« PreviousContinue »
Jarrah (4) as having been composed by Muhammad al-Baidak an-Nasibi on Amr Ibn Masada, who had been complaining of his health :
“Abû 'l-Fadl,” said they, “is ill."-I answered: “I would lay down my life to “ save him from every danger. O that I had bis illness; he the reward of those who
suffer, and I no reward whatever!”
Ibrahim Ibn al-Abbâs as-Sůli having fallen into distress for want of employment, Amr Ibn Masâda, who was his friend, sent him a sum of money. Ibrahim then wrote to him these lines :
Till the end of my life I shall be thankful to Amr for kindness so freely granted and yet so great! He is one who never refuses money to his friend, and never utters a complaint at his failings. He saw my poverty, though I essayed to conceal it; and it hurt his eyes till it was removed.
The following anecdote is given by Ahmad Ibn Yûsuf al-Kâtib (5): “I one day 56 went in where al-Màmûn was, and found him with a letter in his hand. He
kept looking at it for a long time, and I remained observing him. He then “ said : 0 Ahmad! I perceive that my conduct maketh thee reflect! It is true, “ I replied, and may God avert from the Commander of the faithful every cause " of trouble and protect him against every danger!' He answered : « There “o is nothing in the letter to trouble me, but I found in it a passage which "ostruck me by its similarity to an observation which I heard (the khalif) ar“ • Rashid make : speaking of eloquence, he defined it to be : distance from pro“olixity, closeness to the thought intended, and the expressing of it in few 345 166 words.
I did not think it possible for any person to attain such a degree of perfection, till I read this letter!' He then handed it to me, saying : It is 666 addressed to me from Amr Ibn Masada !' I read it and its contents were “ these : « From the under-signed to the Commander of the faithful. Those "o of his generals and troops who are under me show such submission as a troop
can show whose pay is in arrear, and such obedience as that of brave men “whose stipends are withheld. By this, they are disorganised and ruined. “When I had perused the letter, he said : “The admiration which it excited in “me induced me to give orders that the troops under his command should re“ceive a donation equal to seven months' pay. And I am considering how to
recompense a writer in a manner befitting one who holds such a rank in his profession!!
(1) Abû Abd Allah Thâbit Ibn Yahya Ibn Yasår ar-Råzi, surnamed Ibn Abbâd, was one of al-Måmůn's vizirs. As a katib he displayed the highest abilities, but was very precipitate and passionate.—(MS. No. 893, fol. 202.)
(2) About two millions of pounds sterling.
(3) The original text may also signify concedisti diffissionem vetulæ; but this is so poor a quibble, that I suspect allusion is made to some proverbial saying, with which I am not acquainted.
(4) See vol. I. page 25, note (6).
Amr Ibn Muhammad Ibn Sulaimân Ibn Rashid, generally known by the appellation of Ibn Bàna, was a mawla to Yûsuf Ibn Omar ath-Thakafi and a singer of the very highest talent. Abû 'l-Faraj al-Ispabảni mentions him in the kitab al-Aghâni and says: “ His father was at the head of one of the government offices " and held a distinguished rank among the kâtibs. He (himself) was an excellent
singer and a good poet. He left a work on the Aghảni, or popular songs. His
haughtiness and pride were excessive, and, although afflicted with leprosy, “ the khalifs included him in the number of their boon companions and singers.” He died A. H. 278 (A. D. 891–2), at Sarra man râa. The khalif al-Mutawakkil admitted him into his closest intimacy and familiarity. Ibn Bàna learned his art from Ishak Ibn Ibrahim al-Mausili (vol. I. p. 183) and other eminent masters. The work which he composed on singing is a sufficient proof of his abilities. Baghdad was the place of his residence, but he occasionally visited Sarra man råa. -His mother, Bảna, was the daughter of Rûh, the secretary to Salama al-Wasif. In the life of Tâhir Ibn al-Husain (vol. I. p. 652) we have given two satirical lines of his, directed against that prince.
The kâtib Abů Saad al-Alâ Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Wahb Ibn al-Mûsalâyâ, surnamed Amin ad-Dawlat (the trusty servant of the state), was a native of Baghdad and mūnshi (drawer up of state papers) to the khalifate. He had been originally a Christian, but made his profession of Islamism to the khalif al-Muktadi billah and proved himself a sincere convert. He composed a number of elegant epistles and some good poems, which have been collected and form two volumes, one of one of verse. His talents were of the highest order. In the year 432 (A. D. 1040-1) he entered into the service of the khalif al-Kâim, as writer in the chancery office. Some time before his death, he lost his sight. He died on the 19th of the first Jumada, A H. 497 (February, A. D. 1104).—He had a sister's son, called Abu Nasr Hibat Allah Ibn Sâhib al-Khair al-Hasan Ibn Ali, and surnamed Tàj ar-Ruwasâ (crown of the chiefs), who was a kâtib and a man of abilities, possessing a knowledge of the belles lettres and a talent for eloquence. He also wrote a beautiful hand, and composed some good cpistles which bear a high reputation and have been collected into a volume. He died at Baghdad, after a five days' illness, on the eve of Monday, the 11th of the first Jumàda, A. H. 498 (January, A. D. 1105), aged seventy years; and was interred at the Abrez Gate. He became a Moslim at the same time as his uncle (cousin (?) ); this occurred, A. H. 484 (A. D. 1091-2).—Mûsaláyd is a name used among Christians (1).
(1) Mûsaldyâ or Musaloiyo signifies in Syriac native of Mosul.
Abû ’l-Faraj al-Alå Ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Abd 346 Allah, a native of Wasit and surnamed Ibn as-Sawadi, was a kůlib and a poet. In the art of verse he displayed a great natural talent, combined with a subtle wit and some licentiousness of humour. His family was one of the first in the city,
and had been noted for producing able kåtibs and men of talent. In one of his pieces which are all very fine, he says:
I complain to thee of thy own disdain, and, blinded by love, I imagine thou wilt grant me justice. Tavoid thee, lest it should be seen that thou avoidest me; for then my jealous foes would receive some satisfaction.
This idea is borrowed from another poet, who says :
I strive to conceal the love I bear you from those who might reproach (me with folly); I should not wish them to see what pains you cause me, for that would give them satisfaction.
I met this last verse before I knew those of Ibn as-Sawadi, and, being pleased with the idea, I versified it in the following couplet :
(Fair maid,) wand of the sands I thy stature is pliant; the days of thy kindness are, for me, days of rejoicing. If I conceal my grief when shunned by thee, 'tis done to prevent my envious rivals from exulting.
Imâd ad-din mentions, in the Kharida, that Ibn as-Sawadi recited to him the following line of his own composing :
I swear by the (sacred victims) contained in the Musalla (1) and those within the ample valley of Mina (2), that for thee my heart yearns with love!
There are three verses in all, but, as I think this the best, I abstain from giving the others.—Abû 'l-Kasim Hibat Allah Ibn al-Fadl, surnamed Ibn al-Kattan, a person whose life we shall give, directed against the kâdi al-Kâdat az-Zainabi (3) a satirical poem, rhyming in k and beginning thus :
Brother! the condition of my existence) is too strong (to be resisted); I cannot refrain from exposing vice.
It is a long poem, consisting of one hundred and eighteen verses, and, having been transmitted orally from one person to another, it obtained great publicity. When az-Zainabi heard it, he sent for Ibn al-Fadl and clapped him into prison after boxing his ears. The poet subsequently recovered his liberty, and it happened that, towards the same period, Ibn as-Sawadi arrived at Baghdad and recited a panegyric on the kâdi in his presence. As the recompense which he expected did not make its appearance, he went frequently to the kâdi's assemblies, but could obtain nothing. He then met Ibn al-Fadl and acquainted him with the circumstance, adding that he intended going down to Wasit, his native place, and composing a satire on him. On this Ibn al-Fadl wrote to Abû 'l-Fath, a friend of az-Zainabi's, a piece of verse in which was the following passage:
Abû 'l-Fath! when the heart boils, satire abounds. Rhymes will then assail the victim, and Satan himself will back them. Beware of the verses, rhyming in k, of one who is going down the river and whose ears you and your friends can never hope to box.
These verses came to az-Zainabi's knowledge, and he immediately sent a present to Ibn as-Sawadi and calmed him. This poet was born at Wasit on the eve of Wednesday, the 15th of the first Rabi, A. H. 482 (May, A. D.1089), and he died at the same place, A.H. 556 (A.D. 1161).-Sawâdi means belonging to the 547 Sawâd (or cultivated plains) of Iråk. This region was so called because the Arabs of the desert, when they first saw the verdure of the trees, exclaimed :
66 What “ is that sawâd dark thing)?” and this ever afterwards continued to be its name.
(1) The meaning of this word is explained in vol. I. p. 608.
(3) Abd Tålib al-Husain Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn al-Hasan az-Zainabi, an eminent imam, the chief doctor and principal kādi of the Hanifite sect at Baghdad, was born A. H. 420 (A. D. 1029). Having studied the Koran, the Traditions and jurisprudence, he became mufti, professor, and chief of the sect. He received the honorary title of Nür al-Huda (light of the direction), and was frequently employed by the khalif as his envoy to the neighbouring princes. He held also the posts of nakib, or chief, of the descendants of Ali and of those of al-Abbâs. He died on the 21st of Safar, A. H. 512 (June, A. D. 1118), and was interred in the funeral chapel of Abu Hanifa.-(Nujům.)
THE KADI IYAD.
The kàdi Abû 'l-Fadl Iyâd Ibn Mûsa Ibn Iyâd Ibn Amr Ibn Mûsa Ibn Iyàd Ibn Muhammad Ibn Mûsa Ibn Iyâd al-Yahsubi was a native of Ceuta (as-Sibti) and the first authority of his time in the Traditions, the sciences connected with them, grammar, philology, and the sayings, feats and genealogies of the Arabs of the