Ibn Hawqal


Abu Muhammad ibn Hawqal al-Nasibi (d. 988) was an traveler who seems to have visited Nubia and the Sudan in 955. He later wrote a book based on his travels, of which two versions survive: an earlier version called Kitab al- Masalik wa-al-Mamalik (Book of Ideologies and Countries), and a revised version called Kitab Surat al-Ard (Book of the of the Earth).

His description of the kingdoms is relatively brief, and on that account is of less value than is the work of IBN SALIM AL-ASWANI. However, Ibn Hawqal is unique among medieval writers in having visited the kingdom of ‘ALWA in person. His most valuable and detailed information pertains to the TRIBES of the Sudan, in whose territory he apparently traveled extensively.


  • Kramers, J. H., and G. Wiet, trans. La Configuration de la terre. Paris, 1965.
  • Miquel, A. “Ibn Hawkal.” In Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 3, pp. 786-88. Leiden, 1971.
  • Vantini, G. The Excavations at Faras: A Contribution to the History of Christian Nubia, pp. 74-79. Bologna, 1970.
  • . Oriental Sources Concerning Nubia, pp. 149-70. and Warsaw, 1975.