Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi:
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
Vol1 p18
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....
Vol1 p20
.... 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....
Vol1 p23
On Languages;
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

 Vol1 p52

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………..

 Vol1 p55

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.

 Vol1 p114

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.

It appears in: Marzubání, Nür al-Qabas, al-Zubaydï, Tabaqât al-nahwïyîn, al-Suyûtï, Bugyat al-wu'àh, al-Qiftî, Inbâh al-ruwâh.