World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ahmad ibn Mājid

Ahmad Ibn Mājid

Ahmad ibn Mājid (Arabic: أحمد بن ماجد‎), was an an Omani navigator and cartographer born in 1421 in Julphar, which is now known as Ras Al Khaimah. This city makes up one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, but at that time it was classified as the coast of Oman. He was raised with a family famous for seafaring; at the age of 17 he was able to navigate ships. He was so famous that he was known as the first Arab seaman. The exact date is not known, but ibn Majid probably died in 1500. He became famous in the West as the navigator who helped Vasco da Gama find his way from Africa to India, however, the leading scholar on the subject, G.R. Tibbetts, disputes this claim. Ibn Majid was the author of nearly forty works of poetry and prose. He was also known as the lion of the sea.


  • Works 1
  • Legacy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Bin Majid wrote several books on marine science and the movements of ships, which helped people of the

  • Ahmad, S. Maqbul (2008) [1970-80]. "Ibn Mājid, Shihāb Al-Dīn Aḥmad Ibn Mājid".  

External links

  • Tibbetts, G.R. 1971. Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean Before the Coming of the Portuguese. Being a translation of Kitab al-Fawa'id fi usul al-bahr wa'l-qawa'id of Ahmad b. Majid al-Najid. London: The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • Khal Torabully, The Maritime Memory of the Arabs, documentary film (52') showing Arab navigation in the Indian Ocean, with a special attention to Ahmad bin Majid, Chamarel Film/Productions La Lanterne, 2000.
  1. ^ "Ibn Majid". Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. 2005.  


See also

Remembered as 'The Lion of the Sea', ibn Majid's true legacy was the substantial body of literature on sailing that he left behind. Arab sailing was at a pinnacle during ibn Majid's lifetime, when both Europeans and Ottomans had only a limited understanding of geography in the Indian Ocean. His Kitab al-Fawa’id fi Usul ‘Ilm al-Bahr wa ’l-Qawa’id, was widely utilized by Arab sailors and addressed celestial navigation, weather patterns and charts of dangerous areas in which to sail. This time, in addition to his poetic works, were the true legacy of the sailor. Two of ibn Majid's famous hand-written books are now prominent exhibits in the National Library in Paris.

Ahmed bin Majid's efforts in the mid-15th century allegedly helped the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama complete the first all water trade route between Europe and India by using an Arab map then unknown to European sailors. While this story is the reason for much of ibn Majid's fame in the West, this account is disputed by the leading scholar on the subject: G.R. Tibbets. The account of ibn Majid assisting Vasco da Gama is first described by the Ottoman historian Qutb al Din, roughly 50 years after ibn Majid's death. Tibbets asserts that the account of ibn Majid leading Vasco da Gama to India is slanderous, asserting as it does that ibn Majid (a devout Muslim) was drunk when he traded his knowledge of the route for passage back to Ras al Khaima. While there is some debate as to who Vasco da Gama's navigator was – the result of a lack of clarity in his captain's log and several competing accounts written by contemporary Portuguese scholars – according to Tibbets, the tale of ibn Majid leading Vasco da Gama is popularized largely as a result of the ascendancy of the Western narrative of world history, and is not historically accurate.


He grew very famous and was fondly called (The Shooting Star) for his fearlessness, strength and experience as a sailor who excelled in the art of navigation.

It is an encyclopedia, describing the history and basic principles of navigation, Lunar mansions, rhumb lines, the difference between coastal and open-sea sailing, the locations of ports from East Africa to Indonesia, star positions, accounts of the monsoon and other seasonal winds, typhoons and other topics for professional navigators. He drew from his own experience and that of his father, also a famous navigator, and the lore of generations of Indian Ocean sailors.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.