Ali Bey al-Abbasi

Ali Bey al-Abbasi

Ali Bey al-Abbasi (Domingo Badia y Leblich; 1766 – 1818) was a Spanish explorer in the early 19th century. Notably, he actually witnessed the Wahhabi conquest of Mecca in 1807.

Traveling through Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey during the period of 1803–1807, Ali Bey went to Mecca ostensibly to perform the hajj, giving out that he was a descendant of the Abbassid Caliphs of the West. In conversations with individuals that he met during his travels, he claimed that he was born in Aleppo; but he was later identified as Domingo Badia y Leblich, a Catalan spy for Joseph Bonaparte. There is much mystery about Ali Bey. Bankes, writing in 1830, roundly asserted that he was a Jew, and many later writers have thought that he was a genuine Muslim of Moroccan origin, but of Spanish education. Although, he alleged to be a Muslim in order to enter Mecca, when he died in Syria in 1818 he was denied a Muslim burial because a cross was found in his vest. This, as suggested by some scholars, is conclusive proof that Ali Bey’s claims of Islam were a pretense maintained in order to travel to Mecca and Medina.

In 1816, the account of his travels, Travels of Ali Bey : in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, between the years 1803 and 1807, was published.

References

Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, between the years 1803 and 1807: in two volumes / [Domingo Badia y Leblich]. Reprint of the ed. London 1816. Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

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