Friday, 28 April 2017

X is for...um...erm..Ashra...and...'Xplorers





is for



X ala X  



which is a 2016 hit from this new artiste Sultan, very catchy, very joyous. Ten is ashra in Arabic incidentally, and dig that double clap and that little shruggy move Sultan does, ooh some music mojo! All this rhythmic hand clapping reminds me of the subcontinental tradition of Qawwali songs.




'Xplorers



Historically, the Arabs were inveterate travellers. Most of them were ordinary people, traders or merchants, who travelled thousands of miles between Arablands and other shores, but left no records. Other cultures and peoples did however, and a quote from a Roman writer, “…And the whole place is crowded with Arab ship-owners and seafaring men, and is busy with the affairs of commerce; for they carry on a trade with the far-side coast...” shows that Arabs have been building ships and sailing the Indian Ocean long before Islam came to Arabia.


Arabs have always had a seafaring tradition, think of the Arabian peninsula and the reasons are obvious – it has a long coastline, surrounded on three sides by the sea. Second, the coasts are separated from the interiors by mountains and deserts, sea routes are more accessible, and lastly, the coastal areas offered easier options to live off them than the interior. Add to the long Arabian coastline, the Nile in Africa, the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers to the East, and we get an effective transport hub, sitting at a strategic location between the East and the West. 


Once Islam came to Arabia, travel got a further fillip – every able bodied practitioner of the new faith was required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once. But apart from the journeys required by faith or livelihood, there were travellers who went out just for the love of it. Wanderlust - there was an epidemic of it among the early Arabs it seems! A few of the famous Arab travellers -


Mohammed ibn Battuta (1304–1368/9) Moroccan scholar, writer and traveller. Travelled extensively in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, India, Sri Lanka, China.  Wrote of his travels in Rihla (Travels). 


Al Masoodi – (~890’s–956) Known as the Herodotus of the East. Travelled to Syria, Armenia, the Caspian Sea, Indus Valley, Sri Lanka, Oman, the East Coast of Africa. Wrote widely, most well-known for Muruj ad-Dahab wa Ma’adin al Jawaheer (The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems).


Ibn Jubair (1145-1217) From Al Andalus, Spain. Travelled to Mecca and recorded the trip.  Covered Egypt, Mecca, Medina and Sicily. 


Ibn Fadlan (10th century) Travelled to Bulgaria as ambassador of the Abbasid Caliphate. Wrote of his travels up the Volga River.


Ahmed ibn Majid (1421-1500?) Born in Oman, traveller, navigator. Wrote detailed treatise on navigation, marine science and oceanography. The most well-known is Kitab al Fawaadh fi-Usul Ilm al Bahrwa al Qawaidah (The Book of Benefits of the Principles of Seamanship).



There are several others – Al Mahri, Al Muqaddasi, Ibn Hawqal…and not enough time/space/word allowance to cover all of them.  






Phew! am I glad that's over??  X is tough enough in English already, without trying to wrestle it into Arabic :) Did you know - Ibn Battuta's Xylophones are the oldest surviving specimens, kept in the museum at Khayalliya in North Africa?












(okay I just made that up to fit the post, clueless whether he collected xylophones, or played the instrument! :D and Khayalliya doesn't eXist either to the best of my knowledge and belief. Creative licence folks, needed nowhere else as much as X)





Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 

44 comments:

  1. We're now getting to £The Nitty Gritty" of the challenge.....awkward letters. I think was an excellent post and a joy to read. Will go off to bed and think what you have written.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, hope you've had a good night.

      Delete
  2. That's a good name for a song. and the song was greast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The name was certainly fortuitous! :)

      Delete
  3. Xtra fun.
    And hooray for the Xplorers. And the Xcessive number of beautiful and amazing things brought/given to the world by the Arabs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joining in the cheers for the xceedingly xcellent and useful things Arabs have given us.

      Delete
  4. That song is awesome! And Sultan looks so happy. I smiled along with him!

    Meet Amble Bay's Mark Xavier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He does indeed have an infectious smile :)

      Delete
  5. X = Mojo........eXcellent post!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You did a great job with X. For me, i'm lucky we have a cat at the shelter whose name starts with X.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I have nothing in my immediate surroundings beginning with an X...thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  7. X because everyone should read this post. You did an eXcellent job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Informative post on the 'xplorers. It is indeed difficult letter.
    Enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing
    Xenos
    Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being here.

      Delete
  9. Hi Nila - well you know what I'm going to say ... I am looking xxxxxx times to coming over and re-reading all of your posts, listening to the songs and just learning so much more about Arabiana ... X is never easy though ... but x times worked for you as I commented!!!!cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/x-is-for-x-war-facts.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hilary, and clever use of x in the comment! :) X would be easy in South Africa...

      Delete
  10. the music of Ashra Ala is so catchy. its like a ear worm

    A Peice Of My Life

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ibn Batutta is the name of the airport of Tanger, that we usually use. He was born in that city.
    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, so he was. There is a humongous mall named after him in Dubai, where there are themed pavillions decorated in the style of the countries he visited - so China, Persia, India and so on...when it first opened, the mall management put out a short animated film on a DVD on his life and travels targetting kids, and my son (and I with him) watched it like a million times.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Glad it's over w/o mishaps :) thanks!

      Delete
  13. nice use of 'Xplorers :P
    Joy @ The Joyous Living

    #AtoZChallenge

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think you did well with X, even if you cheated a bit at the end! I had a similar problem with X when I did last year's A to Z.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, what's an ex post without a dash of cheating?

      Delete
  15. eXcellent account of the Arab eXplorers ! so well researched.
    Best wishes,
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, X always makes me eXceedingly nervous...

      Delete
  16. LOL - creative license is indeed needed for X. But what a fabulous gathering you've done! Sultan's smile is such a light. Through the course of your series you've introduced me to so many new musicians I'll be revisiting. How fun!

    And nice job with the 'Xplorers - very well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sultan is a cutie, isn't he? Getting through X would be quite impossible without a little creative licence :p

      Delete
  17. What a great history of adventurers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The travelogues make for mesmerising reads! thanks for being here...

      Delete
  18. Very good at using the letter of the day! and an excellent post as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Relieved it's over :) and I found music and topics to (almost) match

      Delete
  19. Wonderful post for an awkward letter. I read it all and wasn't even tempted to skim. Looked up Rihla on Amazon and found three editions I could buy - one is even available to Kindle. Thank you for expanding my horizons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. X is a regular awkward one...had a real tough time :)

      Delete
  20. Ah, Ibn Battuta, the famous explorer who has an entire shopping mall themed around his travels. :)

    It's like a mall and a museum in one, which is kind of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, it would have been so easy to make it ott and tacky and horrible with a theme like that, but the interiors are done really well, nothing in poor taste about them. Really difficult to achieve in execution terms.

      My son loved going to Ibn Battuta, we all did, when we lived in Dubai.It was inaugurated while we were there. Really one of a kind, haven't seen another one like it anywhere, mall+museum :)

      Delete
  21. X is a tough letter. You've done well. Bravo!

    J -- Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference and Speculative Fiction Writer
    http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com

    ReplyDelete

Nonymous comments prized more than rubies :) Anonymous comments shall be deleted as soon as spotted. Just so you know.