By the turn of the 12th century, Fatimid Egypt was in turmoil. Succession crises had weakened the Fatimid state, Crusaders had appeared at Egypt's gates, and the effects of the droughts and famines of the previous century had as yet not abated. Nevertheless, and in the midst of all this instability and chaos, the penchant for learning and the reputation of Cairo as an intellectual center continued to draw scholars from far and wide, especially on the occasion of the reopening of the celebrated Dar al-Hikma (House of Wisdom), the center of scholarly exchange in medieval Islam from the time of al-Hakim (d. 1022). Responding no doubt to this occasion was a certain Umayya b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Dani al-Andalusi (d. 1135), a scholar and mathematician of some repute, who hailed originally from Andalusia, but who had passed some time at the Zirid court in North Africa. While there, al-Dani was encouraged by his patron, whose family were formerly vassals of the Fatimids but who had by this time declared against their former masters and reverted to Sunni Islam, to nevertheless travel to Egypt in order to further his own and his patron's knowledge about the intellectual culture of the Fatimid court. His memoir, Al-Rihla al-Masriyya, preserves for us some of his observations of not only Egypt generally during this period, but more importantly provides a glimpse of the intellectual life in Cairo, something of which later historians such as al-Maqirzi had known, but none were able to describe. In al-Dani’s memoir therefore, we have an actual account of the activities and denizens of the Dar al-Hikma, which not only contributes to our understanding of this important aspect of the Fatimid period, but significantly, from the perspective of an outsider (Sunni) for whom Shi‘i knowledge obviously did not represent heresy. On the contrary, as this paper will argue, whatever may have been the case of later representation of Shi‘ism by Sunnis, it did not in many cases tally with attitudes at this time, which transcended sectarian boundaries, at least as concerned the intellectual culture and discourse of medieval Islam.