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  • Sheikh Shams al-Din al-Ansari al-Dimashqi or simply al-Dimashqi was a medieval Arab geographer, completing his main work in 1300. Born in Damascus—as his name "Dimashqi" implies—he mostly wrote of his native land, the Greater Syria, upon the complete withdrawal of the Crusaders. He became a contemporary of the Mamluk sultan Baibars, the general who led the Muslims in war against the Crusaders. His work is of value in connection with the Crusader Chronicles. He died while in Safad, in 1327. Al-Dimashqi gives detailed accounts of islands in Maritime Southeast Asia, its inhabitants, flora, fauna and customs. He mentions "the country of Champa...is inhabited by Muslims and idolaters. The Islam came there during the time of Caliph Uthman...and Ali, many Muslims who were expelled by the Umayyads and by Al-Hajjaj, fled there, and since then a majority of the Cham have embraced Islam ". Wikipedia

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