Various writings on historical topics

Presentation: Forgotten History: Al-Sufi's Book of Fixed Stars



On Friday 27th of January, 2018, I gave a presentation at the KW RASC on Al-Sufi's Book Of Fixed Stars.

The book is the first illustrated pictorial star atlas, and was very influential for centuries after it was authored. It spread widely from central Asia, throughout the Middle East, and to Europe. It was translated into many languages.

Here is the presentation slides, and audio recording:

al-Hakim: Religious Policies

Al-Hakim's religious policy was as erratic as his other policies. He would issue a decree, then after a while, he would annul it for no apparent reason. His policies were catastrophic for Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, and his actions caused a change in world history as you will see below.

Forbidding Sunnis from Pre-Noon and Taraweeh Prayers, and other things


al-Hakim: Threatening death for trivial things

Al-Hakim also was used to threaten death for seemingly trivial things.

For example, he said that death is the punishment for anyone who addressed any other person as Sayedna or Mawlana:

معاشر من يسمع هذا النداء من الناس أجمعين إن الله وله الكبرياء والعظمة أوجب اختصاص الأئمة بما لا يشركها فيه أحد من الأمة‏.‏
فمن أقدم بعد قراءة هذا المنشور على مخاطبة او مكاتبة لغير الحضرة المقدسة بسيدنا أو مولانا فقد أخل أمير المؤمنين دمه
فليبلغ الشاهد الغائب إن شاء الله‏.‏

Those who ate fish without scales, or possessed raisins were threatened with execution:


Maltese poem: Mejju gie, May has arrived - a translation by an Arabic speaker



In a previous article, I attempted a translation of the oldest know literary work in Maltese, Il-Cantilena, without looking up any translations, and relying only on my knowledge of Arabic as a native speaker of both classical and a North African dialect (Egyptian). I was largely successful.

Seventh Century Quranic Manuscript at Birmingham's Mingana Collection


My friend Ralph Janke who is from Germany and lives here in Waterloo, pointed me to a very interesting project that he worked on.

The project is funded by the European Union, and therefore uses open source and open data formats.

Alphonse Mingana: Assyrian Orientalist

Il-Cantilena of Malta: How much can a modern day Arab decipher from the oldest Maltese literature?



Also known as Il-Kantilena ...

In a previous article on Arab heritage in Malta, I touched upon how the Maltese language (Ilsan Malti) is definitely derived from Arabic, and more specifically, from the North African dialect of Arabic.

A visitor to the site raised a nice challenge which was very interesting to me: He started on the off note and having his comment titled "Maltest are not arab", and by saying:


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