Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

night of hope, brilliant as day; judge then what the morning itself must " be!

He is anxious to obtain the preachership of al-Karak, for he is a preacher; and he employs the mediation of thy humble servant to address “ this request, which can be easily granted. He removes from Egypt to

Syria, from Aidàb to al-Karak; a change singular enough: but poverty im“pels with violence; his family being large and his means small. The bounty " of God to mankind in preserving our sovereign master is most gracious. “ Adieu.”—In one of his epistles he describes, in the following original strain, a castle situated on a lofty hill (10): “This castle is an eagle among precipices; “ a star in the clouds; a head turbaned with vapours; a finger which, when “ dyed by the rays of the evening, has for its nail the new moon.” sitions abound in originality and beauty; he wrote also some good poetry, such, for instance, as the piece he recited on arriving at the Euphrates in the retinue of the sultan Salah ad-din, and in which he expresses his desire of again seeing the Nile of Egypt:

His compo

Bear from me a message to the Nile; tell it I never could quench my thirst with water from the Euphrates. Ask my heart if I say the truth ; it will be a sufficient witness for me, even did my eyes withhold their tears. O my

heart ! how

many

Buthainas hast thou left there after thee, but God forbid that thou support thy sorrows with pa

tient resignation ( jamil) (11). He often recited the following verses :

When the eyes of Fortune guard you, sleep without fear, for places of danger are then places of safety. Pursue the phænix, fortune will serve you as a net; take the constellation of Orion for a steed, fortune will be your bridle.

The following lines were composed by him :

We passed the night in the gratification of our desires; but there are pleasures which it is not possible to describe. The guardian of our door was the night, and we said to her: “ Leave us not, or the morning will break in.”

I have expressed this idea in a distich which runs as follows:

399 What a night of pleasure we passed at the mountain-foot! to describe it would far exceed my power. I said to the night: “Thou art the guardian of our door; leave us

not, for we dread the breaking in of the dawn.”

Al-Kâdi ’l-Fadil composed a great quantity of poetry. He was born at Ascalon on the 15th of the latter Jumâda, A.H. 529 (April, A.D. 1135); his father

VOL II.

15

held for some time the post of kâdi at the city of Baisân (12); and for this reason, all the family received the surname of al-Baisâni. In the life of al-Muwaffak Yûsuf Ibn al-Khallal, we shall relate how al-Kâdi ’l-Fadil began the world, and how he went to Egypt, where he was employed to draw up

documents in the chancery-office by al-Khallål; it is not therefore necessary for us to repeat the same account here. He was then attached to the service of the sultan at Alexandria, where he remained for some time. The jurisconsult Omâra al-Yamani speaks of him in his work on the history of the Egyptian vizirs, entitled an-Nukat al-Asriya, where he gives the life of al-Aầdil Ibn as-Sålih Ibn Ruzzik : “ Among the actions,” says he, “ which redound to his

(al-Aadil's) honour, and merit to be enregistered in the history of his life“ or rather, I should say, incomparably the best deed he ever performed and a “ favour (to the world) not to be repaid—was his despatching an order to the

governor of Alexandria, with directions to send al-Kâdi ’l-Fadil to court; " after which he took him in his service and employed him as his secretary “ in the army office. He thus planted a tree from which not only the state, but “ religion drew profit; a blessed tree of rapid growth and firmly rooted, bearing " its branches to the sky, and furnishing good fruit at all seasons, by the per“ mission of the Lord.” We have already mentioned that (subsequently to this) he was appointed vizir by Salâh ad-din, and gradually mounted in favour till that sultan's death. During the reign of al-Malik al-Aziz, the son and successor of that prince, al-Kâdi 'l-Fadil maintained his rank and influence; alMalik al-Aziz's son, al-Malik al-Mansûr, then succeeded to the throne in consequence of the measures taken by his uncle al-Malik al-Afdal Nûr ad-din; and al-Kâdi ’l-Fâdil continued to hold his rank and honours to the last moment of his life. He expired suddenly at Cairo on the eve of Wednesday, the 7th of the latter Rabi, A. H. 596 (January, A.D. 1200), at the time of al-Malik al-AXdil's entry into that city, when taking possession of Egypt. He was buried the next morning in the mausoleum bearing his name, and situated in the lesser Karâfa Cemetery, at the foot of Mount Mukattam. I visited his tomb more than once, and I saw the date of his death, as it is here given, engraved on the marble enclosure which surrounds the monument. He was one of the ornaments of the age, and time will not readily produce another fit to replace him. He founded a madrasa at Cairo in the street called Darb al-Malukhiya, and I perused a note in his own handwriting, wherein it was stated that on Saturday, the first of Muharram, A. H. 580 (April, A. D. 1184), this establishment was first opened for the instruction of pupils. — As for his surname, his family say that it was Muhî ad-din (reviver of religion), but in a document addressed to him by Ibn Abi Usrûn (see page 32), I find him styled Mujir ad-din.— His son Abû ’l-Abbâs Ahmad, surnamed al-Kâdi al-Ashraf Bahâ ad-din (the most noble kâdi, the lustre of the faith) lived in high favour with the princes (of the family of Salâh ad-din); he was most assiduous in learning Traditions and indefatigable in collecting books. His birth took place at Cairo in the month of Muharram, A.H. 573 (July, A.D. 1177), and he died at the same city on the eve of Monday, the 7th of the latter Jumâda, A. H. 643 (October, A. D. 1245). He was buried at the side of his father's tomb. Al-Kâdi al-Ashraf, having been commissioned by the prince al-Malik al-Kâmil Ibn al-Malik al-Aadil Ibn Aiyûb to proceed from Cairo on a mission to Baghdad, he addressed to the vizir these lines of his own composing :

O my lord vizir! you whose favours dissolve the pact which bound me to adverse fortune! How can I thank you for your kindness, feeling that I can hardly sustain the 400 honour conferred upon Those favours are light in your hands, but their burden is weighty on the shoulders (13) of those who receive them.

me.

[blocks in formation]

(3) We have here in the original a good specimen of Imåd ad-din's style, with its beauties and its faults ; but the former vanish in translation, and the latter become still more glaring. One or two passages in this extract are so highly figurative that it is impossible to render them literally into any European language.

(4) See vol. I. page 137.

(5) Kais Ibn Zuhair al-Absi is the person meant in the proverbial expression : shrewder than Kais. He took an active part in the war of Dâhis and Ghabra. See Rasmussen's Additamenta; Abu 'l-Fedà's list. Anteislam.

p. 141.

(6) This is the celebrated Hatim at-Tai.

(7) Amr the son of Malik, of the tribe of Sáså, a contemporary of Muhammad, was surnamed for his bravery Muldib al-A sinna (he that plays with the spear points).—(See Rasmussen's Additamenta ad hist. Ar.)

(8) The town of Aidab is situated on the western coast of the Red Sea, in lat. 22° 8. Berghaus has omitted it in his map of Egypt and Arabia.

(9) Karak or Kerek lies to the east of the southern extremity of the Dead Sea.

(10) Probably Kalat Kaukab (Star Castle), a fortress situated on a lofty bill overlooking the Jordan. Berghaus places it in lat. 32° 37'.

(11) For the loves of Jamil and Buthaina, see vol. I. page 331. It may be perceived that the kâdi has altempted a pun in this verse.

(12) Baisån lies about nine miles south of Lake Tiberias, near the right bank of the Jordan.

(13) Literally: On the necks. In Arabic they say, he hung a favour on his neck ävej o-lö; an expression equivalent to är os, he conferred a favour on him.

IBN JURAIJ.

Abû Khalid Abd al-Malik, surnamed also Abû ’l-Walid, the son of Abd alAziz Ibn Juraij, was a native of Mekka, and a member, by adoption, of the tribe of Koraish; Omaiya Ibn Khalid Ibn Asid being his patron. According to another statement, (his grandfather) Juraij was a slave to Omm Habib, the daughter of Jubair and the wife of Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Khalid Ibn Asid Ibn Abi ’l-Eis Ibn Omaiya ; and for this reason he was considered as the maula of the latter. Abd al-Malik was one of the most celebrated men (of that age) for his learning; it is said that he was the first who, after the promulgation of Islamism, composed books. He frequently related the following anecdote: “I

was in Yemen with Maan Ibn Zàida (1), and the period of the pilgrimage

came round without my having any intention of making it, till the following “ verses of Omar Ibn Abi Rabia's (2) came suddenly to my recollection :

6

Say to him, I pray you, but not reproachfully: Why do you make so long a stay 'in Yemen ? If you be in search of fortune (3) or if you have obtained her favours, what * sum have you received for neglecting the pilgrimage? ' “I immediately went to Maan and told him that it was my intention to “ make the pilgrimage, on which he asked me what could have induced me to “ form such a design, as I never before had spoken to him on the subject. I “ then related to him the circumstance and repeated Ibn Abi Rabia's verses, on “ which he provided me with the expenses of my journey and sent me off.” Ibn Juraij was born A.H. 80 (A.D. 699-700); he went to Baghdad to see Abů Jaafar al-Mansûr, and died A. H. 149 (A. D. 766); some say, 150 or 151.

(1) His life will be found in this work.
(2) The life of Omar Ibn Abi Rabia is given in this volume.
(3) Read luis in the Arabic text.

ABD AL-MALIK IBN OMAIR.

Abû Omar, and Abu Amr, Abd al-Malik Ibn Omair Ibn Suwaid, surnamed alKibti al-Farsi, was a member of the tribe of Lakhm and one of the principal inhabitants of Kûfa, where he filled the place of kâdi on the death of as-Shâbi. He ranked among the most distinguished of the Täbis and was also one of the most trustworthy as a transmitter of Traditions. He saw Ali Ibn Abi Talib and gave Traditions on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abd Allah (1). The following circumstance of his life is related by himself : “I was with Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan " at the castle of Kûfa when the head of Musàb Ibn az-Zubair was brought in “and presented to him. On seeing me shudder, he asked me what was the

matter, and I replied : “May God preserve the Commander of the faithful! I so was in this castle, and in this very room, with Obaid Allah Ibn Ziâd when “the head of al-Husain the son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib was placed before him; “ “ I was then here with al-Mukhtar Ibn Abi Obaid ath-Thakafi, when Obaid " Allah Ibn Ziad's head was brought to him ; I was here again when al-Mukh“tår's head was presented to Musâb Ibn az-Zubair, and behold now the head " of Musâb!' On hearing these words, Abd al-Malik rose from his place and “ ordered the pavilion in which we were to be levelled to the ground.” Ibn Omair was at one time taken ill, and a person sent his excuses for not going to visit him, on which he answered : “I cannot reproach a person for not visiting

me, whom I myself should not go to visit were he sick.” He died on or about A. H. 136 (A. D. 753-4), aged 103 years.—The relative adjective Kibti is formed from Kibt; he possessed an excellent race-horse so called, and from this circumstance he derived his surname.— Farsi is derived from Fars (horse), and 401 was applied to him for the same reason.

(1) Abû Abd Allah Jabir Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Amr as-Sulami al-Ansari was a native of Medina and a Traditionist of great authority, having conversed with the Prophet. He died at his native place, A. H. 78 (A. D). 697-8) aged sixty-four years.-(Tab. al-Muhaddithin.)

« PreviousContinue »