Badi Al-Zaman

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Badi Al-Zaman


(nickname, literally “wonder of the age”; real name, Ahmad ibn al-Husain al-Hamadhani). Born 969, in Hamadan; died 1007, in Herat. Arab writer. Traveled through the cities of Iran and Middle Asia.

Badi al-Zaman created the literary genre of maqamat (romances and anecdotes). His maqamat portraying scenes from city life and written in rhymed prose (saj) constitute a single cycle in which two heroes are active—the ingenious rogue Abu al-Fath and the observer-storyteller Isa ibn His-ham. The main hero always appears in a new situation and in different roles—beggar, doctor, judge, and so on. Badi al-Zaman drew his subjects and material from city folklore. His maqamat influenced Arab writers until the early 20th century. He wrote epistles and poems and was a brilliant translator from Persian.


Rasail. Cairo, 1928.
Diwan. Cairo, 1903.
Al-Maqamat. Beirut, 1957.
In Russian translation:
“Makamy.” In the collection Vostochnaia novella. Moscow, 1963. Pages 114–121.
In French translation:
Badi az-zaman al-Hamazani: Maqamat. Translated and with commentary by R. Blachère and R. Masnou. Paris, 1956.


Fil’shtinskii, I. M. Arabskaia klassicheskaia literatura. Moscow, 1965.
al’-Fakhuri, Kh. Istoriia arabskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1961.
Marun Abbud. Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadhani. Cairo, 1954.
Mustafa al-Shaka. Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadhani. Cairo, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Parmi ses pieces, nous citons entre autres Sidi Abbderahman al-Majdoub (1967), Maqamat Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadani (1971), al-Harraz(1971).