Historical Tales and Anecdotes of the Time of the Early Khalifahs/Author's Preface

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PRAISE is to God* who caused to descend upon the most noble of prophets and apostles the

  • The true sense of " el-Hdmdu Tllldh is, that " all praise is

(due) to God as of necessity and right, since He created all things, including the power of appreciating what is praiseworthy — that is, the faculty by which praise is recognized to be due. So that nothing can be conceived of which the praise is not due of right to God.

The correct idea is conveyed as nearly as our language will admit of by the translators of our Bible, who render

D^rPK^ W Power unto God, by " Power belongeth unto God f

and so of salvation, righteousness, etc., the belongeth being introduced by way of explanation in italics.

el-Farri, a celebrated grammarian who lived during the reign of el-Mam<in, the seventh Khaltfah of the ' Benu-'Abbis, dynasty, and died at the age of sixty-three, A.H. 207 (a.d. 822-3), when dictating a complete commentary on a treatise on the Kurin which he had written, employed no less than a hundred leaves upon the words " el-H4md " alone.



Book of Manifestation (of His commands) ; and related to him histories of the past and of things to come (in this and the next world as well) ; and taught him what was and what will be until the Day of Judgment. We praise Him for having appointed us His people. And we thank Him for His gifts and His grace. And we bear witness that there is no god but God.

He is one. He hath no companion. Behold! of His

goodness He hath vouchsafed to us knowledge of the state of those who have preceded us among nations. And He will not raise His mantle (of protection) from over us, even though our footsteps fail us. And He made us a people just, and above others, and testified unto us thereof in the great and honoured Book. And thus spake the Most High: "Ye are the blessed est of people that hath appeared among mankind. Ye shall exhort with kindness and forbid from iniquity." And virtue appeareth through that which He hath made excellent by it, and glorified.

And we bear witness that our lord and our prophet Muhammad is His servant and His messenger, who (Muhammad) said : " My Lord instructed me, and therefore gave me the best instruction.'* And he is


lord ovier all the prophets, and before them all. May- God bless and grant salvation to him* and his family and his associates if

To proceed : There are the words of the poor and feeble slave, endowed all his life with weaknesses and deficiencies, ahd much error and many sins —

  • This formula, Sdlla Alldhu ^alaihi wa-sdllama, is always

used by Muslims after naming the Prophet The expression is not easy to translate idiomatically. It mean^ literally, " May God look with favour upon him, and grant him salvation." Either the first or last verb, but more especially the last, is like " God save (the Queen)." In d somewhat similar, formula,

    • Saiawdtu 'IdhValaihi wa-saldmdhuj* the first word is equiva-

lent to Mercy, and the last to Salvation, or Eternal Peace ; and the whole means, " May the mercy of God be upon him, and His salvation." Perhaps the first-mentioned phrase may be rightly translated, " May God grant him grace and salvation." Redhouse has it : " May God grant him eternal peace," /. ^., salvation. But there is a double meaning in the formula to the sense of a Muslim. The verbs being in the past tense, the phrase would abstractedly mean, " God has blest and granted to him salvation." But a Muhammadan whilst uttering the formula must also inwardly pray that God will continue to bless and grant him His grace.

t The word suhdbah, "friends," also means "companions" or " associates," and when applied to followers of the Prophet, signifies those who were personally acquainted with him, and those only. Their names to the number of 7,500 are given in the ' Usd-eUGMbah fi McCarafat es-Suhdbah by Ibn-el-Athtr^ 5 vols, large 8vo, Cairo, A.H. 1280 (A.D. 1863). Ibn-el-Athir died A.H. 630 (A.D. 1233).



Muhammad, who is known as Diyib-el-Itlidy, from the region of el-Minyeh-el-Khasibiyyeh.*

Some of the pious brethren whom it would be im- possible for me to refuse, have asked me to collect for them accounts of events which occurred during the times of the early Khalifahs of the Benu-'Omeyyah and the Benu-'Abbds. And I consented to do this, though knowing myself to be unequal to it ; for verily it is said : Obedience is better than Politeness.

And I called my work, Warnings for Men, or ^Ildnt- en-NdSy on account of what befell the el-Bardntakah at the hands of the Benu-*Abbds.t

And I have begun my subject with the Commander

  • A town so called after el-Khasib-ibn-Abd-el-Hamidy who

was the collector of the revenues of Egypt for HarHiuer-Rashtd, It is in Upper Egypt in lat. 28° 5' N., on the west bank of the Nile.

1 1 have not in this volume reached the point here alluded to.

The el-Barimakah were one of the most illustrious families of the East, being originally descended, according to some authors, from the ancient kings of Persia. The uncertainty of human happiness 'is the moral which the author in alluding to them evidently intends to point. For during the reign of Hariun-er-Rashid, A.H. 171 to 193 (a.d. 787 to 808), the whole family fell under the Khaltfah's displeasure ; and from the topmost pinnacle of wealth, consideration, and power, descended to the lowest depths of poverty and misery. Different reasons are assigned for the change in er-Rashid's feelings towards these great men, into which it is useless now to enter. But I may remark that after of the Faithful, 'Omar-ibn-el-Khattdb [may God be satisfied of him],* in whom, and in the mention of whom, I, the author, am blest.

this illustrious family had been abandoned by fortune, the people had a more lively sense than ever of the important services the members of it had rendered them. Their exalted merit and excellent qualities then appeared in a stronger light than even when they were in the zenith of their power, and in after ages they found as many historians to celebrate their virtues as did the greatest conquerors and most powerful princes of the East.

  • This formula is used after mentioning the names of the first

Khaltfahs, and of the Associates of the Prophet, and of the disciples of Christ. It is more honourable than the formula " May God have pity upon him," which is used for doctors of the law and other persons of note. " May God bless and grant salvation to him," is used only for the Prophet. I may remark here, once for all, that these formulae are always used, but they cause such awkwardness in breaking the sentence, that I have in almost every case omitted them. Even Muslims abbreviate them to the utmost.