(Arabic: سِيبَوَيْه; c. 760–796), whose full name is Abu Bishr Amr ibn Uthman ibn Qanbar al-Basri (أَبُو بِشْر عَمْروْ ٱبْن عُثْمَان ٱبْن قَنْبَر ٱلْبَصْرِيّ, ʿAbū Bishr ʿAmr ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qanbar al-Baṣrīy), was a Persian leading grammarian of Basra and author of the earliest Arabic linguistics books. His famous unnamed work, referred to as Al-Kitab, or “The Book”, is a five volume seminal encyclopedic grammar of the Arabic language.
Born ca. 143/760, Sībawayh was from Shiraz, in Fars Province Iran. Reports vary, some say he went first to Basra, then to Baghdad, and finally back to the village of al-Baida near Shiraz where he died between 177/793 and 180/796, while another says he died in Basra in 161/777. His Persian nickname Sibuyah (Arabized as Sībawayh) – “odour of apples” – reportedly refers to his “sweet breath.” A protégé of the Banu Harith b. Ka’b b. ‘Amr b. ‘Ulah b. Khalid b. Malik b. Udad, he learned the dialects (languages) from Abu al-Khattab al-Akhfash al-Akbar (the Elder) and others. He came to Iraq in the days of Harun al-Rashid when he was thirty-two years old and died in Persia when he was over forty. He was a student of the two eminent grammarians Yunus ibn Habib and Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi, to whom, the latter, he was most indebted.