Sulaiman al-Tajir

Sulaimān at-Tājir (Arabic: سليمان التاجر, lit. 'Solomon the Merchant') was a 9th-century Muslim merchant, traveler and writer initially from Siraf in modern-day Iran. He traveled to India and China and wrote an account of his voyages around AD 850. He is mostly known for his travel to Guangzhou, Tang China, and marveled at the excellent quality of porcelain there in 851.

Historical Accounts

Little is known about Sulaiman other than the fact that he was a merchant, confirmed by his second name (nickname) al-Tajir ("the merchant").[1] He visited India during the time of the Pala Empire, and referred to a kingdom named 'Ruhma' and attested to their military power. He has also described Mihira Bhoja, one of the greatest Gurjara-Pratihara emperors. Mihira Bhoja was a bitter enemy of "the Muslims"[2] and according to Sulaiman, maintained a large army and had a fine cavalry.[2]

During his stay in the city of Guangzhou he noted that the Chinese used fingerprint records to maintain the identities of newly arrived foreigners, charged extortionate rates for imported goods and that the route to China by sea was dangerous due to piracy and frequent rain. He mentions that the local Muslim populace of Guangzhou had their own Mosque and bazaars. He mentioned that the Muslim community had its own Imam and Judge (appointed by Emperor Xuānzong of Tang).[3] He also observed the manufacturing of porcelain, the granary system of Guangzhou, tea consumption and how its municipal administration functioned.[4]

After arriving home from China with goods he landed at Basra and then traveled to Baghdad.

See also


  1. ^ Hermes, N. (2012-04-09). The [European] Other in Medieval Arabic Literature and Culture: Ninth-Twelfth Century AD. Springer. ISBN 978-1-137-08165-0.
  2. ^ a b Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of Ancient India: Earliest Times to 1000 A. D. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 207. ISBN 978-81-269-0027-5. He was undoubtedly one of the outstanding political figures of India in ninth century and ranks with Dhruva and Dharmapala as a great general and empire builder.
  3. ^ Khamouch, Mohammed (June 2005). Ball, Lamaan (ed.). Jewel of Chinese Muslim's Heritage (PDF). Sub-editor: Rumeana Jahangir; Production: Aasiya Alla. Victoria Park, Manchester, United Kingdom: Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation (FSTC Limited). pp. 11–12. 4090. Retrieved 29 August 2021.- The FTSC official website
  4. ^ Sluglett, Peter; Currie, Andrew (2014). Atlas of Islamic History. New York: Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-138-82130-9.
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