The Wisdom And Recklessness Of Ibn Al-Sikkit

The birthdate of the philologist and grammarian Yacub Ibn Al-Sikkit (ابو يوسف يعقوب ابن السكيت) is not known with certainty, but 800 A.D. is a reliable estimate.  His father enjoyed notoriety and prestige in court circles, and may have conferred on his son some access to the corridors of power.  The sobriquet “Al-Sikkit” was given to him because of his taciturnity, for the Arabic verb sakata (سكت) means “to be silent.”  However, as the reader will soon discover, he was evidently not silent enough.

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