The geographer Ibn Ḥawqal, who wrote his invaluable description of the Muslim world in the 10th century, devotes a paragraph to Sīrāf, the great port of the Persian Gulf. In the 12th century an anonymous author made an epitome of Ibn Ḥawqal's book, adding, however, a number of remarks concerning his own period. In the description of Sīrāf he interpolated the following passage:
Its inhabitants are very rich. I was told that one of them, feeling ill, made his testament; the third part of his fortune, which he had in cash, amounted to a million dīnārs, not counting the capital which he laid out to people who undertook to trade with it on commenda basis. Then there is Rāmisht, whose son Mūsā I have met in Aden, in the year 539; he told me that the silver plate used by him was, when weighed, found to be 1,200 manns. Mūsā is the youngest of his sons and has the least merchandise; Rāmisht has four servants, each of whom is said to be richer than his son Mūsā. I have met 'Alī al-Nīlī from the countryside of al-Ḥilla, Rāmisht's clerk, and he told me that when he came back from China twenty years before, his merchandise was worth half a million dīnārs; if that is the wealth of his clerk, what will he himself be worth! It was Rāmisht who removed the silver water-spout of the Ka'ba and replaced it with a golden one, and also covered the Ka'ba with Chinese cloth, the value of which cannot be estimated. In short, I have heard of no merchant in our time who has equalled Rāmisht in wealth or prestige.