Muslim History and Historians Part 3: Muslim Historians (from the 15th Century down to the 19th)

This part focuses on Muslim historians from the 15th century until the early 19th. It seeks to inform us about the works of famed figures such as Ibn Khaldun, but also lesser ones, yet extremely important to our knowledge, such as Al Jabarti of Egypt. To the latter, as to many historians of this period, other than truth, the essential lesson we are reminded of constantly is how history is like a torch that can enlighten our experience of life, now and for the future, and what lessons and wisdom we can derive from the knowledge of past events. This part also includes a section on biographers who informed us about the lives of eminent Muslim personalities.

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Figure 1. The Tabula Rogeriana, drawn by al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily in 1154, one of the most advanced ancient world maps. Modern consolidation, created from the 70 double-page spreads of the original atlas. (Source

If the degree of evolution of any social type is to be measured by the development of its historiography, a prominent place is due to Islam among the cultures of mankind."[1]

1. Historians of Egypt (down to the late 14th century)

Islam entered Africa through Egypt. An early history of Egypt is the Futuh Misr wa’l Maghrib  wa Akhbaruha (Conquest of Egypt and the Maghrib, Conquest of Egypt and the Accounts thereof) in seven books by Ibn Abd al-Hakam (c.187/803 257/871) where the interest in the detail of the Muslim arrival crossed with the local interest of a somewhat later period.[2] Mss of this work in London, Paris, and Leyden have been published by the Yale University Press in the 1920s.[3] This is the earliest printed work of an original text that recounts a Muslim account of the Muslim entry in Egypt and the West.[4] Ibn Abd al-Hakam’s book I deals with the ‘excellencies of Egypt’ (fadail Misr) and the ancient history of the country, Book II with the Muslim conquest under ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, Book III with the Khitat or settlements of the Muslims in al-Fustat and al-Jiza (Gizh), and the holdings in Alexandria and the district of Old Cairo called al-Qata’i, etc., Book I V with various measures of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As in the Nile valley, the conquest of the oasis of al-Fayyum, Barqa and Tripoli, the temporary loss and subsequent retaking of Alexandria, the recall and death of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, the Muslim expansion into Ifrikiya (the Roman province of Africa), and the fighting with the Nubians in the south, Book V with the conquest of North Africa and Spain, Book VI with the qadis of Egypt down to 246/860-1, and Book VII with various specifically Egyptian traditions.[5] This work is extremely interesting as it informs us of some crucial developments in Muslim history and civilization such as the use of the fist cheques under Omar ibn al Khattab. Ibn Abd al-Hakam indicates that Omar Ibn al-Khattab paid for the grains delivered to state warehouses by cheque.[6]  He also states that the Caliph would pay gov­ernmental wages by cheque prepared by his scribe/secretary, Zayd b. Thabit, which were written on papyrus and certified on their reverse sides by seal, and that this practice was perpetuated into the Umayyad era (661-750).[7]  

Ibn ad-Daya (died 340/951) wrote Sirat Ahmad b. Tulun wa’bnihi Khumarawayh (Biography of Ibn Tulun and his son Khumarawayh) is a biography of the first Tulunid rulers of Egypt.[8] Here, it is interesting to note how, whilst Ahmad ibn Tulun, the founder of the dynasty, was a great builder (a famed hospital, the defences of Acre, a great Mosque, improvements to the Nilometre, and many other accomplishments,’ his son, Khumarawayh, was a despot, a drunkard, and a great waster of money, who played the decisive role in the collapse of the Dynasty. This story is found repeated at all times and in all places of the Muslim world, historian after historian repeating the same accounts of the greatness of the father and the fickleness of the son(s).[9]

There will be plenty more on later Egyptian historians such as al-Maqrizi and al-Djabarti further on, but here focus is on those dealing with early Mamluk rule of Egypt. 

Muhyi al-Din ibn Abd al-Zahir (1223-92) wrote a contemporary biography of Baybars (ruled 1260-1277). He also wrote biographies of his successors, Qala’un (ruled 1279-90) and his son Al-Ashraf (1290-3). Al-Zahir received traditional Islamic education and rose to become the chief clerk of Baybar’s chancery.[10]  An eminent Arabic stylist, which was an important qualification for the post, he was responsible for the drafting of state papers.[11] The greater part of Al-Zahir’s biography of Baybars (Al-Rawd al-Zahir fi sirat al-Malik al-Zahir ) [12] was written during its subject’s lifetime.[13] Of the Mss there are two extant copies, one nearly complete, the other covering approximately the first third of the work.[14]

A great character, amongst the historians of the time, was the fighter-historian, such as Baibars (Baybars) Rukn ad-Din ad-Dawadar al-Mansuri (d. 725/1324-25). He held high administrative posts in the Mamluk state under al-Malik an-Nasir, which made him one of the most authoritative writers of the period.[15] Before al-Malik an-Nasir’s arrival to the throne, Baibars al-Mansuri had served in military campaigns against both the Crusaders and the Mongols in Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor under sultans Qala’un (678-89/ 1279-90) and al-Ashraf Al-Khalil (689-93/1290-93), and as governor of the fortress al-Karak.[16] Here, it is crucial to clarify a crucial element which has remained obscure in many Muslim (and non-Muslim minds) to this day: the Mongol issue. Briefly here, the Mongols of the Golden Horde, based in southern Russia, and who later on became part of the Ottoman Empire, had become Muslim very early under their leader Berque, and always stood by fellow Muslims and even opposed the destruction of Baghdad and the killing of Muslims by their Mongol cousins. The Mongols based in Tabriz, under Hulagu, on the other hand, were allies of the crusaders, and were responsible for the destruction of Iraq and Syria, and even when Hulagu’s descendants became Muslim (the likes of Ghazan, for instance) they remained allies of the Crusaders and kept fighting the Muslims for over a century.[17]

Back to Baibars al Mansuri, when al-Malik an-Nasir was enthroned in 693/1293-94, Baibars, who had just returned from a military expedition to Hims, was promoted further, appointed chief of chancery, in which capacity he was in charge of the sultan’s correspondence but was employed for special missions as well.[18] Around the beginning of 694/1294-95, for example, he was sent to Alexandria to put down acts of piracy by Frankish ships[19] and stayed on to distribute famine taxes levied on the rich to feed the poor. When Lãgin became sultan in 696/1296-97, Baibars al-Mansuri lost his position but was reinstated in 698/1298—99 when al-Malik an-Nasir was himself reinstated as sultan. Later in that year he was left in charge of the Cairo citadel when the sultan marched to Syria against the Mongols.[20] In 702/1302-03 he fought in the Mamluk army against the Mongols in Syria, leaving us with an eyewitness account of the battle.[21] Having lost his post as chief of chancery in 704/1304-05, Baibars al-Mansuri participated in the following year in an expedition against the Armenians of Sis as assistant to the commander of an advance detachment, in which capacity he could record a personal account of the campaign.[22] The vagaries of life and politics being what they always are, he was deposed and imprisoned for five years,[23] and no longer played a prominent role in state affairs and died an old man in 725/1324-25, leaving two important sources for events in which he had participated or which he had witnessed.[24]

One, Zubdat al-fikra fi tarrikh al-higra, is a general history of Islam up to 724/1323-24 whose extant parts end, however, with 709/1209-10.[25] The other, at-Tuhfa al-mulikiya fi d-daula at-turkiya, is a compilation from the sections of Zubdat al-fikra that deal with the Turkish or Bahri dynasty, ending with an annals for 711/1311-12.[26] Comparison of these two works enlightens in regard to the author’s methodology and, at the same time, establish ground for comparison with other histories, many of which are indebted to these two works.[27]  Zubdat al-fikra includes headings and matters such as: A low Nile resulting in famine and high prices and Mongol strife resulting in the accession of Gazan, which are also found dealt with in the second work, which also covers an interesting episode related to Christian pirates raids on Muslim ships.[28]

Sihab ad-Din Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Nuwairi (d. 732/1331-32) belonged exclusively to the bureaucratic, as opposed to military, institution.[29] Son of a “katib of note,” an-Nuwairi served in various state offices during al-Malik an-Nasir’s reigns in Syria in 701/1301-02, when he was in his early twenties.[30] Years later he returned to Egypt as director of the Bureau of Privy Funds (diwan al-hass) and of the Qala’un complex of buildings (which consisted of Qala’un’s mausoleum, madrasa-mosque, and hospital).[31] He served other functions subsequently, a role in the Mamluk administration which is reflected in his work: Nihayat al-arab fifunun al-adab, a vast encyclopedia designed to contain “all the knowledge that was indispensable for a first-class scribe.”[32] Nearly half the work is devoted to history, arranged, however, not in the manner of a universal chronicle but in the form of regional or dynastic sections, the last of which recounts the history of Egypt beginning with the Tulunids and continuing through the reign of al-Malik an-Nasir. Like Baibars al-Mansuri, an-Nuwairi would have had access to state documents by virtue of his positions and he was an intimate of high- ranking officials, many of whom he quotes as authorities in his work.[33] Few written sources are cited other than the writings of al-Birzali and al-Jazari for events in Syria and in Mongol territory.[34] An-Nuwairi also devotes a separate section to the history of the Mongols.[35]

We have another al Nuwairi about him there is very little known. In fact our knowledge of him owes to one writer in particular, A.S. Atiya, who describes for us the Crusade of Alexandria in October 1365.[36] Al Nuwairi, in his book Kitab Al-Ilmam bil’lam, gives us the best and lengthiest description of that crusade as experienced on the Muslim side.[37] That crusade was one of the most devastating in Islamic history, Alexandria being then the most thriving city in the Muslim world. Profiting from its poor military defence and the weakness of the ruler, the Crusaders landed there, and in the space of days inflicted utter destruction to the city, slaying most of its population, and taking away considerable booty and slaves back to Europe.[38] The episode is narrated by Western sources, the secondary including Runciman, K. Setton, and Edbury,[39] but the best Western source is that of the contemporary Guillaume of Machaut.[40] Although he differs from al Nuwairi in some details, such as the sequence of some events, which is all too normal, for sources never agree on details (due to the time and space that separates them) (besides failures of memory), he vindicates al Nuwairi’s description especially in regard to the scale of destruction and the killing that went on.[41] The crucial element in regard to the knowledge of that crusade is not really the devastation caused, but the wider picture, crusading in the later Middle Ages, which is wholly ignored by most historians, but which is a central element in understanding the whole history of Muslim-Christian relations, and the role of the later crusades in both causing Muslim economic decline, and conversely, and oddly, also leading to the rise of Ottoman power.[42]

2. Biographies

Figure 2: Painting of the battleground of Timur and the Egyptian King, conserved in Golestan Palace, Tehran, by Kamaleddin Behzad (dated around 1515). © Tehran Museum of contemporary art. (Source).

Muslim biographical dictionaries, Young observes, combine and also anticipate the features of both Who's Who and works such as the Dictionary of National Biography.[43] Biography, he explains, seeks to understand the individual and those features of character that make them unique, the space devoted to each being proportional to their importance. The most frequent matters included in the entries are the subject's date of death, their lineage, education and travels; appointments, their intellectual and moral qualities and interesting anecdotes related to them. Also included are philological notes on the form of the subject's name, a brief description of their physical appearance and, in the case of authors, a list of their works.[44]

The earliest biographical dictionary was the Kitab Tabaqat al-Muhaddithin of al-Mawsali, who died in 800, but of which no copy is thought to have survived. Many more followed, and included not just the names of men but also of women; encompassing all classes of important people, as in such works as Kitab Wulat Misr wa Qudatiha (Book of the Governors and Judges of Egypt) by Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Kindi (d. 961) and Qudat Qurtuba (The Judges of Cordova) by al-Khushani (981).[45]

The Fihrist, completed by the Baghdad bookseller, Ibn al-Nadim, in 987,[46] gives detailed account of works by Muslim scholars up to the late decades of the 10th century.[47] It is divided into ten ‘discourses,’ the first, for instance, describing the language of both Arabs and non Arabs, the varieties of their scripts, and so on. The second mainly deals with grammar; the third with Belles Lettres, biography, genealogies, and other subjects. As one reads through the Fihrist, one becomes aware of the scale of loss of Muslim books, for the vast majority of works it cites are no longer extant.[48]

Al-Humaydi (d.1095), who came from the city of Majorqa, was a student of Ibn Hazm. He emigrated to the Orient because of troubles in Spain, and established himself in Baghdad. He wrote Jadh’watu-i-muktabis  (the sparkle of fire from the Muktabis or an abridgment of the above work, which is in the Bodl. Lib., Hunt.[49] Its contents are the lives of eminent Spanish Muslims, divided into ten parts, and preceded by a valuable historical introduction. It gives in alphabetical order the biographies of the main traditionalists, jurists, political figures, army generals, other leading figures, nearly a thousand entries.[50] Al-Humaydi was to become a major source of reference for Al-Maqqari and Ibn Khallikan.[51]

Ibn Asakir51 (d. 1176) distinguished himself with his great Tarikh Dimashq (History of Damascus).[52] He Lived in Damascus, and taught tradition at the Umayyad Mosque then in a college. Throughout, he maintained good relations with Ayyubid sultans. The first two volumes of his treatise are devoted to Damascus and its monuments, and the two others, by alphabetical order, consist in entries on main figures of the city: princes, governors, judges, poets, and so on.

One of the most used Muslim Biographical sources is by Ibn al-Qifti (d.1248). Ibn al-Qifti was born in Qift, in Upper Egypt in 1172-1173. He flourished in Cairo, where he was instructed in the most varied branches of Islamic leaning, and continued his studies in Jerusalem, to which his father was summoned to an important office in the year 1187 (following the city’s recapture from the crusaders by Salah Eddin). After spending 15 years there, he went to Aleppo, where he devoted himself entirely for ten years to his literary studies until 1213, he was entrusted with the administration and finance, an office which he held until 1230.[53] He held other official functions, including as a vizier. His official positions gave him the opportunity of helping other scholars, in addition to his own literary activity. For instance, he gave great assistance to the geographer Yaqut, when the latter fled in front of the Mongols, a help for which the latter repeatedly shows his gratitude.[54] Of his numerous works, among which his historical writings predominate (a History of Cairo, a History of Yemen, a History of the Seljuks, etc), only one has come down to us, and only in extracts.[55] The original was probably called Kitab Akhbar al-Ulama bi Akhbar al-Hukama, usually briefly called as Kitab Tarikh al-Hukama (The History of the Philosophers) on the lives of 414 philosophers and scientists (astronomers and physicians).[56]  It only survives in abbreviated form, but is still one of the most important sources on Muslim physicians, men of sciences and philosophers.

Ibn Khalikan (1211-1282) was born at Irbil, Jazirah, east of the Tigris, received his first training from his father.[57] He spent most of his working life in Syria where he exerted as Qadi and where he taught. He visited Mosul many times and became acquainted with the historian Ibn al-Athir.  In the year 1261, he was appointed by Sultan Baybars as Qadi al-Qudat in Damascus.[58] His only work, Kitab wafayat al-a’yan wa-anba' abna' al-zaman (the death of great personages and histories of the leading people of the time), is a dictionary of the great men of Islam containing 865 biographies.[59] His autograph Mss. is in the British Museum.[60]  The work is one of the most important aids to the study of Islamic biography and literary history.  In it, he takes considerable pains to give accurate information, tracing genealogies, spelling names correctly, giving the main traits of each personality, adding anecdotes, and fixing dates of birth and death; and when insure about a detail, he omits the entry altogether. The holograph manuscript of the Wafayat is deposed at the British Museum, and the manuscript itself has been repeatedly edited by Wustenfeld and De Slane,[61] on top of the excellent translation by de Slane in English.[62] Entries on Ibn Khalikan can also be gleaned in every sort of compendia or encyclopaedias. Whilst Durant finds the work remarkably accurate, Ibn Khallikan nevertheless apologises for its imperfections:

God has allowed no book to be faultless except the Qur’an."[63] he says.

Ibn Abi-Usaybi'ah (b.1203-4), the son of an oculist, was born at Damascus, where he studied medicine, before migrating to Cairo, where he worked at the Al-Nasiri Hospital. After a short term at this city, he accepted the appointment of physician to the Emir Az Eddin ibn Sarkhar.[64] He has the distinction of being the first historian of Muslim Medicine, when he wrote in 1242 Uyun‘l-Anba fi Tabaqat al-Atibba (The Classes of the Physicians) (Lives of the Physicians) (sources of information on the classes of physicians). It is a series of bio-bibliographies of the most eminent physicians from the earliest times until his era. It is and remains the main source for the history of Muslim medicine, dealing with about 400 Muslim physicians. The work is divided in fifteen chapters, evolving from the origins of medicine, and its development, to the physicians of Islam in every country. Because Muslim physicians also excelled in other sciences, the book informs on such scientific activities as well.[65] The first edition of the work was issued in 1245-6, and was later translated into Latin under the title Fontes relationum de classibus medicorum. There are Mss of it in the British Museum and at Leyden, in Holland. Wustenfeld derives much of his information from Ibn abi Usaybi'a, but it is Muller’s edition in German which is most informative, including 162 additional pages, a preface, corrections, and a complete index.[66] This work was the main source of the history of Muslim medicine by the French scholar, Leclerc.[67] There are Latin translations of the work by J.J. Reiske at Copenhagen.

A final biographer of great repute, Yaqut al-Hamawi, wrote Irshad al-arib ila marifat al-adib, also referred to as Mu'ujam al-udaba (Dictionary of Learned Men). In this work, Yaqut managed altogether 33,180 pages on the poets and men of literature.[68] Abd al-Ghani Hasan mentions the method of Yaqut in his Irshad, whereby ‘he does not state something positively when he is not certain; only using ‘I think,’ ‘I reckon,’ and similar expressions indicative of mere supposition. On the other hand, when confident about the matter, he says: ‘that which I know is,’ ‘that with which I am acquainted is’ and similar phrases indicative of certainty.[69]

The rich value of such Islamic works is raised by De Somogyi,[70], who points out that although many biographies of European rulers or autographies from the Middle Ages exist, ‘we do not know of any such comprehensive and chronologically arranged collections of biographies or such extensive and alphabetically arranged biographical dictionaries as have survived by the score in Arabic literature.’ Such works constitute a rich repository of information from which precious data may be drawn by Islamic scholars and students of general history alike. And such information can be used for comparison with, or, and supplementation to the other pertinent sources of Arabic historiography.[71]

3. Later Historians (15th century)

Figure 3: Map of the Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent in 1683 (See: list of territories). (Source). Self drawn by Atilim Gunes Baydin, mainly based on Robert Mantran (ed.), Histoire de l'Empire Ottoman, Paris: Fayard (1989).

Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) is widely recognised as a genius figure, from whose work sprang our modern sociology, history, political and economic theory. There are literally thousands of works that have been devoted to him, long and short, as well as conferences, classes and seminars, besides entries under his name in every encyclopaedia or dictionary, some of them quite original as that in the universal biography published in French in the 19th century.[72]

Ibn Khaldun’s major work The Muqqadima (The Introduction or Prolegomenon) is a gigantic endeavour, a discourse on universal history in six chapters.[73] Chapter one deals with geography, physical and humane. Chapter two deals with urban and rural life. Chapter three is on the state and how it functions. Chapter four describes cities, their prosperity and decay. Chapter five deals with economics, whilst the final chapter covers sciences, their classifications and their development. Ibn Khaldun also discusses the history of the Arabs, the Jews, the Caliphs, the passage from family to tribe, their confederation, the rise of empires, their natural limits, duration and their fall. He expands on administration, government, the law, religion, finance, taxes, war, trade, urban and rural life, arts, sciences, architecture and music.

In his work, Ibn Khaldun does not just describe events, but also looks at their sources and causes, and elaborated upon them. He criticises some of his predecessors, arguing that information has to be supported by facts, repeatedly, warning on the pitfalls that can induce historians into errors. He rejects partiality, always making thoroughly certain of the accuracy of facts; thus giving a new scientific dimension to the social sciences. In economic theory, four centuries before A. Smith, De Somogyi holds,[74] Ibn Khaldun had already concluded that labour was the source of prosperity. He had also distinguished between the direct source of income in agriculture, industry and commerce, and the indirect source of income of civil servants and private employees. In respect to universal historiography, he was the first to lay the foundation of the pragmatic method and make social evolution the object of historical research.[75]

Humphrey explains that Ibn Khaldun was also the first to argue that history was a true science based on philosophical principles.[76] History involves speculation and an attempt to get at the truth, ‘subtle’ explanation of the causes and origins of existing things, and a deep knowledge of the how and why of events. Historical knowledge, thus, is not the same as factual data about the past, but consists ‘of the principles of human society’ which are elicited from these data in a complex process of induction and deduction.[77] Mere piling up of facts is not the object of historical study, if these facts cannot be determined correctly, there is no basis for historical knowledge in the true sense. Following a long held Muslim tradition, and along with most Muslim historians, Ibn Khaldun agrees that facts depend on the authorities who transmit stories about the past, and that these transmitters should be men widely recognized for their erudition and probity.

Ibn Khaldun’s other work, the ‘Ibar, the Universal History, aroused less interest,[78] yet, this is a work of first class importance for the historian, in fact, according to this author much more interesting and useful than the Muqqadima. Whilst the Muqqadima might be useful to those who like to cogitate, the ‘Ibar offers first class knowledge about the history of North Africa, and also places such as Sicily, and Christian military expeditions against North Africa until the late Middle Ages. The first to produce an edition and translation of extensive passages from the ‘Ibar was Noel Desvergers, under the title Histoire de l'Afrique sous la dynastie des Aghlabites et de la Sicile sous la domination Musulmane.[79] Another partial translation was published some years later by de Slane under the title Histoire des Berberes et des dynasties Musulmanes de l'Afrique Septentrionale,[80] followed by an edition of the passages translated.[81] Next there appeared the complete Basel edition,[82] and since then there have followed also some partial translations.[83] There are few editions of the work in Arabic both in Cairo and Beirut.[84]

Ibn Khaldun, like most Muslim historians, once more, insists on the central elements of historical knowledge:

  1. The necessity of truth.
  2. Using the past (history) to guide us in the present and even in the future.

In regard to knowing and transmitting historical knowledge, the criterion of truth is correspondence—he means, with what actually happens. Therefore it is necessary to examine if the alleged fact is possible. This is more important than and comes before justifying the transmitters.[85] The conclusion follows:

If this is so, then the rule or criterion in distinguishing truth from falsehood in historical narratives on the basis of possibility and absurdity is that we should consider the society of mankind which is civilization, and distinguish which conditions belong to [civilization] essentially and in conformity with its nature, and which are accidental and need not be reckoned with, and which cannot possibly happen in it (lit, for it). When we have done that, we have a canon or criterion for distinguishing the true from the false, truth from lies, by a demonstrative method which does not admit of doubt. So then when we have heard of any case of the conditions occurring in civilization, we know what we are to judge worthy of acceptance, what worthy of rejection as false. We have thus a true touchstone (mi’yar) by which historians may pursue the path of truth and right in what they report. This is the aim of this first hook (i.e. the Muqaddima) of our worky."[86]

Ibn Khaldun advises that historians rely on the past for understanding the present, that they use their own experience to understand the underlying conditions of their society and the principles governing them. In studying the past, they must discover the underlying conditions of those times and decide whether and how far the apparent principles of their own age are applicable. The understanding of the past, thus, becoming the tool by which to evaluate the present. Ultimately, once they fully understand the laws of human society, they can apply them directly to any new body of historical information they confront.[87]

Al-Makrizi (d.1442) is the most famed of medieval Egyptian historians, and perhaps the true great Muslim historian of all. A man of the law, and teacher in Cairo, he collected his material, much of which absolutely unique, to compile his major work: Kitab al-Khitat.[88] Al-Khitat deals with topography and archaeology as much as history. Its full title is Kitab al-Mawaiz wa’l-Itibar fi Dhikr al-Khitat wa’l-Athar (Book of Exhortations and Consideration, or Mention, of the Settlements and Monuments).[89] It is concerned with Egypt in general and al-Fustat and Cairo in particular. The interest in the first settlements of the Muslims in Egypt is even more prominent. Al-Maqrizi, as the Hungarian Arabist Ignas Goldziher has noted, made use of one of the works of the Spaniard Ibn Hazm, which were undoubtedly little known in the East.[90] The Khitat remained for a long time available only in a two-volume edition printed at Bulaq in 1270/1853, but there is now a modern edition from a Lebanese press.[91]

Al-Maqrizi also compiled Kitab al-Suluk li Ma’rifat Duwal al Muluk (Book of Entrance to the knowledge of the dynasties of the Kings), of which the Frenchman Quatremere made a translation of a large portion, and also an edition of the Arabic version up to 1354.[92] It is a history of Egypt from the accession of Salah Eddin in 564/1169 [with some introductory remarks on pre-Islamic times, to the Prophet, then the first four rightly guided Caliphs, then the Umayyads, ‘Abbasids, Buwayhids and Seljuqs] becoming regular annals from about 568/1172 and ending in 844/1440-1, after which it is continued by Ibn Taghribirdi (see following). It is thus in effect a complete history of two Egyptian dynasties, the Ayyubids (i.e. Salah Eddin and his successors) and the Bahri Mamluks, and a partial history of a third, the Burji Mamluks (mostly Circassians). A considerable portion of this was translated into French by Quatremére, and the Arabic text is now available as far as the end of 755/1354 (i.e. well down in the Bahri Mamluk period), in a well-printed critical edition by Mubammad M. Ziyada.[93]

Al-Maqrizi says in his introduction to the Suluk[94] that he has already completed two works, the ‘Iqd Jawahir al-Asfat min Akhbar Madinat al-Fustat (Necklace of Jewels of the Caskets from the History of the City of al-Fustat) and the Kitab Ittiaz’ al-Hunafa’ bi-Akhbar al-Khulafa’ (Book of the Admonition of True Believers on the History of the Caliphs), which between them cover the period from the Muslim arrival to the end of Fatimid rule. In his present book (the Suluk) he brings the history of Egypt down to his own time, in fact until shortly before his death in 845/1442.

In his Kitab an-Niza wa’l Takhasum fima bayna Umaya wa Bani Hashim,[95] Al-Maqrizi  refers to the tradition that Abu Bakr stood in a special relation to the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet said simply: ‘If I took a friend, it would be Abu Bakr.’[96] The Abbasids are not spared his vindictive, though, such as Al-Mansur introducing the obnoxious practice of prostration before the ruler.

Al-Maqrizi’s other works include the Kitab ighathat al-Umma bi-Kashf al-G’humma (Book of Help to the Nation in Disclosing the Distress), which deals with the famines which had occurred in Egypt from the earliest times down to the year 1405, the date of composition.[97] The author draws not only on his knowledge of Muslim history but gives several pages on periods of scarcity in more ancient times, derived from the Kitab Akhhar Misr (History of Egypt) of the ustaadh Ibrahim b. Waif Shah. Enan states that in the Ighathat al-Umma al-Maqrizi was influenced by Ibn Khaldun, the older man, who was his teacher in Egypt,[98] and this is accepted by the Cairo editors, who also note that the similarity of treatment here and in the Muqqadima of Ibn Khaldun extends even to such a purely stylistic matter as the termination of sections by a verse or verses of the Qur’an.[99]

The occasion of the composition of the Ighatat al-Umma was the intermittent famine in Egypt between the years 1394 and 1405 during which his only daughter died perhaps of the plague. We learn, for instance, that in places such as Mahalla, the effect of the plague was so severe that the prefect could find no one to come to complain to him, whilst the qadi, when approached by people to validate their wills, could, because of their small number, find no witnesses except after a great exertion. In the countryside, there was almost no one left to cultivate the land or collect the harvests.[100] Al-Maqrizi himself was appointed muhtasib (Inspector of the markets) in Cairo in 1398-9, and as the editors remark his special experience in this post no doubt helped in dealing with the subject matter of the book.[101]  This leads him to give a short account of the history of currency in Islam, which before or afterwards he made the subject of a separate treatise.[102] In all this we seem to have traces of the influence of Ibn Khaldun on al-Maqrizi,[103] for clearly he is here concerned with facts of economics and sociology, and al-Maqrizi’s perception of which was no doubt sharpened by contact with Ibn Khaldun.  Incidentally, we get some idea of his speed at work, when we learn that the Kitab Ighathat al-Umma was put in order and revised in a single night.[104]

Another work of al-Maqrizi deals with bees. The date of composition and the purpose of the book are not known. The title is Kitab Nahl ‘Ibar an-Nahl (Book of the Present from the Examples of the Bee).[105] He first speaks of the nature and habits of bees and then goes on to speak of the important products, honey ‘the noblest of foods’[106] and wax, which is derived from them. At the close his overriding historical interest is shown in accounts of famous occasions, at the court of Mas’ud or Mahmüd of Ghazna, at the marriage of a daughter of Khumarawayh of Egypt to the Caliph al-Mutadid, and other instances, when great numbers of wax-candles were used. This whole section raises the question of illumination in public and private in Islam. We have a picture of al-Mansur going to the mosque accompanied by an attendant carrying an oil-lamp, or again of the same Caliph reading and writing by the light of a single wax-candle in a candlestick which was removed when he had finished.[107] The Umayyads, al-Maqrizi tells us, used oil-lamps for illumination and tall wax-candles in processions, and we get the impression that the use of lamps is the older practice, while very extensive employment of candles is an indication of later luxury. What is perhaps most remarkable in the book, very original in its subject and perhaps unique in Arabic,[108] is that al-Maqrizi uses little personal observation of bees, but relies on passages in earlier literature where bees, honey, honeycomb, and related matters are mentioned.

Al-Maqrizi also wrote two works of general history, the Kitab Imta al-Asma’ fima li’n-Nabi’ min al-Anba’ wa’l-Ahwal wa’l Hafada wa’l-Mata (Book of the Delight of the Ears in the Prophet Muhammad’s News and Conditions and Descendants and Household Goods), and the Kitab al-Khabar an al-Bashar, (History of Mankind) also called Kitab al-Madkhal (Book of Introduction), which began with the Creation, dealt with world-geography and the early history of the Arabs and Persians, and was intended as an introduction to the Kitab Imta al-Asma. Neither of these books seems to have been the object of any special attention. The same applies also to his Durar al-Uqad al-Farida fi Tarajim al-Ayan al-Mufida (Pearls of the Precious Necklaces in the Biographies of Important Personages), which dealt with contemporaries.[109] His short works, apart from those which have been mentioned, cover a wide range of subjects.

Finally, Ibn Taghribidi (d.1469) wrote an-Nujum az-Zahira fi Muluk Misr wal-Qahira (the Brilliant Stars in the Kings of Misr and Cairo.)[110] It gives excellent accounts of events from the time of the Muslim arrival until 1468, that is to the eve of the author’s death.[111] It is divided into seven volumes of annals. The first part of this to the year 365/976 was edited at Leiden by Juynboll and Matthes in 1855-61. Later the study of Ibn Taghribirdi became a large part of the life-work of W. Popper,[112] who began publishing the remaining years (from 366/976) in 1909, and by 1963 had completed an Arabic text of much of the Nujum az-Zahira and an English translation, carefully annotated, of the years dealing with the Circassian Mamluks of Egypt, 784/1382 to 872/1468,[113] where as already mentioned the work ends. Popper also contributed an edition in four volumes of Ibn Taghribirdi’s Hawadith ad-Duhür (Happenings of the Times)[114] which, written on a more elaborate scale than the other work, was intended by its author as a continuation of the Kitab as-Suluk of al-Maqrizi, and, beginning where al-Maqrizi’s book ended, included the years 1441-1469, that is to say it came down rather more than a year further than the Nujum az-Zahira, till shortly before Ibn Taghribirdi’s death.[115] His Mamluk descent and friendships alone do not account for Ibn Tagribirdi’s status as historian at the Mamluk court, for the excellence of his scholarship was recognized by his peers, including al-’Aini, and is still acknowledged to the extent that he probably ranks second only to al-Maqrizi as historian of medieval Egypt.[116]

4. Ottoman Historians

`This is that the clever masters recount:
The study of history is nothing less than a treasure of gold. A man beholding gold and jewelries takes pleasure therefrom;
So study and history are insights’ light.
Books are like a boon companion-mute;
He knows the condition of heaven’s ancient wheel. As if he had the very tongue of fortune,
lie bares secrets to those forbidden to know them.
So history has become the interpreter of the age. It reports events but has not tongue.
Sometimes it speaks plainly of ways of conduct;
It opens speech about the struggle of the Good of mankind. Sometimes it tells of men of fame,
Of the tales of the sultans of the earth.
Sometimes it reveals the secrets of the state.
It describes the condition of the kingdom and the people. The old and the new, ancient
and modern
Become known and plain through history.
Because history is a noble science, Noble men’s nature has delighted in it.
The master of this science is a man of penetration.
He who is ignorant of it is uninformed.
Had the teachers of old not written history,
Who would know of the conditions of the past?
For the brethren to come did the great men of oldMake the sweets of the present to exist.
Men of wisdom, taking pity on those yet to come,
Toiled to compose their book.
This is proper, that noble patrons
Should strive towards writing such a work.
Let them find an author of graceful style
And show him their favor.
Let him be able to write in a convincing fashion,
Let him fix and set down events effectively,
Thus it becomes a means to win men’s prayers hereafter.
The work becomes an expounder of the noble litany.
(Naima’s verse to history.)[117]

Figure 4: The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II enters Constantinople by Fausto Zonaro, (1854-1929). The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 cemented the status of the Ottoman Empire as the preeminent power in south-eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. (Source).

Humphreys gave glimpses of Ottoman history.[118] He observes that the earliest historical writing in Ottoman Turkish (mid-15th century) seems to represent a distinct and independent tradition; that it is almost "folkloric in its narrative patterns", relying on a colloquial style. One example of such is the chronicle of Ottoman history by Ashiq Pasha Zade (fl. 1485). With the Tevarih-i Al-i Osman of Kemalpasha-zade (fl. 1500), however, he adds, Ottoman historians began to adopt ‘the ornate courtly style used in contemporary Persian historiography.’

From the mid-16th century on, Ottoman writers began to show some concern for the deeds of sultans and viziers, and also for the principles which govern the rise and fall of states. This concern, he explains, being the result of growing consciousness of decadence and decline, as seen in the writing of such imposing figures as Mustafa Ali (d. 1600), Katib Chelebi (d. 1657), and Na'ima (d. 1716). The latter two were particularly impressed by Ibn Khaldun in this specific area, and sought to apply them to the developments observed within the Ottoman polity.

For a good description of Algeria in Turkish times, prior to the French arrival (1830), there is Ali Riza Pasha’s Mir’at al-Cezayir (a View of Algeria).[119] Khayreddin Barbarossa, known in Western circles as a corsair, and who fought the Spanish onslaught on Algeria, also left first accounts of his military campaigns, and overall description of the condition of the Muslims in Spain. His Gazavat-I Hayreddin Pasa (British Museum, MS Or. 2798), is the main source for such events. There are also other versions of this manuscript, as in Italian by A. Gallota,[120] or by the Spaniard Francisco Lopez de Gomara.[121] Khayreddin was also directly involved in carrying Muslim exiles from Spain during their expulsion, to other Islamic lands. In his work he particularly resents the loss of those exiles of their children who were kept behind to be raised as Christians.[122]

Hajji (Hadji) Khalifa in his great Arabic catalogue of all Muslim scientific works, says:

The science of history is the knowledge of the conditions of peoples, their countries, their institutions and habits, likewise of the actions, genealogy and manner of life of individuals among them. Its subject is the vicissitudes of persons of bygone times, for instance prophets, saints, learned men, sages, princes, poets and so forth.
Its aim is knowledge of ages gone by, and its benefit is the provision of examples from events, the getting of advice therefrom and the acquisition of experience through knowledge of the mutability of times, so that we may avoid harmful things and make useful things our own. This science gives, as it is said, a second life to those who employ themselves therein.

The author Hadji Khalifah, also known as Katib Celebi (b. 1609-d. 1657), was an impartial historian and man of great learning.[124] He was born in Istanbul. At the age of fourteen he enlisted in a picked corps, in which his father also was serving; at the same time he was admitted as a junior clerk in the so-called Anatolian audit office. He served with the Imperial Army at the Eastern frontier of Asia Minor.[125] In his 25th year he entered as student into the office of the Chief Historiographer, and while in this capacity was present in the Persian campaigns of Hamadan and Baghdad. Back in Istanbul, he attended the principal professors of the capital, and after ten years’ application to the study of languages, the law, logic, and rhetoric, and the interpretation of the Qur’an and the Traditions, he applied himself to mathematics and geography.[126] So ardent was he in the pursuit of knowledge, that he frequently sat up whole nights reading some favourite author; and when he first commenced his literary labours, he spent his meager savings in the purchase of books; but some time afterwards a rich relation died, leaving him a legacy, which enabled him to enjoy more of the comforts of life, and to make some additions to his library.[127]

The fruits of his thirty years’ study include: A translation of the “Minor Atlas,” under the title of “Rays of Light,” which he translated from the Latin by the assistance of Sheikh Mohammed, a French convert to Islam; “The View of the ‘World,” which contains the geography of Asia; and a “Description of European Turkey.”[128] These are the three best geographical productions of the Ottomans. They were succeeded by five historical works; the one in Arabic being an universal history from the creation of the world, till within three years of his death; the other, a similar history, in Turkish, from the year 1000 AH (about which time he must have been born), also continued till three years before his death, being a period of sixty-five years; the ‘History of the Maritime Wars;’ a History of Constantinople; and the well-known ‘Chronological Tables.’ Then, his great Bibliographical and Encyclopaedical Dictionary, which forms the groundwork of D’Herbelot’s ‘Bibliotheque Orientale.’[129]

Naima (d. 1716), who lived into the beginning of the 18th century, was born in Aleppo, the son of a Janissary commander.[130] As a young man he entered, ca. 1100/1688-9, the palace corps of baltadjilar in Istanbul and received a thorough scribal education, developing particular interests in literature, and he may also have attended classes at the Bayazid mosque.[131] He served in various administrative posts. Sometime around 1698-9, Naima was commissioned by the Grand Vizier to complete the Ottoman history left in draft form.[132] Naima is much admired to this day for his powerful style.[133] His reputation as a leading Ottoman historian rests upon his Rawdat al-Husayn fi Khulasat Akhbar al-Khafiqayn, completed ca. 1704, and known generally as Tarikh Naima. The work is a compilation in largely traditional, annalistic format, covering 1000-70/1591-1660, and including the by then customary obituaries of significant individuals.[134] It was strongly influenced by previous authorities such as Katib Chelebi, and also draws upon most of the major Ottoman histories of the late 16th and the 17th centuries, as well as many other lesser-known writers and some oral informants.[135] Naima's own comments and assessments appear regularly, particularly with regard to significant issues and where his sources conflict. A substantial introduction, sets out Naima’s views on history and government, and also Ibn Khaldun’s theory of the rise and decline of states.[136]

Naima’s aim was to produce a reliable and accurate history, written in a graceful yet accessible prose style, which would be a source both of information and of instruction for Ottoman statesmen.[137] On the first matter, how to write history, he insists:

  1. Tell the truth and substantiate it.
  2. Disregard the false tales current among the common folk.
  3. Not to be content with ‘‘simple annals’’ but enable the readers to draw the moral for themselves.
  4. Not be partisan.
  5. Use plain language and not sacrifice clarity to literary affectation.
  6. Limit appropriate embellishments (verses, quotations, etc.)[138]

Naima also uses as much material as he can lay his hands on, and he indicates his sources. He also spurns rumors and folk-tales, and when he introduces one for effect, he indicates that it is a tale and not fact.[139]

Ample examples have been given to show that he attempted not to content himself with ‘‘simple annals’’ but to enable the reader to draw a ‘‘helpful’’ conclusion.[140] When judged by his own criteria, in his own time and place, Naima’s partisanship and embellishments are few even in the prefaces.[141]

A widely-read and highly-regarded history, the Tarikh Naima was one of the first Ottoman printed works, being published in two volumes by Mateferrika in 1147/1733 (the first volume of which was reprinted in Istanbul in 1259/1843).[142] Second and third editions, each in six volumes, were published in Istanbul in 1280/1863-4 and 1281-3/1864-6 (on the mss., editions, and partial translations in  Istanbul in 1945.[143] Naima was the first of a new series of authors, all bearing the official title of “Imperial Historiographer”.[144]

5. Al Maqqari and al Jabarti: The last Great

 Al-Maqqari (d.1632) (born in Tlemcen, Western Algeria) wrote many works which include the famed encyclopaedia on Muslim Spain entitled: Nafh al-Tib,[145] which De Gayangos turned into English in large measure.[146]

 Ahmed Al-Maqqari At-Telemsini descended from an ancient and illustrious family established at Makkarah, a village not far from Tlemcen (today’s Algeria). He was known in the East by the honorific surnames of Al-hafedh Al-Maghrebi (the western traditionist), and Shehabu-d-din (bright star of religion). De Gayangos, who made the widely used partial translation of al-Maqqari’s main work says:

Al-Maqqari having lived in times comparatively modern, it was long before I could meet with any Arabic work giving an account of his life and writings. Háji Khalifah, who mentions him occasionally,[147] gives only the year of his death, and the titles of some of his works. Having perused in vain many biographical dictionaries, I was on the eve of giving up my task in despair, when my excellent and learned friend, the Rev. J. Renouard, of Swanscombe, was kind enough to point out to me a very full notice of Al-Maqqari, occurring in a Biographical Dictionary of learned men who flourished at Damascus during the eleventh century of the Hijra, entitled  ‘The best part of fresh butter on the illustrious men of the eleventh century,’ by Amin Jelebi. From this work, of which that gentleman possesses a handsome transcript, executed H 1171 (1757-8), by Ismail Ibn ‘Abd-l-kerim Al-Jerai, the above notice of Al-Maqqari is abridged."[148]

 Ahmed al-Maqqari was born at Tlemcen, where he passed the first years of his life; learning the Qur’an and the traditions under his uncle, who then held the office of Mufti in that city. Under the tuition of this learned man, who was himself the author of many important works on various topics, Ahmed early imbibed that love of science, and acquired that taste for literature, by which he was so much distinguished in after-life. Having completed his education, he left his native place in 1600-1 for Fez, where he sought and frequented the society of the learned men of the day, with many of whom he contracted an intimate friendship. In 1618 he left Fez for pilgrimage, then returned to Egypt, then left again for Palestine, and then Damascus (1628). Immediately after his arrival, Ahmed Ibn Sháhin Ash-Shahini, a rich and influential person, and a liberal patron of literature, which he himself cultivated with success, gave Ahmed suitable rooms in the college of Jakmak, of which he was the director, and conferred upon him several other distinctions. At the persuasion of this individual, Ahmed afterwards wrote the historical work of which the present is a translation. While at Damascus, he gave lectures, which generally lasted several hours, from sunrise to near noon, and were attended by the principal citizens, as well as by all the scholars and theologians of Damascus; the number of people thus assembled amounting to several thousands. He left Syria for Egypt, but intended to return to the former when he was attacked by a violent fever, which caused his death in the month of Jumáda II; AH 1041 (1632 CE).[149]

Ahmed Al-Maqqari wrote the following works:

  • Blooming buds and flowers of the gardens on the history of the Kád’i ‘Iyádh.’[150]
  • The dissipation of obscurity on the religious duties of a Sunni Muslim.
  • Arf An’Nashk fi Akhbar Dimashk (Sweet odour of the flowers on the history of Damascus).
  • The lean and the fat, the threadbare and the costly.
  • The garden of the sweet-smelling myrtles, or an account of those learned men whom I met during my stay at Morocco and Fez.
  • Valuable pearls on the names of Allah, our guide and our trust, and marginal notes for a commentary on the Qur’an.
  • Bunch of grapes symmetrically arranged on abridged history.
  • The gifts of Al-Maqqari towards the completion of the lesser commentary (upon the Qur’an).
  • The beginning and the growth, a work written entirely in elegant prose or verse.
  • An epistle on the final point with five dots to it, but without having any in the middle.
  • The eminent victory, or a description of the slippers of the Prophet.

Besides the above works, Al-Maqqari appears to have written, according to Hajji Khalifah,[151] a commentary upon the historical prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun. De Gayangos found (fo. 647) that he entertained an idea of writing a life of the Prophet Mohammed; Al Maqqari, indeed, holds:

And I once had in mind to write on this special subject a work, which I was to have entitled ‘The garden of instruction on the act of invoking God’s favours (salat) and his salutation (teslim) upon the Prophet,’ treating of the sublime conceptions of his mind, and the eloquence of speech with which the Almighty endowed him."[152]

Al-Maqqari also began but did not complete a Biographical Dictionary of illustrious men born at his own native place, Tlemcen, under this title, “The time of Nisan on the eminent men of Tlemcen.”[153]

Of major interest to us is his Nafh al Tib. The work is divided in two parts, one dealing with the history of Spain, and the other about the life of Lisan al-Din Ibn al-Khatib, the historian and minister who was contemporary of Ibn Khaldun. Unlike many who preferred to dwell on the romantic poetry side of Ibn al-Khatib, De Gayangos went for the more stimulating and highly informative history of Muslim Spain.[154] The edition by De Gayangos is over 2000 pages long, divided into many books, evolving from pre-Islamic Spain, to the conquest of that country, the description of life and culture of the Muslims, their cities, Cordova, most of all, the wars between Muslims and Christian, the arrival of the Almoravid and Almohad armies to fight off the Christian onslaught, the divisions and conflicts between Muslims, the Christian re-conquest of the country, the fall of Grenada, and in the end, the final expulsion of the descendants of Muslims from the country.

De Gayangos states in the preface that he fixed his interest upon Al-Maqqari because he was to his knowledge the one authority presenting a continuous history of the Muslim presence in Spain from the beginning and through the centuries. It also offers a vast store of knowledge derived from other historians, which helps form a critical history of the country.[155] Al-Maqqari transmits the extracts and fragments taken from other works, in most instances giving the titles as well as the names of their authors, thus presenting the original text of ancient historians whose writings were most probably lost.[156]

A later historian of top stature was al-Jabarti (Djabarti.) Al-Jabarti (1754-1822) was witness to one of the major events of Egyptian history that is the French invasion of Egypt, which took place in 1798.[157] The most interesting aspect from the narration of al-Djabarti is his catching the colonial nature of the Islamic land.[158] Al-Djabarti’s opening pages of his Ajaib al-Athar fi Tarajim wa’l Akhbar (History of Egypt) shows the nature of the writer, and the content of his work.[159] He begins:

In the Name of God the Compassionate the Merciful!
Praise be to God, the Eternal and the First, Whose dominion neither passes away nor changes, the Creator of all creation, Who knows even the atoms of reality, the Destroyer of nations, and the Resurrector of the dead the Restorer of bounty and the One who abolishes disasters, the Revealer of obscurities, and Possessor of graciousness and generosity. “There is no God but He. All things perish except His Face. His is the Judgment, and unto Him you shall be returned,” {28:88}.
The humble Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan al-Jabarti al-Hanafi, may God forgive him and his parents, and may He favor them and him, says: I have written some pages concerning the events which occurred in the latter part of the 12th century (1688-1785) and thereafter, and the first part of the 13th century (1785-1822), in which we are now. Some of the events assembled in these pages are recorded in a general manner, while others are investigated in detail. Most of the events are tribulations which we have experienced and matters which we have witnessed. I have spoken incidentally in the work about earlier events of which I heard and which I learned from other people I have also included some biographies of famous ‘ulamã’ and notable amirs I have mentioned some of their exploits and history in addition to information relating to their dates of birth and death. I desired to assemble these and record them in a well-arranged chronological order, so that it might be easy for the attentive student to go over them and obtain the benefit he desires. He who reads them will learn a lesson from past calamities, will be console in whatever misfortune befalls him, and will remember the lesson. “Only men possessed of minds remember,” {13:19}.
Since these are events of an unusual kind, and varied in their peculiarity I have entitled the work ‘Ajaib al-athar fi‘l-tarajim wal akhbar (Remarkable Remnants of Lives and Events). I hope that whoever reads it and finds it useful will not forget to remember us in his pious prayers and will overlook whatever mistakes he may find in it…
The first person in Islam to establish (a system of dating events) was Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab- may God be pleased with him. This occurred when Abü Müsã al Ashari wrote to Omar, saying:
‘We have received letters from the Commander of the Faithful, but we do not know upon which of them to act, for we have read a bill due in the month of Shaaban, but we do not know which of the two Shaabans is meant. Is it the past Shaaban, or the coming Shaaban? Another report is that a bill due in Shaaban was presented to Omar, who asked, “Which Shaaban? Is it the one in which we are now, or is it the coming Shaaban? Then he gathered the prominent companions of the Prophet — may God be pleased with them — and said to them, “The revenues have multiplied, and that which we have apportioned is not dated. How can we find a way to organize the matter?…
So Omar said to them, “Establish for the people a system of dating which they will use in their dealings, so that the appointed times in handling their business may be exact.…’

After praising the merits of history, as we can read in the conclusion further on, outlining Islamic history, he notes this essential point:

There are very many books compiled on history. The author of Miftah alsa’dda mentioned 1,300 such books in his classification of the sciences. This number was according to the extent of his knowledge and research; but there are more, for on no subject have as many books been written as on history. Human nature is attracted to this kind of book, and is interested in discovering the unknown. Rulers, too, have a great desire to acquaint themselves with the biographies, circumstances, and policies of the kings who preceded them.
Among the books written on this subject is the multi-volumed Ta’rikh of Ibn Kathir…"

Then al Jabarti cites for us countless titles of history books written by Muslims, and then adds:

Books of history are too numerous to count. Al-Masudi noted a great number of them, even though his history ended in the year 333 (944-45). How numerous, then, must the books of history written since that time be? These books, however, have become mere names, for I have not seen any of them except scattered volumes which have been preserved in some waqf libraries in schools, (the remaining volumes) having been circulated by book dealers and sold by middlemen, storekeepers, and supervisors (of the waqf libraries), or transferred to the Maghrib and the Sudan. The few that remained were destroyed in revolutions and wars. The French took away to their country whatever they found."[161]

Then, he concludes his observation:

IIn collecting this work, I did not aim at serving any prominent person of high rank or at obeying any vizier or amir. I did not, to satisfy an emotional inclination or a material purpose, flatter any regime with hypocrisy, or lavish praise or blame contrary to good character. I seek God’s forgiveness if I have described a path I myself did not follow, [I, 7] or traded with capital I did not own:

Like a cameleer who chants without having a camel,
Like a shepherd who has no herd;
Like someone who offers you coffee, but his coffee is imaginary;
Like someone who extends an invitation to you,
while he has no food to offer.
Moreover, I admit my shortcomings and my lack of ability in the rules of Arabic rhetoric and in the mastery of Arabic prosody.
I am as far from attaining what I have undertaken as the fly is from (carrying off) the food of the phoenix.
I bewail my failure; it bewails its humiliation. Great is the difference between its weeping and mine.

Al-Jabarti died violently and mysteriously during the rule of Muhammad Ali. It must be pointed out that Al-Jabarti was very critical of Muhammad Ali’s rule.

Concluding Words

In his concluding words on Muslim historians, Durant holds:

The beauty of the Arab language fades in translation like a flower cut from its roots; and the topics that fill the pages of Moslem historians, fascinating to their countrymen, seem aridly remote from the natural interests of Occidental readers who have not realized how the economic interdependence of peoples ominously demands a mutual study and understanding of East and West."[163]

And, no better way to conclude this chapter than with the great al-Jabarti, again, who says:

The discipline of history is a noble one containing admonitions and lessons. In its light, the wise person compares himself with previous persons like him in this world. God Almighty has narrated reports of past nations in the Koran, and the Almighty has said, “In their stories is surely a lesson to men possessed of minds,” {12:111}. In the Hadith of the Prophet, there are many narratives of past nations, such as his narrative of the children of Israel and how they tampered with the text of the Torah and the Gospel. There are, in addition, [I, 5] the chronicles of the Persians and the Arabs, which lead the reader who considers them carefully to wonder. Al-Shafi’i said, “When one knows history, one’s mind grows."

A poet said:

If a man knows the history of those who have passed away,
you would imagine that he had lived from the beginning of time.

And you might think he will live as long as mankind lives -
the Day of Judgment-if he preserves the noble fame (of man).

Then know the history of those who lived and have died;
be generous, and gain life’s longest span.[164]

The former nations that existed since God created mankind continued to be interested in recording history, ancestor from ancestor, and successor after successor, until the people of our era discarded it. They overlooked, abandoned, and neglected it, considering it the work of idle men. They called it “fairy tales of the ancient ones,” {6:65}. Indeed, one might excuse them as being occupied with more important things. They do not wish to weary their pens in such a difficult pursuit. Times have changed, and the prestige of history has declined. Events are not recorded, either in a register or in a book. To spend time doing that which is not useful is a loss. That which has passed and gone cannot be brought back. Unless the chronicler be like myself, a person hiding in the corners of obscurity and neglect, hidden from the activities in which people are occupied, so that he busies himself with it when he is alone and consoles his solitude by counting the evil and good deeds of the age.

If this age should urinate in a bottle, time’s physician would know its ailment."

The art of history is a discipline combining many disciplines. Without history, their principles would not have been established, and their ramifications would not have branched out.[165]

A man who knows the record of the past
Seems to have always lived, since time began.
His life will last as long as time will last,
For he preserved the noble deeds of man.[166]




-Abu al-Fadail: Tarikh al-Mansuri in Bibliotheca Arabo-Sicula; Second Appendix; Leipzig; 1887.
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[1] Somogyi, "The Development", op. cit., p. 373.

[2] D. Campbell: Arabian Medicine, op cit; p. 34.

[3] The History and Conquest of Egypt, North Africa and Spain; known as the Futuh Misr of Ibn Abd al-Hakam; Edited from the manuscripts in London, Paris, and Leyden by C. C. Torrey (new haven; Yale University Press; London; Milford.

[4] D.Campbell: Arabian Medicine, op cit; p. 34.

[5] D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; op cit; p. 117.

[6] Ibn Abd al-Hakam: Futuh; 1922, p. 166; see also A.A. al-Duri: Tarikh; 1974, p. 170, citing al- Ya’qubi; V. Fisk: Bankakten aus dem Faijum; (Goterberg; 1931), pp. 10 ff. G.W. Heck: Charlemagne; Muhammad, and the Arab Roots of Capitalism; Walter de Gruyter; Berlin; New York; 2006; p. 110.

[7] Ibn Abd al-Hakam 1922, p. 223; G.W. Heck: Charlemagne, p. 110.

[8] D. M. Dunlop: The Fusül al-Madani of al-Farabi, 6—7.

[9] The story repeats itself in relation Ibn abi Amir (al Mansur) and his sons; Yusuf ibn Tashfin and his, Salah Eddin and his, Mahmud of Ghazna, and his son Ma’sud, and countless others.

[10] P.M. Holt: Three Biographies of Al-Zahir Baybars; in Medieval Historical Writing in the Christian and Islamic Worlds; School of Oriental and African Studies; University of London; London; 1982; pp. 19-29; at p. 20.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Edited By Abd al-Aziz al-Khuwaytir: Al-Rawd al-Zahir fi sirat al-Malik al-Zahir; Ryad; 1976.

[13] P.M. Holt: Three Biographies; op cit; p. 20.

[14] Ibid; p. 27.

[15] D.P. Little: An Introduction to Mamluk Historiography; Verlag; 1970; pp. 4 ff.

[16] Ibid; p 4.

[17] For details on the Mongols, nothing better than the following literature:

  • J. Curtin: The Mongols; A History; Greenwood Press Publishers; Westport; 1907.
  • J.M. Fiey: Chretiens Syriaques Sous les Mongols; Louvain; 1975.
  • Baron G. d’Ohsson: Histoire des Mongols; 3 vols; La Haye et Amsterdam; 1834.

[18] D.P. Little: An Introduction; op cit; p 4.

[19] Baibars al-Mansuri: Zubdat al-Fikra fi Tarikh al-Hifra; vol IX; Cairo University Library; Ms; 24-8; Photographic copy of British Museum Or. Ms.Add. 23325, fol 187 vo; al-Tuhfa al-Mulukiya fi a-daula at-Turkiya; Cairo University Library; Ms; 24-29; Photographic copy of Austrian National Library; Flugel; Ms; 904; fol. 64 ro.

[20] Zubda; IX; fol. 205 vo.; Tuhfa, fol. 73vo.

[21] Zubda, IX; fols; 238 ro-38 vo.

[22] Zubda, IX fol. 245 vo.; Tuhfa, fol. 85 vo.

[23] Tuhfa; fols; 117 ro,-17 vo.

[24] D.P. Little: An Introduction; op cit; p 4.

[25] C. Brockelmann: GAL; op cit; II; p. 44.

[26] Baybars al-Mansuri: Zubdat al-Fikra fi Tarikh al-Hijra; Ms British Library Add 23325;

  • Baybars al-Mansuri: Kitab al-Tuhfa al-Mulukiya fil al-Dawla al-Turkiya; ed. A.R. Hamdan; Cairo; 1987.

[27] D.P. Little: An Introduction; op cit; p 4.

[28] Ibid; pp. 4-5.

[29] Ibid; esp pp. 24 ff.

[30] I. Kratschkowsky: Al-Nuwairi; in Encyclopaedia of Islam; vol iii; p. 968.

[31] An-Nuwairi: Nihayat al-arab fi funun  al-adab; Dar al-Kutub al-Misriya; Ms. 549; ma’arif amma, 32 vols; photographic copy of Bibliotheque Nationale Arabic Ms; 5050); XXX; 19; 29; 45.

[32] I. Kratschkowsky: Al-Nuwairi; in Encyclopaedia of Islam; Vol iii; p. 968.

[33] Such as Rukn Eddin Baybars; op cit.

[34] See D.R. Little: An Introduction; pp. 24 ff.

[35] Ibid.

[36] A.S. Atiya: The Crusade in the Later Middle Ages; Methuen; London; 1938; p. 350 ff

[37] Al-Nuwairi: Kitab Al-Ilmam bil’lam… al-Askandaria; vol 1; in 2 parts; Berlin Mss. We. 359-60 and vol 2; Cairo; Ms.; Hist; 1449.

[38]Ibid; f. 95 ro et vo. f. 110 ro;.

[39] S. Runciman: A History; op cit; p. 441 ff. K.M. Setton: K.M. Setton: The Sack of Alexandria and the Restoration of Peace with Egypt (1365-1370); in K.M. Setton: The Papacy and the Levant, The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia; 1976; p. 258 ff. P.E. Edbury: The Crusading Policy of King Peter I of Cyprus, 1359-1369; in The Eastern Mediterranean Lands in the Period of the Crusades; P. M. Hold Editor (Aris and Phillips Ltd; Warminster; 1977), pp. 90-105.

[40] G. Machaut, Prise d' Alexandrie, ou Chronique du Roi Pierre 1er de Lusignan; ed. Mas de Latrie; Soc de l’Orient Latin; Geneva; 1877; II; 2230 et seq.

[41] For summaries of an-Nuwairi's account of the destruction of Alexandria, see Kahle, Melanges Maspero, III, 147-53, and Atiya, Crusade in the Later Middle Ages, pp. 358-67. Machaut, in his description of La Prise d' Alexandrie, vv 2806 ff., pp. 85 ff., says that the crusaders killed 20,000 Saracens (v. 2952, p. 90). See also Machaeras, Recital, ed. Dawkins (1932), I, bk. II, pars. 171-72, pp. 150, 152.

[42] In order to understand later Crusading, it is essential to read N. Housley: The Later Crusades; Oxford University Press; 1992.

  • For crusading and the Ottomans, see: N. Iorga: Philippe de Mezieres, 1327-1405, et la croisade au XIV siecle, Paris, 1896. P. de Mezieres: Vita Saint Petri Thomasii; in AS, III; 605-11; Paris; 1863.

[43] M.J. L Young: Arabic Biographical Writing. in Religion, Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period, Ed M.J. L. Young, J.D. Latham and R.B. Serjeant (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 168-187; p. 173.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] R.P. Multhauf: The Origins of Chemistry; Gordon and Breach Science Publishers; London, 1993; p. 124.

[47] B. Dodge: The Fihrist of al-Nadim. A Tenth Century Survey of Muslim Culture, Columbia Records of Civilisation: Sources and Studies, No LXXXIII, 2 vols (New York and London; 1970).

  • See also M. Nakosteen:  History of Islamic origins of Western Education, 800-1350; University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1964; for extracts from al-Fihrist, pp. 29-33.

[48] B. Dodge: The Fihrist; op cit.

[49] De Gayangos: in preface to Nafh al-Tib of Al-Maqqari; p. xx; Ed Cairo; Cf: A. Gonzales Palencia: Historia de la literatura arabiga-espanola, Madrid; tr. Arab of Husayn Mu'nis, Cairo, 1955.

[50] Ibid.

[51] For details see C. Brockelmann’s GAL; op cit.

[52] In C. Bouamrane- L. Gardet, Panorama, op. cit., p. 257.

[53] E. Mittwoch: Ibn al-Kifti; in Encyclopaeadia of Islam; 1st series; vol 2; p. 398. G. Sarton, Introduction, vol. 2, pp. 684-5.

[54] Ibid. Mittwoch: Ibn al Kifti; 398.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] See an excellent summary of his life and work in George Sarton, Introduction, op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 1120-1.

[58] See entries on Ibn Khallikan in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st and 2nd series.

[59] Ibn Khallikan (died 1282), Wafayat al-a'yan (Vitae illustrium virorum), ed. F. Wustenfeld, 12 parts, Göttingen, 1835-1850.

[60] Catalogus, No. 1505, Suppl., No. 607, cf. Cureton, Journal of Royal Asiatique Society., vi, 1841; p. 225.

[61] Kitab wafayat al-a'yan: Vies des hommes illustres de l'islamisme en arabe by Ibn Khallikān, publiées d'après les manuscrits de la Bibliothèque du roi et d'autres bibliothèques, published in 1842, Paris, Typ. de Firmin Didot frères (Paris), translated by William Mac Guckin, baron de Slane (1801-1878).

[62] Baron Mac-Guckin de Slane: Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary, 4 vols., Paris, 1842-171.

[63] W. Durant: The Age of Faith; op cit; p. 319.

[64] D. Campbell: Arabian Medicine; Philo Press; Amsterdam; 1926; p. 83.

[65] For more on Ibn Abi Usaybi'a see Sarton, Introduction, op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 685-6.

[66] A. Muller, 2 vols., Konigsberg, 1884.

[67] L. Leclerc: Histoire de la Medicine Arabe, 2 vols, Burt Franklin, New York, reprint, 1971.

[68] Yaqut al-Hamawi: Mu'ujam al-Udaba, edited by D. S. Margoliouth (London, 1907-1926) V, 110. Yaqut is also the author of a geographical encyclopaedia: Mu'jam al-Buldan (Dictionary of countries).

[69] Al-Tarajim wa'l siyar, 84, In M.J.L. Young: Arabic; op cit, p. 178.

[70] J. De Somogyi, "The Development", op. cit., p. 385.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Biographie Universelle, New Edition, published under the direction of M. Michaud, Paris, 1857, vol. 20, pp. 268-70.

[73] Ibn Khaldun: The Muqqaddimah, translated by F. Rosenthal, 3 vols., New York, 1958.

[74] J. de Somogyi, "The Development", op. cit., p. 385.

[75] Ibid, 387.

[76] R. Humphreys, Muslim Historiography, op. cit., p. 254.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Extract from the Encyclopaedia of Islam CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0, 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

[79] Paris 1841.

[80]  (4 vols., Algiers 1852-6).

[81]  (2 vols., Algiers 1863).

[82]  (7 vols., 1868).

[83] Extract from the Encyclopaedia of Islam CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0, 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

[84] Ibn Khaldun: Kitab al-Ibar; ed Bulaq; 1847; Beirut: 1956.

Ibn Khaldun: Kitab al-Ibar; Cairo: Dar al-Tab’a al-Amira; 1867-8.

[85] Muqadimah; I; 76 (‘ibar, i. 61).

[86] Muqadimah; I; 77 (‘ibar, i. 61-2).

[87] Mostly derived from the summary by Humphreys, Muslim Historiography, op. cit., p. 254.

[88] Al-Maqrizi, Ahmad Ibn Ali: Al-Mawaiz wa Alitibar fi dhikr al-Khitat wa-Al-athar. Edited by Ahmed Ali al-Mulaiji. 3 Vols. Beirut: Dar al Urfan. 1959.

  • Al-Maqrizi: Kitab al-Khitat, ed. Bulaq; partial French tr. by U. Bouriant and P. Casanova, Description topographique et Historique de l'Egypte, Paris, 1895-1900; Cairo, 1906-20.

[89] Al-Maqrizi, Ahmad Ibn Ali: Al-Mawaiz wa Alitibar (Beirut: Dar al Urfan. 1959.)

  • Al-Maqrizi: Kitab al-Khitat, ed. Bulaq.

[90] The work of Ibn Hazm is the Kitab al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Book of Religions and Sects) otherwise called Kitab al-Fasl fi’l-Milal wa’lAhwa’ wa’n-Nihal (Book of the Distinction in the Religions, Heresies and Sects). See I. Goldziher, Die Zahiriten, Leipzig, 1884, reprinted Hildesheim, 1967; 201 ff.

[91] Al-Khitat al-Maqriziyya, 3 vols, ash-Shiyah Lebanon, n.d.

[92] Cairo, 1956-8, 6 vols, .

[93] Cairo, 1956-8; 6 vols, 1; parts 1-3; ii; parts 1-3.

[94] Ed. Ziyada, i, 9.

[95] Ed G. Vos; Leiden; 1888.

[96] In D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; op cit; p. 134.

[97] Ed. Muhammad Ziyada and Jamal ad-Din ash-Shayyal, Cairo, 1359/1940.

[98] M.A. Enan: Ibn Khaldun; His Life and Work, Lahore; 1946; 73 ff.

[99] Ighatat al-Umma; ed Cairo; Introd; p.d.

[100] R. Lopez, H. Miskimin, A. Udovitch: England to Egypt, 1350-1500: Long term trends and long distance trade. In Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East; Edited by M.A.Cook; Oxford University Press; 1970; pp. 93-128; p. 119

[101] Ighatat al-Umma; ed Cairo; Introd; pp.d-h.

[102] Ighatat al-Umma; pp. 43-62.

[103] M.A. Enan: Ibn Khaldun; His Life and Work, op cit; 73 ff.

[104] This seems to be the meaning of the words in the Colophon (ed. Cairo, 86) Tayassara li tartib hadhil-maqala wa-tahdhibuha fi layla wahida, cf. tile closing words of Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddima, ed. Beirut, i, 1169.

[105] Ed. J.Ash-Shayyal; Cairo; 1946. The title varies in different Mss.

[106] Ed. Cairo; p. 45.

[107] Ed. Cairo; pp. 79-80.

[108] C.f. The editor’s introduction; pp. k-1.

[109] For details of the existing MSS of these works see Brockelmann, GAL; ii; 39 ff.

[110] R. S. Humphreys: Muslim Historiography, Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Charles Scribners and Sons, New York, vol 6, pp. 250-5. at p. 251.

[111] For Biographical details, see G. Wiet: l’Historien Abul Mahasin; Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte; XII; 1929-30; pp. 89-105.

[112] W. Popper: History of Egypt; 1382-1469; Translated from the Arabic Annals of Abu’l Mahasin Ibn Taghri Birdi; 5 vols; University of California Publications in Semitic Philology; vols XIII-IV; XVII-XIX; Berkeley, Los Angeles; 1954-60; I; Xv-XVIII.

[113] University of California Publications in Semitic Philology, 1959-1963.

[114] University of California Publications in Semitic Philology, 1930 and subsequently.

[115] D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; op cit; p. 131.

[116] D.P. Little: An Introduction to Mamluk Historiography; op cit; p. 87.

[117] L.V. Thomas and N. Itzkowitz: A Study of Naima; New York University Press; New York; 1972; pp. 114-5.

[118] R. Humphreys, Muslim Historiography, op. cit., p. 251.

[119] Translated by Ali Sevki, Istanbul, 1876.

[120] A. Gallota, "Le Gazawat di Hayreddin Barbarossa", Studi Magrebini vol. 3 (1970): pp. 79-160.

[121] F.L. de Gomara, "Cronica de los Barbarojas", in Memorial historico espanol, vol. 6, Madrid 1853.

[122] Ghazavat, op. cit., fol. 29b, 30b.

[123] In J.H. Kramers: Historiography amongst the Osmanli Turks; Analecta Orientalia; vol 1; Leiden; 1954; pp. 3-21; at p. 15.

[124] The History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks; tr. from the Turkish of Haji Khalifah; by J. Mitchell; The Oriental Translation Fund; London; 1831; preface; p. v.

[125] J.H. Mordtmann: Hadji Khalifa; in Encyclopaedia of Islam; 1st series; vol 2; 1927; 204.

[126] The History of the Maritime Wars; op cit; preface; p. vi.

[127] Ibid.

[128] ibid.

[129] J.H. Mordtmann: Hadji Khalifa; 205. The History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks; p. vii.

[130] In J.H. Kramers: Historiography amongst the Osmanli Turks; p. 16.

[131] C. Woodhead: Naima: Encyclopaedia of Islam; vol 7; pp. 917-8; at p. 917.

[132] Naima: Tarikh: Istanbul; 1864; 10-11.

[133] In J.H. Kramers: Historiography amongst the Osmanli Turks; p. 16.

[134] C. Woodhead: Naima: Encyclopaedia of Islam; p. 917.

[135] Ibid; p. 918.

[136] C. Fleischer: Royal authority, dynastic cyclism, and "Ibn Khaldunism" in sixteenth-century Ottoman letters, in Journal of Asian and African Studies, xvii/3-4 [1983], pp. 199-203.

[137] C. Woodhead: Naima: Encyclopaedia of Islam; p. 918.

[138] L.V. Thomas and N. Itzkowitz: A Study of Naima; op cit; p. 116.

[139] Ibid; p. 117.

[140] Ibid.

[141] Ibid.

[142] C. Woodhead: Naima: Encyclopaedia of Islam; p. 918.

[143] Ibid.

[144] In J.H. Kramers: Historiography amongst the Osmanli Turks; op cit; p. 16.

[145] Al-Maqqari: Nafh al-Tib, ed. Muhammad M. Abd al-Hamid. 10 vols, Cairo, 1949. 

[146] P. De Gayangos: The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain (extracted from Nifh Al-Tib by al-Maqqari); 2 vols; The Oriental Translation Fund; London, 1840-3.

[147] Voc Tarikhu-l-Andalus, azhar, fath, Nafhu-t-tib, Mukaddamat Ibn Khaldun; &c.

[148] The following can be found in De Gayangos’ preface; pp. XXX ff.

[149] De Gayangos’ preface; op cit; on the Life of the author.

[150] Library at Paris (No. 1377, ancien fond). Abi-l-fadhl ‘Iyádh Ibn Musa Al-Yahsebi, better known as the Kádi ‘Iyadh, was a celebrated theologian, native of Ceuta, but who resided most of his life at Granada. He was born in A.H. 476, and died at Morocco in 544. His life is in Ibn Khallikán (Tyd. Ind., No. 522). See also Casiri, Bib. Ar. Hisp. Esc. vol. ii. p. 112, et passim. He wrote a history of his native city, and a life of the Prophet Mohammed, entitled Efficient means to ensure the knowledge of the true history of the elected,’ which is in the library of the British Museum, No. 9513.

[151] Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, Mukaddamat, &c.

[152] In De Gayangos preface; p. xxxiv; note 13.

[153] Ibid; p. xxxiv.

[154] P. De Gayangos, The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. Extracted from Nafh Al-Tib by al-Maqqari, The Oriental Translation Fund, London, 1840-3, 2 vols.

[155] Ibid, preface, p. xiii.

[156] Ibid, preface, p. xv.

[157] Al-Jabarti: Al-Jabarti’s Chronicle of the first seven months of the French occupation of Egypt., ed and tr. by S. Moreh; Leiden, 1975.

[158] Al-Jabarti: Al-Jabarti’s Chronicle; pp. 39-47; and G. Hanotaux:   (vol 5 written by H. Deherain): Histoire de la Nation Egyptienne; Paris; Librairie Plon; 1931; p. 387.

[159] Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti’s History of Egypt; edited by T. Philip and M. Perlmann; 2 vols; Verlag; 1994.

[160] Al-Jabarti’s history of Egypt; op cit; pp. 1-2.

[161] The French scholars with Napoleon, who invaded Egypt in 1798, eagerly collected Muslim manuscripts.

[162] Al-Jabarti’s History of Egypt; op cit; pp. 1-9.

[163] W. Durant: The Age of Faith; op cit; p. 239.

[164] The poem by the judge Ahmad Ibn Mohammed al-Arrajani (d. 1149-50). A slightly different version of the same poem is quoted in Sakhawi’s (d. 1497) work on historiography, and was translated by Franz Rosenthal, 330.  

[165] Al-Jabarti’s history; op cit; pp. 5-6.

[166] Poem quoted in Sakhawi’s (d. 1497) work on historiography; translated by Franz Rosenthal, op cit; 330.

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