I have read a couple of fiction novels, based on the renowned manuscript. But is an English translation of the actual Arabic text available online?

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    If you're looking for pleasure reading, a public domain copy of the memoir of Usama Ibn Munqidh is available on archive.org. He's separated from Ahmad ibn Fadlan by about 200 years, and more of an adventurer than a traveller, but there's some great stuff in there as well.
    – Random
    Feb 10, 2018 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


There are some English translations. Unfortunately it appears most of the manuscript was found fairly recently, which means no translations are Public Domain (and probably never will be), which means Project Gutenberg isn't the help here that it usually would be.

So I don't believe it is, or (barring some help from Google books or a kind Gutenberg volunteer who knows Medieval Arabic) ever will be officially online somewhere.


I did find a copy online with some judicious web searching. I'm not going to link it here though, because firstly I'm unsure of its copyright status, and secondly I found it as a ".DOC" file on someone's personal university web page. If that URL gets published far and wide, it will probably quickly disappear (defeating the entire point of posting it here).

What I will tell you though is that, upon realizing its usual name is "Risala", a web search for "The Risalah of Ibn Fadlan" found it on the first page of hits. It was on an Indiana.edu website, in [DOC] format.

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    Note: There is no copyright notice in the DOC file, near as I can tell. It however does have a footnote claiming to be the work of a PhD candidate at that same university. So I guess in theory it is probably that University's to put on one of their web servers if that's what they want to do. I'm just not sure they'd continue to do so if anyone were to become aware it is available there.
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 9, 2018 at 0:04
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    A bit further down the Google results is a PDF of what appears to be the same translation, officially published (it seems) by a Canadian university. No copyright is stated, but it is apparently from a 1979 PhD dissertation at University of Indiana. Feb 9, 2018 at 1:35

Here's an English translation of earlier (1939) Russian translation.


There is an up-to-date English translation of Ibn Fadlan, advertised here:


It is a paperback (Penguin Classics) and very cheap. Or you could find it in a public library.

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