August 17, 2006


'Abd al-Hamid ibn Yahya al-Kitab, an Umayyad official credited with the creation of this genre, defined its aims as follows:

"Cultivate the Arabic language so that you may speak correctly; develop a handsome script which will add lustre to your writings; learn the poetry of the Arabs by heart; familiarize yourself with unusual ideas and expressions; read the history of the Arabs and Persians, and remember their great deeds."
-- Paul Lunde, Islam: A Brief History, p. 88

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