Biography of Shibli Nomani
Mohammed Ali: Pages from My Personal Diary by Abdul Majid Daryabadi


Among the prominent literature in the Urdu language, which describes Ottoman Turkey during the reign of the Caliph Sultan Abdulhamid II, (1876 -1909), the travelogue of Allama Mohammed Shibli Noamani (1857-1914) is most noteworthy.

The travelogue titled, Safarnama-e-Room-o-Misr-o-Sham, was written in Urdu, but is interspersed with many Persian poems of the author himself. English translations of the book have been done, but none so far have been published.

The author takes you through his journey of the city he calls Qustuntuniya (Constantinople), describing passionately its coffee shops, gardens, scenic spots, colleges, schools, guest-houses, libraries, print-shops and mosques. He also narrates at some length his various encounters with common people, scholars, nobility and government functionaries.

The esteem in which he holds the Caliph is beautifully illustrated in his account of the Jumuah (Friday) Khutbah he attended in the same mosque as the Caliph.  He writes, " When the Imam began delivering the second khutbah, he pointed to the Sultan, who was seated in the upper level, and said, with great fervour and passion, 'O Allah, help this Sultan, the son of a sultan, Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan'. No sooner, a strange feeling gripped me, and tears started flowing incessantly from my eyes, and my tongue spontaneously began to supplicate for the Sultan." (page 82)

A scanned copy of the book is available online from different sources, but, the one available on the Rekhta website is most legible. However, the book cannot be downloaded in part or in full from Rekhta.

Incidentally, in 1913, Allama Shibli was invited by the Ottoman Sultan of Turkey to develop the text books for the proposed university at Madina