Travel Account of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Darʻi


Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Darʻi (1647–1717) was a Moroccan scholar, traveler, and book collector. His Riḥlah (Travel account) describes his pilgrimage to Mecca and the many stops he made along the way. In a straightforward narrative style, he details his route from Morocco along the Mediterranean coast to and from Hijaz. He describes the places he visited and the scholars he encountered. His descriptions of small towns include such topics as the adequacy of their supplies of water and provisions and their agricultural resources. For larger towns and cities, such as Tripoli in Libya and the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Cairo, he provides lengthy historical digressions. He covers the history of Tripoli, for example, from the Islamic conquest to the naval wars with European powers in the 17th century. He tells the story of the Islamic conquest of Egypt and enumerates the “wonders of Alexandria” in the seventh century. The Hijaz cities of Mecca and Medina are described in detail in the second volume, with extensive coverage of locales associated with the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout the journey he describes meetings with scholars and quotes their religious poetry. On occasion, he tells his learned colleagues about the wisdom of his father, Muhammad ibn Nasir (1603–74), the founder of the Nasiriyah tariqah (a Sufi brotherhood). Ahmad ibn Muhammad himself was indefatigable in spreading the order in Morocco and abroad from its base in the town of Tamgrout, where it still attracts visitors to its mosque and manuscript library. The family produced influential scholars and traders. In light of the family’s importance to the commercial life of the region, it is not surprising that the author pays detailed attention to differentials in exchange rates in various cities and comments on the probity of money changers. The author’s name appears in several forms in histories and bibliographies. In this work he is called Abu Abbas Ahmad ibn Abu ʻAbdallah Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Darʻi al-Zinbi al-Ja’fi [sic]. This edition of Rihlah is in two volumes bound as one. It was published in 1902 in Fez, Morocco, at the press of the prominent Azraq brothers. The printed text, which dates from 1902 and is in Maghribi script, is based on a manuscript copied by one Abu Salim Qufi in 1715.

Date Created

Publication Information

Azraq Brothers, Fez, Morocco


Title in Original Language

الرحلة الناصرية

Type of Item

Physical Description

2 volumes in 1 book ; 22 centimeters


  1. Abdulrazak, Fawzi.  The Kingdom of the Book: The History of Printing as an Agent of Change in Morocco Between 1865 and 1912 (Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1989).
  2. Gutelius, David. “Sufi Networks and the Social Contexts for Scholarship in Morocco and the Northern Sahara, 1660–1830,” in Scott Reese, editor, The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa (Leiden, Brill, 2004).

Last updated: September 22, 2015