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ABU KLEA

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Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 79 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ABU KLEA, a halting-place for caravans in the Bayuda Desert, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. It is on the road from Merawi to Metemma and 20 M. N. of the Nile at the last-mentioned place. :Near this spot, on the 17th of January 1885, a British force marching to the relief of General Gordon at Khartum was attacked by the Mandists, who were repulsed. On the 19th, when the British force was nearer Metemma, the Mandists renewed the attack, again unsuccessfully. Sir Herbert Stewart, the commander of the British force, was mortally wounded on the 19th, and among the killed on the 17th was Col. F. G. Burnaby (see EGYPT, Military Operations). ABU-L-'ALA UL-MA'ARRI [Abu-l-'Ala Ahmad ibn 'Abdallah ibn Sulaiman] (973-1057), Arabian poet and letter-writer, be-longed to the South Arabian tribe Tanukh, a part of which had migrated to Syria before the time of Islam. He was born in 973 at Ma'arrat un-Nu'man, a Syrian town nineteen hours' journey south of Aleppo, to the governor of which it was subject at that time. He lost his father while he was still an infant, and at the age of four lost his eyesight owing to smallpox. This, however, did not prevent him from attending the lectures of the best teachers at Aleppo, Antioch and Tripoli. These teachers were men of the first rank, who had been attracted to the court of Saif-ud-Daula, and their teaching was well stored in the remarkable memory of the pupil. At the age of twenty-one Abu-l-`Ala returned to Ma'arra, where he received a pension of thirty dinars yearly. In 1007 he visited Bagdad, where he was admitted to the literary circles, recited in the salons, academies and mosques, and made the acquaintance of men to whom he addressed some of his letters later. In 1009 he returned to Ma'arra, where he spent the rest of his life in teaching and writing. During this period of scholarly quiet he developed his characteristic advanced views on vegetarianism, cremation of the dead and the desire for extinction after death. Of his works the chief are two collections of hispoetry and two of his letters. The earlier poems up to 1029 are of the kind usual at the time. Under the title of Sagt ua-Zand they have been published in Bulaq (1869), Beirut (1884) and Cairo (1886). The poems of the second collection, known as the Luzum ma lam yalzam, or the Luzumiyyat, are written with the difficult rhyme in two consonants instead of one, and contain the more original, mature and somewhat pessimistic thoughts of the author on mutability, virtue, death, &c. They have been published in Bombay (1886) and Cairo (1889) . The letters on various literary and social subjects were published with commentary by Shain Effendi in Beirut (1894), and with English translation, &c., by Prof. D. S. Margoliouth in Oxford (1898). A second collection of letters, known as the Risalat ul-Ghufran, was summarized and partially translated by R. A. Nicholson in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1900, pp. 637 ff.; 1902, pp. 75 if., 337 if., 813 ff.).. BIBLIOGRAPHY..—C. Rieu, De Abu-l-'Alae Poetae Arabici vita et carminibus (Bonn, 1843) ; A. von Kremer, Uber die philosophise/Len Gedichte des Abu-l-'Ala (Vienna, '888); cf. also the same writer's articles in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenldndischen Gesellschaft (vols. xxix., xxx., xxxi. and xxxviii.). For his life see the introduction to D. S. Margoliouth's edition of the letters, supplemented by the same writer's articles "Abu-l-'Ala al-Ma'arri's Correspondence on Vegetarianism " in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1902, pp. 289 ff.). (G. W. T.) ABU-L-'ATAHIYA [Abu Ishaq Ismail ibn Qasim al-'Anazi] (948-828), Arabian poet, was born at `Ain ut-Tamar in the Hijaz near Medina. His ancestors were of the tribe of `Anaza. His youth was spent in Kufa, where he was engaged for some time in selling pottery. Removing to Bagdad, he continued his business there, but became famous for his verses, especially for those addressed to 'Utba, a slave of the caliph al-Mandi. His affection was unrequited, although al-Mandi, and after him Harun al-Rashid, interceded for him. Having offended the caliph, he was in prison for a short time. The latter part of his life was more ascetic. He died in 828 in the reign of . al-Ma'mun. The poetry of Abu-1-'Atahiya is notable for its avoidance of the artificiality almost universal in his days. The older poetry of the desert had been constantly imitated up to this time, al-though it was not natural to town life. Abu-l-`Atahiya was one of the first to drop the old qasida (elegy) form. He was very fluent and used many metres. He is also regarded as one of the earliest philosophic poets of the Arabs. Much of his poetry is concerned with the observation of common life and morality, and at times is pessimistic. Naturally, under the circumstances, he was strongly suspected of heresy. His 'poems (Diwa-n) with life from Arabian sources have been published at the Jesuit Press in Beirut (1887, 2nd ed. 1888). On his position in Arabic literature see W. Ahlwardt, Diwan des Abu Nowas (Greifswald, 1861), pp. 21 ff.; A. von Kremer, Culturgeschichte des Orients (Wien, 1897), vol. ii. pp. 372 if. (G. W. T.) .ABULFARAJ [Abu-l-Faraj `Ali ibn ul-Husain ul-Isbahani] (897-967), Arabian scholar, was a member of the tribe of the Quraish (Koreish) and a direct descendant of Marwan, the last of the Omayyad caliphs. He was thus connected with the Omayyad rulers in Spain, and seems to have kept up a correspondence with them and to have sent them some of his works. He was born in Ispahan, but spent his youth and made his early studies in Bagdad. He became famous for his knowledge of early Arabian antiquities. His later life was spent in various parts of the Moslem world, in Aleppo with Saif-ud-Daula (to whom he dedicated the Book of Songs), in Rai with the Buyid vizier Ibn 'Abbad and elsewhere. In his last years he lost his reason. In religion he was a Shiite. Although he wrote poetry, also an anthology of verses on the monasteries of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and a genealogical work, his fame rests upon his Book of Songs (Kitdb ul-Aghani), which gives an account of the chief Arabian songs, ancient and modern, with the stories of the composers and singers. It contains a mass of information as to the life and customs of the early Arabs, and is the most valuable authority we have for their pre-Islamic and early Moslem days. A part of it was published by J. G. L. Kosegarten with Latin translation (Greifswald, 184o). The text was published in 20 vols. at Bulaq in 1868. Vol. xxi. was edited by R. E. Brunnow (Leyden, 1888). A volume of elaborate indices was edited by I. Guidi (Leyden, 'goo), and a missing fragment of the text was published by J. Wellhausen in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, vol. 50, pp. 146 if. For his life see M'G. de Slane's translation of Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, vol. ii. pp. 249 if. (G. W. T.)
End of Article: ABU KLEA
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