By Nabil Matar

This e-book offers translated choices from the writings of Muhammad Ibn Othman al-Miknasi (d. 1799). the single writings by means of an Arab-Muslim within the pre-modern interval that current a comparative point of view, his travelogues supply distinctive 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 used to be aware about courtroom existence, executive workplaces and non secular structures, and he offers precise 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 area 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 area: from Spain to Arabia and from Morocco to Turkey, with second-hand information regarding the recent World.
Supplemented with large notes detailing the old and political relevance of the translations, this ebook is of curiosity to researchers and students of Mediterranean background, Ottoman reviews and Muslim-Christian kinfolk.

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108 Al-Miknāsī defined the town and the hospitality of the Tunisians after which persevered on land to Constantine, the place he defined the hazards that the town confronted from Euro-Christian assaults – and one of many Algerians’ profitable counterattacks. 109 within the areas of North African Islam, he expatiated, versified, and used to be aware of being obvious not only as an envoy but in addition as a realized jurist from the Maghrib who had fulfilled his accountability of pilgrimage. And so, on his arrival sooner than Sidi Muḥammad, he mentioned “the information in regards to the holy towns [Mecca and Medina] and the Mashriq and Constantinople and different areas which we observed. ”110 He famous that whereas his trip served his own spiritual want, he nonetheless needed to report back to his ruler at the nation of the realm. end by the point al-Miknāsī accomplished writing approximately his ultimate trip, June four, 1788, he was once a replaced guy. He had noticeable either the societies of Europe and of the Ottomans, of Christians and Muslims, in a fashion that no different contemporaneous Arab Muslim had. The Europeans awarded him with a typical civilization and tradition: many “wonders” that he observed in a single place have been found in one other. there has been one of those harmony to the Christendom he visited – for certainly, there has been political harmony on the grounds that all of the areas have been affiliated with the Spanish crown. a lot as there have been royal rivalries and dynastic conflicts one of the numerous ecu rulers, their Christian global nonetheless conveyed a feeling of commonality of practices and ideology and amazing marvels. yet al-Miknāsī didn't formulate a “worldview” into which he geared up the Europeans, within the demeanour that British, French, and Dutch scholar-travelers did concerning the international of Islam. Europe used to be thoroughly alien from his non secular and cultural background: it was once additionally choked with technological and cutting edge wonders that Morocco may possibly by no means have. a lot as he attempted to discover similarities together with his personal Morocco, he was once beaten by means of the developments that have been thoroughly past his ken or language: the Europeans remained a part of the Rūmī Sea/Byzantine Sea – with a separate sea coast and geography. strangely, so too did the Turks seem to him. a lot as they have been Muslims to be fashionable for upholding the reason for Islam, they have been culturally varied. He came upon a lot to recognize in Constantinople, the beauty of the realm (although he had acknowledged that, too, a couple of variety of eu cities), and even though there have been a few cultural similarities with Morocco, possibly within the all-maleness of society, the Ottomans had protocols that have been “non-Arabic,” drank espresso, which he had by no means tasted in Morocco, regarded superciliously at non-Turks, yet most significantly, spoke in a language that he didn't comprehend. They have been Islamic yet now not Arabic, and al-Miknāsī discovered that a lot as faith might unite humans, cultural and linguistic variations might separate them. After touring in the course of the Turkish-speaking dominions, al-Miknāsī was once relieved to move into areas the place Arabic used to be spoken: he continually praised the Ottoman sultan, yet he was once now not unwilling to list the anger of the Arabic-speaking inhabitants on the cruelty of the Turks.

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