Produced in Southern Iraq in the first half of the 13th century, the manuscript features 99 surviving miniatures highly esteemed, in modern times, for their authentic depiction of real life. The plot follows the hijinks of a rogue character, Abu Zayd, recounted by al-Harith, a naive merchant travelling from one place to another. Al Maqamat al Hariri: Pinnacle of Islamic Painting Produced under the late Abbasid caliphate, the Al Maqamat al Hariri manuscript is an example of both literary and iconographic artistic sophistication. While the text shows the finesse and mastery of verbal confrontation, scholarly explanations, and quick-wittedness typical of the Maqamat — genre perfected by al Hariri — the iconography is a magnificent specimen of Islamic painting.

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The two classical exponents of the Maqama were Hamadhani , the composer of this work, and the later and better-known Hariri Hamadhani was born in Hamadhan, the ancient Ecbatana, in what is now Iran to the southwest of Tehran and spent his life as a wandering scholar.

The Maqamat of Hamadhani and Hariri have a similar structure. They both consist of a series of unrelated episodes involving a wandering narrator, and a trickster protagonist. In the Maqamat of Hamadhani, the narrator is an alter ego of Hamadhani, a wandering scholar named Isa ibn Hisham. In each tale, he encounters a mysterious rogue named Abul-Fath al-Iskanderi. Iskanderi wanders the earth, surviving on his wits and a silver tongue, running scams, always one step ahead of an angry mob.

Each story is a small capsule description of a sometimes absurd predicament that the characters find themselves in. Nonetheless the stories are often used as framing for discourses on serious topics such as predestination, the vanity of human life, and the inevitability of death and judgement.

The Maqamat presents a vivid street-level view of the medieval Islamic countries at the height of their power and culture. We meet merchants, clerics, peasants, sultans, scholars, and, literally, an entire catalog of swindlers. We get to visit fabled cities of Iraq, Iran, Arabia, Yemen, and other middle eastern locations.

Production notes: This translation is very rare, and to my knowledge has never been reprinted. Because the text is rich with allusions that would be difficult to grasp without the footnotes, I included all of the apparatus.

Due to the limits of current scanning technology, I had to omit text in the Arabic alphabet, with a few exceptions. The omitted passages and words in the Arabic alphabet are indicated by the ellipsis character in green ….

This text uses Unicode extensively, so if you have trouble viewing it, please refer to the Unicode page.


Rafiq al-Hariri

Biografie[ Bearbeiten Quelltext bearbeiten ] Hariri wurde in der libanesischen Hafenstadt Sidon geboren. Dort heiratete er noch im gleichen Jahr Nazik Audeh. Oktober seine erste Regierung, legte sein Amt aber wegen massiver politischer Einflussnahme aus Syrien nieder. Im Jahr stellte sich Hariri noch einmal zur Wahl und bildete eine zweite Regierung. Megaprojekte wie die Beirut Souks und weitere Luxusimmobilien wurden in der Stadt gebaut.


Al-Hariri of Basra

Although his place of birth is uncertain, scholars suggest that he was probably born in Mashan near Basra , where his family had a palm tree plantation. He is known to have studied jurisprudence, after which time he became a munshi official writer. When visitors shunned his appearance, he would tell them: "I am a man to be heard, not seen". The speaker related the story of his native city of Saruj being ransacked and his daughter taken captive. Audience members would take dictation or make corrections to their own personal manuscripts. At the time, this type of public recitation was the main method for disseminating copies of literary works in the Arab speaking world.

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