The Origins of the Islamic State/Part 9/Chapter 12
< The Origins of the Islamic State‎ | Part 9
Chapter XI
The Origins of the Islamic State, Part IX  (1916)  byAḥmad ibn Yaḥyá al-Balādhurī, translated byPhilip Khuri Hitti
Chapter XII—Arabic made the Language of the Register
Part X, Chapter I
CHAPTER XII ARABIC MADE THE LANGUAGE OF THE REGISTER
Al-Mada'ini 'Ali ibn-Muhammad ibn-abi-Saif from his sheikhs: Persian was the language of the register of the khardj of as-Sawad and the rest of al-'Irak. When al- Hajjaj became ruler of al-'Irak he chose Zadan Farrukh ibn-Yabra for secretary, and the latter was assisted by Salih ibn-'Abd-ar-Rahman, a freedman of the banu-Ta- mim, who knew both Arabic and Persian. Salih's father was one of the captives of Sijistan. Through Zadan Far- rukh, Salih was acquainted with al-Hajjaj, who found him acceptable. One day Salih said to Zadan, " Thou art the means by which I became acquainted with the governor; and I see that he has found me acceptable. I, therefore, do not wonder if he should promote me over thee, in which case thou wouldst fall." " Never believe that," answered Zadan; " he has more use for me than I for him, because none but myself can be found to keep his books." " By Allah," retorted Salih, " if thou so desire, I could change the accounts into Arabic." " Try a part of it," said Zadan, " and I will see." Salih having done that, Zadan asked him to feign illness, which he did. Al-Hajjaj sent his own physician, but found nothing wrong with Salih. Hearing that, Zadan ordered him to appear.
In the days of 'Abd-ar-Rahman ibn-Muhammad ibn-al- Ash'ath al-Kindi, Zadan Farrukh was killed on his way from some house to his own home, or some other man's home. Thereupon, al-Hajjaj made Salih secretary in the
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place of Zadan. Salih reported to al-Hajjaj the con- versation that took place between him and Zadan relative to the change of the language of the register. Al-Hajjaj 30 immediately made up his mind to adopt Arabic as the lan- y-f guage of the register and charged Salih with the task.
Mardanshah ibn-Zadan Farrukh asked Salih, "What wouldst thou do with dahwiyah and shashwiyah? " To this, Salih replied, " I shall use instead 'ushr [tenth] and nusfufhr 1 [half -tenth] ."" And what about wwf?" "I shall use aidan " (wU means excess). 2 Hearing that, Mar- danshah said, " May God efface thy trace from the world as thou hast effaced the trace of the Persian! " Salih was later offered 100,000 dirhams in order to show that it was impossible to change the language of the register and to re- frain from doing it; but he refused and carried out the plan. 'Abd-al-Hamid ibn-Yahya, the secretary of Marwan ibn-Muhammad used to say, " Great is Salih, and great is the favor he has bestowed upon the secretaries! "
'Umar ibn-Shabbah from Sahl ibn-abi-as-Salt : Al- Hajjaj assigned for Salih ibn-'Abd-ar-Rahman a certain period in which to change the language of the register. 3
1 These are the Arabic equivalent of the Persian terms dahwiyah and shashwiyah; shash means six.
2 wid or waid is used to-day in Persian in the sense of " little ". Ar. aidan corresponds to ditto.
Cf. Mawardi, p. 350.
Footnotes
Last edited on 28 May 2021, at 03:47
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