Kitab al-Imta' wa'l-Mu'anasa (930-d1023)
(a discussion on national character) lived in Baghdad.
Taken from : Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry by Bernard Lewis
Page numbers from the islamport.com version
Which is the wisest of all nations?
The Chinese we said; People of furnishings and handicrafts, he replied, with neither thought nor reflection. The Turks we said; Wild beasts for the frag he replied, The Indians we said; People of fantasy he said of legerdemain and conjuring and tricks. The Zanj we said; Freckles cattle he replied....
.... In consequence, good and bad qualities are spread among the whole of mankind and implanted in all of them. The Persians have statecraft, civility, rules, and etiquette. The Byzantines have science and wisdom; the Indians have thought and reflection and nimbleness and magic and perseverance. The Turks have courage and impetuosity, the Zanj have patients and toil and merriment, the Arabs are intrepid, hospitable, loyal, gallant, generous, protective, eloquent, and cogent....
We have heard many languages (even if we do not understand them) of all nations, such as the languages of our friends the Persians, Indians, Turks, Khwarezinians, Slavs, Andalusians and Zanj, and we found nothing in these languages like the limpidity of Arabic
Taken from: Studies in Arabic and Hebrew lexicography: Lothar Kopf
All beasts of prey (siba) and (other) quadrupeds (dawabb) when walking advance the right fore-leg (together) with the left hint-leg. The giraffe (zarafa) is to be found only in an area where water is scarce. If horse-breeders wish to have an ass cover a mare………..
The rhinoceros (himar wahshi) is a cross between a mare and an elephant. It has a horn growing from its nose [that looks] like a [drawn] sword. When striking at a tree it fells it with it. It fights with the elephant and slits its belly open with its horn. No female of this species has ever been sighted. In the sea there is a fish called bus …..
Vol1 p 85
Then I recounted: The learned in the nature of the animals maintain that elephants are generated only on the islands of the southern seas and under the orbit of Aries. The giraffe (zarafa) is found only in the country of the Habash. The sable (sammur)….
Taken from: Klaus Hachmeier; Rating Adas: Al-Tawhidi on the Merits of Poetry and Prose.
Another bedouin said: Their dispute about grammar makes me feel a stranger until [or: to the point that] I heard the speech of the Zanj and the Byzantines.
This line of poetry is attributed to a certain Mu'ád b. Muslim al-Harra' Abu Muslim(d. 187/802 or 190/805), teacher of the Umayyad caliph 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan.
in: Marzubání, Nür al-Qabas, al-Zubaydï, Tabaqât al-nahwïyîn, al-Suyûtï, Bugyat al-wu'àh, al-Qiftî, Inbâh al-ruwâh.