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made in the life of Abû Ali; it will be found among those of the persons whose names were Muhammad. When Abû Obaid al-Bakri (3), the native of Spain and the author of the works (which are so well known), cast his eyes on the handwriting of Ibn Mukla, he recited this line :
When a man feeds his eyes (mukla) with the sight of Ibn Mukla's handwriting, all the members of his body would like to be eyes.]
It is agreed by all that Abû ’l-Hasan (Ibn al-Bawwab) stood apart (in his superiority); it is his system which is yet followed (4), but none have ever reached or pretended to reach his pitch of excellence, and yet there are people in the world who lay claim to (talents) which they do not possess. We
We may add, that for a person to maintain such a pretension is a thing whích we never saw nor heard of; all agree that he surpassed competition and that he never had a rival. He was called also Ibn as-Sitri (the son of the curtain-man), because his father was a bawwab (porter or usher), whose duty it is to stay by the curtain (sitr) which is drawn across the door-way (of the hall of audience). (His master in writing was Ibn Asad the celebrated kåtib, whose names are Abû Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Asad Ibn Ali Ibn Said al-Kâri (the koran-reader) al-Kâtib (the penman) al-Bazzàz (the linen-merchant) al-Baghdadi (native of Baghdad). The traditional information which he possessed was received by him from the lips of Abû Bakr Ahmad Ibn Sulaiman an-Najjad (5), Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn azZubair al-Kûfi, Jaafar al-Khuldi, Abd al-Malik Ibn al-Hasan as-Sakati, and others of the same standing; he was himself considered as a trustworthy (transmitter of such information).- Muhammad Ibn Asad died on Sunday, the 2nd of Muharram, A.H. 410 (May, A.D. 1019), and was interred in the Shûnîzi Cemetery.] Ibn al-Bawwab died at Baghdad on Thursday, the second of the first Jumâda, A. H. 423 (April, A. D. 1032); some say, A. H. 413. He was interred 480 near the grave of Ahmad Ibn al-Hanbal. The two verses which follow were recited to me by one of our learned men, and he informed me at the same time they were composed as an elegy on Ibn al-Bawwab's death :
Thy loss was felt by the writers of former times, and each successive day justifies their grief. The ink-bottles are therefore black with sorrow, and the pens are rent through affliction.
The idea contained in these verses is very fine.—When I was at Aleppo, a
jurisconsult asked me the meaning of the following verse, which is contained in a poem composed by a modern, wherein he describes a letter :
'Twas a letter like a meadow enamelled with flowers; its lines were traced by the hand of Ibn Hilål, and its contents taken from the lips of Ibn Hilâl.
I answered him that the poet's meaning was, that its writing equalled in beauty the penmanship of Ibn al-Bawwab, and that in elegance of style it resembled the epistles of as-Sàbi. We have already mentioned (vol. I. p. 31) that the latter was an Ibn Hilâl (son of Hilal). I then asked the jurisconsult what was the rest of the piece, and he repeated it to me, as follows:
When I received thy letter adorned with the jewels of lawful magic- that of style; -it seemed to me like a mansion peopled with every excellence, and I contemplated it (with sadness) as I would a dwelling where my friends resided no longer. Tears trickled from my eyes; I impressed repeated kisses on the paper, and asked of the characters traced upon it an answer to my hopes (6). I pondered over it (7) till I thought its words were the stars of night, or strings of pearls. 'Twas a letter like a meadow enamelled with flowers; its lines were traced by the hand of Ibn Hilal, and its contents taken from the lips of Ibn Hilâl.
Relative to the art of writing, (it is said) that Ismail (the patriarch) was the first who wrote in Arabic; but what the learned hold to be the truth is, that Murâmir Ibn Marwa, a native of al-Anbår, was the first who did so. It is said that he belonged to the tribe of Murra (8). And from al-Anbâr the art of writing spread through the people. Al-Asmai states that it was related of the tribe of Koraish that, on being asked whence they had received the art of writing, they answered: from Hira. The same question, says he, was then addressed to the inhabitants of Hira, and they replied: from al-Anbar. [It is related by Ibn al-Kalbi and al-Haitham Ibn Adi (9) that the person who introduced the art of writing from Hira to Hijàz was Harb the son of Omaiya, the son of Abd Shams, the son of Abd Manaf, of the tribe of Koraish. He had visited Hira and brought back with him this art to Mekka. The two hafiz just mentioned relate also that Abû Sofyan, the son of Harb, was asked from whom his father had learned the art of writing, and he answered : “From Aslam Ibn Sidra,” and he (Harb) stated that he had addressed the same question to Aslam, and that he replied : “From “ its inventor, Murâmir Ibn Murra.” It hence appears that this (art of Arabic) writing came into existence at but a very short time before Islamism. (The tribe of) Himyar had a sort of writing called al-Musnad, the letters of which were separated, not joined together (10); they prevented the common people from learning it, and none dared to employ it without their permission. Then came the religion of Islamism, and there was not, in all Yemen, a person who could read or write. The systems of writing among the nations of the east and west amount to twelve: the Arabic, the Himyarite, the Ionian (or Greek), the Persian, the Syrian, the Hebrew, the Roman, the Coptic, the Berber, the Andalusian (11), the Indian, and the Chinese. Of these five are extinct, their usage having ceased, and the persons who knew them being no longer in existence ; the Himyarite, namely, and the Ionian, and the Coptic, and the Berber (12), and the Andalusian. Three still exist in the countries where they are employed, but no one in the land of Islamism is acquainted with them : these are the Roman, the 481 Indian, and the Chinese; the remaining four, namely, the Arabic, the Persian, the Syrian, and the Hebrew, are employed in Islamic countries.]
(1) Throughout this article I shall indicate the author's later additions by placing them between crotchets.
(2) Some observations on the character called al-Khatt al-Mansub will be found subjoined to the notice on al-Mubarak Ibn al-Mubarak. This notice forms one of the notes which accompany the life of Abu 'l-Fadail Ali Ibn al-Aamidi.
(3) See vol. I. page 319.
(5) Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Sulaiman, surnamed an-Najjåd, was an eminent doctor of the sect of Ibn Hanbal and a native of Baghdad. He studied under a great number of masters distinguished for their learning, and then opened two classes in the Mosque of al-Mansûr, in one of which he gave his opinions on points of law bill, and in the other he made dictations (see vol. II. p. 189). These classes were held on Fridays, before the hour of prayer. He composed a great work on the Sunan, or written collections of the Traditions, and another in which he discussed and defended the doctrines peculiar to his sect alleisti į 665. He fasted during the whole course of the year, and at night he eat a single cake, a small morsel of which he put aside : every Friday, he took no other food than seven of these morsels. His birth is placed in A. H. 253 (A.D 867), and his death in the month of Zû 'l-Hijja, A. H. 347 (Feb.-Mar. A. D. 959).—(Ad-Dahabi's Tarikh al-Islam.)
(6) Literally: “I asked of its traces to answer my question;" an expression which, in Arabic, is just as applicable to a letter as to a deserted dwelling. See Introduction to vol. I. p. xxxiv.
(7) Literally: I hovered round it.
SHAIKH AL-ISLAM AL-HAKKARI.
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yûsuf Ibn Jaafar Ibn Arafa al-Hakkâri, surnamed Shaikh al-Islàm (the shaikh of Islamism), drew his descent from Otba the son of Abů Sofyan Sakhr Ibn Harb Ibn Omaiya. He was a man of great virtue and piety, and had travelled through many countries for the purpose of gathering Traditions from the lips of shaikhs and other learned men. Having returned to his native place, he renounced the world and gained (by his character) the respect and confidence of the people. In one of his journeys he saw Abû 'l-Alå al-Maarri and took lessons from him. When they separated, he was asked by one of his companions what he thought of that poet's conduct and religious be
to which he replied that Abû ’l-Alà was a Moslim (1). I have been informed that a man in high rank said to al-Hakkâri : “ Are you Shaikh al-Islâm ?” and that he replied : “No, but I am a shaikh in Islamism.'
“No, but I am a shaikh in Islamism." A number of his sons and grandchildren were jurisconsults or emirs, and rose to high favour in the service of different princes. He was born A. H. 409 (A. D. 1018-9), and he died on the 1st of Muharram, A. H. 486 (February, A. D. 1093).— Hakkâri means belonging to the Kurdish tribe of Hakkâr, which possesses numerous fortresses, castles, and villages in the country to the east of Mosul.
(1) See vol. I. page 98, note (10).
ALI AL-HARAWI AS-SAIH.
The celebrated traveller (1) Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi Bakr Ali, surnamed alHarawi because his family belonged to Herát, was born at Mosul and settled at length at Aleppo. He visited numerous regions, made frequent pilgrimages (2), and covered the face of the earth with his peregrinations. There was neither sea nor land, plain nor mountain, to which access could be obtained, which he had not seen; and in every place to which he went, he wrote his name upon the
walls, as I myself have observed in all the cities which I visited, and their number is certainly very great. To this he was indebted for his reputation, and his name as a traveller became proverbial. I saw two verses composed by one of our contemporaries, Jaafar Ibn Shams al-Khilafa (vol. I. p. 328), on a pertinacious writer of begging-poems, and containing an allusion to the circumstance just mentioned ; they ran as follows :
These lying sheets are in the house of every man, and though the rhyme may differ, the meaning is always the same. The earth, both hill and plain, is filled with them, as with the scribblings of the vagabond al-Harawi.
Al-Hasan was not, however, devoid of talent; and, by the skill which he possessed in natural magic (3), he obtained the favour of the lord of Aleppo, al-Malik az-Zàhir, the son of the sultan Salah ad-din. That prince lodged him in his palace, and having conceived a great regard for him, he founded a college outside Aleppo and placed it under the direction of his favourite. This establishment now encloses a mausoleum erected over the grave of al-Harawi. It contains a number of rooms filled with books, and an appropriate inscription has been placed by him on the door of each. I remarked that he had even written the following inscription on the door of the water-closet : Bait al-Mal fi Bait il-Må (4). I saw also in the mausoleum a branch of a tree hung at the head of his tomb; this branch or rod had naturally assumed the form of a hoop, (the ends being completely united) without the assistance of human art; it is a very curious object, and is said to have been discovered by him in one of his journeys. His last injunctions were that it should be suspended in that place to excite the astonishment of spectators. He composed the following works : Kitab al-Ishârât fi Mårifa tiz-Zidrát (indications to make known the places of pilgrimage); Kitab al-Khutab al-Harawiya (book of khotbas, or sermons, by al-Harawi), etc. I saw two verses inscribed in a fair hand on the wall of the room in the college where he gave his lessons; they appear to have been written by some well-educated person, who had stopped there on his way to Egypt, and their merit induces me to insert them here :
May the mercy of God be shown to him who offers up a prayer for the welfare of people who stopped here, on their way to Egypt. When they halted at this place, their cheeks were pale (with fatigue); but when the hour of departure drew near, they were red with weeping