1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ḥarīrī
ḤARĪRĪ [Abū Maḥommed ul-Qāsim ibn ’Ali ibn Maḥommed al-Ḥarīrī,] i.e. “the manufacturer or seller of silk”] (1054–1122), Arabian writer, was born at Baṣra. He owned a large estate with 18,000 date-palms at Mashān, a village near Baṣra. He is said to have occupied a government position, but devoted his life to the study of the niceties of the Arabic language. On this subject he wrote a grammatical poem the Mulḥat ul-ʽIrāb (French trans. Les Récréations grammaticales with notes by L. Pinto, Paris 1885–1889; extracts in S. de Sacy’s Anthologie arabe, pp. 145–151, Paris, 1829); a work on the faults of the educated called Ḍurrat ul-Ghawwās (ed. H. Thorbecke, Leipzig, 1871), and some smaller treatises such as the two letters on words containing the letters sin and shin (ed. in Arnold’s Chrestomathy, pp. 202-9). But his fame rests chiefly on his fifty maqāmas (see Arabia: Literature, section “Belles Lettres”). These were written in rhymed prose like those of Hamadhānī, and are full of allusions to Arabian history, poetry and tradition, and discussions of difficult points of Arabic grammar and rhetoric.
The Maqāmas have been edited with Arabic commentary by S. de Sacy (Paris, 1822, 2nd ed. with French notes by Reinaud and J. Derenbourg, Paris, 1853); with English notes by F. Steingass (London, 1896). An English translation with notes was made by T. Preston (London, 1850), and another by T. Chenery and F. Steingass (London, 1867 and 1898). Many editions have been published in the East with commentaries, especially with that of Sharīshī (d. 1222). (G. W. T.)