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Book of Arabic Wisdom, The
Proverbs and Anecdotes
compiled Hussain Mohammed Al-Amily

6" x 9 5/8" • 216 pages • b&w throughout
ISBN 9781566565820 • paperback • $17.95

"If I win in the duel of love you’re mine, if you win I’m yours"
"Hearts are streams—if they meet, they make large rivers"
"Complain to the bow and it will send you an arrow"

Proverbs have been Hussain Mohammed Al-Amily’s passion since he was a small boy, listening to the grown-ups chatter in his Lebanese village. Later in his homeland of Iraq, he became enchanted by the witty folk sayings that were part of everyday discourse. Now, for this book, he has brought together over 3,000 proverbs, humorous and wise anecdotes, and popular quotations from throughout the vast Arab and Islamic world.

Within this intriguing compilation are proverbs that have their roots in the ancient civilizations of Persia and Sumeria, along with those of Kurdish, Turkish, and Andalusian orgin. The book also includes:

• Selected hadith utterances: the Prophet’s counsel as traditionally related by Islamic peoples.
• Quatrains by Omar Khayyam and Abul Alaa Al-Ma’arri, free-thinking poets of the eleventh century.
• Couplets by the erudite Sheikh Sadi of Shiraz, a famous Sufi poet of the thirteenth century.
• Stories of Bahlool, a figure from folklore, and his amusing encounters in ancient Baghdad.

This book is a treasure trove of Arabic wisdom, ancient and modern, surprising at times, but with a ring of truth that resounds across cultures.

Hussain Mohammed Al-Amily was born in 1927 in Najaf, Iraq to a Lebanese clergy father and an Iraqi mother. He spent his formative years in both countries. He traveled widely throughout the Arab world and has lived in France, Germany and Great Britain. In his early years he was a wandering preacher among the peoples of Iraq for whom he has great affection. He is a founder member of the Iraqi Translators’ Society, Baghdad, and the author of several works on Arabic culture.

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