« PreviousContinue »
his intention, called him back and said: “Do him no harm, but cut his tongue “ off by showing him kindness and giving him some lucrative employment." In consequence of this order, al-Kasim appointed him director of the post-horse establishment in al-Awasim and the Jund of Kinnisrin, and receiver-general of the tolls arising from the bridges of these districts. Ibn Bassàm died in the month of Safar, A. H. 302 (Aug.-Sept. A. D. 914); some say, A. H. 303. He was then aged upwards of seventy:— The praises of his grandfather Nasr Ibu Mansûr were celebrated by the poet) Abù Tammâm.— Al-Awdsim is a large district in Syria, and its capital is Antioch. Abù ’l-Alà al-Maarri mentions it in this verse :
When Baghdad and its people ask concerning me, I ask concerning the people of alAwasim.
The poet expressed himself thus because his native place, Maarra tan-Nomàn, lay in the territory of al-A wasim. At-Tabari mentions in his history that, in the year 170 (A. D. 786-7), Hàrùn ar-Rashid constituted all the (northern) frontier of Mesopotamia and Kinnisrîn into a separate district, under the name of al-Awasim (the protecting fortresses). --When al-Mutawakkil destroyed the tomb) of al-Husain, the son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, in A. II. 236 (A. D. 850-1), al-Bassami composed the following verses on the occasion :
If the Omaiyides impiously murdered the son of the Prophet's daughter, their descendants have committed as foul a deed—behold the tomb of al-Husain reduced to ruins ! They regretted to have borne no share in his murder, and they therefore wreaked their hatred on his ashes.
This tomb, with the adjoining edifices and dependencies, was razed to the 191 foundations by al-Mutawakkil, through detestation for the memory of Ali and his sons al-Hasan and al-Husain ; he even ordered the spot on which the tomb was erected to be sown with grain and irrigated, and no person was permitted to visit it. This is stated as a fact by historians, but whether it be true or not is known to God alone.— Ibn Bassâm composed some works, such as a history of Omar Ibn Abi Rabia (9), which is the fullest and most satisfactory treatise ever written on the subject; the History of al-Ahwas (10); the Mundkidai as-Shuara (contradictions of the poets); an edition of his own epistles, etc.
1) This Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Bassåm is erroneously considered by Hajji Khalifa as the author of the work entitled ad-Dakhira fi Mahasin Ahl il-Jazira (the treasure, on the excellencies of the people of the Island), by which island is meant the Spanish peninsula. This mistake has not escaped the notice of M. de Sacy; sec his Anthologie Grammaticale, p. 445. It appears from some of the extracts given from the Dakhira by Ibu Khallikân and from the declaration of al-Makkari (see MS. No. 704, fol. 104), that Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Bassâ in as-Shantarini (native of Santarem, the author of the Dakhira, lived in the sixth century of the Hijra and that he was a contemporary of al-Fath Ibn Khâkân, the author of the Kaldid al Ikiyan. M. de Gayangos states, I know not on what authority, that Ibn Bassam died A. H. 342 (A.D. 1147-8). See his Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain, vol. 1, p. 370; where he announces also that he will treat more at length about him and his writings. I have made many but fruitless searches to find some account of him, and am much surprised at the silence of al-Makkari, Ibn Bashkuwal, Abû 'l-Mahåsin, Ibn Khákån, Imâd ad-din, and other authors, on the subject.
(2) “The katib Hamdûn Ibn Ismail Ibn Då wûd was the first of his family who followed the profession of a “ na lim, or boon companion. His son Ahmad Ibn Hamdùn was an oral transmitter of poetry and historical “ narrations.”—(Fihrist, No. 874, fol. 195.)
(3) It appears from al-Makin (Elmacin) that Ibn al-Marzubån was chamberlain to the khalif al-Mutawakkil. – (See Historia Saracenica, page 181.)
(4) This is the more obvious meaning; but another is intended, namely: nothing which God has created can remain pure if you touch it.
(5) As-Sarât is the name of one of those canals or rivers which united the Euphrates and Tigris.
(8) Literally: Cut his tongue off from you. An anecdote similar to this is related of Muhammad and; alAbbâs Ibn Mirdàs.
(9) The life of Omar Ibn Abi Rabia is given by Ibn Khallikân.
(10) Al-Ahwas Ibn Jaafar, the chief of the tribes descended fro Hawå zin, is principally known for the active part which he took in the celebrated combat of Shib Jabala.—(See Rasmussen's Hist. Arab. anteislam. p. 71, and Fresnel's Première lettre sur l'histoire des Arabes avant l’Islamisme, p. 47.)
.السرور not السرو The autograph has (7)
The kàdi Abù 'l-Kasim Ali at-Tanůkhi (1) was a native of Antioch and drew his descent from Kudâa by the following line : his father Muhammad was the son of Abû 'l-Fahm Dawûd Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Tamim Ibn Jabir Ibn Hàni Ibn Zaid Ibn Obaid Ibn Mâlik Ibn Murît Ibn Sarh Ibn Nizar Ibn Amr Ibn al-Harith Ibn Subh Ibn Amr ibn al-Harith—this last was one of the ancient kings of the tribe of Tanûkh)—Ibn Fahm Ibn Taim Allah Ibn Asad Ibn Wabara Ibn Taghlib Ibn
Hulwân Ibn Imrân Ibn al-Hàf Ibn Kudaa. Abû 'l-Kâsim at-Tanûkhi was deeply learned in the doctrines of the Motazelites and in astrology. Ath-Thaâlibi speaks of him in these terms: “He ranked among the men the most distinguished “ for their learning in the law) and their acquaintance with general literature; “his noble character and excellent qualities placed him in a class apart, and the
following description, which I read in a chapter of the Sahib Ibn Abbâd's " works might be applied to him with justice: “If you desire it, I shall be (seri“ous as) the rosary of a devotee ; and, if you like, I shall be (sweet as) the apple "of Fåtik (2); if you require it, I shall be (grave as) the frock of a monk, or, “' if you prefer it, I shall be (exhilarating as the choicest wine of the drinker. “ He filled the place of kâdi at Basra and al-Ahwaz for some years, and, on “his removal from that office, he proceeded to the court of Saif ad-Dawlat Ibn “ Hamdàn as a visitor and eulogist. That prince gave him an honourable
reception, and having granted him a considerable sum for his support, he “ wrote to the court of Baghdad requesting the kâdi's reinstatement. Abû 'l“ Kåsim then obtained an increase of salary and high preferment; the vizir al“ Muhallabi and other powerful men of Iråk took him into favour and became “ the ardent partisans of one whom they considered as the standard of elegant “ taste and the sweetest flower of their convivial meetings. He was one of the “ band of kådis and jurisconsults who formed the vizir al-Muhallabi’s social par“ ties which met on two evenings of each week; all reserve was then discarded, "and they freely indulged in the pleasures of the table and gave loose to gaiety. “ Such were the kàdi Abu Bakr Ibn Kuraiya, Ibn Marûf (3), Abû 'l-Kasim “at-Tanùkhi, and others, not one of whom but had a long grey beard ; and this
was also the case with al-Muhallabi himself. At these meetings, when once a perfect familiarity was established and sociability prevailed, their ears were gratified with the charms of music, and, yielding to the excitement of gaiety, they divested themselves of the robe of gravity to indulge in wine; then, as they
passed through all the degrees of enjoyment, from hilarity to extravagance, “ a golden cup, weighing one thousand mithkals (4), and filled with the delicious
liquor of Kutrubbul (5) or of Okbara (6), was placed in the hand of each ; in “these they dipped, or rather steeped their beards, till the contents were nearly “ all absorbed, and they then sprinkled each other by shaking off the drops. “During this, they danced about in variegated dresses and in necklaces formed
“ of white violets and the odoriferous seeds of the gum-acacia (7). The next “ morning, their habitual gravity and guarded conduct were resumed with the “ emblems of their judicial functions and the reserved deportment of venerable “ doctors.” Ath-Thaålibi then gives numerous passages of his poetry, and from these we select the following:
A liquor composed of sunbeams (8) is presented in a vase formed of the light of day; or of air, were it not solid-or else of water, were it not devoid of fluidity. When the page who bears it round to the right or to the left, leans forward to pour forth its contents, he seems to be clothed in a jasmine (white robe, with one single sleeve of a red colour like the pomegranate blossom.
How highly should I prize thy beauty, did thy kindness towards me correspond to it! Thou art a full moon; but, alas I the sky in which thou risest is not the sky of love.
Youth to which hoary age succeeds not, such is thy friendship; an evil for which there is no physician, such is thy hatred. A portion of every soul seems combined in thine, and thou art therefore a friend to every soul.
Al-Masûdi states, in his Murůj ad-Dahab, that Abu 'l-Kasim at-Tanuki composed a kasida in imitation of Ibn Duraid's Maksūra, and he then quotes some lines from it in praise of Tanûkh and Kudàa, the tribe to which the author belonged. Another writer relates the following anecdote which he had received from Abû Muhammad al-Hasan Ibn Askar, a Safi, and a native of Wasit : “In “the year 521 (A.D. 1127) I happened to be at Baghdad, and was sitting on the “ stone seat of the Abraz Gate for recreation, when three females came and sat “ down beside me. I immediately recited the following verse, meaning to apply
it to them :
Air, were it not solid; water, were it not devoid of fluidity.
“ One of them then asked me if I knew the rest of the piece, and I replied " that I knew that verse only. On this she said : “If any one were to recite to
you the lines which precede, and those which terminate the piece, what "* • would you give that person
person?' I replied that I had nothing to give, but that “I would kiss the person on the mouth. She then recited to me the verses “ already mentioned, but after the first she introduced these :
“When you consider it and its contents, you have before your eyes a white flower enclosing a fire. One is the extreme of whiteness, and the other of redness.
“When I had got the verses by heart, she said in jesting: “Where is your “ • promise?' meaning the kiss."— The Khatib states that Abû 'l-Kâsim at-Tanûkhi was born at Antioch on Sunday, the 25th of Zû 'l-Hijja, A. H. 278 (March, A. D. 892); that he went to Baghdad, where he learned Traditions and studied Hànifite jurisprudence, and that he died at Basra on Tuesday, the 7th of the first Rabi, A. H. 342 (July, A. D. 953). He was interred the next morning in a mausoleum, situated in the street of al-Mirbad, which was bought for him (9). Mention shall be made of his son al-Muhassin in the letter M. Both of them have left a diwán, or collection of poetry.
(1) It has been already observed by our author, vol. I. p. 97, that Tanukh was a general denomination for those tribes which had settled at Bahrain.
(2) This is probably an allusion to an apple of amber on which the name of Fåtik was engraved, and which had been presented to the poet al-Mutanabbi by the direction of that emir. A celebrated poem, composea by al-Mutanabbi on this occasion, will be found in M. Grangeret de Lagrange's Anthologie arabe.
(3) See vol. I. p. 379.— The life of Ibn Kuraiya is given by Ibn Khallikån. (4) The cup must therefore have weighed from six to seven pounds.
(5) The village of Kutrubbul, so celebrated for the excellence of its wine, lay between Baghdad and Okbara. It was much frequented by the people of the former city in their parties of pleasure and debauch.
(6) See vol. II. page 66.
.بشارع المربد : The autograph has 9)
Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Wasif al-Hallà, surnamed an-Nashi alAsghar (or the less), was a poet of merited celebrity for his talents, and the author of numerous kasidas on the family of the Prophet. He displayed also great abilities in scholastic theology, which science he had learned from Abû Sahl Ismail Ibn Ali Ibn Nûbakht, and he held an eminent rank among the Shiites. Numerous works were composed by him. His grandfather Wasif was a slave, and his father Abd Allah a druggist. The surname of al-Hallâ was given to him