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I am a historian of the pre-modern Mediterranean world, specializing in the political, intellectual and cultural history of medieval Spain and North Africa. I received my PhD in the Department of History the University of Chicago in 2018, focusing on the history of the late medieval Mediterranean. Among other topics, I am particularly interested in historiography, intercommunal relations, political theology, and borderlands/frontiers. I also research and write about early Islamic history, Arab-Byzantine relations in the early medieval Mediterranean, Shi’ism, and the Ottoman-Safavid conflict.

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting facts, provide critical reflections and present a collection of my own musings on history, theology, philosophy, travels, politics and religion. It seeks to serve as a resource for all students and scholars of medieval history.

All original content on this blog is copyright and cannot be reproduced or copied without my express written permission.


  1. Hassan Mogase says:

    Great blog it may help me with my research in sha’a Allah.

  2. Is there a way I could contact you?

  3. Iftikhar Malik says:

    Enjoyed your pieces. Have read two so far: one on the Safawids and the other on the envoy to the Vikings. Well-researched and equally absorbing. In my Pluto volume, Islam and Modernity, the first two chapters are on Muslim Spain. Do read them, if you get a chance.

  4. Raman Sehgal says:

    Have you researched on the science and islam in during the ‘golden period’ of islam – how far islam was responsible for famous scientists? Most of the famous scientists were persians and they were skeptical towards islam – is it correct?

    Kindly comment.

  5. Artearq7 says:

    Ramam Sehgal: la mayoría de científicos no eran persas en absoluto. Eran árabes y otros diversos orígenes (la mayoría en Irak). Eran científicos, lo que supone ser algo escépticos, como en otras religiones.

    • Eh, pero es una lectura comprensible, de hecho. No era así en el occidente musulmán, pero en el oriente, desde la era abasí y hasta inicios de los imperios otomano y mogol, sí parece haber habido una especie de imaginario en que se estereotipaba a los científicos como persas. No es fortuito que los selyúcidas tomaran el persa como lengua científica y política hasta que un bey de Karamán decretó el uso exclusivo del turco ogúz anatolio, y creo haber leído que fue el mismo caso con los mogoles (hablantes de turco kipchák) hasta que a Akbar el Grande se le ocurrió intentar sincretizar tradición islámica con védica.

      Tal vez me equivoco en algún detalle, pero es comprensible confundir lo que las fuentes primarias dan a entender con lo que pudo haber ocurrido en realidad.

  6. roberthorvat says:

    Wonderful blog. Well researched. Islamic history crosses over a lot of history that I like reading. The struggle between Byzantium and Islam is one of my passions.

  7. uthmanibnsabeel says:

    One of my favourite places on the internet. An excellent blog.

  8. halalhassan says:

    Awesome blog brother. I would kindly suggest arranging the articles via category for newbies to your blog (like me) 😀

  9. Raman Sehgal says:

    Artearq7 – English please.

  10. Congratulations for your blog! Can we share your text in our travel blog with your name and linking to your blog?

  11. Sarah says:

    Turn on the dm function on your Twitter so followers can ask for more info about your interesting tweets!

  12. abdalaziz ariff says:

    Today at 12:35 AM

    salamun alaikum Br. Mohamad Ballan
    I enjoy your website
    If you have finished your Phd – conratulation , if not then wish you best wishes, long and healthy life.
    I am US Citizen of Pakistani origin , getting old , live in Indianapolis.
    Please do not get upset , your name suggests , could be a Syrian or Lebanese origin.

    Where can I get a book by the name of Meezan -il–Faris by Hujjatullah Abdul Qadir Ali Al-Moosvi. I heard this book is banned in Iran. Is there an English translation available. I can also live with a Persian version. Please help me find it.
    Please respond.
    abdalaziz ariff 317-495-0595

  13. Excellent information on this blog.

  14. Khateeb says:

    Is there a way to get Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus by Hugh Kennedy at a reasonable price? Amazon is currently selling it at an exorbitant rate.

    Could you write a post detailing recommended books to read about Al Andalus?

  15. Thanks for the wonderful blog. May we know your name?

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