About the book:
The book is a biography of Abu’l Ala, a Syrian poet and rationalist philosopher of the 10th-11th centuries, along with translations of a few poems by him and his contemporaries.
About Abu’l Ala (from Wikipedia):
Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri (973–1058) was a blind Arabian philosopher, poet, and writer.
He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam or any other religion possessed the truths they claimed and considered the speech of prophets as a lie (literally, “forgery”) and “impossible” to be true. He was equally sarcastic towards the religions of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. He was also a vegan who argued for animal rights.
In 2013, almost a thousand years after his death, the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda, beheaded the statue of Al Maʿarri during the conflict in Syria. Al Maʿarri remains widely cited among modern Arab atheists.