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(9) See vol. II. page 208.
(10) The verb la signifies: To perfume the hair or beard with ghalia ädls. This word, the precise meaning of which I did not recollect when writing the note in page 259 of vol. I., means civet. The Arabs call a civet-cat, Katt al-Ghalia, and the same word, gato de algalia, has passed into the Spanish and Portuguese languages.
(11) Here, in the Arabic, follow the words , Hamilyal-kistar as-sairaf (nummularius callidus. If they form a surname, the phrase which follows must begin thus in the translation: Al-Kistår as-Sairaf and Omara Ibn Hamza descended, etc. But in two of my MSS. the phrase Al-Jihshidri relates the same anecdote, etc., is inserted between the words as-Sairafi and Omdra. The true reading is therefore uncertain, and I prefer not hazarding a translation.
(12) The word sej nada means both moisture and generosity. Here the poet confounds the two ideas.
(13) Abu Amr Kulthům Ibn Omar Ibn Taghlib at-Taghlibi, a poet and katib, was a native of Damascus, established at Kinnisrin. He bore the surname of al-Attâbi. The Barmekides honoured him with their patronage, and at a later period he enjoyed the friendship of Tahir Ibn al-Husain.—(Fihrist, fol. 166.)
(14) Abu 'l-Husain Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah al-Basri (a native of Basra), and surnamed Ibn al-Labbản (the son of the milkman), was an eminent jurisconsult of the Shafite sect, and possessed such skill in the calculation of inheritance-shares, that he obtained the surname of al-Faradi. A number of works were composed by him on this subject, and Abû Ishak as-Shirazi declared that no one had ever produced any thing like them. Ibn al-Labbån was heard to say that there was not an inheritance-calculator on earth who had not been his disciple or a disciple of his disciples; otherwise that person could do nothing good in his profession. He gave his lessons in a college built purposely for him at Baghdad, and he died in the month of the first Rabi, A. H. 402 (October, A. D. 1011). — (Tabakat as-Shafiyin.)-We here again find another college built before the time of Nizam al-Mulk, who has been generally supposed to have founded the first establishment of the kind. See Introduction to vol. I. page xxvii.
AL FADL IBN AR-RABI.
Abû 'l-Abbàs al-Fadl was the son of ar-Rabi Ibn Yûnus Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Abi Furwa.—This last, whose real name was Kaisân, was a mawla to the khalif) Othman Ibn Affàn (vol. I. pp. 521,526).—We have already spoken of his father ar-Rabi (vol. I. p. 521) and mentioned something of what passed between him and Abů Jaafar al-Mansûr.—When the sovereign authority devolved to ar-Rashid, this prince chose the Barmekides for his vizirs, and al-Fadl, who had aspired to an equality with them and hoped to rival them in influence, conceived a deep hatred against them on finding all his efforts for that purpose ineffectual. Obaid Allah Ibn Sulaiman Ibn Wahb (vol. I. page 29 ) said :
“When God wills the destruction of a family (or people) and the ruin of their
prosperity, he disposes certain causes to effect that purpose; and one of the " causes which contributed to the fall of the Barmekides was their disdain for " al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi. He therefore wrought against them underhand, and “ having succeeded in forming a close intimacy with ar-Rashid, he turned that “ prince's heart against them. In this he was seconded by the kâtib Ismail Ibn “ Sabih till the event was brought to pass.” It is related that Yahya Ibn Khalid al-Barmaki was one day holding a court for the dispatch of public business, with his son Jaafar seated before him to write his decisions on the memorials which were presented, when al-Fadl came in with ten written applications from different persons. To each of these Yahya made an objection, and ended by refusing his sanction to every one of them, on which al-Fadl gathered them up, saying: “Go back to those who sent you l applications) repelled and rejected!” He then turned to go out and recited the following lines :
Fortune may yet alter her present course and produce some change; Fortune is apt to stumble in her gait. She may grant certain wishes, procure satisfaction for certain offences, and replace this state of things by another.
Yahya, overhearing these words, immediately recalled him, saying: “ Come “ back, Abû 'l-Abbâs ! I insist upon it;" and set his approval to all the memorials. It was very shortly after this, that the fall of the Barmekides was brought about through al-Fadl's means, and he then became vizir to ar-Rashid. In allusion to this event, Abû Nuwas (vol. I. p. 391), or Abû Hazra according to some, recited the following lines :
Fortune slighted the merils of the Barmekides when she overthrew their power by a fatal stroke. But certainly that same fortune which respected not the deserts of Yahya will have no regard for those of the family of ar-Rabi.
A discussion having arisen one day in the presence of ar-Rashid between Jaafar Ibn Yahya and al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabî, the former called his adversary a foundling, in allusion to the circumstance that no one know who ar-Rabi's father was (vol. I. p. 523). Stung with the insult, al-Fadl exclaimed : “Bear witness to that, Com6i mander of the faithful!” On this Jaafar turned to ar-Rashid and said : “ Commander of the faithful! before whom does this ignorant man cite thee to “ bear witness? thee, who art the judge of the judges!”—After the death of arRashid, al-Fadl continued to act as vizir; having enjoyed the confidence of that prince, he procured al-Amîn’s elevation to the throne, without taking the least notice of al-Màmûn, who was then in Khorâsân. This prince immediately resolved on dispatching a body of troops to intercept him on his return from Tùs, where ar-Rashid had breathed his last, but he was dissuaded from his purpose by his vizir al Fadl Ibn Sahl who felt apprehensive of the consequences. Al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi then foresaw the danger which awaited him in case of al-Mâmûn's
accession to the khalifate, and he therefore persuaded al-Amin to deprive him of 576 his rights as declared successor to the throne, and confer them on his own son
Músa Ibn al-Amin. This produced a misunderstanding between the two brothers, and at length al-Mâmûn, by the advice of his vizir al-Fadl Ibn Sahl, dispatched an army from Khorâsân under the command of Tahir Ibn al-Husain (vol. I. p. 649) (1). Al-Amin then took counsel of al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi, and sent Ali Ibn Isa Ibn Mâhân at the head of an army from Baghdad to repel the invaders. In the battle which ensued, the latter general lost his life. This occurred A.H. 194 (809-10). From that moment the affairs of al-Amin fell into confusion and the power of al-Mâmûn was consolidated ; as for al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi, he retired to a place of concealment in the month of Rajab, A. H. 196 (March-April, A. D. 812), on perceiving that all his plans had gone to ruin. He appeared in public, some time after, when Ibrahim Ibn al-Mahdi (vol. I. p. 16) usurped the the khalifate at Baghdad, and he entered into his service. On the failure of Ibrahîm's undertaking, ar-Rabi concealed himself a second time, and finally obtained his pardon from al-Mâmûn through the intercession of Tâhir Ibn al-Husain, who conducted him into the presence of the prince. This circumstance is sometimes related in a different manner. From that time till his death he remained unemployed, having never, as far as I can discover, occupied any post under al-Màmûn. The poet Abû Nuwas wrote al-Fadl the following lines to console him on the loss of ar-Rashid and congratulate him on the accession of al-Amin :
O Abû ’l-Abbás! be consoled in thy sorrows over the noblest of the dead by the aspect of the best that ever was or will be among the living. The vicissitudes of time revolve and now produce evil, now good. The prince who lives repays for (the loss of) him who is dead and hidden in the dust of the grave; thou hast not suffered by the exchange, neither hath the dead deceived (thee by appointing an unworthy successor).
In another piece of verse composed in praise of al-Amin, Abû Nuwas said of him :
It is not repugnant to God that (the good qualities of) all mankind should be united in a single individual.
(Speaking of the verses given before this last,) Abû Bakr ås-Sůli said "The “ kâtib Ahmad Ibn Yûsuf (vol. I. p. 271, n. (12) ) took the idea of these verses, “ and having enlarged upon it, he addressed his piece to one of his brethren “ whose parrot had died, and who had a brother of a most untractable temper, “ called Abd al-Hamid, still living.” The piece is as follows :
Thou survivest; and may our lives be the ransom of thine! May God, the possessor of all grandeur, grant thee consolation! Great was the stroke which fate inflicted on thee when it killed thy parrot. How strange that death should come unto it and miss Abd al-Hamid, thy brother. Abd al-Hamid was a fitter object for death than thy parrot. Every sort of misfortune has come over us; the loss of the one and the presence of the other.
In the life of Ibn ar- Růmi (vol. II. p. 300) we have inserted two pieces similar to this, and addressed to the vizir Abû 'l-Kâsim Obaid Allah on the death of one of his sons and the existence of the other. The idea is borrowed from the verses just given, but it was Abû Nuwàs who opened the way. Succeeding poets appropriated the thought with some slight difference in the mode of its expression.Al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi died in the month of Zù ’l-Kaada, A.H. 208 (March-April, A. D. 824); some say in the month of the latter Rabì. It was on him that Abů Nuwas composed his poem, rhyming in d, which contains the expression : and good works became (for him ) a custom.
(1) When al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi advised al-Amin to deprive al-Mamun of his right to the throne and confer it on his own son Musa, some of the more prudent of that prince's counsellors endeavoured to dissuade him from so dangerous a project; but their representations were of no avail, and the fatal influence of al-Fadl predominated. Al-Amin then essayed to draw al-Mamun to Baghdad, so that he might secure his person, but the latter would not let himself be circumvented in this manner, and sent a letter of excuse. The two princes then entered into a long correspondence, and al-Mâmûn was almost induced to transfer his rights to Mūsa, when his vizir al-Fadl Ibn Sahl had a private interview with him and encouraged him to resist, assuring him that, by adopting resolute proceedings, he could not fail to obtain possession of the khalifate. Al-Mâmûn followed his vizir's advice, and al-Fadl Ibn Sahl began to gain partisans to the cause of his master and to strengthen the frontier garrisons. The war broke out soon after, and al-Amin fell a victim to the injudicious counsels of his minister al-Fadl Ibn ar-Rabi.- Ad-Dual al-Islamiya, MS. No. 895, fol. 200.)
AL-FADL IBN SAHL.
Abû 'l-Abbâs al-Fadl Ibn Sahl as-Sarakhsi was the brother of al-Hasan Ibn
Sahl, him whose life has been given (vol. I. p. 408). He made his profession of 577 Islamism (1) to al-Màmûn in the year 190 (A. D. 805-6); but some say that it
was his father Sahl who made the profession, and that it was al-Mahdi who received it. Al-Fadl Ibn Sahl served Al-Màmûn as vizir and domineered over him to such a degree that he once outbid him for a female slave whom he wanted to purchase. When Jaafar the Barmekide resolved on placing al-Fadl in the service of al-Mâmûn, Yahya (Jaafar's father) spoke of him so favourably in the presence of ar-Rashid, that the latter ordered him to be brought in. On appearing before the khalif, al-Fadl was so completely overcome with confusion that he could not utter a word. Ar-Rashid then turned towards Yahya with the look of one who blamed his choice, but Fadl (recovered himself and) said : “ Commander of the faithful! it is an excellent proof of a servant’s merit that “ his heart is seized with respect in the presence of his master.
" To this ar-Rashid replied : “ If you kept silent that you might frame this answer, I “ must say that you have succeeded well; but if it came to you extempore, “ it is still better and better.” To every succeeding question which the khalif addressed him, he replied in a manner suited to justify the character given of him by Yahya. Al-Fadl was highly accomplished, and he received the surname of Zu 'r-Riåsatain (the holder of the two commands) because he exercised the authority of the vizirate, and that of the sword (as commander in chief of the army). (Like his master al-Mâmûn) he acknowledged the rights of the family of Ali (2). In astrology he displayed the greatest skill, and most of his
predictions received their accomplishment. Abû ’l-Husain Ali as-Salami relates, in his History of the governors of Khorâsân, that, when al-Mâmûn resolved on sending Tâhir Ibn al-Husain (vol. 1. p. 649) against his brother Muhammad alAmin, al-Fadl Ibn Sahl examined the horoscope of this general, and finding the indicator in the middle of the sky and that it was za 'yamînain (3), he told alMàmûn that Tahir would conquer al-Amin provided he were surnamed Zù 'lYaminain. Al-Mâmûn then conceived a high admiration for al-Fadl's talent, and gave this surname to Tâhir; he became also an assiduous student in the