AʿMĀ, ABU’L-ʿABBĀS SĀʾEB B. FARRŪḴ, 1st-2nd/7th-8th century poet from Azerbaijan who wrote in Arabic. His father must have been a mawlā of the Banū Jaḏīma b. ʿAdī, a relation Sāʾeb inherited. His permanent epithet, Aʿmā, suggests that he was born blind. He spent his life in Mecca, where he grew up among the sons of the Companions, on whose authority he transmitted Hadiths of the Prophet. The traditions he transmitted are included in the six main Sunni books of Hadith; such unanimous acknowledgement of his trustworthiness should rebut accusations of dissolute behavior springing from political considerations. Aʿmā was a partisan of the Omayyads, expressed mild anti-Shiʿite feelings, and was bitterly opposed to the Zobayrīs, with the sole exception of Moṣʿab, who had been kind to him. In the year 75/694, when the Omayyad caliph, ʿAbd-al-Malek, performed the pilgrimage for the first time after the defeat of the Zobayrīs, Aʿmā was rewarded with heaps of silk and other cloths and 100,000 dirhams. After that the Omayyads looked after him and the Qurayshites in Mecca treated him well to please the Omayyads. His love for his patrons was sincere and unabating, and he lived to witness their tragic end. He must have died between 136-140, or, more probably, shortly after 140/757-58, at an age of not less than seventy-five. He left a son called ʿAlāʾ, who was also a reliable traditionist (Ebn Abī Ḥātem, al-Jarḥ wa’l-taʿdīl, Hyderabad, 8 vols., 1941-53, VI, p. 356). Abu’l-ʿAbbās was prolific in praising the Omayyads and satirizing the Zobayrīs; his remaining fragments display a strong strain of romanticism, especially visible in the deep pathos of his elegies for the Omayyads and Moṣʿab b. Zobayr.


Ebn Saʿd, V, p. 351.

Aḡānī XVI, pp. 298-306.

Yāqūt, Odabāʾ (Cairo) XI, p. 179.

Ṣafadī, Nakt al-hemyān, Cairo, 1911, pp. 153-55.

Kotobī, Fawāt, Beirut, 1974, II, pp. 41-42.

Ebn Ḥaǰar ʿAsqalānī, Tahḏīb al-tahḏīb, Hyderabad, 1325/1907, III, p. 449.

(I. Abbas)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: August 2, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 9, p. 917

Cite this entry:

I. Abbas, “AʿMĀ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/9, p. 917, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ama-abul-abbas-saeb-b (accessed on 30 December 2012).