(60) Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric
Finally, and as though to counteract any foreign influence that the cultivation of these exotic sciences might correlatively introduce, Arab grammar and rhetoric were, from the days of the first Ommiade to those of the last Abbaside caliph, considered an indispensable item of respectable education. Every nicety of the language was investigated in the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries by the rival schools of Cufa and Bosrah; and the alfeeyah, a grammatical treatise of the celebrated Ebn-Malek, a native of the latter city, who flourished in the 9th century, is even now the standard work in the hand of every professor. But for absolute mastership, joined with exquisite taste, in the use of the subtlest refinements both of rhetoric and grammar, the palm must be assigned to Hareeree, the author of the celebrated Makamat or Stations, a work esteemed by many as hardly less wonderful in the talent it displays than the Koran itself. It belongs to the 11th century, and though it has had many imitators, has never yet acknowledged a rival.
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Arabia - Table of Contents