Muslim Geography: Foundations


Exploring Muslim geography, once more, raises the matter of what factors were behind the sudden drive for geographical knowledge in early Islam; amongst such factors, the role of the faith comes to the fore again as the main and crucial factor. Islam urged people to open their horizons and know about the wonders of God’s creation, which acted as a fundamental stimulus for geographical curiosity.  Journeys were also undertaken to build the records of the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith ) or for the purposes of administration and trade, or simply to satisfy curiosity, to say nothing of pilgrimage.[1] Hence, roughly, the same combinations of observance of the faith and practical necessities that account for the rise of other sciences and aspects of Islamic civilisation. These central elements are considered in succession, beginning with the direct role of the faith.




The Islamic Faith and the Rise of  Islamic Geography


The rise of Islamic geography does not owe anything to Greece, or Ptolemy, but like other sciences and aspects of civilisation to Islam, owes nearly everything to the faith. A number of factors related to the observance of the faith account for it.


Islam, first and foremost, regarded a journey to perform the pilgrimage rites at Makkah  as a duty incumbent upon every capable Muslim at least once in a lifetime.[2] And, thus, whilst nearly all early Muslim geographers included itineraries to Makkah, or placed it at the centre of their maps (as will be elaborated upon further on), later geographers used the same pilgrimage, that on particular occasions, lasted over a decade, and even twenty five years,[3] to write most elaborate travel and geographical narratives and treatises. One amongst such pilgrim-scholars was Mohammed al-Andalusi  (b. in Ceuta in 1259), who left for pilgrimage, passing through North Africa , to Egypt , then Syria , and who not only wrote on Tradition , but also left two travelogues carrying the appropriate title of rahalat (travels), where he describes his routes, men of letters, natural history, etc.[4] More famed, is the traveller Al-Tidjani, who in the year 1309, left Tunis  to perform his pilgrimage, and who wrote on his Rihla.[5] In this travel, he observed everything he could, providing information not just about the places he visited, but also about neighbouring territories, providing geographical and historical information of the first order, which was vastly used by subsequent writers, whether Ibn Khaldun , or Amari, the latter in his history of Muslim Sicily , relying heavily on accounts of al-Tidjani about the island.[6] The great al-Maqrizi (d. 1442), equally, used the occasion of his pilgrimage to spend four years in the Hijaz, studying the routes followed by the pilgrims from southern Arabia  and Abyssinia, and revising the geographical dictionary of al-Himyari, and that was years before he wrote his famed Khitat (in 1439), which remains one of the best works on medieval Egypt.[7] Pilgrimage  could also be combined with study and trade, two further powerful elements in geographical knowledge. Bulliet notes how trade and pilgrimage could be combined without religious objection, and several years might be spent making the pilgrimage to Makkah from some distant location.[8]


Another travel objective was the search for religious knowledge, particularly in the form of traditional lore (Hadith ). Indeed, some of the sayings of the Prophet explicitly enjoined such travels in quest of knowledge, but more important as an inspiration was the educational stricture, which prevailed through the 11th century, that valid learning was dependent upon direct oral transmission.[9] This requirement of an unbroken chain of oral transmission (isnad) going back to the Prophet, regarded as the best possible guarantee of authenticity in this vital area of religious knowledge, made it necessary for the industrious scholar to spend months or years travelling from city to city to collect additional lore.[10] This developed into a tradition whereby virtually every scholar of significance travelled extensively at some point in his life[11] and of course wrote on such travels. Remarkably, this tradition lasted much beyond the early centuries of Islam. Al-Samani (1113-1167), for instance, was a 12th century exegesist and a traditionist, who became well known as a historian, completing the history of Baghdad  and also writing on the history of his native place, Merw.[12] He performed many travels in search of knowledge, visiting Central Asia, Iraq , Syria , Jerusalem , and the Arab Peninsula, writing in the process Kitab al-Ansab (the Book of Genealogies), which is both on history, but also on geography, focusing on the origins of names he was citing, hence, encompassing a vast geographical scope. [13] Writing on the genealogy of al-Sin, for instance, drove Al-Samani to list a good number of people who bore that epithet, and who visited China  for trade or other purposes, allowing him to throw light on issues relating China, the Maghrib , Central Asia, and so on.[14] This work had a wide impact, and was used as a source by subsequent geographers and historians such as Yaqut al-Hamawi and Ibn al-Athir.[15]


The compilation of the Prophet’s sayings also influenced Islamic geography considerably by imposing the strictest compliance with accuracy and precision. Kimble thus points out, that it is not surprising to find Muslim scholars, with all their consideration for the feelings and traditions of the past, submitting their authorities to severe critical analysis and revising them where expedient.[16] Al-Khwarizmi  (d. 835), for instance, substantially improved Ptolemy’s geography in his Face of the Earth, as regards both text and maps.[17]


Staying with religious necessity, Sayili notes how mathematical or astronomical geography was a very important field of application for astronomy, and religious needs supplied a strong motivation for work in this field.[18] Al-Biruni  thus speaks of the need for the knowledge of geographical locations in determining the direction of Makkah  which every Muslim has to face during the prayers, and he also insists on other benefits. He says:

‘I believe that this benefit is not limited to this aspect only of our divine services but that it extends to other things. For whosoever determines the longitude and latitude of his country with precision will thereby be enabled to find out the exact time of noon and afternoon, and of the end of evening twilight and of dawn, times which are needed not only in connection with the prayers but also for fasting, and likewise, he will thereby be in a position to ascertain the times of the new moon, although the religious law restricts the determination of this latter to direct observation because of the Tradition  in which the Prophet (God Blessing be upon him) said: ‘We are people who do not write and do not calculate; adding: ‘we indicate the month thus and thus and thus,’ showing the ten fingers three times, ‘then thus and thus and thus,’ folding the thumb at the third time.[19] Moreover the usefulness here exceeds religious matters and extends to worldly affairs, and what has been mentioned is also beneficial in finding the correct direction towards one’s destination and is therefore desirable in that it will bring good and prevent harm.’[20]




Practical Necessities


The second element in the rise of Islamic geography, like other sciences, was practical necessity. Ibn Rusta (fl 903) wrote Kitab al-A’laq al-Nafisa, the introductory pages of which are devoted to a detailed discussion of the most essential fundamental astronomical notions for the solution of geographical problems such as the size and shape of the earth and the location of places.[21] This is followed by the study of geography of Persia , and the adjoining lands, Khurasan, and the roads leading to Ispahan, Baghdad , Kufa, besides giving the distances between the stations, and the nature of the countries.[22] Ibn Khurdadhbih (Khurradadhbih and other spellings) (d.912) wrote ‘book of roads and provinces' (Kitab al-massalik wal-mamlik).[23] Ibn Khurradadhbih was a postal official, and so his interest in the postal routes was purely professional.[24] His work provides important facts on the historical topography of the caliphate, giving a full map and description of the main trade routes of the Muslim world.[25] His routes are easy to follow giving the distances between places in parasangs (about four miles).[26] Many other works from other authors bore the same title (Massalik/routes) giving the names of towns and countries, distances between them, their people, rulers, tax systems, topography of the land, and crucially, their water resources.[27] Although these books focused on the Islamic world, most early writers also extended their interest to India , China , the Indian Ocean , and as much of Europe as they could.[28] Amongst such authors are Al-Jayhani and al-Marwazi, whose works have been lost.[29] Extracts from Al-Jayhani’s (fl 903) can, however, be found in Al-Muqaddasi who informs us that Al-Jayhani indicates the resources of the countries, the routes and distances, and accounts of the plains, valleys, hills, mountains woods and rivers, which are found in them.[30] Qudama’s Kitab al-Kharaj (Book of the Land Tax) written early in the 10th century, also covers postal routes of the Muslim land, stages and distances, revenues for each province, general remarks on seas and mountains, etc.[31]


One of the most elaborate of these works is Al-Muqaddasi’s (d.1000) Ahsan al-Taqasim, the first to produce maps in natural colours.[32] Ahsan at-Taqasim, completed around 985, after preliminary chapters on general geographical ideas, gives the geographical arrangement of its different parts of the Islamic world, and an approximate estimate of the distance from one frontier to the other.[33] The countries that are included are Arabia , Iraq  and Mesopotamia, Syria , Egypt , and the Maghrib  (North Africa ), Spain, into Transoxiana (W. Turkestan), Khurasan, North-West Iran  (Azerbaijan, Armenia Transcaucasia), Jibal, Khuzistan (the South-West, ancient Elam or Susiana), Fars (Persia ), Kirman and finally Sind (the valley of the Indus).[34] Each chapter is generally divided into two parts, the first of which enumerates the different localities and gives good topographical descriptions, especially of the principal towns, whilst the second part lists all sorts of subjects which the author groups under the label of 'particular characteristics.[35] It looks at towns, their people, the social and ethnic groups, commerce, natural resources, archaeological monuments, currencies, the political situation, a vast array of subjects, which Al-Muqaddasi himself, defines:

‘I thought it expedient to single out the chorography of the land of Islam, comprising a description of deserts and seas, lakes and rivers, famous cities, resting places and the high ways of commerce, its exports and the staple commodities; an account of the inhabitants of different countries; of the diversity of languages and manners of speech; of their dialects and complexion, their religious tenets; of their measures and weight, their coins both large and small; with particulars of their food and drink, their fruits and waters.. the salt lands, the rocky wastes and sandy deserts, hills, plains and mountains, the limestone and sandstone; the fat and lean soil, the lands of plenty and fertility… the industrial arts and literary avocations.’[36]

There is, thus, no subject of interest to modern geography, Kramers says, which is not treated by al-Muqaddasi; Miquel, for his part, praises him as the creator of ‘total geographical science.'[37]


Devising maps of regions and countries, as will be amply explored further on, also arose out of practical necessity. Bagrow notes how itineraries and route maps had to be compiled for various purposes such as diplomatic missions into distant lands, such as to China  in 704-715, and Kashgar in 684; for military campaigns such as for the advance into Asia Minor and the Oxus from 684; and for various trading expeditions by land and sea.[38]


Also contributing to geographical knowledge was the vast extent of the land of Islam, unhindered by frontiers, thus encouraging movement. Hence Al-Biruni  observes:

‘Islam has already penetrated from the eastern countries of the earth to the Western. It spreads westwards to Spain (Andalus), eastward to the borderland of China  and to the middle of India , southward to Abyssinia and the countries of Zanj (Africa, the Malay Archipelago and Java), northward to the countries of the Turks  and Slavs. Thus the different people are brought together in mutual understanding, which only God's own Art can bring to pass..[39]

Bulliet notes how Islamic society was a place where long distance travel was common, an impression supported by the rarity of historical evidence of political barriers to travel, even between hostile states, or by efforts of governments to control the movements of their subjects.[40] The measure of a prosperous and strong Islamic state, then, was that the routes were so secure that travellers could move wherever they wished without molestation.[41]






Long-distance trade was well established from the very beginning of Islam, and was encouraged by religious attitudes developed within the strongly commercial environment of Makkah.[42] Trade with, and in direction of, China , was the one main factor that stimulated Islamic geographical and nautical knowledge, Muslims producing very likely the earliest written accounts of that country. Descriptions of China date from the early 9th century through the work of a merchant: Suleiman (first half of the 9th century), whose accounts are taken up by Abu Zeid Hassan.[43] Abu Zeid (d.976) from Siraf in the Arab Gulf, seeks to complete Suleiman's accounts, and also refers to one Ibn Wahab, who visited the Chinese court in 870.[44] Abu Zeid is the author of the second part of Silsilat al-Tawarikh (The Chain of Histories).[45] He says that his main duty is to examine the work of Suleiman and to complete his narrative using all he had collected in his own studies and gained from the experiences of others.[46]  He also makes the point that he does not reproduce untrue accounts and ‘sailor stories’, and that it is better to relate truth however much shorter it is.[47] Abu Zeid tells us  of a great revolution in China, of the Chinese manners and customs, dress, and other peculiarities as well as the inter-connectedness of seas.[48] He speaks of boats sailing for China depart from Basra  and Siraf, and that they bring cargo from Siraf and Oman on boats, before loading it on to ships sailing for China because coastal waters were too shallow.[49] Fresh water was also loaded at Siraf and Muscat, from where ships sailed to Oman, and from there to India ; then the island of Sander Faulat (Singapore); Jinji (Chinji), before anchoring near the gate of China. Ships passed between the hills of the Straits of China, entered the Chinese Gulf, and dropped anchor in Khanfua (Khanpua).[50] Through Suleiman, we are informed that ‘the sea between India, China and Ceylon abounds in large fish, and when the ships sail at night, the bells ring to keep them away.’[51] The most frequented Chinese port was Khanfu, now Canton, where Muslim traders had their own establishments, and where soon an important Muslim colony was to grow.[52] From Khanfu some Muslim traders travelled as far as the empire’s capital, Khomda; a two month journey.[53] China, according to Muslim merchants, was a safe, well administered country; and its laws applying to travellers yielded both safety and good order.[54] We are also informed by Suleiman that China produce wheat, rice, and many other grains, as well as apples, pears, citrons, quinces, bananas, sugarcane, etc.[55] He also mentions a Chinese herb, called al-Shah from which the Chinese prepare a drink by pouring water on the leaf of this plant.[56] Suleiman also observes that the coast of China is subject to violent rainstorms, which make shipping conditions dreadful on the Chinese Sea.[57]


Trade with China  also stimulated and fed the knowledge of geography by a good number of Muslim geographers, who described China from the 9th century, and for centuries onward. Ibn Wahab, a contemporary geographer, tells of his encounters with the Chinese emperor, and describes the Chinese capital, which he says, had two halves, separated by a wide road.[58]  Al-Yaqubi (fl. 875 or 880) wrote Kitab al-buldan (Book of the Countries),[59] probably the first work in Arabic on historical geography, describing almost the whole Islamic world, and also the Byzantine Empire, India , and China.[60] Historical details, statistics, and topographical observations abound in this work, in which the author makes use of the materials he has collected during his travels.[61] He says on China  that it is an immense country that can be reached by crossing seven seas; each of these with its own colour, wind, fish, and breeze which could not be found in another, the seventh, the Sea of Cankhay, only sailable by southern winds.[62] Not long after Al-Yaqubi, Ibn al-Fakih completed, c. 903, a 'Book of the Countries" (Kitab al-Buldan),[63] which draws very interesting comparisons between China and India, their customs, food diets, codes of dress, rituals, and also flora and fauna. In the same year, Ibn Rusta (903) compiled an encyclopaedia called "The Very Precious Things, or "The Precious Bags of Travelling Provisions" (al-atlaq al-nafisa) of which the geographical portion is extant.[64] It contains an introduction dealing with the celestial and terrestrial spheres, then proceeds to describe the countries, focusing on Khmer society, its ruler, and the local legal system.[65] Abu’l Faraj (988) dwells on India, its people, customs, and religions, but also devotes much attention to China, saying it has 300 cities, all with considerable numbers of people.[66] Whoever travels in China, he notes, registers his name, the date of his journey, his genealogy, his description, age, and what he carries with himself, a register, which is kept until the journey is safely completed, the reason for this being to avoid bringing shame on the ruler should anything happen to the traveller.[67] Qazwini (d.1283) gives accounts of the creatures that thrive in the Sea of China, whales, turtles, and monstrous snakes landing on the shores and eating entire buffalos and elephants.[68]


There is a very interesting, little known, work by Jitsizo Kuwabara, dating from 1935, which deals with the Muslim links with China , but from the Chinese side.[69] The gist of the work was first published in Japanese in 1915 to 1918 in the Shigaku zasshi, and the revised and enlarged English version appeared in the Memoirs of the Research Department of the Tokyo Bunko, nos 2 (1928) and 7 (1935). The present volume published posthumously, incorporates all the notes and corrections made by Dr Kuwabara in his life time.[70] Kuwabara gives a good history of the Arabs in China during the T’ang and Sung dynasties.[71] It is from the 8th century to the end of the 15th century that the Arabs travelled to China from the Persian Gulf, crossing the Indian Ocean , and passing through the Malay Peninsula, coming to Canton, where they carried trade. The Arab traders at the open ports of China lived in a settlement assigned by the Chinese government, but sometimes they lived in the city with the Chinese. Anxious to promote foreign trade, the government was lenient and the Arabs enjoyed virtually the rights of extraterritoriality. During the Sung and Yuan eras, they bought many ships built in China. The Arab traders usually took two years to make a voyage to China and back home. They arrived with the south west wind of spring and summer and left with the north-east wind of October and December.[72]

These trading contacts had dramatic consequences socially, and also scientifically. On the first front, the Surname of P’u. P’u is a transliteration of Abu (Abou), a common Arab name; the Sung Shih records that in the San fo-ch’I country, a large proportion of the people are surnamed P’u.[73] Arab traders brought their wives with them, but a few traders married Chinese women. A record shows that an Arab marrying a Chinese lady of the imperial family was promoted to high official position.[74] Some of the Arabs also studied Chinese culture and language. The impact on the sciences and the development of navigation was equally dramatic. The Chinese knew comparatively early the polarity of the magnetic needle, but it was the Arabs who applied it to navigation, and the mariner’s compass was brought back to China .[75]


Trade was also a fundamental factor behind Islamic writing on Korea, and a good number of Muslim geographers wrote on Korea between the 9th and 15th century, and were studied by Kei Won Chung and Hourani.[76] The Muslims used the name al-Shila or al-Sila, after an early dynasty which ruled there until 935 to refer to Korea.[77]  Their reports begin in the middle of the 9th century with accounts by the same Suleiman the merchant and Ibn Khurdadhbih, followed by others such as Al-Masu’di, Qazwini and al-Makrizi.[78] Interestingly, the presence of Muslims in Korea is also accounted for in Korean histories of Muslim merchants and their associates in the 10th century.[79] There is reference to a Muslim, a certain Minabo (Munabbi?) who became mayor of Pyong Yang in the early 11th century,[80] and of Muslim settlements in a town, where they wore their own type of clothing and head gear, and where they kept their religion, built a mosque and observed Muslim festivals.[81]


Diplomacy and Politics


Diplomacy and politics, finally, also stimulated geographical knowledge, a well known instance being that of Ibn Fadlan’s travels to Scandinavia, as mentioned below. Earlier than that, according to Ibn Dihya (d. 1235) a visit took place by al-Ghazal (d. 860) to the land of al-Madjus (Scandinavia) for the same purposes, which constitutes one of the earliest documented contacts with Scandinavia.[82] It was in the year 845 that the ruler of Muslim Andalusia, Abd Errahman II (ruled 822-852), established contacts with the Vikings of Ireland, through his envoy,  Al-Ghazal. The first Viking attack on the Emirate of Cordova dates from 844, a Norwegian adventure, undertaken by way of the Biscay Coast from original bases in Ireland. According to Allen, the Vikings expressed strong trading interests: in their case, ‘trade followed the sword.’[83] To them Andalusia was a marvel of attraction as the richest and most famous part of Western Europe, whilst for the Muslims, through exchanges with the Vikings, Andalusian merchants could penetrate the markets of Northern Europe.[84] The Muslims were also at war with Charles the Bald and the Franks, and so they sought alliance with the Vikings who themselves were also in conflict with the Franks.[85] A vast geographical literature ensued following these contacts with Scandinavia, Muslim accounts remaining the earliest and most thorough of that region for the medieval period.[86]


In the year 965, two embassies were sent by Muslim rulers of North Africa  and Muslim Spain to the German Emperor Court in Magdeburg. The German emperor listened to the two embassies, who themselves listened to the emperor about central Europe, and on their return, each of these embassies recorded their impressions.[87] Their accounts contain valuable information on the Kingdom of the Slavs in central Europe during that period, details on the coastal towns of France, Holland, and Germany. Such accounts are mainly found in the work of Yaqub al-Israili as preserved in the works of the later cosmographers such as Al-Qazwini and Abu’l  Fida.[88]     


In the far eastern parts of Islam, Abu Dulaf (born in Yambo, near Makkah ) (fl early 10th century) spent his career in Bukhara  at the court of the Samanid prince Nasr ibn Ahmad ibn Ismail, who ruled from 913 to 942.[89] Poet and traveller, Abu Dulaf returned to southern India  across Tibet with the embassy of the Hindu prince, Kalatli ibn Shakhbar, and came back by way of Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Seistan.[90] He wrote a narrative of his journeys called  'Aja'ib al-Buldan, (Marvels of the Countries/Wonders of the World) extracts from which have been preserved by Yaqut al-Hamawi.[91]


Al-Biruni , who spent much of his working life in the court of the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna (11th century), accompanied him in his expedition to India  in the year 1000, and en route wrote his observations of the province of Sindh, and northern India, and through his own calculations corrected the maps of the region.[92]


[1] G.H. T. Kimble: Geography in the Middle Ages (Methuen &Co Ltd; London; 1938), pp. 48-9.

[2] R. Bulliet: Travel  and Transport; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; op cit; vol 12; pp. 147-8;  p. 147.

[3] Ibn Jubayr , for instance, wrote his narratives of travel on the pilgrimage to Makkah , which he undertook to expiate a sin (drinking wine). Ibn Jubayr: Voyages, tr. with notes by M. Gaudefroy Demombynes (Paris, 1949-65).

Ibn Battuta  also left his hometown of Tangiers with the intention of pilgrimage to Makkah , which he accomplished five times, and all the adventures in between, he relates in his work. Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa; trans and selected by H.A.R. Gibb;  Routledge; London, 1929.

[4] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja;. Pp. 382-3.

[5] H. H. Abd-al-Wahab: Rihlat al-Tijani; Tunis ; 1959.

[6] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja;. Pp. 383-4.

[7] Ibid. pp. 525-6.

[8] R. Bulliet: Travel  and Transport;  op cit; p. 147.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja. op cit; pp. 319-20.

[13] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja; 319-20. See also S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 179.

[14] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja; 319-20.

[15] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja; 319-20. See also S.M. Ahmad: History; p. 179.

[16] G.H. T. Kimble: Geography; op cit; pp. 48-9.

[17] This work was accompanied by a map of the world executed by al-Khwarizmi and sixty nine other scholars at the instigation of Al-Mamun; in G.T. Kimble: Geography; Note 1; p. 49.

[18] A. Sayili: The Observatory ; op cit; p. 24.

[19] See Bukhari: Sahih; Book 30 (on fasting) section 13. and Muslim: Sahih; Book 13; tradition 15.

[20] Al-Biruni : Tahdid al-Amaqin; op cit; pp. 323-4.

[21] Ibn Rusta: Kitab al-A’laq al-nafisa; ed De Goeje (Leyden; 1892), vol vii.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Texts and translations: First edition with French translation and notes by C. Barbier de Meynard: le Livre des routes et des provinces; Journal Asiatique, vol 5, 1-127, 227-95, 446-532, (1865). A better text has been published by M.J. de Goeje, with French translation and notes: Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum, 6 (Leyden; 1889).

[24] G.R. Tibbetts: The Balkhi School of Geographers in History of Cartography (Harley-Woodward ed); op cit; pp. 108-29; at pp. 117.

[25] Al-Ya'qubi: Les pays, tr. G. Wiet (Cairo , 1937).

[26] G.R. Tibbetts: The Balkhi School of Geographers; op cit; p. 117.

[27] Carra de Vaux: Les Penseurs, op cit, p. 3.

[28] G.R. Tibbetts: The Balkhi School of Geographers; op cit; pp. 116-7.

[29] Ibid; p. 117.

[30] Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan at-taqasim fi Ma'rifat al-Aqalim;  M.J. de Goeje ed., Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicum, 2nd edition., III vols (Leiden, 1906); vol 3; p.4.

[31] C. de Vaux: Les Penseurs; op cit, pp 27-8.

[32]Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan at-taqasim;  op cit.

[33] D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation 800-1500 A.D (Longman Group Ltd, 1971), p. 166.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan al-Taqasim; op cit; pp. 1-2.

[37] In D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; op cit; p. 166.

[38] L. Bagrow: History of Cartography; Revised and Enlarged by R.A. Skelton (C. Watts and Co Ltd; London; 1964), p. 54.

[39] In The Book of the Demarkation of the Limits of the Areas In N. Ahmad, Muslim Contribution to Geography (Lahore: M. Ashraf, 1947), p 35.

[40] R. Bulliet: Travel  and Transport, op cit;  pp. 147-8.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid; p. 147.

[43] Relations des Voyages faites par les Arabes et les Persans dans l'Inde et a la Chine, ed. et tr. Langles et Reinaud, 2 vols (Imprimerie Royale; Paris; 1845).

[44] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 1; p.636.

[45] Edited by Reinaud (Paris; 1845).

[46] S.M.Z. Alavi: Arab Geography (The Department of Geography; Aligarh; 1965), p. 33. 

[47] In Carra de Vaux: Les Penseurs de l’Islam;  op cit; pp. 53-9.

[48] S.M.Z. Alavi: Arab Geography; op cit; p. 33. 

[49] A.S.S. Nadvi: Arab Navigation  (S. M. Ashraf Publishers; Lahore; 1966), pp. 55-8.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid; p. 52.

[52] J.H. Kramers: Geography and Commerce, in The Legacy of Islam (edited by T. Arnold and A. Guillaume,) op cit; pp 79-107; at p. 95.

[53] Carra de Vaux: Les Penseurs; op cit; at pp. 55-6.

[54] Ibid,  p. 58.

[55] Sulaiman: Silsilat al-Tawarikh; Ed Reinaud (Paris; 1845), p.24.

[56] Ibid; p. 41.

[57] Ibid; pp. 11-2.

[58]  Carra de Vaux: Les Penseurs; op cit;  pp. 57-8.

[59] The Kitab al-buldan appears in M. J. de Goeje, ed., Bibliotheca ceocraphorum

 arabicorum, Vll (1892);  Ed and tr into French by G Wiet: Les Pays (1937).

[60] L.I. Conrad: Al-Yaqubi; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; op cit; vol 12; pp. 717-8; at p. 718.

[61] Ibid.

[62] G. Ferrand: Relations de Voyages et textes geographiques  Arabes, Persans and Turks  relatifs a l’Extreme orient du VIIem au XVIIIem Siecles; E. Leroux, Paris, 1913-4. Extracts above are from the re-edition by F. Sezgin of Ferrand’s work (Frankfurt, 1986), p.49.

[63] Kitab al-boldan auctore Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani; edited by M. J. De Goeje; Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum, 5 (Leiden, 1885).

[64] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 1; p.635.

[65] G. Ferrand: Relations de Voyages; op cit; pp. 54-66..

[66] Ibid; p.118 ff.

[67] Ibid; p.130 ff.

[68] Ibid; pp 302-4.

[69] Jitsizo Kuwabara: To so jidai ni okeru Arab-jin no Shina Tsuho no gaiko; kotomi So matsu no Teikyo-shihaku Saiiki-jin Ho Ju-ko no jiseki (Piu Shou-Keng, a man of the Western regions, who was superintendent of the Trading Ships’ office in Chiuan-chou towards the end of the Sung dynasty, together with a general sketch of trade of the Arabs in China  during the T’Ang and Sung eras) Tokyo; Iwanami; 1935. Reviewed by Shio Sakanishi; ISIS; vol XXX; pp. 120-1.

[70] Ibid; P. 121.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid; p. 120.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid; p. 120.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Kei Won Chung; G.F. Hourani: Arab Geographers of Korea; Journal of the American Oriental  Society; vol 58; pp. 658-61.

[77] Ibid; 658.

[78] Ibid; 658-60.

[79] Chosen Yuska; Seoul; 1932; no 3; vol 1; p. 222. in Kei Won Chung; G.F. Hourani: Arab geographers p. 661.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Yi Neung Wha: History of Korean Buddhism (Seoul; 1917), Vol 2; p. 605.

[82] W.E.D. Allen: The Poet and the Spae-wife: An Attempt to Reconstruct Al-Ghazal's Embassy to the Vikings (1960), in Viking Society for Northern Research, Saga-Book, 15 (1960).

[83] W.E.D. Allen: The Poet and the Spae-wife: pp. 1-14. See also S.M. Ahmad: A History; op cit; p.39.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] See Harris Birkeland: Nordens hidstorie I middelalderen etter arabiskenkilder, Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, Skrifter, Hist.-Filos. Klasse, 2 Scriffer, 1954, 2 (1954).

[87] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja,. Op cit; pp. 190-2;  S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 116.

[88] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja,. Op cit; pp. 190-2; S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 116.

[89] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 1; p. 637.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid.

[92] G. Le Bon: La Civilisation; op cit;  p.370.