Page images
PDF
EPUB

occurred in the great mosque of Basra, on a Friday; he was sitting in the chair from which he taught, when he cried out as loud as he could : “They who “ know me, know whom I am ; as for those who do not know me, I shall tell " them: I am Ali Ibn Ismail al-Ashari, and I used to hold that the Koran was “ created, that the eyes of men) shall not see God, and that we ourselves are “ the authors of our evil deeds (4); now, I have returned to the truth ; I re“ nounce these opinions and I take the engagement to refute the Motazilites “and expose their infamy and turpitude.” He was strongly inclined to gaiety and humour. His works are the Luma (flashes), the Môjaz (abridgment), the Idâh al-Burhân (elucidation of the work called the Burhân); the Tabiyîn (illustration) treating of the dogmas of religion ; the kitáb as-Sharh wa 't-Tafsil (explanation and exposition), being a refutation of the people of falsehood and error (the Motazilites). He is also the author of the treatises containing the refutation of the Mulâhida (impious) belonging to the various Motazilite, Rålidite, Jahmite, Kharijite, and other heretic sects. He was interred in the Mashrd 'z-Zawâya (street of the cells); his sepulchral monument has a mosque at one side and lies near a bath : it is situated on the left hand, when going from the bazar to the Tigris. Al-Ashari supported himself on the produce of a landed estate which his ancestor Bilål Ibn Abi Burda had erected into a wakf, for the support of his descendants (5); and his daily expense was seventeen dirhims. The foregoing observations are taken from the Khatib. Abû Bakr as-Sirafi (6) said: “The “Motazilites went with their heads up till such time as God produced al-Ashari “ to the world.” Al-Ashari's works are fifty-five in number.

(1) The doctrines of al-Ashari are set forth by as-Shahrastàni; see page 65 of the printed Arabic text. (2) See vol. I. pages 290 and 405.

(3) What follows exists no longer in the autograph, but these words in red ink as jail Lolo (hahuna 't-Takhrija) indicate sufficiently that the contents of a fly-leaf, now lost, were to be inserted here. It fortunately happens that the whole passage is preserved in two of my manuscripts.

(4) See Pocock's Specimen, page 234, and Dr. Cureton's Shahrastani, page 30.

(5) By the Moslim law, a man may settle the income of his lands and tenements on bis descendants to the last generation. He has only to convert his property into a wakf (by making it over to a charitable establishment), with the reservation that the annual income is to be applied to that purpose. On the failure of descendants, the income reverts to the tablishment.

(6) The life of Abû Bakr Muhammad as-Sirafi will be found in this work.

AL-KIYA AL-HARRASI.

ence.

Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali at-Tabari (a native of Taberistân), and generally known by the appellation of al-Kiya al-Harràsi, was a doctor of the sect of as-Shafi. On leaving his native place, he proceeded to Naisåpůr and studied jurisprudence under the Imam al-Haramain till he excelled in that sci

His countenance was handsome, his voice clear and loud, his style elegant, and his language agreeable. From Naisàpur he removed to Baihak, where he taught publicly for some time and then went to Irak, where he was appointed head-professor at the Nizâmiya college of Baghdad. This place he continued to hold till his death. In the Siak, or continuation of the History of Naisåpůr, the hâfiz Abd al-Ghafir al-Farisi (see page 170) speaks of him in these terms : “ He was one of the Imam al-Haramain's principal under-tutors (1); a second “ Abû Hamid al-Ghazzàli; nay, more profound in learning, more holy in life, “more pleasing in voice, and more agreeable in countenance.” After his arrival in Baghdad, al-Kiya al-Harrási was attached to the service of Majd al-Mulk Barkyàrûk, the son of the Seljük sultan Malak Shah (vol. I. p. 251), and was raised by his favour to wealth and honour. Under that dynasty, he filled the duties of 463 chief kådi. He possessed great information in the science of the Traditions, and he used to cite them with success in his discussions and conferences. On this subject, one of his sayings was: “When the horseman of the Traditions gallops “ about in the hippodrome of contestation, the heads of analogical deductions “ are struck off and given to the winds (2).” The following relation was made by the hâfiz Abù 't-Tahir (3) as-Silali : “When I was in Baghdad, in the year “ 495, I asked a fatwa (legal opinion) from our master Abû 'l-Hasan on a point " which I had argued with the jurisconsults in the Nizâmiya College; the

question I proposed to him was expressed in these terms: “What does the “ imâm (whom God may favour!) say of this: a man willed one-third of his

property to the learned and to the jurisconsults; are the writers of the Tra“ditions included in the legacy or not?' Under this question the shaikh wrote “ as follows : “ They are; and why should they not ? has not the Prophet said : "He who, for the advantage of my people, preserves forty Traditions relating " " to their religion, shall be raised up by God, on the day of the resurrection, as a

66

* jurisconsult and a learned man (4).”— Al-Kiya's opinion having been asked respecting (the legality of cursing) Yazid the son of Moawia, he returned the following answer: “He was not one of the Companions, for he was born in the * days of Omar Ibn al-Khattab (5). As for the opinion of the early imâms on “this subject, we shall state that Ahmad (Ibn Hanbal) has expressed himself “ twice on it; once he said that the curse might be implied, and another time “ that it should be openly expressed. Mâlik has delivered two similar opi“ nions, and Abû Hanifa also; but I hold one only—that it should be openly “ expressed. And why should it not? Was not Yazid a player at nerd (6), a “hunter with trained leopards, and an inveterate wine-bibber, on which subject “his poetry is sufficiently known. One of these pieces ran as follows:

• When the wine-cup assembled my companions, and the musician sung to excite the • joys of love, I bade them take a full share of pleasures and delight, for even the things which last the longest must have an end.'”

6

He continued his answer in the same strain, and wrote on the back of the leaf (7): “Had I space enough left, I should slack the rein in exposing the “ infamies of this man. Signed, Ali Ibn Muhammad.” The imâm Abû Hamid al-Ghazzâli was once consulted on the same subject, and he gave an opinion altogether contrary to the foregoing. The questions proposed to him were these : “ Should a person who openly cursed Yazid be considered as a reprobate, or " should he be treated with indulgence ? Had Yazid the intention of slaying al“ Husain, or was it done in self-defence? Is it permitted to say God have mercy " on him when speaking of Yazid, or is it better to suppress the prayer? May “ the musti be rewarded with the divine favour for dissipating our doubts!” His answer was as follows: “It is absolutely forbidden to curse a Moslim, and “he who curses a Moslim is himself the accursed; the blessed Prophet having " said: The Moslim is not a curser. And how should it be allowable to curse a “Moslim, when it is not permitted to curse the beasts of the field ? The pro“hibition from doing so has been transmitted down to us; and moreover,

the dignity of a Moslim is greater than the dignity of the Kaaba, according to the posi“ tive declaration of the blessed Prophet. Now, it is certain that Yazid was a “ Moslim, but it is not certain that he slew al-Husain, or that he ordered or

consented to his death ; and as long as these circumstances remain undecided,

66

“it is not allowable to believe that he acted so. Besides, it is forbidden to think “ill of a Moslim, since Almighty God has said : Be not ready to entertain unfavourable opinions (of another), for sometimes those opinions are a crime (8), and “ the blessed Prophet has declared that the blood, the wealth, and the reputation

of the Moslim are sacred, and of him no ill should be thought. Moreover, if any

person assert that Yazid ordered al-Husain's death or consented to it, he gives “ thereby an evident proof of his extreme folly; for, were he to endeavour to “ discover the true circumstances of the death of such great men, vizirs, and “ sultans as perished in his own time—were he to essay to find out who ordered “ the deed to be committed, who consented to it, and who disapproved of it, “ be would not succeed, not even if the murder were perpetrated in his neigh“bourhood and in his presence.

How then could he pretend to know the par“ ticulars of a similar occurrence which took place in a distant country and in a “ by-gone age? And how can he know the truth (of Yazid's conduct), now 454 " that nearly four hundred years have elapsed, and that the crime was com“mitted in a place far remote? It must be considered also that this event was “ taken up by party-spirit, and that (false) statements respecting it abounded on “ all sides; the true circumstances of it cannot therefore be known; and such “ being the case, it is incumbent on us to think well of every Moslim who can

possibly deserve it. To this we shall add some observations : suppose that " there be positive proof of one Moslim's having murdered another, the doctrine “ of the orthodox jurisconsults (9) is, that the murderer is not an infidel, because “ the act itself is not an act of infidelity, but of disobedience (towards God). “ It may also happen that the murderer repent before he dies. And if an infidel “ be converted from his infidelity, it is not allowable to curse him ; how much “ the less then is it allowable to curse him who repents of having committed “murder? Besides, how can it be known that the murderer of al-Husain died “ unrepenting? and He (God) accepteth the repentance of his creatures (10). Where

fore, in as much as it is not lawful to curse a Moslim after his death, he who

curses him is a reprobate and disobedient to God. Suppose even that it were “ permitted to curse him, the abstaining therefrom would be no crime, accord

ing to the unanimous opinion of the imâms; nay, the man who never once,

during the course of his existence, cursed Satan, will not be asked on the day “ of judgment why he cursed him not. And as for him who cursed Satan, he

66

66

“ shall be asked his motives for so doing, and how he knew that Satan was re

jected and accursed. The accursed are those who are far removed from Al“ mighty God, but who those may be is a mystery, except in the case of such per“sons as die infidels ; for we know by the divine law that they are accursed. As “« for the invoking of the divine mercy on Yazid, it is allowable, nay, acceptable " (

(in the sight of God), - nay, it is included in these words which we utter in “ every prayer : 0 God! pardon the men and the women who believe; for Yazid

was a believer. God knows if my opinion be right. Signed : al-Ghazzali." Al-Kiya al-Harràsi was born in the month of Zù ’l-Kaada, A. H. 450 (Dec.-Jan. A.D. 1058-9); he died at Baghdad on the afternoon of Thursday, the 1st of Muharram, A. H. 504 (July, A. D. 1110), and was buried in the funeral chapel erected over the tomb of the shaikh Abu Ishak as-Shirazi. The shaikh Abu Talib az-Zainabi (11) and the kävi 'l-Kudat Abù 'l-Hasan Ibn ad-Dàmaghàni, who were the chiefs of the Hanisite sect at that time, attended his funeral notwithstanding the coldness which had subsisted between them and him; one of them stood at the head of the corpse, the other at the foot, and Ibn ad-Dåmaghàni recited this appropriate verse :

The wailings and lamentations of the female mourners are useless ! like words uttered yestereven, thou existest for us no longer.

The following verse was then pronounced by az-Zainabi :

Women are sterile and have produced none like him; nay, they will never produce his equal.

I do not know for what reason he received the name of al-Kiya which is a Persian word signifying a man of rank and influence. - The hafiz Ibn Asakir states, in his great historical work, that the celebrated poet Abů Ishak Ibrahim alGhazzi (vol. I. p. 38) passed some time under al-Kiya's tuition at the Nizâmiya college, and that he composed the following extempore lines on his death .

Behold the work of Fate, which spareth none and letteth none escapel Mankind has no place of refuge from Fate's decrees. Were exalted station a protection against its attacks, no eclipse would ever obscure the brightness of the sun and moon. Ask the dastard who lives in apprehension of death, if precaution ever availed against it? Islamism weeps the absence of its sun, and sheds floods of tears, compared to which

« PreviousContinue »