Difference between revisions of "4. al-Muqaffa"
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[Al-Omari' s Life]
[Al-Omari' s Life]
’Abd ar-Raḥmān, son of 'Abd al-Hamīd, son of 'Abdalla the holy man (nāsik), son of 'Abd al-'Azīz, son of 'Abdalla, son of the caliph Omar, commonly called Abū 'Abd ar-Raḥmān al-
’Abd ar-Raḥmān, son of 'Abd al-Hamīd, son of 'Abdalla the holy man (nāsik), son of 'Abd al-'Azīz, son of 'Abdalla, son of the caliph Omar, commonly called Abū 'Abd ar-Raḥmān al-al-Adwī al-Qurashī, was born and brought up in Medina. Thence, he moved to Fusṭaṭ, was a pupil of Muḥammad b. 'Abdalla b. 'Abd al-Ḥakam and became a master in the science of ''ḥadīth''. He then went to Qayrawān to the court of Ibrāhīm b. Aghlab and wrote poems in praise of that prince, who gave him as a reward 1.000 dīnars. He then returned to Egypt, after he had acquired a vast knowledge of jurisprudence, arts, poetry, '''[p. 707]''' astronomy, and philosophy. There he heard tales about a mine of native gold (''''). He bought slaves (''ʿabīd'') to work in the mine and left for , apparently for the purpose of trading. When he arrived there, he met learned people and discussed with them about various branches of science. Later on, he went to the mine and pitched his camp among a branch of the Muḍar tribe of Arabs. After a while there developed some friction between the Muḍar and the Rabīʿa tribesmen, as the result of the murder of a Muḍar Arab. When the two tribes gathered together [to settle the case] and the murderer accepted the customary punishment of retaliation, the nearest relative of the victim gave up [his claim for] vengeance. Al-was resentful because he had not been invited to the reconciliation meeting; he therefore left the camp. Some members of the Muḍārtribe followed him, and on finding him, they tried to mollify him, but he would not be reconciled. He said to them: "I have very good reasons to be angry with you; in fact, by not inviting me to your meeting, you have expelled me from your camp." They replied: - "We did not know that. Had we known it was your wish to attend our meeting, we would have been more than pleased to invite you. For the future we will do everything in our power to grant your wishes." In order to strengthen their promise, they took a most solemn oath (''bay'a''). Al-took the opportunity to have them recognize him as their leader. When he returned to their camp, he ordered them to revise the agreement they had reached [with the Rabīʿa] about the blood-price and to make the best of it by fighting. They obeyed him and attacked the Rabī'a Arabs. After several battles, al-being forced by the overwhelming number of the enemy, withdrew to a mine region south of the first one. In the new camp, his men had to walk a great distance to fetch water and were tormented by thirst.
'''[p. 708]''' One day, while al-
'''[p. 708]''' One day, while al-was looking at the birds (''ṭayr''), he exclaimed: "These birds are of a certain kind and are usually to be found near rivers (''shuṭūṭ''). I think that the Nile should not be far from here." His conjecture proved correct, because one of his men, whom he sent to look for water, came back the same day and told him that the river was a short distance from there. He described the places where he had been. They were within the territory of the province of Muqurra, while their camp was just outside it. Al-, bewildered by this discovery, sent some of his Arabs to draw water from the river. The Nubians, displeased with the arrival of the new-comers, seized some of them and kept them prisoners. As the water carriers did not return to the mine, some of al-'s men were assailed by the most terrible pangs of thirst: in fact, a "''shanka''" of water was sold for two dirhams of solid gold.