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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The Hand Of Ibn Muqla: Do Not Envy Those Who Wield Power

There was once a government official and literary figure of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad named Abu Ali Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Muqla al-Shiraz.  He is known to history as Ibn Muqla, and he lived from about A.D. 885 to 940.  According to his biographer Ibn Khallikan, Ibn Muqla began his government service career as a tax collector in the city of Fars.

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Removing The Veils Of False Modesty: The Life-Affirming Philosophy Of Al-Salami

The name Muhammad al-Salami (محمد السلامي) (A.D. 948–1003) is nearly unknown in the West, but occupies a prominent position in medieval Arabic poetry.  The genius of his metaphors, the richness of his turns of phrase, and the elegance of his diction can be felt even through the fog of translation; and we will do our best to pay him homage here.  The anthologist Abu Mansur al-Tha’alibi called him:

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