Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

“ wân Ibn al-Hakam (al-Walid's grandfather) to marry the mother of Khalid, “ the son of Yazid, the son of Moawia.) Ali Ibn Abd Allah replied : My “ intention was to quit this town; and, as I am her cousin, I married her to be “her protector.' ”—Others say that Abd al-Malik married Labbâna, the daughter of Abd Allah Ibn Jaafar, and as he had a bad breath, she suggested to him the propriety of using a tooth-brush. lle took her advice, but divorced her. She then became the wife of Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Abbâs, who was bald and always wore a skull-cap; Abd al-Malik then sent a girl to pull off his cap unawares and thus expose his baldness to Lubbâna, with whom he was sitting. On this Lubbâna said: “I like a bald Håshimite better than a foul-breathed

Omaiyide." —Relative to the second flogging which Ali Ibn Abd Allah received, we shall give a relation of it furnished by Abû Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Shujaa, and which was headed with the names of the persons through whom it had successively passed down till he received it; the narrator says: “I one

day saw Ali Ibn Abd Allah flogged with a whip, and paraded about on a camel, “ with his face towards the tail, whilst a crier proclaimed : “This is Ali Ibn Abd “ Allah the Liar.' On this, I went up to him and said: "What is the reason of “ their calling you a liar' and he answered : “They were told that I had de“ clared that the sovereign authority would be exercised later by my two sons ; " and, by Allah! their descendants shall continue to hold it till they be mas“ tered by their own slaves; a small-eyed race, with broad faces like doubly

strengthened shields (5).' Ibn al-Kalbi says, in his Jamharat an-Nisab, that the person who presided at the flogging of Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Abbâs was Kulthům Ibn Iyâd Ibn Wahwah Ibn Kushair Ibn al-Aawar Ibn Kushair, the commander of the khalif al-Walid Ihn Abd al-Malik's police guards : he afterwards governed North Africa in the name of Hisham Ibn Abd al-Malik, and he was slain in that province (6).—Another author mentions that Kulthùm was slain in the month of Zû ’l-Hijja, A.H. 123 (Oct.-Nov. A.D.741).—“Ali Ibn Abd Allah,” says a narrator, “went with his two grandsons, the future) khalifs as-Saffäh and “al-Mansûr, into the presence of Sulaiman Ibn Abd al-Malik”—this is a mis

it was with Hisham Ibn Abd al-Malik that the circumstance occurred“ and that khalif made room for him on his throne, showed him great kindness “ and asked him what he required. Ali answered ; “I am thirty thousand dir“ hims in debt;' on which the khalif gave orders to pay the sum for him. He

take;

" then said : You will recommend that my two boys be well treated.' The " khalif gave orders to that effect, and Ali thanked him and said : “You and “ they are relations by blood.' When Ali turned to withdraw, Hishầm said to “ the company: “That shaikh has grown old and has fallen into dotage; he says " that the authority which we exercise will pass into the hands of his children.' “Those words were overheard by Ali, who exclaimed : ' And so it shall be, by “ Allah! these two shall reign.'”— Ali was held in the highest respect by the people of Hijàz: Hisham Ibn Sulaiman al-Makhzuni related on this subject as follows : “ Whenever Ali Ibn Abd Allah came to Mekka to perform the pil

grimage or to visit the temple, the Koraish suspended the assemblies which “they held in the Sacred Mosque and deserted the places where public lessons “ were usually given, for the purpose of keeping him company and giving him a “ mark of the profound respect and veneration which they bore him : when he “ sat down, they sat down ; when he stood up, they stood up; and when he

walked, they all crowded around him and walked with him. This they conti“nued to do till he left the Sacred Territory.” He was of a fair complexion, large in body, and wore a long beard. His feet were so large, that he could 448 find no shoes or boots to fit him, unless they were made on purpose by his orders. He was so extremely tall, that when he performed the circuits around the Temple on foot, with the rest of the people about him, he seemed to be on horseback. Yet, tall as he was, he only came up to the elbow of his father Abd Allah, and he only came up to the elbow of his father al-Abbâs, whose stature was surpassed, in an equal degree, by that of his father Abd al-Muttalib (7). An old woman who saw Ali Ibn Abd Allah making the circuits around the Kaaba and surpassing in height every person there, asked who he was, and being informed that he was Ali Ibn Allah, the grandson of al-Abbâs, she exclaimed : “There is no god but God ! people would doubt my memory, were I to say that “ I saw al-Abbâs going round this sacred House, and that he looked like a “ white tent (8).” All this is mentioned by al-Mubarrad in his Kâmil ; he states also that al-Abbâs had a powerful voice, and that, one morning at daybreak, a hostile troop having come down upon them, he cried out as loud as he could, “The enemy! to arms !” and that every pregnant female who heard him miscarried (9). Abů Bakr al-Házimi (10) says in his (geographical) work containing the list of those names which are borne by more than one place, under

[ocr errors]

the letter ghain, where he notices two places called al-Ghába : Al-Abbàs Ibn “ Abd al-Muttalib would stand on Salà, a hill near Medina, and call to his slave

boys at al-Ghâba, loud enough to be heard by them. This he did towards “ the end of the night ; and there are eight miles between Salà and al-Ghåba.”

-Ali Ibn Abd Allah died at as-Sharât, A.H. 117 (A.D. 735), aged eighty years. He was born, according to al-Wakidi, on the night in which Ali Ibn Abi Talib was murdered ; namely, the eve of Friday, the 17th of Ramadân, A. H. 40 (January, A. D. 661); but other dates are assigned to his birth. (He says also that) Ali Ibn Abd Allah died A. H. 118. Another historian places his death in the month of Zù ’l-Kaada ; Khalifa Ibn Khaiyât, in A. H. 114, and a fourth, in A. H. 119. He wore his hair dyed black, and his son Muhammad, the father of as-Saffàh and al-Mansûr, dyed his red, so that the persons who did not know them, mistook one for the other.— As-Sharåt is a place in Syria, on the road leading from Damascus to Medina ; it is situated near as-Shaubek, in the province of al-Balkâ (11). In the environs lies the village called al-Humaima, which was the property of this Ali and of his children during the reign of the Omaiyide dynasty: as-Saffàh and al-Mansûr were born and brought up there; they proceeded from thence to Kufa, where, as is well known, as-Saffàh was proclaimed khalif.—We shall give the life of Muhammad, the son of Ali Ibn Abd Allah.-At-Tabari says, in his History, that al-Walid Ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwân removed Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Abbâs from Damascus and assigned him alHumaima as a residence, in A.H. 95 (A.D. 713-4). His descendants continued to dwell there till the fall of the Omaiyides, and he had upwards of twenty male children born to him in that place.

(1) Muhammad did the same with Abd Allah Ibn az-Zubair, and the custom was kept up by pious Moslims. (2) This is the first time I find this surname given to Ibn Abbâs.

(3) It may be remarked that, throughout this article, the numerous extracts from al-Mubarrad's Kamil are either silly fables, or else in contradiction with the statements of other authors.

(4) The autograph has a W. (8) This prophecy was probably supposed to designate the Turkish troops in the service of the khalifs. (6) See the extract from an-Nuwairi given by me in the Journal Asiatique for November, 1841.

(7) Ibn Khallikan has borrowed this absurd lie from al-Mubarrad. It may, however, be founded on fact, as each of these persons might have been only a boy when seen at the side of his father.

(8) It must be recollected that the ihram, or cloak, worn by the pilgrims when they perform the circuits round the Kaaba, is of white wool.

(9) This may be true, but it was rather through fear of the enemy than from the loudness of al-Abbâs's voice.

(10) His life is given by Ibn Khallikân.

(11) In Berghaus' map of Syria, as-Sharat or Schera, as he writes it, is placed between Akaba and Petra, in lat. 38° 8', and long. 33° 26' E. from Paris.

THE KADI ABU 'L-HASAN AL-JURJANI.

The kâdi Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Jurjāni was a doctor of the sect of as-Shafi, an elegant scholar and a poet. The shaikh Abû Ishak as-Shirazi mentions him in the Tabakåt al-Fokdha (biographical dictionary of jurisconsults), and remarks that his poetical works have been collected into a diwán. It was the kâdi ’l-Jurjāni who composed these lines :

They said to me: “You are full of backwardness;" (why not celebrate the praises of the great ?) They might have seen, however, that I was a man who shunned a station in which dishonour had been his lot.

The piece which contains this verse is of great length, and so well known that it is needless to give it here.—Ath-Thaâlibi speaks of him in these terms in the Yatima: “He was the pearl of the age, the wonder of the world, the pupil 449 “ of the eye of science, the pinnacle of the diadem of the belles-lettres, and the “cavalier of the army of poetry. To a penmanship like that of Ibn Mukla, he “ united the prose-style of al-Jähiz and the poetic talent of al-Bohtori. In his “youth he acted as the lieutenant of al-Khidr (1), journeying throughout the “ earth and travelling to the provinces of Irak, Syria, and elsewhere; during “ which expeditions he acquired such a stock of varied information and instruc

tion, as rendered him a beacon in the regions of science, and in learning, perfection itself.” He then gives numerous extracts from his poetry, and, amongst others, the following lines :

Thy lover is tormented by his passion ; let him experience thy kindness; be not cruel, but appreciate his merit, for he is the last (and most patient) of thy lovers.

A distich expressing a similar thought was recited to me by my friend Husâm ad-din Isa Ibn Sinjar al-Ilajiri, of whom I shall again speak. It was composed by himself and runs as follows:

O thou for whose cheeks I should give my eyes; none (of thy lovers) have kept their plighted faith but me; let me implore thee to show me a moment's kindness; I am the last (and most patient) of them all.

The following verses are by al-Jurjâni :

They told me to employ humility as a step to wealth, but they knew not that abasement is (as bad as) poverty. There are two things which prohibit me from riches; my honest pride and fortune's unkindness. When I am told that wealth is within my reach, I look and perceive that, before I attain it, I must pass through stations worse than poverty itself.

By the same :

They told me to roam through the earth, and that the means of livelihood are always ample. I replied: They are ample, but to reach them is difficult. If I have not in the world a generous patron to assist me or a profession to support me, where shall I find a means of livelihood ?

In an address to the Sahib Ibn Abbåd (vol. I. p. 212), he says :

Let us not blame the (poetic) ideas which you rejected, if they produce no effect when brought together. All originality of thought was engrossed by the promptness of your genius, and the rarest terms, the most fleeting modes of expression, became familiar to your mind. So, when we aim at originality, we can only find ideas stolen from you and repeated to satiety.

A piece addressed by him to the vizir, in which he felicitates him on his restoration to health, contains this passage :

Must every day renew our fears for the cessation of noble deeds ?-deeds which cause all noble hearts to vibrate with sympathy! Thy body received a share of every perfection; how then did sickness fall to its lot? When the soul of the vizir is afflicted, the souls and hearts which hold their life from his are filled with anguish. By Allah ! I shall never look with pleasure on a beloved face whilst the face of the vizir is emaciated by sickness. I mistake; that extenuation results from his ardent soul inciting him to noble deeds. Cease then to grieve because that sky is overcast; it will soon begin to shed (refreshing) showers.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »