Skip to main content

A View from Mecca: Notes on Gujarat, the Red Sea, and the Ottomans, 1517–39/923–946 H.*


This article examines the history of Gujarat-Red Sea relations in the first quarter of a century after the Ottoman conquest of the Hijaz, in the light of Arabic narrative sources that have hitherto been largely neglected. While earlier historians have made use of both Ottoman and Portuguese archives in this context, we return here to the chronicles of Mecca itself, which prove to be an unexpectedly interesting and rich source on the matter. Our main interest is in the figure of Jarullah ibn Fahd and his extensive annalistic work, Nayl al-munā. A good part of our analysis will focus on the events of the 1530s, and the dealings of Sultan Bahadur Shah Gujarati's delegation to the Ottomans, headed by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Asaf Khan. But we shall also look at the longer history of contacts, and conclude with brief remarks on the relevance of the career of the celebrated Gujarati-Hijazi intellectual, Qutb al-Din Muhammad Nahrawali. We thus hope to add another important, concrete dimension to our understanding of India's location in the early modern Indian Ocean world, as a tribute to the career and contribution of David Washbrook, our friend and colleague.

Hide All

We are grateful to Luís Filipe Thomaz providing us with materials relating to this article, and to the participants of a workshop entitled ‘The Ages of Hajj: Historicizing the Muslim Pilgrimage’, CEIAS-EHESS, Paris, 12 June 2015, for comments on a draft version. Much of the research was carried out at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2013, when Sanjay Subrahmanyam was Kluge chair. Our intellectual debt to the late Jean Aubin (1927–98), nearly two decades since his passing away, will also be evident in these pages.

Hide All

1 See Washbrook, David, ‘South Asia, the World System, and World Capitalism’, Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 49, No. 3, 1990, pp. 479508 ; also Washbrook, D., ‘From Comparative Sociology to Global History: Britain and India in the Pre-history of Modernity’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1997, pp. 410–43; and, most recently, Washbrook, D., ‘South India, 1770–1840: The Colonial Transition’, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3, 2004, pp. 479516 .

2 Furber, Holden, Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600–1800 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976); Boxer, Charles R., Portuguese Conquest and Commerce in Southern Asia, 1500–1750 (London: Variorum, 1985); Chaudhuri, K. N., The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660–1760 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978); Gupta, Ashin Das, The World of the Indian Ocean Merchant, 1500–1800: Collected Essays of Ashin Das Gupta (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001).

3 The failure to pose this problem squarely is the largest of several blind spots in Berg, Maxine (ed.), Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

4 In this regard, also see the arguments in Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Aux origines de l'histoire globale (Leçon inaugurale au Collège de France) (Paris: Fayard, 2014); and Subrahmanyam, S., ‘On early modern historiography’, in Bentley, Jerry H., Subrahmanyam, Sanjay and Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. (eds), The Cambridge World History, Vol. VI: The Making of a Global World, 1400–1800 CE, Part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 425–45.

5 We return here to an argument made in Alam, Muzaffar and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

6 Goitein, Shlomo D. and Friedman, Mordechai A., India Traders of the Middle Ages: Documents from the Cairo Geniza (‘India Book’) (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2008). For a significant recent attempt to reinterpret the Geniza materials for the history of Indian Ocean trade, see Margariti, Roxani E., Aden and the Indian Ocean Trade: 150 Years in the Life of a Medieval Arabian Port (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

7 Guo, Li, Commerce, Culture and Community in a Red Sea Port in the Thirteenth Century: The Arabic Documents from Quseir (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004).

8 See Löfgren, Oscar (ed.), Arabische Texte zur Kenntnis der Stadt Aden im Mittelalter, 2 vols (Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1936–50); and Schuman, Lein Oebele (ed. and trans.), Political History of the Yemen at the Beginning of the 16th Century: Abu Makhrama's Account of the Years 906–927 H. (1500–1521) (Groningen: V. R. B. Kleine, 1960).

9 Vallet, Éric, L'Arabie marchande: État et commerce sous les Sultans Rasūlides du Yémen (626–858/1229–1454) (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2010).

10 Ibid., p. 700.

11 Meloy, John L., Imperial Power and Maritime Trade: Mecca and Cairo in the Later Middle Ages (Chicago: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 2010), p. 4; Mortel, Richard T., ‘The Mercantile Community of Mecca during the Late Mamlūk Period’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 3rd Series, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1994, pp. 1535 .

12 Meloy, Imperial Power and Maritime Trade, Appendix C: ‘Maritime traffic between Jedda and Indian Ocean and Red Sea ports, 876–944/1471–1537’, pp. 249–54. The data on arrivals appear far more complete than that on departures, but even here there are some gaps in relation to the sources for the period after 1517. Also, ‘Daybul’ appears to be a misidentification for Dabhol on the Konkan coast.

13 For a modern edition, see ‘Izz al-Din ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn al-Najm ibn Fahd al-Makki, Bulūgh al-qirā fī zayl ithāf al-warā bi-akhbār Umm al-Qurā, 4 vols, (eds) Salah al-Din ibn Khalil Ibrahim, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Husayn Abu al-Khayr and ‘Ulyan ibn ‘Abd al-‘Ali al-Majlabdi (Cairo: Dar al-Qahira, 2005).

14 Cf. Margariti, Aden and the Indian Ocean Trade, pp. 11–22.

15 For two recent examples, see Sheikh, Samira, Forging a Region: Sultans, Traders and Pilgrims in Gujarat, 1200–1500 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010); and Jyoti Gulati Balachandran, ‘Texts, Tombs and Memory: The Migration, Settlement and Formation of a Learned Muslim Community in Fifteenth-Century Gujarat’, PhD thesis, Department of History, UCLA, 2012.

16 Jarullah ibn al-‘Izz ibn al-Najm ibn Fahd al-Makki, Kitāb Nayl al-munā bi-zayl bulūgh al-qirā li-takmilat Ithāf al-warā: Tārīkh Makka al-Mukarrama min sanat 922 H ilā 946 H., (ed.) Muhammad al-Habib al-Hila (Riyadh: Mu'assasat al-furqan lil-turath al-Islami, 2000). For a survey of the chronicle literature, see the erudite work by the same scholar, Muhammad al-Habib al-Hila, Tārīkh wa al-mu'arrikhūn bi-Makka min al-qarn al-thālith al-Hijrī ilā al-qarn al-thālith ‘ashar: Jam‘ wa ‘ard wa ta‘rīf (Mecca: Mu'assasat al-furqan lil-turath al-Islamia, 1994).

17 The fruits of his research only appeared posthumously in Aubin, Jean, Le Latin et l'Astrolabe, III: Études inédites sur le règne de D. Manuel, 1495–1521, (eds) Flores, Maria da Conceição, Thomaz, Luís Filipe F. R. and Aubin, Françoise (Paris: Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, 2006).

18 Nahrawali (1511–82) was a brilliant and prolific author in Arabic, best known for two works, Al-I‘lām bi a‘lām Bayt Allāh al-harām and Al-Barq al-Yamānī fī al-fath al-‘Uthmānī. For a useful biographical note on him, see Blackburn, Richard, ‘Introduction’, in his Journey to the Sublime Porte: The Arabic Memoir of a Sharifian Agent's Diplomatic Mission to the Ottoman Imperial Court in the Era of Suleyman the Magnificent (Beirut: Ergon Verlag, 2005), pp. xi–xvi.

19 For discussions of this author, see Millward, William, ‘Taqi al-Din al-Fasi's Sources for the History of Mecca from the Fourth to the Ninth Centuries A.H.’, in al-Ansary, A. R. (ed.), Sources for the History of Arabia (Riyadh: University of Riyadh, 1979), Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 37–49; and Mortel, Richard T., ‘Madrasas in Mecca during the Medieval Period: A Descriptive Study Based on Literary Sources’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 60, 1997, pp. 236–52.

20 Najm al-Din ‘Umar ibn Fahd, Ithāf al-Warā bi-akhbār Umm al-Qurā, Vols 1–3, (ed.) Fahim Muhammad Shaltut; Vol. 4, (ed.) ‘Abd al-Karim ‘Ali al-Baz; Vol. 5, Indexes (Mecca: al-Mamlaka al-‘Arabiya al-Sa‘udiya, Jami‘at Umm al-Qura, Ma‘had al-Buhuth al-‘Ilmiya wa-Ihya’ al-Turath al-Islam, Markaz Ihya’ al-Turath al-Islami, 1983–1990). See the short but useful review of the edition by Li Guo, Mamluk Studies Review, 5, 2001, p. 189.

21 See ‘Izz al-Din ibn Fahd, Bulūgh al-qirā fī zayl ithāf al-warā, 4 vols, (eds) Salah al-Din ibn Khalil Ibrahim et al.

22 See al-Rashid, Nasir bin Sa‘d, ‘Banū Fahd mu'arrikh ū Makka al-mukarrama wa al-ta‘rīf bi makhtūt al-Najm ibn Fahd’, Masādir Tārīkh al-Jazīra al-‘Arabiyya, Vol. 1, Part 2, 1979, pp. 6990 .

23 For details, see Tulun, Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn, Mufākahat al-khillān fī hawādith al-zamān: Tārīkh Misr wa al-Shām, 2 vols, (ed.) Mustafa, Muhammad, (Cairo: Al-Mu'assassat al-Misriyya al-‘amma li al-ta'lif wa al-tarjama wa al-tiba‘ wa al-nashr, 1964), Vol. 2, p. 63.

24 See the editor's introduction in Nayl al-munā, (ed.) Muhammad al-Habib al-Hila, pp. 10–13.

25 On the question of coffee in the period, also see Hattox, Ralph, Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985).

26 See Richardson, Kristina L., Difference and Disability in the Islamic World: Blighted Bodies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), pp. 110–31; also Ghaly, Mohammed, Islam and Disability: Perspectives in Theology and Jurisprudence (New York: Routledge, 2010), as well as Ghaly, M., ‘Writings on Disability in Islam: The 16th-Century Polemic on Ibn Fahd's al-Nukat al-Zirâf ’, Arab Studies Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2/Vol. 14, No. 1, 2005–06, pp. 938 .

27 al-Din, MuhyiAbd al-Qadir al-‘Aydarusi, Tārīkh al-Nūr al-Sāfir ‘an akhbār al-qarn al-‘āshir, (eds) Halu, Ahmad, al-Arna'ut, Mahmud and al-Bushi, Akram (Beirut: Dar Sadir, 2001).

28 See the editor's introduction in Nayl al-munā, (ed.) Muhammad al-Habib al-Hila, pp. 26–29.

29 It is conserved today in the Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Istanbul, with the reference Collection Şehid Ali Paşa Ms. No. 1961.

30 It is therefore tempting to compare him to at least two other sixteenth-century chroniclers with similar antinomian proclivities: the Portuguese, Gaspar Correia, and the Mughal intellectual, ‘Abd al-Qadir Badayuni. On the former, see Andrade, António Alberto Banha de, ‘Gaspar Correia inédito’, Revista da Universidade de Coimbra, Vol. 26, 1977, pp. 549 ; and on the latter, Anooshahr, Ali, ‘Mughal Historians and the Memory of the Islamic Conquest of India’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2006, pp. 275300 .

31 Bacqué-Grammont, Jean-Louis, ‘Les premiers fonctionnaires ottomanes dans le Hedjaz: Un rapport de Kāsim Širvānī de septembre 1517’, Annales Islamologiques (Cairo), Vol. 21, 1985, pp. 129–45; Bacqué-Grammont, Jean-Louis and Mokri, Mohammad, ‘Une lettre de Qāsim Širvānī à Muzaffar Šāh du Gujarat: Les premières relations des Ottomanes avec l'Inde?’, in Veselý, Rudolf and Gombár, Eduard (eds), Zafar Nāme: Memorial Volume of Felix Tauer (Prague: Enigma, 1996), pp. 3547 .

32 ibn Muhammad al-Jaziri, Abd al-Qadir, Durar al-farā’id al-munazzama fī akhbār al-hājj wa tarīq Makka al-mu‘azzama, 3 Parts, (ed.) al-Jasir, Hamd (Riyadh: Dar al-Yamama, 1983), Part 2, pp. 849, 856 and 861.

33 This is based on the editor's analysis of Qutb al-Din Muhammad Nahrawali, Al-Barq al-Yamānī.

34 No comparable annals to those of the Banu Fahd were apparently composed for Jiddah. The brief text of ‘Abd al-Qadir ibn Ahmad ibn Faraj, Kitāb al-silā wa al-‘udda fī tārīkh bandar Jiddah: Bride of the Red Sea, a 10th/16th Century Account of Jeddah, (ed. and trans.) Ahmad bin ‘Umar al-Zayla‘i and G. Rex Smith (Durham: Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, 1984) adheres largely to the conventions of hagiography (fazā’il).

35 We have benefited from the useful discussion by Islam Dayeh, ‘The Role of “Probability” in Islamic Legal Casuistry: The Case of the Coffee and Tobacco Controversy in the Early Modern Ottoman World’, Paper presented at the conference ‘Norms and Exceptions: A Comparative Approach to Casuistry’, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, 11–13 December 2014.

36 Özbaran, Salih, Ottoman Expansion Towards the Indian Ocean in the 16th Century (Istanbul: Bilgi University Press, 2009); Faroqhi, Suraiya, Pilgrims and Sultans: The Hajj under the Ottomans, 1517–1683 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1994); Bacqué-Grammont, Jean-Louis and Krœll, Anne, Mamlouks, Ottomans et Portugais en Mer Rouge: L'Affaire de Djedda en 1517 (Cairo: Supplément aux Annales Islamologiques, 1988); and Casale, Giancarlo, The Ottoman Age of Exploration (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). Besides, much useful information may be found in Mughul, Muhammad Yakub, Kanuni Devri Osmanlıların Hint Okyanusu Politikası ve Osmanlı-Hint Müslümanları Münasebetleri, 1517–1538 (Istanbul: Fetih Yayınevi, 1974).

37 Farooqi, Naimur Rahman, Mughal-Ottoman Relations: A Study of Political and Diplomatic Relations between Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire, 1556–1748 (Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Dilli, 1989).

38 Ross, E. Denison, ‘The Portuguese in India and Arabia, 1517–38’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 1, 1922, pp. 118 ; Godinho, Vitorino Magalhães, Os Descobrimentos e a Economia Mundial, second edition, 4 vols (Lisbon: Editorial Presença, 1982–83).

39 Serjeant, R. B., The Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast: Hadramī Chronicles (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963). This highly useful compendium is also rather frustrating to use, because of Serjeant's rather approximate manner of indicating his sources. For an explanation of the chief sources, see Serjeant, R. B., ‘Historians and Historiography of Hadramawt’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2, 1962, pp. 239–61. For a more recent edition of one of the key texts, see ibn, MuhammadUmar al-Tayyib Ba Faqih, Tārīkh al-Shahar wa akhbār al-qarn al-‘āshir, (ed.) ‘al-Habshi, Abdullah Muhammad (Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1999).

40 Alam and Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, pp. 95–120, 303–12; Alam, M. and Subrahmanyam, S., Writing the Mughal World: Studies in Political Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), pp. 3387 .

41 We are aware that Aubin had also gathered a body of materials for an extended essay he was planning, tentatively entitled ‘Nuno da Cunha et Soltão Bador’. These included a microfilm of the manuscript of Jarullah's chronicle. This was intended to extend the analysis he had begun in Aubin, J., ‘Albuquerque et les négociations de Cambaye’, Mare Luso-Indicum, Vol. 1, 1971, pp. 363 .

42 Compare Serjeant, Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast, pp. 51–52.

43 For the Portuguese naval campaigns of 1521 against Gujarat, see Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon (henceforth AN/TT), Corpo Cronológico (henceforth CC), I-27-80, letter from Nuno Fernandes de Macedo to the king, 23 December 1521.

44 Özbaran, Ottoman Expansion, pp. 330–35.

45 Letter from Sier Piero Bragadin in Pera, dated 29 December 1525, paraphrased in Federico Stefani, Berchet, Guglielmo and Barozzi, Nicolò (eds), I Diarii di Marino Sanuto (Venice: The Editors, 1894), Vol. 40, pp. 824–25.

46 There is a distinct possibility that Jarullah has confounded the siege of Belgrade (in 1521), with the Ottoman victory at the Battle of Mohács on 29 August 1526 (21 Zi-Qa‘da 932 H.).

47 Serjeant, Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast, pp. 61–65; Ba Faqih, Tārīkh al-Shahar, pp. 203–4, 205–7.

48 Serjeant, Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast, pp. 63, 65–67; Ba Faqih, Tārīkh al-Shahar, pp. 205, 214–15. On the activities of this particular captain, Manuel de Vasconcelos, see Castanheda, Fernão Lopes de, História do Descobrimento e Conquista da Índia pelos Portugueses, (ed.) Almeida, Manuel Lopes de (Oporto: Lello e Irmão, 1979), Vol. 2, Book 8, Chapter 50, pp. 647–48.

49 There were a number of Portuguese attacks and raids on coastal Gujarat and the shipping there in these years, including on Rander in 1530, and the areas around Patan (Somnath), Mangrol, Pata, and Porbandar in 1532. The reference seems to be to the latter raids, led by Diogo da Silveira; see Couto, Diogo do, Década Quarta da Ásia, (ed.) Cruz, Maria Augusta Lima (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 1999), Vol. 1, pp. 421–26.

50 Faroqhi, Compare Suraiya, ‘Trade Between the Ottomans and the Safavids: The Acem Tüccarı and Others’, in Floor, Willem and Herzig, Edmund (eds), Iran and the World in the Safavid Age (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), pp. 237–52.

51 The sending of these ships under the charge of Asaf Khan, laden with boxes (sandūq) of ashrafīs and sikka (possibly a misreading for tanka) is noted in al-Mulk Bukhari, Sayyid Mahmud bin Munawwar, Tārīkh-i Salātīn-i Gujarāt, (ed.) Tirmizi, S. A. I. (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1964), pp. 3132 .

52 The fact of the unseasonal departure ( ghayr mausim) and many other details can be found in ‘ Ulughkhani, Abdullah Hajji al-Dabir, Zafar al-Wālih bi-Muzaffar wa Ālihi: An Arabic History of Gujarat, 3 vols, (ed.) Ross, E. Denison (London: John Murray, 1910–29), Vol. 1, p. 257. He notes that the chief royal ship was called Daryāsarā, and that Asaf Khan was accompanied by a thousand men, largely Yemenis, Rumis, Habshis, Maharas, and Yafi‘is. Ulughkhani obtained these details from the pilot (mu‘allim), Hayut al-Mahri, whom he met many decades later in Hurmuz.

53 In 1536, the Ottoman court also received as an exile Burhan Lodi, ostensibly the son of Sikandar Lodi (though this has been called into question). This could not have had a favourable effect on their image of the Mughals either. See Lewis, Bernard, ‘The Mughals and the Ottomans’, in his From Babel to the Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 108–14 (citing the chronicler Ferdi).

54 The place-name is misread as ‘Satāyīr’ in the edited text, which the editor therefore could not identify.

55 On Asaf Khan's embassy, also see Casale, Ottoman Age of Exploration, pp. 56–58. Casale bases his work on a mix of Ottoman and Portuguese sources (including the Ottoman translation of Nahrawali's work), and also on the Arabic chronicle of Ulughkhani, Zafar al-Wālih, in its English translation. As we will see, the Nayl al-munā surpasses these in its level of detail and precision by some distance.

56 This was the same as Mustafa Bayram who had held the title of Rumi Khan in Gujarat before his defection to the Mughals; see Casale, Ottoman Age of Exploration, p. 54.

57 For a sense of these numbers in contemporary terms, the total revenues of Aleppo and Damascus in 1527–28 amounted to 22.8 million akçe. For Ottoman revenues in that year, see İnalcık, Halil, An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Vol. 1 (1300–1600) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 8083 .

58 The Gujarat sultanate's gold tanka in the sixteenth century weighed 11.97 grams, which made it the equivalent of 208 akçe. If the coins were indeed tankas, their total value would have been 509 million akçe, in comparison with the annual Ottoman revenues in 1527–28 of 538 million akçe. In the lesser likelihood that these gold pieces were smaller, like the Ottoman sultānī (which weighed 3.45 grams, and was valued at 60 akçe), the total value still translates as 147 million akçe; see Pamuk, Şevket, A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 63 .

59 Topkapı Sarayı, Istanbul, E. 10895/1, reproduced in Kurtoğlu, Fevzi, ‘Hadım Süleyman Paşa'nın mektupları ve Belgradın muhasara Pilânı’, Belleten, IV/13, No. 9, 1940, pp. 5387 (pp. 61–62, and plate V). We have benefited here from a draft translation into French of this letter, in the unpublished notes of the late Jean Aubin.

60 This ‘Imad ul-Mulk (or ‘Umdat ul-Mulk) needs to be separated from several others who held the same title before and after in Gujarat, such as one who assassinated Sultan Sikandar Gujarati in the 1520s.

61 The month of the hajj itself would have been Zi-Hijja 942 H., that is May–June 1536, whereas the Gujarati party probably arrived in Mecca around November or December 1535.

62 The reference is to the Ottoman conquest of Tabriz and Baghdad in this period, a move which would culminate in the 1540s with the conquest of Basra. The taking of Baghdad in particular had a great symbolic importance; see Imber, Colin, The Ottoman Empire, 1300–1650: The Structure of Power, second edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), pp. 4445 .

63 A fuller list of amīrs who eventually found themselves in Mecca may be found in Ulughkhani, Zafar al-Wālih, Vol. 1, p. 385. The names there include Shams Khan, Qaysar Khan (described as a trouble-maker), ‘Umdat al-Mulk, Malik ‘Abd al-Wahid Multani, Malik Ibrahim, Tahir Khan, and Hamid al-Mulk ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad.

64 This letter from Asaf Khan, dated 17 Zi-Hijja 942 H. (or 7 June 1536), has come down to us as Topkapı Sarayı, Istanbul, E. 1351; see Alam and Subrahmanyam, Writing the Mughal World, pp. 68–69, for a summary and discussion.

65 The reference here (and henceforth) can no longer be to Mustafa Bayram, but must instead be to Khwaja Safar al-Salmani.

66 The dispute is described in highly dramatic terms in Ulughkhani, Zafar al-Wālih, Vol. 2, pp. xxii–xxiv (in Denison Ross's translation). It is suggested that the women of the party even feared for a time that they would be seized, and ‘preferring death to capture, washed, clothed, and perfumed themselves, and gave what they were able in charity; while the chief of the harem, Melik Firuz, sharpened their blades for them’.

67 The realities of the 1537 campaign were actually far more modest; see Şahin, Kaya, Empire and Power in the Reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 105–06.

68 AN/TT, CC, I-59-12, published in Silva, Luiz Augusto Rebello da (ed.), Corpo Diplomático Portuguez, contendo os actos e relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal com as diversas potências do mundo desde e século XVI até os nossos dias (Lisbon: Academia Real das Sciências, 1868), Vol. 3, pp. 396–97.

69 For a competent summing up of the most generally available materials on this expedition, see Couto, Dejanirah, ‘No rasto de Hādim Suleimão Pacha: Alguns aspectos do comércio do Mar Vermelho nos anos de 1538–40’, in Matos, Artur Teodoro de and Thomaz, Luís Filipe F.R. (eds), A Carreira da Índia e as Rotas dos Estreitos: Actas do VIII Seminário Internacional de História Indo-Portuguesa (Angra do Heroísmo: The Editors, 1998), pp. 485508 .

70 Janim al-Hamzawi was a prominent Egyptian notable (and nephew of Khayr Bey, Mamluk governor of Aleppo), who had been amīr al-hajj from Cairo in 1524–25, after helping to suppress Ahmad Pasha's rebellion in 1524. He is described as ‘not a Mamluk, but [one who] belonged to the awlad al-nas class’; see Winter, Michael, ‘Ottoman Egypt, 1525–1609’, in Daly, Martin W. (ed.), The Cambridge History of Egypt, Vol. 2: Modern Egypt from 1517 to the End of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 13 . For a brief biography, also see Holt, Peter M., ‘A Notable in the Age of Transition: Janim Bey al-Hamzawi (d. 944/1538)’, in Heywood, Colin and Imber, Colin (eds), Studies in Ottoman History in Honour of Professor V.L. Ménage (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1994), pp. 107–15.

71 Compare this to the ill-tempered letter from Hadim Süleyman Pasha to Ulugh Khan, wazīr of Gujarat, in AN/TT, CC, III-14-44, dated 18 Rajab 945 H. (or 10 December 1538), reproduced (with some errors) in Luciano Ribeiro, ‘O Primeiro Cerco de Diu’, Studia, No. 1, 1958, pp. 211–14. The Ottoman original is still untraced, but the contemporary Portuguese translation appears quite faithful.

72 For Süleyman Pasha in Yemen, see also the interesting perspective provided in Soudan, Frédérique, Le Yémen Ottoman d'après la chronique d'al-Mawza‘ī, ‘al-Ihsān fī dukhūl mamlakat al-Yaman taht zill ‘adalat Āl ‘Uthmān’ (Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1999), pp. 5556 .

73 The Tārīkh al-Shihr apparently has it that, ‘entering Jeddah and Mecca he [Hadim Süleyman Pasha] seized a quantity of goods from the merchants of them, and ordered the merchants (atdjār) of Mecca, may God honour it, to take up residence in Jeddah. But those who bribed him with what he liked continued to have their residence in Mecca’; see Serjeant, Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast, p. 93. We have corrected the translation on the basis of the phrase in Ba Faqih, Tārīkh al-Shahar, pp. 264–65: ‘faman bartala mā yarziyahu sakana makānahu fī Makka’. However, this account seems to be pure anti-Ottoman malice, based perhaps on the pasha's initial delay in coming to Mecca.

74 Nevertheless, Süleyman Pasha was finally not castigated; quite the contrary: he rose to the post of grand vizier from 1541 to 1544 and, after being removed from that high station, only died in 1547. On the other hand, we read in Godinho, Os Descobrimentos e a Economia Mundial, Vol. 3, p. 121: ‘In the end, having returned to Djedda on 13 March 1539, he [Süleyman Pasha] committed suicide for fear of being punished by the Porte.’ This quite absurd claim, which may be based on what Casale has called ‘fanciful accounts . . . by some authors from Muslim India’ (Ottoman Age of Exploration, p. 65), could have been rectified by consulting any standard biographical entry, for example: Cengiz Orhonlu, ‘Khādim Süleymān Pasha’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition, (eds) P. Bearman et al., Vol. 4, pp. 901–02.

75 Ulughkhani, Zafar al-Wālih, Vol. 2, pp. xxi–xxii, xxv–xxvii. Asaf Khan, the son of a certain Hamid al-Mulk, was born in 1503. The family claimed descent from the Samma ruler of Sind, Jam Nanda Nizam al-Din (r. 1463–1509). Asaf Khan became prominent in the 1530s, under Sultan Bahadur. Denison Ross reports that he was so well-respected in the Hijaz that Ibn Hajar al-Haytami even dedicated a work to him.

76 Thus, compare Ghobrial, John-Paul, The Whispers of Cities: Informational Flows in Istanbul, London and Paris in the Age of William Trumbull (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); and Vivo, Filippo de, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

77 See Aubin, ‘Psychose des caravelles et turbulences bédouines’, in his Le Latin et L'Astrolabe, III, p. 432. The reference is to Godinho, Os Descobrimentos e a Economia Mundial, Vol. 3. Also compare the discussion in Meloy, Imperial Power and Maritime Trade, pp. 219–21.

78 Aubin, ‘Psychose des caravelles et turbulences bédouines’, in his Le Latin et L'Astrolabe, III, p. 437. The larger implications of this argument are drawn out in Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘The Birth-Pangs of Portuguese Asia: Revisiting the Fateful “Long Decade” 1498–1509’, Journal of Global History, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2007, pp. 261–80.

79 Thus, compare the more conventional view in Grafton, Anthony, What was History?: The Art of History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), with Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century’, Representations, No. 91, 2005, pp. 2657 .

80 For a striking example of such neglect, see Rabasa, José, Sato, Masayuki, Tortarolo, Edoardo, and Woolf, Daniel (eds), The Oxford History of Historical Writing, Vol. 3: 1400–1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), where the entire Egyptian and Hijazi tradition we have discussed here, including the Banu Fahd and Nahrawali (but also Ibn Iyas and Ibn Tulun), is absent.

81 Blackburn, ‘Introduction’, in his Journey to the Sublime Porte, p. xv. Blackburn notes that the best study of the scholar to date remains the editor's introduction to Nahrawali, Ghazawāt al-jarākisa wa al-atrāk fī junūb al-Jazīra, al-Mussamā al-Barq al-Yamānī fī al-fath al-‘Uthmānī, (ed.) Hamd al-Jasir (Riyadh: Dar al-Yamama, 1967), pp. 11–59. For further comments, see Smith, Clive R., Lightning over Yemen: A History of the Ottoman Campaign, 1569–71 (London: I. B. Tauris, 2002).

82 See Hathaway, Jane (with Karl Barbir), The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule, 1516–1800 (New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 135 .

83 For a sign of early Orientalist interest, see Wüstenfeld, Ferdinand (ed.), Die Chroniken der Stadt Mekka, Vol. 3: Geschichte der Stadt Mekka und ihres Tempels von Cutb ed-Dîn Muhammed ben Ahmed el-Nahrawâli (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1857).

84 Blackburn, ‘Introduction’, in his Journey to the Sublime Porte, p. xvi.

85 Richardson, Difference and Disability, pp. 15–16.

86 Compare Couto, Dejanirah, ‘Entre confrontations et alliances: Aceh, Malacca et les Ottomans (1520–1568)’, Turcica, Vol. 46, 2015, pp. 1361 , who resorts repeatedly to the formula of the ‘réseaux marchands de la Khutba’ as a form of explanation.

* We are grateful to Luís Filipe Thomaz providing us with materials relating to this article, and to the participants of a workshop entitled ‘The Ages of Hajj: Historicizing the Muslim Pilgrimage’, CEIAS-EHESS, Paris, 12 June 2015, for comments on a draft version. Much of the research was carried out at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2013, when Sanjay Subrahmanyam was Kluge chair. Our intellectual debt to the late Jean Aubin (1927–98), nearly two decades since his passing away, will also be evident in these pages.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed