Situated between the river Yanghindi and the city Jit, Ibn Fadlan encounters “The Ghuzz Turks.” He calls them nomads, rightly so considering he does not give the location where he meets them a name. He is mainly focused on culture and practices, rather than the people themselves or the environment and buildings. He mentions that the Ghuzz live in tents, but only when he explained the nomad way of life. One of the first insights on the Ghuzz Fadlan gives is their lack of God. Fadlan reports, “they live in poverty, like wandering asses. They do not worship God, nor do they have recourse to reason.” From the start of his account of the Ghuzz, Fadlan’s distain for the culture is obvious and centered around their lack of worship.
Despite his disdain for their Godlessness, Fadlan regards the Turks as having very good hospitality. He says that “no Muslim can cross their country without having made friends with one of them with whom he stays and to whom he brings gifts from Islam.” He even reports that the Turks value their hospitality so much so that if a guest dies their host, is subsequently responsible for their death. It is interesting how Fadlan emphasizes that the Ghuzz, who are apparently Godless, favor specifically Muslims who “cross their country.” Fadlan is a devote Muslim and notorious for attempting to convert those he meets on his travels. This emphasis of the kindness of Muslim guests who bring their hosts “gifts from the lands of Islam,” is most likely an exaggerated interpretation of Fadlan’s to paint those who worship Islam in a good light and highlight the areas susceptibility to conversion for his audience.
While Fadlan describes the Ghuzz Turks as hospitable people, he does not negate accounting all their ‘unfavorable’ customs. He highlights many customs that would be considered ‘sinful’ or ‘unclean’ by Fadlan’s readers. For example, the “taboo on washing,” “filth and immodesty,” “horse sacrifices,” and plucked “facial hair.” Not only does Fadlan highlight the customs that oppose Islam ones, but he also addresses the faulty of their legal system. He explains that when “pederasty” is committed both parties must be put to death or the perpetrating party must pay a ransom. Highlighting he inequity of the two punishments for the same crime and the arbitrariness of deciding between the two, reinforces Fadlan’s idea that the Ghuzz people are uncivilized and in need of conversion.
Fadlan talks little about specific people in the Ghuzz, however he does talk about a king named Inal the Younger. He aptly calls the section, “A fragile conversion.” When Inal the Younger converted, his people, according to Fadlan, said to him, “If you become Muslim, you will no longer be our leader.” So Inal the Younger renounced Islam. Upon Fadlan’s and Inal’s next encounter with each other, Fadlan showers Inal with gifts and Inal gets on the floor and “prostrated himself before” Fadlan. Also, in this section Fadlan notes that his caravan came across an “ugly man, wretched looking… really ignoble,” when they were leaving Inal the Younger. Fadlan accounts that he gave the man a piece of bread in order to curb the man’s “violent cloudburst.” Fadlan’s record of events portray Muslims as very generous and benevolent people, and the Ghuzz as well-meaning but unknowledgeable and pitiful. Regadless if the events are true or not, the picture Fadlan painted of the Ghuzz would prompt a readers to believe these people are in need of saving by way of religion, specifically Islam.