Ibn al-Nadim: (987) Baghdad.Kitab al-Fihrist (catalogue)

Taken from: Youssouf KamaltomIIIfasc2

Full name: Abu'l Faraj Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Abi Ya'qub Ibn an-Nadim
He mentions the Nubians, Abyssinians, Beja, different varieties of the Zanj, the Al-Marawa, the al-Astan.

Notice about the Soudan; as to the people of the Soudan like the Nuba the Boudja the Zaghawa the Marawa the Istan the Barbar and the different kinds of Zandj –with the exception of Hind , who write in Hindi language to understand each other – they do not have a known written language nor written literature. Only al Djahiz in his kitab al Bayan says that among the Zandj one can find a kind of rhetorique and eloquence that is their own and in their own language. Somebody who had witnessed this said: When they are in a difficult situation like war, an orator from among them sits down on a higher place, puts his eyes down and starts talking in a language that resembles a murmur, which is understandable for the others; the same informer continues: as a result of this a decision is made among them on how to react, and accordingly they go to action, but God knows best.

Al Jahiz was a client (mawla) of the Banu-Kinana, and his grandfather was black.
Note; this is also found in Al-Khatib; Ta'rikh vol XII


Antagadadasao (The ten pious ascetics who have

put an end to existence) (part of the Jain canon) (10th century)


Taken from: Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India, by Monti Chandra

Slave girls were imported from the Somali land, the Oxus region, Greece,

Sri Lanka, Arabia, Ferghana, Balkh, Persia etc. These slave girls wore the

costumes of their countries and not knowing any language of this country

used the sign language for expressing themselves.


Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi:
Kitab al-Imta' wa'l-Mu'anasa (930-d1023)

(a discussion on national character) lived in Baghdad.
Taken from : Yves Bonnefoy; Asian Mythologies

Which is the wisest of all nations?
The Chinese we said; People of furnishings and handicrafts, he replied, with neither thought nor reflection. The Turks we said; Wild beasts for the frag he replied, The Indians we said; People of fantasy he said of legerdemain and conjuring and tricks. The Zanj we said; Freckles cattle he replied....

.... In consequence, good and bad qualities are spread among the whole of mankind and implanted in all of them. The Persians have statecraft, civility, rules, and etiquette. The Byzantines have science and wisdom; the Indians have thought and reflection and nimbleness and magic and perseverance. The Turks have courage and impetuosity, the Zanj have patients and toil and merriment, the Arabs are intrepid, hospitable, loyal, gallant, generous, protective, eloquent, and cogent....

On Languages;
We have heard many languages (even if we do not understand them) of all nations, such as the languages of our friends the Persians, Indians, Turks, Khwarezinians, Slavs, Andalusians and Zanj, and we found nothing in these languages like the limpidity of Arabic

The giraffe (zurafa) is found only in the country of the Abessinians
Taken from: alwaraq.net

All wild animals and other animals when walking move the right front leg and left rear leg together. Only the giraffe on the land and a few animals in the water do different.

Kitab Al-Hawamil wal-Sawamil

Taken from: L’humanisme arabe au IVe/Xe siecle: Miskawayh, philosophe et historien By Mohammed Arkoun

There are also people who have that kind of temper (sorrow or joy). With the Zenj particularly, one observes joy and activity because they have the temperament and not as you have thought (Tawhidi), because their temperament is connected to their black color. That color is caused by the sun being close passing by perpendicular to them at the bottom of its sphere (falak), and it burns that way the skin and hair…. The heat in which they live draws to them the heat that is naturally in them, because the heat goes towards the heat. Because of that their natural heat is not heaping up in their hearts. And when the natural heat is not strong in their heart, there will be no burning in the blood which is normally pure and light.


Akhbar al-zaman (1000) (History of the Ages and Those Whom Events have Annihilated) writer unknown.
(sometimes attributed to Al-Masudi)

Taken from : the French translation: L'Abrege des merveilles (1898)

An Account of Kan'an b. Ham.
He was the eldest of Ham's sons, and the first to corrupt the religion of Noah, peace be upon him....
Among the descendants of Sudan, son of Kan'an, are many nations, among them the Ishban, the Zanj, and many peoples that multiplied in the Maghrib, about 70 of them. They differ in their customs (af'al) and have kings.

The islands of the Zendj. They are inhabited by several races with different character and appearance, and governed by several kings who have different habits and beliefs. One finds there different kinds of animals.
The sea of the Zendj encloses several islands where one finds different kinds of colored shells (the wad and the halazounat), of which the people make jewelry. They collect the ivory of the elephants and in the season, the merchants of India and Sind come to buy it.

Close to China there is a place in the sea called Sandji. At this place the sea is at its worst, where there is the most wind, hurricanes, dangers, and the strangest things. Children resembling the Zendj climb into the boats, they are 5 inch high; they come out of the water............

(about the islands of a sea in Southern part of India) A dragon named Malaka is found here which is rarely seen, perhaps once a year. It can swallow an elephant. Raja of Zanj procure it with great skill , cleverness and trick. It is boiled to get its fat. The body of the Raja was massaged with it which increases its strength and other powers (sexual etc.). Its skin resembles the leopard skin and used for preparing special mat. It is said that a patient of phthisis gets cured if he sits on it for seven days continuously and if a healthy man sits or sleeps on it, he becomes immune from this disease

The islands of the Zendjs. It is a big and stretched out archipelago. Everything you plant there dura (sorghum), roses, and other plants becomes black. There is there in that archipelago a kind of people called Mokhazzam (with the nose pierced ) of which the members have the nose and the lips pierced. One puts in those holes a chain, each worrier holds one of those man at the end of the chain, guides him and stops him from moving till the trumpets call to war. Then the chain is rolled around the neck and they are left to fight. Nobody can resist them; they destroy and eat everything that opposes them, and none leaves the ranks except when killed.
The Arabs are highly estimated by the Zendj, when an Arab passes by, they say; this one is from the country where the date grows; because the date is venerated with them and because the Arabs bring their children up on dates.
The Zendj have eloquent orators. Those who are man of God dress in tiger skins, and they hold in hand a stick with which they assemble the people, and they preach morning to evening, standing, calling to God, telling about the present king and the former ones.
The island of Socotra. There grows the myrrh of Socotora. The island is situated between the land of the Zendj and the one of the Arabs. Most of its people are Christians.........

A story of a shipwreck on an island where the sand is of gold. They were not far yet before the boat sank, all the gold was lost, nearly all died, except for some who saved themselves by swimming in the direction of Zendj and reached its shores.

Neighbors of the Abyssinians are the Zendj, on the sea coast whose kingdom is vast. They are descendents of Soudan, son of Kanaan they have several kings and kingdoms. The main king is called Kounah (in manuscript A and B; in C ; Kawiah; in M ; Kaznab) . The Zendj sharpen their teeth until they become very sharp, they have very big mouths and the front teeth are very white, because they eat a lot of fish. They have elephants of which they sell the tusks to merchants of neighboring places. They have islands, from which they collect shells which they keep or sell. They are divided into several nations in several countries.
The Kerk; This is a nation descending from Sudan, son of Kanaan; they are close to the people of Sind and the Zendj, who are their enemies. The Kerk are strong people of high statue, with long hair, pretty face, and experienced warriors. They have a king called Naksa, a very powerful man, who has several others under him. They are idolaters which came to them from Sind and Hind.
The Kerk have as neighbors on the side of the Zendj several nations and tribes, more then one can enumerate. The Zendj and the Kerk are neighbors of the Sind and the Hind (and the Bend), who are among the descendants of Kush, son of Cham............

An amalecide prince of Syria............ At the beginning of his 30th year of his reign, the Negroes of the land of the Zendj and Nubie want to attack his country. They assemble at the borders and destroy a lot. The king gathers the army groups from all over the country, and has ships equipped, he gives to one of his generals called Bilatis the commandment of 300,000 people, infantry as well as cavalry; he has them followed by another general at the head of equal forces; and on the sea he brings out 300 ships. Each of those ships has a priest on board to take care of its people. The king himself marches in the rear-guard with the rest of the army. The Egyptians meet the army of the Negroes, which had about one million men; and they make them flee. They kill many of them and they make many prisoners. Then they pursue them till they reach the lands of the elephants in the country of the Zendj. They take many of those animals and also lots of tigers, and they bring them to Egypt. The king has them build towers on the border on which they inscribe the history of this campaign, the date of the invasion of the Negroes and all the important facts of his reign.


Ibn Miskawayh (d1030) Al Fawz al-asghar (the small book of greetings) from Rayy (Persia) worked in Baghdad.

Taken from : www.diafrica.org/kenny/phil/phile5.htm

The Prophet occupies the summit of the Human hierarchy which extends from those who are endowed with the greatest subtlety of intelligence all the way down to the Zanj who live almost like beasts.

Miskawayh: Tahdhib al-Akhlaq

Taken from: Maimonidean Studies by Arthur Hyman -

The first rank in the human realm, which touches the limit of the animal realm, is the rank of the people who dwell in the farthest parts of the inhabited world both to the north and the south such as the remotest Turks in the country of Gog and Magog and the remotest Zanj and similar nations which are distinguished from apes to a slight degree only. Then a faculty of discernment and understanding grows in men until they reach the central climes…..

The same applies to people not very capable of acquiring virtue. For these are slaves by nature as, for example, the Turks and the Negroes (al-Zanj) and in general all those who do not grow up in noble climes (al-aqalim al-sharifah)
Under Muhammad b. Yakut in the year 936 was for the last time an infantry of 3000 Zanj used (against the Buyyides)


Miskawaihi; Kitab tajarib al-umam: (The Experiences of the Nations)

Taken from: The Eclipse of the Abbasid caliphate: original chronicles of the fourth Islamic century: The Concluding Portion of The Experiences of the Nations part 5

Miskawaihi was Officeholder at the Courts of the Buwaihid Sultans, Mu'izz ad-daulah, Rukn ad-daulah, and Adud ad-daulah vol.5 translation of: reigns of Muttaqi, Mustakfi and Tali / translated by D.S. Margoliouth; Miskawayhi

Year 355 (began dec 28-965)
Account of what happened in Oman
The people now agreed to give the principate to Abd al Wahhab b. Ahmad b. Marwan.......(who refused but was forced to accept)
.................He agreed with the army that eight months pay should be given them as gratuity, in consequence whereof the money was produced, and Ali b. Ahmad (the clerk who had brought the money) began handing out to the men the eight months money. When he came to the Zanj, men of strength and courage of whom there were six thousand, he said to them : Our prince Abd al-Wahhab has ordered me to bestow on you only four months' pay. This produced a disturbance among them, and he bade them go and speak to the prince. They started ; but when they had got a little way he recalled them to his chamber, and said : If you go to him, he will decline to admit you, and will certainly not give you more than the four month's pay. But what say you to entering my service, in which case I shall give you the eight months' pay, and the principate shall be mine ? They consented. The white troops were disturbed on account of this, and a brawl arose between them and the Zanj, in which a number of the former were killed. The white troops then acquiesced, made common cause with the Zanj, and swore allegiance to Ali b. Ahmad. They then sent a message to Abd al-Wahhab b. Ahmad b. Marvan, informing him that they had appointed someone else to rule over them, and that he must leave the country. He departed, and Ali b. Ahmad (a Quarmatian) became prince.


Ibn Sina (980-1037) Kitab Al-Qanon fit-tibb

(Canon in philosophy,medicine) A Persian doctor
Taken from: Marcel Devic: Le Pays des Zendjs
Julie K. Ward : Philosophers on Race : Critical Essays
Full name: Abu Ali al-Hussein Ibn Sina, known in the west as Avicenna.

The Zendj and the Habacha loose their hair only very late in life, the skin of their head is hard, and makes it difficult for hair to grow, so there are only few. But they also remain there with much energy, that is why the baldness arrives late with the Zendjs and the Habacha.

Zanj (all black people) and hairy people are predisposed to melancholia.

Some people are naturally far from acquiring virtues; for they are slaves (abid) by nature like the Turks and the az-Zanj and those who generally speaking have not grown up in noble climates where conditions are for the most part such that the peoples growing up in them are balanced of temperament and sound of disposition and intellect.

(According to Garcia de Orta) He also mentions Almendeli (Malindi) where Amber is found (in lib. 2, cap. 63). (I could not find it )

Taken from: alwaraq.net

Ebony which is wood from trees brought from Zinj, and which Dioskoreydos brought from Abyssinia, pure black, with no layers…

Badasvan: It is exported from mainland Zinj and made into wooden bracelets.

Urjuza fi’I-tibb (Poem on Medicine)
Where the Zanj live is a heat that changes their bodies
Until their skins are covered all over with black
The Slavs acquire whiteness
Until their skins turn soft.

Al Madkhal: On Logic

Taken from: alwaraq.net

…such as black, which separates the Zanjy from another human being; the black never leaves him,

and that will prevail, so we do not have further separation in black; Where there is the division with the

special Alhabsy, it is not regarded as real separation.


Al Baghdadi; Al-Fark Bain al-Firak
(Moslem Schisms and Sects) (d1037) (northeast Persia)


Full name: Abu Mansur 'Abd al-Kahir al-Baghdadi
Taken from: Die Richtungen der islamischen Koranauslegung By Ign c Goldziher

Most Mu' taziliten state that the Zindsch, Turken and Chazaren are able to learn the (rhetorical) art of the Koran and to bring something similar and even still more splendid; only the ability lacks them to bring the things into the correct order.

Taken from: Shorter encyclopaedia of Islam by Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb, Johannes Hendrik Kramers,

The followers of Babak (Iranian-Zoroastrian freedom fighter against the Arabs) make the founder of their religion a prince of theirs who lived in pre- Islamic times, called Sharwin Whose father was of the Zandj whereas his mother was the daughter of a Persian king.

Usul al-Din (Basics of Religion)
Taken from: Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad, A History of the People of Hadeeth
Full name: Abd al-Kahir b. Tahir, Abu Mansur al-Shafi`I al-Baghdadi

(All the people the companions of the Prophet conquered were called: Ahl ul-Hadeeth, )
It is clear that the people of the lands of ar-Room, al-Jazeerah, ash-Shaam, Adharbayjaan (Azerbaijan), Baabul-Abwaab and others which were conquered were all upon the madhhab of the Ahl ul-Hadeeth. Also the inhabitants of the lands of Ifreeqiyyah, Andalus and all the countries behind the Western Sea, were from the Ahl ul-Hadeeth. Also the people of the lands of al-Yaman upon the Zanj coastline (Zanzibar) were all from the Ahl ul-Hadeeth.


Tha'alibi (d1038): Lata'if al-ma'arif
(Curious and Entertaining Information)

from Naysabur (Iran)
Al Jahiz says........ he goes on to add that if anyone comes from the region of Iraq to the land of the Zanj, his skin inevitably becomes
cracked and scabby whilst he remains there. Moreover when anyone drinks an excessive amount of coconut milk, the intoxicating effect
blots out his mind until he becomes a near idiot.

Tha'alibi: Yatimat ad Dahr (Rare Pearl)

Taken from: The Mediaeval Islamic Underworld

Through my brethren, the Banu Sasan, the influencial and bold ones.

Theirs is the land of Khurasan, and then Qasban as far as India,

And as far as Byzantium, and the land of the Zanj, and to Bulghar and Sind.

Thaalibi: thmar alqlwba fialmdhaf walmnswba (Fruits in the hearts)

Taken from: alwaraq.net


(about the Persians) and you see being handed over to them: the Romans, the black Abyssinians, the burned Zanj,…


Chapter Forty-sixth

In addition the following symptoms are attributed to the countries: Obedience to the people of Syria, to the Levant plagues, backwardness to Zinj, conditions to the Hijaz, ….


Backward Zinj

They are among the Nations with strong musical qualities and love songs, and the preference of pornography …and drinking habits…