THE extract which follows is taken from the Jámi'u-t Tawáríkh of Rashídu-d Dín, which was completed in A.H. 710, or A.D. 1310. This date, but for another more cogent reason, would require the insertion of the extract in a later part of the book, or the entire omission of it, as beyond the scope of the present work. But though appearing in the history of Rashídu-d Dín, the passage is not his own; it is really and confessedly the work of the celebrated Abú Ríhán al Bírúní, who wrote about four centuries earlier, his life having extended from A.H. 360 to 430, or A.D. 970 to 1039. This chapter of Al Bírúní's work has been translated and published by M. Reinaud, in his “Fragments;” and a com­parison of the two will show how very little has been added by Rashídu-d Dín. For all practical purposes it may be considered as presenting a picture of the Musulman knowledge of India at the end of the 10th century.

Copies of the work of Al Bírúní are exceedingly rare, for two only are known to be extant, and the portions published were translated from the single copy in the Imperial Library in Paris. The reproductions by Rashídu-d Dín are therefore of high value, and the importance of the following extract for a correct appreci­ation of the progress of the Muhammadan knowledge of India cannot be over-rated.

Extended notices of these two authors—Abú Ríhán and Rashídu-d Dín—with other extracts from their works, appeared in the volume published by Sir H. Elliot, and will again appear in the second volume of this work. It is here only necessary to state that the Jámi'u-t Tawáríkh was written in Persian, and is a rare work. There is a copy in the Library of the East India Office and another in the British Museum. Two distinct portions of the work have been found in India, and of these there are copies among Sir H. Elliot's MSS.* There is also in the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society an incomplete Arabic translation.

The following translation differs considerably from that pub­lished in Sir H. Elliot's first edition, but every care has been taken to make it as accurate as possible. The MS. of the East India Library has been mainly relied upon; this will be referred to as MS. A. Occasional reference for doubtful passages and proper names has been made to the British Museum MS., referred to as MS. B. The Arabic version will be called MS. C.; and Sir H. Elliot's new copy of the Lucknow MS. D. MSS. A. and B. are not good copies. The scribes were careless and ignorant, and the texts abound with errors, particularly in the spelling of the names of persons and places. Nor are the errors confined to obscure and doubtful names. MS. A. almost always represents the name of the Ganges by <arabic>, with no dot to the second letter. The Arabic version C is well and boldly written. The dots are more frequently, though by no means invariably, sup­plied, and the proper names are generally more distinct. It differs occasionally from the Persian MSS., and has often been of service. Still it is not reliable authority for the proper names, as these occasionally present some curious proofs of the work having been translated from the Persian. Prepositions like and ba, and the Persian words of number, as sih (3) and nuh (9), have sometimes been taken as part of the names, and incorporated with them. Some instances will be pointed out in the Notes.


SECTION III.—On the Hills and Rivers of Hindustán and Súdán (sic),
which according to Abú Ríhán extend twelve thousand parasangs.

Philosophers and Geometricians have divided the land of Hind into nine unequal* parts, giving to each part a separate name, as appears from the book called Bátankal.* Its shape resembles the back of a crab on the surface of the water.* The mountains and plains in these nine parts of India are extensive, and occur one after the other in successive order. The mountains appear to stand near each other, like the joints of the spine, and extend through the in­habited world from the east to the midst of the west, i.e., from the beginning of China through Tibet, and the country of the Turks, to Kábul, Badakhshán, Tukháristán, Bámián, Ghúr, Khurásán, Gílán, Ázarbáíján, Armenia, Rúm, to the country of the Franks and Galicia on the west. In their course they spread out widely from the deserts and inhabited places of that part. Rivers flow at their base. One which comes from the south from India is very large and broad.* But in other places they have their sources to the north in the lofty mountains and in the deserts. Hind is surrounded on the east by Chín and Máchín,* on the west by Sind and Kábul, and on the south by the sea.* On the north lie Kashmír, the country of the Turks, and the mountain of Meru, which is extremely high, and stands opposite to the southern pole. The heavenly bodies perform their revolutions round it, rising and setting on each side of it. A day and a night of this place is each equal to six of our months.*

Opposite to this mountain stands another, not round in shape, and which is said to be composed of gold and silver. The Hima moun­tains lie on the north of Kanauj, and on account of snow and cold form the extreme point of the habitation of man. This range has Kashmír in its centre, and runs by Tibet, Turk, Khazar,* and Sakáliba,* to the sea of Jurján and Khwárasm. The rivers of the entire country of Hind, which flow from the northern mountains, amount to eleven. Those which flow from the eastern mountains amount to the same number. These run far to the east and the south till they fall into the ocean. Those, however, which rise in the south do not discharge themselves into the sea.

The northern mountains have connection with Mount Meru, which lies south of them. Besides this there is another lofty ridge of mountains intervening between Turkistán and Tibet and India, which is not exceeded in height by any of the mountains of Hindú-stán. Its ascent is eighty parasangs. From its summit India looks black through the mists beneath, and the mountains and rugged declivities below look like hillocks. Tibet and China appear red. The descent from its summit to Tibet is one parasang. This moun­tain is so high that Firdausí probably meant the following verse to apply to it:—“It is so low and so high, so soft and so hard, that you may see its belly from the fish (on which the earth rests), its back from the moon.”

Some other mountains are called Harmakút,* in which the Ganges has its source. These are impassable from the side of the cold regions, and beyond them lies Máchín. To these mountains most of the rivers which lave the cities of India owe their origin. Besides these mountains there are others called Kalárchal.* They resemble crystal domes, and are always covered with snow, like those of Damáwand. They can be seen from Tákas and Laháwar.* Then there are the mountains of Bíllúr, in the direction of Turkistán, which are denominated Shamílán.* In two days' journey you arrive at Turkistán, where the Bhutáwariyas* dwell. Their king is called Bhut Sháh, and their countries (bilád) are Gilgit, Asúra, Salsás,* etc., and their language* is Turkí. The inhabitants of Kashmír suffer greatly from their encroachments and depredations. The mountains here mentioned are those described in the translation of Abú Ríhán and they are as manifest as a tortoise displaying (itself) from the midst of the waters.

* There are rivers and large streams which have their sources in and issue from the mountains surrounding the kingdom of Kápish* or Kábul. One, called the Gharwarand,* mixes with the stream from the mountain of Ghúrak, and passes through the country of Barwán.* The waters of the Sharúhat and the Shála pass by Lamankán,* which is Lamghán, and uniting near the fort of Dirúna,* fall into the Núrokírát. The aggregate of these waters forms a large river opposite the city of Parsháwar,* which is called “al ma'bar,” or “the ferry.” This town is situated on the eastern side of these rivers.* All these rivers fall into the Sind near to the fort of Bítúrashít,* at the city of Kandahár,* which is Waihind.* After that, there comes from the west the river of Tibet, called the Jhailam. It and the waters of the Chandrá all combine about fifty miles above Jharáwar,* and the stream flows to the west of Múltán. The Bíah joins it from the east. It also receives the waters of the Iráwa (Ráví). Then the river Kaj falls into it after separating from the river Kúj, which flows from the hills of Bhátal.* They all combine with the Satlader (Sutlej) below Múltán, at a place called Panjnad, or “the junction of the five rivers.” They form a very wide stream, which, at the time it attains its extreme breadth, extends ten parasangs, submerging trees of the forest, and leaving its spoils upon the trees like nests of birds. This stream, after passing Audar,* in the middle of Sind bears the name of Mihrán, and flows with a slower current, and widens, forming several islands, till it reaches Mansúra, which city is situated in the midst of the waters of this river. At this place the river divides into two streams, one empties itself into the sea in the neighbourhood of the city of Lúhá-ráni, * and the other branches off to the east to the borders of Kach, and is known by the name of Sind Ságar, i.e., Sea of Sind. In the same way as at this place they call the collected rivers Panj-nad, “five rivers,” so the rivers flowing from the northern side of these same mountains, when they unite near Turmuz and form the river of Balkh,* are called “the seven rivers,” and the fire-worshippers (majás) of Soghd make no distinction, but call them all the “Seven rivers.”

The river Sarsut [Sarsutí] falls into the sea to the east of Somnát.