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TWO LETTERS FROM THE MAHARAJA TO THE KHALIFAH

TWO LETTERS FROM THE MAHARAJA TO THE KHALIFAH

TWO LETTERS FROM THE MAHARAJA TO THE

Islamic Studies (Islamabad) 2:1 (1963) TWO LETTERS FROM THE MAHARAJA TO THE KHALIFAH A STUDY IN THE EARLY HlSTORY OF ISLAE4 IN THE EAST S. Q. FATIMI I Al-Jahiz, 'Amr b. Bahr (1631783-2551869). has devoted a long and entertaining chapter on elephants in his magnificent work, Kit& al-uavawiin, in which we come across the following quotation :- : Jb- a Ul*, 3 &!I ">i+ dl 3 ~ * 3 5 ;dl (j : G) '*ell & 64 6 L 5 ( 4 ~ ~ A!) 4 & jlu i)& 3 j C? ("Al-Hayham b. 'Adi has narrated from Aba Ya'qab al-mqafi, he from 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Umayr that he (the last-mentioned) saw in the secretariat (diwcin) of Mu1%wiyah (after his death) a letter from the king of al-Sin, (in which it was written : "From the King of al-$in), in whose stables are a thousand elephants, (and) whose palace is built of bricks of gold and silver, who is served by a thousand daughters of the kings, and who possesses two rivers which irrigate aloes plants, to Mulawiyah . . ."). Al-Hay&am b. 'Adi (1141732-3-2071822-3), who has been quoted by al-J~hiz, was one of the founders of the science of historiography in Islam. He is reported to have written as many as fifty books on the history, genealogies, biographies and folklore of tbe Arabs, and on the topography of their new settlements. One of the titles: Kitab aLTaii& 'aln al-Sinin (A Book of History according to Years) seems to suggest that he was the first annalist among the Muslims. Unfortunately none of his works seems to have sumived, but some of their extracts have been preserved in tbe famous histories of al-Balaauri, al-Tabari and othem2 Not much is known about Aba Ya'qilb (Ishaq b. Ibrihirn) & - Thaqafi (al-Kufi), the second link in the chain of transmission 4 -

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