E.W. Lane Comments on the Astounding Memory of the Arabs

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Many of the Arabs have been remarkable for a tenacity of memory almost miraculous. Several of them are related to have composed and dictated from memory large works, including even lexicons.  At school, they generally learn the whole of the Kur-an by heart, aided to do so by its being composed in rhyming prose; and many students, among them, when unable to purchase works necessary to them, borrow such works, a portion at a time, from the libraries of the mosques, and commit their entire contents to memory. Hence, in numerous instances, the variations in copies of the same Arabic work ; copies being often written from the dictation of persons who have learned a work by heart.

Taken from the preface (page xiii) of Arabic~English Lexicon by E.W. Lane.

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