“The Elected Pearl in the Proverbs of the Arabs” .. How did a Palestinian revive a manuscript that is hundreds of years old?

Nablus – “A saying that was said about a specific incident, so it became an example.” This is a simplified definition of the proverb. I undoubtedly want it to be exhortation and warning. This is what the majority of us Arabs know.

And if it is obvious that we find someone who documented proverbs in the past with a manuscript or otherwise, it seems remarkable and creative to achieve and revive them, as did the Palestinian researcher Dr. Bassam Al-Agbar.

In a new and only proposition at the same time, Al-Agbar – a professor of linguistic sciences – probed the depths of the book “Al-Durar Al-Mukhtahab fi Amthal Al-Arab” by the scholar Sheikh Qassem bin Muhammad Al-Halabi Al-Bakkarji (1094 AH-1169 AH), and delved into its depths, investigating and producing his new book in a comprehensive way that made it easy and available to all.

And “the science of manuscript verification,” as the dusty researcher from the city of Nablus in the West Bank tells Al Jazeera Net, is a “noble mission” initiated by prominent figures such as Abd al-Salam Haroun and Ihsan Abbas.

The aim is not to revive the glorified heritage, but rather to scrutinize it to find out the reasons for the rise and decline of civilizations in a modern way, enabling the reader to understand and circulate it.

The likes of this book, its wisdom, stories, and footnotes were divided into 30 chapters. These chapters were preceded by a general index, a dedication and an introduction, and sealed with indexes of Quranic verses, prophetic hadiths, poetic rhymes, and a list of sources and references, as well as images from the mother manuscript, all of which came in about 800 pages of large pieces. .

The first manuscript investigator

In his book – which was published a month ago and announced at the Hamdi Mango Cultural Center in Nablus – Al-Agbar was unique in investigating the Al-Bakrji manuscript with an effort that he described as “great” that required sailing in which knowledge and great knowledge of words and phrases.

Also, the verification of manuscripts requires a large number of references and sources to verify the authenticity of what was stated, so that the final version is documented and approved, and thus Al-Agbar distinguished himself by adopting more than 300 references.

Mostly, I found proverbs in prose, and a few proverbs poetic, but the story of the proverb was accompanied by many evidence, as the Qur’anic verses amounted to 7%, and the hadith of the Prophet 18%, and poetry ranked first in the evidence and reached 75%, and it is not surprising, as Poetry is the Diwan of Arabs and their history.

Researcher Bassam Al-Agbar reviews his book during its launch ceremony in Nablus (Al-Jazeera)

The book came in detail with that, as each of the 28 chapters was sealed with the parables of the Muwalids (meaning that their owners are not Arabs, but rather lived in the Arab environment), while the 29th section is devoted to the days of Islam, and the 30th section is devoted to the excommunication of the words of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the caliphs. Companions and followers.

And about the mechanism of circulation of these proverbs in their different times and who said them, Al-Agbar says, “The proverbs, in most cases, do not know the one who said them, and they repeat as they were said without distortion or modification, even if they contain linguistic errors, and this helps to speed up their transmission and spread among people and the ease of recalling them.”

And among them are what is circulated or close to it, such as “Live in Rajab and you are astonishing,” “more glorious than peacocks,” “war debates,” “whosoever believes in God will be saved,” “false greed breaks the neck,” and others.

Al-Bakarji is Sheikh Qassem bin Muhammad, born in 1094 AH, and grew up in Aleppo, and took knowledge at the hands of its scholars, such as the sciences of grammar, eloquence and jurisprudence, and among his books is “Explanation on the Hamziyah of Sheikh Al-Busairi.”

Difficulties.. but

Al-Agbar faced difficulties, the most important of which was access to the manuscript, as many manuscripts of the Arab-Islamic civilization in Western countries cannot be accessed by individuals, which requires an Arab institutional effort to bring them or copy them and then publish them, in addition to the financial obstacles to publishing, as Arab publishing houses suffer from great difficulties in terms of costs. These two dilemmas faced by the investigator, in addition to the Arab reluctance to read, says Al-Agbar

Among the things that helped the researcher Al-Agbar achieve his possession of electronic copies of the manuscript (Emirati and Azharite), and he took advantage of the health closure period due to the spread of the Corona virus, to come out with his new book within a year, which was adopted by the “Scholarly Books House” in Beirut to print and publish it.

Part of the audience during the publication of his new book by the writer Bassam Al-Aghbar - West Bank - Nablus - Hamdi Mango - Al Jazeera Net1Part of the audience during the publication of Bassam Al-Agbar’s new book in Nablus in the West Bank (Al-Jazeera)

Although Al-Agbar considers that his new author is a “mini-research” of a book that did not get what it deserves from the investigation, and he refers to the book “Majma’ al-Amthal” by al-Maidani, he did not detract from the effort of its investigator, Muhammad Muhyi al-Din.

Al-Agbar says that his book is distinguished by two features, which are the verification of the texts and the abbreviation, which was lacking in the Complex of Proverbs.

Al-Aqbar attributes the interest in proverbs to two aspects: a social aspect that relates to the lives and stories of peoples, which speak about them and mirror their lives, and a rhetorical aspect that expresses great meanings in a few words that have a graphic charm and steal hearts before the ears.

Achievement and screening

Despite the general absence of Palestinian interest in manuscripts, the attempt to revive them is a great achievement, and a task in which those who did not have faith in the value of science, as the dusty did, will not succeed. .

Al-Rifai hopes that Al-Agbar will transcend the boundaries of local geography towards the global one, and said that they have been in a charter since 2018, in cooperation with the Manuscripts Institute of the League of Arab States and Al-Quds University – Abu Dis, to teach manuscript science.

As for Nasrallah al-Sha’er, professor of Arabic language at Birzeit University, he considered proverbs an Arab-Islamic treasure that Muslim thinkers did not overlook, pointing out that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, reproduced some proverbs of the pre-Islamic era that are compatible with Islam and carry wisdom, vision and philosophy.

The poet saw that proverbs summarize a lot of wisdom, which is the product of different eras, and tell the story of a group of people who lived a certain time, and that what agrees with them with religion, reason and logic is taken and published.

And he rejects proverbs that carry negative values ​​or were the result of fear and defeat, as is the case with some of our popular proverbs during the 19th century, and called for “sifting” them so that future generations do not have a distorted culture.

Specialists and researchers believe that Al-Agbar’s revival of the manuscript is a qualitative addition that revived a “neglected” Palestinian aspect, and indicated that those interested in this field were not executed and responded to the Orientalists who sought to obliterate this period of the Islamic and Arab eras “immortalized by manuscripts seized by the West.”

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