Page images

on polemics, entitled al-Manhal wa 'l-Muntahal (doctrines falsely attributed to others and falsely claimed by some), the Tahasut al-Falasafa (3), the Mahakk anNazar (whetstone of reflexion), the Miyar al-Ilm (the weighing-scale of science) (4), the Makasid (al-Faldsafa), or tendencies (of the philosophers), the Maznûn bihi ala ghairi Ahlih ( doctrines attributed to wrong persons ) (5), the Maksad al-Asna (the highest aim), being an explanation of the excellent names of God, the Mishkat al-Anwâr (niche for the lights) (6), the Munkid min ad-Dalâl (deliverer from error), and the Hakika tal-Kaulain ( the truth of the two sayings) (7). His works are very numerous, and all of them are instructive. Having been recalled in the most pressing manner to Naisâpûr, in order that he might resume his lessons in the Nizâmiya College, he at length consented, after receiving and refusing repeated invitations to that effect; but he finally renounced this occupation and returned home to his native place, where he erected, in the proximity of his own house, a convent for sūris, and a college for the study of the law. He thenceforward allotted out his time to pious occupations, such as reading the Koran through, conversing with men of contemplative minds (8), and holding sittings for the instructing of students; in this mode of life he persevered till he was removed into the presence of his Lord. Some verses composed by him have been handed down traditionally, and amongst them are the following, given as his by the hafiz Abù Saad as-Samâni (vol. II. p. 156) in his Supplement :

The scorpions (ringlets) of her forehead settled in the moon of her cheeks, and she thus became incomparable (for beauty). We have seen the moon in the sign of the scorpion; but here, for a wonder, the scorpion is in the moon.

I found these verses elsewhere attributed to a different person. God knows best which of the two is the author. The kâtib Imâd ad-din al-Ispahậni gives the following verses as his, in the Kharida :

Suppose that I were in love as you imagine, and that I enjoyed the pleasure of kissing that ringlet-adorned cheek ; know that I am a seceder from established opinions 651 (a Motazelite), and that the beloved received me with an Asharite face (9).

The katib quotes also the preceding verses as al-Ghazzàli’s. (Abd Hamid alGhazzali) was born A. H. 450 (A. D. 1058-9), and he died on Monday, the 14th of the latter Jumada, A. H. 505 (December, A. D. 1111), at at-Tabaràn. The

accomplished scholar and poet, Abù 'l-Muzaffar Muhammad al-Abiwardi, a person whose life we shall give, composed an elegy on his death, containing the following line :

He is gone! and the greatest loss which ever afflicted me, was that of a man who left not his like among mankind.

On the death of al-Ghazzali, the imàm Ismail al-Hâkimi quoted the following verses from one of Abû Tammâm's (vol. I. p. 348) most celebrated kasîdas, and applied them to himself :

I wondered at my patience when deprived of him by death; I, who used to shed tears of blood when he was absent from me. But the age is now so productive of wonders, that it has ceased to excite our wonder.

Al-Ghazzàli was buried at at-Tabarân, the citadel of Tûs. Of the word Ghazzàli we have already spoken (vol. I. page 80) in the life of his brother Ahmad, the ascetic divine and preacher.—At-Tabarân is one of the two towns which compose the city of Tùs; of this we have also spoken in the same article.

(1) Literally: Which travelled with the caravans.
2) Both of these works treat of Shafite jurisprudence.

(3) Tahafut al-Faldsafa signifies literally the rushing of the Philosophers; the words fi 'd-Dalal (into error) seem to be understood. This treatise has been translated into Latin under the title of Destructio Philosophorum, and published in the collection of Averrhoe's works; Venice, 1560, tom. IX.

(4) This is a treatise on logic.

(8) The manuscript of the Bib. du Roi, ancien fonds, No. 884, contains five treatises by al-Ghazzali, one of which appears to be the work here mentioned. The title, however, is different, as it runs thus: Al-Masnun bihi an Ghairi Ahlih (doctrines to be treasured up from the unworthy.)

(6) This treatise has been published with a French translation by Dr. Schmoelders, in one volume, entitled Essai sur les écoles philosophiques chez les Arabes. Paris, 1842.

(7) This may perhaps be a treatise on the two points of the Moslim profession of faith: There is but one God; Muhammad is the Apostle of God.

(8) Literally: With the people of the hearts. This appears to be a technical expression used by the Sůlis.

(9) I have been obliged to modify the meaning of these strange verses, and should have suppressed them, were they not attributed to so grave a divine as al-Ghazzali. It would seem that he was suspected barbatuli juvenis amore correptum fuisse, and he answers by a scholastic pun. Al-Ashari was an ardent opponent of the Motazelite doctrines, and ashari (asharite signifies belonging to al-Ashari, and covered with hair. The simplicity with which Ibn Khallikân quotes these lines would be quite unaccountable, had such passions been considered in any other light but purely platonic.


Abû Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn al-Husain Ibn Omar, surnamed Fakhr al-Islâm (glory of Islamism), and generally known by the appellation of al-Mustazhiri, was born at Maiyafàrikin, but his family belonged to Shash (vol. II. p. 606). This doctor, who was the first Shalite jurisconsult of that age, commenced the study of the law at Maiyafárikin under Abû Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Baiyân al-Kâzarůni (vol. I. p. 377), and under the kâdi Abû Mansûr atTûsi, the disciple of Abu Muhammad al-Juwaini (vol. II. p. 27). He continued to attend their lessons till the removal of Abû Mansûr from the kadiship of Maiyafàrikin; he then proceeded to Baghdad and attached himself to the shaikh Abû Ishak as-Shirazi (vol. I. p. 9), under whose tuition he pursued his studies and whom he served in the capacity of an under-tutor. He also read over the treatise on jurisprudence, entitled the Shamil, under the author, Abu Nasr Ibn as-Sabbàgh (vol. II. p. 164. Ile accompanied the shaikh Abû Ishak to Naisapùr, and then returned to Baghdad, after having discussed with great ability, and in the presence of the Imam al-Haramain (vol. II. p. 120), a question on a point of law. He is noticed by the hafiz Abd al-Ghâfir al-Farisi, in the Sidk, or continuation of the History of Naisàpúr (vol. II. p. 170). On the death of his master Abû Ishak, he had attained such a reputation in Iråk, as a doctor of the law, that he was nominated chief of the Shafite sect. A number of instructive works were composed by him, such as the Hilya tal-Ulamå (ornament of the learned), wherein he treats of the Shafite system of jurisprudence. Having composed this work, he added to it the conflicting opinions of the imůms on each point of doctrine, and thus formed a large compilation, to which he gave the title of al-Mustazhiri, because he had composed it by the desire of the imam ( khalif) al-Mustazhir billah. Ile wrote also some controversial works. In the year 504 (A. D. 1110-1), he was appointed professor at the Nizâmiya College of Baghdad, and this place he continued to fill till his death. His predecessors in it were, the shaikh Abu Ishak as-Shirâzi, Abû Nasr Ibn as-Sabbâgh, Abû Saad al-Mutawalli, the author of the Tatimma tal-Ibåna (v. II. p. 90), and Abû Hàmid al-Ghazzali (vol. II.


621). A learned shaikh of our sect informed me that,



as Abu Bakr as-Shâshi was one day sitting on the sudda (sofa), as is customary with professors when teaching, he applied his handkerchief to his eyes and wept bitterly, repeating, at the same time, this verse :

The dwellings are empty and I am now the chief, though unworthy of authority ; it is for me an affliction to have become the sole depository of power.


In this, he was actuated by a feeling of justice and the desire of acknowledging the merit of his predecessors and their superiority to himself. The verse just mentioned belongs to a piece which is inserted in the Hamása (1). Abů Bakr as-Shâshi was born in the month of Muharram, A. H. 429 (Oct.-Nov. A. D. 1037), at Maiyâfàrikin. He died on Saturday, the 25th of Shawwal, A. H. 507 (March, A. D. 1114), at Baghdad, and was interred at the Shiraz Gate, in the same tomb with his master Abů Ishak. Some say that he was buried in a grave at the side of his master's.

(1) See Hamasa, page vo.


Abû Nasr Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah al-Arghiyâni was a doctor of the sect of as-Shảfi. Having left his native place (Arghiyan) and proceeded to Naisâ pûr, he studied under the Imam al-Haramain (vol. II. p. 120), and obtained distinction by his knowledge of the law, after which he rose to the rank of an imâm (chief doctor of the sect) and acquired a high reputation as a musti and a devout ascetic. He learned Traditions from Abû 'l-Hasan Ali al-Wahidi, the author of the celebrated commentaries on the Koran (vol. II. p. 246), and he has transmitted to us the manner in which that doctor explained these words of the Koran : Verily, I perceive the smell of Joseph (1): according to al-Wakidi, “the East wind asked permission of Almighty “God to waft to Jacob the smell of Joseph, before the bearer of good tidings “ should reach him with his son's shirt (2); and, permission having been given, “it bore the smell to him. It is for this reason that persons in sadness are “ revived by the breath of the East wind; the human body softens under its “influence and sinks into placid enjoyment ; the east wind causes the heart to

long for the sight of friends and of home (3). And a poet has said :


I implore you, O two mountains of an-Namân ()! to let the breath of the East wind come unto us; that breeze which dispels all cares from a melancholy mind.'”

[ocr errors]

Abû Nasr al-Arghiyâni was born A. H. 454 (A. D. 1062–3), and he died on the eve of the 24th of Zù ’l-Kaada, A. H. 528 (September, A. D. 1134), at Naisàpůr. He was buried outside the city, at a spot called al-Hira, on the roadside. Relative to the fatwas, or legal opinions, extracted from the work entitled Nihâya tal-Matlab (5), and which are called the Fatâwa Aryhiyâniya, I was doubtful whether they belonged to Abû Nasr or to his brother Abû ’l-Fath Sahl (vol. I. p. 605), as I had not seen the book for a long time before : I even mentioned, in the life of Abů ’l-Fath, that he was its author, but I have since obtained the certain proof of its having been composed by Abù Nasr.- The word Arghiyâni has already been explained (vol. I. p. 606).

(1) Koran, sürat 12, verse 94. (2) See Koran, loco laudato.

(3) The Arabian poets attribute to the east wind effects which European poets would attribute to the west wind, or Zephyr. Indeed, throughout this work, whenever the east wind is mentioned in a piece of verse, it has been rendered by zephyr in the translation.

(4) A great number of places in Arabia bear the name of an-Namân; it is therefore difficult to determine which of them the poet means here.

(B) According to the author of the Tubakal as Shafyin, the Nihaya tal-Matlab here mentioned is the work under that title composed by the Imam al-Haramain. See page 121 of this volume.

« PreviousContinue »