Page images

a great quantity of Traditions from many masters, and he professed openly the doctrines of al-Ashari. One of his sayings was this: "It was said to Moses: 440 "Thou shalt not see me (2), because he was told to look at the mountain and


did so.

Then it was said to him: O thou who seekest to see us, why look at any thing else?" He recited, on this idea also, the following verses:

O you who pretend, in word, to be a sincere friend and brother; did you say the truth, you would not look at any other but me! You have walked the path of one who loved me, but you chose another object for the sincerity of your attachment; shame! how can a heart love equally two persons?

Shaizala died at Baghdad on Friday, the 17th of Safar, A. H. 494 (December, A. D. 1100), and was interred outside the Abrez Gate, opposite the tomb of Abû Ishak as-Shìrâzi.—Shaizala was a surname which he received, but its signification is unknown to me.

(1) See vol. II. page 172, note (2).

(2) Koran, surat 7, verse 139.


Abu Muhammad Atà Ibn Abi Rabâh Aslam (or Sâlim) Ibn Safwân was a mulatto, born at al-Janad, and a mawla to the Fihr family of Mekka, or to the family of Jumah: some, however, consider him as a mawla to Abû Maisara al-Fihri. He held a high rank at Mekka as a jurisconsult, a tâbî, and a devout ascetic, and he derived (his knowledge of the law and the Traditions) from the lips of Jabir Ibn Abd Allah al-Ansâri (1), Abd Allah Ibn Abbàs (vol. I. p. 89), Abd Allah Ibn az-Zubair, and many others of Muhammad's companions. His own authority as a traditionist was cited by Amr Ibn Dinâr (vol. I. page 580), azZuhri (2), Katâda (3), Mâlik Ibn Dinâr (4), al-Aamash (vol. I. p. 587), al-Auzài (vol. II. p. 84), and a great number of others who had heard him teach. The office of mufti at Mekka devolved to him and to Mujahid (vol. I. p. 568, n. 8),

and was filled by them whilst they lived. Katâda declared him to be the most learned of all men in the rites of the pilgrimage, and Ibrahim Ibn Omar Ibn Kaisan said: "I remember that, in the time of the Omaiyides, a crier was "ordered by them to proclaim to the pilgrims that no one should apply for 'fatwas to any person but Atà Ibn Abi Rabah." It is to him that the poet alludes in these lines:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ask the mufti of Mekka if it be a crime in him whose heart is inflamed with love, to visit the object of his passion and clasp her in his arms?—The mufti replied: “God "forbid that piety should refuse to bleeding hearts the means of closing their wounds."

When these two verses were repeated to him, he exclaimed (with great simplicity): "By Allah! I never said any such thing." (5) It has been handed down by doctors of our sect (the Shâfite) that Atâ held it lawful to have commerce with female slaves when their masters authorised it; and Abû 'l-Futùh al-Ijli (vol. I. p. 191) inserts the following observation on this subject in his elucidation of the obscure passages in the Wasit and the Wajîz, where he explains the third chapter of the section on deposits: "It is related that Atà sent his female slaves to his guests." But in my opinion this is highly improbable, for even were it considered lawful, jealousy and manly feelings would prevent it; and how could an illustrious imàm like him be even suspected of such a thing: my only motive for speaking of it here is the singularity of the doctrine itself.—Atâ was black in colour, blind of an eye, flatnosed, having the use of only one arm, lame of a leg, and woolly-haired; when advanced in life he lost the use of his sight. Sulaiman Ibn Rafi said: “I "went into the Sacred Mosque and saw all the people assembled around some person, and on looking to see who it was, behold! there was Atà sitting on "the ground and looking like a black crow." He died A.H. 115 (A.D. 733-4); some say 114, at the age of eighty-eight years. It is related, however, by Ibn Abi Laila (6) that Atâ performed the pilgrimage seventy times and lived to the 441 age of one hundred.-Al-Janad is the name of a well known town in Yemen, which has produced many learned men.

[ocr errors]

(1) Abû Abd Allah Jabir Ibn Abd Allah as-Salami al-Ansari (a member of the tribe of Salima and one of the Ansårs) embraced Islamism one year before the first pact made with Muhammad at al-Akaba (Abulfedæ

Annales, tom. I. p. 53), and was present at the second. He died A.H. 78 (A.D. 697-8), aged ninety-four years. -(Nujum. Siar as-Salaf.)


(2) The life of az-Zuhri will be found amongst those of the Muhammads.

(3) The life of Katâda is given by Ibn Khallikân.

(4) His life will be found in this work. (3) In the autograph the word

is written with a domma on the last letter, which indicates it to be

in the nominative case. Were this reading admitted, the verse would signify: "God forbid that the closing up of the wounds in bleeding hearts should destroy piety;" and the point of the anecdote would be lost. (6) This is the Muhammad Ibn Abi Laila whose life will be found further on. He must not be confounded with the Abd ar-Rahmân Ibn Abi Laila whose life has been given page 84 of this volume, and who was his father.


Al-Mukannà al-Khorâsâni (the veiled impostor of Khorasan), whose real name was Atâ, but whose father's name is unknown to me, began his life as a fuller at Marw. Having acquired some knowledge of (natural) magic and incantations, he pretended to be animated by the divinity, which had passed to him by transmigration, and he said to his partisans and followers: "Almighty God "entered into the figure of Adam, and it was for that reason that he told the "angels to adore Adam, and they adored him except Iblis, who proudly refused (1), "and who thus justly merited the divine wrath. From the figure of Adam, "God passed into that of Noah, and from Noah to each of the prophets suc"cessively, and of the sages, till he appeared in the figure of Abù Muslim al"Khorâsâni (vol. II. p. 100), from whom he passed into me.' His assertions having obtained belief with some people, they adored him and took up arms in his defence, notwithstanding the horrible extravagance of his pretensions and the deformity of his person. He was low in stature, ill made, blind of an eye, and a stutterer; he never let his face be seen, but always veiled it with a mask. of gold, and it was from this circumstance that he received his name. The influence which he exercised over the minds of his followers was acquired by the delusive miracles which he wrought in their sight by means of magic and incantations. One of the deceptions which he exhibited to them was the image

of a moon, which rose so as to be visible to the distance of a two months' journey, after which it set; and he thus inspired them with the firmest belief in his words. It is to this moon that Abu 'l-Alà al-Maarri (vol. I. p. 94) alludes in the following line:

Awake (from the delusions of love)! that full moon (2) whose head is shrouded in a veil is a false and delusive object, like the moon of the veiled impostor.

This verse forms part of a long kasida. Abû 'l-Kasim Hibat Allah Ibn Sinà al-Mulk, another poet whose life we shall give in this work, speaks of this moon also in a long poem of his, where he says:

Beware! the veiled (impostor's) rising moon is not more pregnant with magic than the glances of that turbaned moon.

When the reputation of al-Mukanna's conduct became public, the people rose up against him and laid siege to the castle which served him as a place of refuge. Perceiving that death was inevitable, he assembled his women and gave them a poisoned drink; after which he swallowed a draught of the same liquor and expired. On entering the castle, the Moslims put all his followers to the sword. This occurred A. H. 163 (A. D. 779-80): may God's curse be upon him! and may God protect us from deceptions!-I never found the name or the situation of this castle mentioned by any person, till I read in Shihab addin (Yâkût) al-Hamawi's (3) work, wherein he treats of the places which bear the same name, that there are four places called Sandn, and that one of them, situated in Transoxiana, had been inhabited by al-Mukannâ al-Khàriji (the heretic rebel). This appears to be the castle in question.-I have since found, in the history of Khorasan, that it is the very one, and that it is situated in the canton of Kassh (4).

(1) Koran, surat 2, verse 32.

(2) In poetry a full moon means a handsome face.

(3) His life is given by Ibn Khallikan.

(4) Kassh lies in Transoxiana.-I feel it necessary to make an observation on the passage commencing with I never found the name. It has been added in the margin of the autograph by Ibn Khallikàn himself, but this last phrase, I have since found in the history of Khorasan, etc., does not exist in that manuscript, although given in others. I merely notice the fact here, reserving my conclusion for another occasion.


Abû Abd Allah Ikrima Ibn Abd Allah, a mawla of Abd Allah Ibn Abbâs, drew his origin from the Berbers of Maghrib. He belonged first to al-Huzain Ibn 442 al-Hirr (1) al-Anbari, by whom he was given to Ibn Abbas, who was then governor of Basra (2) for Ali Ibn Ali Tàlib. His new master took great pains in teaching him the Koran and the Sunna, and gave him (the) Arabic names (by which he was thenceforward known). Ikrima transmitted Traditions on the authority of Ibn Abbâs, Abd Allah Ibn Omar (vol. I. p. 567), Abd Allah Ibn Amr Ibn al-Aâsi (3), Abû Huraira (vol. I. p. 570), Abû Saîd al-Khudri (4), al-Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Tâlib, and Aâisha. He was one of the principal tâbîs and jurisconsults of Mekka, (but) he was constantly removing from one town to another. It is related that Ibn Abbâs himself had ordered him to go forth and give fatwas to the people. Said Ibn Jubair (vol. I. p. 564) having been asked if he knew of any person more learned than himself, answered: "Ikrima." The Khârijite opinions held by Ikrima exposed him to the animadversion of the public. He taught Traditions (as has been just said) on the authority of a number of Muhammad's companions, and Traditions were given on his authority by az-Zuhri, Amr Ibn Dinâr (vol. I. p. 580), as-Shâbi (vol. II. p. 4), Abù Ishak as-Sabii (5), and others. His master Ibn Abbàs died without giving him his liberty, and Ali, the son of Ibn Abbas, sold him to Khalid Ibn Yazid Ibn Moawia for four thousand dinårs, but Ikrima went to him and said: "There is "no good in you; you have sold your father's learning for four thousand "dinàrs." On this Ali obtained Khalid's consent to annul the bargain, and granted Ikrima his liberty. Abd Allah Ibn al-Harith relates as follows: "I 66 went to visit Ali the son of Abd Allah Ibn Abbas, and I saw Ikrima tied up at the door of a privy, on which I said: 'Is it thus that you treat your slave?' "To which he replied: Know that that fellow has told lies of my father.'" Ikrima died A.H. 107 (A. D. 725-6); others say 106, or 105, or 115; he was then aged eighty or eighty-four years. Muhammad Ibn Saad (6) relates the following circumstances on the authority of al-Wakidi (7), who states that he learned them from Khâlid Ibn al-Kâsim al-Bayadi: "Ikrima and the poet Kuthayir, the lover of Azza, died in the year 105 and on the same day; in the

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »