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IBILIS—IBN BATUTA

ibis, I. pagana, have been found in considerable numbers in the middle Tertiary beds of France.[1] (A. N.) 


IBLIS, or Eblis, in Moslem mythology the counterpart of the Christian and Jewish devil. He figures oftener in the Koran under the name Shaitan, Iblis being mentioned 11 times, whereas Shaitan appears in 87 passages. He is chief of the spirits of evil, and his personality is adapted to that of his Jewish prototype. Iblis rebelled against Allah and was expelled from Paradise. The Koranic legend is that his fall was a punishment for his refusal to worship Adam. Condemned to death he was afterwards respited till the judgment day (Koran vii. 13).

See Gustav Weil, The Bible, the Koran and the Talmud (London, 1846).


IBN ‛ABD RABBIHI [Abū ʽUmar Aḥmad ibn Maḥommed ibn ʽAbd Rabbihi] (860–940), Arabian poet, was born in Cordova and descended from a freed slave of Hishām, the second Spanish Omayyad caliph. He enjoyed a great reputation for learning and eloquence. No diwan of his is extant, but many selections from his poems are given in the Yatīmat ud-Dahr, i. 412–436 (Damascus, 1887). More widely known than his poetry is his great anthology, the ‛Iqd ul-Farīd (“The Precious Necklace”), a work divided into twenty-five sections, the thirteenth being named the middle jewel of the necklace, the chapters on either side of this being named after other jewels. It is an adab book (see Arabia: Literature, section “Belles Lettres”) resembling Ibn Qutaiba’s ʽUyūn ul-Akhbār, from which it borrows largely. It has been printed, several times in Cairo (1876, 1886, &c.).  (G. W. T.) 


IBN ʽARABĪ [Muḥyiuddīn Abū ʽAbdallāh ibn ul-ʽArabī] (1165–1240), Moslem theologian and mystic, was born in Murcia and educated in Seville. When thirty-eight he travelled in Egypt, Arabia, Bagdad, Mosul and Asia Minor, after which he lived in Damascus for the rest of his life. In law he was a Zahirite, in theology a mystic of the extreme order, though professing orthodox Ash‛arite theology and combating in many points the Indo-Persian mysticism (pantheism). He claims to have had conversations with all the prophets past and future, and reports conversations with God himself. Of his numerous works about 150 still exist. The most extensive is the twelve-volume Futūḥāt ul-Makkīyāt (“Meccan Revelations”), a general encyclopaedia of Sufic beliefs and doctrines. Numerous extracts from this work are contained in Sha‛rānī’s (d. 1565) manual of Sufic dogma (Yawāqīt) published several times in Cairo. A short account of these works is given in A. von Kremer’s Geschichte der herrschenden Ideen des Islams, pp. 102–109 (Leipzig, 1868). Another characteristic and more accessible work of Ibn ‛Arabi is the Fuṣūṣ ul-Ḥikam, on the nature and importance of the twenty-seven chief prophets, written in 1230 (ed. Bulāq, 1837) and with the Commentary (Cairo, 1891) of Qāshāni (d. 1350); cf. analysis by M. Schreiner in Journal of German Oriental Society, lii. 516–525.

Of some 289 works said to have been written by Ibn ‛Arabī 150 are mentioned in C. Brockelmann’s Gesch. der arabischen Litteratur, vol. i. (Weimar, 1898), pp. 441-448. See also R. A. Nicholson, A Literary History of the Arabs, pp. 399-404 (London, 1907). (G. W. T.) 


IBN ATHĪR, the family name of three brothers, all famous in Arabian literature, born at Jazīrat ibn ‛Umar in Kurdistan. The eldest brother, known as Majd ud-Dīn (1149–1210), was long in the service of the amir of Mosul, and was an earnest student of tradition and language. His dictionary of traditions (Kitāb un-Nihāya) was published at Cairo (1893), and his dictionary of family names (Kitāb ul-Murassa‛) has been edited by Seybold (Weimar, 1896). The youngest brother, known as Diyā ud-Dīn (1163–1239), served Saladin from 1191 on, then his son, al-Malik ul-Afdal, and was afterwards in Egypt, Samosata, Aleppo, Mosul and Bagdad. He was one of the most famous aesthetic and stylistic critics in Arabian literature. His Kitāb ul-Mathal, published in Bulāq in 1865 (cf. Journal of the German Oriental Society, xxxv. 148, and Goldziher’s Abhandlungen, i. 161 sqq.), contains some very independent criticism of ancient and modern Arabic verse. Some of his letters have been published by D. S. Margoliouth “On the Royal Correspondence of Diya ed-Din el-Jazari” in the Actes du dixième congrès international des orientalistes, sect. 3, pp. 7-21.

The brother best known by the simple name of Ibn Athīr was Abu-l-Ḥasan ‛Izzuddīn Mahommed Ibn ul-Athīr (1160–1234), who devoted himself to the study of history and tradition. At the age of twenty-one he settled with his father in Mosul and continued his studies there. In the service of the amir for many years, he visited Bagdad and Jerusalem and later Aleppo and Damascus. He died in Mosul. His great history, the Kāmil, extends to the year 1231; it has been edited by C. J. Tornberg, Ibn al-Athiri Chronicon quod perfectissimum inscribitur (14 vols., Leiden, 1851–1876), and has been published in 12 vols. in Cairo (1873 and 1886). The first part of this work up to A.H. 310 (A.D. 923) is an abbreviation of the work of Tabarī (q.v.) with additions. Ibn Athīr also wrote a history of the Atabegs of Mosul, published in the Recueil des historiens des croisades (vol. ii., Paris); a work (Usd ul-Ghāba), giving an account of 7500 companions of Mahomet (5 vols., Cairo, 1863), and a compendium (the Lubāb) of Sam‛āni’s Kitāb ul-Anṣāb (cf. F. Wüstenfeld’s Specimen el-Lobabi, Göttingen, 1835).  (G. W. T.) 


IBN BATUTA, i.e. Abu Abdullah Mahommed, surnamed Ibn Batuta (1304–1378), the greatest of Moslem travellers, was born at Tangier in 1304. He entered on his travels at twenty-one (1325) and closed them in 1355. He began by traversing the coast of the Mediterranean from Tangier to Alexandria, finding time to marry two wives on the road. After some stay at Cairo, then probably the greatest city in the world (excluding China), and an unsuccessful attempt to reach Mecca from Aidhab on the west coast of the Red Sea, he visited Palestine, Aleppo and Damascus. He then made the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, and visited the shrine of Ali at Mashhad-Ali, travelling thence to Basra, and across the mountains of Khuzistan to Isfahan, thence to Shiraz and back to Kufa and Bagdad. After an excursion to Mosul and Diarbekr, he made the haj a second time, staying at Mecca three years. He next sailed down the Red Sea to Aden (then a place of great trade), the singular position of which he describes, noticing its dependence for water-supply upon the great cisterns restored in modern times. He continued his voyage down the African coast, visiting, among other places, Mombasa and Quiloa (Kilwa). Returning north he passed by the chief cities of Oman to New Ormuz (Hurmuz), which had about 15 years before, c. 1315, been transferred to its famous island-site from the mainland (Old Ormuz). After visiting other parts of the gulf he crossed the breadth of Arabia to Mecca, making the haj for the third time. Crossing the Red Sea, he made a journey of great hardship to Syene, and thence along the Nile to Cairo. After this, travelling through Syria, he made a circuit among the petty Turkish states into which Asia Minor was divided after the fall of the kingdom of Rum (Iconium). He now crossed the Black Sea to Kaffa, then mainly occupied by the Genoese, and apparently the first Christian city he had seen, for he was much perturbed by the bell-ringing. He next travelled into Kipchak (the Mongol khanate of Russia), and joined the camp of the reigning khan Mahommed Uzbeg, from whom the great and heterogeneous Uzbeg race is perhaps named. Among other places in this empire he travelled to Bolghar (54° 54′ N.) in order to witness the shortness of the summer night, and desired to continue his travels north into the “Land of Darkness” (in the extreme north of Russia), of which wonderful things were told, but was obliged to forego this. Returning to the khan’s camp he joined the cortège of one of the Khatuns, who was a Greek princess by birth (probably illegitimate) and in her train travelled to Constantinople, where he had an interview with the emperor Andronikos III. the Younger (1328–1341). He tells how, as he passed the city gates, he heard the guards muttering Sarakinu. Returning to the court of Uzbeg, at Sarai on the Volga, he crossed the steppes to Khwarizm and Bokhara; thence through Khorasan and Kabul, and over the Hindu Kush (to which he gives that name, its first occurrence). He reached

  1. The name “Ibis” was selected as the title of an ornithological magazine, frequently referred to in this and other articles, which made its first appearance in 1859.