The bases of the present dissertation from the point of view of the sources are historical and biographical.\ud The study of the people of al-Qayrawän, which is largely dependant on the study of the Tabagat, has been carried out with a view to discovering as much as possible about how people lived and earned their livelihood. Against this background the question of the numerical size of the population has, been considered.\ud \ud Work on this dissertation has involved spending\ud inter alia four months in North Africa in 1974. This took\ud me to Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. Most of that time was -\ud spent in Tunisia, where on the one hand I was looking for\ud the manuscripts relevant to al-Qayrawän, and on the other\ud collecting material towards helping to establish the early\ud mediaeval plan of al-Qayrawän. At the same time I made the\ud facsimiles and, took the photographs for the collection of\ud the monumental inscriptions which constitute part of the\ud material for this work.\ud \ud During my stay in al-Qayrawän and Tunis I tried to\ud meet every scholar connected with the study of al-Qayrawän,\ud although the subject of this work is not one which has so far attracted attention. I visited most of the relevant public and some of the private libraries containing manuscripts. The Head of Jam'iyyat Siyänat Äthdr al-Qayrawän, Mr Ibrahim Shabbuh, was kind enough to show me the stages reached in the several excavations in al-Qayrawän, and the finds that have been unearthed.\ud \ud In Rabat, Morocco I visited both the public library (al-Khizänah al-'Ammah) and the Royal Library (al-Maktabah al-Malakiyyah), which both contain thousands of mediaeval manuscripts.\ud \ud In England I have paid frequent visits to the Oriental Room of the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford.\ud \ud Towards the end of 1976, when my work was nearing a conclusion, I heard of some Ibadite manuscripts preserved\ud in the Isle of Jerbah in Tunisia. I tried to obtain copies\ud of these by different means but all failed. I tried to use\ud the good offices of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in\ud London to obtain these copies, but in vain, and finally I\ud decided to go to Jerbah myself. After a brief stay in Tunis\ud (February 1977) I continued to Jerbah. The Mashä'ikh of the\ud Ibadites in the Island were very kind and very helpful, but\ud one of the important manuscripts I was seeking had been taken to Libya. I therefore made a further journey to Tripoli in order to photocopy this manuscript, travelling thereafter to al-Qayrawän for a week where I checked several points which I had not covered on my former visit.\ud \ud I have therefore been fortunate in being able to\ud examine most of the primary material relevant to the subject\ud of the present dissertation, although there is naturally\ud always the possibility that some unused manuscript sources\ud still exist in private libraries
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