Tim Mackintosh-Smith (born 17 July 1961) is a British, Yemen-based, Oxford-educated Arabist, writer, traveller and lecturer. He has written numerous books on the Middle East, won several awards and has presented a major BBC television series.
Mackintosh-Smith was educated at Clifton College, a boarding independent school for boys in the suburb of Clifton in the port city of Bristol in South West England, from 1971 to 1978,followed by a musical scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he read Classical Arabic.
From 1982 to 2019, Mackintosh-Smith lived in an ancient tower house off the "Market of the Cows" in the old city of San'a, Yemen. As a consequence of the civil war in Yemen, he had to leave this home and temporarily relocate to Malaysia.He is the author of the travel books Yemen: Travels in Dictionaryland (1997) and Yemen: The Unknown Arabia (2000). Further, he is one of the foremost scholars of the Moroccan medieval scholar Ibn Battuta. Mackintosh-Smith has published a trilogy recounting Ibn Battuta's journeys as published in his Muqaddimah (The Prologue): Travels with a Tangerine (2001), The Hall of a Thousand Columns (2005) and Landfalls (2010). He has additionally written widely on subjects as broad as alabaster, the collection of frankincense, the stories of M.R. James and the history of umbrellas.
Mackintosh-Smith presented a major BBC documentary series Travels with a Tangerine (2007),recounting his experiences tracing Ibn Battutah's fourteenth-century travels in the present day. He was featured in a documentary film The English Sheik and the Yemeni Gentleman.
Mackintosh-Smith has won several awards. Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land, won the 1998 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. The Daily Telegraph has described him as "the sage of Sana'a."He has also written about the history of the Arab people and their cultures in his Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires (2019). In this "history of Arabs", avoiding the general notion of 'the Arabs', he dedicated an important part of the 630 pages to the pre-Islamic times of documented Arab history, that is the 1,400 years before Muhammad, and discussed the influence this long period brought about for the following 1,400 years of Arab history since then. Attributing less importance to the concept of Arabs as an homogeneous and discrete ethnic group, he stressed the importance of the Arabic language as "the strongest link" in Arab history and present.
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Battutah, commonly known as Ibn Battuta, was a Maghrebi traveller, explorer and scholar. Over a period of thirty years from 1325 to 1354, Ibn Battuta visited most of North Africa, the Middle East, East Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, the Iberian Peninsula, and West Africa. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, but commonly known as The Rihla.
The Khuriya Muriya Islands are a group of five islands in the Arabian Sea, 40 km (25 mi) off the southeastern coast of Oman. The islands form part of the province of Shalim and the Hallaniyat Islands in the governorate of Dhofar.
Riḥla refers to both a journey and the written account of that journey, or travelogue. It constitutes a genre of Arabic literature. Associated with the medieval Islamic notion of "travel in search of knowledge", the riḥla as a genre of medieval and early-modern Arabic literature usually describes a journey taken with the intent of performing the Hajj, but can include an itinerary that vastly exceeds that original route. The classical riḥla in medieval Arabic travel literature, like those written by Ibn Battuta and Ibn Jubayr, includes a description of the "personalities, places, governments, customs, and curiosities" experienced by traveler, and usually within the boundaries of the Muslim world. However, the term rihla can be applied to other Arabic travel narratives describing journeys taken for reasons other than pilgrimage; for instance the 19th century riḥlas of Muhammad as-Saffar and Rifa'a al-Tahtawi both follow conventions of the riḥla genre by recording not only the journey to France from Morocco and Egypt, respectively, but also their experiences and observations.
Muhammad bin Ahmed bin Juzayy Al Gharnati was an Andalusian Maliki-Ash'ari scholar and poet of Arab origin.
Taiz is a city in southwestern Yemen. It is located in the Yemeni highlands, near the port city of Mocha on the Red Sea, at an elevation of about 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level. It is the capital of Taiz Governorate. As of 2023, the city has an estimated population of approximately 940,600 residents making it the third largest city in Yemen.
The Journey of Ibn Fattouma is an intermittently provocative fable written and published by Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz in 1983. It was translated from Arabic into English in 1992 by Denys Johnson-Davies and published by Doubleday.
Islam is the state religion of Maldives. The 2008 Constitution or "Fehi Gānoon" declares the significance of Islamic law in the country. The constitution requires that citizenship status be based on adherence to the state religion, which legally makes the country's citizens 100% Muslim.
Taghaza is an abandoned salt-mining centre located in a salt pan in the desert region of northern Mali. It was an important source of rock salt for West Africa up to the end of the 16th century when it was abandoned and replaced by the salt-pan at Taoudenni which lies 150 km (93 mi) to the southeast. Salt from the Taghaza mines formed an important part of the long distance trans-Saharan trade. The salt pan is located 857 km (533 mi) south of Sijilmasa, 787 km (489 mi) north-northwest of Timbuktu and 731 km (454 mi) north-northeast of Oualata.
The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, also known as the Kingdom of Yemen or simply as Yemen, or, retrospectively, as North Yemen, was a state that existed between 1918 and 1962 in the northwestern part of what is now Yemen. Its capital was Sana'a until 1948, then Taiz. From 1962 to 1970, it maintained control over portions of Yemen until its final defeat in the North Yemen Civil War. Yemen was admitted to the United Nations on 30 September 1947.
The Ibn Battuta Mall is a large shopping mall on the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, UAE, close to Interchange 6 for Jabal Ali 1.
Wasit was an early Islamic city in Iraq. It was founded in the 8th century by the Umayyad viceroy of Iraq, al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, to serve as the region's seat and as the garrison of the Syrian troops who enforced Umayyad rule there. It was situated between the two traditional administrative centers and garrisons of Iraq, Kufa and Basra, hence its name Wasit. The city was abandoned centuries later and its ruins are located in the eponymous Wasit Governorate, southeast of Kut in southeastern Iraq.
Abdelhadi Tazi was a scholar, writer, historian and former Moroccan ambassador in various countries.
Medieval Islamic geography and cartography refer to the study of geography and cartography in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. Muslim scholars made advances to the map-making traditions of earlier cultures, particularly the Hellenistic geographers Ptolemy and Marinus of Tyre, combined with what explorers and merchants learned in their travels across the Old World (Afro-Eurasia). Islamic geography had three major fields: exploration and navigation, physical geography, and cartography and mathematical geography. Islamic geography reached its apex with Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 12th century.
Bayt al-Faqīh or Beit al-Faqih is a city in Al Hudaydah Governorate in Yemen. It is located on the pilgrimage and trade route across the Tihamah plain between Al Hudaydah and Ta'izz. It is 50 km south of Al Hudaydah and 150 km southwest of the Yemeni capital of San‘a’ and lies at an altitude of 122 m. Its population was 28,773 in the 1994 census and estimated at 41,652 in 2005.
Al-Sultana Khadeejah Sri Raadha Abaarana Mahaa Rehendhi or more famously known as just Rehendhi Khadeejah meaning, Queen Khadeejah, was the Sultana of the Maldives from 1347 to 1380. She was one of the few female rulers in the recorded history of Maldives.
ʿAydhab was an important medieval port on the west coast of the Red Sea. The abandoned site of the town is located in the Halaib Triangle, a territory disputed between Egypt and the Sudan.
Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn, popularly known as Aw Barkhadle or Yusuf Al Kownayn, was an Islamic scholar and traveler based in Somalia. Based on reference to Yusuf Al Kawneyn in the Harar manuscripts, Dr. Enrico Cerulli.
Martin Yeoman is an English painter and draughtsman who drew members of the British Royal Family. He was commissioned to draw the Queen's grandchildren and accompanied Charles, Prince of Wales, on overseas tours as tour artist. He is described as one of the finest draughtsmen working today and is a member of Senior Faculty at the Royal Drawing School.
Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires is a 2019 non-fiction book by British author and Arabist Tim Mackintosh-Smith. The book was written over 9 years in Sanaa, Yemen, and during the last 4 years, the author was confined in his neighbourhood due to the eruption of the Yemeni Civil War. Covering the history of Arabs from their first known mention in 853 BCE up to the present, the book uses Arabic language as a unifying factor to tell the story. Arabs was met with dozens of reviews and mentions, the vast majority of them favorable.
The Rihla, formal title A Masterpiece to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling, is the travelogue written by Ibn Battuta, documenting his lifetime of travel and exploration, which according to his description covered about 73,000 miles. Rihla is the Arabic word for a journey or the travelogue that documents it.