This article considers the role of adab literary cultivation in the practice of Islamic statecraft in the 4th/10 century Western Iran. Analyzing two letters drawn from a surviving dīwān of letters composed during the period of Buyid rule in Iraq and Western Iran by the famed vizier al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/995), the article addresses how adab learning informed and inflected the conduct and practice of interactions with the state. Countering the oft-made claim that learning was functional grease for the machinery of government, it argues that adab was essential to holding state and society together.
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