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Allah Ibn Maimûn; this Maimûn was surnamed al-Kaddâh (the piercer), because he was an oculist and lanced eyes in which humours had settled. It is said also that when al-Mahdi arrived at Sijilmasa, al-Yasâ, the sovereign of that city and the last prince of the Midrâr dynasty (3), was informed that the stranger was the person whose rights Abů Abd Allah the Shiite was then proclaiming in the province of Africa ; (of these proceedings we have already spoken, vol. I. p. 465). In consequence of this, al-Yaså imprisoned Obaid Allah ; but the Shiite, on learning the circumstance, collected a large body of troops from different tribes, and especially from that of Kitâma, and marched against Sijilmasa with the intention of delivering the captive. Al-Yaså, being informed of his design, put al-Mahdi to death in the prison, and then fled the city on the approach of the hostile army. Abû Abd Allah immediately entered the place in which al-Mahdi was confined, and found a servant of his, a devoted follower, staying by the corpse of his murdered master. Apprehending that all his plans, hitherto so successful, would come to ruin if the troops learned what had happened, he brought the servant out to them and said: “This is the Mahdi (4).” The rest of his history is so well known that it is needless to repeat it (5). He was the first of that family who established his authority in Maghrib and maintained with success his pretensions to the khalifate. When he got the power into his own hands, he put his missionary (6) Abû Abd Allah the Shiite and that person's brother to death, as we have already mentioned. In the month of Zû ’l-Kaada, A. H. 303 (May, A. D. 916), he laid the foundations of the city of al-Mahdiya in the province of Africa, and he finished its construction in the month of Shawwal, A. H. 308 (February-March, A. D. 921). He also fortified Tunis with a wall of great strength and repaired a number of its buildings. Al-Mahdiya was so called after him. He was succeeded by his son al-Kâim, on whose death al-Mansûr, the son of al-Kâim, ascended the throne. Of al-Mansûr we have already spoken (vol. I. page 218). After him came his son al-Moizz, he who sent his general Jawhar to the conquest of Egypt, where he founded Cairo. Their dynasty continued to reign in that country till overturned by Salâh addin. We have already given the lives of some of the princes descended from Obaid Allah, and shall notice the remainder in the sequel of this work : they were denominated Obaidites on account of their descent from him. His birth took place in the town of Salamiya, A. H. 259 (A. D. 872-3), or by other accounts in the year 260 or 266 ; but some say that he was born at Kûfa. 382 Prayers were first offered up for him as khalif from the pulpits of ar-Rakkâda and Kairawân, on Friday the 20th of the latter Rabi, A. H. 297 (January, A. D. 910); this was subsequently to his return from Sijilmasa and after his adventure there. He made his appearance at Sijilmäsa on Sunday the 7th of Zû ’l-Hijja, A.H. 296 (August, A. D. 909).—The province of Maghrib was thus withdrawn from the domination of the Abbasides. Obaid Allah died on the eve of Tuesday, the 15th of the first Rabi, A. H. 322 (March, A. D. 934), at alMahdiya.--Salamiya is a town of Syria, situated in the government of Emessa. – Rakkâda is a town in the province of Africa.
(1) Hajji Khalifa notices five authors who have composed works on the history of Kairawån.—(See Fluegel's edition of the Bibliographical Dictionary, tom. II. page 142.)
(2) This last argument is not well founded ; Ibn Khallikån himself admits that the sharif Ibn Tabataba was dead many years before the arrival of al-Moizz in Egypt. The opinion expressed by our author and the genealogists who like him lived under the authority of the Abbaside khalifs, cannot be of any weight, as they could not have dared to enounce any other. M. de Sacy's Exposé des doctrines des Druzes gives the best information on the history of the Mahdi and the origin of the Fatimites.
(3) He was not the last prince of the Midrar dynasty; the last of them was al-Motazz Ibn as-Shâkir, who was slain A. H. 366, seventy years after the death of al-Yasa.
(4) It must be observed that Ibn Khallikân gives this story as mere report, as the word Jus, or it is said, always implies.
(8) See it in M. de Sacy's Druzes.
OBAID ALLAH IBN ABD ALLAH IBN TAHIR.
Abû Ahmad Obaid Allah al-Khuzâi was the son of Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir Ibn al-Husain Ibn Musab Ibn Ruzaik Ibn Mâhân. We have already spoken of his father and grandfather, and mentioned the high favour and esteem in which they were held by al-Mâmûn; we have also related how he appointed them to the government of Khorâsan and other provinces. Obaid Allah held a military command under the khalif, and acted for some time as lieutenant for his brother Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah, who was chief of the police-guards (Shurta) at Bagh
dad; on the death of his brother, he was promoted to the vacant place. He ranked amongst the most eminent of the tribe of Kudaa, and succeeded to the chieftainship over them; he was the last of the family who died in possession of that post. A number of works were composed by him, such as the Ishåra (indication), containing a history of the poets ; an epistolary treatise on government; a collection of letters addressed by him to Abd Allah Ibn al-Motazz ; the Kitab al-Barâat wa 'l-Fasåhat (on the excellence of style and perspicuity), etc. He transinitted also some oral information on the authority of az-Zubair Ibn Bakkâr and others. As an epistolary writer and a poet, he displayed an elegant imagination, a delicate taste, and a talent for conceiving and expressing with propriety the finest thoughts. In one of his pieces he says:
Does pride make you fly a youth who has disclosed your name (as hers whom he adores)? (1) The supplications of a lover are entitled to an answer! From a distant land he sends you his salutation; return one yet kinder, or else return it simply.—They bridled their camels on the morn of separation and departed with their loaded caravan, leaving me behind to weep over their abandoned dwellings. But I followed in their steps, and, to remove the suspicions (of the jealous guardians who surrounded my beloved), I said that I had been sent to drive the camels and cheer them with my song. “ And what means," said they, “ that sigh so deeply drawn? wherefore droop those eyelids ?”—“That sigh,” said I, “comes from this long and weary journey, and those tears are caused by some “ grains of dust which have fallen into my eyes.” But when they entered the land of Najd, and night had spread its deepest shades around, I raised my voice in the darkness to call on my beloved: “O thou who hast disordered my reason and enslaved
my heart! “shall I hope for the happiness of a fortunate meeting ?"
Since writing these verses, I find them attributed to Abû 't-Tarif, the favourite poet of al-Motamid, the Abbaside khalif.—Another of his pieces is as follows:
O what deadly pangs were ours on the loss of those friends who were lights to guide, and forts to protect us! (In battle they were) lions, (in beneficence) gushing showers, (in danger) firm as mountains, (and for us) a safeguard and (sources of) ease and tranquillity. Fortune was never unkind to us till death removed them to another world. But now each burning fire is (an emblem of) our hearts, and each spring of water (the likeness of)
our eyes. 385 By the same:
The true prince is he who, though deprived of authority, is still a prince (at heart). Worldly power he may lose, but the power which his virtues give him can never cease. By the same:
Render service as much as thou art able, and be ever ready to dispel the affliction of thy brother. The best days of a man's life are those in which he renders service.
Obaid Allah having fallen sick, was visited by the vizir, to whom, when he withdrew, he addressed a note containing these words : “I know of none “ but myself who ever felt gratitude to sickness; I feel obliged and grateful “ to it for its kindness, since it procured me the pleasure of seeing you. It is " with me as with the Arab of the Desert, who blessed the day on which his “ beloved and her tribe departed for a distant land : “ Blessings,' said he :
• Blessings be on the day of separation despite the pains it causes ! it was such a day which gave me a sight of (my beloved) Omm Thâbit. It allowed me to see maidens • brought up in the inmost recesses of the tents, and whom I could never have seen but • in the descriptions of those kind females who spoke to me of their beauty (2).'
A note similar to this was written by al-Bohtori to Abû Ghânim (3), who had fallen sick and was visited by the vizir :
• You have been a gainer, O Abû Ghånim! and may genial showers never cease to *shed abundance on your land! I should willingly consent to suffer as you have done,
were I to receive the visit of him who went to you. The honour which the vizir thus * conferred upon you has caused joy to your friends and vexation to your enemies.'
The poetical works of Obaid Allah have been collected and form a diwân. He was born A.H. 223 (A.D. 837-8); he died at Baghdad on the eve of Saturday the 12th of the month of Shawwal, A. II. 300 (May, A. D. 913), and was interred in the Cemetery of the Koraish tribe. He once visited the grave of his brother Sulaiman Ibn Abd Allah, who died A. H. 265, and there, leaning on his bow, he contemplated the family-tomb; and gave utterance to his feelings in the following lines :
Sighs of sadness mount from my bosom, and tears flow from the orbits of my eyes, on beholding a spot so small inhabited by those for whom my affection was so great!
do you proudly avoid a youth impeled to love انتهجرون افتى اغرى بكم تبيها The autograph has (1)
you? This reading is given in the autograph and in one of the manuscripts which I made use of, but the measure of the verse does not permit it. The reading adopted in the printed text is authorised by other manuscripts. (2) Here the printed text and all the manuscripts, except the autograph, give a reading which is rhythmi
. (3) Abu Ghànim as-Shầh Ibn Mikål was governor of Fars; his praises were celebrated not only by al-Bohtori, but by Ibn Duraid.
.بانتعات النواعت cally wrong. The true reading is
ABU 'L-HAKAM AL-MAGHRIBI.
Abù 'l-Hakam Obaid Allah Ibn al-Muzaffar Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad al-Bâhili, surnamed al-Maghribi, a physician and an elegant scholar, was born in Yemen, but he drew his descent from a family which inhabited Almeria in Spain. In an historical work compiled by Abû Shujà Muhammad Ibn ad-Dahhân al-Faradi (see his life in this work), it is stated that Abû 'l-Hakam went to Baghdad, where he kept a boy's school for some time, and that he had a knowledge of the belles-lettres, medicine, and geometry; then follow the dates of his birth and death. Another writer says of him: “He was a man of the highest “accomplishments, and cultivated with equal success the belles lettres and phi“ losophy. There exists an edition of his poetical works, which are very good,
“ but their tone is in general licentious.". The kâtib Imâd ad-din mentions in 384 the Kharîda that this Abû 'l-Hakam was attached as a physician to the camp
hospital which always followed the army of the Seljük sultan Mahmûd, and for the transporting of which forty camels were allotted. He says also that as-Sadid Abû ’l-Wafa Yahya Ibn Said Ibn Yahya Ibn al-Muzaffar, who was afterwards chief kâdi of Baghdad in the reign of the khalif al-Muktafi (liamr illah), and is better known by the surname of Ibn al-Murakhkhim, was a phlebotomist and a physician in the same hospital. The kâtib then mentions Abû 'l-Hakam's talents and conduct with high approbation and notices a work composed by him under the title of Nahj al-Wadâa (1) li Odli ’l-Khalâa (path of humility marked out for the dissolute). He proceeds to state that Abû 'l-Hakam removed to Syria and settled at Damascus, where he had many amusing adventures indicative of his light-hearted disposition. I read the following anecdote respecting him in his Diwan: "Abû 'l-Husain Ibn Munir at-Tarabolusi”—the same of whom we have spoken (in vol. I. page 138)—" was stopping at the castle of Shaizar with the “emirs of the Munkid family, by whom he was treated with great attention, " when a poet of Damascus, named Abû 'l-Wahsh, whose facetious disposition “ rendered him the intimate friend and companion of Abû 'l-Hakam, resolved
on visiting Shaizar, that he might recite laudatory poems to the Munkid princes “and obtain gifts in return. He therefore asked Abû 'l-Hakam for a letter of “ recommendation to Ibn Munir, and obtained one written in these terms :