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20th of Muharram, A. H. 420 (February, A. D. 1029).— Rabâi mains descended from Rabia, but I do not know whether it be Rabia, the son of Nizar (1), who was his ancestor, or some other person of the name; for there were many Rabias whose descendants all bore the surname of Rabâi.
(1) See Eichhorn's Monumenta, tab. I.
The grammarian Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi Zaid Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Istirâbâdi, better known by the appellation of al-Fasihi, studied grammar with such success under Abd al-Kâhir al-Jurjāni, the author of the Lesser Jumal (1), that he became the most learned man of the age in that science. Having proceeded to Baghdad, he settled there and taught grammar, for some time, in the Nizâmiya College. He transcribed a great number of books on general literature, and was a most correct copyist. Amongst the numerous pupils who pursued their studies under him was Malik an-Nuhất Ibn Såfi (vol. I. p. 389), and some traditional information was delivered on his authority by the hafiz as-Silafi (vol. I. p.86). “I was sitting with him at Baghdad,” says this hasiz, “and I questioned “ him on some points of grammar, to which he replied by citing the following “ verses which were composed by a grammarian :
Know that grammar is a disastrous study, and drives prosperity out of doors. Better than grammar and its professors is a slice of bread seasoned with olive oil.
Al-Fasihi died at Baghdad on Wednesday, the 13th of Zù ’l-Hijja, A. H. 516 (February, A. D. 1123).—He may have received the surname of Fasihi because (he made a particular study of Thảlab’s work, the Fasih (vol. I. p. 84), but of this I have no certainty.-- Istirâbâdi means belonging to Istirâbâd, a village in the province of Mazandaran, situated between Såria and Jurjān.
(1) See vol. I. p. 674 ; note to p. 390. The Greater Jumal was composed by Abu 'l-Kâsim az-Zajjaji; see vol. II, p. 93.
The philologer Abů 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi 'l-Husain Abd ar-Rahim Ibn alHasan Ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Ibrahim as-Sulami (a member of the tribe of Sulaim), surnamed Muhaddab ad-din, and generally known by the name of Ibn al-Assår (son of the oil-press man), was a native of Baghdad by birth and by residence, but his family belonged to the town of ar-Rakka (in Mesopotamia). He held a high reputation as an accomplished scholar, and he possessed (by heart) some of the rarest (pieces of ancient Arabic literature). His masters in that science were the Sharif Abû 's-Saâdåt Ibn as-Shajari and Abû Mansur al-Jawâliki (1), under whose tuition he attained great proficiency. He then gave lessons for some time, after which he went to Egypt, where he met Abû Muhammad Ibn Bari (vol. II. p. 70) and al-Muwaffak (Yusuf) Ibn al-Khallål, the secretary of state (2). He knew by heart and understood perfectly the poems of al-Mutanabbi, and he explained them to numerous pupils in Iråk, Syria, and Egypt. A great quantity 478 of books, treating of philology or containing poems by the Arabs of the desert, was transcribed by him, but faults are occasionally observable in these copies, notwithstanding all his care and attention. It is said that his genius was not of the brightest order, and that he evinced less talent as a grammarian than as a philologer. The style of his penmanship was remarkable for elegance, and (books in) his handwriting are in great request and bear high prices. He was a curious collector of receipts and other scraps of information, and it was his custom to write them down in his books. I met with a number of persons who saw him and studied under him. He was born A. H. 508 (A. D. 1114-5), and he died at Baghdad, A. H. 576, on Sunday, the 3rd of Muharram (May, A. D. 1180), just as the afternoon prayer was ended. The next day, he was interred in the Shûnîzi cemetery, close to his father's grave.
(1) See vol. II. page 96, note (1).
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn al-Hlasan Ibn Antar Ibn Thabit al-Ililli (native of Hilla in Iråk), surnamed Muhaddab ad-din, and generally known by the appellation of Shumaim, was an eminent scholar, deeply versed in grammar, philology, and the poems of the desert Arabs ; he composed also in verse with great elegance. His first studies were made at Baghdad under Ibn al-Khashshåb (vol. II. and other eminent scholars of that period; he then visited Diâr Bakr and Syria, celebrating in his poems the praises of the great and obtaining gifts from them in return. He finally settled at Mosul. A number of works were written by bim, and he drew up, out of his own poetry, a book in ten sections, which he named the Hamása, in imitation of Abû Tammam’s compilation bearing the same title. He was possessed of great talents, but he had an evil tongue and was continually attacking the character of others, without acknowledging or respecting merit where it really existed. Abû 'l-Barakat Ibn al-Mustaufi has given him a place in his History of Arbela, and commences his notice with a series of anecdotes respecting him, and which would imply that he had but little religion, that he neglected the prescribed prayers, impugned the sacred Koran and laughed at the public. He gives also some fragments of his poetry, which certainly betray a malignant disposition. “ He was once asked,” says Ibn al-Mustaufi, “why he “ had obtained the surname of Shumaim (1), and he returned this answer : At
one time I used to eat every day a quantity of clay (2), and, when I passed it, «« « I would examine if it had any odour, but could perceive none. It was for " this reason I received the name of Shumaim.'” lle died at Mosul on the eve of Wednesday, the 28th of the latter Rabi, A. H. 601 (December, A. D. 1204), and was interred in the cemetery which is called after al-Muafa Ibn Imran (3). The word shumaim is derived from the root shamm 'to smell).
(1) This word seems to signify little smeller.
ALAM AD-DIN AS-SAKHAWI.
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd as-Samad Ibn Abd al-Ahad Ibn Abd al-Ghålib al-Hamdani (a member of the tribe of Hamdân) as-Sakhâwi, surnamed Alam ad-din (beacon of religion), was a native of Egypt, a teacher of the Koran-readings, and a grammarian. He studied at Cairo under the shaikh Abů Muhammad al-Kasim as-Shâtibi (whose life will be found farther on), and he acquired under his tuition a sound knowledge of the Koran-readings, grammar, and philology; another of his masters there, was Abû 'l-Jaud Ghiâth Ibn Fåris Ibn Makki (1), a teacher of these readings. At Alexandria he took lessons from asSilafi (vol. I. p. 86) and Ibn Auf (vol. II. p. 197, note (2)), and at Old Cairo from al-Bůsiri (2) and Ibn Yâsîn (3). He then proceeded to Damascus, where he surpassed all the learned men who cultivated the sciences which were the subject of his own studies; and, with the rapid progress of his reputation, he acquired a most exalted place in public opinion. He composed a commentary, in four volumes, on az-Zamakhshari's Mufassal and another on the Shâtibiyan Kasida, which poem he had studied under the author (4). He left also some sermons (khotbas) and poems. The highest respect was shown to him during his lise, and when I was at Damascus, I saw the people crowding round him in the great mosque, for the purpose of reading the Koran under his tuition, and they they had to wait a considerable time till their turn came. I more than once saw him riding up to the Mountain of the Saints Jabal as-Salihiyin) (5), accom- 479 panied by two or three persons, all reading their lessons to him at the same time, and each in a different part of the book, whilst he made his observations first to one and then to another. He continued in the assiduous discharge of his duty to the last, and he died on the eve of Sunday, the 12th of the latter Jumâda, A. H. 643 (November, A. D. 1245); he had then passed his ninetieth year. When his death drew near, he recited these verses, composed by himself :
They said that on to-morrow I should arrive at the grounds reserved by the tribe (6) ; that the caravan would stop at their place of dwelling; and that all who obeyed them would receive a welcome to rejoice them. I replied: “I am culpable towards them; “what pretext can I allege in my excuse? how shall I dare to meet them ?” They answered : “ Is it not their nature to show forgiveness, and especially to those who placed " in them their hope ?" VOL II.
I have since discovered that he was born A. H. 558 (A. D. 1163), at Sakha. -Sakhawi means belonging to Sakha, which is a village in Gharbiya, a province of Egypt. Sakhawi would be the regular form, but all agree in employing the word Sakhawi.
(1) Abû 'l-Jaud Ghiâth Ibn Fåris al-Lakhmi al-Mundiri (a member of the tribe of Lakhm and descended from the royal family of the Mundirites), was a native of Egypt, an eminent teacher of the Koran-readings, a calculator of inheritance-shares, and a grammarian. He died A. H. 605 (A. D. 1208-9). — (Husn al-Muhadira.)
(2) The life of al-Bastri is given by Ibn Khallikân.
(3) The imâm Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Yasin, a member of the tribe of Kinana, a native of Askalon and an inhabitant of Egypt, was celebrated as a master of the Koran-readings and as a grammarian. He studied the readings under Abu 'l-Jaud Ghiàth (see note (1) ), and grammar under Ibn Bari (v. II. p.70). It was in the mosque called the Jåmi al-Atik at Old Cairo, that Ibn Yasin gave his lessons. He died in the month of Zu 'l-Kaada, A. H. 636 (June, A. D. 1239).-(Husn al-Muhadira.)
(4) The Shatibiya is a poem in which the different systems of Koran-reading are set forth. The life of the author, al-Kásim Ibn Firro, is given by Ibn Khallikân.
(3) This mountain, which is also called Jabal as-Salihiya, lies two miles north of Damascus. It is about one thousand English feet above the level of the city.
(6) See vol. I. page 123, note (13).
IBN AL-BAWWAB THE KATIB. .
Abû Hasan Ali Ibn Hilâl, generally known by the appellation of Ibn al-Bawwâb, was a celebrated kâtib, possessing a skill in penmanship to which no person ever attained in ancient or modern times. It was Abû Ali Ibn Mukla who first took the present system (of written characters) from the (style of) writing employed by the people of Kûfa, and brought it out under its actual form. He had therefore the merit of priority, and it may be added that his handwriting was very elegant; but to Ibn al-Bawwab pertains the honour of rendering the character more regular and simple, and of clothing it in grace and beauty (1). [But it is said that the author of the written character (called ) al-Mansub (2) was not Abû Ali, but his brother Abû Abd Allah al-Hasan, of whom mention is