The Wise Sayings Of Al Muhallab

The Arab military commander Al Muhallab Ibn Abi Sufra (المهلّب بن أبي صفرة الأزدي) was born around A.D. 632, but not much is known of his early life beyond anecdotes.  His biographer Ibn Khallikan tells us on good authority that “His surnames al-Azdi, al-Ataki, [and] al-Basri indicate that he descended from al-Atik, member of the tribe of al-Azd, and that he was a native of Basra.”  We are also told that he was distinguished for his generosity and graciousness.  His military prowess was beyond question; he defended the city of Basra so effectively from its enemies that some took to calling the city “The Basra of Al Muhallab.”

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Legends Related To The Conquest Of Spain

Musa Ibn Nusair (موسى بن نصير) lived from 640 to 716 A.D. and served as the Umayyad governor-general of the province of Afriqiyya (North Africa).  It was he who planned and directed the Arab conquest of the Gothic kingdom of Spain.  The biographer Ibn Khallikan, writing in Baghdad in 1274, sketched the outline of his career and notable deeds.  Ibn Nusair’s full name was Abd al-Rahman Musa Ibn Nusair, and he was noted throughout his life, we are told, “for prudence, generosity, bravery, and piety.”  No army under his command was ever defeated.

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The Sorrow Of The Grammarian Of Basra, Iraq

Abu Faid Muwarrij al-Sadusi was a grammarian from the city of Basra, Iraq.  We do not know the precise date of his birth, but he is reliably said to have died in the year A.D. 810 (year 195 in the Islamic calendar).  His biographer Ibn Khallikan says that he studied at the school of Abu Zaid al-Ansari, and showed a particular talent for poetry and philology.  We are also told that he accompanied the Abbasid caliph al-Mamun to Khorasan, and eventually took up residence in Marw and Nishapur.

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Do Not Be Too Proud Of Your Generosity

I have always counted myself fortunate when receiving the generosity of another.  I have never paused to ask questions about the circumstances of the giver, or to weigh the relative merits of a gift.  To be graced with the kindness of another is enough.  Perhaps what matters more is the sincerity of the giver; for a gift wrapped in cold anonymity is valued less than a benefaction derived from proximate familiarity.  We appreciate any generosity, but are more likely to cherish that which carries this aura.

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The Justice Of Malik Shah, Son Of Alp Arslan

Malik Shah I lived from about 1053 to about 1092, and was the sultan of the Seljuk Turkish Empire from 1072 to 1092.  His name in Turkish is given as Melikşah; and he succeeded his father, the renowned Alp Arslan.  According to his biographer Ibn Khallikan, Malik Shah was famous for his sense of justice and equity; he was said to have been untiring in his efforts to correct wrongs that were in his power to cure.  So known was he for this trait that some Arabic historians took to calling him الملك العادل (al-malik al-a’adil), which means “the just king.”

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The Syrian Lightning: The Fleeting Pleasures Of Imad Al-Din Al-Isfahani

The Persian scholar and poet Imad al-Din al-Isfahani (عماد الدين الأصفهاني) was an important figure in medieval Arabic literature.  He was born in Isfahan in Persia in 1125 and studied in Baghdad.  We are told that he studied law at the Nizamiya college there, but he preferred literature and adventure.  His proficiency in letters brought him to the attention of powerful political figures, who were able to secure him government posts in Basra and Wasit.

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Be Scrupulous About What You Write: The Lesson Of Rhazes

Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (known in the West by his Latinized name Rhazes) is considered one of the most original and accomplished of the medieval Muslim physicians.  An impressive list of achievements is linked to his name: he pioneered the study of pediatrics, ophthalmology, synthesized laboratory acids, composed treatises on smallpox and measles, wrote voluminously in a number of scientific fields, and had extensive practical experience with treating patients.

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