Jahiz, Abu-Uthman Amr Ibn-Bahr, Al-

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jahiz, Abu-Uthman Amr Ibn-Bahr, Al-


Born circa 767 in Basra; died there in 868. Arab writer. Representative of the adab genre in literature and Mutazila, a rationalist tendency in Islam.

Al-Jahiz served at the court of the Abbasid rulers and was known as one of the most educated men of his time. He is the author of more than 100 treatises and anthologies, including the collection of comic novellas The Book of Misers, the treatise on style and rhetoric The Book of Dispositions and Proofs, and such treatises of a historical and political nature as The Book of Arabs and Their Clients and The Book of Arabs and Persians. His works contain information on the private and social life and ethnology of the medieval Arab East. In his many short stories, verses, fabliaux (including those originating in folklore), and descriptions of marvels and unusual occurrences, al-Jahiz tried more to entertain than to instruct the reader. Al-Jahiz influenced the development of Arabic literature, particularly the adab genre. Medieval Arab scholars and writers frequently cited his works. The Book of Misers has been translated into Russian.


Krachkovskii, I. lu. Arabskaia geograficheskaia literatura: Izbr. soch., vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Brockelmann, C. Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, vol. 1.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.