The Book of Eloquence and Oratory


Abu Uthman Amr ibn Bahr al-Kinani (776–869 AD; 163–255 AH), nicknamed Al-Jahiz for his bulging eyes, was a leading literary figure who lived during the early Abbasid era. He was born and died in Basra, Iraq. It was said that his grandfather was a slave from East Africa. Al-Jahiz was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from theology, to politics, to manners, who left many highly significant works. He is credited with having profoundly shaped the rules of Arabic prose. Al-Jahiz’s Al-Bayan wa al-Tabyeen (The book of eloquence and oratory) is considered his second most important book after al-Hayawan (Animals). The book comprises selections from literary works, including orations, poems, commentaries, and treatises. It considers the rhetoric and oratory of the major public figures of the Islamic world. The book helped to establish the early scholarly foundations for Arabic rhetoric and language philosophy.

Last updated: April 3, 2018