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Ibn al-Wardi

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Abū Ḥafs Zayn al-Dīn ʻUmar ibn al-Muẓaffar Ibn al-Wardī (Arabic: عمر ابن مظفر ابن الوردي), known as Ibn al-Wardi, was an Arab historian AH 691 (1291/1292)-AH 749 (1348/1349), the author of Kharīdat al-ʿAjā'ib wa farīdat al-gha'rāib ("The Pearl of wonders and the Uniqueness of strange things"), a geographical treatise with sections on natural history.[1] He also wrote Tarikh Ibn al-Wardi ("The History by Ibn al-Wardi").


Ibn al-Wardi's atlas of the world, a manuscript copied in 17th century

The Kharīdat summed up the geographical knowledge of the Arabic world of the time, referring to climate, terrain, fauna and flora, population, way of living, existing states and their governments in individual regions of the world. The work was accompanied by a coloured world map and a picture of Ka'bah.

Although in the book al-Wardi credits al-Mas'udi, al-Tusi and several other sources, Mohamed Bencheneb claimed it was merely a plagiarism of a book by Egyptian writer Najm ad-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Ḥamdān ibn Shabib al-Ḥanbali (ca. 1332), entitled Jāmi ʿal-Funūn wa-Salwat al-Maḥzūn.[2][1] As for the first chapter of the Kharidat, although it may have well come indirectly through al-Ḥanbali as Bencheneb suggests, it is in fact very nearly a copy from Yaqut's Mu'jam ul-Buldān, including similar phraseology.[3]

The author also speaks about Slavs and their lifestyle and mentions al-Mahdiyya as the residence of the Fatimid dynasty. Therefore, the book is older than the city of Kairo (founded in 969 C. E.).


  1. ^ a b Bencheneb, Mohamed (1936), "Ibn al-Wardī", The Encyclopaedia of Islām, vol. III, E. J. Brill ltd., p. 428
  2. ^ Jwaideh (1987), p. 19, note 4.
  3. ^ Jwaideh (1987), p. 19, note 4.

See also