|Main interests||Arabic language|
Abū Bishr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthmān ibn Qanbar Al-Biṣrī (Arabic: أبو بشر عمرو بن عثمان بن قنبر البصري), commonly known as Sībawayh (سيبويه, Sibuyeh in Persian), was an influential linguist and grammarian of the Arabic language. He was of Persian origin born ca. 760 in the town of Bayza (ancient Nesayak) in the Fars province of Iran.
He died in Shiraz, in Fars, around AH 180 (796/797).
In Baghdad, the Abbasid vizier Yahya ibn Khalid held a debate on standard Arabic usage between Sibawayh, representing the Basra school, and Kisa'i, the leading figure in the rival school of Kufa. Sibawayh emerged from this contest totally dejected.
Sībawayh is said to have left Iraq and retired to Shīrāz after the debate.
Sibawayh, a non-Arab, was the first to write on Arabic grammar and in passing the first one to explain Arabic grammar from a non-Arab perspective. Much of the impetus for this work came from the desire for non-Arab Muslims to understand the Qur'an properly and thoroughly; the Qur'an, which is composed in a poetic language that even native Arabic speakers must study with great care in order to comprehend thoroughly, is even more difficult for those who, like Sibawayh, did not grow up speaking Arabic. Additionally, because Arabic does not necessarily mark all pronounced vowel sounds, as the erroneous Arab misreading Sibawayh of what obviously should be interpreted as Sibuyeh illustrates, it is possible to misread a text aloud (See Short vowels in Arabic); such difficulty was particularly troublesome for Muslims, who regard the Qur'an as the literal word of God to man and as such should never be mispronounced or misread.
- Sībawayh, ʻAmr ibn ʻUthmān (1988), Hārūn, ʻAbd al-Salām Muḥammad, ed., Al-Kitāb Kitāb Sībawayh Abī Bishr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthmān ibn Qanbar, Introduction (3rd ed.), Cairo: Maktabat al-Khānjī, pp. 7–12
- Touati, Houari; Cochrane, Lydia G. (2010). Islam and Travel in the Middle Ages. University of Chicago Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-226-80877-7.