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Medieval anecdotal form of prose designed to be both edifying and entertaining. Can include Quranic verses, poetry, and the traditions of Muhammad (hadith). Often written in the form of manuals for behavior, protocol, conducting affairs of state, and carrying out the duties of office with advice embedded in tales and anecdotes about rulers, judges, misers, and other characters. The word adab thus also came to mean “proper conduct and etiquette.” Initially a Persian genre, it was synthesized with Arabic literature in the ninth century, reflecting the expansion of the Islamic empire and borrowing from other cultures. The greatest master of Arabic adab was the ninth-century writer al-Jahiz. In contemporary Arabic, adab refers to literature in general.

See also Tarbiyyah

Subjects: Islam.

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