1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ibrahīm al-Mauṣilī

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18032751911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 14 — Ibrahīm al-Mauṣilī

IBRAHĪM AL-MAUṢILĪ (742–804), Arabian singer, was born of Persian parents settled in Kufa. In his early years his parents died and he was trained by an uncle. Singing, not study, attracted him, and at the age of twenty-three he fled to Mosul, where he joined a band of wild youths. After a year he went to Rai (Rei, Rhagae), where he met an ambassador of the caliph Manṣūr, who enabled him to come to Baṣra and take singing lessons. His fame as a singer spread, and the caliph Mahdī brought him to the court. There he remained a favourite under Hādī, while Harūn al-Rashīd kept him always with him until his death, when he ordered his son (Ma‛mūn) to say the prayer over his corpse. Ibrahīm, as might be expected, was no strict Moslem. Two or three times he was knouted and imprisoned for excess in wine-drinking, but was always taken into favour again. His powers of song were far beyond anything else known at the time. Two of his pupils, his son Isḥāq and Muḥāriq, attained celebrity after him.

See the Preface to W. Ahlwardt’s Abu Nowas (Greifswald, 1861), pp. 13-18, and the many stories of his life in the Kitāb ul-Aghāni, v. 2-49. (G. W. T.)