Naser-e Khosraw on Fatimid Cairo’s Biggest Ceremony, from Michael Wolfe’s “One Thousand Roads to Mecca”

IN PART II OF NASER-E KHOSRAW’S TRAVELS

“….There is a lighthouse that I saw in Alexandria, on top of which used to be an incendiary mirror. Whenever a ship came from Istanbul and approached opposite the mirror, fire would fall from the mirror and burn the ship up…. On the morning when the Sultan is going out for the ceremony, ten thousand men are hired to hold the steeds….At some distance behind all of these comes the Sultan [al-Mustansir], a well-built, clean-shaven youth with cropped hair, a descendant of Husayn son of Ali. He is mounted on a camel with plain saddle and bridle with no gold or silver and wears a white shirt…”

Naser-e Khosraw in Fatimid Cairo: From “One Thousand Roads to Mecca” Edited by Michael Wolfe

Map of Naser-e Khosraw’s travels as described in his “Safarnama” or the Book of Travels. Credit: Wikipedia. Please click for article.

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Previous instalment: One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage

One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage Edited and Introduced by Michael Wolfe

In the early 1990’s Michael Wolfe, a prolific American writer and award winning producer of Islamic documentaries including Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet, became aware of a string of accounts by Muslims and non-Muslims who over the last one thousand years had gone to Mecca on the pilgrimage. Wolfe’s accounts are collected into a single volume called One Thousand Roads to Mecca, and the first of the twenty-four edited accounts is based on the Book of Travels, a classic text by the famous Ismaili poet, philosopher and traveller Naser-e Khosraw who lived during Islam’s expansive Middle period between the 11th and 14th centuries. The period has also been called the Golden Age of Muslim travel and, as Wolfe notes, Khosraw set the tone for a thousand years of Persian travel writing.

To begin reading Naser-e Khosraw’s spirited account of his journey, with an excellent introduction by Michael Wolfe, please click One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage or the image below.

Please click for Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage

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Tales of Ismaili Women of Shimshal