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date: 25 August 2019

Ibn ‘Abd al-Rabbīḥ [Abū ‘Umar Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad]locked

  • Owen Wright

Extract

[Abū ‘Umar Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad]

(b Córdoba, 860; d 940). Andalusian Arab writer. Little is known of his life. His most important work is a large-scale compendium entitled al-‘Iqd al-farīd (‘The unique necklace’). Drawn mainly from Eastern Arab sources, it covers a wide range of subject matter and includes a substantial section on music which exemplifies the approach of the literary scholar. Proclaiming first the beneficial effects of music, Ibn ‘Abd al-Rabbīḥ then reflects, but without systematically exploring, the juridical debate on its permissibility. His main concern, however, is to provide a selection of informative, but primarily entertaining or unusual anecdotes, including a copious selection of song texts. For the most part these concern prominent figures of the first two centuries of Islam and the musicians and singing slave-girls (see Qayna) who entertained them. The events described almost all take place in the Eastern Arab world, and there is an unfortunate absence of parallel materials to illustrate musical life at the court of the Umayyads in Córdoba....

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