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Google Tour - Dr. Janet Sorrentino

Abstract

Itinerary of Ahmad bin Qasim according to his Kitab Nasir al-Din ala al-Qawm al-Kafirin (The Book of the Protector of Religion against the Unbelievers)

Ahmad bin Qasim was born ca. 1570 in al-Hajar al-Ahmar, Andalucia. He lived in both Seville and Granada. Qasim�s Kitab is a summary of his longer travel account, Rihlat al Shihab ila liqa� al-ahbab (The Journey of the Meteor to Meet the Loved Ones). It begins in 1595 while he was still in Granada. He was asked to translate the so-called Lead Plates, ancient texts which were believed to prophesy the coming of Muhammad. He feared persecution for his knowledge of Arabic, which had been outlawed, and began a journey to escape from Andalucia. His account tells of the fear and exclusion he felt in Spain. He eventually settled in Marrakesh, married, and became adviser to Mulay Ahmad al-Mansur, in 1599, then Mulay Zaidan after 1603. When the Spanish king Philip III ordered another expulsion of Moriscos in 1609, many of the refugees were robbed by sea captains in the process of emigrating to North Africa. Qasim was put in charge of a delegation to travel to France and the Netherlands seeking restitution of their possessions. Much of his own account of this journey focuses on his debates with Christians and Jews over doctrine. He displays remarkable knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, as well as formal theology. [Matar, 6-8.]

Bibliography
In the Lands of the Christians: Arabic Travel Writing in the Seventeenth Century, ed. and transl. Nabil Matar (New York and London: Routledge, 2003).

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