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Al-Harawi died in the above-mentioned college between the 10th and the 20th of the month of Ramadân, A. H. 611 (January, A. D. 1215). He was buried in the mausoleum of which we have spoken. — Harawi means belonging to Herât, which is one of the four capitals of Khorâsân; the others are Naisapûr, Balkh, and Marw. This extensive kingdom contains a number of other great cities, but none of them equal to these. Herât was built by Alexander zû 'lKarnain on his expedition to the East (5).
(1) The word here rendered by traveller is Saih, which signifies a rambler, a wanderer.
(4) Literally: The public treasury in the water-closet. I acknowledge my inability to discover the wit of this inscription.
(5) Herât appears to be the Aria of the Greeks. Alexander the Great founded a city there, which was called Alexandria after him.
IZZ AD-DIN IBN AL-ATHIR AL-JAZARI.
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi 'l-Karam Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd alKarim Ibn Abd al-Wahid as-Shaibâni (a member of the tribe of Shaibån), generally known by the appellation of Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari and surnamed Izz ad-din (majesty of religion), was born at al-Jazira, and his first years were spent in that place. Having accompanied his two brothers and his father to Mosul, he took lessons in that city from the khatib Abû 'l-Fadl Abd Allah Ibn Ahmad at-Tůsi (a native of Tus) and from other eminent masters of that epoch. He went to Baghdad repeatedly, either as a pilgrim (to Mekka) or as an envoy from the governor of Mosul ; and, during these visits, he received lessons from Abû 'l-Kasim Yàish Ibn Sadaka the Shafite doctor, Abû Ahmad Abd al-Wahhâb Ibn Ali the Safi, and other learned men. Having then proceeded to Syria and Jerusalem, he pursued his studies under different masters, after which he returned to Mosul, where he confined himself within doors, and devoted all his moments to study and to the composition of his works. His house then became a centre of
union for the learned men of the city and for strangers. His knowledge of the Traditions and his acquaintance with that science in its various branches placed him in the first rank, and his learning as an historian of the ancients and moderns was not less extensive; he was perfectly familiar with the genealogy of the Arabs, their adventures, combats, and history; whilst his great work, the Kamil, or complete, embracing the history of the world from the earliest period
year 628 of the Hijra, merits its reputation as one of the best productions of the kind. He composed also an abridgment, in three volumes, of Abû 'sSaad as-Samâni’s Ansâb (1), in which he points out the errors of that author and repairs his omissions. It is an extremely useful book and is now very common; but the original work, forming eight volumes, is so extremely rare that I never saw it but once, and that was at Aleppo ; it has never reached Egypt, where its contents are only known by the abridgment. Another of Ibn al-Athir's works is the Akhbâr as-Sahâba (history of the most eminent among the Companions of Muhammad), in six volumes. On my arrival at Aleppo, towards the close of the year 626 (November, A. D. 1229), Ibn al-Athir was receiving the kindest attention and every mark of esteem and honour from the Tawâshi (eunuch) Shihab ad-din Toghril, the atábek, or guardian, of the prince of Aleppo, al-Malik al-Aziz the son of al-Malik az-Zahir, and was living with him as a guest. I then met him frequently, and found him to be a man of the highest accomplishments and the most excellent qualities, but extremely modest. I was his constant visitor, and, as a close intimacy had subsisted between him and my lamented father, he 483 received me with the utmost regard and kindness. He afterwards made a journey to Damascus, A. H. 627 (A. D. 1229-30), and, on his return to Aleppo in the following year, I continued to cultivate his society with unceasing assiduity, but, after a short stay, he removed to Mosul. Ibn al-Athir was born on the 4th of the first Jumada, A. H. 555 (May, A. D. 1160), at Jazira tibni Omar, the native place of his family; and he died at Mosul, in the month of Shaâban, A. H. 630 May-June, A. D. 1233). I shall take occasion to speak again of his brothers Majd ad-din al-Mubârak and Diâ ad-din Nasr Allah.— The Jazira, or isle abovementioned, is generally considered to be the same which is called Jazira tibni Omar (the isle of the son of Omar), but I do not know who this Ibn Omar was ; some, it is true, say that it was so called after Yûsuf Ibn Omar ath-Thakafi, the emir of the two Irâks.- I have since discovered the true reason, namely, this
town was built by Abd al-Aziz Ibn Omar, a native of Barkáid in the province of Mosul, and was therefore called after him. In some historical works I find it named Jazira tibnai Omar Aủs wa Kâmil (the island of the two sons of Omar, Aus and Kâmil), but who these were I know not.— I have since read in Ibn al-Mustausi’s History (of Arbela), where he gives the life of al-Mubarak, the brother of this Abû 'l-Hasan Ibn al-Athir, that he belonged to the Island of Aŭs and Kamil, the sons of Omar (Ibnai Omar) Ibn Aủs at-Taghlibi (2).
(1) See page 137 of this volume.
Abů ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Jabala Ibn Muslim Ibn Abd ar-Rahman, generally known by the appellation of al-Akawwak, was a poet of eminent abilities. AlJàhiz (1) declares that, for reciting poetry (extempore), he was the most admirable of God's creatures, and that he never saw his equal among the Arabs of the desert or those of the towns. He belonged to the class of mawlas, and was born blind; his complexion was black and his skin spotted with leprosy. A well known piece of his is that which follows :
For her who came in disguise to see me, and whom every object filled with apprehension, I would sacrifice my father's life! But that visitor was betrayed by her beauty; how could the night conceal the (refulgence of such a) rising moon? She awaited the moment when the spies forgot their duty; she watched the people at their evening conversations, till they yielded to sleep; and then she faced every danger to visit me; but no sooner had she offered the salutation of meeting, than she bid me farewell.
He composed a number of splendid eulogiums on Abů Dulaf al-Kasim Ibn Isa al-Ijli (2) and on Abû Ghânim Humaid Ibn Abd al-Hamid at-Túsi (3). One of his finest kasîdas on Abû Dulaf begins thus :
He (the poet) repelled from his bosom the approaches of wanton folly; he turned from his errors, though pleasure was his occupation.
In that part of the poem where the eulogium is introduced, he says:
Let Abû Dulaf be marching against the foe, or enjoying repose at home, his presence (is for us) the world. If Abû Dulaf turn away (from us), the world (and Fortune turn from us, to) follow in his steps. Every Arab upon earth, both the dwellers in the desert and those who sojourn in towns, must borrow from him their noble qualities to form therewith a raiment, on the day in which they enter the lists of glory.
It is a long poem of fifty-eight verses, and so beautiful that I should insert it here, did I not wish to avoid prolixity. Sharaf ad-din Ibn Onain, a poet 484 whose life shall be given in this work, and an excellent judge of poetry, was once asked which merited preference, the kasida of al-Akawwak or the charming poem composed by Abû Nuwàs in the same rhyme and measure, and which begins thus :
O thou who sufferest from the visits of adversity (4), thou canst no longer pretend to the love of Laila or of Samara.
Ibn Onain abstained from giving a direct answer to this question and merely said: “To judge between these two poems would require a person equal in talent “ to the poets who composed them.” I read some observations written by Abû ’l-Abbås at-Mubarrad on this kasida of Abû Nuwas, wherein he says, after inserting the piece: “I do not think that any poet, either of the times before or " after Islamism, ever reached such a pitch of elegance and majesty, much less “ that he surpassed it.” It is related that al-Akawwak, after he had celebrated the noble qualities of Abû Dulaf in this poem, composed another in praise of Humaid Ibn Abd al-Hamid, who said to him : “What is it possible for you now " to say of me? what merit do you leave for me to claim as mine? you who have
spoken of Abû Dulaf in these terms: The presence of Abû Dulaf is for us the
world ; if Abû Dulaf turn away, the world follows in his steps !” To this the poet replied: “ May God direct the emir!. I can say of you something better than " that.” He then recited these verses :
Humaid and his vast beneficence are (for us) the world. If Humaid turn away froin us, adieu to the world!
On hearing these lines, Humaid smiled, but remained silent, whilst every person of the assembly who knew what good poetry was, declared them finer than those on Abu Dulaf Humaid then bestowed an ample reward on the author.
The narration which follows is made by Ibn al-Motazz in his Tabakåt as-Shuard (5): “When al-Mâmûn was told of this kasida, his wrath was excessive, and “ he ordered the poet to be sought for and brought before him. As al-Akawwak
was then residing on the mountain, they were unable to find him, and when “ the intelligence reached him, he fled to Mesopotamia. Written orders to ar
rest him being now dispatched in every direction, his apprehensions led him
to fly from Mesopotamia, and he had got into the region called as-Shâmàt (6), " when he was discovered and taken prisoner. Having bound him in chains,
they took him before al-Màmûn, who exclaimed, on seeing him : “Son of a "prostitute! it was you who said in a poem addressed to al-Kasim Ibn Isa : " • Every Arab upon earth, etc.'— He here repeated the two verses.—“You have "thus placed me among those who must borrow from him their noble qualities “ . and their titles to glory!'—'Commander of the faithful!' replied al-Akaw“ wak, “you belong to a family with which no other can be put in comparison; "God chose yours as his own from amongst the human race, and gave it “ the sacred book, and supreme authority, and a vast empire. But what I " said was solely applied to those who were on an equality with al-Kasim Ibn «« « Isa.'-By Allah ! exclaimed al-Mâmûn, “you made no exceptions, but in- o cluded us in the number, however I shall not spill your blood on account "66 of these lines, but I shall order your death for the impiety of your verses, ".in which you assimilate a vile and miserable creature to the Almighty and
represent him as the partner of his power: you have said :
“ The events of each day are accomplished under thy control, and fortune is directed “ by thee in her changes. A look of thine was never cast on mortal, but he received a
lasting favour or a certain death (7).
"But it is God alone who can do so ; pluck out his tongue by the root!' “ The order was immediately executed, and al-Akawwak thus perished. This “ event took place at Baghdad, A. H. 213 (A. D. 828-9); he was born A. H. 160 “ (A.D. 776-7). It is said that he lost his sight by the small-pox at the age
of “ seven years, but this is in contradiction with what has been stated previously.”
Such are the terms in which Ibn al-Motazz speaks respecting this kasida, and a 485 similar account is also given by Abû ’l-Faraj in his Kitâb al-Aghôni. I met these
two verses accompanied by another in Abû Abd Allah Ibn al-Munajjim's Kitab