In 1401, the great Arab historian Ibn Khaldun met Amir Timur during the siege of Damascus. After staying in Timur’s camp for a month, Ibn Khaldun left with a profound respect for the great king. Ibn Khaldun was impressed with Timur’s knowledge of history and everything the two discussed during that period. As a result, Ibn Khaldun came to a simple conclusion about Timur:
This king Timur is one of the greatest and mightiest of kings. Some attribute to him knowledge, others consider him a Shi‘ite because they note his preference for the members of the Ahl al-Bayt (family of the Prophet); still others attribute to him the employment of magic and sorcery, but in all this, there is nothing but a rumor. It is simply that he is highly intelligent and very perspicacious, addicted to debate and argumentation about what he knows and also about what he does not know. He is between sixty and seventy years old.
His right knee is lame from an arrow which struck him while raiding in his youth, as he told me; therefore he dragged it when he went on short walks, but when he would go long distances men carried him with their hands.
He is one who is favored by God—the power is God’s, and He grants it to whom He chooses of his creatures.”
Marozzi, J. (2006). Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, conqueror of the world. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Fischel, W. J. (1952). Ibn Khaldun and Tamerlane. United States: University of California Press.
Translation: Mohamad Ballan
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