A leaf from this book


Abu’l-Faraj al-Isfahani: Kitab al-aghani;

(Book of songs) (d971)


Taken from: Abya and the Black Arabs: Refuting the Would-be Refuters

Wesley Muhammad, PhD 2011.



He reports the story of the pitch-black (adlam) Arab poet al-Sayyid al-Himyari (d. 789) – a Yemeni like Kereszte’s tan boy. In this story we are told that al-Sayyid used to carouse with the young men of the camp, one of whom was as dark as he. While both boys had extremely dark skin, the other boy had thick nose and lips and thus had a general Zanj appearance (muzannaj). Al-Sayyid had foul-smelling armpits and as the two pitch-black Arabs were jesting together one day, al-Sayyid said: You are a Zanji in your nose and lips! To which the youth replied: And you are a Zanji in your colour and armpits! 



He tells a story in which the bad person is called : excrement of the Zinj.


Madaini said: Abu Hamza came out of the city of Mecca, and the man of the Caliph said to him that he preferred he called Omar bin Abdul Rahman bin Usaid bin Abdul Rahman ibn Yazid ibn al-Khattab for people to fight, but they did not find many; because to many people had been already killed, and he went out of the view of the people of the country; assembled the Berbers and the Zanj and the people of the market and the slaves, then they fight their purchasers, killing general favorite companions; and the rest fled; there was nobody left in the city, ……

Taken from: From Siraf to Sumatra: Seafaring and Spices in the Islamicate Indo-Pacific, Ninth-Eleventh Centuries C.E. by Averbuch,
Bryan Douglas, (who translated the quote from: Kitab al Aghani 3:193.

(his description of a white slave girl)
A hidden pearl of the sea,
Amidst the (other) pearls, the merchant chose her...
(his description of a white slave girl)
A shiny black girl...
As if molded for him who acquired her,
In ambergris kneaded with musk...

Taken from: Islam, Inc: An Early Business History : an Inquiry Into how Muslim ...Gene W. Heck

If there were a young flawless black slave to be procured, his price might be 100 dinars, if he were trained in camel care, two hundred dinars,
were he a skilled archer, four hundred dinars; were he a skilled reciter of poetry, six hundred dinars, but were he to be an accomplished poet,
a thousand dinars.