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Arabic Lefends al-Asmai

Abu Said Abd-al Malik bin Kuraib al-Asmai was born A.D. 739 or 740, and died A.D. 831. He was a complete master of the Arabic language, an able grammarian, and the most eminent of all those who transmitted orally historical narrations, anecdotes, stories, and rare expressions of the language.

When the poet Abu Nuwas was informed that Asmai and Abu Obaida had been introduced at Harun's court, he said that the latter would narrate ancient and modern history, but that the former would charm with his melodies. Ibn Shabba was informed by Asmai himself 'that he knew by heart sixteen thousand pieces of verse composed in the measure called Rajaz, or free metre,' and Ishak al Mausili asserted 'that he never heard al-Asmai profess to know a branch of science without discovering that none knew it better than he.

' No one ever explained better than Al-Asmai the idioms of the desert Arabs. Most of his works, which amount to thirty-six, treat of the language and its grammar; but he also wrote a book on the horse and different treatises on various other animals, such as the camel, the sheep, wild beasts, etc., and their physiology.