Ahmad Ibn Fadlan chronicled the voyage of an embassy sent from Ibn Fadlan’s Risalah is considered the only extant firsthand account of the. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan met with the Vikings in Volga Bulgaria. His chronicle called Risala includes detailed information and observations about them. The travel. But perhaps the most memorable passages in the Risala, his account of his journeys, concern the Varangians, In , the Arab traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan (fl.

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Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or even the dates of his birth and death. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Fadlxn Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to and his self-reported travels.

Ibn Fadlan: An Arab Among the Vikings of Russia

On 21 June 11 safar AHa diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, fadlsn eunuch in the caliph’s court, left Baghdad. These were the Volga Bulgars; another group of Bulgars had moved westward in the 6th century, invading the country that today bears their name, and became Christians.

Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukharanow part of Uzbekistanbut instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran.

Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Seathey crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar KhaganateOghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural Riverand the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rusi.

When they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khanand presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph’s letter, but was criticized for not bringing with fadlann the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of risaoa Bulgars. Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan’s text pp. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories.


The Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, and Ibn Fadlan’s mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details ibj his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize, implement, and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their ahjad society.

Consequently, many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were “like asses gone astray. They have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to shmad. Ibn Fadlanon the Rus merchants at Itil, They are described as having bodies tall as date palm-trees, with blond hair and ruddy skin. Ahmmad is tattooed from “the tips of his toes to his neck” with dark blue or fadlaan green “designs” and all men are armed with an axe, sword and long knife.

In that, his account contrasts with that of the Persian traveler Ibn Rustahwhose impressions of the Rus were more favourable. He also describes in great detail the funeral of one of their chieftains a ship burial involving rape and human sacrifice. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ahmad ibn Fadlan – Wikipedia

I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor kaftansbut the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free.


Each man has an axea swordand a knifeand keeps each by him at all times. Each woman wears on either breast a box of ironsilvercopperor gold ; the value of the box indicates the wealth of the husband. Each box has a ring risalz which depends a knife. The women wear neck-rings of gold and silver.

Their most prized ornaments are green glass beads. They string them as necklaces for their women. Slavs ] and the Bashkirs “. Nothing is known about Ibn Fadlan other than what can be inferred from his Risala. It has been asserted that he was a faqih an espert in Islamic jurisprudence at the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir.

Aramco Services Company, He is usually assumed to have been ethnically Arab although there is no positive evidence to this effect. An Arab Among the Vikings of Russia.

Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

The Travels of Ibn Fadlan | Muslim Heritage

University of Chicago Press. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Arab Travellers in the Far Northtrans. Penguin,pp. Akademie der Wissenschaften, As fadaln growing number of scholars have observed, there seemed to be a political agreement between the Bulghar king and the Abbasid caliph.

With this arrangement, the former would receive financial and military help in exchange for paying religious-political homage to the Abbasids. Penguin Classics,pp. Geography and cartography in medieval Islam. Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 27 Decemberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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