De Monfort University
A snapshot of al-Hind in 1293 AD: New data on Indian and Sri Lankan ports and networks from recently discovered Yemeni sources
This study explores the landscape of Muslim settlement in South Asia in the early 1290s, practically on the eve of the Khalji campaigns that permanently changed the extent and character of the Islamic presence in the sub-continent. This focus is possible thanks to the survival of a large group of documents drawn up by the customs house (furda) at Aden in the Yemen under the Rasulid Sultans and which have recently been edited and published under the title Nur al-macarif or Light of knowledge.1
Among these papers is an extraordinary list of stipends, in effect salaries, awarded to various Islamic judges (qadis) and preachers (khatibs) at over forty different locations along the entire western and south eastern coast of the Indian sub-continent, from Kutch to Tamil Nadu and the Jaffna Peninsula.
In the recent edition of the Arabic text only a limited number of these South Asian port locations could be identified. This paper focuses on the identification and mapping of all the 44 toponyms and 6 regional designations given in the list of stipends; the paper then proceeds to discuss the commercial and religious networks that underlie this extraordinary list of stipends. The paper will present substantial new evidence for Muslim settlements, and commercial and religious networks, in India and Sri Lanka at a key historical turning point.
 Muhammad cAbd al-Rahim Jazim, ed., Nur al-macarif. Lumière de la connaissance. Règles, lois et coutumes du Yémen sous le règne de sultan rasoulide al-Muzaffar, 2 vols. (Sanaa: Centre Français d’Archéologie et de Sciences Sociales de Sanaa, 2003-2005).