Posts Tagged ‘Sultan’

Travels with Ibn al-Mujabbir #4

July 21st, 2012 Comments off

Gold dinar of the Rasulid sultan al-Malik al-Mansur ‘Umar b. ‘Ali

Sailing Seasons in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean:
The View from Rasulid (13th-14th Centuries) Aden

by Daniel Martin Varisco

[This is a lecture presented at the Red Sea Trade and Travel Study Day of the Society for Arabian Studies at the British Museum, October 5, 2002, and subsequently published in Yemen Update. For Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here.]

Monday, 19 Sha‘ban, 691 (August 5, 1292)

Most travelers that I know complain of the lack of fresh water here in Aden, but I think the more serious omission is basic intelligence. Perhaps the unbearable heat drains their brains as well as their bowels. Instead of unloading our ship on the third day, we were kept waiting a full extra day before finally being allowed into customs. One would think their interest in picking our pockets would speed up rather than prolong this unpleasant process. I was under orders to take the gift directly to the sultan, and I am half tempted to write a letter immediately to the master of this land and apprise him of the inattention that seems to plague his servants in the port. After all, I represent the Karimi, not some cheap junk from Serendib!

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Six jailed for offending Oman sultan on Facebook

July 18th, 2012 Comments off

Six people, including a woman, have been sentenced to a year in prison for offending Oman’s monarch Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on social networking website Facebook. Satellite TV station al-Maiadin said …
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Sabbahi on Israel: the new Egypt

May 20th, 2012 Comments off
“I will support all forms of armed resistance” against Israel, Mr. Sabahi said, “whether it comes from Palestine’s land, from Lebanon’s land or from any other land.” “Egypt will no longer be a godfather for Israel in this region,” he added. “This will be over.”” (thanks Sultan)

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Sartorial guide to the GCC

May 7th, 2012 Comments off

My favorite thing about the GCC: people there look extremely elegant. Sultan al-Qassemi once explained to me the subtle variations in style across different countries and region of the Gulf, it was fascinating.

Via Sultan.

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House of Saud propagandists

May 2nd, 2012 Comments off
Here is a sample of House of Saud propaganda.  (thanks Sultan)

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A biography is in the making: Patrick Seale

March 4th, 2012 Comments off
Having written hagiographies of Hafidh Al-Asad and of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, it seems that Patrick is getting ready to launch a hagiography of the Emir of Qatar and of Qatar Airways. (thanks Ahmet)

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Qaboos of Oman: "I urge President Obama to take Iran on its offer!"

February 1st, 2012 Comments off

Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a longtime, discreet intermediary with Iran, says that Iran is seriously seeking a way out of American-led sanctions over its nuclear program and urges the United States to re-engage the regime on a variety of issues, not just its nuclear program.
“No one in the world can live on his own in today’s world,” the sultan said, referring to Iran.“They don’t want to bring upon themselves more trouble. They know they are mistrusted and must convince the world of their peaceful intentions.”
Specifically, the sultan added, Iran understands that this means working more closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency to increase international nuclear inspections of its nuclear program and returning to talks with the U.S. and key Security Council members, Britain, France, Russia, China, as well as Germany, known as the P-5 plus 1. Last Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed such talks.
The sultan urged President Obama to take Iran up on its offer. “The United States and Iran should sit together and talk,” he said…
He disclosed that Oman, at America’s “hint” for assistance, had recently conveyed to the highest levels of the Iranian government a warning about the adverse potential consequences of closing the Strait of Hormuz. How precisely that message was conveyed — “we have our ways and means,” he said — he would not disclose. But he added that he believes the message was clearly received.
“No one will block the Strait of Hormuz,” Qaboos asserted. Iran, he added, may also be preparing to adopt unspecified reforms.
The sultan shared his views before Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Iran could acquire a nuclear bomb within a year. But Sultan Qaboos disputed the notion that this was Tehran’s intent. “They now want to persuade the rest of the world that while they are seeking a nuclear capability — like Japan — they are not seeking weapons per se,” he said. He claims to believe them….
Asked about reports that Israel was allegedly weighing a military strike to degrade and delay Iran’s nuclear program, Qaboos replied that while he understood that “Israel must be looking at all the options and keeping all of them open,” he hoped that the situation would not “deteriorate to the point that Israel feels compelled to take drastic measures.”
“Inshallah it will not happen,” the sultan stressed. But were Israel to strike, “God forbid,” he added, all parties would have to “do what you can to avoid an escalation.”…
The sultan expressed optimism about Yemen,… The Sultan, who celebrated his 40th year in power last November,…With respect to Egypt, which just marked the one-year anniversary of the uprising that prompted President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, Qaboos said that he felt personally sorry for the Egyptian president, … indirectly cautioned both Egypt’s armed forces and militant Islamists from clinging to, or trying to usurp power. “No one party or religious group should impose its will,” he said. “They all need to work together.”
As for Syria, while refraining from criticizing President Bashar Assad by name, he urged Damascus to accept the Arab League’s initiative…
To demonstrate his support for a “friend” in trouble, the sultan said he traveled to Iran for the first time ever during the Green uprising in 2009. But another Wikileaks cable, dated 2010, put such gestures in a more pragmatic light. “Oman views Iran as the strategic threat to the region but has chosen to manage the threat by fostering strong working relations with Tehran,” the cable asserts…”

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Qatar’s business standard: who is your local partner?

October 18th, 2011 Comments off
“Criteria for awarding the project include “how big the company is, their experience, their resources, their workload and who is their local partner,” he said.” (thanks Sultan)

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The State of Agriculture in Late 13th Century Rasulid Yemen

August 13th, 2011 Comments off

Rasulid polo players

By Daniel Martin Varisco

[In 1993 I attended a conference in Rome and gave a paper which was eventually published in Convegno Storia e Cultura dello Yemen in età Islamica, con particolare riferimento al periodo Rasûlide (Roma 30-31 ottobre 2003 (Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Fondazione Leone Caetani, 27, pp. 161-174, 2006). As this publication is virtually inaccessible, I am reprinting the paper here (with page numbers to the original indicted in brackets).]


[p. 161] About seven and a half centuries ago the second Rasulid sultan, al-Malik al-Mu?affar Y?suf ibn ‘Al?, was thrust into power in his youth after his father’s murder, just about the time the Genoan Marco Polo was born. The overlap between the Italian merchant mercenary and mercenary descendant sultan is fraught with irony. Al-Mu?affar, the untested state builder came to power just a decade before the overthrow of the Abbasid caliphate, which had blessed Rasulid rule as a buffer against the Zayd? imams of Yemen’s northern highlands, while the future Italian diplomat set out on his trek only a decade or so after the Mongols had destroyed Baghdad. Polo was destined to serve an aging Kublai Khan, returning to Italy in 1295, the very year that the seventy-year-old-plus Rasulid ruler died. When Polo referred to the immense wealth of the sultan of Aden, “arising from the imposts he lays” in the Indian Ocean trade, he meant al-Mu?affar. Marco Polo and al-Malik al-Mu?affar never met, except in print, but the world that they both embraced was centered on an important trade network linking the Mediterranean and Africa with Persia, India and ultimately the lands of the great Khan.

Fortunately for the Rasulids, the merciless Mongol warriors never reached Yemen, apart from a few individuals who later assisted a Yemeni sultan in compiling a “King’s Dictionary” also known as the “Rasulid Hexaglot.” (1) [p. 162] Yemen also escaped the incursions of crusading medieval knights, although the legacy of Saladin played a major role in defining its political fortunes until the arrival of the Ottoman garrisons and Portuguese galleons in the sixteenth century. My focus is on the zenith of the Rasulid era near the end of the long reign of al-Mu?affar, the preeminent state-builder of the dynasty. By 1252 he consolidated his hold over the coastal zone (Tih?ma), southern highlands and Aden, as well as achieving periodic control over ?an‘?’, thus driving the Zayd? imams back to their firm base in ?a‘da. The sultan’s forces in the late 1270s took control, by land and by sea, of the important southern harbors at al-Shi?r and Dhofar, two important sailing venues along the trade route to the Persian Gulf and India. In 682/1283, despite the Zayd? loyalties of many of the tribes, al-Mu?affar was able to briefly take hold of ?a‘da, even striking coins there. Military success led to increased diplomatic recognition for the Rasulids; later delegations are described in the chronicles as arriving from Persia, Oman, India and China. Fortunately, al-Mu?affar was an avid patron of architecture and learning, so that the material and written records of Rasulid activities are quite extensive. (2)

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Selma and the Madrasa

October 17th, 2010 Comments off

Selma Al-Radi at work at the Amiriya Madrasa; photo by Qais al-Awqati

In addition to the obituary previously posted, the New York Times has recently published this account of Dr. Selma Al-Radi.

Selma Al-Radi, Restored Historic Madrasa, Dies at 71

By MARGALIT FOX, The New York Times, October 14, 2010

On certain dark nights, as a Yemeni legend tells it, Sultan Amir ibn Abd Al-Wahhab would command his servants to set lanterns in the windows of the Amiriya Madrasa, the ornate palace complex he had commissioned at Rada, in southern Yemen. Then, with his daughter by his side, he would ride into the hills above town, to behold his vast edifice ablaze with light.

The sultan was a historical figure, the last ruler of the Tahirid Dynasty, which flourished in Yemen from the mid-15th to early 16th centuries. The Amiriya Madrasa, erected in 1504 and named for him, was then and is now again one of the great treasures of Islamic art and architecture.

Solidly built of limestone and brick, the Amiriya seemed destined to endure as the sultan’s monumental legacy. But after he was killed in battle in 1517, the complex was left to decay. The more puritanical rulers who followed him deemed its lavishness a distraction from the sober business of prayer.

That the Amiriya today stands resplendent after five centuries of neglect is due almost entirely to the efforts of one woman, the Iraqi-born archaeologist Selma Al-Radi, who was for many years a research associate at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

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