Muhammad al-Qasim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Hariri (Arabic: محمد القاسم بن علي بن محمد بن عثمان الحريري), popularly known as al-Hariri of Basra (1054–1122) was an Arab poet, scholar of the Arabic language and a high government official of the Seljuk Empire. Born in Basra in modern-day Iraq, he is best known for writing Maqamat al-Hariri (مقامات الحريري, The Assemblies of al-Hariri), a virtuosic display of saj', consisting of 50 anecdotes written in stylized prose, which was once memorized by heart by scholars, and Mulhat al-i'rab fi al-nawh, an extensive poem on grammar. The most famous translation of his maqamat was a German version by the poet and OrientalistFriedrich Rückert as Die Verwandlungen von Abu Serug and sought to emulate the rhymes and wordplay of the original. The main English translation is the nineteenth-century one by Thomas Chenery and Francis Joseph Steingass.
al-Harith helps Abu Zayd to retrieve his stolen camel. Illustration for the 27th maqamat, from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford
Some of his other works include a book on errors of expression in Arabic, Durrat al-ghawwāṣ fī awhām al-khawaṣṣ. The Assemblies of al-Hariri recounts in the words of the narrator, al-Harith ibn Hammam and al-Hariri's several encounters with artist Abu Zayd al-Saruji.
^See: Luisa Arvide, Maqamas de Al-Hariri, GEU, Granada 2009 (in Arabic and Spanish).
^The Assemblies of Al-Ḥarîri. Translated from the Arabic with Notes Historical and Grammatical, trans. by Thomas Chenery and F. Steingass, Oriental Translation Fund, New Series, 3, 2 vols (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1867-98), https://archive.org/details/assembliesofalha015555mbp (vol. 2).