Sacred Texts  Islam  Index  Previous  Next 

The Maqámát of Badí‘ al-Zamán al-Hamadhání, tr. W.J. Prendergast [1915] at


‘ÍSÁ IBN HISHÁM related to us and said: When I desired to return from the Pilgrimage there carne into my presence a youth and he said: 'I have a young man of yellow origin who invites to unbelief and dances upon the finger. Exile has disciplined him. The desire for recompense has brought me to thee that I might represent his case before thee. He has demanded of thee in marriage a yellow damsel 2 that pleaseth the company and rejoiceth the beholders. Now, if thou dost assent, there will be begotten of them both an offspring 3 that will fill the regions and men's ears. And when thou hast folded this robe 4 and rolled up this thread 5 it will have preceded thee into thy country. Therefore now decide regarding the unfolding of what is in thine hand.'

p. 175

Said ‘Ísá Ibn Hishám: I was astonished at his narration and his witticism in his solicitation, so I complied with his request. Then he recited saying:--

'By the lower hand, 1 glory is duped,
But the hand of the generous man and his judgement are supreme.' 2.



174:2 A yellow damsel: An allusion to Qur’án, ii, 64.

174:3 An offspring: That is, praise.

174:4 When thou hast folded this robe: Cf. the third Maqáma, p. 33.

174:5 It (i.e. praise) will have preceded thee.

175:1 By the lower hand: Metre, kámil. The lower hand: The receiving or begging hand. As opposed to the supreme or superior, i.e. the giving hand. A tradition of the Prophet supports the explanation given in the note. See Musnad of Imam Ibn Ḥanbal. (Ob. 241 A.H.) vol. ii, p. 524, line 13, vol. iii, page 402, line 14, and p. 503, line 10. Also al-Jamá al-Saghīr with commentary by al-Zubeidī, part i, pp. 97-98, lines 20-23 and line 1 respectively. Cf. English Bible: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Acts xx. 35.). Also the line of the poet:

For verily thou knowest not when a suppliant comes whether he or thou art more blessed through what thou givest him. (Al-Jamá al-Ṣaghīr, part i, p. 97.) See note on page 40.

175:2 But the hand of the generous man and his judgement are supreme: The fact of the generous man being beguiled into giving is not to be attributed to the weakness of his intellect. Cf. Ḥarírí, i, 31, on the subject of the dinar.

Next: XLVII. The Maqama of Sariah