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 Kitab Ikhwan as-safa

 (Book of the pure Brethren)
Basra, author unknown.

Left: One of the manuscripts of the Ikhwan as Safi has this painting showing the authors


Also called: Rasa'il Ikhwan as-Safa

An encyclopaedia to popularize science.

the climate map out of this manuscript

Taken from : Dieterici, Friedrich: Die Propaedeutik der Araber im Zehnten Jahrhundert

                     Dante's Pluralism and the Islamic Philosophy of Religion by Gregory Stone

                     Revue des etudes islamiques vol 32 p 141

                     The Dimensions of Music in Islamic and Jewish culture Amnon Shiloah.

                     Alwaraq (=pagenumbers)


The sea of the west, the one of Gog and Magog the one of Zang, the Green Sea and the all encircling sea are situated outside the inhabited quarter. Al these seas are branches and channels of the all encircling sea and they are all salty.


The inhabitants of the other climates are inferior to these in their living by far, because they are ugly in appearance and their nature wild, as this is the case for the Zandj and Abyssinians and most peoples of the second, the sixth and seventh climate….


The humours of the body, are of several aspects and the natures of animals are of many kinds. To each humour, to each nature, corresponds a rhythm and a melody, whose number can only be counted by God, powerful and great. You will find the proof of the veracity of what we have just said and of the accuracy of what we have described, if you consider that considered that every people of the human race possesses its own melodies and rhythms which bring delight to its children, even though persons outside that society do not take pleasure in them. This is the case with the music of the Daylamites, the Turks, the Arabs, the Armenians, the Zenj [Ethiopians], the Persians, the Rums [Byzantines] and other peoples who differ from each other in language, nature, character and customs. Much more, you will find, within one people, clans who take delight in certain melodies and certain rhythms, which bring joy to their souls, but nobody, other than they, would be able to find pleasure in them. Even more, you can find that the same person experiences delight and joy in listening to a melody, at a certain moment, while at another, he is not delighted by it at all; but, on the contrary, this melody may inspire in him repulsion and anguish. You will find that people obey a similar law in all that concerns their nourishment, their drink, their perfume, their clothes and all other pleasures, ornaments and embellishments. All these are a function of the variety of the mixtures of the humours, of the diversity of natures, of the constitution of the body, of places and of periods.


The evidence for what we have said is the temperament of bodies of people of the southern countries of Abyssinia and Zinj and Alenzabahj and the people of Sindh and the people of India, it is the heat of the sun in its zenith in that country twice in a year….


(about rivers starting in the mountains then towards the sea)

Including its neighbours from the south towards the north towards the Egyptian Nile, which starts from the mountains of the moon from behind the equator and pass through its groves heading north until it is set in the sea of the Romans.


The reason is that the inhabited quarter of the earth comprises some nineteen thousand cities, of nations numberless. Among these countless peoples are those of China, India, Sind, Zanj, the Hijaz and the Yemen, Abyssinia, the Nejd , Nubia, Egypt, Sa’id, Alexandria, Cyrenaica, Qayrawan, Tunis, Tangier, Britian, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, Rome, Constantinople, Kalah, - Berbers, Miyafarqis, Burjanis, Azerbaijanis, Nisibinis, Armenians, Damascenes, Georgians, Greeks, the folk of the two Diyars, of Iraq and Mahin, Khuzitan and Jebal, those of Khutlan, Badakhshan, Daylaman, Tabaristan, Jurjan, Jilan, Nishapur, Kirman, Kabulistan, Multan, Sijistan, Transoxiana, Jordan, Farghanah, Khwarizm, and the lands of the Khirghiz, Tibetans, and the dwellers in the land of Gog and Magog (end of list of countries).


….more nations that have a passion to learn science, trades, literature, mathematics, such as the people of Persia,  and the people of Iraq, and the people of Syria, Rum and other nations. Young boys, after being brought up by their fathers and mothers, are taught by teachers and tutors, who often conceive a strong attachment that may become sexual. The nations that do not have arts and science and literature, such as the Kurds, Bedouins and Zinj and the Turks, this is rarely found and it is not in their nature to desire copulation with young men and to be in love with beardless boys......


These animals are they not called human being? Every one of them is also the body and the sense of life and movement? ………. I might see the structure of the body of a Zinji contrary to the structure of the body of a Turk, and the mood of the child contrary to the temperament of a Sheikh, …….. all humans are no different in humanity with these different conditions, ……


He said: the number only God knows, as countless number of creatures who are in the land of the Ethiopians, Zinj, Zut, Kurds and Gog and Magog and others not known to a lot of people. All these tongues and colors, morality and character, habits and actions, deeds, opinions and doctrines, of the people of the towns and villages,….


Taken from: Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources by E. J. Van Donzel, A. B. Schmidt


 (About Gog and Magog): just a nation among others, who are all sons of Adam: Turks, Abyssinians, Zanj, Nubians, Arabs, non-Arabs, Persians, Byzantines, Indians, Sind, Chinese, Nabataeans, Zutt, Kurds, Gog and Magog, Sisan and other people not known to the greater part of men.  (not found in the version used by the other sources)


Taken from: Rasa'il edited by Richard McGregor, Lenn E. Goodman


Epistle 22 The case of the Animals versus Man….

(About the pig)

 Another said: No he’s a cross between cattle and wild beasts, like the elephant, or the giraffe, who is a cross between an ass and a camel.