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Al-Hariri of Basra

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Title: Al-Hariri of Basra  
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Subject: Spinning wheel, Maqamat Badi' az-Zaman al-Hamadhani, Friedrich Rückert, Reception of Islam in Early Modern Europe, Arabic literature
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Al-Hariri of Basra

"Discussion Near a Village", a miniature illustrating the 43rd maqāmah of a 1237 edition of al-Hariri's Maqamat al-Hariri, painted by Yaḥyā ibn Maḥmūd al-Wāsiṭī. Painting in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. MS Arabe 5847 fol. 138v.

Abu Muhammad al-Qasim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Hariri (Arabic: أبو محمد القاسم بن علي بن محمد بن عثمان الحريري‎), popularly known as al-Hariri of Basra (1054–1122) was an Arab poet, scholar of the Arabic language and a high government official of the Seljuk Empire.[1] Born in Basra in modern-day Iraq, he is best known for writing Maqamat al-Hariri (مقامات الحريري, The Assemblies of al-Hariri), a virtuosic display of saj', consisting of 50 anecdotes written in stylized prose, which was once memorized by heart by scholars, and Mulhat al-i'rab fi al-nawh, an extensive poem on grammar.[2] The most famous translation of his maqamat was a German version by the poet and Orientalist Friedrich Rückert as Die Verwandlungen von Abu Serug and sought to emulate the rhymes and wordplay of the original.[3][4] The main English translation is the nineteenth-century one by Thomas Chenery and Francis Joseph Steingass.[5]

al-Harith helps Abu Zayd to retrieve his stolen camel. Illustration for the 27th maqamat, from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Some of his other works include a book on errors of expression in Arabic, Durrat al-ghawwāṣ fī awhām al-khawaṣṣ. The Assemblies of al-Hariri recounts in the words of the narrator, al-Harith ibn Hammam and al-Hariri's several encounters with artist Abu Zayd al-Saruji.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Assemblies of Al-Hariri Shah, Amina. Octagon Press, 78 York Street London
  2. ^ a b al-Hariri Encyclopædia Britannica 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. .2008-03-12
  3. ^
  4. ^ See: Luisa Arvide, Maqamas de Al-Hariri, GEU, Granada 2009 (in Arabic and Spanish).
  5. ^ The Assemblies of Al-Ḥarîri. Translated from the Arabic with Notes Historical and Grammatical, trans. by Thomas Chenery and F. Steingass, Oriental Translation Fund, New Series, 3, 2 vols (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1867-98), (vol. 2).

External links

  • pageMaqamat Al-Hariri
  • pageMaqamat
  • Works by or about Al-Hariri of Basra at Internet Archive
  • Works by Al-Hariri of Basra at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

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