The triple aim of Hamadhání in this work, first translated into English in 1915, appears to have been to amuse, to interest and to instruct; and this explains why, in spite of the inherent difficulty of a work of this kind composed primarily with a view to the rhetorical effect upon the learned and the great, there is scarcely a dull chapter in the fifty-one maqámát or discourses. The author essayed, throughout these dramatic discourses, to illustrate the life and language both of the denizens of the desert and the dwellers in towns, and to give examples of the jargon and slang of thieves and robbers as well as the lucubrations of the learned and the conversations of the cultured.
Introduction. The Life of the Author. Rhymed Prose. The Word Maqama. Origin and Character of the Maqamat. Hamadhani and Hariri Compared. The 51 Maqamat.