Wise Sayings Of The Poet Al-Tihami

The Arabic poet Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Tihami (? – 1025) is said to have taken the name Tihami in one of two possible ways that may hint at his family’s origins, according to our trusted chronicler Ibn Khallikan.  Tihami was used both as an informal name for the city of Mecca, and as a name for the mountains between the Hijaz and Yemen.  But it is not clear which of these geographic references apply to our poet.

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The Wisdom Of Mercy From Ibn Hazm Al-Zahiri

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We turn now to those founts of wisdom who have lessons to teach us.  Abu Muhammad Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Sa’id Ibn Hazm (أبو محمد علي بن احمد بن سعيد بن حزم) is known to history as Ibn Hazm Al-Zahiri.  Born in Cordoba, Andalusia (Spain) in 994, he achieved enduring fame for his incredible intellectual achievements in a number of disciplines, including jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and poetry.  He even composed a manual on love known as The Ring of the Dove (طوق الحمامة).  Here was a man of substance, a man who could appreciate the virtues of the passions as well as those of the mind.

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A Fool Is Put In His Place

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The following anecdote is related in Ibn Khallikan’s short biographical profile of the philologist and rhetorician Al Said.  His full name was Abu al-Said Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Isa Al-Raba’i.  Verbal abilities are highly prized in cultures with rich literary traditions, and this tale bears testament to this fact.

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Seek It, And It Recedes; Ignore It, And It Comes To You

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The biographer Ibn Khallikan relates the following anecdote about a man named Abu Amir Orwa Ibn Uzaina, a scholar and poet who died around A.D. 736.  Not much is known of his life except that he was a member of the Iraqi tribe of al-Laith.  It illustrates the importance of not chasing things in life too much.  From personal experience I can attest to this principle’s soundness.  When I was younger, there were times when I would try too much to chase things or control events.

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A Bit Of Bedroom Wisdom

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The biographer Ibn Khallikan tells the following amusing anecdote about the Abbasid caliph Al-Mu’tadid (المعتضد بالله).  He lived from about 860 to 902 A.D.  The story makes the point that one must be decisive in matters of love and seduction.  To hesitate with a beautiful woman can be ruinous.

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How To Foil A Psychic

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Abu Ma’ashar al-Balkhi (A.D. 787-886) was a Persian philosopher and astrologer who flourished during the time of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad.  Educated in the usual manner of his day with logic, jurisprudence, rhetoric, and the religious sciences, he turned to astrology late in life at the age of 47.  We cannot quite call him an astronomer, for in his day that science was still in its embryonic stage; but he did assemble some astronomical tables that added to the collective wisdom in the field.  Just as alchemists eventually contributed to chemistry, so did medieval astrologers serve a function as a bridge between superstition and reason.

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