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An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean World: The Travels of Muhammad ibn 'Uthman al-Miknasi, 1779-1788

By Nabil Matar

This booklet presents translated choices from the writings of Muhammad Ibn Othman al-Miknasi (d. 1799). the one writings by way of an Arab-Muslim within the pre-modern interval that current a comparative point of view, his travelogues offer specific perception with in to Christendom and Islam.
Translating excerpts from his 3 travelogues, this booklet tells the tale of al-Miknasi’s travels from 1779-1788. As an envoy, al-Miknasi was once aware about court docket lifestyles, govt places of work and spiritual constructions, and he presents distinctive money owed of towns, humans, customs, ransom negotiations, old occasions and political associations. together with descriptions of Europeans, Arabs, Turks, Christians (both ecu and Eastern), Muslims, Jews, and (American) Indians within the final zone of the eighteenth century, An Arab Ambassador within the Mediterranean global explores how the main travelled Muslim author of the pre-modern interval observed the realm: from Spain to Arabia and from Morocco to Turkey, with second-hand information regarding the hot World.
Supplemented with vast notes detailing the old and political relevance of the translations, this publication is of curiosity to researchers and students of Mediterranean heritage, Ottoman stories and Muslim-Christian kinfolk.

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We reached Hebron after six hours of strong touring. It was once to the south of Jerusalem and extremely a lot resembled Mecca on first glance because it was once outfitted on mountains. We went to the home of town shaykh and after abluting we walked to our grand vacation spot and aim, the daddy of prophets, our grasp Ibrāhīm Khalīl al-Raḥmān, peace be on him. We entered the mosque and grew to become to his nook, looking benefits at his tomb. We then learn the Sura of Ibrāhīm [Q 14]. Cyprus, Marseille and Tunis (318–320) [Al-Miknāsī endured with information regarding Hebron from quite a few earlier authors.

One time, a guy got here to determine himself and spotted his lengthy fingernails and his furry hair. So he stated whatever to him and obtained the subsequent in resolution: “The lion wishes its nails. ” He had a truly robust presence, rather a lot in order that now not all people might stay in his corporation: one shivered at his sight. He used to take a seat at the roof of a funduk in Tunis, evening and day, and he persevered to take action until eventually he died within the 860s [ad 1450s]… Tunis used to be an enormous urban with a hectic port, equipped on a simple close to a small lake that was once open to the ocean.

He then confirmed us the home and offered us with 3 huge trays of seasonal fruit: pears, apples, watermelon and various candies which are made of their state, and others. Six captives from one of the Muslims in his ownership carried these trays, and he acknowledged: “This is a present from the king. ” So we thanked him and acknowledged: “If the king relatively desires to upload to this reward, enable him comprise those that bore the trays. that may make us a lot happier and extra cheerful. ” So he informed him approximately what we had stated and the king published the captives.

A large number of funds is accumulated that means, which the despot spends on his army. think of how deceitful and conniving the pope is, may perhaps God humiliate him. each year he delivers new bulls as the previous ones develop into null and void: during this deceitful approach, he amasses some huge cash. it truly is he, and fully in keeping with his personal will, who devises their legislation of infidelity that allow or restrict; it truly is he who can solemnize marriages which are in a different way forbidden, akin to among a guy and his niece. of their faith, this kind of marriage is illegitimate and none can marry his niece [on the sister’s facet] other than the only with funds and impact.

At the following morning and once we left the village, we observed the Escorial, which we reached after hours, touring on as a immediately a street because the aforementioned. The resident friars welcomed us as the despot had ordered them to teach us hospitality and to confess us to the church and all their collections and libraries, together with the books of the Muslims, God have mercy on their souls, and everywhere in the despot’s place of dwelling, his orchards and searching grounds. The friars have been chuffed to determine us, as commanded by way of their nice one, and so they placed us up in a spot overlooking the despot’s gardens.

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