Names Found in the First Volume of The
Travels of Ibn Baṭūṭṭa, as translated by H. A. R. Gibb
collected and arranged by Basil Dragonstrike
In around 1325 Abū ‘Abdallāh Muḥammad b. ‘Abdallāh b. Muḥammad b.
Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm b. Yūsuf, generally known as Ibn
Baṭṭūṭa, left his home in Ṭanja, now known as Tangier, to perform
the ḥajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah that is a pillar of Islam. Ibn
Baṭṭūṭa would eventually traverse much of Islamdom before returning
home and dictating his memoirs of that journey. In around 1958 H. A.
R. Gibb translated those memoirs into a four volume work, which he
titled The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa. This article contains names
collected from volume 1.
I have limited myself to collecting names only from the first volume
for two reasons. The first is the practical one of time and effort;
there are (as you will see) an enormous number of names from
just one-fourth of Ibn Baṭūṭṭa's work. I simply don't have the time
to go through all four volumes, copy the names, proofread them (two
or three times!), break them into their various elements, and
collect and arrange it all.
The second one is that, simply put, my primary interest is in Arabic
names as such, and secondarily in names throughout medieval
Islamdom. Due to various events and trends of the approximately 4
centuries before Ibn Baṭuṭṭa's day, many of the powerful persons in
Islamdom except west of Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula, were
Turks. While they largely used Arabic naming practices, and Arabic
names, quite a number of Turkish names and Arabicized versions of
Turkish names were used, quite often in mixed Arabic/Turkish names.
This is important for this article because Ibn Baṭṭūṭa was something
of an elitist. There is scarcely one name of a slave, a servant, an
ordinary worker, a common soldier, or a small businessman in his
memoir. Everybody named is important and influential, whether
politically or religiously. And, many of them were Turks or part
But there were few Turks in positions of power in North Africa west
of Egypt, and in the Arabic Peninsula. Which is where Ibn Baṭṭūṭa
traveled in the times covered by the first volume. Specifically, he
traveled from Tangier across North Africa into Egypt, into the
Levant, down to Makkah, and across Arabia to lower Mesopotamia
(modern Iraq). Thus, most of the first volume is spent outside the
areas of Turkish influence; the other three volumes are spent mostly
within areas of Turkish influence. Since I am looking primarily for
Arabic names, I thought it best to use only the first volume of The
Travels of Ibn Baṭūṭṭa. Note as well, that there was a
noticeable Persian influence, and Persian, Arabicized Persian (and
Persianized Arabic!) names may be represented.
Since I don't know enough to reliably separate out the Turkish (and
Persian) names, please treat this list as "Islamic names found in
the 14th century in North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, and the Arabian
A note on transliteration: H. A. R. Gibb has followed, in the main,
the LOC/ALA transliteration scheme. However, he has not in a few
He always uses ‘Abdallāh instead of the classically correct ‘Abd
He usually uses ‘Omar instead of the classically correct ‘Umar
He usually uses ‘Othmān instead of the classically correct ‘Uthmān
There are a few typos which I have noted in the following lists
A note on the form of this article: I have arranged the names I
found into a number of different lists, and put each list on its own
page. There is one page for isms
(essentially given names), one for laqabs/nisbas
(bynames), and one for al-Dīn-style
honorific names. As well, there is a list of complete
names taken directly from the book, and examples of
people refered to by more than one name. Some of these pages
have more than one list, and further information is provided on each
FURTHER NOTE: Since these pages were first written, I have
learned more about Arabic onomastics. Thus, a few changes have been
I have changed the lists to reflect all this; what is posted
currently are the corrected lists.
- Some names beginning with al- that I thought were
bynames have turned out to be isms. I have moved them to
the proper list.
- The Abbasid and Fatimid caliphs used "throne names," all of
which start with al-. As such "names" are actually
titles, I have removed all of them from these lists.
- Abū Bakr was not, in fact, used as an ism. Kunyas
were (depending on time and place) sometimes given to children,
and/or used by adults who had no child. Abū Bakr is
itself a metaphorical kunya (meaning "Father of a camel
foal"). It was sometimes used by children and childless adults;
as such persons did not have an eldest son named Bakr, I
have removed all references to Abū Bakr from these
- Names I now realize are Turkish, Persian, etc. have been
- There may be other, minor errors I've corrected.