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Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-'Arabi of Seville
Discourse by Hajj 'Abdalhaqq Bewley held in Seville, Spaine

A youth is shipwrecked off the North African coast. He struggles ashore with his father and a few fellow survivors, more dead than alive. They clothe themselves in some oily skins which have been washed ashore with them and make their way with great difficulty to a nearby town. In the principal residence they find a chess game in progress between the governor of the place and his nephew. The youth quickly sizes up the situation on the board, comments on it and, despite his bizarre appearance, is invited to advise the governor. With his help the governor soon wins the game. A dispute arises about some lines of poetry which the young man skilfully resolves by eloquently explaining their true meaning. The governor is so impressed that he immediately invites the youth and his father to stay with him. He feeds and clothes them sumptuously and then sends them on their way with all their needs provided.
This is not the synopsis of a scene in a romantic film of one of the more unlikely stories from the Thousand and One Nights, it is an actual occurrence from the life of one of the most illustrious sons of the city of Seville, the great scholar Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi, whose life saw the glorious revival of al-Andalus under the Murabitun in the first half of the 11th Century.
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