The Spanish Muslim theologian and poet, Ibn Abd Rabbihi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 18th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal in 328 AH, the Spanish Muslim theologian and poet, Ahmad ibn Mohammad Ibn Abd Rabbihi, passed away. His great anthology, titled “al-Iqd al-Fareed” (The Unique Necklace), is a voluminous work divided into 25 sections. The 13th section is named the middle jewel of the necklace, and the chapters on either side are named after other jewels.
It is a masterpiece of Arabic literature. Although he was descended from Spanish Christian converts to Islam, spent all his life in Spain and did not travel to the Islamic East like some other Spanish Muslim scholars, it is evident from the contents that he was well versed in the affairs of the Eastern Islamic world extending into Khorasan, Central Asia and present day Pakistan.
He has also chronicled the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt or Infallible Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and detailed the seditious events in the early days of Islam when the caliphate was hijacked from the Prophet’s family. His poems are found scattered in many books, and here is a translation from Arabic of one of his couplets titled The White Complexion
“Never have I seen or heard of such a thing; a pearl that for modesty transforms itself into a cornelian.
“So white is her face, that, when you contemplate her perfection, you see your own face submerged in its clarity.”