BTS 38

Das Pyramidenbuch des Abū Ǧaʿfar al-Idrīsī

Ulrich Haarmann

1991. 94 pp. german text, 283 pp. arabic text.

Abū Ǧaʿfar al-Idrīsī (568-649/1173-1251) has so far been practically unknown. Al- Idrīsī's distinguished family had come from Morocco. He became a prominent official as the ʿAlīd genealogist of Egypt. As a first-generation Egyptian, he became greatly enamored with Egypt and its marvelous ancient monuments. His book Kitāb Anwār ʿulūw al-ağrām fī kašf ʿan aṣrār al-aḥrām was written between 623/1226 and 629/1232.

In the first place, the author has assembled and exploited many sources now apparently lost. In the second part he approaches the information available to him intelligently and makes the most of it, to the extent this was possible in his time and civilization. He strongly favors the view that the ancient monuments should not be destroyed or defaced. Therefore he wrestles, hopelessly but intelligently, with the thorny problem of the age of the pyramids and exercises sound judgment in speaking of the inscriptions claimed to have been discovered.



Prof. Ulrich Haarmann was Professor for Islamic Studies at the FU Berlin. In his research he concentrated mainly on the history of the Middle East during the late middle Ages and the pre-modern era. His most famous publication is the “History of the Arab World” (Geschichte der arabischen Welt), published in 1987.


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