restricted access A Document Pertaining to Party-Crashing
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163 A Document Pertaining to Party-Crashing 211 The judge Abu al-Qasim ‘Ali ibn al-Muhassin ibn ‘Ali al-Tanukhi related to me: AmongtheretinueoftheAmirBakhtiyar,1 known as ‘Izz al-Dawla, was a man named ‘Aliyyaka, 1. In the year 967, ‘Izz al-Dawla reigned in Baghdad. An ineffectual ruler, absorbed by petty pleasures and prone to meddle frivolously in government affairs, ‘Izz was nonetheless responsible for the following invaluable document, which, in the course of appointing Baghdad’s first official officer of partycrashing , offered instruction in this obscure, but profitable, refinement. Written by Secretary Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Hilal al-Sabi in the voice of ‘Aliyyaka, a party-crasher, the document appointed Ibn ‘Urs al-Mawsili officer of party-crashing. The Art of Party-Crashing 164 who was a great party-crasher of military men (the gatekeepers, officers, and secretaries), and of the prominent members of the private class, as well as male concubines. Bakhtiyar got wind of this and ordained that ‘Aliyyaka should appoint a successor in party-crashing. He approached the scribe Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Hilal al-Sabi with the task of writing this appointment for Ibn ‘Urs al-Mawsili on the authority of ‘Aliyyaka, making Ibn ‘Urs his successor in party-crashing. Abu Ishaq wrote the document for him in a humorous fashion and read it to us. This was the text: These are the tasks with which ‘Ali ibn Ahmad, known as ‘Aliyakka, entrusted ‘Ali ibn ‘Urs al-Mawsili when he deputized him, that he may thereby propagate his doctrine. ‘Aliyakka appointed al-Mawsili in order to preserve the practice of his art for the people of the city of Baghdad, the City of Peace, as well as to record what is to be obtained under party-crashing’s auspices, both its core practices as well as its fringe elements. Al-Mawsili is appointed in recognition of his lack of shame, his aggressive social intercourse, his frequency of mouthfuls taken, and his stellar digestive ability. He is noted for his energetic pursuit of this little-known practice in A Document Pertaining to Party-Crashing 165 which he excels, and this undercultivated art that he knows so well, for by its means he obtains the blessings of voluptuous food and physical pleasure. He is a frequent visitor of the well-to-do with variegated resources; God gave him power over rarities of foodstuffs, and gave him victory over marvelous delicacies , and he therefore takes a share of the goods as though he were a major investor in their business. He charms his way through the door, making a surprising entrance, using methods that shall be laid bare by this document, as the righteous and proper mode of conduct shall be exhaustively detailed. May God grant me success, for to Him turn petitioners, and in Him we trust. I command the party-crasher to fear God, the most powerful, the fortified fortress, the unshakable pillar, the lofty mountain, the reinforced defense, the walled garden, and the blessed provision for the day of Resurrection, on which day none but a party-crasher shall obtain provision! I order him to declare his piety privately and openly, to be observant in his words and in his deeds, to make God’s pleasure his goal, His reward his desire, nearness to Him The Art of Party-Crashing 166 his wish, and praising Him his purpose. Nor shall he with overhasty step stray from his Lord, lest he be faced with punishment and repining. I command him to contemplate party-crashing and its meaning, its purport and its methods, and to conduct his own scholarly investigation with original research, rather than mere imitation or citation. Many people find the practice truly despicable, and loathe the people who do it, accusing them of being mischievous and greedy, but some of these men are faulty in their reasoning and infelicitous in their speech. Some of them are also stingy with their money and hoard it with trickery. Both types are blameworthy, and neither denuded of the trappings of shame. There is another class of men who do not believe in private property; they spend their own wealth, and drain the wealth of others in the process. They think the best way to enjoy a dinner party is to attack the food, or at a drinking party to guzzle and steal drinks. They are most deserving of the name “noble,” best suited for laudation, most appropriately deemed man’s men, and the first to...