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Al Jahiz

Birth:776

Death:869

Arab zoologist. Al-Jahiz's earliest writing on the 'Institution of the Caliphate' was well received at the court of Baghdad where he moved in around 815. He continued to write on a variety of subjects and was well respected at the Caliph's court. Al-Jahiz wrote more than two hundred works but only thirty are extant. His work included zoology, Arabic grammar, poetry, rhetoric and lexicography. His most famous book Kitab al-Hayawan (Book of animals), an encyclopaedia of seven volumes discussing the theories of evolution, adaptation and animal psychology - amazing array of scientific information that was not to be fully developed until the first half of 20th century. Eighty-seven folios of the 'Book of Animals' (about one-tenth of the original text of al-Jahiz) are preserved in Ambrosiana Library in Milan. Al-Jahiz, whose full name was Abu Usman Amr Ibn Bakr al-Kinani al-Fuqaimi al-Basri al-Jahiz, returned to Basra, where he was born, after spending more than fifty years in Baghdad. He died in Basra as a result of an accident in which he was crushed to death by a collapsing pile of books in his private library.

Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin

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