The Vast Scope of Islamic Geography 


Muslim geographers dealt with a vast variety of subjects, and covered nearly all of the known world of their time. It is impossible to give justice to all works and authors, and all that can be attempted here is the sort of outline that shows as much as possible, whilst trying to cover the vast scope of subjects covered by Muslim geographers. Focus, first is on the geographers of eastern Islam.


Amongst the earliest works from the East is Kitab al-Sifat By Nadjar B. Sumaiyil (b. 740), some chapters of which are devoted to the sun and the moon, wells and the seas, winds, snow, and rain.[1] Al-Jahiz (ca. 776-868) wrote Ajaib al-Buldan (the Wonders of the World), which discusses amongst other things the important cities of the Islamic world; his other work, Kitab al-Hayawan (The Book of Animals) deals amongst other things with adaptation to environment.[2] Al-Kindi (813-870) wrote on tides, as well as on the shape and size of earth, whilst his works on meteorology and geology deal with physical geography, and his works on medicine supply information on the distribution of plants and animals.[3] Ibn Khurdadhbih’s al-Masalik includes much information on Korea, Japan, and the Southern Asiatic coast as far as Brahmaputra, the Andaman Islands, Malaya and Java.[4]  Ibn Serapion, who wrote a geographical account of the world, describes great rivers such as The Euphrates, The Tigris and The Nile, and explains the system of canals feeding Baghdad .[5] Al-Ramhormuzi (912-953) wrote Ajaib al-Hind (the Marvels of India ), where he describes the seas and islands, which he saw himself, or about which he heard, also including information on China , the Indies, Japan, Java, Sumatra, Abyssinia and Madagascar.[6] Al-Ramhormuzi gives us a recollection of long voyage of discovery and bold adventures, describing the explorations of the sailor Abhara of Kirmn, who was shipwrecked in a far off island south of the China Seas,[7] and his description of these new islands leads to the view that he might have landed in Australia or New Zealand.[8] Al-Masu’di contributed a lot to geographical knowledge. His description of the land and people of Tibet says:

Tibet is gifted with strange qualities in its water, air, plains and mountains. The inhabitants are so happy that they never stop laughing as they are not troubled by sadness, grief or worries. Fruits, meadows and rivers are abundant in this country…. One finds there many cities and fortified places.’[9]

Al-Biruni ’s Chronology (al-Athar . . .)[10] combines the purely literary and historical sources of medieval sects and nations with the astronomical lore about their calendars, feasts, and astronomical parameters used in their rituals.[11] Al-Biruni’s discussion of the Jewish calendar, for example, is the most extensive medieval technical and dogmatic exposition on the subject; and was never matched, even by the Hebrew sources, according to Saliba.[12] Al-Biruni’s India [13] is a record of facts about Indian society in all its facets.[14] Being an encyclopaedic scientist, according to Saliba, he in effect manages to bring together a comprehensive survey of Indian intellectual achievements and social practices as they existed around 1030.[15]

Yaqut al-Hamawi’s (d. 1229) Mu'jam al-Buldan (Dictionary of Countries),[16] is an immense compilation of geographical facts 1isted in alphabetical order, dealing with geography in the broadest manner-astronomical, physical, historical, and archaeological.[17] It attempts at fixing the spellings of place names and gives their geographical positions, boundaries and coordinates.[18] He covers cities, rivers, mountains and deserts as well as seas and islands, and he also provides information on eminent residents of places, adding anecdotes and other interesting facts.[19] His work includes accounts from earlier sources and also his own observations, resulting from his travels to Persia , Arabia , Iraq  and Egypt . For every country, region, town and city, he cites monuments, recounts history, and describes people,  all the while insisting on the accuracy and rigour of his information,[20] which, as Miquel notes, has served as an excellent source for reference.[21] For Yaqut, Akhbar (Usages of the Prophet) was the fountain head of all knowledge and wisdom, and he also believed in the intrinsic relationship between history and geography, and insisted on the importance of orthography of place names.[22]

Ibn Said al-Maghribi (1214-1274) wrote Kitab al-Djughrafiya (The Geography Book) where he gives the latitudes and longitudes of all the places he cites, and where he adds information provided by contemporaries, which cannot be found in Al-Idrisi, for instance.[23] He dwells on the Indian Ocean  islands, coastal towns and cities, giving for each the length of the coast, describing the land, length of mountains, distances between places and so on.[24] In his map, the terra incognita in the southern quarter of the earth is replaced by sea and the Indian Ocean is united with the Atlantic south of Africa whose southern part is fork shaped.[25]

Al-Dimashqi (d.1326-7), a Syrian descendant of the Ansars (the early helpers of the Prophet), [26] wrote Kitab nukhbat al-dahr fi ajaib al-barr wal bahr (Selection of the Age on the Wonders of the Land and the Sea).[27] The book includes such diverse topics as the configuration of the earth, eleven chapters on the formation of mountains, the sea and its motions, tides, etc.[28] The work also gives detailed accounts on the Indian Ocean , the Western Pacific, the China  Sea, and eight chapters on its islands.[29] This includes the populations, customs and flora, and interestingly fauna. On the island of Komor, also called Malay Island, for instance, he writes, lives the giant bird, the Rokh, whose eggs are like cupolas, the story being that some sailors cooked one such egg, and were pursued by the Rokh, carrying huge rocks, which it hurled at them, the sailors only escaping with their lives under the cover of night.[30]

Abu’l Fida (b. Damascus  1273-d. Hama 1331) stands out as one of those singular characters of Muslim civilisation who fought wars and wrote at the same time (just like the historian Usama Ibn Munqidh, and the cartographer Piri Reis). From the age of twelve he fought both crusaders and Mongols.[31] His family lost its estates during his youth, which he recovered in 1312 through his fidelity to the Mamluks  whom he served as vassal prince until his death.[32] His treatise Taqwim al-Buldan (A Sketch of the Countries) was known quite early in the Latin  West, with many translations of it, either partial or complete.[33] It includes twenty eight chapters, with a prologue that contains interesting observations such as the gain or loss of day according to the direction in which one goes around the earth, and the assertion that three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered with water.[34] Abu’l Fida includes in the introduction al-Biruni’s view on the terra incognita, quoting al-Biruni’s theory that between the African continent south of the sources of the Nile and the terra incognita there were channels of water connecting the Indian Ocean  with the Atlantic.[35] It is not unlikely that his work might have reached Tangiers and might have influenced the Portuguese sailors who searched for an entry into the Indian Ocean from South Africa.[36]  In the mid 17th century, Abu’l Fida’s work had an unedited translation by Schickard, and Gravious published in London extracts relating to Khwarizm and Transoxonia.[37] A Latin translation was made in Leiden in 1746 by Reiske,[38] whilst Reinaud and de Slane edited the complete text.[39] The French translation was by Reinaud and Guyard, completed in 1883.[40] Possibly one of the most important aspects of Abu al-Fida’s work was his observations of the spherical shape of the earth;[41] a crucial matter for the progress of geography, and to receive more attention further on.


In Western Islam, the first geographer to mention is Al-Bakri ( 1010; d. 1094) whose Kitab al-massalik wal mamlaik (Book of the Roads and Kingdoms), completed in 1068, has been partly preserved.[42] This work is a description of land and sea routes written in order to facilitate travel, and which also includes historical and social data.[43] It includes a description of Slavic and Nordic peoples, and most importantly a description of North Africa  and Spain, including data about the Sahara routes.[44] Al-Bakri also wrote lexicographical work on place names in poetry and on the traditions of the Prophet.[45] Remarkably, for a man who never left the Iberian Peninsula, he was noted for his methodical approach, his ever alert curiosity, his attention to detail, and the serious approach to information of a wary investigator.[46]

Abu Hamid al-Gharnati (1080-1160), from Grenada , made many travels, leaving his home in 1114 for Egypt , then returned to his native town, before leaving again in 1117 for Sardinia, Sicily , Alexandria, and Cairo , then Baghdad , Iran , crossing the Caspian Sea, reaching the mouth of the Volga. He then made three journeys to Khwarizm, and visited Hungary, before passing the last years of his life in Baghdad, Mosul, and then Damascus , where he died in 1160.[47] It was in Mosul, where he completed his work Tuhfat al-Albab wa Nukhbat al-Ajaib (A Book of Wonders), which is divided into four chapters, the first dealing with the world’s inhabitants; the second making a description of wonders of countries and unique buildings; the third describing the sea and its wonderful animals, volcanoes on their islands, etc; the fourth dealing with tombs and pits containing bones.[48] The author collected information from witnesses but also from his own observation. He saw, for instance, the Pillars of Hercules near Gibraltar a short while before their destruction in 1145, and he was one of the last persons to see the tower of Alexandria in its complete form, as well as the obelisk at Ain Shams, near Cairo, before it crumbled in 1160, and he also provides valuable information on Europe.[49] Much of Al-Gharnati’s work can be found in Al-Qazwini’s  and other subsequent Muslim geographers’ works.[50] 

The travels of the Valencia  born, Ibn Jubair (Ibn Jubayr ) (d. ca. 1217), offer remarkable accounts, amongst the rarest, of Muslims living under Christian rule in both Sicily , during the reign of William II (the Good) (r. 1166-1189), and in the East, under crusader hegemony, in the time of Salah Eddin (Saladin) (d. 1193).[51] His accounts of Muslims under Christian rule are to this day used to form a precise picture of Muslim status under Christian rule in the medieval period as will be seen in Part Three of this work. The English version tells the reason for his travels, that as a secretary for the ruler of Granada in 1182, he was forced by that said ruler to drink seven cups of wine.[52] To expiate his godless act, Ibn Jubayr decided to perform the duty of Hajj. He left Granada on 1183 on an itinerary, with all the stops well marked by two maps, one for the East, and the other for the West. One of the first places he reached, Alexandria in Egypt , impressed him greatly, especially its famed giant lighthouse.[53] He says that it was visible from a distance of some seventy miles, its height 150 times the size of a man, its number of stairways, entrances and rooms quite amazing, and also including a mosque built in its summit, thus consecrating a monument from pagan antiquity to Islam and one Thursday, he himself prayed in it.[54] During his stay at Makkah , which lasted over nine months, he makes good descriptions of the sites there, including a visit to Madinah  where lay the tombs of the Prophet and early caliphs. He then returned home via Kufa, Baghdad , Mosul, Aleppo  and Damascus , and on a Genoese ship caught in Acre, he returned west, via Sicily. Off the coast of Messina, the ship was caught in such a violent storm, the Christian passengers on board gave in to despair, while ‘the Muslims submitted themselves to the decree of the Lord.’[55] Eventually the passengers survived, and Ibn Jubayr ends his travel narrations in Sicily, recounting the activity of the volcanoes, and the life of Muslims under Norman rule. He was obviously impressed by Palermo , which he describes as: ‘the metropolis of the islands, combining the benefits of wealth and splendour, and having all that you could wish of beauty, real or apparent, and all the needs of subsistence, mature and fresh.’[56]

Ibn Battuta 's (d 1377) Rihla is an account of travels that took him from Tangiers through North Africa , Syria , Iraq , Iran , reaching India  in 1325.[57] In 1332, he went overland through Egypt  and Syria; then Istambul, crisscrossed Asia Minor, crossed the Black Sea to the Crimea, and made his way overland via the Islamised Mongol Golden Horde’s territory, through Samarqand, Bukhara  and Afghanistan. He reached the Indus River frontier of India in late 1333. He became chief judge of Delhi and in 1342 became the Sultan’s envoy to the Mongols in China . The trip also took him to the Maldives, Bengal, Assam, Sumatra, and finally to the Chinese city of Zaytun, and possibly Peking. He returned to Morocco  in 1349, and completed dictation of his travels to Ibn Jazayy in 1357.[58] His work was translated into French, and also partially into English by Gibb.[59] The merit of Gibb’s version is that it gives a very useful and lengthy introduction on Ibn Battuta’s life. We learn, for instance, that during his journey from Alexandria to the Maghreb, on two occasions, he narrowly escaped capture by Christian pirates, but still his love for travel was never exhausted.  From each part visited, Ibn Battuta relates his experiences and observations. He was particularly interested in political conditions and the glories of foreign rulers; in economic factors; in all forms of strange customs, such as those of marriage and burial, in the construction of Indian beds, and the kind of fuel used in China.[60] Ibn Battuta’s accounts of some parts of the world, such as 14th century India, the Maldives, southern Russia, and Black Africa remain unique, he being the only medieval author to give some specific accounts of such places.[61] On India, for instance, he describes in detail the reign of Muhammad B Tughluq, and contemporary Delhi, its population, its size, its diverse parts, its attractive sites, etc.[62] Ibn Battuta also caught the Muslim world straight in the aftermath of the Mongol devastation (1253-1320), and thus offers first accounts of the effects of such onslaught. He also describes buildings and architectural accomplishments, which are no more. He speaks, for instance, of madrasas, and also of hospitals, some of the earliest institutions of Islam, and their structures,[63] which have since gone. Also interesting is that he expresses early Islamic awareness of certain natural manifestations, such as relating to the River Nile, as he says:

‘The Egyptian Nile surpasses all rivers of the earth in sweetness of taste, length, of course, and utility. No other river in the world can show such a continuous series of towns and villages along its banks, or a basin so intensely cultivated. Its course is from south to north, contrary to all other [great] rivers. One extraordinary thing about it is that it begins to rise in the extreme hot weather, at the time when rivers generally diminish and dry up, and begins to subside just when rivers begin to increase and overflow.’[64]

His interest in the customs of people is well defined, whether with regard to the idolatry of the inhabitants of Ceylon, or the harshness of the Turks  towards thieves, whilst China , he informs us:

‘Is of vast extent, and abounding in produce, fruits, grain, gold and silver. It is traversed by the river called the ‘Water  of Life,’ which rises in some mountains, called the Mountains of the Apes, near the city of Khan Baliq (Peking) and flows through the centre of China  for the space of six months’ journey, until it reaches Sin as Sin (Canton). It is bordered by villages, fields and gardens, and bazaars, just like the Egyptian Nile, only that this riverside is even more richly cultivated and populous, and there are many waterwheels on it. In the land of China there is abundant sugar cane, equal, nay superior, in quality to that of Egypt .’ [65]

About the manufacture of Chinese porcelain, he says:

‘The Chinese pottery [porcelain] is manufactured only in the towns of Zaytun and  Sin Kalan. It is made of the soil of some mountains in that district, which takes fire like charcoal, as we shall relate subsequently. They mix it with some stones which they have, burn the whole for three days, then pour water over it. This gives a kind of clay which they cause to ferment. The best quality porcelain is made from clay that has fermented for a complete month, but no more, the  poorer quality [from clay] that has fermented ten days… It [porcelain] is exported to India  and other countries, even reaching as far as our own lands in the West, and it is the finest of all makes of pottery.’[66]



Despite all such extensive detailed accounts, just considered, most such accounts are unique in universal knowledge, whether in terms of quality, variety, or volume, Ashtor, like most ‘historians’ of geography, derides Muslim geography, putting focus on what seemingly appear to him are shortcomings of such geography, for instance, holding that:

‘Muslim writings of the ninth century and early tenth century reveal an almost complete ignorance of the geography of Europe. Even the European shores of the Mediterranean  were unknown to the Arabs. This is a clear proof that there were no trade relations... All Arab geographers of this period confuse Rome and Constantinople, and repeat legendary stories.’[67]

This is baffling when one reads about Islamic geographical achievements as amply shown already in this chapter, that any shortcoming, however small, should be amplified so much as to demean the great accomplishments, a criticism which is also groundless, and fallacious, for part one of this work has amply shown that Muslims traded with Europe in the late 7th and 8th centuries,  and 9th century Western accounts by Church authorities, themselves, speak of such trade. The biographies of Pope Gregory IV (Pope 827-844) and of Leo IV (Pope 847-855), for instance, speak of Spanish textiles along with those of Byzantium.[68] As for Muslim geographers’ knowledge of Europe, it was already well advanced in the 10th century, and had earlier foundations. Historical evidence proves, as Kramers points out, that since the 8th century Muslim travellers and traders are to be found in Italian towns and Constantinople.[69] Many accounts of other European places were reports of authentic journeys, such as Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub's journey from Spain to Germany (ca. 965).[70] The trips by Al-Ghazal’s diplomatic mission to the Vikings of Ireland in 845 have been noted.[71] Dunlop, although himself reserved about whether actually the Muslims visited such Western shores, except Ireland, still notes good Islamic knowledge of the Western Christian shores;[72] and also of the islands lying off the continent of western Europe and Africa in al-Bahr al-Muhit (the Circumambient Ocean) otherwise called by such names as Bahr az-Zulmat (the Sea of Darkness) or al-Bahr al-Akhdar (the Green Sea).[73] The British Isles (Jaza'ir Bartaniya or Baruniya-twelve in number according to al-Battani (850-929), were known, with Ankartara, Inkiltara, Lanqaltara (l'Angleterre), Squsiya (Scotia) and Irlanda or Birlanda (Ireland).[74] Dunlop also tells of the sea adventures of Muslim sailors departing from Lisbon, and their discovery of unknown lands, an episode dating from the 9th century.[75] There is also plenty of evidence to prove the Muslim discovery of Scandinavia, from as early as the 8th century, more than fifty Muslim authors writing on the region, the most comprehensive early accounts of this part of Europe to this day.[76] Most of these sources have been collected by A. Seippel and translated into Norwegian by H. Birkeland.[77] They include historical texts, geography and travellers’ narratives. Ibn Khurdadhbih, for instance, gives information on trade, rulers, landscape;[78] Ibn Rusta speaks of trade, urban life, customs, etc;[79] whilst Ibn Fadlan,[80] describes the trip,[81] people and places, and on the manners and customs of the Rus, their manners of dress, rituals, diets,[82] the length of day and night, etc.[83]


In view of all such accounts, which could have been vastly extended, generalised assertions deriding Islamic geography, when no other geography can match its richness, especially at such an early stage, only serve to highlight both poor scholarship, and narrow hostile writing on the part of mainstream Western authors.

[1] In Ibn al-Nadim: Kitab al-Fihrist; ed. Flugel; Leipzig; p. 52.

[2] Al-Djahiz: Kitab al-Hayawan; Cairo ; 1936-44; in six vols; Al-Djahiz in Encyclopaedia of Islam; vol 1; p. 1000

[3] J. Jolivet; R. Rashed:  Al-Kindi; Dictionary of Scientific Biography; Vol 15; Supplement I; pp. 261-6.

Ibn Al-Nadim: The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim; edited and translated by Bayard Dodge (Columbia University Press; New York; 1970), pp. 615-26.

[4] S.M.Z. Alavi: Arabic Geography, op cit, p. 27.

[5] G. Sarton: Introduction: Vol 1; op cit; p. 621.

[6] Al-Ramhurmuzi: Ajaib al-Hind; Ed Van der Lith (Leyden; 1883).

[7] Ibid; p. 88.

[8] S.M.Z. Alavi: Arabic Geography, op cit, p. 76.

[9] Al-Masu’di: Muruj al-Dahab; ed. De Meynard (Paris; 1861), vol 1; pp. 418-9.

[10] Al-Biruni : Chronology of Ancient Nations; Edward C. Sachau ed. and trans. (1879).

[11] G. Saliba: Biruni; Dictionary of the Middle Ages, op cit; Vol 2; pp. 248-51; at op cit; p. 249.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Alberuni's India , Edward C. Sachau, trans. (1888), abridged in Ainslie T. Embree, ed., Alberuni's India (1971).

[14] G. Saliba: Biruni; Dictionary of Middle Ages; op cit; p. 249.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Yaqut, Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi: Jacut's Geographisches Worterbuch, ed. F. Wustenfeld. 6 vols (Leipzig, 1866-70).

[17] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 2; p. 41.

[18] S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 181.

[19] Ibid.

[20] C Bouamrane-L Gardet: Panorama de la pensee Islamique (Sindbad; Paris 1984), at p. 260.

[21] A. Miquel: Geography, in the Encyclopaedia (Rashed ed), op cit, pp 796-812 at p 809.

[22] S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 181.

[23] Ibn Said: Kitab al-Jughrafiya; ed. Ismail Al-Arabi (Beirut; 1970).

[24] M.A. Tolmacheva: Geography; op cit; 393.

[25] See L. Bagrow and R.A. Skelton: History of Cartography (London; 1964); and S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 193.

[26] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 3; p. 800.

[27] The work was edited by A.F. Mehren; quarto, 375 pp.  (St Petersburg; 1866).

[28] G. Sarton: Introduction; op cit; vol 3; p. 800.

[29] Ibid.

[30] G. Ferrand: Relations de Voyages; pp. 363-93.

[31] J. Vernet: Abu’l Fida; in Dictionary of Scientific Biography; op cit; vol 1; pp. 28-9; at p. 28.

[32] Ibid.

[33] C. de Vaux: Les Penseurs, op cit, p. 13.

[34] J. Vernet: Abu’l Fida;  op cit;  p. 29.

[35] I.J. Krckovskij: Izbrannye Socinenja,. op cit; pp. 394-5. S.M. Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 197.

[36] Ibid.

[37] J. Greaves or Gravius;  (1602-52) (London; 1650).

[38] J. J. Reiske (Leipzig; 1866; reprinted 1886).

[39] J.T. Reinaud and Baron de Slane (Paris; 1840).

[40] J.T. Reinaud and S. Guyard ed: Geographie d'Aboulfeda, 2 vols (Paris, 1848-83).

[41] Carra de Vaux: Les Penseurs, op cit; pp 21-2.

[42] J. Vernet: Al-Bakri: Dictionary of Scientific Biography; op cit; vol 1; p. 413-4. at p. 413.

[43] Ibid; p. 414.

[44] Ibid.

[45] G. Wiet et al: History; op cit; p .659.

[46] Ibid.

[47] S.M. Maqbul Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 167.

[48] According to S.E. U. Hasham, Dubler published the text of his work with a Spanish tr. Madrid; 1953 in S.M. Maqbul: History; p. 168.

[49] S.M. Maqbul Ahmad: History; op cit; p. 168.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibn Jubayr : Voyages, trans with notes by M. Gaudefroy Demombynes (Paris, 1949-65).

[52] The travels of Ibn Jubayr ; tr from the original Arabic with introduction and notes, by R.J. C. Broadhurst (J. Cape, London, 1952).

[53] Ibid; pp. 32-3.

[54] I.R. Netton: Seek Knowledge; Thought and Travel  in the House of Islam (Curzon Press; Richmond; 1996), p. 99.

[55] Ibn Jubayr : Travels (Broadhurst) op cit; p. 336 ff.

[56] Ibid;  pp 348 fwd.

[57] Ibn Battuta : Voyages d'Ibn Battuta, Arabic text accompanied by French translation by C. Defremery and B.R. Sanguinetti, preface and notes by Vincent Monteil, I-IV (Paris, 1968), reprint of the 1854 ed.

[58] R.B. Winder: Ibn Battuta ; in The Genius of Arab Civilisation;  J.R. Hayes ed; op cit; p. 210.

[59] Ibn Battuta : Travels in Asia and Africa; tr and selected by H.A.R. Gibb (Routledge; London, 1929).

[60] F. Rosenthal: Ibn Battuta ; Dictionary of Scientific Biography; op cit; vol 1; p. 517.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibn Battuta : Defremery (ed); vol 2; p. 16; etc.

[63] F. Farag: Why Europe responded to the Muslims medical achievements; in Arabica, XXV, Fascicule 3; pp. 292-308. p. 295.

[64] Ibn Battuta : Travels; (Gibb); op cit; p.52.

[65] Ibid; p. 282.

[66] Ibid; pp. 282-3.

[67] E. Ashtor: A Social; op cit; p. 105.

[68] G. Migeon: Arts  Plastiques et industriels; ii; p. 320; in S.M. Imamuddin: Muslim; op cit; p. 112.

[69] J. H. Kramers: Islamic Geography and Commerce; extracted from The Legacy of Islam; edited by T Arnold and A. Guillaume; pp. 79-106; repr in The Islamic World and the West; Edited by A.R. Lewis (John Wiley and Sons, London;  1970), pp.  66-78. p. 76.

[70] M.A. Tolmacheva: Geography; op cit; 393.

[71] W.E.D. Allen: The Poet and the Spae-wife; op cit; pp. 1-14.

[72] D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; p.160.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Qazwini, ed. Wustenfeld, ii, 388; Eng. tr. in D. M. Dunlop. ‘The British Isles according to medieval Arabic Authors', Islamic Quarterly, iv (1957), pp 11-28 at pp 19-20; and D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; p.160.

[75] See summary of these early voyages of discovery in D.M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation; op cit; p.160 ff.

[76] S.F.D. Hughes: Scandinavia in Arabic sources; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; op cit; Vol 10.  pp 706-8.

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

[78] In S.F. D. Hughes: Scandinavia; op cit; p.706.

[79] Ibid; pp 706-7.

[80] M. Canard: Ibn Fadlan, in Encyclopaedia of Islam; New edition, vol 3 (Brill; Leiden, 1971), p. 759.

[81] S. Al-Dahhan: Risalat Ibn Fadlan; Dar Sadir (Beirut; 1993).

[82] For a long account of Ibn Fadlan’s travel to the Volga Bulgars, see M. Canard: Les Relations de voyage d’Ibn Fadlan chez les Bulgares de la Volga; In Annales de l’Institut d’Etudes Orientales; Vol 16; 1958; pp 41-146; for extensive extracts on such travels see S.M. Ahmad: A History, op cit; and for a summary see M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation,  pp 169-70.

[83] S.M. Ahmad: A History; op cit; p. 328.