gas-filled hollows, which allow them to float on water. Although scientists did not become aware of the Wabar craters until 1932, they were located near a caravan route from Oman and were very likely known to the inhabitants of the desert. The wider area was certainly well-known; in ancient Arabic poetry, Wabar or Ubar (also known as “Iram of the Pillars”) was the site of a fabulous city that was destroyed by fire from the heavens because of the wickedness of its king.

If the estimated age of the crater is accurate, it would have been well within the period of human habitation in Arabia and the impact itself may have been witnessed. However, a recent (2004) scientific analysis of the Wabar site suggests that the impact event happened much more recently than first thought and might have occurred only within the last 200–300 years. The meteoritic hypothesis is now seen as doubtful, and the British Natural History Museum suggests that it may be a pseudometeorite, i.e., a terrestrial rock mistakenly attributed to a meteoritic origin.

Taariikhda: Sheekh Muxammad Bin C/wahaab – Qaybta 7aad

Taariikhda
Sheekh Muxammad
Bin C/wahaab

Al-Imaam:
Muxammad bin Cabdul-Wahaab
bin Suleymaan Al-Tamiimiyi

Waxaa qore:
Maxamad Cusmaan Aadam

Hordhac |Q. 1aad |Q. 2aad |Q. 3aad |Q. 4aad |Q. 5aad |Q. 6aad |Q. 7aad |Q. 8aad

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Taariikh Sheekh Maxammad
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Battle of Al-Ahazb|غزوة الأحزاب

Battle of Al-Ahazb
غزوة الأحزاب

The Seerah of: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

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Surah Al-Baqarah: سورة البقرة |Part Two

Surah Al-Baqarah
سورة البقرة

Tafsir: Al-Quranul Kareem – Ibn Kathir
Chapter 2| Surah Al-Baqarah – The Cow  |Part Two

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

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Al-Baraa ibn Malik al-Ansari: البراء بن مالك الأنصاري

Al-Baraa ibn Malik al-Ansari
البراء بن مالك الأنصاري

As-Sahabah:
Al-Bara’ ibn Malik al-Ansari
البراء بن مالك الأنصاري
The Companions of Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him)

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Surah – سورة

Suras

Surah |سورة

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 The Chapters of The Quran

A sura (also spelled surah, surat; Arabic: سورة‎ sūrah, pl. سور suwar) is a chapter of the Qur’an. There are 114 chapters of the Qur’an, each divided into verses. The chapters or suras are of unequal length, the shortest chapter (Al-Kawthar) has only three ayat (verses) while the longest (Al-Baqara) contains 286 verses. Of the 114 chapters in the Quran, 86 are classified as Meccan while 28 are Medinan – this classification is only approximate in regard to location of revelation – in fact, any chapter revealed after migration of Muhammad to Medina (Hijrah) is termed Medinan and any revealed before that event is termed as Meccan.

The Meccan chapters generally deal with faith and scenes of the Hereafter, while the Medinan chapters are more concerned with organizing the social life of the (then) nascent Muslim community. All chapters or suras commence with ‘In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate’. This formula is known as the basmala and denotes the boundaries between chapters. The chapters are arranged roughly in order of descending size therefore the arrangement of the Qur’an is neither chronological nor thematic. Suras (chapters) are recited during the standing portions (Qiyam) of Muslim prayers. Sura Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran, is recited in every unit of prayer and some units of prayer also involve recitation of all or part of any other sura.

Etymology

The word ‘sura’ was used at the time of Muhammad as a term with the meaning of a ‘chapter’ or a ‘portion’ of the Qur’an. This is evidenced by the appearance of the word ‘sura’ in multiple locations in the Qur’an such as verse 24:1:”A sura that We have sent down and appointed, and We have sent down in it signs, clear signs, that haply you will remember.”

Its plural form ‘suwar’ is also mentioned in the Qur’an: “Or do they say, He invented it? Say, “Then bring ten suwar like it and call upon whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful.” Nöldeke following Buxtorf suggested that the word sura has similar root with the Hebrew word ‘שורה’ meaning a ‘row’. Some took it as connected with the Arabic word ‘Sur’ meaning a ‘wall’. Jeffery believes that it has a common origin with a Syriac word that means ‘writing’.

Chronological order of chapters

List of suras in the Quran

Chapters in the Quran are not arranged in the chronological order of revelation. A number of medieval writers have recorded ancient lists which give the chapters in what is allegedly their correct chronological order. However, there are different versions of the list and they do not agree with each other about the precise order in which the chapters were revealed.

The origin and value of the traditional lists is uncertain, but probably none of the lists originated before the first quarter of the eight century and may be based on the learned opinions of scholars rather than on carefully transmitted reports dating back to the time of the companions of Muhammad. A version is given in a 15th century work by Abd al-Kafi. Abu Salih wrote a different list and another significantly different version of Abu Salih is preserved in a book named ‘Kitab Mabani’. A different list is mentioned by the 10th century writer Ibn Nadim.

The standard Egyptian edition of the Quran which was published in 1924 includes information about chronological order of chapters. The information, which is widely available, correlates with one of the traditional lists, the one given by Abd al-Kafi.

A number of verses are associated with particular events. The first revelation was chapter 96 (609 CE). Verses 16:41 and 47:13 refers to migration of Muslims which took place in the year 622 CE. Verses 8:1-7 and 3:120-175 refer to the battles of Badr (624 CE) and Uhud (625 CE) respectively.

Muhammad’s last pilgrimage is mentioned in 5:3 which occurred in 632 CE, a few months before the prophet died. The Qur’an narrates the life of Muhammad or the early history of the Muslim community only incidentally and not in detail, very few chapters contain clear references to events which took place Muhammad’s life.

Theodor Nöldeke’s chronology is based on the assumption that the style of the Quran changes in one direction without reversals. Nöldeke studied the style and content of the chapters and assumed that (1) later (Madinan) chapters and verses and are usually shorter than earlier (Meccan) ones (2) Earlier verses have a distinct rhyming style while later verses are more prosaic (prose-like). According to Nöldeke earlier chapters have common features, many of them open with oaths in which God swears by cosmic phenomena.

Eschatology, creation, piety, authentication of Muhammad’s mission and refutation of the charges against Muhammad are common themes of Meccan chapters. A number of chapters have a clear ‘tripartite’ structure, for example chapters 45, 37, 26, 15, 21. They open with a short warning, followed by one or more narratives about unbelievers, and finally address contemporaries of Muhammad and invite them to Islam. Madinan verses are longer and have a distinct style of rhyming and concern to provide legislation and guidance for the Muslim community.

Richard Bell took Nöldeke’s chronology as starting point for his research, however, Bell did not believe that Nöldeke’s criteria of style was important. He saw a progressive change in Muhammad’s mission from a man who preached monotheism into an independent leader of a paramount religion. For Bell this transformation was more decisive compared with the criteria of style. Bell argued that passages which mentioned Islam and Muslim or implied that Muhammad’s followers were a distinct community were revealed later.

He classified the Quran into three main periods: the early period, the Quranic period, and the book period. Richard bell worked on the chronology of the Qur’anic verses rather than chapters. Underlying Bell’s method for dating revelations is the assumption that the normal unit of revelation is the short passage and the passages have been extensively edited and rearranged.

Mehdi Bazargan divided the 144 chapters of the Quran into 194 passages preserving some chapters intact as single blocks while dividing others into two or more blocks. He then rearranged these blocks approximately in order of increasing average verse length. This order he proposes is the chronological order. Bazargan assumed that verse length tended to increase over time and he used this assumption to rearrange the passages.

Neal Robinson, an scholar of Islamic studies, is of the opinion that there is no hard evidence that the style of revelations has changed in a consistent way and therefore style may not always be a reliable indicator of when and where a chapter was revealed. According to Robinson it should be obvious that the problem of the chronology of the revelations is still far from solved.

Names of chapters in the Quran

The verses and chapters when revealed to Muhammad in the Quran did not come with a title attached to them. Muhammad, as we find in some reports in hadith, used to refer to shorter chapters not by name, rather by their first verse. For example: Abu Hurairah quoted Muhammad as saying, “Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabb il-`Aalameen” is the Mother of the Qur’an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven oft-repeated verses of the Glorious Qur’an.”. We also find reports in which Muhammad used to refer to them by their name. For example, Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him say, ‘Learn Surat ul-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.”‘

Arab tradition, similar to other tribal cultures of that time, was to name things according to their unique characteristics. They used this same method to name Qur’anic chapters. Most chapter names are found in hadith. Some were named according to their central theme, such as Al-Fatiha (The Opening) and Yusuf (Joseph), and some were named for the first word at the beginning of the chapter, such as Qaf, Ya-Sin, and ar-Rahman. Some suras were also named according to a unique word that occurs in the chapter, such as al-Baqara (The Cow), An-Nur (The Light), al-Nahl (The Bee), Az-Zukhruf (The Ornaments of Gold), Al-Hadid (The Iron), and Al-Ma’un (The Small Kindness).

Most chapter names are still used to this day. Several are known by multiple names: chapter Al-Masadd (The Palm Fibre) is also known as al-Lahab (The Flame). Sura Fussilat (Explained in Detail) is also known as Ha-Meem Sajda (“…it is a chapter that begins with Ha Mim and in which a verse requiring the performance of prostration has occurred.”)

Chapter as unity

The idea of textual relation between the verses of a chapter has been discussed under various titles such as “nazm” and “munasabah” in non-English literature and ‘Coherence’, ‘text relations’, ‘intertextuality’, and ‘unity’ in English literature. There are two points of view regarding coherence of the verses of the Qur’an. In the first viewpoint each chapter of the Qur’an has a central theme and its verses are related.

The second viewpoint considers some chapters of the Qur’an as collections of passages which are not thematically related. Chapters deal with various subjects, for instance chapter 99, which comprises only eight verses, is devoted exclusively to eschatology and chapter 12 narrates a story, while other chapters, in the same breath, speak of theological, historical, and ethico-legal matters. Chapters are known to consist of passages, not only verses. The borders between passages are arbitrary but are possible to determine.

For example chapter 54[10] may be divided into six passages:

  • The Hour has approached…..(1-8)
  • Before them, people of Noah rejected…(9-17)
  • ‘Ad’ rejected (their Messenger). Then how (strict) has been our recompense and warnings… (18-22)
  • ‘Thamud’ rejected the warnings… (23-32)
  • People of ‘Lot’ rejected the warnings… (33-40)
  • And warnings did come to the People of the Pharoah… (41-55)

The study of text relations in the Qur’an dates back to a relatively early stage in the history of Qur’anic studies. The earliest Qur’anic interpreter known to have paid attention to this aspect of the Qur’an is Fakhr Razi (d.1209 CE). Fakhr Razi believed that text relation is a meaning that links verses together or mentally associates them like cause-effect or reason-consequence. He linked verse 1 of a chapter to verse 2, verse 2 to verse 3 and so on, and rejected traditionist interpretations if they contradicted interrelations between verses.

Zarkashi (d.1392), another medieval Qur’anic exegete, admitted that relationships of some verses to other verses in a chapter is sometimes hard to explain, in those cases he assigned stylistic and rhetorical functions to them such as parenthesis, parable, or intentional subject shift. Zarkashi aimed at showing how important understanding the inter-verse relations is to understanding the Qur’an, however, he did not attempt to deal with one complete chapter to show its relations.

Contemporary scholars have studied the idea of coherence in the Qur’an more vigorously and are of widely divergent opinions. For example Hamid Farrahi (d. 1930) and Richard Bell (d. 1952) have different opinions regarding coherence within chapters. Farrahi believed that the whole structure of the Qur’an is thematically coherent, which is to say, all verses of a chapter of the Qur’an are integrally related to each other to give rise to the major theme of the chapter and again all of the chapters are interconnected with each other to constitute the major theme of the Qur’an. According to Farrahi, each chapter has a central theme (umud or pillar) around which the verses revolve:

“Each chapter of the Qur’an is a well structured unit. It is only lack of consideration and analysis on our part that they seem disjointed and incoherent…Each chapter imparts a specific message as its central theme. The completion of this theme marks the end of the chapter. If there were no such specific conclusion intended to be dealt with in each chapter there would be no need to divide the Qur’an in chapters. Rather the whole Qur’an would be a single chapter…We see that a set of verses has been placed together and named ‘sura’ the way a city is built with a wall erected round it. A single wall must contain a single city in it. What is the use of a wall encompassing different cities?…”.

In contrast, Richard Bell describes the Qur’anic style as disjointed:

“Only seldom do we find in it evidence of sustained unified composition at any great length…some of the narratives especially accounts of Moses and of Abraham run to considerable length, but they tend to fall into separate incidents instead of being recounted straightforwardly…the distinctness of the separate pieces however is more obvious than their unity.”

Arthur J. Arberry states that the chapters in many instances, as Muslims have been recognized from the earliest times, are of a ‘composite’ character, holding embedded in them fragments received by Muhammad at widely differing dates. However he disregards this ‘fact’ and views each chapter as an artistic whole. He believed that a repertory of familiar themes runs through the whole Qur’an and each chapter elaborates one of more, often many of, them.

Angelika Neuwirth is of the idea that verses in their chronological order are interrelated in a way that later verses explain earlier ones. She believes that Meccan chapters are coherent units.

Salwa El-Awa aims in her work to discuss the problem of textual relations in the Qur’an from a linguistic point of view and the way in which the verses of one chapter relate to each other and to the wider context of the total message of the Qur’an. El-Awa provides a detailed analysis in terms of coherence theory on chapters 33 and 75 and shows that theses two chapters cohere and have a main contextual relationship.

Gheitury and Golfam believe that the permanent change of subject within a passage in the Qur’an, or what they call non-linearity, is a major linguistic feature of the Qur’an, a feature that puts the Qur’an beyond any specific ‘context’ and ‘temporality’. According to Gheitury and Golfam for the Qur’an there is no preface, no introduction, no beginning, no end, a reader can start reading from anywhere in the text.

List of suras in the Quran

The Quran, one of Islam’s holy books is divided into sura and further divided into ayat.

Surah
Arabic
name(s)
English name(s)
Ayat
Ruku’
Revealed
Order
1
Al-Fatiha
The Opening
7
1
Meccan
5
2
Al-Baqara
The Calf/Cow
286
40
Medinan
87
3
Al Imran
The Family of Imran
200
20
Medinan
89
4
An-Nisa
The Women
176
24
Medinan
92
5
Al-Ma’ida
The Food
120
16
Medinan
112
6
Al-An’am
The Cattle
165
20
Meccan
55
7
Al-A’raf
The Heights
206
24
Meccan
39
8
Al-Anfal
The Spoils of War
75
10
Medinan
88
9
At-Tawba
The Repentance
129
16
Medinan
113
10
Yunus
Junus/Jonah
109
11
Meccan
51
11
Hud
Hud, sometimes thought to be Eber
123
10
Meccan
52
12
Yusuf
Yousef or Joseph
111
12
Meccan
53
13
Ar-Ra’d
The Thunder
43
6
Medinan
96
14
Ibrahim
Ibrahim or Abraham
52
7
Meccan
72
15
Al-Hijr
The Rocky Tract, Al-Hijr,
The Stoneland, The Rock City
99
6
Meccan
54
16
An-Nahl
The Honey Bees
128
16
Meccan
70
17
Al-Isra
Isra, The Night Journey or
The Children of Israel
111
12
Meccan
50
18
Al-Kahf
The Cave
110
12
Meccan
69
19
Maryam
Maryam or Mary
98
6
Meccan
44
20
Ta-Ha
Ta-Ha
135
8
Meccan
45
21
Al-Anbiya
The Prophets
112
7
Meccan
73
22
Al-Hajj
The Pilgrimage, The Hajj
78
10
Medinan
103
23
Al-Mu’minoon
The Believers
118
6
Meccan
74
24
An-Nur
The Light
64
9
Medinan
102
25
Al-Furqan
The Criterion, The Standard, 1 sujud
77
6
Meccan
42
26
Ash-Shu’ara
The Poets
227
11
Meccan
47
27
An-Naml
The Ant
93
7
Meccan
48
28
Al-Qasas
The Narrations, The Stories
88
9
Meccan
49
29
Al-Ankabut
The Spider
69
7
Meccan
85
30
Ar-Rum
The Romans
60
6
Meccan
84
31
Luqman
Luqman
34
4
Meccan
57
32
As-Sajda
The Prostration, Worship, Adoration
30
3
Meccan
75
33
Al-Ahzab
The Clans, The Confederates,
The Combined Forces
73
9
Medinan
90
34
Saba
Sheba
54
6
Meccan
58
35
Fatir
The Originator (The Angels)
45
5
Meccan
43
36
Ya Sin
Ya-seen
83
5
Meccan
41
37
As-Saaffat
Those Who Set The Ranks, Drawn Up In Ranks
182
5
Meccan
56
38
Sad
The Letter Sad
88
5
Meccan
38
39
Az-Zumar
The Crowds, The Troops, Throngs
75
8
Meccan
59
40
Ghafir
The Forgiver (God),
The Believer (Names of God in Islam)
85
9
Meccan
60
41
Fussilat
Expounded, Explained In Detail
54
6
Meccan
61
42
Ash-Shura
The Consultation
53
5
Meccan
62
43
Az-Zukhruf
The Gold Adornments,
The Ornaments of Gold, Luxury
89
7
Meccan
63
44
Ad-Dukhan
The Smoke
59
3
Meccan
64
45
Al-Jathiya
The Kneeling Down, Crouching
37
4
Meccan
65
46
Al-Ahqaf
Winding Sand-tracts, The Dunes
35
4
Meccan
66
47
Muhammad
Muhammad
38
4
Medinan
95
48
Al-Fath
The Victory, Conquest
29
4
Medinan
111
49
Al-Hujurat
The Private Apartments, The Inner Apartments
18
2
Medinan
106
50
Qaf
The Letter Qaf
45
3
Meccan
34
51
Adh-Dhariyat
The Wind That Scatter, The Winnowing Winds
60
3
Meccan
67
52
At-Tur
The Mount
49
2
Meccan
76
53
An-Najm
The Star
62
3
Meccan
23
54
Al-Qamar
The Moon
55
3
Meccan
37
55
Ar-Rahman
The Most Gracious,
The Beneficent, The Mercy Giving
78
3
Meccan
97
56
Al-Waqi’a
The Inevitable, The Event
96
3
Meccan
46
57
Al-Hadid
The Iron
29
4
Medinan
94
58
Al-Mujadila
The Pleading, She That Disputeth,
The Pleading Woman
22
3
Medinan
105
59
Al-Hashr
The Mustering, The Gathering, Exile, Banishment
24
3
Medinan
101
60
Al-Mumtahina
The Examined One, She That Is To Be Examined
13
2
Medinan
91
61
As-Saff
The Ranks, Battle Array
14
2
Medinan
109
62
Al-Jumua
The Congregation, Friday
11
2
Medinan
110
63
Al-Munafiqun
The Hypocrites
11
2
Medinan
104
64
At-Taghabun
The Cheating, The Mutual Loss and Gain,
The Mutual Disillusion, Haggling
18
2
Medinan
108
65
At-Talaq
Divorce
12
2
Medinan
99
66
At-Tahrim
The Prohibition
12
2
Medinan
107
67
Al-Mulk
The Dominion, Sovereignty, Control
30
2
Meccan
77
68
Al-Qalam
The Pen
52
2
Meccan
2
69
Al-Haaqqa
The Sure Reality
52
2
Meccan
78
70
Al-Maarij
The Ways of Ascent, The Ascending Stairways
44
2
Meccan
79
71
Nuh
Nuh or Noah
28
2
Meccan
71
72
Al-Jinn
The Spirits
28
2
Meccan
40
73
Al-Muzzammil
The Enfolded One, The Enshrouded One, Bundled Up
20
2
Meccan
3
74
Al-Muddathir
The One Wrapped Up, The Cloaked One,
The Man Wearing A Cloak
56
2
Meccan
4
75
Al-Qiyama
The Day of Resurrection, Rising Of The Dead
40
2
Meccan
31
76
Al-Insan
The Human
31
2
Medinan
98
77
Al-Mursalat
Those Sent Forth, The Emissaries, Winds Sent Forth
50
2
Meccan
33
78
An-Naba
The Great News, The Announcement
40
2
Meccan
80
79
An-Naziat
Those Who Tear Out,
Those Who Drag Forth, Soul-snatchers
46
2
Meccan
81
80
Abasa
He Frowned
42
1
Meccan
24
81
At-Takwir
The Folding Up, The Overthrowing
29
1
Meccan
7
82
Al-Infitar
The Cleaving Asunder, Bursting Apart
19
1
Meccan
82
83
Al-Mutaffifin
The Dealers in Fraud, Defrauding, The Cheats
36
1
Meccan
86
84
Al-Inshiqaq
The Rending Asunder, The Sundering, Splitting Open
25
1
Meccan
83
85
Al-Burooj
The Mansions Of The Stars, Constellations
22
1
Meccan
27
86
At-Tariq
The Night-Visitant, The Morning Star, The Nightcomer
17
1
Meccan
36
87
Al-Ala
The Most High, Glory To Your Lord In The Highest
19
1
Meccan
8
88
Al-Ghashiya
The Overwhelming Event, The Pall
26
1
Meccan
68
89
Al-Fajr
The Break of Day, The Dawn
30
1
Meccan
10
90
Al-Balad
The City
20
1
Meccan
35
91
Ash-Shams
The Sun
15
1
Meccan
26
92
Al-Lail
The Night
21
1
Meccan
9
93
Ad-Dhuha
The Glorious Morning Light, The Forenoon,
Morning Hours, Morning Bright
11
1
Meccan
11
94
Al-Inshirah
The Expansion of Breast, Solace, Consolation, Relief, Patient
8
1
Meccan
12
95
At-Tin
The Fig Tree
8
1
Meccan
28
96
Al-Alaq
The Clinging Clot, Recite, Clot of Blood
19
1
Meccan
1
97
Al-Qadr
The Night of Honor, The Night of Decree, Power, Fate
5
1
Meccan
25
98
Al-Bayyina
The Clear Evidence
8
1
Medinan
100
99
Az-Zalzala
The Earthquake
8
1
Medinan
93
100
Al-Adiyat
The Courser, The Chargers, The War Horse
11
1
Meccan
14
101
Al-Qaria
The Striking Hour, The Great Calamity,
The Stunning Blow, The Disaster, The Judgement Day
11
1
Meccan
30
102
At-Takathur
The Piling Up, Rivalry in World Increase, Competition
8
1
Meccan
16
103
Al-Asr
The Time, The Declining Day, The Epoch
3
1
Meccan
13
104
Al-Humaza
The Scandalmonger, The Traducer, The Gossipmonger
9
1
Meccan
32
105
Al-Fil
The Elephant
5
1
Meccan
19
106
Quraysh
The Quraysh Tribe
4
1
Meccan
29
107
Al-Ma’un
The Neighbourly Assistance,
Small Kindnesses, Almsgiving
7
1
Meccan
17
108
Al-Kawthar
Abundance, Plenty
3
1
Meccan
15
109
Al-Kafirun
The Disbelievers, The Kafirs
6
1
Meccan
18
110
An-Nasr
The Help, Divine Support, Victory
3
1
Medinan
114
111
Al-Masadd
The Plaited Rope, The Palm Fibre
5
1
Meccan
6
112
Al-Ikhlas
Purity of Faith, The Fidelity
4
1
Meccan
22
113
Al-Falaq
The Daybreak, Dawn
5
1
Meccan
20
114
Al-Nas
Mankind
6
1
Meccan
21

The first five verses of the 96th chapter, Al-‘Alaq were the first to have been revealed and transcribed to Muhammad[verification needed].
The first chapter, Al-Fatiha, was the first one to be revealed entirety to Muhammad.
The second chapter, Al-Baqara, is the longest, with 286 verses, while the 108th, Al-Kawthar, is the shortest, with 3 verses.

Nebi Sulaymaan (Caleyhi Salaam)

Nabi Sulaymaan
Caleyhi Salaam

Qisasal Ambiyaa| Nabi Sulaymaan (Caleyhi Salaam)
Naxariis iyo Nabadgalyo Eebbe Korkiisa Ha ‘Ahaataye

Decorative Lines

Nebi Sulaymaan
Iyo Xikmadaha Ku Qarsoon

Waa taxane aan ugu talo galnay in ay dadku la noolaadaan Quraanka kariimka ah oo ay noloshooda ugu dabaqaan, una arkaan oo ay islamarkaasna u dhadhamiyaan sidii uu iyaga ku soo degay oo kale. Waxaa mahadda iska leh ilaaha uumay khalqiga kiisa wanaagsan iyo kiisa xun ee inagu manaystay jawharka qaaliga ah iyo ilayskaan damayn(islaamka) waxaana ammaan iyo wanaag u sugnaaday Nebigeenii, sayidkeenii,hogaamiyaheenii, macalinkeenii, Muxamed nabadgalyo iyo naxariisi korkiisa ha ahaatee, hooyooyinkii muuminiinta iyo saxaabadii iyo intii ku raacday xaqa ilaa uu ilaahay ka dhaxlayo dhulka.

Continue reading “Nebi Sulaymaan (Caleyhi Salaam)”

Asbab Al-Nuzul: Sura Al’-Imran|سورة آل عمران

Sura Al’-Imran
سورة آل عمران

Asbab Nuzul:
Sura Al Imran – آل عمران – The Family of Imram
Tafsir and Asbab Al-Nuzul
003| Sura Al Imran – آل عمران

Decorative Lines

Continue reading “Asbab Al-Nuzul: Sura Al’-Imran|سورة آل عمران”

Taariikhda Somaliya

Taariikhda
Soomaaliya

Qore: Sheikh Saadiq Eenow
Taariikh-Yahan: Dr. Saadiq Enow, waa taariikh-yahan,
qoraa, dhakhtar iyo macallin Soomaaliyeed

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Ibn Batutah: ابن بطوطة

Ibn Batutta

Ibn Batutah| ابن بطوطة

The History Pages: Ibn Batutah |  ابن  بطوطة

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Ibn Batutah (Arabic: ʾAbu ʿAbd al-Lah Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Lah l-Lawati ṭ-Ṭangi ibn Batutah), or simply Ibn Battuta ( ابن  بطوطة)  (February 25, 1304 – 1368 or 1369), was a Moroccan and Berber explorer. He is known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in the Rihla (lit. “Journey”). Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands.

His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe in the West, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance surpassing threefold his near-contemporary Marco Polo. Ibn Battuta is considered one of the greatest travellers of all time.

Ibn Batuta: ابن بطوطة 

  • Born: February 25, 1304 Tangier, Morocco
  • Died: 1369 (aged 64–65) Morocco
  • Occupation: Islamic scholar, Jurist, Judge, explorer, geographer
  • Religion: Islam

Early life and his first hajj

A 13th-century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a group of pilgrims on a Hajj.

All that is known about Ibn Battuta’s life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels. Ibn Battuta was 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 the Berber tribe known as the Lawata.

As a young man he would have studied at a Sunni Maliki madh’hab, (Islamic jurisprudence school), the dominant form of education in North Africa at that time. 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 take sixteen months. He would not see Morocco again for twenty-four years.

I set out alone, finding no companion to cheer the way with friendly intercourse, and no party of travellers with whom to associate myself. Swayed by an overmastering impulse within me, and a long-cherished desire to visit those glorious sanctuaries, I resolved to quit all my friends and tear myself away from my home. As my parents were still alive, it weighed grievously upon me to part from them, and both they and I were afflicted with sorrow.

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, and then Tunis, where he stayed for two months. For safety, Ibn Battuta usually joined a caravan to reduce the risk of an attack by wandering Arab Bedouin. 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 (2,200 mi), Ibn Battuta arrived at the port of Alexandria, then part of the Bahri Mamluk empire. He spent several weeks visiting sites in the area, and then headed inland to Cairo, the capital of the Mamluk Sultanate and even at that time an important large 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, then east to the Red Sea port of Aydhab,[a] Upon approaching the town, however, a local rebellion forced him to turn back.

Ibn Battuta returned to Cairo and took a second side trip, this time to Mamluk-controlled Damascus. During his first trip he had encountered a holy man, Shaykh Abul Hasan al Shadili, who prophesied that he would only reach Mecca by travelling through Syria. The diversion held an added advantage; because of the holy places that lay along the way, including Hebron, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, the Mamluk authorities spared no efforts in keeping the route safe for pilgrims. Without this help many travellers would be robbed and murdered.

After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, he joined a caravan travelling the 1,500 km (930 mi) south to Medina, tomb 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 return home, Ibn Battuta instead decided to continue on, choosing as his next destination the Ilkhanate, a Mongol Khanate, to the northeast.

Iraq and Persia

Ibn Battuta made a brief visit to the Persian-Mongol city of Tabriz in 1327.

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 then, 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 Ali ibn Abi Talib (Ali), the first Imam, the fourth caliph, and the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad.

Then, 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, then followed the river Tigris south to Basra. His next destination was the town of Esfahān across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. He then headed south to Shiraz, a large, flourishing city spared the destruction wrought by Mongol invaders on many more northerly towns. Finally, 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, then turned north on the Silk Road to Tabriz, the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and by then an important trading centre as most of its nearby rivals had been razed by the Mongol invaders.

Ibn Battuta left again for Baghdad, probably in July, but first took an excursion northwards along the river Tigris. He visited Mosul, where he was the guest of the Ilkhanate governor, and then the towns of Cizre (Jazirat ibn ‘Umar) and Mardin in modern-day Turkey. At a hermitage on a mountain near Sinjar, he met a Kurdish mystic who gave him some silver coins.[b] Once back in Mosul, he joined a “feeder” caravan of pilgrims heading south to Baghdad, where they would meet up with the main caravan that crossed the Arabian Desert to Mecca. Ill with diarrhoea, he arrived in the city weak and exhausted for his second hajj.

Arabian Peninsula

Ibn Battuta remained in Mecca for some time (the Rihla suggests about three years, from September 1327 until autumn 1330). Problems with chronology, however, lead commentators to suggest that he may have left after the 1328 hajj.[c]

After the hajj in either 1328 or 1330, he made his way to the port of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. From there he followed the coast in a series of boats making slow progress against the prevailing south-easterly winds. Once in Yemen he visited Zabīd and later the highland town of Ta’izz, where he met the Rasulid dynasty king (Malik) Mujahid Nur al-Din Ali. Ibn Battuta also mentions visiting Sana’a, but whether he actually did so is doubtful. In all likelihood, he went directly from Ta’izz to the important trading port of Aden, arriving around the beginning of 1329 or 1331.

Somalia

Zeila Somalia

The port and waterfront of Zeila

From Aden, Ibn Battuta embarked on a ship heading for Zeila on the coast of Somalia. He then moved on to Cape Guardafui further down the Somalia seaboard, spending about a week in each location. Later he would visit Mogadishu, the then pre-eminent city of the “Land of the Berbers” ( بلد البربر  – Balad al-Barbar, the medieval Arabic term for the Horn of Africa).

When he arrived in 1331, Mogadishu stood at the zenith of its prosperity. Ibn Battuta described it as “an exceedingly large city” with many rich merchants, noted for its high-quality fabric that was exported to other countries including Egypt. He added that the city was ruled by a Somali Sultan, originally from Barbara in northern Somalia, who spoke both Somali (referred to as Mogadishan, the Benadir dialect of Somali) and Arabic with equal fluency. The Sultan also had a retinue of wazirs (ministers), legal experts, commanders, royal eunuchs, and assorted hangers-on at his beck and call.

Swahili Coast

The Great Mosque of Kilwa Kisiwani, made of coral stones is the largest Mosque of its kind.

Ibn Battuta continued by ship south to the Swahili Coast, a region then known in Arabic as the Bilad al-Zanj (“Land of the Zanj”), with an overnight stop at the island town of Mombasa. Although relatively small at the time, Mombasa would become important in the following century. After a journey along the coast, Ibn Battuta next arrived in the island town of Kilwa in present-day Tanzania, which had become an important transit centre of the gold trade. He described the city as “one of the most beautiful and well-constructed towns in the world”.

Ibn Battuta recorded his visit to the Kilwa Sultanate in 1330, and commented favorably on the humility and religion of its ruler, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman, a descendant of the legendary Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi. He further wrote that the authority of the Sultan extended from Malindi in the north to Inhambane in the south and was particularly impressed by the planning of the city, believing it to be the reason for Kilwa’s success along the coast.

From this period date the construction of the Palace of Husuni Kubwa and a significant extension to the Great Mosque of Kilwa, which was made of Coral Stones and the largest Mosque of its kind. With a change in the monsoon winds, Ibn Battuta sailed back to Arabia, first to Oman and the Strait of Hormuz then on to Mecca for the hajj of 1330 (or 1332).

Near East, Central Asia and Southern Asia

Andronikos III Palaiologos

After spending another year in Mecca, Ibn Battuta decided to seek employment with the Muslim Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq. In 1330 (or 1332), in need of a guide and translator for his journey, he set off for the Seljuq controlled territory of Anatolia to join one of the caravans that went from there to India. From the Syrian port of Latakia, a Genoese ship took him to Alanya on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. He then travelled overland to Konya and afterwards to Sinope on the Black Sea coast.

From Sinope he took a sea route to the Crimean Peninsula, arriving so in the Golden Horde realm. He went to port town of Azov, where he met with the emir of the Khan, then to the large and rich city of Majar. He left Majar to meet with Uzbeg Khan’s travelling court (horde), which was in the time near Beshtau mountain. From there he made a journey to Bolghar, which became the northernmost point he reached, and noted its unusually (for a subtropics dweller) short nights in summer. Then he returned to Khan’s court and with it moved to Astrakhan.

When they reached Astrakhan, Uzbeg Khan had just given permission for one of his pregnant wives, Princess Bayalun, a daughter of Greek Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, to return to her home city of Constantinople to give birth. Ibn Battuta talked his way into this expedition, which would be his first beyond the boundaries of the Islamic world.

Arriving in Constantinople towards the end of 1332 (or 1334), he met the Greek emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. He visited the great church of Hagia Sophia and spoke with a Christian Orthodox priest about his travels in the city of Jerusalem. After a month in the city, Ibn Battuta returned to Astrakhan, then arrived in the capital city Sarai al-Jadid and reported his travelling account to Sultan Mohammad Uzbek.

Thereafter he continued past the Caspian and Aral Seas to Bukhara and Samarkand. From there, he journeyed south to Afghanistan, then crossed into India via the mountain passes of the Hindu Kush. In the Rihla he mentions these mountains and the history of the range. From there, he made his way to Delhi and became acquainted with the sultan, Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Muhammad bin Tughluq was renowned as the wealthiest man in the Muslim World at that time. He patronised various scholars, Sufis, qadis, viziers and other functionaries in order to consolidate his rule. As with Mamluk Egypt, the Tughlaq Dynasty was a rare vestigial example of Muslim rule in Asia after the Mongol invasion. On the strength of his years of study in Mecca, Ibn Battuta was appointed a qadi, or judge, by the sultan. He found it difficult to enforce Islamic laws beyond the sultan’s court in Delhi, due to lack of Islamic appeal in India.

From the Rajput Kingdom of Sarsatti, he visited Hansi in India, describing it as “among the most beautiful cities, the best constructed and the most populated; it is surrounded with a strong wall, and its founder is said to be one of the great infidel kings, called Tara”. Upon his arrival in Sindh, Ibn Battuta mentions the Indian rhinoceros that lived on the banks of the Indus.

The Sultan was erratic even by the standards of the time and for six years Ibn Battuta veered between living the high life of a trusted subordinate and falling under suspicion of treason for a variety of offences. His plan to leave on the pretext of taking another hajj was stymied by the Sultan, who asked him instead to become his ambassador to Yuan Dynasty China. Given the opportunity to get away from the Sultan and visit new lands, he readily accepted.

South Asia, Southeast Asia and China

Tomb of Muhammad bin Tughluq in Delhi. Ibn Battuta served as a Qadi for 6 years during Tughluq’s reign

En route to the coast at the start of his journey to China, Ibn Battuta and his party were attacked by a group of bandits. Separated from his companions, he was robbed and nearly lost his life. Despite this setback, within ten days he had caught up with his group and continued on to Khambhat in the Indian state of Gujarat. From there, they sailed to Kozhikode (Calicut), where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama would land two centuries later. While Ibn Battuta visited a mosque on shore, a storm arose and one of the ships of his expedition sank. The other ship then sailed without him only to be seized by a local Sumatran king a few months later .

Afraid to return to Delhi and be seen as a failure, he stayed for a time in southern India under the protection of Jamal-ud-Din, ruler of the small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the Sharavathi river next to the Arabian Sea. This area is today known as Hosapattana and lies in the Honavar administrative district of Uttara Kannada. Following the overthrow of the sultanate, Ibn Battuta had no choice but to leave India. Although determined to continue his journey to China, he first took a detour to visit the Maldive Islands.

He spent nine months on the islands, much longer than he had intended. As a Chief Qadi, his skills were highly desirable in the formerly Buddhist nation that had recently converted to Islam. Half-kidnapped into staying, he became chief judge and married into the royal family of Omar I. He became embroiled in local politics and left when his strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom began to chafe with its rulers.

In the Rihla he mentions his dismay at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist, and the locals taking no notice when he complained. From the Maldives, he carried on to Sri Lanka and visited Sri Pada and Tenavaram temple.

Ibn Battuta’s ship almost sank on embarking from Sri Lanka, only for the vessel that came to his rescue to suffer an attack by pirates. Stranded on shore, he worked his way back to Madurai kingdom in India. Here in Madurai, he spent some time in the court of the short-lived Madurai Sultanate under Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani,. from where he returned to the Maldives and boarded a Chinese junk, still intending to reach China and take up his ambassadorial post.

He reached the port of Chittagong in modern-day Bangladesh intending to travel to Sylhet to meet Shah Jalal, who became so renowned that Ibn Battuta, then in Chittagong, made a one-month journey through the mountains of Kamaru near Sylhet to meet him. On his way to Sylhet, Ibn Batuta was greeted by several of Shah Jalal’s disciples who had come to assist him on his journey many days before he had arrived.

At the meeting in 1345 CE, Ibn Batuta noted that Shah Jalal was tall and lean, fair in complexion and lived by the mosque in a cave, where his only item of value was a goat he kept for milk, butter, and yogurt. He observed that the companions of the Shah Jalal were foreign and known for their strength and bravery. He also mentions that many people would visit the Shah to seek guidance. Ibn Battuta went further north into Assam, then turned around and continued with his original plan.

In the year 1345, Ibn Battuta travelled on to Samudra Pasai Sultanate in persent day Aceh, Northern Sumatra, where he notes in his travel log that the ruler of Samudra Pasai was a pious Muslim, who performed his religious duties in utmost zeal. The madh’hab he observed was Imam Al-Shafi‘i, with similar customs as he had seen in coastal India especially among the Mappila Muslim, who were also the followers of Imam Al-Shafi‘i.

At that time Samudra Pasai was the end of Dar al-Islam for no territory east of this was ruled by a Muslim ruler. Here he stayed for about two weeks in the wooden walled town as a guest of the sultan, and then the sultan provided him with supplies and sent him on his way on one of Sultan’s own junks to China. Ibn Battuta then sailed to Malacca on Malay Peninsula, Vietnam, the Philippines and finally Quanzhou in Fujian province, China.

On arriving in China in the year 1345, one of the first things he noted were the local artists and their mastery in making portraits of newly arrived foreigners. Ibn Battuta praised the craftsmen and their silk and porcelain; fruits such as plums and watermelons and the advantages of paper money. he described the manufacturing process of large ships in the city of Guangzhou, he also mentions Chinese cuisine and its usage of animals such as frogs.

While in Quanzhou he ascended the “Mount of the Hermit” and briefly visited a well-known Taoist monk. From there he went north to Hangzhou, which he described as one of the largest cities he had ever seen, and he noted its charm, describing that the city sat on a beautiful lake and was surrounded by gentle green hills. During his stay at Hangzhou he was particularly impressed by the large number of well-crafted and well-painted Chinese wooden ships, with coloured sails and silk awnings, assembling in the canals.

Later he attended a banquet of the Yuan Mongol administrator of the city named Qurtai, who according to Ibn Battuta, was very fond of the skills of local Chinese conjurers. He also described travelling further north, through the Grand Canal to Beijing, and along with his fellow countryman Al-Bushri, Ibn Battuta was invited to the Yuan imperial court of Toghan-Temür.

Ibn Battuta also reported “the rampart of Yajuj and Majuj” was “sixty days’ travel” from the city of Zeitun (Quanzhou); Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb notes that Ibn Battuta believed that the Great Wall of China was built by Dhul-Qarnayn to contain Gog and Magog as mentioned in the Quran.

Ibn Battuta then travelled from Beijing to Hangzhou, and then proceeded to Fuzhou. Upon his return to Quanzhou, he soon boarded a Chinese junk owned by the Sultan of Samudra heading for Southeast Asia, whereupon Ibn Battuta was unfairly charged a hefty sum by the crew and lost much of what he had collected during his stay in China.

Return home and the Black Death

After returning to Quanzhou in 1346, Ibn Battuta began his journey back to Morocco. In Kozhikode, he once again considered throwing himself at the mercy of Muhammad bin Tughluq, but thought better of it and decided to carry on to Mecca. On his way to Basra he passed through the Strait of Hormuz, where he learned that Abu Sa’id, last ruler of the Ilkhanate Dynasty had died in Persia. Abu Sa’id’s territories had subsequently collapsed due to a fierce civil war between the Persians and Mongols.

In 1348, Ibn Battuta arrived in Damascus with the intention of retracing the route of his first hajj. He then learned that his father had died 15 years earlier and death became the dominant theme for the next year or so. The Black Death had struck and he was on hand as it spread through Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. After reaching Mecca he decided to return to Morocco, nearly a quarter of a century after leaving home. On the way he made one last detour to Sardinia, then in 1349 returned to Tangier by way of Fez, only to discover that his mother had also died a few months before.

Al-Andalus and North Africa

Ibn Battuta visited the Emirate of Granada, which was the final vestige of the Muladi populace in Al-Andalus.

After a few days in Tangier, Ibn Battuta set out for a trip to the Moor controlled territory of al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula. King Alfonso XI of Castile and León had threatened to attack Gibraltar, so in 1350 Ibn Battuta joined a group of Muslims leaving Tangier with the intention of defending the port. By the time he arrived, the Black Death had killed Alfonso and the threat of invasion had receded, so he turned the trip into a sight-seeing tour, traveling through Valencia and ending up in Granada.

After his departure from al-Andalus he decided to travel through Morocco, one of the few parts of the Muslim world that he had never explored. On his return home, he stopped for a while in Marrakech, which was almost a ghost town following the recent plague and the transfer of the capital to Fez.

Once more Ibn Battuta returned to Tangier, but only stayed for a short while. In 1324, two years before his first visit to Cairo, the West African Malian Mansa, or king of kings, Musa had passed through the same city on his own hajj and caused a sensation with a display of extravagant riches brought from his gold-rich homeland. Although Ibn Battuta never mentioned this visit specifically, when he heard the story it may have planted a seed in his mind as he then decided to cross the Sahara and visit the Muslim kingdoms on its far side.

The Sahara to Mali and Timbuktu

Ibn Battuta stayed for fifty days in Oualata which was an important oasis town in the trans-Saharan trade.

In the autumn of 1351, Ibn Battuta left Fez and made his way to the town of Sijilmasa on the northern edge of the Sahara in present-day Morocco. There he bought a number of camels and stayed for four months. He set out again with a caravan in February 1352 and after 25 days arrived at the dry salt lake bed of Taghaza with its salt mines.

All of the local buildings were made from slabs of salt by slaves of the Masufa tribe, who cut the salt in thick slabs for transport by camel. Taghaza was a commercial centre and awash with Malian gold, though Ibn Battuta did not form a favourable impression of the place, recording that it was plagued by flies and the water was brackish.

After a ten-day stay in Taghaza, the caravan set out for the oasis of Tasarahla (probably Bir al-Ksaib)[d] where it stopped for three days in preparation for the last and most difficult leg of the journey across the vast desert. From Tasarahla, a Masufa scout was sent ahead to the oasis town of Oualata, where he arranged for water to be transported a distance of four days travel where it would meet the thirsty caravan.

Oualata was the southern terminus of the trans-Saharan trade route and had recently become part of the Mali Empire. Altogether, the caravan took two months to cross the 1,600 km (990 mi) of desert from Sijilmasa.

From there, Ibn Battuta travelled southwest along a river he believed to be the Nile (it was actually the river Niger), until he reached the capital of the Mali Empire.[e] There he met Mansa Suleyman, king since 1341. Dubious about the miserly hospitality of the king, he nevertheless stayed for eight months. Ibn Battuta disapproved of the fact that female slaves, servants and even the daughters of the sultan went about completely naked.

He left the capital in February accompanied by a local Malian merchant and journeyed overland by camel to Timbuktu. Though in the next two centuries it would become the most important city in the region, at that time it was a small city and relatively unimportant. It was during this journey that Ibn Battuta first encountered a hippopotamus.

The animals were feared by the local boatmen and hunted with lances to which strong cords were attached. After a short stay in Timbuktu, Ibn Battuta journeyed down the Niger to Gao in a canoe carved from a single tree. At the time Gao was an important commercial center.

After spending a month in Gao, Ibn Battuta set off with a large caravan for the oasis of Takedda. On his journey across the desert, he received a message from the Sultan of Morocco commanding him to return home. He set off for Sijilmasa in September 1353, accompanying a large caravan transporting 600 black female slaves, and arrived back in Morocco early in 1354.

The Rihla

After returning home from his travels in 1354, and at the instigation of the Marinid ruler of Morocco, Abu Inan Faris, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to Ibn Juzayy, a scholar whom he had previously met in Granada. The account is the only source for Ibn Battuta’s adventures.

The full title of the manuscript تحفة النظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling. However, it is often simply referred to as the Rihla الرحلة, or “The Journey”.

Ibn Batuta's Tumb

House in the Medina of Tangier, possible site of Ibn Battuta’s grave

There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes during his twenty-nine years of travels. When he came to dictate an account of them, he had to rely on memory and manuscripts produced by earlier travellers. When describing Damascus, Mecca, Medina and some other places in the Middle East, Ibn Juzayy clearly copied passages from the 12th-century account by Ibn Jubayr. Similarly, most of Ibn Juzayy’s descriptions of places in Palestine were copied from an account by the 13th-century traveller Muhammad al-Abdari.

Ibn Battuta in Egypt, a 19th-century lithograph by Léon Benett

Western Orientalists do not believe that Ibn Battuta visited all the places he described and argue that in order to provide a comprehensive description of places in the Muslim world, he relied on hearsay evidence and made use of accounts by earlier travellers.

For example, it is considered very unlikely that Ibn Battuta made a trip up the Volga River from New Sarai to visit Bolghar and there are serious doubts about a number of other journeys such as his trip to Sana’a in Yemen, his journey from Balkh to Bistam in Khorasan and his trip around Anatolia. Some orientalists have also questioned whether he really visited China. Nevertheless, while apparently fictional in places, the Rihla provides an important account of much of the 14th-century world.

Ibn Battuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited where the local customs of recently converted peoples did not fit in with his orthodox Muslim background. Among the Turks and Mongols, he was astonished at the way women behaved, remarking that on seeing a Turkish couple and noting the woman’s freedom of speech, he had assumed that the man was the woman’s servant when he was in fact her husband. He also felt that dress customs in the Maldives, and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa were too revealing. He particularly made note of cannibalism practiced in West Africa:

Sultan Mansa Suleiman was visited by a party of these negro cannibals… and gave them as his hospitality-gift a servant, a negress. They killed and ate her, and having smeared their faces and hands with her blood came to the sultan to thank him… Someone told me about them that they say that the choicest parts of women’s flesh are the palm of the hand and the breast…”

  • Ibn Battuta, Rihla of Ibn Battuta

Little is known about Ibn Battuta’s life after completion of his Rihla in 1355. He was appointed a judge in Morocco and died in 1368 or 1369.

For centuries his book was obscure, even within the Muslim world, but in the early 19th century extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East, containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy’s Arabic text. During the French occupation of Algeria in the 1830s five manuscripts were discovered in Constantine, including two that contained more complete versions of the text.

These manuscripts were brought back to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and studied by French scholars Charles Defrémery and Beniamino Sanguinetti. From 1853 they published a series of four volumes containing the Arabic text, extensive notes and a translation into French. Defrémery and Sanguinetti’s printed text has now been translated into many other languages while Ibn Battuta has grown in reputation and is now a well-known figure.

Legacy

Ibn Battuta himself stated according to Ibn Juzayy that:

I have indeed – praise be to God – attained my desire in this world, which was to travel through the Earth, and I have attained this honour, which no ordinary person has attained.

Places visited by Ibn Battuta

Over his lifetime Ibn Battuta traveled over 73,000 miles (117 500 km) and visited the equivalent of 44 modern countries, here is a list.

Maghreb

  • Tangier
  • Fes
  • Marrakech
  • Tlemcen (Tilimsan)
  • Miliana
  • Algiers
  • Djurdjura Mountains
  • Béjaïa
  • Constantine – Named as Qusantînah.
  • Annaba – Also called Bona.
  • Tunis – At that time, Abu Yahya (son of Abu Zajaria) was the sultan of Tunis.
  • Sousse – Also called Susah.
  • Sfax
  • Gabès
  • Tripoli

Arab Mashriq

  • Cairo
  • Alexandria
  • Damietta
  • Jerusalem
  • Bethlehem
  • Hebron
  • Damascus
  • Latakia
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Medina – Visited the tomb of Prophet Muhammad.
  • Jeddah
  • Mecca – Performed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Najaf – Visited the tomb of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
  • Rabigh – City north of Jeddah on the Red Sea.
  • Oman
  • Dhofar
  • Hajr (modern-day Riyadh)
  • Bahrain
  • Al-Hasa
  • Strait of Hormuz
  • Yemen
  • Qatif

Spain

  • Granada
  • Valencia

Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe

  • Konya
  • Antalya
  • Bulgaria
  • Azov
  • Kazan
  • Volga River
  • Constantinople

Central Asia

  • Khwarezm and Khorasan (now Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Balochistan (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan)
  • Bukhara and Samarqand
  • Pashtun areas of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan (Pakhtunkhwa)

South Asia

  • North India
  • Sindh (Pakistan)
  • Multan
  • Delhi
  • Present day Uttar Pradesh
  • Present day Gujarat
  • Maharashtra
  • Kozhikode
  • Malabar
  • Pandiyan Kingdom
  • Bengal (now Bangladesh and West Bengal)
  • Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh visited the area on his way from China.
  • Meghna River near Dhaka
  • Sylhet met Sufi Shaikh Hazrat Shah Jalal.
  • Maldives
  • Sri Lanka – Known to the Arabs of his time as Serendip. Ibn Battuta visited the Jaffna kingdom and Adam’s Peak.

China

  • Quanzhou – as he called in his book the city of donkeys
  • Hangzhou — Ibn Battuta referred to this city in his book as “Madinat Alkhansa” مدينة الخنساء. He also mentioned that it was the largest city in the world at that time; it took him three days to walk across the city.
  • Beijing – Ibn Battuta mentioned in his journey to Beijing how neat the city was.

Southeast Asia

  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Samudera Pasai Sultanate, Aceh, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Malacca, Malay Peninsula Malaysia

Somalia

  • Mogadishu
  • Zeila

Swahili Coast

  • Kilwa
  • Mombasa

Mali Empire and West Africa

  • Timbuktu
  • Gao
  • Takedda

Mauritania

  • Oualata (Walata)

During most of his journey in the Mali Empire, Ibn Battuta travelled with a retinue that included slaves, most of whom carried goods for trade but would also be traded as slaves. On the return from Takedda to Morocco, his caravan transported 600 female slaves, suggesting that slavery was a substantial part of the commercial activity of the empire.

Itinerary 1325–1332

Ibn Batutta Itinerary 2

Popular culture

The interiors of the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, UAE, opened in 2005, is inspired by the travels of Ibn Battuta, and carries the theme throughout the mall.

The 2007 BBC television documentary Travels with a Tangerine, hosted by classicist Tim Mackintosh-Smith, traces Ibn Battuta’s journey from Tangier to China.

He was portrayed by Richar van Weyden in the film Ninja Assassin (2009). His fictional persona is mentioned as being invited to the undisclosed training grounds in an oral history about the Ninja clans.

Ibn Batuta pehen ke joota is a popular Hindi nursery rhyme from the 1970s, written by the poet Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena.

Ibn-E-Batuta is a song from the 2010 Bollywood film Ishqiya, titled after Ibn Batuta.

Layar Battuta is a song from the 2002 Malaysian album Aura sung by popular ethnic singer-songwriter Noraniza Idris, titled after the journey of Ibn Batuta to Southeast Asia.

The 2009 IMAX film Journey to Mecca is based on Ibn Battuta’s travels.

Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta, The Video Game developed in Saudi Arabia, Available in Xbox and PlayStation 3, on May 2013.

Itinerary 1349–1354

Ibn Batutta Itinerary - 1349–1354

Notes

^ Aydhad was a port on the west coast of the Red Sea at 22°19′51″N 36°29′25″E. See: Peacock, David; Peacock, Andrew (2008), “The enigma of ‘Aydhab: a medieval Islamic port on the Red Sea coast”, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37: 32–48, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2007.00172.x

^ Most of Ibn Battuta’s descriptions of the towns along the Tigris are copied from Ibn Jabayr’s Rihla from 1184.

^ Ibn Battuta states that he stayed in Mecca for the hajj of 1327, 1328, 1329 and 1330 but gives comparatively little information on his stay. After the hajj of 1330 he left for East Africa, arriving back again in Mecca before the 1332 hajj. He states that he then left for India and arrived at the Indus river on 12 September 1333; however, although he does not specify exact dates, the description of his complex itinerary and the clues in the text to the chronology suggest that this journey to India lasted around three years. He must have therefore either left Mecca two years earlier than stated or arrived in India two years later. The issue is discussed by Gibb 1962, pp. 528–537 Vol. 2, Hrbek 1962 and Dunn 2005, pp. 132–133.

^ Bir al-Ksaib (also Bir Ounane or El Gçaib) is in northern Mali at 21°17′33″N 5°37′30″W. The oasis is 265 km (165 mi) south of Taghaza and 470 km (290 mi) north of Oualata.

^ The location of the Malian capital has been the subject of considerable scholarly debate but there is no consensus. The historian, John Hunwick has studied the times given by Ibn Battuta for the various stages of his journey and proposed that the capital is likely to have been on the left side of the Niger River somewhere between Bamako and Nyamina.

Itinerary 1332–1346

Ibn Batutta Itinerary - 1332–1346

Sources

Chittick, H. Neville (1977), “The East Coast, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean”, in Oliver, Roland, Cambridge History of Africa Vol. 3. From c. 1050 to c. 1600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 183–231, ISBN 0-521-20981-1.

Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1853), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Volume 1) (in French and Arabic), Paris: Société Asiatic. The text of these volumes has been used as the source for translations into other languages.

Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1854), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Volume 2) (in French and Arabic), Paris: Société Asiatic.

Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1855), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Volume 3) (in French and Arabic), Paris: Société Asiatic.

Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1858), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Volume 4) (in French and Arabic), Paris: Société Asiatic.

Dunn, Ross E. (2005), The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-24385-4. First published in 1986, ISBN 0-520-05771-6.

Gibb, H.A.R. trans. and ed. (1929), Ibn Battuta Travels in Asia and Africa (selections), London: Routledge. Reissued several times. Extracts are available on the Fordham University site.

Elad, Amikam (1987), “The description of the travels of Ibn Baṭūṭṭa in Palestine: is it original?”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 119: 256–272, doi:10.1017/S0035869X00140651.

Gibb, H.A.R. trans. and ed. (1958), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 1), London: Hakluyt Society.

Gibb, H.A.R. trans. and ed. (1962), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 2), London: Hakluyt Society.

Gibb, H.A.R. trans. and ed. (1971), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 3), London: Hakluyt Society.

Gibb, H.A.R.; Beckingham, C.F. trans. and eds. (1994), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 4), London: Hakluyt Society, ISBN 978-0-904180-37-4. This volume was translated by Beckingham after Gibb’s death in 1971. An separate index was published in 2000.

Hrbek, Ivan (1962), “The chronology of Ibn Battuta’s travels”, Archiv Orientalni 30: 409–486.

Hunwick, John O. (1973), “The mid-fourteenth century capital of Mali”, Journal of African History 14 (2): 195–208, JSTOR 180444.

Janicsek, Stephen (1929), “Ibn Baṭūṭṭa’s journey to Bulghàr: is it a fabrication?”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 61: 791–800, doi:10.1017/S0035869X00070015.

Levtzion, Nehemia; Hopkins, John F.P., eds. (2000), Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa, New York, NY: Marcus Weiner Press, ISBN 1-55876-241-8. First published in 1981. Pages 279-304 contain Ibn Battuta’s account of his visit to West Africa.

Yule, Henry (1916), “IV. Ibn Battuta’s travels in Bengal and China”, Cathay and the Way Thither (Volume 4), London: Hakluyt Society, pp. 1–106. Includes the text of Ibn Battuta’s account of his visit to China. The translation is from the French text of Defrémery & Sanguinetti (1858) Volume 4.

Further reading

Ferrand, Gabriel (1913), “Ibn Batūtā”, Relations de voyages et textes géographiques arabes, persans et turks relatifs à l’Extrème-Orient du 8e au 18e siècles (Volumes 1 and 2) (in French), Paris: Ernest Laroux, pp. 426–458.

Gordon, Stewart (2008), When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks who created the “Riches of the East”, Philadelphia, PA.: Da Capo Press, Perseus Books, ISBN 0-306-81556-7.

Harvey, L.P. (2007), Ibn Battuta, New York: I.B. Tauris, ISBN 978-184511-394-0.

Lee, Samuel (1829), The Travels of Ibn Batuta, London: Oriental Translation Committee. A translation of an abridged manuscript. The text is discussed in Defrémery & Sanguinetti (1853) Volume 1 pp. xvi-xvii.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (2002), Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah, London: Picador, ISBN 978-0-330-49114-3.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (ed.) (2003), The Travels of Ibn Battutah, London: Picador, ISBN 0-330-41879-3. Contains an introduction by Mackintosh-Smith and then an abridged version (around 40 percent of the original) of the translation by H.A.R. Gibb and C.E. Beckingham (1958-1994).

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (2005), Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah, London: John Murray, ISBN 978-0-7195-6710-0.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (2010), Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam with Ibn Battutah, London: John Murray, ISBN 978-0-7195-6787-2.

Waines, David (2010), The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-86985-8.

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