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Najim, W. T. (1958) Studies on the writings of al-Jahiz. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Al-Jahiz is known to every student of Islamic literature, history or society, of the classical period. His encyclopaedic writing embraces all aspects of life of Islamic society. The interest which al-Jahiz shows in the growing urban society and its manifestations is one of the first instances of its kind in Islamic lierature, that has come down to us. Al-Jahiz is one of the first Muslim writers who noticed the growth and development of a middle class as a result of the economic and social activities of the Islamic town. His interest in professional groups and classes, as well as his ambitions for the educated middle class in the society to take the lead, are points which are worth recording. To study him, and especially his most interesting work al-Bukhala, (Misers), in the light of society in which he lived and which he pictured, is important. In the first chapter of this thesis, a critical study of al-Jahiz's social works, a general survey and a discussion of the textual material and authenticity, is made. The second chapter is a study of al-Jahiz's views and attitudes, against the backcloth of his society. Other works of al-Jahiz, as well as those of his contemporaries, are taken here into consideration. While studying al-Jahiz's views on society, the question is asked whether al-Jahiz had any social phiolosophy. This point is dealt with in the third chapter of this thesis. A special reference is made to the Mu'tazilites. The study of society would help us to understand the book of Misers, which is not only the most important work on this aspect, hut also is most interesting of al-Jahiz's writing, where the author shows his talent in social and psychological analysis of the miser. In al-Bukhala, the question of language comes in, in connection with social classes and groups. al-Jahiz's intention in recording the language of daily life as was spoken, is discussed in the appendix, after the fourth chapter.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

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