Page images
PDF
EPUB

“interment. When he died, I washed him, and on shrouding him I perceived “ that his right arm, from the shoulder downwards, was luminous although it “ bore no traces of injury; it shone with a lustre like that of the moon, at “ which I was filled with admiration, and I said to myself : “This is a blessing " which his fatwas (legal decisions) have drawn down upon him.' ” Juwaini means belonging to Juwain, a large territory near Naisåpûr, crowded with villages.

(1) This is an abridgment of al-Muzani's compendium of the Shafite doctrines.-- (Tabakåt as-Shafiyin.)

(2) This seems to be a mistake of Ibn Khallikân; the author of the Tabakat as-Shafiyin calls it the Forůk, and Hajji Khalifa mentions it under this title in his bibliographical dictionary.

(3) These works all treat of Shafite jurisprudence. (4) See below, note (1).

ABU ZAID AD-DABUSI.

Abû Zaid Abd Allah Ibn Omar Ibn Isa ad-Dabûsi, one of the most eminent jurisconsults of the sect of Abû Hanifa, and a doctor of proverbial reputation for his learning, was the first who invented the art of (Moslim) dialectics and brought that science into existence. A number of taalîkas (1) were composed by him ; he wrote also other works, such as the Asrår (mysteries) (2) and the Takwim lilAdilla (system of demonstrations) (3). It is related that he once had a discussion with another doctor, who only smiled or laughed when pressed by his arguments, on which he pronounced these verses :

Why does he answer me by a laugh or a grin when I bring forward a decisive proof? If grinning be the result of legal knowledge, how excellent a jurisconsult is the bear of

the desert! He died in the city of Bokhạra, A. H. 430 (A. D. 1038-9).—Dabūsi is derived from Dabūsiya, the name of a town between Bokhâra and Samarkand, which has produced a number of learned men.

(1) Taalikas were of two kinds: the first consisted of notes taken by the student during the lessons of his professor; and the second, of notes composed to clear up obscure passages in an author and supply his omissions; a sort of commentary, in fact. Ad-Dabūsi's were of the latter kind.

(2) This is a treatise on the dogmas and the secondary points of the law. (3) This work treats of dogmatic theology.

AL-MURTADA IBN AS-SHAHROZURI.

Abû Muhammad Abd Allah Ibn al-Kasim Ibn al-Muzaffar Ibn Ali Ibn alKåsim as-Shahrozûri, surnamed al

Murtada (him in whom God is pleased), and father of the kàdi Kamål ad-din, was celebrated for his great merit and his piety. (We shall give the life of his father and that of his son.) This fine preacher, who was equally remarkable for the elegance of his figure and the harmony of his style, was kâdi of Mosul and taught the Traditions in that city; he had passed some time at Baghdad in the study of the latter branch of learning and the pursuit of legal knowledge. lle composed some beautiful poetry, and amongst other pieces a kasîda of great merit, written in the mystical style peculiar to the Sûfis. We shall give it here (1):

Then (my

The light of their fire glimmered (from afar), and already the night had darkened (around us); the weary camel-driver could no longer continue his song, and our guide stood perplexed and bewildered. I looked at that fire, but the glance of my eye was 356 feeble; my mind also had been weakened by my separation (from the beloved); my heart was that afflicted heart (which you have known so long); and my passion, that inmost passion (which has so long been my torment). I then turned towards the flame and said to my companions: “That is Laila's fire; rein over to it.” They directed towards it firm glances from their eyes; glances which were repelled and turned aside. companions) began to reproach (me) : “Was it not a flash of lightning which you saw, or

else a phantom of your imagination?" On this I abandoned them and bent thither my way; desire was the camel which conveyed me, and passion the rider who sat behind

With me was a companion (love) who followed my traces; for it is the nature of love to be importunate. The fire blazed up and we approached nearer, till some timeworn ruins intervened. We went on to them till our progress was stopped by sighs and sadness. “Who dwell in these abodes?” I exclaimed, and voices answered: A “ wounded man, a captive in bondage, and a victim slain! what seekest thou here?"" I am a guest," was my reply; “I seek hospitality, where is the stranger's meal of wel

me.

come ?"— They pointed towards the court of the dwelling: “Stop there,” said they, “and kill thy camel for thy food; from us a guest never departeth more! He who " comes to us must throw away his staff of travel.”—“But how,” said I, “can I reach

that fire? where is the way?" We then halted at the habitation of some people whom the wine had prostrated even before they had tasted of it. Passion had effaced all traces of their former existence, and had itself become the mere traces of a ruin; in this ruin they had fixed their abode. Among them was one abstracted, in whom neither complaints nor tears found any longer place; his sighs alone denoted his existence, and even of these (his will) was guiltless; from these his consciousness was far apart. Among them also was one who made signs that we should observe his passion which, less intense (than that of the others), had allowed his consciousness to exist. I saw that each of them had reached stations the description of which would require a long epistle.

357

66

People of desire,” said I, “peace be upon you; I have a heart so preoccupied with “you that it perceived you not ! my eyes were required to furnish torrents of tears, so “ great was my wish to meet you. The impulse of desire hurried me towards you “through the vicissitudes of events. I should be in fault were I to ask you pardon (for my boldness); may I then hope for a kind reception from him who knows what motive “I have for not asking pardon? I have come to warm me at the fire; can I find a road to

your fire, now that the morning draweth near ?" To this they replied not, but their external state gave me answer sufficient, as every veil between my intelligence and it was now rent asunder; here was the reply: “Let not the beautiful gardens deceive “thee ; between thee and them are hills and pitfalls. How many have tried to “ reach that fire by surprise! they strived to attain the object (of their wishes), but to "approach it was difficult. They stopped to contemplate; but when they had

every sign of succeeding, the banner of fulfilment appeared, borne in the hand of

passion, and the chiefs gave the command to charge. Where,' exclaimed they, " • where are they who pretend to resist us in combat? This is the day wherein all false ““pretensions shall fade away!' They charged like heroes; and on the day when foes “ meet in arms, it is the heroes alone who fall. They lavished every effort, whilst the "object of their desire avoided their approach and slighted all their endeavours. They “plunged into the abyss and disappeared in its waves; the currents then cast them back “among the ruins which they now stained with their blood (2), shed, alas! in vain. “ Such is our fire; it shineth for him who travelleth at night, but it cannot be reached.

The share of it which falls to the sight is the utmost which can be obtained; but those " able to conceive this are few in number. One whom you well know went towards it, “ hoping to take from it a brand; he approached with outstretched arms, with wishes "and supplications, but it rose far beyond his reach; it was too exalted to abide his “ proximity, and yet he was a prophet. We therefore rest amazed as thou hast seen; “ all our efforts to reach it being vain; we pass away the time in (the delusions of) hope, “but judge what is the state of that heart whose aliment consists in being tantalised ! “Each time it tastes the bitter cup of misfortune, another cup is brought to it, sweet“ened with hope. Each time fancy sets a project before us, we are turned away from “it and told that patient resignation befits us best. Such is our state; such is all that “our knowledge can attain; but every state must undergo a change."

I give this kasîda on account of its rarity and because it is in high request. It is related by a (Saf) shaikh that he had a dream in which he heard a voice say:

Nothing was ever uttered on Sûfism so good as the Mausiliyan kasida (the Mosul kasida);” and this is the one which was meant.—The following distich was given by Majd al-Arab (glory of the Arabs) (3) al-Aâmiri as having been composed by al-Murtada :

O my heart! how long will good advice prove useless ? Quit thy sportive humour; how often has thy gaiety brought thee into danger! There is no part of thee without a wound (4); but thou wilt not feel the bad effects of inebriation till thy reason returneth.

The kåtib Imad ad-din gives the following verses as al-Murtada's in the Kharida :

I sought my heart, that I might ask of patience the force to sustain, for a moment, the rigours of my beloved; but I neither found my heart nor patience. The sunshine of our fond intercourse was gone; darkness had overshadowed the paths of love, and I stopped amazed and confounded; but a single instant had scarce elapsed when I saw her again a sovereign mistress, and my heart her captive.

These verses also are by the same person :

Those whom I love departed, and how copious were the tears of blood which they then let loose (from our eyes); and how many hearts did they bring back into bondage! Blame me not if grief for their absence make me reject the controul of reason; what I have just said will suffice for my excuse.

For them my heart is in affliction; for them I shed tears of blood; for them I am con- 358 sumed with flames; for them my heart is broken. At their door we are a crowd of suitors; our hearts melting away with apprehension; they have left us scarcely a breath of life; 0 that they saw our state. Kindness or aversion, sleep or waking, despair or hope, patience or restlessness,—these exist for us no longer. O that they had remained even after they had broken the ties of friendship and treated me with cruelty ! Were the love I bear them to deprive me of existence, the perfume of that love would yet remain! I am like the taper, useful to those around it, but consuming itself away.

I never went to meet thee, Laila ! without feeling as if the earth were folded up

from under me (so rapid was my pace); but when my resolution turned me from thy door, I stumbled over the skirts of my garment.

Most of his poetry is in the same style. He was born in the month of Shaabân, A. H. 465 (April-May, A. D. 1073); he died at Mosul in the month of the first Rabi, A. H. 511 (July, A. D. 1117), and was interred in the sepulchral chapel of the Shahrozûri family. The kâtib Imâd ad-din says in his Kharida, , where he gives a notice on al-Murtada : “As-Samâni mentions having heard “ that the kâdi Abû Muhammad,”- meaning al-Murtada, — " died some time « later than the

year

520."

(1) All the ideas of the kasida are borrowed from pastoral life: in the following piece they have a mystic import besides, as shall be here indicated. The light of their fire: the presence of the Divinity manifested to the saints. The night: moral darkness. The camel-driver: the preacher. The gui le: the divine. The beloved: God. Laila: the name of the beloved, God. Desire: the love of God. Passion: The anxious wish to enjoy the divine Presence. The time-worn ruins: the world, the seat of desolation in the eyes of the devout, inasmuch as the presence of the Divinity is not always felt in it. The wounded, the captive, and the victim: the vanquished by the love of God. From us a guest never departeth more: till his soul is released by death. The people: the devout, the Sufi brethren. Wine : the delight caused by the perception of God's presence. Stations: degrees of exaltation attained by the soul through the means of spiritual exercises and contemplation. People of desire: another name for the lovers of the Divinity. The warmth of the fire: the

beneficial influence of God's presence. The morning: the entrance of the novice into the Sufi life after abandoning the world, which is the seat of darkness. The gardens : paradise. The banner of fulfilment: the sign that the novice has become an adept and fulfilled all the necessary duties of spiritual life. The chiefs, liteterally, the people of the truths: so called because they have obtained a clear insight into the spiritual world, which is the abode of truth as this earth is the abode of illusion. To charge: literally, to canter round and round the field of battle and challenge the enemy; it then signifies, to turn round as the dervishes do. The enemy: the world and its passions. The abyss : the Divine nature. Thrown back among the ruins: recovering from an ecstasy of divine love and finding oneself in the world. One whom you well know : the prophet Moses. The brand : see koran, surat 27, verse 7; Exod. III.

(2) In the Arabic text, for äo) read dwd. )

Il top as the other MSS.; the first is certainly the right reading. Imâd ad-Din has a notice on this person in the Kharida, the sum of which is : The emir Majd al-Arab Muzaffar ad-Dawlat Abû Farâs Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ghalib al-Aảmiri was the wonder of the age for his poetic talent, and his verses were proverbially said to be as fine as those of his namesake Abû Faràs (see Ibn Khallikân's Biograph. Dict. vol. I. page 366). He was born in the province of Irak and went to Ispahân, A. H. 537 (A. D. 1142-3), where he pronounced his eulogistic kasidas and acquired great reputation. The kalib saw him for the last time at Mosul, A. H. 570. — (Kharida MS. No 1447, fol 27, where some long extracts from his poetry are given.)

;

not ,مجد العرب The autograph alone has (3)

.مذك عداها but the sense certainly requires ; فيك علاها The autograph has (5)

SHARAF AD-DIN IBN ABI USRUN.

Abû Saad Abd Allah Ibn Abi 's-Sari Muhammad Ibn Hibat Allah Ibn Mutahhar Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Usrún Ibn Abi 's-Sari at-Tamimi, surnamed first alHadithi and then al-Mausili (native of Mosul), entitled also Sharaf ad-din (nobleness of religion), was a doctor of the Shafite sect, and one of the first men of the age by his talents and his learning as a jurisconsult. His reputation spread to distant countries and his influence was most extensive. In his youth he studied the ten readings (1) of the koran under Abù ’l-Ghanaim as-Sulami as-Sarûji, al-Bâri Abû Abd Allah Ibn ad-Dabbâs (see vol. I. page 459), Abu Bakr al-Mazrafi (2), and other masters. He commenced learning jurisprudence under the kâdi al-Murtada Ibn as-Shahrozůri (vol. II. p. 29), and Abû Abd Allah al-Husain, Ibn Khamis al-Mausili (sce vol. I. page 422); he had afterwards, when in Baghdad, Asaad al-Mihani (vol. I. p. 189) for preceptor in that science. He studied dogmatic theology under Ibn Barhần al-Usůli (vol. I. p. 80), and learned there

« PreviousContinue »