This book gives a rounded and balanced view of Arab literary creativity, past and present. Because it assumes no previous knowledge of Arabic or of its literary conventions, it is accessible to the first year student of the subject, and even to the inquisitive general reader who has no intention of becoming a specialist. Yet it has features that ought to stimulate interest among established scholars as well. ‘High’ literature is examined alongside popular folk literature (long ignored by Arab scholars and Arabists alike), and the classical and modern periods, usually treated separately, are presented together. Cachia’s observations are not subordinated to any pre-formed literary theory, but describe and illustrate the directions taken and results achieved, whether these conform to Western norms or strike out along distinctive lines. The book does not claim to have the last word on contentious issues, but it does indicate where the debate may be followed and where new research is being undertaken. It presents an overall picture of the field of relevance to the student of literature as well as to Arabists working in related fields. Pierre Cachia was born in Egypt in 1921, of a Maltese father and a Russian mother. After war service with the British 8th Army, he taught in the American University in Cairo (1946–48), in the University of Edinburgh (1950–75), and in Columbia University (1975–91). His publications are mostly on modern Arabic literature. He was a co-founder in 1970, and joint editor until 1996, of the Journal of Arabic Literature.

CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST Series editor: Ian R. Netton University of Leeds

This series studies the Middle East through the twin foci of its diverse cultures and civilizations. Comprising original monographs as well as scholarly surveys, it covers topics in the fields of Middle Eastern literature, archaeology, law, history, philosophy, science, folklore, art, architecture and language. While there is a plurality of views, the series presents serious scholarship in a lucid and stimulating fashion.


Pierre Cachia

. . . like a goodly tree, firm its roots, and its branches up in the sky (Qur a 14:24) ¯n


including photocopying and recording. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-22051-X Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-27542-X (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 0–7007–1725–0 (Print Edition) . or in any information storage or retrieval system. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic. now known or hereafter invented. London EC4P 4EE Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by RoutledgeCurzon 29 West 35th Street.tandf.First published in 2002 by RoutledgeCurzon 11 New Fetter Lane. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www. New York. mechanical.” RoutledgeCurzon is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group # 2002 Pierre Cachia All rights reserved.eBookstore. or other means. NY 10001 This edition published in the Taylor & Francis without permission in writing from the publishers.

To my former students whose enthusiasm sustained me and whose insights enriched me .


CONTENTS Preface The transcription of Arabic 1 The root 2 The stem 3 The bifurcation 4 The main growth 5 The Iberian branch 6 The stunting 7 The grafting Bibliography Index viii xi 1 15 31 47 87 103 123 183 185 vii .

It would enable them to fit the detailed information they got in these courses into a sensible perspective. subordinating them to the real needs of the readership I have in mind. For example. It does not even yield to all the priorities of the literary historian in that it does not necessarily name and characterize all the major literary figures of each period.PREFACE During my long teaching career. It dips only minimally into the political and cultural background of this literature. I like to think that such a book may be of service to the inquisitive general reader as well. I wished that my first year students had access to a short. It is such a book that I have tried to produce in my retirement. I have tried to curb my academic habits and inclinations. What above all it tries to do is to identify the trends and themes that developed over the centuries. It would in itself be valid and worthwhile. readable. It assumes no previous knowledge of Arabic. the field bristles with moot questions that can be resolved only by detailed examination of texts and discussion of arguments. It would guide their choice of the more advanced courses they might take. It might even open out for them an area in which to conduct research of their own. self-explanatory book that would give them not a deep but a rounded and balanced view of the entire field of Arab literary creativity. I have been content to draw the broad viii . An Egyptian folk proverb has it that “the flautist dies with his fingers still twitching”. although it does not evade linguistic peculiarities essential to the understanding of the literature. and to illustrate these with samples that will yield something of their flavour.

As for the general reader. he may ignore the technicalities and make what he can of the outlandish symbols. and if they are all of the same order then it is by the first that he ought to be addressed. and the third is his grandfather’s. One is to identify the source of a precise citation that is essential to an argument and not immediately traceable through the Internet. except in a few awkward instances I give the titles of books in English translation within the text. It is unavoidable when dealing with a language with phonemes that have no equivalent in English. These surnames usually end in a long ı and are preceded by the article ‘al-’ of which ¯ the ‘l’ assimilates into a number of phonetically congruent consonants. Very few Arabs have surnames that are passed from father to son. Nevertheless. A source of much confusion is Arabic names. not his. My advice to the budding Arabist is to grit his teeth and master one entirely reliable system good and early. I have never had the antipathy to footnotes that the general reader is reputed to harbour. otherwise he will be plagued with inconsistencies day after day. I have tried to take the burden off the reader’s shoulders by consistently using only one brief and widely used designation for each writer. As for the transcription of these names and titles. that I betray my academic formation by my use of footnotes. A person is often identified by a string of names. and he may be best known by one of them. it is a problem on a par with death and taxes. I am aware. Similarly. They are a convenient way of conveying necessary information without interrupting the flow of an argument. even formally. the second is his father’s personal name. ix .P R E FA C E parameters of the issue and list other sources to which the reader may turn if he is so minded. or even by a sobriquet that is not used to his face. and add the Arabic wording only in the index. but for the sake of the more punctilious reader I give additional or alternative forms only in the index. But a man may also have a patronymic or an honorific name. The other is to pass on to the reader additional information of the kind I have described in the preceding paragraph. He will not be better served by any other scheme. I have used them for only two purposes. however. but this is not always the case.

or not yet. x . The one I offer is minimal.P R E FA C E Finally. I wish such a reader all the enjoyment he can get. an expert Arabist and who wishes to take only a step or two beyond the information in this book. It is intended only for the reader who is not. a point of relevance to all present-day scholarly publications: Now that a few clicks on a computer’s keyboard can produce detailed lists of books on any subject. the kind of bibliography traditionally appended to books can be considerably curtailed.

A shift to the representation of Arabic as spoken rather than as written has become imperative both because there is no stable orthography for the vernaculars and because puns achieved by the distortion of normal pronunciation play a large part in folk compositions. Yet knowledge of some regional vernaculars has become an indispensable part of Arabic studies now that echoes of everyday speech have a place even in the literature of the elite and that some scholarly interest is being taken in Arab folk ´ literature. ˇ More radically. I have devised a system of transcription that serves all purposes and yet does little violence to longestablished ways. These three exceptions are made to avoid a multiplicity of variations on ‘g’ and ‘h’. I have built on the foundation laid by Brockelmann. they are proving entirely inadequate in dealing with colloquial forms of the language. especially metrical ones. and for its voiced equivalent Ù ˘ I use ‘x’ rather than his ‘g’. Additional phonemes peculiar to ˙ xi . I borrow from the International Phonetic Alphabet ‘x’ instead of his ‘h’ for Arabic ˝ . In the service of classical Arabic. Never entirely satisfactory. I retain all his symbols except three.THE TRANSCRIPTION of both classical and colloquial Arabic The transliteration systems currently in use are mostly – but not consistently – tied to Arabic orthography. whose system is familiar to all serious Arabists even if they do not favour it in their own writings. The shift will be of some benefit even to the classicists since it will facilitate the transcription and discussion of connected passages. I adopt the widely used ‘j’ instead of his ‘g’. After much experimentation and the infliction of much pain on colleagues and students. To avoid digraphs. For Arabic ¸ .

The ¯ ˙ ˙ otherwise unmarked ‘a’ may. however. Finally. Their description follows. as in Allah. At least when the phenomenon ¯ affects the sense of a passage. ‘the Pope’. continue to do duty for ¯ either the front or the back vowel when the distinction between them is determined by known phonetic rules. ˙ ˙ ‘t’. Here is a table of all the symbols peculiar to Arabic pronunciation: ö Ö Symbol IPA ? ? ¿ a A Arabic script Hamza Description Glottal stop Regional pronunciation of a ¨ ul. harmonize with Brockelmann’s usage. but wakkal. These are the only innovations which I urge my fellow-Arabists to adopt. To the generally accepted ‘ ’’ for hamza and ‘‘ ’ for Ø I personally prefer ‘ ’ and ‘ ’ because my aging eyes find these clearer and because their alignment with other symbols seems to me more consistent with their status as phonemes rather than mere diacritics. because dictionaries of the vernaculars are few and because folk poets exploit different regional usages in punning. but al-baba. and ‘z’ are adequately marked with a dot beneath. The so-called “emphatic” or pharyngalized consonants ‘d’. ‘he fed’. I deem it a kindness to the reader to mark the letters which depart from classical pronunciation with an umlaut. What no ˙ ˙ existing system of transliteration has acknowledged is that pharyngalization can extend to a whole word that contains none of these consonants.THE TRANSCRIPTION various vernaculars. thus wakkal. and al-baba. I favour signaling it by placing a dot under the ‘a’ since the change from a front to a back vowel is the most clearly audible indication of the quality pervading the whole word. hence jarı. as in Egyptian mayya. There are others in which my example may be ignored without invalidating the system. but jarı. ‘I say’ ¯ ö¨ ö Ö a a ˙ Æ. where the ‘w’ replaces an ¨ initial hamza. as in Cairene Ø fatha ˙ öö Back ‘a’. ‘my neighbour’. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ‘the door’ (in the accusative). ‘he appointed as agent’. ‘current’. ‘s’. listed in the table below. ‘water’ ˙ xii .

as in zanb. ‘firm’ ¨¯ Pharyngalized s ¨¯ Colloquial ˚. as in Egyptian dabah. misdeed’ ¨ . ‘revenge’ (cf. as in yom. ‘mountain’ Regional Æ as in Upper Egyptian agul. ‘my neighbour’ ¯ ¯ ˙ Pharyngalized ‘d’ Like ‘th’ in this ¨ Regional ˇ. ‘he ˙ slaughtered’ Colloquial rendering of ‘ay’ as in bet. as in tar.THE TRANSCRIPTION Symbol a ¯ a ¯ ˙ d ˙ d ¨ d e ¯ g g ¨ h ˙ ı ¯ ı IPA a:-A: A: d D d E: g g É i: @ Arabic script Description Back or front vowel As in jarı. as in Egyptian il-bintı gat. ‘house’ ¯ Cairene ¸ as in gabal. ta r) Like ‘th’ in thirst Pharyngalized t ç preceded by ˙damma ç in diphthong Colloquial initial hamza. ¨ ¨ ‘ear’ ö Colloquial ˇ. ‘I say’ ¨¯ ö alif alif öÕ ˇ vß Ì Ł ö J o ¯ q s s ¨ s ˇ s ˙ t ¨ t t t ˙ u ¯ w w ¨ x x z z ¨ z ˙ z ¨ ˙ D o: q s s S ~ s t t T t $ u: w w x æ z z z $ z $ ¸ çß Æ Ò Ó Ô É ˚ ç ç ˝ Ù Ñ Neutral vowel added to break a consonantal cluster. ‘fault. as in Egyptian widn. ‘the ¯ girl came’ Pronounced Z in the Levant Colloquial rendering of ‘aw’. ‘day’ ¯ Colloquial ˚ as in sabit.

Colloquial Õ. ‘officer’ ¨¯ ˙ ˙ xiii . as in Egyptian zabit.

as against al-fata. or the much rarer “Imru u” in which the desinence extends to two syllables. but in pausal form it should be transcribed as an ‘h’ only if immediately preceded by a long vowel thus qitta. and that a hamzat wasl occurring after ˙ a vowel need not be represented by any symbol. it follows that the sun-letters should take the form of the consonants with which they assimilate. Finally. however. to circumvent some of ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ the complications that occur in alphabetical listing. I favour hyphenating the inseparable parts of a name e. thus “ Abu-Talib”. but al-fatah. When. with one vowel preceding the third radical and another following it. Ta abbata-Sarran. ‘the young ¯ ˙˙ woman’. Ibn-Xaldun. A ta marbuta ¯ ¯ ˙ should become a ‘t’ when carrying a desinential vowel.Atahiya. I concede that when these occur in a context that does not require them to be grammatically declined – as in an English sentence or an alphabetic list – they should be transcribed as if each separable element was in pausal form. then in the absence of any other factor it is the nominative case that should prevail. ¯ ˇ Abd-ar-Rahman. ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö xiv .g. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Colleagues who choose to try out these innovations will find that they give access to new destinations without departing far from the beaten path.Abı-Talib”. thus Abd-Allah ¯ rather than Abdu-llahi. ‘a cat’.THE TRANSCRIPTION If Arabic is to be transcribed as uttered rather than as written. but “ibn. In deference to representations made to me by conservative colleagues and in order to avoid confusion with the form in which such names appear in other publications. ¯ Arabic proper nouns bristle with problems. such a noun incorporates ¯ a desinential vowel that cannot be ignored as in the “ Abu” which ¯ forms part of patronymics. ‘the young man’.: Abu-l.

and the foaling of a noble mare. on the other hand. one that flourished even at times when other arts were virtually unknown. This is but one indication that the Arab poetic tradition – embodied in numerous orally transmitted compositions.1 THE ROOT “Have poets left a song unsung?” Such is at least one reading of an opening line by Antara. a favourite spot for tattooing). And to this day attending a poetry recitation in the Arab world is an eye-opener for the outsider: he will see and hear an audience of hundreds sitting for four hours or more. even nowadays. Indeed poetry has long been deemed the supreme art form among the Arabs. or the conceit that the swords of a warring clan are flawless except for the notches resulting from the blows dealt to an enemy. consists only of some proverbs and orations reported at a much later date. such as the striking comparison of the half-erased traces of ´ a desert encampment to repeated tattoo-marks among the veins of the wrist (the wrist being. The literary prose of the same period. An often quoted dictum by the critic Ibn-Rasıq ˇ¯ (1000–63 or 71) has it that the early Arabs congratulated one another for only three occurrences: the birth of a boy. the emergence of a poet. for it was already firmed up by conventions and even equipped with cliches. a good century and a half before the emergence of Islam – is the product of a long development. some purportedly dating back to the middle of the fifth century. one of the most celebrated of pre-Islamic poets. listening intently and responding instantly and forcefully as one poet after another declaims his compositions. Ö 1 .

358–368. When so engaged he might appear with half his hair anointed. and principally in Ukaz – at which the ¯ ¯ ˙ tribes shared commercial and religious activities. the same rhyme was maintained throughout. and the judgments given and often acrimoniously disputed were Ö Ö Ö 1 A convenient description of these metres is to be found in W. and he would point at the opposing tribe while delivering his verse. rhythm was achieved by repetitive patterns of long and short syllables..THE ROOT The words for poetry. rival poets sought the arbitration of some highly respected master of the craft. ¯ But it is also recorded that the tribes observed months of truce every year. Wright’s A Grammar of the Arabic Language. when war even between sworn enemies was suspended. If the accounts written somewhat later are to be believed. however. Originally. And no matter how long a poem was. the root denoted ‘knowledge. Cambridge University Press. and at least the satires he directed at an enemy had the character of a curse. inviting an association with the Romantic notion that poetry is primarily concerned with emotion. To this day the Arabic name for the index finger is as-sabbaba.. In this.” And indeed the Arabs have inherited from pre-Islamic times an imposing body of robust poetry that has set the standard for successive centuries. The poet was a repository and recorder of tribal lore. however. and in this book this practice will be maintained as it is sufficient for tracing most entries in any collection. need no such treatment. are from a root ˇ ˇ¯ which has come to denote ‘feeling’. vol. 3rd ed. ‘the curser’. one shoulder covered and the other bare. in most of which each line runs to between twenty-two and thirty syllables. and at which (as happens even now at folk festivals) poets competed for attention. Until the twentieth century a poem was identified not by a title but by its metre and rhyme. 1896. and during these months fairs were held in some centres – in Mecca. and for poet. Ö 2 . sa ir. later analyzed and somewhat artificially expanded into sixteen metres. etc. Each was believed to have a demon. and only one foot shod. hence the saying that “poetry is the register of the Arabs. awareness’.1 There are indications that at an early stage the poets had a supranormal function in the tribe. divided into hemistichs. si r. 2. pp. in Du-l-Majaz. The mu allaqat mentioned ¯ below.

The first five lines of his poem emphatically assert Durayd’s own acumen before proclaiming his tribal solidarity in strikingly jingoistic terms (tawıl/dı): ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ True was my counsel to Arid and his companions. seeing What they erroneously saw. c. And for my purposes the mounts and saddlebags are strapped. one of ˇ ˇ ¯ several rogue poets who relied not on the backing of their tribe to survive. For to another kinship I incline. I uttered my behest at Mun araj al-Liwa.THE ROOT concerned not with their demonic alliances but with their human fallibility in the use of words. ˙ The kinsmen of as-Sawda – and the whole tribe are my ¯ witnesses: Said I. And when Xaziyya is wise. with the result that a number of men. disregarding his advice. 3 . but after getting away with some booty the raiding party. that I was ill-advised. ¯ But they did not perceive its wisdom till next the sun was high. Moonlit is the night. the poetry on record had ample room for both tribal and personal motifs.550). were killed. 630) which recounts how he participated in a raid on ˙ ˙ an enemy tribe which started well. Urgent are my needs. my mother’s sons. Ö ö Ö The opposite sentiment is voiced by as-Sanfara (d. including the poet’s brother. And from the start. Their leaders clad in armour of Persian make!” But when they disregarded me I stayed at one with them. Am I anything but a man of Xaziyya? When it errs. stopped to divide the spoils and was overtaken by a detachment from the offended tribe. The role of the individual in pre-Islamic society is well characterized in a poem by Durayd ibnas-Simma (d. but on their own wits and hardihood (tawıl/lu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Up with the breasts of your riding-beasts. “Beware: two thousand well-armed men. I err. then am I wise.

so ¯ called because they were purportedly written in gold and suspended inside the ka ba. The early Muslim scholars who collected this precious material called any of these poems on a single theme a qit a. in a different collection. I swear. and he gives expression to what was known as “weeping over the ruins. the shaggy-maned hyena. ‘a piece’. A lone retreat for him who shuns reproach. Sometimes what stirred the poet’s emotion was an apparition which he took to be the spectre of the beloved. ten – widely recognized masterpieces known as the mu allaqat. The land. The furtive spotted serpent. This was the celebration of a lost love. But there was also praise for the peace-makers. i. as if it ˙ was a fragment detached from a larger unit. however. the cubical shrine that was revered in Mecca even before it became the focus of the Muslim pilgrimage. wine-songs. with only a little straining. The term may. be taken to refer to the stringing together of several themes. comes upon the traces of an encampment where once dwelt a woman he loved. the entire poem started with a situation so conventional and so well understood by the audience that it was not explicitly described: The poet. More commonly. Prominent of course were poems praising tribes and chieftains. That is a company midst whom one’s secrets are kept And one is not shunned for a fault once committed. They reserved the term qasıda.THE ROOT To the noble-spirited. The first part of a qasıda. for a kind of ode constructed on a ¯ ˙ particular tripartite pattern. ‘the suspended odes’. traveling through the desert with one or two companions. now used for any poem. Between these poles was a wide range of human experience for the pre-Islamic poets to explore. the significance of which is now lost but Ö Ö Ö 4 .e. earth offers a refuge from harm. however. and hunting-songs. was known as the nasıb or amatory ¯ ¯ ˙ prelude. They left to posterity a treasury of love-songs. does not shrink before one Set questing by fear or desire. celebrating warlike deeds with the consequent elegies on the death of heroes. This pattern is best exemplified in seven – or. if he but keep his wits.” Here and elsewhere specific locations are named. Other kinsmen have I: The nimble-footed wolf.

And do not banish me from your oft-tasted fruit. where the cauldron once rested. The day I entered the howdah – Unayza’s howdah – She saying. as the saddle-frame swayed beneath us both. But in some instances – notably in the suspended ode of Imru u-l-Qays – it leads to a boastful recounting of the poet’s many seductions. she turned towards him With half her body. the amatory prelude was more nostalgic than erotic. Among the many days he remembered with relish were: ö . by toilsome imagining. the other half unturned beneath me. “Many be your woes! You force me down!” And again. made out the abode: The blackened hearth-stones. If. she denied herself To me with an oath from which was no evasion: Ö ö 5 . resembling Retraced tattoo marks among the veins of the wrist? There do the wild cows and oryxes follow one another. “Travel on. And a trench. “You’ve hocked my camel. uncrumbled. Many like you have I visited at night – a pregnant or nursing mother. I called to the spring-site: “Good morning. on a sand dune. Distracting her from a one year-old bedecked with amulets.” And a day when. Dismount!” I told her. this unspeaking ruin ¯ In the rocky plain between Darraj and Mutatallam? ¯ And that abode of hers at Raqmatayn. When I knew the abode. And their young spring up from their resting places. he cried. . behind her. Thus in Zuhayr’s (d.THE ROOT which may be presumed to have been desirable sites to which only prestigious tribes had access. like a cistern’s edge. But the features that stir the poet’s emotional recollection are precise.609) suspended ode: Is it Ummu Awfa’s. I halted there after twenty years And. . Imru u-l-Qays. with its nose-rein loosened. spring-site! May you be safe!” ö ö Usually.

1974. Or like a full-uddered wild ass. She still has zest within her bridle. pregnant to a white-bellied male. my heart obeys? If any trait of mine displeases you. ¯ ˙ If adamant to cut me off.661) suspended ode. Wm. or with a convenient transitional phrase such as “Often do I set off when birds are in their nests” which Imru u-l-Qays uses in four of his poems. go softly with some of this cocquettishness. Mares.P. c. The Golden Ode. with photographs by Wm. in a southerly wind.THE ROOT “O Fatima. see: Labıd ibn ¯ Rabı‘a. R. Yet when exhausted. but the sole course If she falters or is inconstant is severance By means of a she-camel travel-wearied. unburdened of its rain. Richly repay the gracious one. ¯ Chicago U. her flesh and fur thinned down. be seemly! Is your delusion that my love for you is fatal. Polk. And that whatever you command.. however – either as a proud reaction to rejection. her marrow and hump reduced. his own mount. the rahıl or journey in which he has ¯ ˙ opportunity to describe the desert setting and its fauna. or even without any such preparation – the poet launches into the second part of the ode. The thongs of her foot-guards in tatters. his hardihood and skill in hunting or in battle. 2 For an indication of how apposite the poet’s description was. 6 . Then slip my garments from your own – they will slip off! Soon. Emaciated. tr. where having urged ¯ himself to turn away from a hopeless love he moves through a concatenation of images – functionally thorough and sharp in detail2 – of which the first few lines read: ö Cut short your longing for an uncertain union: The best preserver of a love is a decisive break. J. like a cloud Tinged red. made lean By his chasing and kicking and biting of other stallions. A prime example is in Labıd’s (d.

faultlessly I charged. Tractable are my mounts. as does Tarafa: ˙ You who reprove me for sharing in the fray And for cultivating pleasures – can you ensure my immortality? If you cannot ward off my end. Still I aimed at them the blaze on his neck And his breast until he was draped in blood.THE ROOT And who. or boasting of his carousing and his lavish hospitality. wherever I wish. They call out “ Antara!” and the lances are like The ropes of a well in my black charger’s breast. He may also sum up his personal priorities. Be they long-bodied mares or short-haired males. Each urging the other. yet drives her up the rocky heights. having reached his destination. He would – had he power of speech – have addressed me. Antara! Advance!” While grimly the horses pitched into soft ground. Then let me hasten to it with what I have at hand. Troubled by her refractoriness and rut. But for three that are part of a real man’s life – I swear: I would care nothing when my sick-bed comforters rose! 7 . My counselor Is my heart. In the third part the poet. It restored my spirit and cleared its unease That the horsemen called out “Woe. He would – had he knowledge of discourse – have pleaded. and I spur it with well-twined resolution. Ö Ö The poet’s chosen theme may equally be praise of the peace-makers. He swerved at the thrust of the shafts in his breast Appealing to me with a tear and a whinny. develops his main theme. This may be an account of his own participation in a battle. though scarred. as in Antara’s: Ö When I saw the tribe advance in a mass.

This exposition has some merit so far as the nasıb is concerned. An early attempt to account for it was made by the critic ibn-Qutayba (828–89) in the introduction of his Book of Poetry and Poets. beneath a pole-propped tent. And we the ones who show resolve against defiance. He then expatiated on the hardships he had endured on his way to his patron. And we the ones who ravage when we are tested.THE ROOT Of these is outpacing reproachers with a draught Of red wine that foams when topped with water. ¯ which is not without parallel in other literatures. and having thus implied a claim for recompense. since the subject is one in which almost everyone has some interest. That we are the ones rejecting what we abhor. That we are the ones protecting who obeys us. And we the ones who settle where we choose. That we are the ones who guard what we desire. Then. “lawful or unlawful”. when alerted and nearing water. as in one kind of 8 . wheeling a wide-legged steed. That when we come to water we drink it limpid. Keen as the thicket wolf. he finally launched into his eulogy. And we the ones who seize what pleases us. His suggestion was that the poet began with some amatory verse to establish a rapport with his audience. While others drink the turbid and the muddy! Ö *** This conventional tripartite arrangement of the ode is intriguing. And shortening a cloud-shaded day – and pleasing is such a day – With a plump and pretty one. No less revealing of the dominant values of the period is Amr ibn-Kultum’s boasting of the power of his tribe: ¯ Ö Well have the Ma addi tribes experienced When on their plain the tents are pitched That we are the ones who feed when we have means. at the call of a guest.

and Act III closes with his re-creation. 1997) pp. and conclusion. If one also takes into account that the tripartite arrangement was a highly-prized form but not a must for every poetic outburst. monothematic or tripartite. nor do they fit all the plain facts. Journal of Arabic Literature. one notices that the first part does indeed – as Ibn-Qutayba observed – strike a universal theme that helps to establish a rapport between the poet and his audience. Mary Catherine Bateson. these speculations are not unstrained. Structural Continuity in Poetry: a Linguistic Study of Five Pre-Islamic Arabic Odes..5 One suggestion is that the ode be taken as a formally delivered message intended to influence. in which poets made a living by seeking the patronage of the mighty and the wealthy. Modern scholars have looked closely into the structure of the qasıda 4 and offered subtler explanations for the multiplicity of its ¯ ˙ parts. pp. 1970.g. the second depicts the environment.–Dec. 5 Conveniently surveyed in Jaroslav Stetkevych. Ibn-Qutayba appears to have had in mind a later situation.P. This has 3 T.) Reorientations: Arabic and Persian Poetry. Chicago U. 90–95. Act II is the hero’s home-leaving and quest. display the range of his gifts and demonstrate their relevance to the life of his contemporaries. Taking the existing texts at face value and without attempting to fit them into a strict formula. possesses organic unity. 9–49. Another is to compare it to a sonata with its succession of movements. Although thought-provoking. III ¨ ¯ (1972). 4 E. But see also Shawkat M. however. Johnstone.THE ROOT Icelandic narrative poem where each phase of the story is preceded by a couple of amatory verses. This in turn raises the question whether the classical Arabic poem. pp. The Zephyrs of Najd. in Journal of the American Oriental Society.M. Stetkevych (ed. in which Act I recalls a lost Eden.. 117.. one can see how it suits a special formal and competitive occasion – such as a poetry-fair – at which a poet would want to gain the good will of his audience. Mouton & Co. 9 . 1993.3 In other respects. 4 Oct. argumentation. “Nasıb and Mansongur”. 759–762. narration. Toorawa’s review of Suzanne P. Paris. or to the classical mythopoesis. and the third celebrates some of the qualities that a man of the desert needs for survival. and as such comparable to a Ciceronian oration consisting of exordium.

Attention was given to the balance of themes and the smoothness of transitions. but analyses of the structure of an entire poem were virtually unknown. ¯ ˙ 10 .THE ROOT been a concern of Arab critics only in modern times and under the influence of European practice and perception.6 The fact is that the length of a line makes it possible for the Arab poet to round off a thought.J. They call out “ Antara!” and the swords are like The flashing of lightning in the darkened clouds. The Vagaries of the Qasıdah. They call out “ Antara!” and chainmail is like The eyes of frogs in a rippling pond. 1982. As he was renowned for his wisdom. In the Arab literary tradition. a notion. Yet the effort also seems to imply that the absence of such unity is a disqualification. see G. Indeed when. Gibb Memorial Trust. prosody was codified. a fancy within its limits. producing: Ö They call out “ Antara!” and the lances are like The ropes of a well in my black charger’s breast. And for an example of how extensively the lines of a poem may be shuffled around. the first line was striking enough to spawn comparable additions which in some editions are integrated into the text. Zuhayr’s suspended ode closes with seventeen sententious lines with little relevance to his main theme or continuity between them. see James E. Brill. one may suspect that 6 For a full treatment of this subject. Leiden. Attempts to demonstrate the cohesion of particular poems have followed. incorporate others. a poet was often exalted or condemned on the strength of a single line or a short sequence of lines.W.J. notionally or in grammatical structure. Especially in a monorhyme poem. is not so evident. The cohesion of a succession of lines. 33–36. pp. an image. for example. it was considered a fault if a line could not stand by itself. E. Beyond the Line. E. or rearrange the order. it is easy to drop some lines.H. occasionally revealing some previously unsuspected wealth of associations. in early Islamic times. let alone an entire ode. Montgomery. Van Geert. 1997. They call out “ Antara!” and the arrows are like A flight of locusts over a waterpoint.J. In the passage from Antara already quoted. Ö Ö Ö Ö Similarly.

is this enormous corpus of pre-Islamic poetry? There have always been suspicions about the authenticity of texts that were not committed to writing until the period to which they relate was over. so extreme a verdict has been rejected by most scholars.THE ROOT some anonymous aphorisms that fitted the metre and rhyme of his great poem were added to it. And when in the body of his ode one encounters these lines: Do not withhold from God what is in your souls to hide it: Whatever is withheld from God. Ö 11 . *** How reliable. At least one modern critic7 has argued that the bulk of reputedly pre-Islamic poetry was fabricated later. It may be delayed. in his Fi s-Si ri l-Jahilı. Some of the earliest transmitters were credited with extraordinary feats of memory but not with the strictest honesty. 1926. Although his conclusion is overstated. but the existence of a literary idiom shared by many does not strain credibility if there were occasions on which poets met and vied with one another. Above all. More stubborn difficulties arise from the apparent uniformity of language in the compositions of poets said to belong to different. deposited in a book and retained For the Day of Reckoning. Admittedly. many ¯ of the observations leading to it deserve close attention. Daru l-Kutub. as present-day folk poets demonstrate when they form puns by exploiting linguistic characteristics of different regions. widely scattered tribes. He knows. the corpus handed down is too substantial and too self-consistent to be globally discredited. mainly to suit a Muslim agenda.’ Cairo. or it is hastened for requital one may well infer that the insertion was made in Islamic times. Besides. then. For it to have been fraudulently created would have required not only a 7 This is Taha Husayn (1889–1973). ‘On Pre-Islamic ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Poetry. some incidental accounts and attributions relating to the poetry – such as an elegy by Adam on the death of Abel – are manifest fantasies and are to be discounted. dialects are not rigidly exclusive and impervious. Rightly.

the poet consulted an idol to find out if the time was propitious for him to take revenge. some redaction. let alone the mouth of an honoured forefather. A widely accepted view is that religion sat lightly on the nomads’ shoulders. who challenged him to turn his staff into a serpent. it shows how reluctant a Muslim was to put an impious statement into his mouth. But the general character of the pre-Islamic poetry handed down may be taken to be authentic – possibly with one corrective. ‘I know of no lord of yours other than myself (Qur an 28:38)” and the prince released ¯ him rather than utter such words. For the total absence of any expression of religious loyalty in it calls for some questioning. later bowdlerized? There is another aspect of life in pre-Islamic Arabia on which the poetry is silent. often mentioned in ö ö ö 12 . but the arrows he drew repeatedly counseled “no action” until he flung them in the face of the false god saying. cautiously.THE ROOT large number of highly gifted forgers. ¯ But if so. The tendency would be to accentuate the pattern. “If it was your father who had been killed. but also large-scale collusion on the character it was to be given. not a few anecdotes had currency such as that a man pretending to be Moses was brought for judgment before the prince. some filling of lacunae. They had mercantile cities plagued with social tensions. Is it not likely that – formally at least – the poetry proudly recited as one’s ancestors’ glorious achievement abounded in invocations to pagan deities. you would not be holding me back!” Later in Islam. some falsification. why was there such violent opposition to the preaching of Islam? Why were there hundreds of idols for the Prophet to destroy in Mecca? Is it not odd that the few references to these idols in a literary context are in derogatory anecdotes? An instance of this is the story that when Imru u-l-Qays’s father was killed. did duty instead. and an ideal of muru a. not to subvert it. ‘manliness’. the man countered. these would have passed muster only if they fitted in with existing models and fell into an existing pattern. Apocryphal as the story undoubtedly is. As is true of any ancient literature orally transmitted. The Arabs were no strangers to sea-faring. of which the plight of orphans. “First you must say as did Pharaoh. to fishing and pearl-diving. Even if there was some sifting. specific texts need to be approached critically.

implies some progression towards – and a growing need for – broader loyalties than to the tribe. was a symptom.THE ROOT the Qur an. Persia. It was for the new religion first preached in Mecca to offer an answer to new needs. requiring secure caravan routes through the territories of several tribes. or the responsible civic leader. a pantheon in Mecca housing the idols of many tribes. The fact that there were agreed months of truce. without a moment’s hesitation to reckon the likely cost. the city dwellers had links with politically advanced neighbours – Byzantine Syria. ö ö 13 . What is more. Abyssinia. fitted the experience of the desert tribesman. The ideal of muru a which glorified a readiness to ride instantly into action at ¯ the slightest threat to one’s honour or interests. fairs serving a wide territory. calculating merchant. But the evidence is that poetry was born of nomadic desert life. and it is the ethos of this nomadic desert life that its conventions perpetuated. but it could command only lip-service from the canny. At the heart of the malaise was the ¯ fact that enterprising merchants did not feel responsible for kinsmen who – perhaps deservedly – had fallen on evil days as tribesmen did. They had a regular trade. It is in this sense that poetry was said to be “the record of the Arabs”. with Mecca as its hub.


¯ ¯ 15 . But the Prophet is known to have been fond of poetry. Such headstrong qualities appear to have come within the connotations of the word jahil. Have you not seen that they wander in this valley and that. ¯ Else we shall be more jahil than all jahils. The poets targeted by the Qur an were specifically the pre-Islamic ¯ ones. who do good deeds. the desert Arab “with his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him”. which cannot have had entirely ¯ pejorative connotations since Amr ibn-Kultum in his mu allaqa ¯ boasted of his tribe’s fearsome power with the words: ö ö Ö Ö Let no one act the jahil against us. and have prevailed after they were wronged?” It is tempting to see in this passage a blanket condemnation of poets and their imaginative ways. and he had his own champions among poets. cautious consideration of their options. the moment he or his fellow-tribesmen were challenged. the Prophet’s tribe of Qurays ˇ being particularly noted for its staidness and prudence. without pausing to calculate the risks involved. and that they say what they do not do – except those who have believed. and it culminates ¯ in verses which read: “The poets are followed by the misguided. remember God constantly. and measured enterprises.2 THE STEM Chapter 26 of the Qur an is entitled “The Poets”. who were the guardians and spokesmen of the ethos of the nomadic tribes. could survive only if he was ready to spring into bold and dangerous action. Unlike the merchants of Mecca and of other cities who needed long-term planning.

making the Arabs not only the propagators of a world faith but also the catalysts. when he reached competence. The transformation. The first century and a half after the death of the Prophet in 632 was to witness a vast expansion of Islam and the rapid creation of an empire engulfing Persia to the East and Hellenized territories in the Fertile Crescent and North Africa.Abı-Talib. in 661. the great schism occurred between the Sunnites or orthodox Muslims. before authority passed in 749 to the Abbasids. Ö Ö 16 . Caliphs were murdered. of a many-faceted culture. and their language the medium. It was usual for a budding poet to serve a kind of apprenticeship by acting as rhapsodist to an established master. with their seat in Iraq. Islam was to institute a ¯ “brotherhood of believers” in which “an Arab has no pre-eminence over a non-Arab except he be more pious”. and ¯ eventually the word jahil came to mean merely “ignorant” and the ¯ pre-Islamic period. that the Qur an fulminated. A widespread apostasy within Arabia had to be put down by force of arms. Instead.THE STEM It is against this ethos rooted in a narrow tribal loyalty. and the Shiites1 who held that the Caliphate ought to be restricted to kinsmen of the Prophet. and against the poets who celebrated it. and from it was formed that adjective ‘Shiite’. was not effected overnight. But it was also a period of great turmoil. with its capital in Damascus. There was in fact such a direct line of succession from the pre-Islamic Zuhayr all the way to Kutayyir (660–723). Power struggles enlisting religious and ethnic interests flared and led to the foundation of the Umayyad dynasty. he would acquire a rhapsodist of his own who would perpetuate the process. became known as the Jahiliyya. presumably because the poets were disoriented by the challenge to their traditional function and values. however. The poetic production contemporary with the Prophet and immediately following his death is generally considered somewhat disappointing. The word has passed into ˇ¯ ¯ English as ‘Shiah’. But it was not long before the old standards reasserted themselves. ö Ö ö 1 The partisans of Alı were first known as his sı a. who ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ was the Prophet’s cousin and his son-in-law. beginning with Alı ibn. ignorant as it was of God’s will for His creation.

the poet closest to the Prophet. and associations ˙ That shine while other traces fade and their fire dies out. ¯ ¯ ˙ adapted traditional themes to new purposes. Not shieldless or mountless or swordless in battle. . And never retreat from the fields of slaughter. ¯ . with some appropriate new values and new images 17 . But I have hope of the Apostle’s forgiveness.. In a company of Qurays. ¯ then went on to praise the Prophet and his companions in terms that include some new metaphors.. Indelible are the signs in a hallowed site Where stands the pulpit which the Guide used to ascend. before 661). Soft! May you be guided by Him who gave you the gift Of the Qur an with its admonitions and expositions. new notions to express and new images to unfold. on his way to make obeisance to the new power in Medina.. ö Hassan ibn-Tabit (d. The Apostle is truly a light by which one is illumined. of whom one called out ˇ While yet in Mecca: “Off [to Medina]!” They went and it was no weaklings who went. Ka b (d. as in his reminiscing (tawıl/du): ¯ ¯ ˙ In Tayba are traces of the Messenger. They never are gashed except in the neck..THE STEM There were of course new allegiances to proclaim. Nor are they distressed when attained.648/9) the son of Zuhayr. but otherwise might equally have been applied to a tribal chief (basıt/lu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö Ö I am told that the Apostle of God has threatened me. They neither rejoice when their lances attain a tribe. Immediate successors also give evidence of their attachment to the new order. composed an ode which began conventionally with an amorous prelude in which the poet recalled his unrequited love for Su ad. A drawn blade of Indian make among the swords of God.

814) urging ¯ ˙ that discourse should be of the divine law but also (munsarih/ru): ¯ ˙ . It is not without some irony that the term came virtually to mean ‘a heretic’ whereas it is their religious fervour that their many fine poets express. but they broke away in 657 when he agreed to arbitration instead of doing battle. . 18 . Abu-Bila Mirdas (d. But even after Islam was wellestablished. What you do with our limbs or bodies. Similarly. ‘to go out’. swell my devotion. There are. in the first century of Islam remarkably few expressions of religious fervour except in the poetry of the Kharijites. When death to us is an ornamental collar? No wont of ours is flight from strife. Their appellation is derived from the Arabic root xaraja. for in their eyes he was setting the judgment of humans above that of the Lord of Hosts.THE STEM mingled with inherited ones. there were those who were wary of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. To piety.680/1) trumpeted his defiance (basıt/ ¯l ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ alı): ¯¯ ö We care nothing. one who has opted out. These were once supporters of Alı in his contest for the Caliphate ¯ against the Umayyads. Muhammad ibn-Munadir (d. Thus the intrepid warrior Qatarı ibn-al-Fuja a (d. Lord. I am one whom the Lord despatches to His tryst When other hearts collapse for fear of calamities. In return. . Then increase my spurning of life. Of the wonders of our jahilliyya ¯ For it is wisdom and experience. in fact. It is Paradise we seek when our skulls are laid Beneath the dust like crumbling colocynth. (plural xawarij) ¯ ¯ ¯ means ‘a seceder’. once our souls depart.698/9) (rajaz/adah): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö ö Till when shall martyrdom pass me by. they were mercilessly hunted down by their former allies. They then isolated themselves in communities rigidly observant of religious practices and intolerant of all others. so that xarijı.

dwelling not only on its 19 . ¯ ¯ ¯ And Isa ibn. In one. for often the easiest way of putting down a fractious tribe was to levy a punitive force from its traditional enemies. none else. But our jahil outdoes all other jahils! ¯ ¯ Jarır’s response was a poem recounting ancient battles in which ¯ al-Farazdaq’s tribe had been humiliated. The persistence of old standards is nowhere more explicit than in the long and fierce poetic vendetta fought by Jarır (c. old habits of thought were perpetuated in that it was under the name of mawalı. Yet there is no nobility. ¯ Each of the tribes champions its pretender. they were not always consistent in their policy.653–729) ¯ and al-Farazdaq (c. And my deeds are offered for the final reckoning. for much ancestral pride was invested in them. al-Farazdaq echoed Amr ibn-Kultum’s pre-Islamic boast (kamil/ ¯ ¯ alı): ¯¯ Ö By the weight of mountains is our staidness measured.THE STEM The earth has given me what it now reclaims. Though others boast of Bakr or of Tamım. in poems that were mostly unrestrained and often scabrous streams of vituperation. And as non-Arabs converted to Islam. lambasting each other personally and belittling the tribe that each of them championed. To make him out of noble stock. and even carried them far from their original home. ¯¯ i.e. Even though – Islamic teaching apart – it was in the long term interest of the Caliphs and their governors to wean their subjects from narrow affiliations. tribal clients. that they were integrated into the community.Atik al-Xattı most specifically proclaimed his priorities ¯ ˙˙ (wafir/mı): ¯ ¯ Ö Ö My father is Islam.640–728). each inviting a counterblast using the same metre and rhyme. though lofty be the origins: Only the pious have nobility. The Arabs did in fact long retain their tribal loyalties. publicly declaimed and widely circulated.

to which sly indirect reference could be made even in the victim’s presence. Remarkably keen and industrious men of learning 20 . Weeping of an evening for fear of captivity. because he could never enter a mosque without being reminded of it. but also on the double slur that its men were incapable of satisfying their oversexed women: There the Lahazim kept toying with women ¯ On a day when they stank of urine. but men they are not – Like hyenas the women sniff at the exhausted male. all the more urgent as non-Arabs in huge numbers adopted Islam as their faith and Arabic as their language. As they lay amid baggage and saddlery – Let it not escape you that the Mujasi ¯ˇ Have the semblance of men. How stubborn the old loyalties were is shown when. Jarır reversed Islamic priorities by using religious ¯ history to bolster the reputation of the Mudar group of tribes ˙ against its rival (kamil/na): ¯ ¯ He Who denied the Taxlib all claims to honour Has placed both prophethood and caliphate with us. The hold of the past was further strengthened by the scholarship that took shape at the time. Ö And later in the same poem he said of his rival’s aunt. Al-Farazdaq is said to have admitted that this was the most hurtful line directed at him. a highly respected lady: Sakına wishes that her neighbourhood mosque ¯ Had pillars consisting of penises of mules. And over a distended penis they moo for three nights. Indeed a satirist was never so successful as when he gave currency to a highly quotable line. in yet another poem. The need to ensure a correct interpretation of the Scriptures.THE STEM inability to protect its women. stimulated the study and codification of grammar and lexicography. high-placed though he might be.

1966. At any rate. and these some of the glib beduins were all too willing to produce. 21 . Scholarship undoubtedly favoured some antiquarianism. and ended with sixteen metres. Untersuchungen zur Rag ˇazpoesie. every variant. ¯ ‘rarities’. Evidently the words si r and qasıda were initially reserved for ˇ ¯ ˙ monorhyme odes in specified metres. Wiesbaden. he was bearing witness to what was in fact the prevailing assumption. and even caused some amusement by their fondness for recondite locutions which they called xarıb.THE STEM recorded every idiom. They questioned every nomad coming into town. and published in successive volumes by the Finnish ¨ Oriental Society in Helsinki. it came to be used mainly for the versification of scientific and other non-poetical material. and its ¯¯ ¯ author was known as a rajiz and not as a sa ir. the rajaz. Most directly relevant to literature was the prosodic system devised by al-Xalıl ibn.Ahmad (718–91). He worked out the ¯ ˙ rhythmic patterns he found in pre-Islamic poetry. Harrassowitz. every peculiarity of speech of Arabian origin that reached their ears. Extensive rajaz texts from the Umayyad period are being edited by Jaakko Hameen-Anttila. proclaimed that he would judge fairly. Monorhyme compositions in one of the classical metres remained standard until ö ö ö Ö ö Ö 2 See Manfred Ullmann. When Ibn-Qutayba in the introduction to his critical Book of Poetry and Poets. giving no precedence to the Ancients merely because they were ancient. so that a composition in rajaz is never designated by the word usually applied to a poem but is called an urjuza (plural: arajız). But it was in pre-Islamic poetry that they found their most precious and abundant source material. although their use has been extended to ‘poetry’ and ‘poem’ of any kind. is set apart from all the others. Just why so sharp a ˇ¯ ¯ distinction is made remains a puzzle to many scholars. added a couple that blended with them. Yet one of these metres. Possibly the fact that it allows for many variations in scansion made it a favourite for improvizations.2 for there are early instances of its use in ways and for purposes similar to those of other metres. and on it and on the Qur an they built what came to be known as the traditional ¯ sciences. and then not as a monorhyme but with only the hemistichs of the same line rhyming with each other.

There were enough residual tribal loyalties. enough attachment to the pristine values of forefathers. such as that of Du-r-Rumma (d. pointed the way to what eventually became the brightest prospect for the professional poet: court patronage. consonant with its antecedents.710). Recalled the glory of the sun Emerging from darkness and clouds. swaying like a wild cow Amid five of her age. the texture of her cheeks Suffused with the water of youth – The icon of an assiduous monk. Fashioned beside the altar. c. “Do you love her?” they asked. ¯ the Christian al. her neck.679–744) and Kutayyir (d. 22 . one centred in the main cities of Arabia that was flirtatious and self-indulgent. with swelling breasts. who is also famous for his wine˙ songs. “Much – To the number of stars and pebbles and grains of dust!” Her fatal charms.Axtal (d. to make a great deal of early Islamic poetry. A cloistered one is she. but also of religious and political factions. Said I. There was an ideological ˇ¯ element in the support of the Sı a. but it was not only in its formal characteristics that the criteria set by the pre-Islamic poets proved not undeservedly dominant. the most celebrated exponent was Umar ibn.THE STEM the middle of the twentieth century. and changes in literary practice were bound to follow. but praise of the ruling Umayyads was more rewarding.723) away from their sympathies for the descendants of Alı. even some nostalgia for desert life. Of the first. The most consequential in the long run was that eulogies and satires were brought into the service not only of tribal pride. Yet the conditions under which Arabs lived and functioned were being transformed.735). Of greater aesthetic interest was the emergence of two schools of love-poets. By becoming the eulogist of the Umayyads.Abı¯ Rabı a (644–712 or 721) who wrote (xafıf/abı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Bring her out. enhanced By a colouring that glittered like gold. the other associated with desert tribes and noted for constancy in love. seducing such as al-Kumayt (c.

And still went on to drink of her.” When I had had my joy of her. “This is the time to have commerce with her. and I said. Around each is woven a story so stereotyped that it has been suggested it belongs to folk narrative rather than history: the poet falls in love with a woman whom he is not allowed to marry 23 . I coddled her and angered her. The desert poets. they could take extravagant turns. I drank from her lips until I was filled. I dressed her and I stripped her.THE STEM Playful as his fancies were. Would that the bathing of my corpse were with your saliva. elated. Could sense what lies between your eyes and mouth. I was her bedmate through the night. I made her laugh. I made her cry. even allowing for the fact that it was conventional in Arab love poetry to praise a woman for the coolness and sweetness of her saliva (tawıl/ ¯ ˙ amı): ¯ Would that I. And my embalming be of your cartilage and blood! Would that in death my bedmate be Sulayma ¯ Over there – in Paradise or Hell! How bold the city poets could be is exemplified by what UbaydAllah ibn-Qays ar-Ruqayyat (c. on the contrary.636–99) composed about the wife ¯ ¯ of the heir to the Umayyad throne when she accompanied her husband on a pilgrimage to the holy cities (wafir/buha): ¯ ¯ Ö In my sleep she came to me. as death approached. I pleasing her. And the sweetest of her inclined to me. It was a night that – in a dream – we spent In fellowship and sport. celebrated in chaste terms the frustrated but undying love each of them experienced for one woman. She pleasing me. I fondled her and she embraced me.

” She answers. And my tears this morning bear witness to what I would conceal. Typical is the story of Qays ibn-al-Mulawwah ˙ (d.701). I should have come to you. who became mad with love of his Layla and is therefore ¯ known as Majnun-Layla. o Butayna. ostensibly ¯ because perhaps its main exponent. Jamıl ibn-Ma mar (d. By God. unattested elsewhere. If I say. Thus Jamıl ibn-Ma mar (tawıl/du): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Whatever I forget. ¯ belonged to the tribe of Banu. is that tribal mores forbade the union of any two whose love had become public knowledge – or else he does marry her but is forced to divorce her. “Far is it from your reach!” 24 . ¯ Fanciful though the accounts may be.Azza ( Azza’s Kutayyir). my fathers be your ransom!” O my friends! The passion I would hide is manifest. he then expresses his yearning to the end of life and even beyond. the poetry belonging to the less wayward beduin tradition is usually called udrı.” she answers. although it does not always escape the abrupt changes of direction that result from treating each line as a self-contained unit. “It abides. it shall not be her words As she approached my meagre camel. “But for the watching eyes. 689?). “Is it for Egypt you make?” Nor her saying.Udra. to whose name the plural ‘ar-Ruqayyat’ was ¯ ¯ added because among the ladies whose charms he sang were three who shared the name Ruqayya! In Arabic.THE STEM for a variety of reasons – one of which. and Jamıl-Butayna (Butayna’s Jamıl). ¯ ¯ ¯ The other beduin love-poets also often had their name linked with that of their beloved – thus Kutayyir. is fatal to me. I can see that many a tear As our parting extends shall more profusely flow. “Restore some of my reason that I may live Among men.” If I say. but by a felicitous coincidence ¯ the word udrı also means ‘virginal’. and shall increase. which means literally Layla’s madman. Forgive. the poetry is usually delicate and sometimes touches depths of universal experience. “The love in me. They stand in striking contrast ¯ ¯ with Ubayd-Allah.

These love poets dwelt mostly on their own sentiments. why do you weep? Has a consort left. for there were even then poets reputed to be enslaved by love. known as al-mutayyamun.Adawı (d. among all things that perish. and long abundant hair. and promises. and some reflections of a more advanced social life as well as a more merciful environment than that of the desert. or a lover been unkind? Passion and yearning called out to you when. 25 . perish. My love for you was new. al-Marrar al. So it is that – rare as yet – one comes across instances of the poet bringing Nature into sympathy with his own mood. At a time when lovers are praised as they part. and it was old – And love is nothing if not new and old. But – in addition to an occasional startlingly ¯ new notion. But if she lets it down it sweeps the ground. as in Majnun ¯ Layla’s (tawıl/bu): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Dove in the wood. In its coils the pin is lost to sight. Be requited with reproaches.718) ¯ ¯ (ramal/ir or ur): Ö Pleasing in her is a brilliant white complexion Delighting the eye. Echoing doves that hearkened to her voice. movingly. but it is also worthwhile to record an uncommonly detailed description of a beautiful woman by a traditional poet. The hailer of the morning trilled. such as Jamıl’s invocation of a divine covenant ¯ between lovers – one can sense in these later poets a more gently nuanced intimacy. “Between us abide – mark it well! – A covenant of God’s. Each to each kindly and responsive.THE STEM So neither was I refused what I came requesting Nor does her love.” A case can be made that there is very little in this love poetry for which no antecedents may be found in pre-Islamic models. Butayna. I told her.

Her inner thighs flapping against each other. set on a large head. swinging her gait. heavy her hips.THE STEM Curly and thick. Eminent among these was Bassar ibn-Burd ˇˇ ¯ (c. She scarcely reaches them without losing breath. where the girdle is tightened. Broad in the forehead. In a plump bosom. When she walks out to visit neighbours. as when he described (tawıl/ibuh): ¯ ˙ 26 . She has the eyes of an antelope. Thrusting forward her shift with the likes of oryx noses. who was of Persian descent and whose attachment to Islam was so suspect that he was put to death. some were integrated into the Arabic poetic scene. Her breasts still forming. she is one Excelling other women in brightness of the brow. Large her body. not wanting in flesh. spare in the flank. Serrated and set off in darkened gums. And she swaying like a palm-tree being rooted up. In smiles. Seventy weights of silver go to make her anklets. alone with her fawn. non-Arab converts to Islam were adopting the language of the Revelation as also the language of their intellectual pursuits. Taste her mouth and you will find it like Honey freshened with cold snow. so that although he was blind from birth he could handle themes of which he had no personal experience with vigour and a somewhat distinctive imagination. Her buttocks fill her indoor shift. they break! All the while. But full below. and falling On either side in girth-like tresses. Fair and smooth is her cheek. Yet when she forces them on. not folding over yet. Her legs apart as she approaches. Sooner than might have been expected. Yet he was a master not only of Arabic but also of its poetic tradition. her teeth are camomile flowers. long her neck. Slender of waist. Stretching to crop the lote trees and acacias. Like hillocks of sand ranged side by side.714–84). without jettisoning their own cultural heritage altogether.

Bassar closed the trap he had baited by saying that he did not ˇˇ ¯ know – it must have been an instance of asses’ xarıb and the ¯ enquirer should address his question to the next ass that he met! 27 . still under its mother’s veil Looked out upon us. Harut was breathing magic.THE STEM . As if. It is wine that her eyes pour out. And we dealt blows that no one tasted but he tasted death. Resonant. the dew as yet unthawed. with an incidental reference to Harut. But he could also compose light amorous verses. advancing Through pebble and thorn. a human. The dust raised high above our heads and our flashing swords Resembling a night of falling stars. Disgrace overtaking those who saved themselves in flight. Or more imposing still: an in-between! An anecdote revealing both Bassar’s mischievous sense of humour ˇˇ ¯ and the concern of contemporary scholars has it that he once told friends that an ass of his that had died appeared to him in a dream. told him that he had died of love for a beautiful jenny and recited a poem (ramal/anı) he had composed on the subject. from under her tongue. Inevitably. her words are like Stretches of meadow clothed in flowers. ¯ ¯ And what her clothes enfold You fancy to be gold and perfume. one of the angels mentioned in the Qur an as ¯ ¯ ¯ having taught sorcery to the Babylonians (kamil/ra): ¯ ¯ ö Black-eyed. its lances red-tipped. . when she looks at you. . She is like a cold and limpid draught Which you drink when breaking a fast – A genie. We set forth when the sun. An army like a wing of night. It contained ¯ ¯ a line in which he spoke of the jenny having a cheek equal to the “sayfaranı’s”. a member of his audience asked what that ˇ ¯ ¯ was.

his accomplishments. it was held to be superhuman and inimitable. although it became ¯ an intimate part of every educated Muslim’s consciousness and often quoted. sometimes also of “custom”. so that the word adab acquired other connotations. ordered that chancery documents be in Arabic. It also gave employment. and these kept their records in their own languages until the Umayyad Caliph Abd-al-Malik. and it is in this connection that the word adab acquired a literary sense. and material of literary value. and eventually it was extended to mean ‘literature’ in general. from which a back formation would be the singular adab. As for the Qur an. Until then. known as hadıt in ¯ ˙ Arabic or ‘Traditions’ in English. the eloquence of orators had been celebrated. which denotes a sustained or habitual activity. reputations were built on the skill displayed in prose compositions. ¯ ¯ ö ö ö ö ö 28 . inasmuch as the content of an official letter was of no intrinsic literary import and might even have been determined by a superior. A transposition of the radicals would produce ¯ adab. and power to those who could handle it expertly. This forced the language into areas with which it had not previously been familiar. Earlier usage of derivatives from the same root most commonly conveys the sense of “training”. Accordingly. the first prose Ö ö ö ö ö ö 3 The plural of da b is ad ab. who ruled from 685 to 705. his expertise. Out of the efforts of the Secretariat was to grow a recognized prose literature in which the “epistle” had pride of place. But none of this had been isolated as creative literary activity.THE STEM Finally. it was the writer’s linguistic and stylistic competence that was at a premium. If in addition there has been some conflation with adb. one of which would be the ability to compose good letters. had been incorporated in histories and in accounts of the Prophet’s deeds and sayings. At this early stage.3 then an official’s adab would be his usual practice. however. prestige. including accounts (some of which may have been fictional) concerning the poets. Now. however. a governmental development was to have far-reaching effects on the literature. The first rulers over the empire had relied on local civil servants to run the business of government. Out of the epistle a variety of essay-like prose pieces eventually developed which became the nucleus of an abundant prose output.

Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö 29 . but in addition he produced the first recognized and enduring work of Arabic prose literature: a collection of fables of Indian origin which he translated from Persian under the title of Kalıla wa Dimna. It is under the Caliph al-Ma mun (813–33) that large-scale and ¯ systematic translation of Greek works was undertaken. state officials – especially in other branches of government than the Secretariat – needed not only the ability to manipulate words. who balked at features of Greek thought that offended their Christian sensibilities – had long been the guardians of Hellenistic culture. but of which Arabic was the principal medium of expression. The effect on literature was not immediate. With the benefit of the stability and prosperity brought about under the Abbasid dynasty. Arabic literature entered upon centuries of solid achievement. But already in the last decades of the eighth century. but familiarity with Greek logic is evident in the theological debates that raged at the time.757?). Another such official. Having previously translated works of Greek philosophy and science into Syriac. However. also wrote a book on ¯ the adab of secretaries. the names given to two ¯ jackal narrators appearing in it. more commonly known by the Arabic ¯ ¯ name Abd-Allah ibn-al-Muqaffa (d. to the poetic tradition of the Arabs and the teachings of the Qur an were added ¯ the creative energies and cultural affinities of non-Arab subject peoples and the stimulation of Greek thought. for example) which in turn depended on a wide competence in sciences.THE STEM writers to acquire notoriety were state officials such as Abd-alHamıd al-Katib (c. These were the main ingredients to be integrated in a brilliant civilization that is best termed Islamic rather than Arab. The need was supplied by Syrian Christians who – better than the Byzantines. the Persian Ruzbıh. but also technical skills (to calculate taxes and measure taxable property. they were now to practise their expertise and propagate it in Arabic.685–750) who in fact wrote an epistle on the ¯ ¯ ˙ qualities and expertise required of a secretary. and later still that Islamic orthodoxy got a firm and lasting formulation.


There is no word for “Arabia” in Arabic. but a language. not a plural – derives from a root which most commonly denotes articulateness or expressiveness. because life in the Ö Ö öÖ 31 . These Arabs burst into literary history with an imposing corpus of pre-Islamic poems so firm in structure. the word for brute animals. for example. the Persians – was ajam. the land was attributed to the people. At any rate. although the earliest texts are from the fifth century. the Arabs’ earliest word for “others” – in early usage.3 THE BIFURCATION Arabic literature has been substantially shaped by a number of interrelated constants that will feature in successive chapters. And somewhat more pointedly than the Greeks’ description of other nations as “barbarians”.” and even the word for “country” is a plural. often connotes indistinctness and also produces a jam. originally. The Arabs were. not the people to the land. Furthermore. From the start. those who ¯ could make themselves understood. is said to be arub. therefore. the word for “Arabs” – a collective noun. what made Arabs recognizable to one another was not a geographic or an ethnic feature. but that it is useful to identify at this point. they appear to be the result of a long development. so that perhaps the phrase is better translated as “the settlements of the Arabs”. derived from a root which primarily means “crunching with the teeth”. their language seems closer to protoSemitic than are other branches of the same family recorded earlier. Furthermore. It is most commonly known as “the country of the Arabs. so consistent in character and even so full of conventions that. This has led Sabatino Moscati to infer that. A woman who wears her heart on her sleeve.

deeming it “more in keeping with the subtleties of revelation”. These ¯n. 13. 218–231. Accordingly. and its revelation on the tongue of the Prophet became his authenticating miracle.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N desert is an endless repetition of the same annual cycle. Cachia. and could not be expected to colour the very wide role that Arabic was soon to play on the world scene. miraculous”. In time. existing from the beginning of time. Furthermore. as when Bayda ¯ (d.e. if it had not been for two other interrelated factors that were to give linguistic standards uncommon prominence in Arabic literature. 32 . wonderful.. Journal of Semitic Studies. and to do this they look closely into the syntax and diction of the text. a chapter – comparable to it ¯ (2:23) was taken to refer not so much to its contents as to its inimitable eloquence. and as a glorious text in a guarded tablet (85:22). for “coming from an illiterate man who has not mingled with the lettered” – as the Prophet was deemed to be – “it is seen as improbable. the authoritative commentaries aim primarily at bringing out every meaning that the text may possibly convey. it became dogma that it was the uncreated word of God. and in 12:2 it describes itself specifically as “an Arabic Qur a ¯n”. They may also dwell on complicated technicalities of language. The first was dogmas concerning the Qur an. conservatism was deeply ingrained in the Arabs. the view to which Bayda ¯ gives the greatest amount of ¯wı ˙ space is that they include significant proportions of each phonetic group of letters. also into rhetorical devices when these lead beyond the literal sense of the words. the challenge it issued to unbelievers to produce a sura – i. These features are not without parallel in other cultures. after heated debates between theologians. ¯ The Qur a asserts in more than one passage that the revelation ¯n has been sent down in Arabic. pp. discussing – in his authoritative Commentary – the letters that occur separately at the beginning of several chapters of the Qur a offers various explanations of their signification. between ¯wı ˙ 1282 and 1291).1 ö ö ö ö 1 See P. Attractive as these may be. the second was the challenge to Arab self-esteem. “Baydawı on the Fawatih”. and he expresses a preference for this over all other interpretations. include some that exploit the numerical value of letters to suggest that they may have predictive functions concerning history. 2 ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ (Autumn 1968).

and even after they had lost their political ´ and cultural primacy. and Arabic with it. The critic Ibn-Qutayba Ö 33 . reinforcing each other. The tension increased and became functional after the Caliph Abd-alMalik late in the seventh century decreed that state records be kept in Arabic. pagan though they were. It became the basic medium of expression of an entire civilization. they tried to cling to their superior status. Most of these nations adopted Islam. so that – as a result of different forces from the ones that prevailed initially – an Arab to-day is best defined as someone whose first language is Arabic rather than someone descended from Arabian stock. and the inherited system under which they could integrate the new Muslims was to regard them as mawalı. It was essential to the study of religion and of many other subjects related to it. Initially. including law. for all that Islam proclaims the brotherhood of all believers. The practice of the early poets. which included nations steeped in the culture of the Persians and the Byzantines. tribal clients. With growing acrimony. the conquerors were slow to divest themselves of tribal loyalties or ancestral pride.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N All this gave the language a sacred character. i. the original Arabians were a ¯¯ genuine military elite. so that they quickly conquered a vast empire. But. and non-Arabs found themselves at a disadvantage. the most effective counter was to exalt the language in which the Revelation had come – and this no convert to Islam could gainsay – and the undeniably magnificent poetry to which it had given rise. The dictum “to the victor the spoils” fitted in with their past experience.e. Linguistic and literary conservatism were closely coupled. revealingly called “the tent-pole of poetry”. Islam also released the energies that early Arabians expended in inter-tribal conflicts. It had a part in the devotions even of the unscholarly. Arabic became strongly resistant to change. And since it was tied to a timeless text. This did not sit well with the more sophisticated converts. It spread with the spread of Islam. so that command of the language became the key to high office. the Arabs of Arabian descent were derided as “camel-drivers and lizard-eaters”. To this. The linkage of the language with this poetry was all the more intimate as the poems provided the lexical underpinning for the interpretation of the Scriptures. became a binding criterion.

the hands of the Chinese. male and female. these changes were resisted. as the Ancients were accustomed to faring over tracts covered with speedwell or hanwa. But by the educated minority who. both in linguistic practice and in literary conventions. ¯ that he had spent some time sharing the life of a Beduin tribe.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N (828–89) – while protesting that he was not one to favour the Ancients merely because they were ancient – yet wrote in connection with the classical tripartite ode: Later poets have no right to deviate from the ways of the Ancients in any of these divisions. And in the tenth century. It became commonplace to claim that eloquence was natural to an Arab. changes were bound to take place. In reality. or ignored. Thus they may not halt by an inhabited dwelling or weep over a permanent edifice as the Ancients halted by a deserted encampment or half-effaced traces of a dwelling. and are reflected in the 34 . Arab literary critics went on quoting this saying until late in the nineteenth century. and the tongues of the Arabs. How literary practice was affected in succeeding centuries will become apparent in the next chapters. al-Mutanabbı (915–65). as the Ancients traveled on camels. determined what was to be admitted to the canon and what was not. but a summary view of the way that linguistic conservatism functioned in changing conditions is instructive at this point. they may not traverse lands adorned with narcissi or myrtles or roses. or ˙ ox-eye. Some differences in linguistic usage are known to have existed among the tribes even in pre-Islamic times. They may not come to limpid running water as the Ancients made their way to brackish and turbid waterpoints. They may not travel on an ass or a mule and neither may they describe them. and did take place. minimized. Insensitive to the ironic use that could be made of it. On their way to the patron who is to be eulogized. in century after century. it was deemed part of the formation of the most highly admired of Arab poets. and a saying was attributed to the Prophet that God had sent down excellence on three human organs: the hearts of the Greeks.

Bassar ibn-Burd (714–784) was accused of ˇˇ ¯ using “Nabatean jargon” and a little later Abu-l.776–868/9) in the next generation ¯h ˙ ˙ records jokes built on misunderstandings between desert Arabs. ˇˇ ˙ composed entirely in the classical language except for the closing line or couplet. the defence she offered was that this was not si r. urban though it was. And once it had broken the surface of literary history. It has it that the Caliph then decreed that no poetry be composed in honour of the former viziers. An apocryphal but revealing anecdote intended to account for a non-classical verse form known as the mawaliya. Yet one cannot detect traces of such intrusions in the texts that have survived them. the zajal. What is even more significant is that the muwassah is almost certainly ˇˇ ˙ derived from a simpler form of folk poetry. and one must surmise that these were expurgated. ¯ ¯ which is not attested until the twelfth century. the zajal ö ö Ö Ö 35 .T H E B I F U R C AT I O N few minimal variants allowed in Qur anic recitation. the gaps had widened sufficiently to cause problems for arbiters of taste. in the tenth century. They were bound to be multiplied and magnified as the tribes scattered in a vast empire and the language came to be used by different ethnic groups and in widely differing contexts. al-Ja iz (c. Yet the literary establishment. and when called to account for her deed. and city dwellers who did not. Even more tellingly. who reportedly still spoke inflected Arabic. ‘poetry’. nevertheless links it with the fall from Harun ar-Rasıd’s favour of the powerful ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ Barmecide family in 803. This was in an innovation: an elaborate kind of strophic poem known as the muwassah.Atahiya ¯ (748–828) was similarly reproached for having “brought the language of the market-place into poetry”. which is in a mixture of Arabic and Spanish. but this ties in with the ˇˇ ˙ persistent reluctance of the learned to commit folk texts to writing. It is true that in the literary record the zajal appeared later than the muwassah. set its face hard against the admission of any form of spoken Arabic into the canon. Yet one of his own slave girls sang a four-line mawaliya bemoaning ¯ ¯ their fate. By the second half of the eighth century. a small breach is found in the fortified walls of classicism. It is in Andalusia – presumably because it was not completely Islamized or Arabized – that. which is entirely in the local vernacular. because it was not ˇ grammatically inflected.

¯ The zajal eventually spread to other parts of the Arab world. the term being sometimes loosely used for all verse compositions in the colloquial. 527. 2000.2 his zajals are relegated to the end of the last volume. It ¯ ¯ became customary to refer to these departures from the classical monorhyme as “the seven arts” although they were more numerous. Following al-Hillı. other reputable poets occasionally toyed with ¯ ˙ non-classical verse forms involving colloquial usage.Alamiyyatu li n-Nasr. Beirut. And in a nine-volume edition of his complete works. yet has to record his own findings 2 The first of these two publications is as-Sawqiyyat. Daru lˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Kitabi l. Alı Abd-al-Mun im ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ Abd-al-Hamıd. and were usually excluded from their collected works. for it was not always the same seven that were included in different collections. ¯ ¯ Ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö 36 . ˇ ˇ ˇ ¯ ˙ ˙ The second is al-Mawsu atu s-Sawqiyya. 1994–5. To it were added descriptions of several other nonclassical verse forms. ed. the quotation is from vol. Ibrahım al.1086–1160). but such is one of the impositions made by an environment in which the colloquial predominates”. but had retained only enough of these immature efforts to illustrate his treatise. Moreover. depends heavily on Western sources for his research.Abyarı. Cairo. p.Arabı. he ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ confessed that he had composed a great deal in these various forms in his misguided youth. as-Sarikatu l-Misriyyatu l. including the mawaliya mentioned above. Characteristically. This has been true even of a major modern poet ˇ such as Ahmad Sawqı (1868–1932). Ibn-Quzman (c. Some present-day collectors of folk literature are equally apologetic about their efforts. or the scientist who relies on the colloquial for all his everyday contacts. The latest compilation of his ¯ ˙ ˙ poetry ignores his zajal altogether. in his introductory volume the editor says of them and of the poet: “They are not worthy of him. 1. ed. In modern times. The first study of the kind was by a well-established poet in Iraq.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N gained sufficient currency in Spain to earn notoriety for one of its masters. the insistence on “correct” classical usage for all serious writing does create difficulties for the journalist who tries to reach as wide a public as possible. long after the focus has moved from his poetry to his prose and to his plays. Safiyy-ad-Dın al-Hillı (1278–c.1349). but their compositions along these lines were regarded as curiosities or humorous sallies at best.

fearing that to open the door to it would lead to the splitting of Arabic into regional languages. and he maintained his opposition to it to the end of his days. Furthermore. the leading Arab critic of the day. but no radical change of emphasis. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ branded the colloquial form of the language as a corrupt dialect. for the regional dialects are seen as divisive of the Arabs. but attempts to generalize its use have made no headway. The man of letters too finds himself under some strain when dealing with the social realities of everyday life. The admission of the vernacular into the literary canon. it is but a step to making verbal dexterity a major literary criterion. departures from the inherited standard continue to be branded as “linguistic heresy”. imperialists. and colonialists. Nevertheless. the issue has been complicated by political passions. a staunch modernist and a stylist credited with having given the literary idiom much vigour and fluidity. Najıb Mahfuz (1911–) still ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ considers the colloquial “a social disease”. unsuitable to the needs of advanced intellectual life. An outstanding writer and pioneer of literary criticism such as al-Jahiz declared that “ideas are ¯ ˙ ˙ 37 . although even this has been resisted. There have therefore been occasional debates on the issue. A formula widely adopted since the late nineteenth century has been the use of language as close to everyday speech as is allowed by classical grammar. Besides. the classical vocabulary has been expanded and adapted. still argued that only those ignorant of ¯ ¯ the treasures of Arabic needed neologisms or borrowings from other tongues. Ö *** From such linguistic stringency. In 1938. Taha Husayn (1889–1973). And the novelist best known outside the Arab world to-day. as different from one another as the Romance languages now are. for as late as in the 1920s some diehards like ar-Rafi ı (1880–1937). and arguments for their use in writing are roundly condemned as the machinations of Zionists. has been resisted by modernists and conservatives alike. Even schoolchildren have to learn their history and geography in a form of the language they do not speak at home. The vernacular has in fact carved a place for itself in plays and in the dialogue of narrative fiction. however.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N in yet another medium of expression.

for an early outlet for elegant prose and a remunerative occupation for prose writers was in official correspondence. attractive in ideas but poorly worded. and out of the epistle grew the literary essay. In a style heavy with rhymes and conceits al-Hamadanı picks up the narrative: ¯ ¯ Ö Ö I said. How this affected literary practice is discernible in most of the acknowledged masterpieces from the ninth century onward. And Ibn-Qutayba sorted poetry into four categories: Excellent both in wording and in ideas. Evident in this stratification is not only the total separation of form and substance. “Offer the utmost that you can encompass. and ¯ ¯ Badı -az-Zaman (i. and especially the Poetics.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N running about the streets” and turned his attention to the way they were formulated. and finally deficient in both. followed by a full debate in which each criticized his rival’s composition and defended his own. but – presumably because of the paganism that informed them – not the literary works to which they. the ultimate of which you are capable. The contestants then moved to the composition of epistles – an important genre. al-Xuwarizmı (934–93). ‘The Wonder of the Age’) al-Hamadanı ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ (968–1008). A contributory factor may have been that Aristotle’s Poetics and his Rhetoric were translated. It included the improvization by each of a poem on a theme and with a rhyme chosen by the audience. It makes out that in answer to a challenge by al-Xuwarizmı a contest was held in the ¯ ¯ house of the vizier Abu-l-Qasim al-Mustawfı before a number ¯ ¯ of eminent men of learning. but is most explicit in a confrontation that took place between two leading prose writers of the tenth century. select whatever lies within your reach.e. but it leaves no doubt about the criteria by which the contestants were judged. The duel was a protracted one. superior in wording but short on ideas. but the precedence given to form. The prestige of Aristotle. by Arabs often called ‘the First Teacher’. may have lent to rhetorical skills an intrinsic and independent value. recorded in a collection of his Epistles. We have only the latter’s boastful account of the occasion. It is far from evenhanded or reliable in its details. are relevant. and I shall counter with four hundred different letter-writing formats in which if you manage to walk on two 38 .

‘Compose a letter in the sense that I specify and prescribe. but reversing the order of the lines would be the answer’ – would your flint strike fire then and fulfil its purpose? Or if I said. ‘Compose a letter which read from beginning to end would indeed be a letter. and recite whatever poems I specify without labouring or faltering. ‘Compose a letter which if read haltingly or recited twistedly would be verse’ – would you ‘cut a dash’ with such poetry? Aye. ‘Compose a letter ¯ entirely free of the [thirteen] undotted letters’ – would you attain any sufficiency. ‘Compose a letter in a given sense containing none of the [six] disjunctive letters [which in the Arabic script cannot be joined to the next]. in such a way that what you end up writing may be read from the end to the beginning. or advance a single step on such territory? Or if I said. ‘Compose a letter within which one may find the answer’ – would you be able to do so? Or I might say. in such a way that both end with the same words’ – would your arm stretch so far? Or I might say. or generate enough saliva to wet your uvula? Or if I said. yet in which the sense would fit the wording as if poured into a mould and without straying from the intended meaning’ – would your stance then be a praiseworthy one. and “would thy Lord raise thee to a station of honour [Qur an 17:79]? Or if I said. Thus I might say. such as a ra at the beginning of a word ¯ or a dal in the middle. ‘Compose a letter on a given theme where every line would start with a jım and end with a mım’ – ¯ ¯ would you reach a bow-shot with such a bow.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N feet and I fail [to surpass as if] flying on two wings – indeed if you excel in any one of these formats and do not fall behind altogether – yours shall be the upper hand and the racewinner’s trophy. or hazard a gambler’s arrow and reach a measure of success? Or if I said. all this impromptu without resting ¯ your pen’ – would you do so? Or if I said. by God. ‘Write a letter in the sense that I indicate and compose a poem again in the sense I determine. ö ö ö 39 . making sense if read from the bottom up’ – would you aim a true dart at such a target. ‘Compose a letter void of alif and lam [the two letters which make up the ¯ definite article]. you would indeed hit something but it would be your own body.

‘Compose a letter which interpreted in one way would be a eulogy. “Isti‘arah and Badı ‘ and their Terminological ¯ ¯ Relationship in Early Arabic Literary Criticism. The taste for such verbal gymnastics was already getting formalized in a branch of rhetoric which came to be known as the “science” of badı . so that in this context it has often been translated as “the New Style”. ¯ ¯ ¯ Leiden.3 The effect on literary production may be seen in a prose genre known as the maqama. trade and its stagnation. 40 . The distinction he was making between these two terms is unclear. written ¯ by the poet-caliph Ibn-al-Mu tazz (861–908). Precisely what were the issues that precipitated the first formulations of this “science” has been the subject of close scholarly attention. Wolfhart. ‘Compose a letter which you no sooner have written than you commit it to memory without a [second] glance’ – would you be confident of reaching the point at which I could no longer outreach you? But the divorcee’s anus knows best! ´ Al-Xuwarizmı demurred on the ground that such pursuits were ¯ ¯ “sleight-of-hand” so al-Hamadanı agreed that the contest be on the ¯ ¯ drafting of a run-of-the-mill epistle such as anyone can produce. in which he described five “arts” and twelve “embellishments”. pp. and the word badı ¯ itself has many connotations. although the author made the point that the devices he isolated were to be found in older texts. The topic set was the perennial one of “coinage and its corruption. Suzanne. 1984. Al-Hamadanı produced one that was not only superior ¯ ¯ in elegance but also made sense and maintained a rhyming pattern whether read from first word to last or from last to first. 1991. 180–211. prices and their rise”. Brill. Also Stetkevych. including those of novelty and of aesthetic quality. a short narrative to which al-Hamadanı ¯ ¯ ¯ gave currency and which soon reached a peak of refinement at the Ö Ö Ö 3 See: Heinrichs. Band I.” Zeitschrift fur Geschichte ¨ der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften. “Abu Tammam and the Poetics of the Abbasid Age.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N and you would cut something but it would be off your beard! Or if I said. It got its name from a book so titled. but in another it would be abuse’ – would you extricate yourself from such an undertaking? Or if I said. goods and their unavailability.

1867. The Assemblies of al-Harıri. 41 . but in addition taqiyy and yafı. yuxıt and taxıt have the ¯ ¯ additional subtle attraction for those versed in Arabic linguistics that they create the illusion of deriving from the same root because they could be parts of the conjugation of the same verb whereas 4 Thomas Chenery. 136–7. nor thy new moon to illumine. nor thy milkflow to abound. and none is foolish but the miser. I.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N hands of al-Harırı (1054–1122). . nor thy heaven to rain. Furthermore. nor thy blade to destroy. But to understand the effect that this particular sample has on an Arab reader. yuxıt ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ and taxıt look exactly alike in the Arabic script except for the ¯ arrangement of dots. nor thy suitor to gain. London and Edinburgh. and none hoards but the wretched. pp. ˆ Williams and Norgate. one needs to savour what is sounds like in the original: ma danna lla xabın : wa la xubina illa danın :: wa la xazana ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ illa saqiyy : wa la qabada rahahu taqiyy :: wa ma fati a ¯ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ wa duka yafı : wa ara uka tasfı :: wa hilaluka yudı : wa ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ hilmuka yuxdı :: wa ala uka tuxnı : wa a da uka tutnı :: wa ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ husamuka yufnı : wa su daduka yuqnı :: wa muwasiluka ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ yajtanı : wa madihuka yaqtanı :: wa samahuka yuxıt : wa ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ sama uka taxıt :: wa darruka yafıd : wa radduka yaxıd ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ö ö ö Ö ö ö ö ö ö ö öÖ ö ö The rhyming and the pairing of words that differ in only one letter are evident. nor thy refusal to be rare. nor thy clemency to indulge. for the pious clenches not his palms. yufnı and yuqnı. such effusions “may be set down by Europeans as merely examples of laborious trifling”. nor thy kindness to succour. A short passage setting out how a ¯¯ ˙ petition to a powerful official should read has been translated4 as: . None is miserly but the fool. thy sentiments cease not to relieve. But thy promise ceases not to fulfil. nor thy princeship to build up. In the words of the translator. nor thy praises to win. nor thy bounty to enrich. . nor thy enemies to praise thee.

it is usually with distaste. Sayx-al-Islam Izz-ad-Dın Abd-as-Salam ¯ ¯ ¯ as-Sulamı (1181/2–1262). earned a stable place in literary history in Andalusia.5 Ö Ö *** This marks a split of some importance. issued an authoritative opinion enjoining ¯ the officials in charge of mosques not to use in their preaching the kind of ornate prose that common people did not understand. That such priorities were not confined to a few Olympians of Arabic literature is shown by the fact that a highly-placed ˇ interpreter of Islamic law. however. What is recorded in treatises on the “seven arts”. Otherwise. has been the literature of an elite free to devote itself to the production of ´ works of great refinement. and it opened the door to a number of others.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N they are etymologically unrelated. 485. but for the eminence it chose to occupy it has also had to pay a price: a distancing from the everyday concerns of the common people. As has already been mentioned. ö Ö Izzi-d-Dı¯n Ö Abdi-s-Sala¯mi s-Sulamı¯. an identifiable folk verse form. and which has long been labeled “Arabic Literature” without further qualification. if this is mentioned at all. and consequently of Arabists who rely on published works. Thus the chronicles for the year 887/8 mention that the Caliph al-Mu tamid (ruled 870–92) urged the common people to attend to their business instead of idling by the roadside and listening to story-tellers. the literature perpetuated through the written word. and these are often condemnatory. This distancing cut out from the purview of most Arab scholars. 42 . And the crowning merit of the passage is that from beginning to end it consists of words made up of dotted letters alternating with entirely undotted ones. Kurdi.J. ed. For centuries. M.Islam ¯ ¯ ˇ ¯ Beirut 1996. the early manifestations of folk literature are attested only by sparse and haphazard mentions in the sources. p. often appears to be creations by literate poets in accordance with the rules of Ö 5 Fatawa Sayxi-l. the zajal. who in the closing pages of the imposing ¯ Prolegomena to his universal history credits beduin poetry with genuine literary quality. a signal exception being Ibn-Xaldun (1332–1406). In pre-modern sources. the whole of folk literature.

Gaston Maspero. took an interest in contemporary folklore but whose Arabic was not sufficiently fluid. or that metres fit perfectly into the classical mould. On the few occasions in the past when the establishment writers proved willing to take more than a passing interest in what their humbler brethren were producing. demonstrably. and it is sometimes skewed by subservience to theory or ideology. Thus we find. A scholarly – or at least a serious – approach to Arab folk literature is a recent and as yet a limited and patchy development. the contact proved productive. The ˇˇ ˙ 43 . The maqama which al-Hamadanı is credited with having invented ¯ ¯ ¯ and in which al-Harırı excelled. Recording genuine folk poems remained haphazard and fragmentary. because it was “bad Arabic”. and because of this as well as because they are deemed to be unedifying. despite much evidence to the contrary.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N versification they detected. for the texts committed to writing were made at least minimally conformable with classical syntax. What translations do not show is how poor they are in style. So. This tendency is manifested even in modern times. usually a short narrative in which a ¯¯ ˙ glib and likeable rogue plays an amusing trick on his betters and gets away with a small prize. They commanded so little scholarly attention that the oldest manuscript was not edited until late in the twentieth century. This is what may be presumed to have happened with the Arabian Nights. his amanuensis pleaded that he could not make himself do that. but first written down in the fourteenth. they were despised by Arab intellectuals until the high regard in which they were held by Europeans gave them some prestige in Arab eyes. is manifestly of folk origin. but when he pleaded to have the stories written down exactly as they were spoken. a French Egyptologist who. assertions that the same song is never sung in the same way twice. or that the performers are animated by revolutionary anti-establishment zeal. a collection of stories known to have started with translations from the Persian in the ninth century. reported that he relied on his Egyptian secretary to take down the words of a folk story-teller. early in the twentieth ´ century. Prose narratives are somewhat more profusely recorded. is the multi-rhymed Andalusian muwassah. but they are to some extent distorted.

1100–1185) Hayy ibn-Yaqzan. *** The most far-reaching and most intriguing feature of this relationship is that – at least until the nineteenth century – the ‘high’ literature appears to have abandoned to its lowly counterpart entire areas of valid artistic expression. ¯ Also usually ascribed to the failure to tap Greek models is the absence of a theatrical tradition in pre-modern times. except for three shadow plays by Ibn-Daniyal (d. therefore. written in a high ¯ ¯ style but presumably retaining a popular character. as if no Muslim had ˇ¯ composed the Sah-Nameh. usually relating this to the fact that the Iliad and the Odyssey had not been translated by the early Muslims because they dealt with pagan gods. ¯ The indications are that story-telling lay beneath the dignity of an intellectual unless it became the vehicle for stylistic excellence. was not complete. It is well established that at the popular level there were not only puppet shows and shadow plays. Thus despite the wealth and variety of folk tales of which The Arabian Nights is but one example.1310). and without lowering their gaze ¯ sufficiently to note that in the field of folk literature there are no fewer than ten epic cycles. This paucity may again be due to the widely observable fact that folk literature was seldom committed to writing except when it was given a correct linguistic cachet. unless it be that what the folk artists undertook was ipso facto tainted in the eyes of their betters. What meagre – and late – indications we have of folk performances suggest that they were mostly comedies 44 . one of which – the saga of the Banu¯ Hilal – is still very much alive. but more often than not the folk literature has found itself in the doghouse.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N divorce. but also – perhaps as early as in the tenth century – live actors apparently forming itinerant companies. pre-modern men of letters often recounted anecdotes that had a claim to historicity and occasionally wrote imaginative works such as Ibn-Tufayl’s ˙ (c. No less revealing is that modern Arab scholars have expressed puzzlement why Arabic has no epic. but they developed no sustained ¯ ˙ ˙ and recognized fictional narrative genre other than the maqama. It is difficult to understand why. Unfortunately these activities have left no written record.

6 Studien zum Kulturbild und Selbstverstandnis des Islams. these issues will have to be confronted at the end of the last two chapters of this book.915–65). calls for conflicts of wills that are inconsistent with the Islamic world order. however. Arab men of letters have turned their back upon this phase of their past. and therefore kept somewhat aloof from the common folk and their literature. 1969. Zurich & Sttutgart. And an age peopled by little men Though massive are their cadavers. pp. To counter this assumption one need only quote a few lines from the poet al-Mutanabbı (c. Is there not in this material for a tragedian to exploit? *** The factors skimpily sketched here have combined to separate the educated elite from the common folk. Their nemesis none but overeating. an ambitious man ¯ reduced to paying court to potential patrons he often despised: Mine is a heart not to be solaced with wine.T H E B I F U R C AT I O N of low taste. This. assumes that all Muslims are totally compliant with the demands of religion. but they have remained linguistically conservative. 45 . How valid or vital is such a literary criterion? Since then. With bodies that death belabours. A weighty consideration first mooted by Professor Gustav von Grunebaum6 is that serious drama. though I live amongst them – Dust is the ore where gold is found! Rabbits except that they are kings. Whether the art occasionally rose – or had the potential to rise – to greater heights is a matter of conjecture. And a life span such as the niggardly bestow. How rewarding or how costly has this been? After the facts have been fleshed out. and between the thirteenth and ´ the eighteenth centuries this elite made verbal skill the supreme ´ quality to be sought in literature. as it requires Man’s total submission to God. 36 ff. ¨ Artemis. and especially tragedy. Not of them am I. Their eyes wide open though they are asleep.


c. At least for those on the higher reaches of the social scale. giving tongue to what others dare not say – sang boldly and freely of wine-bibbing and homosexual love.810). He was also one of the most gifted and original of Arabic-speaking poets who – perhaps playing the part of a ritual clown. There was luxury for the self-indulgent and stimulation for the thinker. And a beautiful face. wine. There was stability and there was wealth. If there had also been champagne in the air. who ¯ ¯ summed up his philosophy as (sarı /an): ¯ Ö ö Four things give life To heart and soul and body: Water. it would certainly have been enjoyed and celebrated by Abu-Nuwas (d. and the accumulated lore of several civilizations was being tapped. under the slightly distorted name of Abun-Nawwas has passed into folklore as the hero of thousands of ¯ amusing anecdotes. gardens. He was a court wit who. the choicest products of many lands were at hand. A good four centuries of imposing literary creativity were to ensue. A peculiarity of Arabic grammar is that there need be no concord in number or gender where the implications are clear.4 THE MAIN GROWTH Poetry The generation that straddled the eighth and ninth centuries in the main cultural centres of Islam was well-favoured by Fate. so that a poet may speak 47 .

Bringing them nothing except what they desire. Too delicate is it for water. the wine served by a xulamiyya – a word made ¯ up of the term for a slave boy. The most notorious example is one in which he expounded the philosophy of the sybarites of his day. Out of the spout it flowed: limpid. Generating radiances and flashes. But from her face a light brightened the room. and not for some encampment In which some Hind or some Asma resided. in whose court no sorrows can abide – Were stone to touch it. usually called “standing” or “weeping over the ruins” (ramal/as): Ask him who weeps over a razed encampment Upstanding. rather. It is served to youths to whom even Fate submits. too coarse is water to mingle with it. “Where’s the harm if he sat down?” The theme with which he preferred to start several of his poems was that of “a hair of the dog”. And such that for the eye to catch it is to be blinded. But Abu-Nuwas leaves ¯ ¯ us in no doubt that his preference was for youths on whose cheeks the down was just beginning to sprout. but he could also make fun of the classical amorous prelude. with their predilection for drinking bouts enjoyed in the coolness of an evening or at dawn. She stood holding her jug – and murky was the night. It is for this I weep. Having two lovers: the sodomist and the fornicator. the stone would then be touched with joy – Served by one with a cunt in the garb of one with a penis. so that it may be translated as a “boyette” (basıt/a u): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ö Stop chiding me – reproach is but incitement – And treat me. but with the addition of a feminine ending. ¯ ö ö 48 . He did sometimes compose odes along traditional lines. which does not match it In subtlety. with what itself is the disease: With yellow wine.THE MAIN GROWTH of “his eye” filling with tears and he may refer to his beloved in the masculine even when a woman is intended. But blend it with light and it will blend.

THE MAIN GROWTH Heaven forfend that Pearl have tentage pitched for her. But if you desire some trifling with him. and full-hipped Passes round youths not one of whom is intemperate. Abu-Nuwas stands out among poets not only in that ¯ ¯ most of his poems are more closely knit than those of others who made each line an independent unit. I called upon Satan and said.” The shock intentionally produced by one scabrous line ought not to obscure the poetic use made of scientific terminology in the description of the wine. He signaling departure to whom he favoured And I for love of him distressed. Or vile. He cautions: “Beware of such a deed!” So as I came to dread his departure And in his largesse he lavished kisses. As it goes round in his hand and comes into view. To circumscribe it is to debase Religion. but also in that several of them are epigrammatic. With camels and goats wandering about. Set not a limit to His forgiveness if you are punctilious. “One thing you have attained. or given to sin. with the purport of the entire composition dependent on the closing lines. “All my expedients have failed me: My linkage with the one I love Is close.” 49 . slender-waisted. but many have escaped you. Besides. as in (munsarih/lı): ¯ ˙ ö Better than standing over ruins Is a cup of wine topping inebriety Which a black-eyed one. Well-proportioned. So tell the one who claims a measure of philosophy in Knowledge. but not complete. or the casuistry of the final argument. His own cheeks matching the dog-rose As the blush of demureness pervades them. You perceive in it the like of torches.

It was. This in turn came under the rubric of hazl. Wright. He also at one time sang of wine in the ¯ company of golden youths. Jr. such as gluttony. and by Arab authors often ascribed to Persian influence. its place within the canon was uncertain. And unlike satire. perhaps best translated as ‘jocularity’. the implication being that it was intended only to entertain. 1997. Diametrically opposed to self-indulgence and apparently a natural reaction to it was asceticism.). Rowson (ed. In sharp distinction from satire. he became the mouthpiece of a very ¯ different ideal. to occupy a fairly extensive space and carry various overtones in Arabic literature1 as part of an even wider and indeterminate corpus that usually went under the heading of mujun. New York. the poet usually attributed the unseemly deed to himself. Columbia University Press. 50 . and this found expression in the work of a close contemporary of Abu-Nuwas. though without the raunchiness of Abu¯ Nuwas. some authorities accepting it as valid literary activity. and Everett K. W. In time. others implying that it was at best marginal. 1 See J. however. ¯ a word which literally means ‘shamelessness’. expounded in an uncommonly simple and direct style (sarı /iyah): ¯ ö Ö ö ö Ö A loaf of dry bread Eaten in a corner. but ribaldry has a place in most literatures and is especially to be expected in a society that kept most free women segregated. in fact. Hazl was not always salacious: it covered any undignified behaviour or trait.THE MAIN GROWTH Old Nick reversed his obduracy: Our pimp he became – and so he remains! ¯ was ¯ öAbu-Nuwaspoetry of homoerotic is Persian descent. A diminutive room Where your soul is uncluttered. Homoeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature. A jugful of cool water From a limpid source.Atahiya (748–828). known as ¯ ¯ Abu-l.

And all who eat shall surely be eaten. And he never wearied of the theme of “vanity of vanities” (wafir/ ¯ abı): ¯ ¯ Procreate for death. build for dilapidation. Two stories are told to account for Abu-l. recorded in Abu-l-Faraj al. neither wronging nor favouring any. “Poetry ought to be like that of the great among the Ancients. One is that it was the result of a frustrated love. You seem to assault my hoariness As hoariness assaulted my youth.Isfahanı’s (d. For you are all on the way to perdition. This has it that an admirer asked Abu-l.Atahiya to recite to him some of his best verses. And his last word in cynicism (basıt/lu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Eat what you please: All foods are perishable. With retribution to follow In a hot fire. The other. ¯ ö Ö ö ö ö Ö He replied.967) invaluable Book of ¯ ¯ ˙ Songs deserves a closer look.Atahiya’s change of ¯ heart. or like the poetry of Bassar or of Ibn-Harma [a poet famed for his fidelity to the ˇˇ ¯ 51 .” “How so?” I said. I see no remission from you: You come.THE MAIN GROWTH Or an isolated mosque Away from the throng. “You should know that what I have composed is poor. as from dust we were made? O Death. Where you study a folio With your back to a column Pondering what happened In centuries past – These are better than hours Indulged in lofty palaces. He elaborated. For whom do we build when to dust We are doomed to turn.

to those who make a show of such. Indeed it asserts that excellent poetry may be produced in either camp. and to the common people. It is especially so in ascetic poetry. to students of the Prophet’s sayings and of the Divine Law.” The anecdote then goes on to quote with approval some of Abu-lAtahiya’s ascetic poetry. the up-and-coming poet would graduate from single performances before some obscure Ö ö ö ö Ö 52 . So it proved to be. rather. rather. literally ‘the tongue of the condition’. The words are. or of amateurs of xarıb. but it does imply that a courtoriented career is the more attractive to a poet.Atahiya spoke so disparagingly ¯ of his own work. is clear to the mass of the people. but because – at least in the writer’s understanding – they sum up the situation in which he found himself. for asceticism is not the way of kings or of transmitters of poetry. he might at least be reimbursed for the alms he would have to give in atonement for the lies he had told.THE MAIN GROWTH standards of the Ancients – c. so that the device may be called ‘interpretative attribution’. a form of ¯ ¯ ˙ expression in which words are put into someone’s mouth not because he actually spoke them. who might have been a lowly official or dignitary. It does not come down heavily on the side of the one or the other. an instance of what Arabs call lisan al-hal. If it is not to be so. What these like best is what they understand. The significance of this passage goes beyond the characterization of a particular poet’s career. It is.792]. then the right course for the poet is the use of a diction which. or merely a wealthy individual genuinely fond of poetry or eager to have his prestige celebrated and inflated. A poet’s richest prospect was to go in search of a patron. ¯ most attractive to ascetics. The poet would declaim an encomium in his presence and be rewarded on the spot – and if not satisfied the poet might turn away and satirize him as a skinflint. like mine. and to report that Abu-Nuwas greatly ¯ ¯ ¯ admired it. But if his reputation grew. 709–c. It is highly unlikely that Abu-l. As one disappointed encomiast put it. It poses the question whether the mainstream of Arabic literary creativity was to aim at pleasing potentates or proletarians.

This set-up had the effect of making the glorification of power the dominant theme of Arabic poetry in the golden age of Islamic civilization. The power of tradition was not to be shaken. But the prosody based on pre-Islamic practice remained firm. conventions multiplied.THE MAIN GROWTH chieftain to a permanent position at the court of ever more munificent princes. The main consequential deflection in the overall direction taken by the poets was the growing use of the devices of verbal ornamentation soon to become the subject of the independent branch of Rhetoric known as badı . Its invasion of poetic practice ¯ ö ö Ö ö Ö 53 . For poets. the example of the Ancients continued to be honoured. And the fact that the central power of the Abbasids soon ceased to be absolute resulted only in an increase in the number of courts. Needless to say. and greater refinement of expression was expected and achieved. any inference that the generation of Abu-Nuwas was ¯ ¯ poised to revolutionize poetic practice would have been mistaken. and to a large extent followed. What could one praise a Maecenas for except his power. ostensibly subordinate to that of the Caliph but vying with one another in magnificence. the rewards could be substantial: “You have shod my horses with gold” the renowned al-Mutanabbı said to the most liberal of the patrons ¯ he served. alike in princely circles and in humbler ones. different public events were to be memorialized.Atahiya had had access to the Caliphal ¯ ¯ ¯ court. different though the social reality might have been. a scholar was to be lauded for his learning and his virtue. his valour in war and his munificence in peace – even if the individual addressed did not quite live up to the ideal? Similarly. Both Abu-Nuwas and Abu-l. the more so as court life readily accommodated formality. which was the middle part of the tripartite ode. In fact. Love poetry too was assured of a place in the amatory prelude of the traditional ode even if it had not been an imperative of human nature. And although interest in the desert journey. However. dwindled. his high birth. New motifs were bound to arise. his lofty attainments. and both mujun and asceticism found ample expression ¯ among their successors. And amatory verses demanded that the poet describe himself as pining for the favours he was denied by a cruel mistress. it was not the only one.

Its edge separating resolve from mere trifling. White are the blades.THE MAIN GROWTH is associated with the name of Abu-Tammam (c. and the bulk of his own compositions is of solid quality. his own description of the woman he praised was (tawıl/lu): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö A slender one – if anklets were refashioned Into ornate belts. Their surfaces cleared of doubts and misgivings. for her apparent weeping Is merriment. Such are pigeons – hamam – but if frowardly you change ¯ ˙ The first vowel to i. He was ¯ ¯ steeped in the classical tradition. having compiled a highly regarded anthology of his predecessors’ poetry. he used his verbal skills economically and to good effect. as when – in the course of a conventional amatory prelude – he spoke of a lost love then apostrophized himself with these words (kamil/amu): ¯ ¯ ¯ Did your eyes scatter tears when an ash-coloured dove Called out at the time when darkness is scattered? Do not sob in response. whereas yours is a torment. Thus the ideal of feminine beauty being a slender waist over fleshy buttocks (a common comparison being with a palm-tree growing out of a sand dune). Only occasionally did he strain to bring in some precieux word´ play.805–845). A memorable poem of his celebrates a victory by the Caliph al-Mu tasim over the Byzantines in a campaign which ˙ was launched against the advice of the astrologers. they are death – himam! ¯ ˙ More commonly. not blackened the pages. He was not out of step with his contemporaries in his taste for hyperbolic descriptions. but many more subtleties are embodied in the Arabic text: 54 . they would fit loosely round her. The lines are striking enough even in translation. It starts (basıt/bu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö A truer informant than books is the sword.

And he ended with a traditional invocation recalling the parched deserts of Arabia rather than the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates. but not inconsistent with his own turmoil (tawıl/dı): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö ö ö Your weeping relieves though it nothing avails. mutun which in ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ relation to swords is translated ‘surfaces’ would have meant ‘texts’ in relation to books. Ibn-ar-Rumı ¯ ¯ (836–96) – whose name implies that he was of Greek descent. for he is gone who to me was your equal. Finally hadd and jidd. saha ifi is an anagram of safa ihi.... Oh that a soul should shed breath after breath As pearls slip off an unknotted string! 55 . Death targeted my middle son – O God! How did it come to pick the necklet’s centrepearl? . his soul sloughing off And shriveling as does a myrtle branch. are in the script differentiated only by a dot. Be lavish. He started with an apostrophe to his own eyes which bore some kinship to Victor Hugo’s appeal to Providence to be allowed to weep even as he resigned himself to his daughter’s death. and jala which in this context means ‘clearing’ ¯ also denotes the burnishing of a sword. did not edge out motifs of personal experience or of broad human perception.. He lingered in our arms. The rapid spread of this predilection for verbal artifice.THE MAIN GROWTH as-sayfu asdaqu anba an mina l-kutubı ¯ ¯ ˙ fı haddihi l-haddu bayna l-jiddi wa -l-la ibı ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ bıdu s-safa ihi la sudu s-saha ifi fı ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ mutunihinna jala u s-sakki wa-r-riyabı ¯ ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö Here hadd is used once in the sense of ‘edge’ and once as ˙ ‘separation’. ˙ although pronounced differently. since the Byzantines as heirs of the Holy Roman Empire were known to the Arabs as ‘Rum’ – mourned the death of a son in a somewhat ¯ prolix and meandering poem which nevertheless resonates with intimate grief. . then. combined with the demands of court poetry.

. I perceive.. In denial he forbids. Love also – even if expressed in stiffly conventional terms – was assured of a permanent place in poetry. The story gained currency that he had claimed to be a prophet and to have composed a Qur an consisting ¯ ö 56 .915–65). The reason is that in his late teens he tried to lead some nomadic tribesmen in a small-scale rebellion in the Syrian desert.. Having spent the night in anger. in rejection he departs. He initiates rejection. In union he draws near. as in al-Buhturı’s (821–97) ¯ ˙ (xafıf]da): ¯ ¯ One whom I love most persistently denies me. Though you are banished to the unpeopled realm. in salving he bestows.. . This was not his name but a sobriquet ¯ meaning ‘the self-styled Prophet’. Our children are like the most precious of organs: Whichever we lose is of all the most grievously missed. . Many are his arts: He reveals each day An innovative manner of tyrannizing me. yet I Am in the realm of men as lonely as if the sole creation. Upon you be the peace of God – a wish from me. innocently With the like of fire they scorch my heart. I yet start the day resigned – A master in the evening. He failed and is known to have been imprisoned for a while. shall be Truer kindlers of sorrows than a flint: When they play where once you played. and from Storms true to their pledge of lightning and of thunder. and a slave when morning comes! In this or that condition.. Your two surviving brothers. then redoubles it. Muhammad! All things dreamed up as solace ˙ To my heart have only added to its passion.THE MAIN GROWTH . I would yet ransom with my soul A fawn whose comeliness proves contagious at a touch! As for court-poetry.. it was never better served than it was by al-Mutanabbı (c.

He did in fact excel in all that was expected of a poet in his day. He could toy with words as skilfully as any. with equal purport: If what you purpose is a verb in the imperfect tense. It passes to the perfect before the particles requiring the jussive intervene. but it is extremely unlikely that he would have got off so lightly if he had actually defied the passage in the Qur an which ¯ challenges unbelievers to produce its like.THE MAIN GROWTH of 114 chapters like the genuine one. Exalting the power of a patron he could address him with (tawıl/mu): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö If what you purpose is a deed commensurate with you. was likely to be directed at a failed revolutionary especially if he was famous for his eloquence. to the admiration of critics (xafıf/mu): ¯ ¯ Abase yourself and abasement will come easy: A wound causes no pain to a cadaver. This is the kind of accusation which. It comes to pass even before commands are given but the line is so full of words that may double as grammatical terms that it may also be rendered. 57 . or (xafıf/ana): ¯ ¯ ¯ Whenever Fate causes a reed to grow Man fits a spearhead to the reed. or (wafir/mı): ¯ ¯ When you venture in search of a desired honour Be not content with any lower than the stars: The taste of death in a despicable cause Is the taste of death in an exalted one. under a theocratic system of government. And he had a gift for coining aphorisms in memorable lines that could “gain the currency of proverbs” as an Arabic idiom puts it.

too. It was not an amiable personality. like Imru u-l-Qays. in a classical ode the love theme need only be a prelude to a hero’s journey that will test his mettle. and that a powerful personality shines through even when he deals with impersonal themes. as al-Jahiz (c. Put it to death And so abate its torment – or else increase it.776–868/9) put it.THE MAIN GROWTH What marks him out. 58 . he was one “whose spirit with divine ambition puff’d makes mouth at the invisible event. deal fairly with his equals. in your power. old and recent. the amatory must precede – Is every eloquent poet enslaved by love? Yet it did not do him undue violence to fall in with his public’s expectation that a poet had to plead for the favours of beautiful women. and then went on to expound his own valour. in a passage which incidentally refers to David as the inventor of armour (xafıf/dı): ¯ ¯ Here is my lifeblood. O gazelle! My possessions. Unlawful is the drinking of any blood. In an early poem.” And it was his cursed spite that he was destined to sing the praises of wielders of power – rabbits who happened to be kings – many of whom he despised. have been a chooser than a beggar. rather. Except the blood of a bunch of grapes. Besides. One senses that in addressing women he would rather. or by a neckline. A peer to my languor is a hero trapped By the grooming of a lock. proud though he was. my emaciation And my tears are witnesses to my passion. al-Mutanabbı ¯ described in extravagant terms the beauty of his beloved. however. Pour this to me. and he did mildly protest against the convention of the amatory prelude (tawıl/amu): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö If praise is intended. that he humble himself ¯ ˙ ˙ before his inferiors. for what nobility demanded of a man was. and Ibn-Hazm (994–1064) specified in his ˙ treatise on love where women fitted into that equation. my self-abasement. and assert himself before his superiors. is that his verse had a rhythmic sweep that is not easily accounted for by the standard scansion. then – my soul be ransom for your eyes. My whitened hair.

Other travels of his gave better scope for his lyricism. Well-joined. the boughs hiding the sun Yet letting through radiance enough for me. the branches shaking Over their manes the likes of silver beads. soon turning to adversity? . They lured our horsemen and our horses so I feared That these – though pure-bred – might yet turn restive. Through them the East projected on my clothing Gold pieces that elude one’s finger-tips.. and tongue. like water glistening. My shirt is knitted iron. Its fashioning perfected by David’s hand. he would have need of an interpreter. For spearheads are best for dispelling rage Or quenching the thirst of rancorous breasts. besides. those of the Valley hold The status of spring among the seasons. in ¯ which he makes use of the legend that Solomon controlled the jinn and could speak the language of birds (wafir/anı): ¯ ¯ ¯ Among all resting spots.. Playgrounds of the jinn – were Solomon himself To visit them. weaponry. supple. as in his description of the Valley of Bawwan in the vicinity of Shiraz. all-enveloping. 59 . Live proudly! Or else die honourably Amid the thrusting lances and the fluttering pennants. We set off early. And I moved on. My bed is the back of a horse.THE MAIN GROWTH What day was there when you granted me the joy of union But that you distressed me with three days of rejection? And so my sojourn in the Naxla area was but Like the Messiah’s sojourn among Jews. But the Arab knight there is a stranger In features. What merit would be mine if I contentedly received The life that Time deals out. And peeping from them: fruits that bring to mind Liquors that hold their shape without containers.


There also water-courses run in which the pebbles tinkle As bracelets do upon fair maidens’ arms. But most of his compositions were panegyrics for men who wielded various degrees of authority. It is more than likely that his main hope was to attain through the favour of a ruler what he had failed to get by force of arms, and it is a fact that access to the corridors of power could yield additional benefits to those who had the skill and acumen to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. Al-Mutanabbı, however, though he praised a ¯ succession of petty rulers, declaring of one after another that his station was higher than the sun or the moon or some other heavenly body, was too boastful and too fond of panache to make useful alliances and handle intricate court intrigues. His best years – from 948 to 957 – were spent in the service of Sayf-ad-Dawla, the founder of the Hamdanı dynasty, whose writ did not extend ¯ ¯ ˙ far beyond Aleppo, but who was a prince after al-Mutanabbı’s ¯ heart, often engaged in border battles with the Byzantines but also maintaining a brilliant court that attracted many of the leading intellects and artistic talents of the day, including a cousin of the prince, Abu-Firas (932–68), who was no men poet himself. ¯ ¯ Al-Mutanabbı was richly rewarded with money, but he remained a ¯ suppliant. Like a delinquent schoolboy he had to plead illness when he failed to deliver a poem that had been expected of him, and he had to take part in drinking parties that he heartily disliked. But his panegyrics resounded far and wide – and he seldom failed to embed in them a few lines singing his own praise as a doughty warrior and a supreme poet. So in a poem declaimed on the occasion of a religious feast, addressing Sayf-ad-Dawla (tawıl/da): ¯ ¯ ˙


This day among days is like you among mortals: As peerless among them as you among men. So Fortune decrees that an eye outsee its sister, And a day be master over another. ... You are, I perceive, all forbearance in absolute power. Should you wish, your forbearance might be a sword.



Nothing kills the freeborn like forgiveness – But where is the freeman who requites a good deed? But you surpass all others in judgment and wisdom As you outrank them in virtue, status, and lineage. Your deeds are too subtle for minds to perceive – We concede the obscure and accept what is clear. Be my shield from the envious – restrain them: It is you who have made them envious of me. Fortified by your favour, my wrist wields a sword That lops off many heads while still in its sheath. Nothing am I but a lance which you carry: It adorns on parade and strikes terror when pointed. Time is but a reciter of my necklace-like poems: When I string them together, the ages recite them. So bestirred, the laggard advances, baring his arm; So moved, even the tone-deaf sing out with a trill. Reward me for all the poems you hear, for it is My poems repeated that eulogists bring you. Ignore all but my voice, for mine is the one That soars and is copied – all others are echoes. His comparison of himself to a lance was particularly felicitous as the occasion was marked by a military parade, but the lines that followed could scarcely have won him many friends, and in time he roused animosities among so many that he had to depart in some haste. His next destination was Egypt, and his next patron was the exact opposite of all that al-Mutanabbı admired in Sayf-ad-Dawla. ¯ This was Kafur, a black eunuch, a slave of the ruling Ixsıdı dynasty, ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ acting as regent during the infancy of the heir. Kafur was an able ¯ ¯ ruler, but the fact that he accomplished his purposes without spectacular feats of arms did not endear him to al-Mutanabbı, who ¯ later was to claim that the poems he had composed in his praise were meant to be ironic. Indeed one of these contains a line which may be read as (tawıl/anı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Will me some bounty, whether or not you bestow it, For whatever you wish me is coming my way.



One may doubt whether it was actually declaimed in this form or was doctored later, for not only does it make little of Kafur’s ¯ ¯ generosity, but the second hemistich may also be interpreted as: “For no matter what you wish me, you are my she-ass.” After four years which al-Mutanabbı claimed he spent virtually ¯ as a prisoner in Egypt, he managed to leave, and as soon as he was out of Kafur’s reach he composed a vitriolic satire in which he ¯ ¯ dwelt rancorously not only on his former patron’s race, but also on the physiological features of eunuchs (basıt/du): ¯ ¯ ˙ I dwelt among liars whose guest Is barred alike from food and from departure. Men’s liberality is dealt by hand, theirs by the tongue – May we be spared both them and their largesse! Death does not come to pick their souls except With aloes-wood in hand to neutralize the stench. Each has a flaccid anal-strap, and flanks distended, And is reckoned as neither a man nor a woman. ... Never buy a slave unless you buy a stick as well, For slaves are unclean creatures, and accursed. ... From whom might the castrate black have learned nobility? His white-skinned kinsmen or his proud forefathers? Or else his bleeding ear tagged by the trader’s hand? Or yet his price when for two coppers his sale falls through? And the poem ended with the mock excuse: “White sires prove incapable of worthy deeds – how then the castrate blacks?” Al-Mutanabbı then struck out East in search of another patron, ¯ but on his way he fell foul of local chieftain called Dabba ibn-Yazıd ¯ ˙ al- Utbı and satirized him in a crudely worded poem in which he ¯ gloated over the fact that the man’s mother was reputed to have been raped, making out that she was not the rapist’s victim but that “her perineum fucked his prick”, so that the keynote of his address to the son is (mujtatt/bah):




What shame is it to you That your mother be a whore? It is no burden to a dog That he be a bitch’s son. Shortly after, on the way between Wasit and Baghdad, the poet’s ¯ ˙ retinue was waylaid by brigands reputedly related to Dabba, and al˙ Mutanabbı together with his son and some of his retinue were killed. ¯ Even more basically at odds with the values of his society than al-Mutanabbı was al-Ma arrı (973–1058). Blind from the age of ¯ ¯ four, he is remembered mainly as an austere recluse and a cynic. He was not, however, without pride or ambition, and is known to have sought fame and fortune in his younger days, but he was quickly disenchanted with the ways of the world. As he had modest private means, he retired to his native town of Ma arra in the district of Aleppo, to live in his “three-fold prison”: his house, his blindness, and the confinement of his spirit in a vile body. In his own words (wafir/ada): ¯ ¯ ¯



The phoenix, I perceive, is too mighty to be hunted. Resist, then, whom you have the power to resist. Never have I desisted from a quest. Rather It is Fate that will not yield the reins. ... Think ill of all your brethren And trust no heart with your own secret, For if Gemini had probed them as I have It would not rise for fear of treachery. I shun Mankind, so I am not befriended, And I excel my foes, so I am not opposed. With the prevailing taste for verbal artifice he had no quarrel, but in other respects he exhibited an original mind and a bold spirit. An intriguing undertaking of his was the composition of thirty poems on a subject as difficult for a blind man to handle and as remote from his experience as one can imagine: armour. No doubt this served a favourite theme of his: that against death there is no defence; but the challenge to his virtuosity was also a consideration.


rather. Seek. 129–136. in which he imposed upon himself two rules additional to those of classical prosody: maintaining a rhyme consisting of two syllables instead of one. which makes use of some of the women’s names commonly found in conventional love poetry and also makes reference to the account that the ancient poet Imru u-l-Qays warmly praised one Amr ibnDarma for the protection he had given him in an hour of need. ¯ 1 (1970). Another innovation of al-Ma arrı’s was a collection of poems ¯ entitled Luzum ma la yalzam. ¯ runs (basıt/ma ı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö ö ö Ö ö The heart is like water and passions float upon it Like bubbles that in water are formed. access to water for a thirsty soul. So that ease shall replace wretchedness. 64 . ¯ I do not believe that this shall ever be. Our words are like humans. and composing at least one poem with each phoneme in the language – i.e. made of light and of darkness. Out of it they were born. several of these poems are conceived as the utterance of an imaginary character in a specified situation – for example. Spoken of is an Age that shall yield to men’s bidding. One such. Journal of Arabic Literature. And the hawk shall look up to the rabbit As did Imru u-l-Qays to Ibn-ad-Darma . and then comes what transforms them. ö ö ö ö 2 See my “The Dramatic Monologues of al-Ma‘arrı”.THE MAIN GROWTH Furthermore. And men are like Time. it nevertheless produced some deep-delving poems. There could scarcely be a more artificial framework for poetic compositions. So the covenants made with some Hind or Asma are ¯ worn out. each consonant combined with each vowel in turn – for a rhyme. some bad and some good. and the tour-de-force was not achieved without some straining.2 This gives them a dramatic quality unparalleled in pre-modern Arabic poetry. literally ‘Adhering to what need not ¯ ¯ ¯ be adhered to’. a lad approaching manhood and enquiring of his mother what has happened to his father’s armour. pp.

And alike in any gathering are the voices (if truly measured) Of the lamenter or the bearer of good tidings. including the sacred rites of the Muslim Pilgrimage. then.. That dove perched on a twig off a swinging bough – Is it weeping or is it singing? Friend. he had a Voltairian contempt (mutaqarib/ar): ¯ I marvel at Chosroes and his subjects Washing their faces in bovine urine. one of the ancient nations said in the Qur an to have been utterly ¯ destroyed by God (xafıf/adı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ö Ö Equally vain.. Ö His cynicism bracketed the entire race of men (basıt/bu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Better than the best of them is a rock That does no injustice and utters no lies. At the Nazarenes’ cult of a god oppressed. Wronged through life and yet unsuccoured. Many a burial has been over the remnants Of other burials through succeeding ages. So profound a disillusion with the created world has raised doubts whether he believed in a Creator. in my faith and my conviction Are the mourner’s sobs and the singer’s trills. see how our graves fill the wide earth.THE MAIN GROWTH A recurrent concern of his was with death and its apparent finality. Many a tomb has been a tomb time and again. Laughing at the crowding in of opposites.. At the Jews’ belief in a god who loves The sprinkling of blood and the smell of burnt flesh. are the graves from the days of Ad? .. I wonder only At him who hankers for more of it. Nothing but weariness is life. . ¯ Where. ¯ as in this poem where there is an appropriate reference to Ad. 65 . Certainly for the outer forms of religion.

and of the ability of poetic genius to break through a carapace of convention. ‘heart’ or ‘understanding’. On the contrary. I have inflicted it on no other. And the epitaph he is said to have wanted carved on his tomb was: “This my father perpetrated on me. by some contagion. the two letters if linked producing the word lubb. But if – especially where apostasy is a capital offence – action (or inaction) speaks louder than words. But – except. for the fact that his use of double rhyming became an additional item in the science of badı – he founded no new school ¯ and signaled no new trend in the poetry of the time.THE MAIN GROWTH And at multitudes faring from distant lands To fling some pebbles and kiss the stone. i. Amr has yawned because Xalid did. What made me shun all creatures is my cognizance of them And knowledge that the worlds are merely motes. he asserts (tawıl/ ¯ ˙ ba u): ¯ ¯ ö ö Ö The link of procreation has stretched from Adam to me. ironically. How strange are all these teachings of theirs – Must all of mankind be blind to the Truth? But what of the basic tenets of the faith? On these – such as the belief in an afterlife – his poetry abounds in radically contradictory statements.” Al-Ma arrı’s career is a monumental example of the triumph of ¯ individuality in a world of conformity. ¯ But not to me has this contagion reached. as in this devotional piece by an-Niffarı ¯ (d. But to my body no coition is linked. the witness of his life (unless we assume a disguised sexual dysfunction) is that he deliberately chose not to bring new life into the world. c.1000): Ö Ö 66 . There is indeed even for the uninitiated a compelling quality to the experience of the Sufıs – the mystics of Islam – and the ¯ ¯ ˙ vividness of their visions.e. the frisson nouveau was to be the growing contribution of mysticism to literature. In a passage that is not only double-rhymed but also juggles with the word lam ¯ which stands both for ‘body’ and for the letter ‘l’ while ba means ¯ either ‘coitus’ or the letter ‘b’.

and thereby strip the rules that govern society of their precise import. Then I saw that all deeds are evil. I saw poverty as an argumentative opponent. Nothing availed me but the mercy of my Lord. I called out to Mystic Knowledge but it did not answer. I saw that every thing had surrendered me. He said to me: I am He who seeks you. the Sufis were not readily accepted by the establishment. I saw fear control hope. And I spoke. who proved to himself and to others that the Sufis could extend religious experience to the utmost attainable in this earthly life. A balance was eventually struck by the great exponent of dogmatic theology al-Xazalı ¯¯ (1058–1111). He said to me: Where is your Learning? And I saw the Fire. and the Fire abated. Yet to enter even partly into the experience of the great mystics demands and deserves a fuller. He said to me: I am your Knowledge. and more extensive study than can be attempted here. I saw the Kingdom of the Seen as self-delusion and the Kingdom of the Unseen as deceit. Knowledge came to me but I saw in it only obscure conjecture and fleeting obscurity. He said to me: Where are your deeds? And I saw the Fire. As is attested by the sickeningly cruel execution of al-Hallaj in 922 for ¯ ˙ proclaiming “I am the Truth”. And I steadied. I saw that every creature had deserted me. He said to me: I am your protector. And I emerged. Then he unveiled to me His Unique Knowledge. provided that they confined themselves to seeking nearness to God and did not fall into the heresy of claiming union 67 . more sustained. I saw that wealth had become a fire and was joined to the Fire. I saw that everything was capable of nothing. if only because the assumption that truth could be attained by individual devotional exertion seemed to challenge the theology and the canonical law derived from a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. He said to me: Where is your Mystic Knowledge? And I saw the Fire. I called out to Learned Knowledge but it did not answer.THE MAIN GROWTH He made me stand in the stance of Death. Muslim thinkers have themselves been inclined to rein in the impulses of their mystics.

I know not what banishment is. the Sufis naturally expressed themselves in familiar poetic language. With Him. The Sufi quest is perhaps best encapsulated in the Qur anic verse (2:115): “Whichever way you turn. my mind senses no alarm.Adawiyya (d.THE MAIN GROWTH with Him. one of them an early mystic woman named Rabi a al. and justifies a measured approach to Sufi pronouncements. Where the breeze trails her skirt and at sundown Regales me with the sweetest fragrance. In the sound of the lute and of the gentle flute As they harmonize in trilling tunes. In fact. Ibn-al-Farid (1181– ¯ ˙ 1235). Suffice it to glance at how they enriched literary sensitivity. And in my kissing the lips of the cup. He also held that the inherited dogmas were sufficient for the salvation of the ordinary believer. there the Face of God is. has raised doubts whether it dealt ¯ with human or divine love. then does every organ see Him In every subtle. pleasing. joyous notion. In one of its versions it reads (mutaqarib/aka): ¯ ¯ ¯ Ö Ö I have two loves for you: a love born of attraction.801). celebrated his sense of God’s omnipresence in these lines (basıt/jı): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö If absent from me.” The greatest of the Arab Sufi poets. And a love that is your due. Where the dew comes down from the clouds Upon a carpet of light woven from flowers. sipping The flow of wine in a restful pleasure-ground. As for the love resulting from attraction. an early poem that occurs in three variants each attributed to a different author. Where from their thickets gazelles go roaming In evening coolness. And when together. This formula has prevailed. 68 . or when the dawn breaks out in brightness. or had passed from one motif to the other. It is that I have thoughts of you and of none other. Constrained by love and rewarded with ecstatic visions.

THE MAIN GROWTH As for the love that you command by right. and in fact treated grammatically as a feminine. It runs to more than 760 lines. and it remains remarkably supple although bejeweled with rhetorical devices. Not from the liquor. My cup being the face of one who surpasses beauty.and of wine-poetry to such an extent that the inadvertent reader may not always sense that he is dealing with one of their mystic texts. A transcription of the last two lines will show the density of the word-play: wa bi l-hadaqi staxnaytu an qadahı wa min ¯ ˙ ˙ sama iliha la min samuliya naswatı ˇ ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ fa fı hani sukrı hana sukrı li fityatin ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ bi-him tamma lı katmi l-hawa ma a suhratı ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ö Ö Ö At this point Ibn-al-Farid turned to the Beloved in terms almost ¯ ˙ indistinguishable from those of human love. This is but one feature of a justly renowned poem by Ibn-al-Farid known as ‘the Poem of the ¯ ˙ Way’ which comes close to summing up his mystic experience. My pupils did duty for my cups. I let my friends assume that in the wine they drank Lay the inner secret of my eye-born liveliness. It is your stripping of the veils so I may see you. and presumably the longest monorhyme in any language. Indeed it became common for the Sufi poets to make use of the vocabulary and conventions of love. and from her qualities. He did the same in another poem using the same metre and rhyme: 69 . so that it is the longest in Arabic. was my yearning drawn. The time has come to thank the young men in the tavern Who helped to hide my passion. And praise for this or that is not due me – Yours is the praise alike for this and that. though well-known are my ways. It starts (tawıl/tı): ¯ ¯ ˙ My rested eye poured out for me the drunkenness of love.

Drastically condensed. my eye when she reveals herself. which stand in striking contrast with al-Ma arrı’s ¯ strictures on all the religions known to him (tawıl/anı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ö Ö Ö I used of old to disown my friend If my religion was not close to his. The ways of the Sufis are many. 70 . So chaste that informality is tantamount to veiling. commonly called ‘dervishes’ – who follow a particular discipline instituted by a great teacher. This occurs in a moment of glorious enlightenment. which does not become a permanent condition. The rain is but the outflow of my tears. But now my heart accepts all likenesses. . What these ‘ways’ have in common is not easily summed up.Arabı ¯ (1165–1280). Achieving this brings recognition of the Unicity of God and of one’s subsistence only through God. a ‘way’ is in fact the word ¯ ˙ used in Arabic to denote an Order of devotees – in English. although one’s earthly life is inevitably marked by it. Set apart and surrounded with spearheads and blades. to a Qur anic verse or to a recorded saying of the Prophet’s. if only by very subtle inferences.THE MAIN GROWTH Mine among these tents is one who to me Is miserly with union. Hers are the full moon’s qualities. This did not always clear Sufis from the suspicion that they dipped into the heresies of incarnationism or pantheism. It is pasture to gazelles and monastery to monks. Every step of this formulation is linked. My purpose rising up to her as she arises – Her mansions being my arm for a pillow. Two cloaks enfolding her: my heart and my soul. which is believed to have existed before Adam was given a physical form. And what is one to make of these often-quoted lines by Ibn. My heart for a dwelling. my self her firmament. Holding sway over our minds as she sways. the Sufis’ own formulation is that they are driven to seek identity with the Spirit of the Prophet. And lightning but the incandescence of my sighs... A tarıqa. lavish in alienation.

In the immense record of as-Sabi ’s (925–94) correspondence. ´ Paris. and Pellat. Charles. Suffice it that it was sometimes used to denote a specific literary genre. ö Sufism undoubtedly grew from an Islamic seed in Islamic soil.970).Amıd (d.Abbad (938–95) or Imad ad-Dın al. unequivocal. “Variations sur le theme ` ´ de l’adab” in his Etudes sur l’Histoire Socio-culturelle de l’Islam. What is easier to describe is the direction taken by the prose writers who gained recognition as literary figures. pp. ¯ I follow the creed of Love wherever its mounts May lead – Love is my religion and my faith.3 without yielding a precise. anticipating its modern usage. Variorum reprints. Occasionally. More generally. 1950. 1976. Carlo` ´ Alfonso. 71 . No doubt it was their command of the classical language that was their primary qualification for the office. London. but not necessarily their originality or inventiveness.THE MAIN GROWTH A house for fires. Tablets of the Torah and text of the Qur an. for example. La Litterature Arabe des Origines a l’Epoque de la Dynastie Umayyade. Maisonneuve. most of ¯ ˙ ˙ ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö 3 See each of the reference works listed in the Bibliography. widely but not unchallengeably taken to be a learned and wide-ranging but non-technical miscellany. also Nallino. it was applied to prose writing of artistic quality.Isfahanı (1125–1201) ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ were State secretaries. or stable definition. Prose The period of signal poetic creativity beginning late in the eighth century also witnessed the rapid and imposing development of the adab which we have encountered as almost synonymous with the practice of state secretaries. as-Sahib ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ibn. it seemed to cover all literature. The association with chancellery duties was not broken: several of the most celebrated prose writers. 7–34. but its shoots sometimes bolted vigorously enough to split their own calyx. too. What the word adab came to signify has exercised many scholars. a temple for circumambulators. however. such as Ibn al.

Arab authors did not have to be inventive. unlike the specialist who needs to concentrate on one branch of knowledge. But they had to be wide-ranging and well-informed.THE MAIN GROWTH the items are written on behalf of one eminent man to another. Some two hundred titles are attributed to him. the Arabic word for an epistle. could become pieces of fine writing: One from Ibn-al. It may be taken for granted that the text should be in good classical Arabic. He was the head of a theological school. the instruction of children. In modern Arab universities. ‘the ¯ ˙ ˙ goggle-eyed’. however. a man of adab should (anticipating Matthew Arnold’s critic) acquire “the best of everything”. and a report that Musaylima – one of the false prophets who attempted to emulate the founder of Islam – tried to convince people that he could summon an angel by flying a Ö ö ö 72 . although only about one-fifth have survived. fulsomely congratulating him on some success or warning him against insubordination. and – increasingly in subsequent centuries – ornamental. It tallies with the fact that the word adab also means “politeness” that the writing should be such as would gain acceptance in refined circles: elegant. the originality lying in the selection and the purpose to which it was put. one may deduce the qualities that conferred on a prose piece literary status. in fact.Amıd containing a ¯ description of the sea was so admired that it was circulated among the learned. the effects of castration on humans. According to Ibn-Qutayba (828–89). many of their products were compilations of previously known material. but his writings are studded with information about such disparate topics as the training of slave-girls as singers. The first of the Arab prose writers to acquire fame without being a State official was a giant. literally ¯ means ‘a message’. he was a man of insatiable curiosity and inexhaustible energy – an overactive thyroid gland possibly accounting for both his appearance and his productivity. substantial in length and learned in content. a preference for spring over summer flowers – may grow into essays. risala. From all this. It is easy to see how such epistles – expressing. for example. the word has been adopted for ‘a dissertation’. Besides. Personal letters. and may carry lofty connotations – for was it not a divine message that the Prophet delivered to Mankind? Many of the ‘epistles’ produced in this period were veritable monographs. polished. Known by the sobriquet al-Jahiz.

it is entitled al-Bayanu wa t-Tabyın. It concerns the judge Iyas ibn-Mu awiya who ¯ ¯ was famed for his good judgment but also for his garrulity4: ö Ö ˇ once said ¯ ÖAbd-Allah ibn-Subrumano desire toto him. 1. 98–99. And most relevant to the study of literature is a major work of his. When they realized who he was they apologized to him and said. A brief extract from a substantial disquisition on eloquence may illustrate his usual practice of interweaving material from many sources with his own pithy observations. ed. but his scholarliness was such that he apologized for not writing about fish because sailors made unreliable informants. who use the same word for generosity as for nobility. which may be translated as ¯ ¯ ‘Lucidity and Elucidation’. He deliberately tried to spare his reader tedium by varying his material. Abd-as-Salam Muhammad Harun. “You Iand I are incompatible: You have shut up. vol. shabby in appearance and austere. Cairo. Lajnatu ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ t-Ta lıfi wa t-Tarjamati wa n-Nasr. a modern edition of which runs to more than five hundred pages. Another book of his on misers had several imitators. and have no desire to listen!” He once joined a circle of members of the tribe of Qurays ˇ in the Damascus mosque. He is credited with an entire book on animals. miserliness being the most despicable trait in the eyes of Arabs. although bayan became a technical ¯ word for ‘Rhetoric’. pp. “The fault is partly ours. What they noticed was that he was ruddy and ugly. then spoke the language of kings. although his verve sometimes led him into lengthy digressions which are usually enjoyable. but partly also yours.THE MAIN GROWTH kite “such as children make out of paper”.” 4 Al-Bayanu wa t-Tabyın. for you came to us in the garb of a pauper. Al-Jahiz wrote in a vivid and vigorous style. and took command of the assembly. ˇ ¯ ö Ö 73 . and punctuated with witticisms and even some quite bawdy jokes. so they made light of him. often marked by ¯ ˙ ˙ rhythmically balanced clauses and assonance but direct and shorn of verbal gymnastics. 1948. but frustrating to the scholar who is eager to pursue a particular theme.

Tradition has it that the Prophet said. “I have an even greater right to admire what I say and what I do. What is considered blameworthy is not that one should perceive the excellence of which one is capable.” The Caliph Umar was told. Perception is no part of conceit. “Your only fault is that you admire your own words. but not when she is a mature woman. This was Ö 74 . . It is idle talk.” he retorted. and a limit to the zest of listeners. ¯ ˙ ˙ who however were soon seduced by the subtleties of badı . “Is what you hear from me true or false?” “It is true. which is indeed to be deprecated. “He is the more likely to fall into it.” He asked. “Do you admire them?” They said. . This leads him to observe that men often take pleasure in the lisping of a slave-girl as long as she is young and pretty.” He replied.” He rejoined. Ö ö ö Equally characteristic of al-Jahiz is that a few pages further on.” Al-Jahiz was succeeded by a number of distinguished writers. “an excess of good can only be good. “Well then. “Your only fault is ¯s ˙ your garrulity.THE MAIN GROWTH I have known people to approve of his retort to some who said to him. “So-and-So does not know what evil is. What goes beyond the bearable and leads to weariness and boredom – that surplus is mere babbling. laden with flesh and piled high with fat.” they said. This in turn leads to a further digression about pet-names with which a young girl may be babied.” . still ¯ ˙ ˙ on the subject of eloquence.” He asked. There has to be an end to discourse. “Yes. It is the verbosity that you have heard wise men condemn. Abu-l-Hasan reports: Iya was told. he draws entirely on his own perceptions and taste in urging those who relate a witticism by a coarse beduin or a suave city-dweller to retain the flavour of the original without attempting to smooth the roughness of the one or correct the solecisms of the other.” Now this is not – God preserve you! – what people include under the heading of conceit. but which become ridiculous when still used in addressing her when she has become “a senile old woman.” But that is not correct. so that ¯ rhyming and rhetorical devices such as are encountered in the poetry eventually became inseparable from artistic prose. “The believer is he who deplores his faults and rejoices in his good qualities.

valued above all as a ¯ vehicle for verbal virtuosity. A not unreasonable inference is that to gain admission to the literary canon. The story line is certainly not what al-Hamadanı may be ¯ ¯ credited with having innovated. however. and those of at-Ta alibı’s (961–1038). perpetrating some petty fraud and getting away with a free meal or some meagre booty. strung together by having in almost all instances the same narrator and the same named antihero: a plausible silver-tongued rogue who lives by his wits. usually presented as factual accounts with a chain of named transmitters to authenticate them. In fact. Scattered among these writings. a verse which is known to have been directed at an individual who vied with the Prophet for public attention. who had philosophical and mystic procliv¯ ¯ ˙ ities. especially of made-up stories that had no purpose other than entertainment. Long credited with being the originator of the genre. There was. a piece of fiction had to have some additional virtue. Badı -az¯ Zaman al-Hamadanı composed a number of short narratives.THE MAIN GROWTH also further embellished with the addition of a few lines of poetry here and there. some ¯ ¯ ¯ covering only a couple of pages. the only narrative genre to be established and accepted as literary in premodern Arabic literature was the maqama. The ground covered was vast and varied. Several pronouncements attributed to the Prophet are equally intolerant of purposeless pastimes. whether as a providential reward for ö Ö Ö ö Ö 75 . for there are strikingly similar short narratives in earlier writings.927–1023). especially in at-Tanuxı’s Relief ¯ ¯ after Hardship which – as the title indicates – delights in accounts of good fortune attained. who minutely ¯ ¯ tabulated such trivia as offensive nicknames and such coincidences as that the only two Caliphs called Ja far were both murdered on a Tuesday night. especially those of at-Tawhıdı ¯ ¯ ˙ and at-Tanuxı (940–94) are not a few anecdotes and short ¯ ¯ narratives. reflecting individual interests as different as those of Abu-Hayyan at¯ ¯ ˙ Tawhıdı (c. resistance to the mere telling of stories. This may have stemmed from a Qur anic condemnation of “one who buys idle stories in order to lead men astray from the path of God” (31:6). but which – like all other Scriptural texts – could be given universal relevance.

and such indeed ¯ is one of the many significations the word has. a combat. The accepted English translation of a maqama is “an assembly”. The folk character of many of these stories is evident. What al-Hamadanı added to the mix was to make each maqama ¯ ¯ ¯ peak into a marvel of linguistic and rhetorical skill. is that maqama is derived from a root which means “to ¯ stand”. although the narrative leading up to it was mostly plain and unrhymed. 76 . The word maqama itself5 is open ¯ to speculations that would favour a folk origin. and without giving him time to gather his wits he invites him to share a rich meal. and several of its connotations have to do with “making a stand”. The stories are lively and amusing. More pertinent. the tricks are varied and sometimes ingenious. the social observation is often acute. and one of his ¯ ¯ maqamas harks back to the earlier perception. Mashriq. however. But a little later the rough beduin had become a figure of fun. a prowess. Blachere. addressing him by a name of his own invention. In the ninth century. but still elegant. the hero for once ¯ being an austere man carrying a bier who meets a group of young men bent on pleasure and sternly reminds them of approaching doom. That is not to say that he was word-bound. “Etude Semantique sur le nom maqama”. ¯ Al-Hamadanıs anti-hero is just such a character. and anecdotes abound about the tufaylı. Besides.THE MAIN GROWTH patience and virtue or as ill-gotten gains. although the pretence is maintained that they are factual. it was used in the sense of an edifying harangue delivered by a beduin magnifying pristine virtues in opposition to soft urban ways. Thus in early usage it could convey the sense of “a tragic situation” calling for a bold deed. the parasitic intruder on ¯ ˙ sophisticated company. then – on the pretence that he is off to fetch some iced water – he leaves him to pay the bill. in several of his stories the anti-hero’s feat consists of formulating or solving a riddle. One may instance the maqama of Baghdad in which a country yokel comes to the capital ¯ and falls into the hands of a glib city slicker who hails him as the son of an old friend. 47 (1953). yet another common element of folklore. the petty trickster. and the mukaddı. ` ´ 646–657. The picture ´ ˆ 5 See R.

It was probably ¯ written in 1033. tied so tightly that when he has to part with them he needs to use his teeth to undo the knot. by the poet al-Ma arrı. challenged. and exercised a number of modern scholars. Indeed the only extensive and – if only in part – challengingly imaginative prose work to appear in the Islamic heartlands and to command the attention of scholars is the the Epistle of Forgiveness. ö Ö 77 . had few echoes in the literature of the lands they targeted. although some interesting sidelights on their presence in the Holy Land may be found in the autobiography of Usama ibn-Munqid (1095–1188). made the anti-hero’s trick almost always consist of dazzling his victims with a display of verbal fireworks. ¯ It is consistent with the literary establishment’s low valuation of mere fiction that pre-modern Arabic literature produced few works and evolved no genre that called for sustained and unified imagination. al-Harırı (1054–1122) – the most admired ¯¯ ˙ of al-Hamadanı’s successors – had extended the use of rhymed and ¯ ¯ highly decorated prose to the whole text. Also true to life is that when the worst has happened he is so befuddled that he can only mutter that the stranger kept calling him by the wrong name. tackling a wide range of literary and theological topics in no discernible sequence and to no clear purpose. it has intrigued. which left so deep a mark on the consciousness of the countries that launched them. It is part of the wide picture that the Crusades. A detail easily overlooked is that al-Harırı’s anti-hero pleads for ¯¯ ˙ sympathy on the ground that he is a refugee from the Crusaders. but who is also at pains to display his erudition in comments on the pronouncements and deeds of an assortment of poets and other personalities.THE MAIN GROWTH drawn of the simple villager having pulled up the hem of his robe and gathered the ends round his waist in order to free his legs for motion on the long march is one that may be encountered to this day. Couched in heavily ornamented prose. So is the fact that he carries the few coins that he possesses in a fold of his clothing. It is triggered by a long and rambling letter from an aged and learned admirer called Ibn-al-Qarih who starts with a description ¯ ˙ of his formation and interests and reflections upon his life experience. and reduced the narrative to little more than a framework for this display. Barely a century later.

even though the few occasions on which it interacted with the “high” literature have proved fruitful. especially when one comes across a houri whose buttocks can instantly wax or wane to suit the tastes of the elect. Some elements of this alternative literature have found echoes in the written sources. lead to a discussion of the insincerity and self-interest that dominate relations not only between humans but also in the animal kingdom. for example.THE MAIN GROWTH Al-Ma arrı’s response begins fancifully: he imagines that his ¯ correspondent has reached Paradise and describes his experiences there. Despite scriptural references and pronouncements consistent with orthodoxy. Only then does he pick up the points made in the letter. which include a peep into Hell. disguised as fact as we 78 . hence the title of the entire work – on some lines attributed to them. Their pleasures too seem to be luxurious elaborations of earthly delights: In preparation for a banquet. sometimes even starting squabbles among them. there is also a long excursus into false beliefs. beasts are painlessly slaughtered and heavenly corn is ground by houris reciting verses as they operate handmills pointlessly made of pearls and precious stones. The topics dealt with are as random as they are in the original letter. for the hero is shown questioning some of the great poets of the past – including pre-Islamic ones who have been forgiven their paganism. long antedating Dante – that has raised problems of interpretation and cast doubts on how true a believer the author was. not so much answering them as setting off on tangents from them. Much of it is in the form of literary discussions. It is the first part of al-Ma arrı’s epistle – the vision of the ¯ Afterlife. Protestations of sincerity. in the course of which neither sects no individuals – not even some respected theologians – are spared. Ö Ö Folk literature The Arab literary establishment’s attachment to the classical language has had the effect of banishing from scholarly attention a vast area of popular Arab creativity. for their salvation has not cured them of their vanities. it becomes difficult to accept that the visions are intended as anything but parodies of popular concepts.

‘Dewdrop’. Xumarawayh. ¯ ˙ ˙ Hints that some poets departed from classical prosody are few and not undisputed. the unlettered were sure to create their own songs to mark the great occasions as well as the daily concerns of their lives. These traditions are very much alive. ˙ Ö 79 . as al-Jahiz explicitly ¯ ˙ ˙ testifies. the record of early Arabic folk poetry is virtually a blank. But they were ¯ not recognized as valid literary works in their own right. For one who drinks in kingly company. intoxication is a must! Scholarship in this area is still recent and limited. How extensive and how varied these can be is unfolded only in the present-day scene. where folk traditions can be studied at first hand. But for the time being. Differences between the Arabs and the non-Arabs in setting their verse to music thrust themselves on al-Jahiz’s attention. but he did not elaborate. Common sense tells us that once spoken Arabic had parted from the classical and split into many regional dialects. conservative but also functional and therefore subject to change. The process has been particularly inimical to verse compositions as these could not be upgraded in this fashion without destroying metre and rhyme. and there may yet be great discoveries to be made. to the Caliph ¯ al-Mu tadid. Indications that these compositions had some currency early in Islamic times are skimpy and indirect. the daughter of ¯ ˙ the semi-independent ruler of Egypt. Thus one popular Egyptian traditional song is claimed to have been composed for the wedding in 896 of Qatr-an-Nada. or imbedded in literary ¯ history as in the stories concerning the Udrı poets. so that only very rarely and very cautiously may one yield to the temptation to seek in the present an echo of the past. and were not written down unless reworded into at least minimally “correct” classical Arabic. Similar songs are known to last well over a century.THE MAIN GROWTH have seen in antecedents of the maqama. Rare and insufficient are such accounts as that the celebrated singer Ibrahım al-Mawsilı (742–804) when drunk used ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ to sing lines that offend against classical prosody and grammar alike: Ö ö I came from the streets of Mosul carrying my pots of wine.

whereas it has been mostly despised by the educated Arab. It runs: ö The henna. that some narratives of Oriental provenance that surfaced only in Islamic Spain must also have had some circulation in the intervening provinces. which are exemplified in the Arabian Nights. however. my precious – so passionrousing! And the stanzas. are the extravagantly fantastic tales. for example. Should trouble-makers come enquiring after you. fed by Persian and Indian imagination and further enriched by the Arabs. the henna. but for the history attached to this one there is no firmer evidence than that it concerns a woman who bears the somewhat uncommon name of ¨ Atr-in˙ Nada. and is therefore assumed to be broadly representative of the Arab-Islamic mindset. I’d hide you in my hair – my precious – and plait it over you. How I fear your sister might be looking for you. I’d hide you in my breast – my soul – with pearls over you.THE MAIN GROWTH sometimes retaining obsolete words. One may assume. Most profusely attested in the heartlands. and a wedding-song is particularly likely to be long-lived. Folk creations in prose have been better served by the written word. 80 . run: How I fear your mother might be asking for you. although still in a fragmentary and somewhat distorted fashion. quaintly expressive of the possessiveness of young love. It is one of the many ironies and misunderstandings bordering the entire field that of all Arabic literary works this collection is the best known to the Western general reader. o Dewdrop! Your prime – my love. The refrain refers to the ¯ practice of staining a bride’s hands and feet with henna on her wedding-night. as it is pronounced in Egypt. I’d hide you in my eyes – my soul – painting kohl over you.

But those who wish to read it as a social document need to be alerted to a common source of misunderstanding: the assumption that the characters’ frequent invocation of God is a sign of piety.” The viewpoint is intensely human. Before this was done. The narrator’s skill. Arabic printings had been slipshod and editors had taken liberties with the text. mainly of Syrian or Egyptian origin. And the dream has to fit into a world in which no action engenders a commensurate reaction. well. it ran to well over five thousand pages. ‘A Thousand Tales’. When eventually an integral version of it was printed. with his name shortened to Antar. with only the highlights sung. but the genre attracted so little scholarly attention that this first manuscript was not edited until 1984. but which certainly contain elements of what is usually associated with the epic. undetectable in translation. especially in nesting stories within stories. Its kernel was a collection of Persian stories entitled Hazar ¯ Afsana. They were first written down in the fourteenth century. The fact is that in everyday speech Muslims take the name of the Lord very lightly. in which nothing is ordinary or workaday but every woman is either a miracle of beauty of an embodiment of evil and ugliness. the first translator Antoine Galland (1646–1715) adding to it material of a different provenance. So has the luxuriant imagination. to which a frame story of Indian origin ¯ was fitted and to which many more orally transmitted narratives. depicting not the outside reality so much as the dream of the deprived. . Several have pre-Islamic beginnings. notably the popular story of Aladdin. and of these the most substantial and long-lived is an elaboration of the career of the warrior-poet Antara. and a “By Allah!” is no more significant than an “Ah.THE MAIN GROWTH both because of its unedifying content and because of the poverty of its language and style. by Harvard Professor Muhsin Mahdi. Most of them are recited in prose. has long been admired. were gradually added. and abject fortune can be spectacularly reversed by a trick of magic or the intervention of a jinn. There are references to its Ö Ö 81 . None of this robs the work of its appeal. but where is enthroned an arbitrary and capricious Providence – or is it a repressive social order? Also a part of folk literature are at least ten extensive narratives which some scholars are reluctant to call epics and would rather label romances. .

Other such epic tales have traceable historical beginnings. Like a true paladin. but they are temporarily estranged when she tests his devotion by demanding that he kiss her foot. a noted supporter of the Prophet. and is therefore born black and bond. and even Franks. he undergoes ordeals and braves many dangers. By the eleventh century. Byzantines.e. He takes part in numberless single combats and contests with jinn and with wild animals. and although he earns his freedom and single-handedly repeatedly saves his tribe from disaster by his prowess. but the contested territories then split into ¯ several emirates. originally an Arabian tribe that claimed descent from Hilal ¯ ¯ ¯ ibn. and although we must guard against the assumption that the texts that were put on paper at much later dates are true to an orally transmitted art or may safely be projected on to the past.Amir. i. although Antar retains enough strength to kill his assailant before he dies himself. the story of the Banu¯ ¯ Hilal.THE MAIN GROWTH existence in some form as early as in the ninth century. He does marry her eventually. Andalusians. but above all he conducts a huge number of campaigns that – although set in pre-Islamic times – pit him not only against Arab tribes but also against the enemies that Muslims encountered only later. he is often despised and ill-used by his own. pitting the Hilalıs into a long struggle mainly ¯¯ Ö Ö Ö Ö 82 . It scored a quick success by taking ¯¯ Qayrawan in 1052. the tribe had moved to Upper Egypt. His end comes at the hands of a foe he had blinded earlier but who has learned to direct his arrows at sounds. so he leaves in high dudgeon and marries another. but was proving troublesome to the Fatimid dynasty then ruling the country. For love of his cousin Abla whose hand he is repeatedly promised then denied. Indians. When in addition the Fatimid possessions in North Africa broke away and transferred their allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad. by far the most important being the Hilaliyya. the story as we have it is consistent with very early beginnings followed by elaborations in the first two centuries of Islam. this is more than his pride can thole. including Persians. An essential theme running through it is that Antar is the son of a free man and of a black slave woman. he is a defender of helpless women. Egypt’s ruler al-Mustansir tried to solve two problems by sending a ˙ Hilalı force against the rebels.

It is the almost total absence of any dramatic literature. Secular forms of theatrical activity. These contests provided ample material ¯ for folk poets to embroider. and in Kerbela itself a great pageant is held at which the events are reenacted. they celebrate the exploits of Abu-Zed il-Hilalı. however. There are references to public performers of one kind or another as early as in the eighth century. New York University Press. but variety is provided not only by a number of sub-heroes and villains but also by some strongly delineated characters. Entirely religious and confined to the Shiah is the commemoration every year of the death of the Prophet’s grandson al-Husayn. but unlike the Oberammergau passion play the purport is not to revile the killers but to manifest guilt and penitence for having failed to defend the martyr. One last quandary regarding the pre-modern record needs to be approached from the folk angle. but the form this took can only be surmised from later practice. In the main. who had been a contender for power but was cornered ˙ and killed by the Umayyads at Kerbela in Southern Iraq in 680.6 Broadly. and his sister al-Jaziya. 1992. ö 6 This has been meticulously done by Shmuel Moreh in Live Theatre and Dramatic Literature in the Medieval Arab World. giving scholars the opportunity of observing how the art is practised and how the texts are constantly being remoulded and modified by new experiences. Just what they did and when they flourished has to be deduced from a minute examination of how a number of words of uncertain and unstable signification are used in a number of different contexts. The event was traumatic.THE MAIN GROWTH against the Zanata tribe. who was famous for his ruses as well as his ¯¯ ¯ ¯ valour. 83 . The Hilaliyya is the ¯ only epic cycle that has survived to the present day. To this day. and its commemoration is known to have started almost immediately. who is highly regarded not ¯ only for her beauty but also for her wisdom. Dramatic activity of several kinds is known to have existed for some time. in many Shiite communities ceremonies are held in which the story is formally recited. appear to have developed independently. such as Sultan Hasan who is noted for the kingly qualities of generosity ¯ ˙ ˙ and hospitality.

al-Jahiz mentions men who could imitate ¯ ˙ ˙ the speech of different regions. The Fatimids who ruled Egypt in the tenth and eleventh centuries are known to have employed such performers to entertain their soldiery. Were these mere pranksters? They did have the qualities and skills one associates with acting. with at most minimal interventions by other characters. Firmer information is available about the shadow theatre. masxara. But the only indication we have of the kind of show that was presented comes from Ibn-Daniyal (1248–1310). affect a stammer. There are indeed in the literature of this period a few explicit references to somewhat dramatized monologues in which a performer impersonates a character and speaks at some length on a specific topic. Intriguingly. and there is a specific reference to Saladin having attended such a show in 1171. A lengthy description in Ibn-al-Farid’s major poem leaves no doubt ¯ ˙ that the performances could be very elaborate. beggars.THE MAIN GROWTH the earliest seem to have been engaged in various kinds of buffoonery. The first mainly features a libertine who proclaims his intention of reforming and seeks the services of a female marriage broker to help him on the way. Indications soon multiply that there were men and women who donned the distinctive garb and caricatured the behaviour of holders of public office. the Greek word from which the English ‘mime’ ¯ is derived. an eye-doctor who turned to this ¯ ¯ art and wrote for it three plays that have survived. and prostitutes who made up the underworld. A further hint of the existence of a theatrical profession and of the status it commanded is that one of the many words for a prostitute. literally ‘laughingstock’. is mumis. in which a performer or performers stationed behind a translucent screen projected on to it the shadows of figures cut out of leather and spoke their lines. They are gratifyingly varied and ingeniously constructed. The third has a 84 . in use by the tenth century. he dwelling in prurient detail on his past debaucheries and she on the joys she has to offer. But of plays with a developed plot there is no sign. each describing his speciality. or rouse dogs by imitating their bark. tricksters. The second has a character portraying a succession of rogues. eventually passing into European languages as ‘masquerade’. but they may have been no more than participants in processions or pageants. one of several terms used.

and all but a few passages that dip into the vernacular are in grammatically impeccable classical Arabic. The genre had its inception and ¯ ¯ its subsequent life entirely at the folk level.THE MAIN GROWTH lovelorn man and the male object of his attention setting up contests between cocks. These three plays have a place at least in the mujun half-light of the literary canon. ¯ but Ibn-Daniyal had no successor. but it is not devoid of real wit or of a measure of social satire. lewd. 85 . establishing once again that the primary criterion for recognition by the establishment was linguistic. the texts are mostly in a mixture of highly competent verse and ornate prose. the losing bull finally being slaughtered to provide meat for a banquet to which lovers of all kinds are invited. and bulls that they possess. The humour is loud. goats. and scatological. but it is on what they need to repent of that the texts dwell. Significantly. The plays all end dutifully with the characters repenting and reforming.


one of its scions detached Andalusia from the Abbasid empire and established a rival Caliphate in Cordova. ö ö 87 . i. however.and Romance-speakers. This is evident from the names of some poets. so that for nearly eight centuries a mixed population of Muslims and non-Muslims. What marks out Andalusia for separate treatment. The people they had to conquer were known to them as “Vandalos” and they named their new domain “al. This. of Arabic. Indeed many of those known to the West as “Moors” were Iberians who adopted Arabic as their language and often also Islam as their faith. and it ˇ ¯ implies that branches of one family could come under different religious or linguistic designations. lived close together and interacted intimately and extensively. in the days of the Umayyad Caliphate.5 THE IBERIAN BRANCH The penetration of the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs began in 711. is not its political distinctiveness. The last Muslim stronghold in Granada fell to the Christian Reconquista in 1492.e. but to the classical Arabic tradition they had little access. which eventually fell to North African dynasties. Even more numerous must have been the undistinguished thousands of Romance-speakers who had a working knowledge of everyday Arabic but no overarching attachment to the language of the Qur an. ‘Son of Pasqual’. disintegrated in the first half of the eleventh century into a number of city-states.Andalus”. but the fact that Iberia was never completely Islamized or Arabized. such as Ibn-Baskuwal (1101–83). however. When the Umayyad dynasty lost the heartlands. sometimes under Muslim and sometimes under Christian rule. There was much they ¯ could share with the Arabs at the folk level.

THE IBERIAN BRANCH Silent or dismissive as the Arabic sources tend to be on folk literature. Several of the public entertainments bordering on dramatic activity that were known in the heartlands are encountered in Iberia as well. and it is clear that they are not merely the result of parallel developments. and to have welcomed eminent men originating there as arbiters of taste. One is an account of the Prophet’s ascension to heaven. but which in the Spanish version has Qur anic echoes in that it refers to the hero as “the Two-Horned” and involves an encounter with Gog and Magog (Qur an 18:83–99). The effects on the literature produced were profound and illuminating. As is observable ¯ elsewhere. some popular narratives surface in Spanish translations although the Arabic originals are lost. occur in a recognizable form in Andalusia.AbdRabbih (860–940) compiled a thesaurus. Significantly too. which is of Persian origin. he included in it no Andalusian composition other than his own. and Andalusians are known to have gone to the heartlands in appreciable numbers. For a local poet to be Ö 88 . for some distinctive terms associated with them. but a casual observation in Ibn-Bassam’s (1084–1147) that people sang “in the manner of ¯ the Arab camel-drivers and of the Christians” meshes with the commonsense assumption that at the folk level traditions were melded. Indeed at least until the eleventh century. popular songs got shorter shrift. which is not of Arab origin. When Ibn. including a kind of hobbyhorse called kurraj. But here also there is little to show that elaborate plays were performed. It was not unusual for Muslim scholars to travel far and wide in search of knowledge. to have kept abreast of what was produced there. mentioned at the beginning of the fifty-third chapter of the Qur an and subsequently much embroidered. they looked East for cultural guidance. ¯ Another is the legend of Alexander. ö ö ö Poetry The intellectual elite remained remarkably close to its counterpart in ´ the East. there is enough scattered and incidental information to justify the inference that the Arabic-speaking invaders brought with them a low-brow tradition as well as a high one.

revived us. And bear – o Eastern breeze! – our vital supplication To one who. after an eventful and often ¯ costly political career. still drawing on ancient imagery in which lightning bore the promise of vivifying rain. was sufficiently riled to protest (tawıl/bu): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö In the firmament of knowledge I am the luminous sun. 89 . catamite.THE IBERIAN BRANCH dubbed “the Mutanabbı of the West” was to have his pre-eminence ¯ recognized – and three were so honoured: Ibn-Ha ¯ni (b. Ibn-Hazm (994–1064). a man of great ˙ learning in the traditional sciences of Islam. swift lightning! Pour out a blessing On one who once dispensed pure passion and affection. a thinker. could summon tender memories of early days in Cordova and its summer resort in az-Zahra . for Andalusia produced not a few men of genius such as Ibn-Zaydun (1003–70) who. and wild ones too! O for a life from whose blossom we have drawn Diversities of hopes and miscellanies of delight! O for a bliss so opulent that for a while We strutted in brocades of grandeur.973). and ibn-Darraj ¯ ¯ ¯ (958–1030). and a poet of occasional brilliance. Nevertheless.. But my fault is that I rose in the West! He had a point. It had ended bitterly. living. between 932 and 937. even from afar. Understandably. youth-lustered. d. trailing our skirts! . c. with her turning her affections to a rival of his and bestowing on him (in verse) the sixfold label of “sodomist. whose Kawtar flowed with sweet and limpid waters Has been supplanted by the bitter and purulent fare of Hell. time had healed his wounds sufficiently so he sang. ¯ herself a poetess. wittol. ar-Ramadı (d. A Paradise. He had had a ¯ love affair with Wallada the daughter of the last Umayyad Caliph. adulterer. O for a garden that long yielded to our sight Soft garden roses.?1013). and thief”.. cuckold. as well as on vivid Qur anic descriptions of Heaven and Hell (basıt/ına): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ö ö Haste to the Palace.

And brooks and mountain streams fill up. pleasing. which does indeed suggest a Christian influence for the Muslim poets’ imagination did not usually stretch to female angels or angelic women. Then in the stance of Resurrection be our tryst – it shall suffice. The flowers are wakened eyes. Some modern scholars. And the waters are smiling. keen to find a native Spanish note in this literature. from mujun to mysticism. Crowding the horizon – squadrons and pennants – So that boughs in the wood exchange their fragrances. moist. 90 . Out of the lightning. notably in the work of Ibn-Xafaja (1058–1138/9) who was nicknamed “the gardener” ¯ (kamil/ılu): ¯ ¯ ¯ Ö I sip my wine while gentle is the breeze And leafy umbrage makes a quivering bower.THE IBERIAN BRANCH As if we never spent a night in unison. Luck closing the eye of our detractor – Two secrets in the keeping of the dark. Every one of the themes encountered in the heartlands was pursued by the Andalusians. while in the branches coo the doves. have noted in Ibn-Hazm and in ar-Radiyy (the son ˙ ˙ of al-Mu tamid who ruled over Seville from 1069 to 1091) a comparison of the beloved to an angel. and a special attachment to the beauties of nature. clouds have emerged. If there is not to be another meeting in this life. concealed Until the tongue of dawn all but betrayed us. perhaps. Embracing the trees which sway in thankfulness And joy. carved line by line round the walls of the main hall in the Alhambra as a royal family’s portraits may be hung in the picture gallery of a European palace. but such occurrences are extremely rare. shiny. from Ibn-Zaydun’s ¯ ¯ record of an intensely personal experience to Ibn-Zamrak’s (1333–93?) praise of the last Muslim dynasty in Spain. If there is in mainstream Andalusian poetry a feature that marks it out from that of the heartlands. it is at best impressionistic and at most a matter not of substance but of degree – a heightened lyricism.

1 ˇˇ ˙ The zajal is entirely in the Andalusian vernacular. In its commonest form. Embraced by an Eastern breeze. giddy.1086–1160). and it is evident that the genre had a long history before he put his imprint upon it. they are gilded by the sunset. etc. He was well-acquainted with conventional poetry and sometimes composed in the classical idiom. and the “Villager” to a 1 One of several meanings of zajal is ‘raising the voice’. but it also has idiomatic associations with the voice of angels or of jinn. Here. Monroe and emended by Moreh (who takes Qurro to refer to a male dancer. ˇ¯ ˙ 91 . the Andalusians remained faithful to the tradition elaborated by their brethren in the heartlands. Well-watered. They were far more radical and creative. however. therefore. multi-rhyme verse forms known as zajal and muwassah. when they brought into the light of literary history two strophic. as translated by James T. So far as the lofty monorhyme ode is concerned. a wit and a frequenter of sophisticated ¯ libertine circles. This gone. they yield. Or like the compliant lover at sight of a dear one. but also ‘wearing a wisah‘. Muwassah means ‘intricately ˇˇ ˙ ornamented’. One of Ibn-Quzman’s ¯ zajals deserves to be singled out both because it illustrates the genre and because it gives some inkling of what a popular show was like.THE IBERIAN BRANCH The meadows quiver in contentment. they were silvered by dew. so that the rhyme scheme of the entire composition may be represented as: AA bbbA(AA) cccA(AA). it is followed by a number of strophes each introducing a new rhyme but ending with a line that reproduces the rhyme of the refrain. which is a woman’s belt or sash. And into the veil of a cloud now peers An eye made languid by somnolence. Quiescent. He was long credited with being the “inventor” of the zajal. a zajal starts with a rhyming couplet which then serves as a refrain and provides a binding rhyme. like a patient longing for a visit. but he himself named several predecessors. and its place in the record is indissolubly associated with the name of IbnQuzman (c.

the castanets. 1992. . 2 Shmuel Moreh. Where are you? Get moving! Ululate O little whores with him who leads you. Hurry. I’m unhappy. Don’t nap. If anything should befall me. my friends. hurry. 92 . love me in return.THE IBERIAN BRANCH sketch) are the refrain (in italics) followed by the first three and the last of its eight strophes2: Greetings to you. Live Theatre and Dramatic Literature in the Medieval Arab World. all of you. I love all of you. And the reed. pp. without me. Maryam.. Slap him on the nape of the neck! Zuhra. New York University Press. Mourn for me. So are you. will revive you. The addition would be excellent.. By the Prophet. Without you. 141–2. Let there be amulets upon him Like those that come from Babylon. Let no one be remiss in playing them! And if a tambourine were available. Enliven the stage! Whoever gets out of tune. by God For I know you well! Your ‘Villager’ is waiting. Aysha. The reed. Cover Qurro for me In an inclined veil. Let him wear a taffeta robe With a full embroidered flag. greetings to you I’ll be soon with you! Prepare the kettledrum And take the framedrum in hand.

93 . resulting in alternating rhymes throughout – i. Its structure is a ˇˇ ˙ somewhat more intricate one than that of the zajal in that the initial couplet is not merely repeated after each strophe but is matched by a new couplet using the same rhyme. etc.1028 or 1030). achieved mainly by the addition of internal rhymes. ending in two Qur anic references – one to the fiery furnace into which Abraham was cast but which God commanded to be cool and harmless to him (21:69). ¯da ¯ ¯ Except for one feature which will presently be discussed. the muwassah is said to have been ˇˇ ˙ invented by a blind poet of Cabra who died early in the tenth century. etc. It is an insistent protestation of love. O full moons that have risen on the day of parting. the standard muwassah is entirely in classical Arabic.e. My delectation of the beloved being only in thought. Variations and elaborations are also encountered.THE IBERIAN BRANCH And if anything should befall you I will mourn for you. Resplendent. and one to the injunction that warriors yield one-fifth of their booty to God and His Prophet and to charity (8:41): Ö ö ö ö Does the fawn of the secluded pasture know that from his covert He has inflamed a lover’s heart abiding there? Now does this heart burn and flicker as when The East wind plays with embers. to lead me to delusion. but credit at least for developing it is also given to others. By Arab historians of literature. It is in the ramal metre and retains the division of lines into two hemistichs but with a different rhyme at the end of each hemistich. Some remain very close to classical prosody except for the multiplicity of rhymes. so that the usual scheme may be represented as AA bbbAA(AA). eyesight in me. One such is by Ibn-Sahl (1212–51). The earliest recorded example is by Uba ibn-Ma -as-Sama (d. ABAB cdcdcdABAB efefefABAB. No fault is in my passion. cccAA(AA). dddAA(AA). except The ultimate of beauty in you. I pluck delights though my heart is scarred. a convert from Judaism.

And do not reproach him for what he has despoiled. The law of love makes him a fierce. bay lion. when he appeared in warlike panoply. he but smiles As do the hills at the rain-laden clouds. And my glances gild his cheeks. If you should ask what my offence against him is: Mine is the punishment. Within me he has set a fire That blazes uncontrollably all the while. The tear-like drops performing on them a funeral rite. Tears have conveyed to him my yearnings. When I bemoan to him my ardour. But in my bowels it is hot and burning. And yet I fancy him a fawn. No power to judge remains in me Since he became my very breath. His eyes but bring me to the point of death. and he the sinner. And with his glances for a bodyguard: 94 . His glances leave me with no more breath Than ants leave traces on solid rock.THE IBERIAN BRANCH When I bemoan to him my passion. And still I thank him for what he spares. My ministrations make roses bloom When surreptitiously I glance at him. While in their splendour they celebrate a wedding. The morning sun has chosen in his countenance A dawning spot wherein to set. It is but cool and wholesome in his cheeks. I deem him just when he oppresses me. And my reprover’s words are tantamount to dumbness. Said I. And so I wonder what makes illicit The plucking of these roses by their grower.

Structurally. and this ¯ may be the sole reason why it was applied to the last part of the muwassah. is the culmination which the entire muwassah is ˇˇ ˙ designed to reach. called the xarja. couched in the vernacular or in a mixture of Spanish and vernacular Arabic. too. Not ˇˇ ˙ a few. a pattern evolved that required most muwassahs to run to five strophes. Let union be the fifth that you surrender!” Love was in fact almost exclusively the theme of the muwassah. Is it too fanciful to imagine a muwassah as a performance in which the ˇˇ ˙ verses in pure Arabic are recited or sung by a man while a woman familiar only with the forms of expression current among the common people mimes or dances. however. Some scholars also give special importance to the middle strophe as holding the essence of the composition. however. ˇˇ ˙ framed of course by the shorter refrain-like units. It is intriguing. and is often borrowed from an existing popular song. The word xarja is derived from a root (already encountered in connection with the Xarijites) which denotes ‘exiting’. perhaps even revealing the identity of the beloved. ˇˇ ˙ axraja. is an example: Tant t’amaray illa con is-sartı ˇ ˇ ¯ ˙ An tajma xalxalı ma a qurtı ¯¯ ¯ ˙ ö Ö ö Ö which may be translated: I shall love you so much. but only on condition That you join my anklets to my ear-rings.THE IBERIAN BRANCH “O you who seize my heart as booty. was used at the time for ‘putting on a show’ and has been retained in modern times for producing a play or a film. with the Arabic words transcribed in italics and the Spanish in Roman. and comes into her own at the end by singing the punch-line? ö 95 . Here. But all authorities agree that the final refrain-like unit. What is more – and this is the only departure from classical Arabic that is allowed – the xarja should be a provocative statement put into the mouth of a woman. that a closely related verb. differ from Ibn-Sahl’s in that they can hardly be reconciled with classical Arabic scansion.

‘Of Estercuel’. ˇ ¯ ¯ i. J. Yet the debate has sometimes been skewed by national pride and by the odd notion that for one culture to adopt and adapt what it finds desirable in another is a surrender and a mark of inferiority. T. Emilio Garcıa Gomez. Armistead. Harvey. Ulf Haxen. David Semah. Monroe. Latham. ˇˇ ˙ Because the muwassah was attested earlier. 96 . Stern. several features shared by both forms.P. such as al-Fath ibn˙ Xaqan (d. with the corollary that the zajal poets could not handle complicated rhyme-schemes and therefore simplified them. Federico Corriente Cordoba. Modern scholarship has unearthed more evidence in favour of this view. it was works compatible with the standards established in the heartlands that the Andalusians retained as part of their ‘high’ literature. such as the fact that some compositions are compatible with the Arab metrical system and some are not. suggest multiple influences not unlikely in the folk literature of a mixed population. notably fifty heavily ornamented ones by al. If only because the discernible trend in folk poetry has been towards elaboration rather than simplification of rhyme and structure (as will be shown in connection with the modern mawaliya).1231). (d. but it is significant that Andalusians also included under this rubric elegant compositions studded with badı even if they had no narrative component – one by Umar ¯ al-Malaqı in 1440. Gorton. Samuel G. D. Alan Jones. the likelier inference is that the zajal is the progenitor. David Wulstan. it was long assumed ˇˇ ˙ that it was the parent. They also composed ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ maqamas. ´ ´ James T. ´ and – drawing on comparable Hebrew texts – Yosef Yahalon. and Susan Einbinder. L. Moreover. They had their stylists.3 Prose In prose as in poetry.1143).1134) and as-Saqundı (d. ¯ ¯ and only the antipathy of Arab scholars to the vernacular delayed its appearance in the record. for example – strengthening the view that it was ¯ ¯ the rhetorical element that was the distinguishing mark of the genre.M. J.THE IBERIAN BRANCH It is obvious that the zajal and the muwassah are closely related.Astarkuwı.e. ö Ö Ö 3 Contributors to this discussion have been S.

Ibn-Hazm’s The Ring of the Dove is a clearly conceived and ˙ fairly well organized treatise on love. at least at its higher levels. which appear to be satires on unidentified individuals. And none of this is at odds with Ibn-Hazm’s known strictness in the interpretation of ˙ canonical law. Impressive too is the almost matter-of-fact acceptance of homosexual love as a reality. Ibn-Suhayd then engages each of them in a literary Ö 97 . such as that the segregation of the sexes was not as hermetic as is generally supposed. Much delicacy is also implied in the author’s account of his love for a slave girl – a blonde – whom he courted for two years. and embellished with not a few verses by Ibn-Hazm and by others. but their familiar spirits. to no effect. It is said to have been provoked by attacks on the author made at court. The device enables the author to endow each with physical and intellectual attributes that reflect the character of the litterateur’s ´ ˇ known works. It also has revealing ˙ sidelights on the society of the time.THE IBERIAN BRANCH Andalusians also produced three prose works remarkable for their cohesion or their sustained inventiveness. if only because a measure of familiarity was extended not only to blood relations but also to a wide circle of dependants. and parts of it are a discourse by a goose and a discussion of poems composed by an ass and a mule. But the bulk of it – like al-Ma arrı’s Epistle of ¯ Forgiveness but written before it – describes a journey in a ˇ supernatural realm in the course of which Ibn-Suhayd meets not the great poets and prose-writers of the past. and the nature of the love contemplated in this work is best characterized in the account of a lover who rebukes his beloved for making an improper suggestion. Its indebtedness to Greek thought is evident in its assertion that love is a reunion of parts of souls that have been separated in the physical universe. but it is also reinforced with accounts of the actual experiences of the author and of some individuals known to him. for unstated but implicit throughout is the assumption that love is no justification for sex outside marriage. which he deems inconsistent with their God-given union. A delightfully imaginative work is the Epistle of Familiar Spirits ˇ and Demons by the poet Ibn-Suhayd (992–1035). Indeed sexual attraction is said to be called ‘love’ only metaphorically. and as such virtually unparalleled in the East until modern times.

” Zuhayr said. “That ¯ ˙ is the old man next to him.” Ö ö Ö ö Ö The whole creation is a fanciful. or of the superiority of assonance and antithesis. “You are quite an orator and a good threader of words. himself adopting the style of his interlocutor or offering a matching verse composition of his own. . The encounter with al-Jahiz’s spirit.” I said to myself. so your discourse is verse rather than prose. . leads to a comparison of this early ¯ ˙ ˙ master’s prose. with Zuhayr as his guide. Ibn-Suhayd pictures himself approaching. 98 .” He then informed al-Jahiz of my ¯ ˙ ˙ interest in him. the familiar of al-Jahiz. his patronymic is Abu. so it behooves me to resort to the parallelism of rhymed prose to move their hearts” . “My ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ father be his ransom! There is no one I wish to meet other than him and Abd-al-Hamıd’s familiar. “This is not – may God exalt you – because I am ignorant of what rhymed prose amounts to.” I exclaimed. “Who is this?” He replied. whereupon he invited me to come forward and engaged in conversation with me.Uyayna. for example. these are but the bark of trees – they bear no fruit and exhale no fragrance.Arqam. “Is it so despite such grand appearances – the size of those inkstands and the magnificence of these hoods?” I replied. Eventually he said. “By God. All eyes were on an old man. He asked. except that you are addicted to rhymed prose. he has struck you down with his weapon and brandished his assonance!” But to him I said. light-humoured but not unsubstantial way of presenting literary criticism. the rest of the assembly remaining silent. “Yes. I asked Zuhayr sotto voce. but in my country I look in vain for true knights of self-expression. and that the Prophet was said to have condemned as akin to the incantations of pagan ˇ soothsayers. with the crafted succession of versicles rhyming in pairs that had become standard. wearing a tall white cap. My bane is the stupidity of this generation of men. “ Utba ibn-al. whose sweeping rhythm was achieved by parallel clauses and assonance. bald. his right eye protuberant. an assembly of imposing personalities: We became the centre of their halo-like seating arrangement.THE IBERIAN BRANCH discussion.

judging that it at least ensures a fair ordering of society. Possibly indicating yet another instance of Andalusian originality is an obscure reference to a book entitled Muhammad wa Su da. ¯ ˙ said to have been written by an eleventh century physician called Ibn-al-Kinanı and now entirely lost. but of the more thoughtful and contemplative. Hayy goes through all the gradations of ˙ knowledge. The name is taken from a ¯ ˙ philosophical work by Ibn-Sına (930–1037). the narrative anticipates in some ways both Robinson Crusoe and Rousseau’s ´ L’Emile. he realizes that his preaching can only destabilize them.THE IBERIAN BRANCH Even more substantial and inventive is Ibn-Tufayl’s (c.1100– ˙ 1185) book-length epistle which has been translated under many titles but is known mainly by the name given to its hero. so he not only leaves them in their limited understanding of the Scriptures but confirms them in it. after trying in vain to enlighten them. that of reconciling philosophy with revelation. to notions of the universe and hence of the Creator. which may be taken to indicate a natural receptivity in Man). to absorption in Him and vision of a Truth beyond words. Can one find in the originality displayed by Andalusian prose writers traces of stimulation that may be ascribed to folk literature? Ibn-Tufayl at least seems to have drawn on such a source. from mere perception of physical properties to the discoveries of science by observation and by experimentation. In seven phases of seven years each.e. If so it was at variance with the elite’s general disapproval of mere story-telling. It tells of a child who is nurtured by a gazelle and grows up in total isolation from humans. ´ Ö 99 . At the same time. When finally he makes contact with humans who have had the Revelation. solely by the exercise of his faculties (except for one instance of divine illumination. Hayy finds that ˙ his conclusions are compatible with those not of the literal-minded among them. The title. As for the masses. ‘Alive son of Awake’. i. for ˙ stories of children surviving without human nurture are common in folklore. and reflects one of the main concerns of Muslim philosophers (later also of Christian thinkers). conjoining the names ¯ ¯ of a man and a woman. and one such occurs in the legend of Alexander that was known in Andalusia. suggests that it was a romance. Hayy ˙ ibn-Yaqzan. He and a like-minded Muslim thinker then retire into a solitary life. who is known in the ¯ ¯ West as Avicenna.

Others Ö 100 . ¯ By far the most direct. Anselmo de Turmeda’s Disputa del Asno (1417) appears to have drawn to some extent on one of The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity. as has sometimes been mooted. At the more popular and local level. It is not irrelevant that the word ‘troubadour’ is made up of the Arabic tarab. in fact one of these. and if Dante needed an outside stimulus for creating the Divine Comedy. contains ¸ what appears to be some garbled Arabic. Their greatest scholar. by Guillaume IX. however. Maimonides (1135–1204).THE IBERIAN BRANCH and its disappearance may reflect the lack of respect that such nonconformity entailed. ascertainable. this is more likely to have been the account of the Prophet’s ascent to the heavens. than either Ibn-Suhayd’s or al-Ma arrı’s compositions. interaction was more extensive although not readily identifiable. were particularly attracted to the “high” classical literature of the Arabs – perhaps because they too had a special regard for language. French and Latin. ¯ if there is any indebtedness there. The melding that produced the zajal presumably also affected Spanish and possibly Provencal songs. developed long after the Reconquista. with the Spanish suffix dor. More ¯ far-fetched is the surmise that the picaresque novel. It was through Spain that some Arabic works originating in the heartlands reached the Christians. which may ˙ mean ‘passion’ of any kind but more specifically the response to music. it would more probably be to the folk narratives from which the maqama itself derived. who often fared better under Muslim than under Christian rule. The Jews of Spain. was to some extent inspired by the maqama. and Fr. John of Capua translated Kalıla wa Dimna under the title of Directorium Vitae ¯ Humanae. Coda The cross-fertilization that fostered so much innovation among the Andalusians was to benefit their neighbours as well. wrote in Arabic. known to have had wide ˇ diffusion in Spanish. and lasting line of succession led elsewhere. a collection of scientific and philosophical essays produced in the heartlands in the tenth century. Thus in the thirteenth century. The fact that some narratives of Eastern origin have been retained only in translation has already been noted.

they adapted the muwassah ˇˇ ˙ form to devotional purposes it never had in Arabic. And demonstrating how creative cultural borrowing can be. 101 . giving a ˇˇ ¯ ˙ running start to the Hebrew literature that raced ahead in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.THE IBERIAN BRANCH translated and then imitated maqamas and muwassahs.


retain power where they 103 . already evident in the Christian reconquest of Andalusia in 1492. and the second merely brings to a sharp point the growing ascendancy of Europe. They did. how Arabic literature fared under the stresses of political and social decline deserves closer attention. The hordes that broke into Islamic lands at different times did not affect Arabic literature as radically as may be surmised. They did not snuff out the superior culture they found. Actually. But tying cultural developments directly and immediately to political and military history is simplistic and can be misleading. For a long dominant civilization to lose power and intellectual vitality – whichever be the cause and which the effect – is nothing unusual. Some of the literary features strongly associated with this period can be traced back to the eleventh century. the first of these events is only the most dramatic of several incursions from the Far East into Islamic lands. and the control of resources. they were themselves Islamized. however. and some innovations occurred much later.6 THE STUNTING The period extending from the latter part of the thirteenth century to the end of the eighteenth is widely regarded by Arabs and Arabists alike as one of stagnation or decline. and – more threateningly – in exploration. rather. trade. so the conclusions that are to be drawn at this stage are necessarily tentative. and gradually outpacing the Muslims in the arts and sciences. but not surprisingly it has attracted comparatively few researchers so far. Convenient dates for marking the beginning and the end of this unhappy phase are the fall of Baghdad to Mongol invaders in 1256 and the Bonaparte expedition to Egypt in 1798. All the same.

leaving behind only some telling lexical fossils – words like ‘cypher’. And the concern for its purity was undiminished. and a necessary key for the ambitious who wanted access to the courts of Sultans and princes. least of all from the Arabs. or ‘admiral’. Belles-lettres There was no lack of competent contributors to the top stream of literary production. Arabic. ‘magazine’. remained the language of religion and of traditional scholarship. It was written more extensively than ever. Turkish became the supreme administrative medium. And as the Ottomans imposed their authority over most Islamic territories other than Persia. or in another (basıt/lu): ¯ ¯ ˙ 104 . the Arabs ceased to be the governing elite. however. every feature of their “tent-pole” monorhyme poetry being a continuation or intensification of what had been established in the preceding period. from which the Mongols were turned back. In most of the lands of Islam. so long ensconced in European languages that they are no longer thought of as borrowed. . and southern Italy.. ´ The Arabic language consequently lost some of the territory it had long dominated. The Persians revived their own language for literary purposes.. It retreated from its European outposts in Spain. All the standard themes from lovers’ desperation to military glory were artfully pursued – as by as-Sabb az-Zarıf (1263–89) in one poem (kamil/aqu): ˇ ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Do not hide how longing has afflicted you. Be not dismayed.THE STUNTING could. Even in Egypt and Syria. it was the Mamluks – the slaves who were trained as ¯ soldiers – who ruled from 1250 to 1517 and the Ottoman Turks who succeeded them. Expound your passion. in immense compilations of transmitted knowledge. Sicily. for lovers we all are. for you are not the first of lovers To be laid low by cheeks and eyes.

Sufism had penetrated the establishment while also maintaining a fervent following among the common people. As poet.THE STUNTING In war they are such that their white swords Have reddened cheeks. rejecting literature? Now that I practise it. and wasafat. relying for effect on well-worn images and hyperbole rather than originality or warmth. When lightning-like they are drawn. revealed by the air. though shyness is not their wont. ‘and ˙ was limpid’. as in Ibn-Nubata’s ¯ (1287–1366) (basıt/ma): ¯ ¯ ˙ Mere mention of your hands’ largesse brings one close to wealth. I solicited the dogs! One could trace a long succession of poets who pursued hackneyed themes. Praise of the mighty could be hyperbolic. al-Barbır (1747–1811). the dogs beseech me. could ¯ crowd into a descriptive couplet a paronomasia – wa safat. Its stars. The various orders 105 . they turn to clouds From whose sides flows a copious rain. Were valued pearls that overran the sea of darkness. Mere mention of battle sets their flanks aquiver As if to talk of death were words of love. The most highly regarded of the eighteenth century men of letters. Such servility adds piquancy to the sally made by another poet known as al-Jazzar (1204/5–73/4) because he made a living as a ¯ butcher (xafıf/aba): ¯ ¯ ¯ How can I not throughout my life Praise butchery. ‘described’ – and a cerebral comparison ˙ corresponding to nothing actually experienced (basıt/at): ¯ ˙ A night whose hours were beautiful and limpid The like of which none living saw or described. And kissing the dust on your sandals slakes one’s thirst.

not least of which is the revelation of the Qur an. On horseback. It is a competent.THE STUNTING differed somewhat in their emphases. and their pens ˙˙ Leave not one letter in the body undotted. but most were careful not to appear to overstep the plain sense of the Scriptures or the dictates of canonical law. which starts with pious injunctions to renounce the world and mistrust the inclinations of the self. or ¯ ¯¯ ˙ 6) known as ‘the Mantle’ because after he had completed it the poet dreamt that the Prophet visited him. and cast his mantle upon him. he dwells also on his night journey and ¯ ascent to the heavens. finally he begs for the Prophet’s intercession on his behalf and supplicates God to forgive his sins and bless the Prophet. drawing both on Scriptures and on popular lore to recount the wonders that accompanied his birth. the poet then turns to praising the Prophet. the miracles associated with him in his lifetime. The most celebrated composition of the kind is a poem by al-Busırı (1212–1294. touched him. with the result that he was cured of his paralysis. and a great deal of devotional poetry focused on him. along much the same line as Ka b ibn-Zuhayr had followed centuries earlier (basıt/mı): ¯ ¯ ˙ ö Ö Their white swords are reddened when pulled out Of the enemies’ black locks. They write with the dun lances of Xatt. he describes his military successes. Fully armed. 106 . A theme Sufism could share with conventional Islam was reverence for the person of the Prophet. the Mantle is a predictable and somewhat pedestrian recapitulation. with only a few flashes of the kind of artistry that was held in honour at that time. The wind of victory favours us with their fragrance Such that we deem each knight a flower bud. flowing composition of about 160 lines. The richest passage happens to be a description of the Prophet’s brothers-inarms. the tightness of their resolve – not of their saddlery – Made them seem as sturdy as mountain bushes. To those who are already familiar with the material and do not bring to it the fervour of a believer. 5. theirs are distinguishing marks – As a rose is distinct from a thorn.

‘lambs’. with tufarriq. ‘terror’. and finally of ajam.1349) composed another poem in praise ¯ ¯ ˙ of the Prophet – acknowledging his debt to al-Busırı. the verbs used for thrusting then withdrawing swords are the ones associated with coming to a water-point in the desert and then riding away. In the first line. By far the favourite was the paronomasia. as was ¯ ¯¯ ˙ traditional. ¯ ¯ ˙ ‘resolve’. ‘lairs’. and it was eked out into nearparonomasias. ‘knight’. by adopting the same metre and rhyme – but with the avowed purpose of bringing into use every ‘embellishment’ known to badı . ‘saddlery’. or that looked graphically alike except for the disposition of dots. but each trying to swell the bag of tricks. ‘buds’. divide and sub-divide ever more ingenious devices that exploited all the potentialities of words. known as badı iyyat. In the second.THE STUNTING So fearsome that the foes’ hearts flew off in terror.e. Closely related were the double entendre and the anagram. There are also near-puns – i. Xatt is a location reputed to ˙˙ produce the best lances but the word may also mean ‘script’ so the ‘dun’ implements may be either lances or reed-pens. ¯ ¯ The taste for rhetorical devices received a fillip when Safiyy˙ ad-Dın al-Hillı (c. and buham. the pun intended not for humorous but for aesthetic effect. of hazm. with akmam.1278–c. Such formal compositions. and tajim. He in turn had a succession of imitators. Passages were composed that arbitrarily excluded some letters of the alphabet. puns between words sharing the same consonants – in the conjunction of kamı. If the wording and the imagery seem strained. And you could not distinguish the valiant from the lambs. ‘valiant’. refine. It became the pride and the joy of badı specialists – and of not a few poets and ¯ prose-writers – to invent. ˙ ‘distinguish’. ‘reduced to silence’. Extremely complicated ö ö Ö Ö Ö 107 . of bahm. focus attention on what ¯ ¯ had become a consuming concern of men of letters. Verses were written that read as praise but with a rearrangement of the dots became satirical. all using the same ¯ metre and rhyme. with huzum. of faraq. For whoever has the support of the Apostle of God Reduces to silence the threatening lions at home in their lairs. toying with words that differed in only one phoneme. it is because they have been forced to accommodate a wealth of rhetorical devices.

the first letters of the verses formed two more lines featuring the same mathematical feat. He was himself praised in year 1136 of the Muslim calendar (1723/4) with a long poem by an-Nahlawı each hemistich ¯ ¯ ˙ of which added up to 1136 twice. A sufficient sample is part of a long encomium that as-Safadı (d. ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö Ö In a badı iyya of his own. Poets produced feats of breath-taking dexterity. in addition. tours de ¯ force that cannot be translated. were put into verse. Almost as word-bound were the prose writers. rhymed of course but also containing a deliberately Ö 108 . The distillation of the wine of his liberality for the supplicant. Poems celebrating some event almost always ended with a line or a hemistich in which the numerical equivalents of the letters added up to the year of the occurrence. ¯ and the polymath as-Suyutı (1445–1505) – contributed to the ¯ ¯ ˙ essentially decorative genre of the maqama. One example that can be offered here is a single line by Ibn-an-Nabıh (c. especially relating to personal names. Even in other formats ¯ high standards of elegance were sought. and probably cannot be replicated in other languages. The wording and the imagery are strained. for each word in the first hemistich is matched by one in the second. such as using all the letters of the alphabet in a single line.THE STUNTING puzzles.1363) wrote for a fellow¯ ˙ ˙ scholar. but the effect sought can be gauged only in transcription.1164–1222). an-Nabulusı (1641–1731) brought the ¯ ¯ ¯ tally of what are known to rhetoricians as ‘schemes’ up to nearly two hundred. which sums up the two titles ¯ to glory deemed supreme in a prince (kamil/fı): ¯ ¯ ö The burning of the ember of his sword for the aggressor. or on the contrary restricting oneself in an entire poem to the letters that occur in the short introductory chapter of the Qur an. contrasting in meaning but phonetically identical except for one letter or for the arrangement of letters: Fa-harıqu jamrati sayfihı li-l-mu tadı ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ wa-rahıqu xamrati saybihı li-l-mu tafı. several of whom – such as Ibn-al-Wardı (1292–1349) who is also known as a poet.

or as if in a sea his virtues were its waves. ö Ö Non-classical verse forms Yet there was one development that held immense potential for innovation.THE STUNTING misleading reference to an Ishaq and a Ya qub whose names are ¯ ¯ ˙ conjoined in the Qur an as they are in the Bible. One. He warned against evil and his rhymes were like the melodies of Ishaq. The attention given by the Andalusians to strophic forms of poetry opened the door to a comparable initiative in the heartlands. A noticeable feature of these non-classical verse forms is that they have names – like bullayq or waw – that do not sit ¯ comfortably as derivatives from Arabic roots. for the first treatise on the muwassah was written ˇˇ ˙ in Egypt by Ibn-Sana -al-Mulk (1155–1211) who also tried his hand ¯ at similar compositions. Imitators later named and described other such forms. The linkage is clear. and five other verse forms that lend themselves to composition in the vernacular. his listeners as weepy as Ya qub’s eyes. he opted instead for a mixture of Arabic and Persian. the du-bayt. the classical ode. i. Ishaq al-Mawsilı (767–850): ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ö ö Ö ö He preached. the non-Arab ¯ ¯ ¯¯ ö Ö Ö 109 .e. each keeping his total to seven. splitting hearts asunder. or as if his pulpit were a bough and he a dove upon it. The one that al-Hillı acknowledged as most important ¯ ˙ and that has proved the most productive and long-lived. the learned being ¯ expected to detect that the first of the two is intended to be the famous singer of a bygone age. and its pearls emulated his words. More locally rooted and more stimulating was a treatise entitled ¯ al. the mawaliya. ¯ ¯ ˙ In oratory he is like a full moon amid clouds. ¯ is Persian. In ¯ ¯ ˙ this new work he expounded and illustrated what came to be known as ‘the Seven Arts’. has some evident kinship with the mawalı. the zajal.Atilu l-Halı wa l-Muraxxasu l-Xalı (which may be loosely ¯¯ ¯¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ translated as ‘the Unadorned Bejeweled and the Underpriced Revalued) by the same al-Hillı who created the first badı iyya. but it is worth noting that in bi-lingual xarjas it did not occur to him to mingle classical and colloquial Arabic. He made the tears of sinners flow.

110 . Like all mawaliyas ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ recorded at that time. ¯ ˙ In this instance. culled from al-Hillı’s treatise.” Journal of Arabic Literature. “It’s my trade – do you blame me?” Inclining to me. like the zajal in Spain. “I love you! You penetrate me. but who also put together a collection of his zajal. including the fact that the usual way of skinning an animal was to puncture the skin in a leg and blow into it to separate the skin from the flesh: Ö To a butcher I said.THE STUNTING converts to Islam. In fact the mawaliya is credited with an ancestry that ¯ ¯ goes back to the eighth century. pp. With slaughter in mind. and as such they are only haphazardly recorded mainly in biographical notices. seldom included in a poet’s collected works. A near exception may be one alXubarı who was active in the second half of the fourteenth century.1 One such is a mawaliya attributed to Umar ibn-al-Farid. established ¯ ˙ poets seem to have resorted to them mainly for humorous purposes. now lost. No one made a literary reputation solely on the strength of his attainments in these “seven arts”. A long narrative poem recounting the Prophet’s ascent to the 1 For an example recounting a seduction. see my “An ¯ ˙ Early Example of Narrative Verse in Colloquial Arabic. although this is based on fanciful and mutually exclusive anecdotes. including short narratives. 21. the rhyme is xnı. Except when illustrating a treatise such as al-Hillı’s. The badinage exploits features ¯ of the butcher’s trade. he pumps me up to skin me. and that like the zajal they were in use long before any were committed to writing. ¯ ¯ he was a traditionist and jurist who composed some traditional poetry. All this suggests that. 2 (September 1990). What is of consequence is that the way now lay open for poets occasionally to adopt these verse forms and compose pieces in the regional vernaculars and serving purposes unfamiliar to the classical tradition. they grew out of the fusion of Arab with local non-Arab traditions. he kissed my foot to soften me. You kill me!” He said. it is a monorhyme quatrain (each line being what would be a hemistich in classical poetry) in the basıt metre. What the status of such compositions was is a moot question. 165–71.

Leiden. ‘diverting’. the most intriguing ¯ ¯ and most challenging figure of the entire period we are now considering. It consists mostly of quite short pieces. Research School CNWS (School of Asian. praise. Paris. and pious themes.2 but the attribution is scarcely a reliable one. ¯ ¯ The serious part consists of eighty-eight poems. Of greater interest in this context is the ‘diverting’ part. but there are many more strophic ones.3 This he divided into two ¯ ¯ ˙˙ parts. He collected his own literary compositions in a work entitled Nuzhatu-n-Nufus wa Mudhiku-l. The main source of humour especially in verse is a very common theme in all hazl Ö 2 Urbain Bouriant. leading prayers in several mosques. Included in this section – for such were by then standard features of canonical literature – were isolated couplets embodying some witticism. For a while he lived conventionally. 3 Ably studied and edited as Bringing a Laugh to a Scowling Face by Arnoud Vrolijk. He died in Damascus. Solid information and possibly some useful perspective may be mined from the career of ibn-Sudun (1407–64). one labeled jiddı. i. and Amerindian Studies).Abus. being credited with reviving the shadow theatre after it had been banned in 1452. The remaining twelve are in non-classical metres. and the other hazlı. Chansons Populaires Arabes en Dialecte du Caire d’apres les ` Manuscrits d’un Chanteur des Rues. 1998. The son of a Circassian mamluk. He also had some success as a serious poet. ‘serious’. also some more elaborate verses toying with the numerical value of letters of the alphabet. until – to his father’s outrage – he turned to humour and to popular entertainment. although he made a ¯ poor living mainly as a copyist and a tailor. he was born in Cairo ¯ and given a sound traditional education fitting him for a career as a religious scholar. 111 . such as a pun on the name of an individual or the fanciful description of a pimple. and these are in the vernacular. 1893.THE STUNTING heavens and ascribed to someone of that name was found among the papers of a Cairo street singer late in the nineteenth century. Here again. African. the monorhyme verse compositions are in classical Arabic. some in the vernacular. acting as imam. of which seventysix are unexceptionably classical in grammar and prosody and deal with love.e. Ernest Leroux.

sprung upon – a great variety of contexts. and so are his clothes. then kill it well. If stormy winds blow over a meadow. such as the affirmation of faith with which sermons and other public discourses were initiated. which presumably was meant to be declaimed in a grand oratorical manner. The earth is earth and the sky is something else. And birds ply the space in-between. accompanied by extravagant descriptions of food. both going and returning. But one who swims in it with his clothes on Is wet himself. 112 . including some solemn ones. Water flows over static sand. And in abundance. it is the trees that bend. And you who “kill” by doctoring the hashish that doctors you – O besotted one! – you are the killer and the killed. The earth stands firm. a sententious proclamation of a selfevident truth. for a little is of no use. How sweet bananas are when peeled And softened with juices and with ho-ho-honey. or this address to pilgrims returning from Mecca (basıt/adı): ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Happiness be yours. And one detects in it a flowing movement. always in the first person. He combined these two favourite themes in (xafıf/lu): ¯ ¯ The sea is a sea. An elephant is an elephant. Is – I swear – deluded and a clown. One who believes that water will assuage his hunger. and a giraffe is tall. but Ibn-Sudun ¯ ¯ also cultivated the truism. and the palm-trees are palms. Either of these features is worked into – or. If you wish it to revive you. more effectively. you who visited the Guide.THE STUNTING composition: expressions of gluttony. Ah for vermicelli with sug-sug-sugar treated! For want of such my heart is passionately blighted. Yours has been the hoped-for bliss.

One who accompanies pilgrims in their faring. although not so blatantly or crudely as may have been expected. Ibn-Sudun’s use of the vernacular was in fact sparing. at the crucial moment. as it was in the poetry by the verse form. Thus two formal maqamas are in the ¯ classical idiom and amply ornamented with the resources of badı . and are mostly in the classical idiom and amply ornamented with the resources of badı . Particularly appealing to scholars who have coped with classical Arab scholars’ line by line Ö Ö 113 . but he rejoiced that he had escaped injury by not being in it. You have seen some things that I have seen. His mother now tricks him into submitting to the operation by assuring him that the barber advancing upon him with a razor is there to shave his head. full of witless queries and comments and recounting how. Many are the themes exploited. ¯ although they still make room for some verse in the vernacular and for the favourite theme of food. The prose pieces are even more varied. Others are about simpletons like the grown-up whose parents forgot to have him circumcised when he was small. of which I tell. having washed a shirt he had soiled because he had eaten too much laxative food and having hung it up to dry. his attention is diverted by being told literally to “watch the birdie. largely ¯ ¯ determined in the prose passages by the subject matter.” and he is then pacified by being assured that the same would never be allowed to happen again. Several are ¯ about eccentric behaviour. They include anecdotes told with some verve. In the same vein but appropriately couched in the vernacular is what purports to be a letter from a village yokel to his family. as in the case of the lad so jealous of the fuss made of his sister on the occasion of her wedding that he insists on being dressed and made up like her. Where the cameleer’s song brings peace to the spirit. including sex. And eating food when they are hungry.THE STUNTING You have witnessed a land honoured by the Chosen One. among the songs I sing. it had been blown down by the wind. And with their caravan traverses valley after valley Can see them drinking water when they thirst.


commentaries on religious or literary texts – perhaps also to a wider circle of readers familiar with the subtleties of deconstructionists – is a mock “explication” that turns a simple colloquial expression into an involved absurdity. In the same vein but in the vernacular is a parody of the common Islamic practice of submitting questions of canonical law to a recognized religious scholar for an authoritative interpretation. In this, a simpleton requests clarification of the difference between a horse and a boat, and gets a fancifully intricate answer. Yet Ibn-Sudun has been all but ignored in literary histories, and ¯ ¯ all writings in the vernacular by him and by other educated authors have been relegated by silent consent to a grey area of indeterminate literary status, vaguely lumped with folk literature. These imitations are not genuinely folkloric, however. This is evident in an anonymous mawaliya quoted by al-Hillı, for which the boast is ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ made that each line has four words, twenty-four letters, and thirteen dots,4 although some may have gained enough popularity to pass into folk literature. Their standing presents a problem that will have to be wrestled with before the end of this chapter.

Folk literature
The ever-widening gap that existed between the language reserved for learning and for fine expression and the language of everyday communication was inseparable from a measure of contempt for folk literature and for those who produced it. This is nowhere more explicitly – or crudely – expressed than in as-Sirbını’s (d.1687) ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ˇ arhi Qasıdi Abı-Saduf. It is both necessary and ˇ¯ ¯ Hazzu l-Quhuf fı S ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ revealing to expound the title. The first part is an elaborate pun which may be translated either as “The Shaking of the Skull-Caps” or “The Stirring of the Yokels”; the second presents the book as a commentary on an ode by a peasant who is given a ridiculous name associating him with the levering device used for lifting bucketfuls of water from a stream to a field that required irrigation. Needless


4 See my “The Egyptian Mawwal: its Ancestry, its Development, and its Present ¯ Forms”, Journal of Arabic Literature, 8 (1977), p. 81.



to say, the ode is a fictitious one, revealing the peasant as a gross, groveling, and grasping being. The mock commentary occupies only a part of the diatribe, but the rest is in the same vein. The work begins with praising God for “endowing men of good taste with subtlety of character and sweetness of tongue, and reserving ill-nature and thick temperament for their opposites, the common country folk and denizens of animal pens”. It abounds with anecdotes a sample of which tells of the peasant who has access to the household of a prince and is impressed by his host’s delicacy when he sees him tossing a rose to his wife as an invitation to intimacy; trying to ape his betters, he flings a brick at his wife, gashes her head, and is sentenced by the governor to a sound flogging. Villagers’ love-making is described and their love-songs are parodied in repulsive terms. The point is repeatedly made that they are beyond redemption, and Alı, the venerated cousin and ¯ son-in-law of the Prophet, is quoted as having enjoined his followers not to educate the sons of the vile as it would only make them seek high positions from which to humiliate the asraf, ˇ ¯ a term which literally means ‘noble’ but which is more specifically applied to the descendants of the Prophet. Such broadsides are at best an indication that there was a folk poetry to parody. No kinder but slightly more informative is an aside from an-Nabulusı when expounding the double entendre: ¯ ¯ “Some of the common people have taken to using it in verse, but without expertise, so what they produce is a distortion of words, corrupt and incompatible with the definition of the trope; as the wording is obscene and the sense vile, it is offensive to one’s ears”.5 The ‘Seven Arts’ are a great deal more valuable in revealing some of the patterns, if not the purport, of the folk songs they imitated. The continued popularity of the narrative genres may be inferred from the condemnations issued by a succession of religious authorities such as as-Subkı (1327–70), ibn-Katır (c.1300–73), and ¯ ¯ as-Suyutı (1445–1505). It is also more positively attested by the ¯ ¯ ˙ unbroken transmission of the Arabian Nights.



5 This is almost certainly a reference to the zahr, a kind of punning achieved by distortion of the pronunciation, which will be dealt with in the next chapter.




The epic motifs certainly thrived, new cycles coming into being, notably one inspired by the warlike exploits of the Mamluk Sultan ¯ Baybars, who ruled Egypt and Syria from 1260 to 1277, and scored successes against the Mongols and the Crusaders, as well as against local rivals for power. It is on record that in the eighteenth century these were still being celebrated, along with those of the Hilalıs, of ¯¯ Antar, of Sayf ibn-Dı-Hazan, and of Du-l-Himma. ¯ ¯ There are also occasional references in the chronicles of the period and in the accounts of European travelers to the persistence of the kind of semi-theatrical activities noted earlier: the participation of buffoons and masked characters in popular celebrations, which could indeed be rowdy. From the fourteenth century on, one comes across compositions in the vernacular called maqamas in which representatives of various trades describe their ¯ activities. These may have been declaimed or enacted, or even incorporated in shadow plays. The shadow theatre appears to have thrived and to have acquired a measure of social recognition. It was put to an uncommon use in 1517 when a performance was given before the Ottoman Sultan Salım I enacting his conquest of Egypt ¯ and the hanging at his command of the last Mamluk Sultan, Tuman ¯ ¯ Bay. Nearly a century later, one Dawud al- Attar also known as ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙˙ al-Minawı is reported to have put on in Cairo and Alexandria a ¯ ¯ shadow play celebrating the defeat of the Crusaders in the twelfth century, then to have gone to Istanbul in 1612 to take part in festivities connected with the marriage of the daughter of the Sultan to a former governor of Egypt, and to have returned via Damascus and Jerusalem. Finally, from European travelers in the eighteenth century, such as Niebuhr, come the most explicit accounts that there were professional actors and actresses who could be hired to perform short farces in the courtyards of houses. A link between the different strata of society was provided by the Sufi orders, also known as the dervish brotherhoods. Each had a teacher and guide whose reputation for holiness and privileged knowledge endowed him with considerable authority. Round him was a narrow circles of initiates, then wider and wider circles of adherents differing in the extent of their commitment, some merely attending weekly meetings. Any of these could seek the advice of the leader in personal or social problems. Some brotherhoods were




associated with particular trades. All could attract members of different social positions. They came close to functioning as church, social club, and professional association. Their poems, tracts, and litanies were widely diffused. It is not surprising either to find that many Sufis used the vernacular in their writings. Islam denies the existence of saints or of miracles performed by any but the prophets, but Sufi literature abounded in accounts of holy men and of the wonders their intervention brought about. Some of their stories lent themselves to interpretation at different levels. An example is a report that a holy man called ibn-as-Sabbax was about to perform his ablution by the ¯ ˙ ˙ river in preparation for prayer when he heard a commotion, and found that a man had been attacked by a crocodile; so he interrupted his devotional activity, walked on water, ordered the crocodile to die, and brought the injured man to safety. Such a story might merely leave the simple-minded dumbfounded at the supernatural power that a man of God could summon; others might be exercised by the priority he gave to action over ritual.

A balance sheet
The question must now be posed: Why is this period widely characterized as one of stagnation? More specifically: Why is its top stream credited with an abundant production but no departure from earlier models? Arabic literature shared in the hardening of arteries that came with age and the loss of vitality that the entire culture suffered after Europe had gained ascendancy in intellectual pursuits and in power. But there must have been within its mainstream factors that hastened the decline, for its symptoms were manifested early, whereas architecture was to go through one of its most splendid periods under the Mamluks, the study of history was to stimulate ¯ Ibn-Xaldun (1332–1406) to highly original theorization about ¯ society and culture late in the fourteenth century, and science – notably the criticism and emendation of the Ptolemaic system in astronomy – was still vigorously pursued both in Persian and in ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ Arabic by Sırazı (d.1311), as-Sarıf al-Jurjanı (d.1413), al-Xafrı and ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Barajundı (c.1524) as late as in the sixteenth century. ¯


Adabu s-Sufiyyu fı Misr. to prevent the educated from occasionally adopting the vernacular idiom in verse forms of lowly extraction. It is this view that is echoed by as-Sirbını and that accounts for the utter ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ disregard of folk perceptions even when folk performances were deemed entertaining enough to gain entry to high circles. ˇˇ ¯qa ˙ ˙ Evidence of further selectivity is that ibn-Sana -al-Mulk reported ¯ that the vast majority of the muwassahs known to him did not fit the ˇˇ ˙ classical system of scansion. ´ Elitism was not enough. Ibn-Bassa (1084– ¯m 1147) and al-Fath ibn-Xa ¯ n (d. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ö Ö 118 .1134). In the seminal treatise that first recorded the ‘Seven Arts’. Yet somehow experimental impulses were bracketed together with some of the already familiar themes of mujun and hazl into an in-between ¯ territory where they were neither condemned nor given intellectual weight. And in a study on the literature of Sufis. al. Even a departure from classical prosody created a negative reaction. It had its bluntest expression in Hayy ibn ˙ Yaqzan when the hero opted not only to leave but to confirm the ¯ ˙ populace in its imperfect understanding of Truth. specifically asserting that most men are no better than irrational animals. al-Hillı wrote that he had ¯ ˙ composed a great many such non-classical poems in his youth. What denies a poet entry into the top stream of canonical literature has never been stipulated and remains both indeterminate and inconsistent. 8. This was in itself a significant innovation.THE STUNTING One factor was the elitism that went hand-in-hand with the use ´ of one form of the language for all learned pursuits and other forms for everyday exchanges. if so there must have been some heavy culling since then in the process of transmission. p. however. recorded no muwassah. as witness the fact that two of our main sources of information on Andalusian literature.6 a modern Arab critic excluded all their writings in the vernacular on the ö 6 Safı Husayn. 1964. Some modern collectors of folk material are equally defensive about their activities. Cairo. but that when pressed to write his treatise he had retained only the minimum needed for illustration. had not attached much importance to them and had not intended to put them permanently on record. and one that bore promise of bold ventures in new directions. Certainly the use of a vernacular form of Arabic is a strike against him. Ma arif.

as we trifle and dally. Cairo. Does this imply a disqualification mainly on moralistic grounds? Yet he was never as ribald as Abu-Nuwas or as iconoclastic as al-Ma arrı. What may escape the Western reader is how important dignified behaviour is to the Arab. 45): “To the average reader this would appear to be a very personal and intimate picture of the tender loving mother figure who spoils her little boy and cannot let him go. is that – having specified that his bereavement occurred when he was forty-four years old – he used nursery words in evoking her early solicitude at any expression of hunger or thirst. ¯ ¯ ¯ A possible clue is provided by a poem which Ibn-Sudun composed ¯ ¯ when his mother died. The reason. but how? Of Ibn-Sudun. hence the ambivalence about humorous writing. and in this conservatism was supreme. With the prosody rooted in antiquity and the language anchored in the Scriptures. and who meddles with the education of his children. 1.” Finally. jest. and resulting from collective rather than individual perceptions”. Arnoud Vrolijk comments (p. I suspect. taking refuge in the imagination as an escape from reality . we prefer sternness to smiling. Taha ¯ ¯ ˙ 7: “We are a people who prefer seriousness to jest Husayn. vol. 1943. p. his ¯ ¯ contemporary as-Saxawı (1427–97) wrote that he “applied himself ¯ ¯ to literature and excelled in it.THE STUNTING ground that these are best considered “a part of folk literature that overindulges in the miraculous. say. the very brilliance attained between the ö Ö 7 Sawtu Barıs. Even uncontrolled laughter is felt to be demeaning.” Yet Ibn-Sudun himself placed this poem ¯ ¯ under the rubric of hazl. but mostly followed a path that was an excess in buffoonery. We are stern even when we trifle. . 48. In his study accompanying the edition of the text. wantonness and dissoluteness”. Ma arif. and showed no rebellion at her continued mothering later on. recalling how responsive she was to his every need. that we are doing something unusual. As a very perceptive modern critic. The subject-matter also counts. observed ˙ – or. When we trifle (and we trifle a great deal) we do so by a kind of peculation – we actually purloin our trifling! We feel. ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö 119 . . something illicit. not even when he is married. literary prestige belonged to an overwhelming extent to the purveyors of ‘tent-pole’ literature.

it is made explicit in a passage in IbnHazm’s treatise on love where. then added: “but it is wrong for one who writes verse to depart from the customary usages of poetry”. therefore. Badı served it well in this respect. West. but that they titillate its well-established aesthetic sensibilities. At ´ one in its belief-system and steeped in traditional sciences. or hints at a pun that is not realized on paper but consummated in the reader’s mind. and even the sentiments that it was proper for him to express! If this is not sufficiently evident in the way poet after poet praised each of his patrons. but also a piece by the very modern Salman Rushdie entitled “Yorick” and describing itself as “the tale of a piece of vellum”8: ö Ö Ö 8 In East. 120 . Toying with words is. At the level which commanded the highest approval. quoted the Qur an’s ¯ condemnation of unbelieving poets. one may instance not only the writings of Lyly and Marlowe in a short-lived and bygone age. what it expected of the men of letters within its ranks was not that they extend its perceptions. In his ¯ extensive commentary on his own badı iyya. he expressed his disapproval of their content. an-Nabulusı repeatedly ¯ ¯ ¯ addressed “those who are knowledgeable about literature” as he described schemes in which a poet fashions a line in such a way that his audience can complete it for him. And no one who has tried to write creatively is unaware of the power of words to open out new avenues of thought or imagination. Modern Arabs look back on this phase of their literary heritage as an exercise in futility. 1994.THE STUNTING ninth and the twelfth centuries had crowned an already mixed metaphor by crystallizing the themes that it was licit for a poet to pursue. who could get as engaged in the aesthetic process as sports fans are carried away by appreciation of the skill with which their idols play to rules. New York. of course. Arabic literature had become the appanage of a narrow elite. But a practice that gave satisfaction to generations of educated men is not to be so lightly dismissed. not peculiar to Arabic. after quoting some lines of his own ˙ composed at the behest of a princess and advocating nothing worse than relaxation with wine and music in pleasant surroundings. In English. It was a literature for connoisseurs. Pantheon Books.

They would also have been in two minds about the levity that informs the piece. . a most uncertain – Tristram. but. The Arab masters of badı would have repudiated the inclusion of ¯ “palatinate and permanganate” as they make no sense at all in the context and have a place in it only because of a weak rhyme. But having been compelled to seek the help of the North African dynasty known as the Almoravids against Christian forces. for although they were not strangers to humour. xalq and xuluq. hyphenate. was no mean poet. wurq and waraq. and in Yazıd God will increase my reward!” Similarly. into the hand of a certain – no. a vellumminous history! – which it’s my present intent not merely to abbreviate. ¯ ˙ which means ‘he increases’. Fath. 121 . to explicate. annotate. that same ancient account which fell. not only share the same consonants but are identical in the script (basıt/qı): ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö Ö Beauties of form and character make me weep for you As weeps for the meadow the cloud’s abundant flow. In other respects. the frothiest. however. in addition. More importantly. and Yazıd. .THE STUNTING . Al-Mu tamid (1039–95). they would have recognized in the author a kindred spirit. Truly. they thought of their art as primarily decorative. palatinate and permanganate – for it’s a narrative that richly rewards the scholar who is competent to apply such sensitive technologies. of course. near enough two hundred and thirty-five years ago. who (although Yseult-less) was neither triste nor ram. which literally means ‘a victory’ or ‘an opening’. his reaction was to cry out: “O Fath. Ibn-Nubata ¯ ¯ mourned the death of a son in lines in which the words for physical appearance and for character. ˙ [by your martyrdom] you opened the gates of mercy for me. Further distressed by news of the death of his two sons. and for doves and for tree-leaves. toying with words can be so much a part of one’s mental equipment that it becomes a genuine expression of perception and sentiment. he found himself at the mercy of his ally and spent the last four years of his life in chains in Morocco. and which has now come into my possession by processes too arcane to detain the eager reader. Yorick’s saga. who ruled Seville until 1091. most heady Shandy of a fellow.

THE STUNTING In their outpouring my subtle words moan over you. Where Arabic stands alone is in the extent to which badı was ¯ enthroned among literary values. and a saturation point beyond which it can only recycle itself. and the length of its reign. elitism. The collusion of linguistic purism. Ö 122 . O bough! – so hear the moaning of the doves among the leaves. and from the realities of everyday life that cried out for change. For there is an absolute limit to its inventiveness. and conservatism had isolated the intelligentsia ´ from the concerns of the common people.

Another way of bringing about a resurgence was by responding in kind to the rising power and pressure of Europe. If it was to lift itself by its own bootstraps. But except for the centre of Arabia itself. however. Both had their greatest success in desert areas. and it led to military and administrative reforms that were likely to trickle down to the Arab provinces. The Arabs did not have to wait for any of these promises to be fulfilled. The need for this was first felt in Turkey. the least accessible and – until the discovery of oil – the least desirable parts of the Arab world. the Wahhabı that ¯ ¯ took shape in mid-eighteenth century and gave rise to the Sa udı ¯ ¯ dynasty in Arabia.7 THE GRAFTING Arab-Islamic civilization had reached a low ebb in the eighteenth century. as the Bonaparte expedition brought them both the motivation for change and the ready-made models to follow. At least two such movements arose. every one of the Arab countries has in modern times come under the direct domination of one Western European country or another Ö 123 . Since religion was central to it. and the Sanusı which was born early in the ¯ ¯ nineteenth century and one of whose leaders reigned for a while over Tripolitania. it might have done so in either of two ways. and it remains one of the leaders of the resulting readjustment. Egypt was the first to feel the sting and stimulation of European ambitions. the heart of the Ottoman empire. so it is in its modern history that the pattern of actions and reactions and of their manifestations in literature is most conveniently traced. the witness of its past is that resurgence might start with a movement of religious reform that would then work itself into political and cultural life.

the initiative came from on high. The vast majority of Muslim Arabs were left helpless. the Levant. ordered technical texts to be translated. And before the literature it produced is considered. an ambitious Albanian officer who had been a ¯ ˙ member of the Ottoman force sent to expel the French and who set about creating an army like Bonaparte’s. but by barbarians who were themselves absorbed into the faith and culture of Islam. it had given a convincing demonstration of European superiority in military matters.THE GRAFTING – Britain. and – since it had been accompanied by a team of scholars who carried out an impressive amount of research – it also provided a glimpse of an unfamiliar way of life and thought. when it was ousted by a joint Turkish and British force. The encounter had been unfriendly and its effects might soon have been dissipated had there not been a vigorous and forward-looking minority that saw in those foreign ways necessary means to desirable ends. The new elite ´ Bonaparte’s army held Egypt only from 1798 to 1801. then briefly Italy – and has gone through much the same sequence of changes. Nothing less than a drastic reorientation was involved. founded industries – all with militaristic rather than liberal aims in view. For a while. sent his most promising subjects to study in Italy and in France. In Egypt. formed an extensive educational system. To this end he engaged European experts. he extended his dominion and his priorities to the Sudan. Nevertheless. power was acquired by Muhammad Alı. But some responded to the challenge in ways that gave them an active role in the far-reaching changes that followed. Muslim lands had been conquered before. ´ sidelining the old. ¯ ˙ Ö 124 . copied European methods of administration. although telescoped into a shorter period. France. its progress needs to be charted – if only in very broad terms – through a succession of phases During the first three quarters of the eighteenth century. and even the Hijaz. It was this minority that formed a new elite. at times resigned and at times resentful or rebellious. But now the challenge was both military and intellectual.

however. in an article in al-Hilal on 1 May 1895. such as the railway installed by Stephenson’s son between Cairo and Alexandria. By the end of the third quarter and before the British occupied the country. By 1870. so that the Lebanon has to this day maintained a higher percentage of literacy than any other Arab country. fostering a loose association of progress with things Western. What is more. Butrus al-Bustanı (1819–83) was welcoming any development that ¯ ¯ ˙ could multiply contacts with Europe in order to lift Arabs from the depth into which their culture had fallen. Algeria and Morocco were being herded in the same direction by direct French intervention. he found it necessary to precede his strictures with: “No two people disagree that Westerners remain earnest and active in building up knowledge and demolishing ignorance.THE GRAFTING Even after his military ambitions had been frustrated. the benefits of European technology. Egypt had a school system and a penal code derived from European models. the dynasty he had founded maintained the direction he had taken. Muhammad Abduh (1849–1905) provided ˙ intellectual leadership for a movement that aimed at reforming Islam and channeling into it the growing energy and vitality that seemed to be seeking a new direction. At this time. Besides. Even when. were there for all to see. Ö Ö 125 . it was in Egypt that Lebanese Christians found the greatest scope for their energies. a member of the prominent Yazijı ¯ ¯ ¯ family called Abd-Allah Salım had occasion to bemoan Arab ¯ ¯ women’s imitation of Europeans in their dress and manners. The Lebanon which had a concentration of Christians in communion with one or another of the Western churches. The counterpoise of the head start enjoyed by Arab Christians in Egypt as well as in the Levant is that there has often been some ambivalence – and some suspicion – about where their sympathies lie. It was now favoured with the attention of American Protestant and French Catholic missionaries who during this period founded schools and later rival universities. But it is not our purpose here to survey their valuable accomplishments and their services to Mankind”. was particularly receptive to Western ideas. Developments in Egypt were being watched in other Arab regions. At the same time.

the occupation of Egypt and then of the Sudan by Great Britain and of Tunisia by the French confirmed and gave greater urgency to the sense that domination by the West could best be countered by emulating it. in 1899 and 1900. the Ottoman Empire was dismembered and its Arab provinces were put under European tutelage and started on the road to becoming nationstates on the European model. the second World War ö 126 . the standards of a previous age continued to be acknowledged. how the occupied were to view themselves and how their basic loyalties were to crystallize became an issue: Was it as an Oriental. European norms were now almost unquestioningly applied. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century. European standards began to penetrate the most intimate strongholds of society: Qasim Amın (1865–1908) ¯ ¯ published. and the main sequel to its reform movement no longer led progressive thought but adopted many of the values of the Westernizers. Islam lost much of its directive force in public affairs.THE GRAFTING In literature. And since both the powers that imposed themselves on Arab attention proclaimed similar values. at some cost to relations between Muslim majorities and Christian minorities. the West was seen as monolithic. The first Egyptian university organized on a European model was founded in 1907. with the corollary that religious loyalties had to take second place to nationalism. The next quarter of a century saw all the Arab countries in the Fertile Crescent and in North Africa under direct European occupation. In literature. even though new forms of self-expression were coming into use. a Muslim. however. The seed of the Palestine problem was also sown at that time. By impairing the supremacy of the British and the French. or a citizen of a regional entity that one was to resist foreign control? It was in the first quarter of the twentieth century that trends and determining factors took a semi-permanent form. an Arab. and all therefore nursing parallel aims of self-assertion and dreams of freedom and democracy. but whether the focus was to be pan-Arab or regional was virtually taken out of Arab hands when. the first two books advocating the emancipation of women. Nationalism now roused great passions. at the end of the first World War. Politically. however.

and adwarihi. Abstract values come later. that the dove had been snatched from its nest before the ring had formed round its neck or its song had been perfected. Democratic government and Arab unity. itmarihi. that the fawn had been snared from its bower before its term had been reached. but apply them more and more pertinently to their own problems. despite the far-reaching changes that took place in government and society. their literary production became increasingly uniform. the literary standards of a previous age continued to be honoured. that the crescent had been obscured before it had become a full moon. Subject to substantially the same cultural forces. the clouds casting their cloak over a ray of hope that it emitted. Through most of the nineteenth century. They therefore keep a keen eye on Western political ideologies and literary models. xama iliha and maxa iliha. It bemoaned the fact that “the rose had been plucked before it had bloomed and been torn from the branch before its time.THE GRAFTING heightened the Arabs’ militancy. All writing with literary pretensions remained heavily rhymed. Arab writers’ fascination with the West remains undiminished but they feel more pressingly responsible for their society’s fate. as in a long letter of condolence addressed by Muhammad al-Muwaylihı (1858–1930) to the ¯ ˙ ˙ Turkish Minister of Education over the death of his daughter. and finally ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ rida ahu and wara ahu. that the bough had been lopped before it had borne fruit. and the envy of Fate undoing an hour of joy that it afforded”. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ jıduha and nasıduha. ¯ ¯ ö ö ö ö ö ö ö ö ö 127 . practical benefit. proved difficult to achieve. when it had but started on its cycle. With this rough outline of the evolving concerns of the new elite ´ in mind. one may now turn to the actual literary production. And the words at the end of the versicles are ibbaniha and awaniha. ibdarihi. however. The second half of the twentieth century brought independence to one Arab country after another. but also afforded them a wider choice of models. Prose The features of a foreign culture that are most readily accepted are those that yield an immediate. Nasıf al-Yazijı (1800–71) emulated al-Harırı’s maqamas with ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯¯ ˙ ˙ considerable skill and success.

There was no greater or abler purveyor of such information than at-Tahtawı ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ (1801–73). although the Arabs excel them in it and appear to stand ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ alone in badı . linguistic ö Ö Ö Ö ö 128 . of a School of Languages. He was erratic and fanciful. Over literature he passed quickly. Unlike many later authors. A curiosity is that in 1868 a Lebanese Maronite priest called Arsanyus al-Faxurı published a badı iyya. and subsequently director. He had accompanied one of the educational mission Muhammad Alı sent to France and was then to spend a long ¯ ˙ career in the service of the State as chief translator of military. he jumbled together statistics on military strength. In a chaotic book on Europe reflecting his acquaintance with England and France. which he claimed ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ to be his second. He also recognized that there are conventions ¯ acceptable in some languages and not in others – for example. he wrote of the Great Siege in 1565 as if it was the Muslims who were beleaguered on the island and the Christians who were trying to dislodge them. in praise of Jesus. snippets of history. but this is deemed disgusting in Europe. and legal texts. where he resided for fourteen years as Director of the American Missionary Press. But he also wrote with no little acumen and discrimination about many aspects of life in Europe. In his book on Malta.THE GRAFTING To the end of the century. and as founder in 1835. he was not overawed by everything he encountered. noting that Europeans also have a “science of literature” which they call rıturıqı. And yet a kind of writing had come into circulation that was not immediately hailed as a literary phenomenon but that slaked the public’s thirst for information on things and peoples previously unknown but whose power was all too obvious. then added Ahmad to his name when he converted to ˙ Islam. scientific. But his blanket judgment was that “there is no doubt that Arabic is the greatest and most splendid of all tongues – indeed can tinsel be compared to pure gold?” Another popular writer on Europe was his contemporary Faris ¯ as-Sidyaq (1804–87). manuals of criticism and collections of metrical puzzles bore witness to the persistence of conservative literary taste. but also full of verve and sometimes Rabelaisian humour. Arab poets delight in the sweetness of a woman’s saliva. a Lebanese Maronite who became a ˇ ˇ ¯ Protestant and collaborated in the translation of the Bible into Arabic.

including al. From there he continued to produce and distribute his publication – each number consisting of four lithographed pages containing cartoons. But his curiosity was not always so far off the mark. founded in 1876 and 1892 respectively ¯ and still in existence. ´ Le Courrier d’Egypte. and unexpected angles on social customs (such as that divorce is so difficult to obtain among Christians that the English resort to selling their wives. ‘the Crescent’. who were to prove the mainstay of a free press. the title of which may be very loosely rendered as “A leisurely account of what makes the Fariyaq”. La Decade. this ¯ ¯ last word being a telescoping of his name. Muhammad ´ ˙ Alı followed its example with an official Gazette. and set an example by publishing a newspaper. however. The Bonaparte expedition had brought to Egypt its first printing press. beginning in the 1850s.THE GRAFTING oddities. in which he attacked the ruling Khedive so bluntly that within a year he found it necessary to move to Paris. Also notable in this context as well as in theatrical activities was the career of a Cairo-born Jew called Jacob Sanua (1839–1912) who professed sympathies with Muslim reformist and Egyptian nationalist causes. but it was in Egypt that they then found scope for their energies. The taste for information on all aspects of life in the wide world outside and the need for a functional prose in which to convey it were to be met by yet another importation from Europe: Journalism. It was the ¯ Lebanese Christians. and ¯ al-Hilal. although he much preferred the Arab literary tradition to European practice and particularly favoured rhymed prose which he deemed superior to poetry because it requires thematic continuity. at least one piece of evidence for this having reached him through The News of the World). In 1877 he launched the first Arabic satirical paper. the most prestigious and influential of Egypt’s journals. and a periodical. The most original and entertaining of his books is a fictionalized autobiography. and for several generations directed.Ahram. In this. It was they who founded. Ö ö 129 . ‘the Pyramids’. and his personal observations – such as three paragraphs in his book on Malta on the language of gestures – were sometimes quite novel and arresting. he himself occasionally got impatient with it and turned to a direct and lucid style that foreshadowed later developments.

in pursuit of popularity. journalism brought into being a kind of writing that was more functional and purposeful than decorative. To most. although many were short-lived. literally ‘the Wearer of Blue-tinted Eye-glasses’. 169 such publications are known to have been in circulation. Arab journalism was to keep on growing. More specifically. but it ¯ ¯ ˙ usually embodied some form of Sanua’s nickname. the plain speech of the journalists was seen as a necessity rather than a desirable stylistic feature. An unsigned article in al-Hilal in July ¯ 1904 reads: Ö Ö ö ö ö Arab men of letters appreciate artificial.1%. even books conceived as a unified work were first serialized in a journal before appearing as a book. ¯ The number of newspapers and journals multiplied rapidly. it provided some practical training and the most remunerative outlet for the budding writer. Abu-Nazzara ¯ ¯ ˙˙ Zarqa. although a census in 1897 reported a literacy rate of only 4. As long as literacy remained low. the author always drew himself in European clothes and signed himself “Professeur James Sanua”. Many of the major literary works of the twentieth century were collected articles. But to men of discrimination and taste there is an obvious difference 130 . who noted that rhymed prose was unknown to any but the Arabs and was therefore “unnatural”. often produced on the journal’s own press.THE GRAFTING occasionally formal articles in the classical idiom. By the end of the nineteenth century. he ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ assumed the garb of an Arab scholar and called himself as-Sayx ˇ ˇ Ya qub Sanu . At that time. in Egypt alone. But by the beginning of the twentieth century perceptions had changed. It is only later that. ornate speech just as they admire tattooed hands and reddened fingertips. and to be entrusted with the literary column even in a newspaper has been a signal mark of success.The title of the paper was frequently altered. if only because of the constraints of time and the need to reach a wide public. peculiar to a period when new ideas were in poor supply. but mostly sharp political comments in the form of dialogues in the vernacular. and to prove extremely important to men of letters. including three ladies’ journals. This was favoured only by a few such as Adıb Ishaq ¯ ¯ ˙ (1856–85). transliterating this as Jıms Sanuwa.

The newspaper article became father to the literary essay. disquieted by a recurrent vision urging him to dig the well that is now a feature of the pilgrimage to Mecca: Ö Look at him – he hesitates: Is he to throw himself into the waves of sleep billowing before him? Or is he to remain on shore. A purist in language. Mayy Ziyada ¯ (1886–1941). they do not drown! It was a time when Arabs were swamped with European romantic models.THE GRAFTING between a hand naturally white with fingertips manicured by file and scissors and other toiletry devices. saw prose as “nothing but poetry that escapes the 131 . Thus Taha Husayn. he amply demonstrated his ability to use classical Arabic not only in formal academic studies but also in imaginative contexts. you have nothing to fear! These waves assuage. They did not specialize in any one genre. such as Taha Husayn and al. short narratives. and educational works. Those who rose to the top early in the twentieth century. sleep. In a re-telling of ancient Islamic legends inspired by Jules Lemaıtre’s En Marge des Vieux Livres. to engulf him and engulf all else beside him. he could enliven the sober ˆ narrative by picturing the turmoil of the Prophet’s grandfather. and because the readership was so small – literacy in Egypt rose to only 17% by 1927 and to between 25% and 30% by mid-century – they also had to be prolific if they were to sustain themselves as men of letters. teased by sleepiness but staying awake? Let him resist sleep all he can – those tumultuous waves are well able to overrun the shore. and these induced an outpouring of emotion. The quality most readily recognized in a writer was the ability to bend the classical language to new. Come. produced nearly 1.500 articles. not a very substantial writer but as fine a stylist as any in her day. who at one time ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ argued that Egypt was not an Oriental but a Mediterranean country. . and a hand bearing a primitive design with fingertips dyed with henna. and sixty-six original books which included literary studies. . novels. vigorous and relevant purposes. histories. several translations.Aqqad (1889–1964} earned their reputation ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ as stylists as well as innovators.

132 . ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ but the skills they had acquired did not have to be restricted to the production of technical texts. Significantly. The needs of the State had led to the formation of a body of able and hard-working officials headed by at-Tahtawı. it was during a period of retrenchment that at-Tahtawı. I shall call you my people. even as my rebellious heart overflows with tears. to await your reproof and your punishment. my kin – I who know that these are not always loving. I shall acquaint you with my weakness and my need of knowledge – I whom you imagine to have the strength of heroes and the impregnability of champions. she wrote: I have an unshakeable confidence in you. however.THE GRAFTING strict rules of metre”. acknowledging in you the authority of an elder and the governance of a master. The most far-reaching change. I shall seek your opinion and advice when my thinking is confused and the ways ahead unclear. I shall reveal to you my need of tenderness and compassion. completed in 1851 but not published until ´ ´ ´ 1868. In one of her published effusions. If I behave badly or commit some error. reduced to running a primary ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ school. It is in your mercy that I shall take refuge when my hopes fail. To you I shall enumerate the burdens that have bent my shoulders and bowed my head since the dawn of my days – I who move flanked by wings and crowned with a wreath. was that fictional narratives entered the literary canon. She maintained for about ten years an amorous correspondence with Jibran Xalıl Jibran (1883–1931) ¯ ¯ ¯ although they never met. I shall come to you in humility and awe. turned his hand to the translation of a literary text: Fenelon’s Telemaque. I shall call you Father and Mother. then weep before you. I shall call you my brother and my friend – I who have no brother and no friend. to you that I shall vent my sorrows – I whom you picture as playful and volatile. The impetus for this came from translators. though you shall not be aware of it.

for translators did not always acknowledge their source. before readers’ tastes became more sophisticated. spy stories. Far from being decorative. With novels too. and indeed each episode resembles a maqama and starts ¯ ¯ in rhymed prose but turns to a more direct style when it launches into the narrative. It tells of the adventures of a resurrected Pasha from the early nineteenth century who is bewildered by the changes that have taken place until he is befriended by the character whose name occurs in the title. but its framework was Ö Ö 133 . a work of unified conception. of course. and the like. and who becomes the narrator. penny dreadfuls. and I have been told by some authors that as late as in the 1930s they found it easier to break into print if they labeled their effusions “freely translated”. Most highly prized in the nineteenth century was Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie as translated by Muhammad Utman Jalal (1828/98). ¯ ¯ ˙ Such borrowings from a foreign culture.THE GRAFTING There soon was a demand for narratives. Journals provided an outlet especially for short stories. The work has therefore been called ‘an extended ¯ ¯ maqama’. and the characters were given names phonetically close to the originals but not entirely foreign to Arab ears. Paul et Virginie had a particular appeal for the Arabs of the period because the climax has Virginie on board a sinking ship and she literally chooses to die rather than yield to a sailor’s entreaty to take off her voluminous skirts so he may save her. In the first place. translated. This name is in fact identical with that of the narrator in the maqamas of ¯ al-Hamadanı. the bulk of the translations were of thrillers. the translator’s selection and the readers’ acceptance are a wilful filtering process. its purpose was social criticism. The first original long narratives of recognized merit were in fact hybrid forms that had some roots in the Arabic tradition. Action novels like Robinson Crusoe and some of the works of Alexandre Dumas and Sir Walter Scott also found favour. are not acts of submission. or imitated – the dividing line between these categories often being blurred. it needs to be stressed. and as such it was eminently successful. for it was in rhymed prose highlighted with occasional verses. The most important is Muhammad al-Muwaylihı’s (1858–1930) ‘The ¯ ˙ ˙ ¯sa ibn-Hisam’ which was published serially between Discourse of I ¯ ˇ¯ 1898 and 1902. however. adapted. It was not. The text was also arabized to some extent.

but the genre was soon crowded out by works closer to the European model.As in early Islam (640 C.) with extensive ˙ exposition of the conditions of the Arabs. . A pioneer was Jurjı Zaydan (1861–1914). The latter followed an almost unchanging formula: Twined with a major episode in Islamic history is the fate of a pair of lovers who never waver in their fidelity or virtue but whose fortunes suffer repeated setbacks due to mislaid messages and villainous intrigues until they come to a happy ending coinciding with the triumph of the historical hero. who founded the ¯ ¯ journal al-Hilal in 1892. unsigned ¯ but almost certainly by Zaydan. their character. Among his many publications were one ¯ romantic and twenty-one historical novels. their customs. Yet Zaydan himself was ambiguous about the ¯ literary status of his novels. He sometimes claimed that they were intended to teach History. so that when he had occasion to go to Paris. A couple of imitations followed. Yet when these novels were serialized in his journal. An article which appeared in al-Hilal on 15 February 1897. it was usually under the rubric “Entertainment”. their clothing. . flits between notions that do not ¯ quite integrate into a literary concept: ö ö Ö Ö At a time when we concerned ourselves solely with the natural sciences .E. .THE GRAFTING well suited to the needs of a periodical publication. except that there was opposition to a nonMuslim occupying such a post. But investigation and experience have taught us that 134 . and of the conditions of the Copts and the Romans in that period”. . and he was in fact favoured as a candidate for the Chair of Islamic History in the newly created Egyptian University. These novels reached a wide public and were translated into Persian and Urdu. His ‘ Armanusa the Egyptian’. for ¯ ¯ example – Armanusa being the daughter of the governor of Egypt ¯ ¯ who is secretly opposed to the ill-treatment of the Copts by the Byzantines (referred to as ‘Romans’) and is therefore prepared to welcome the Arab invaders – has a title-page which claims that it “incorporates details of the conquest of Egypt and of Alexandria at ¯ the hand of Amr ibn-al. . striking whatever topic came to the author’s attention. we considered that reading novels and other literary works resulted in nothing but the wasting of time. his characters went with him.

to refresh their minds after the demands of work . many of which have a slight narrative framework in which he set a scene of heartrending pathos leading to a grandiloquently expressed moral. . . literary. Is it implied that historical novels are not literary? That it is because they are mere pastimes that they are to be written in a simple language? That there is a place for ornate and recherche ´ writing in what is truly literary? If so. including the beauty of words. scientific. simple language. Novels fall into several categories: historical. . entertaining. . neither strazined nor out-of-the-way. and it rises to this climax: I entered his house but recognized neither the home nor its master. including once again Paul et Virginie to which he gave the simple title ‘Virtue’. In one such. elevate his emotions. And he wrote a large number of short pieces collected under the appropriate titles of ‘Views’ and ‘Tears’. who ¯ ¯ ˙ described himself as a worshiper of beauty in all its forms. (2) These should be free of anything that would embarrass readers or corrupt their morals. and moralistic. Those who would translate novels ought to observe the following rules: (1) They should choose the novels that befit the tastes and morals of Orientals. . . Although he knew no foreign language. . for I did not find in it that lofty spirit that once 135 . (3) They should be written in natural. refine his morals. and widen the circle of his experience. The most admired prose writer of the early twentieth century was al-Manfalutı (1876–1924). . Of course. the narrator tells of a friend who fell victim to the demon drink. mere intelligibility is not a sufficient quality to earn recognition as a man of letters. for philological [sic] words are better suited to maqamas and ¯ philological works than they are to the novels which people read in their leisure. and (4) They should be moderately priced. so that even a virgin would not blush at the events described. “The First Cup”.THE GRAFTING man is greatly in need of literary sciences in order to cultivate his mind. he recast in his own lush style four French novels. it is a double irony that Zaydan has been more highly esteemed by modern Arabs as a ¯ pioneer of the simple functional style than as a novelist.

Romantic in its love themes and in its idealization of village life. “I mean the one to which I surrendered my wealth. no children weeping. “What cup do you mean?” He said.” I said. and its tattered mosquito-net revealed a shadow on which nothing was left but skin clinging to whittled bone. Zaynab has also been praised as the forerunner of the realistic and the social novel because of its concern with the poor and its implied rebellion against age-old customs. not a home to comfort the living. but “lessons in manners and refinement”. “I bemoan the first cup. A parallel but not fully developed sub-plot has Hamid. I made for the sick bed. Despite the popularity of the genre. my health. and to which to-day I surrender my life”. 136 .THE GRAFTING flapped his wings through its rooms and halls. This was Zaynab. written by Muhammad Husayn Haykal ˙ ˙ (1888–1956) in 1913. but she docilely marries the richer man her father has chosen for her and she dies of consumption. while he was studying law in France. The work of an obscure translator called al-Xarabilı. I saw no smoke rising from the kitchen. The elaboration of the argument and the homily that follow need not be laboured here. The heroine who gives the novel its title is a village girl in love with a fellow-villager. “Is it So-and-So’s voice that I hear?” I said. And the first original Arabic novel of recognized literary merit was published anonymously. I said. my mind. and answered. the sentiment (shared at one time by Sir Walter Scott) lingered that mere story-telling was not a proper occupation for a man of learning. I once had within this skin of yours a beloved friend – can you lead me to him?” After an interval he moved his lips and said. although he too has had a bride chosen for him while still a child. What ails you?” He uttered such a sigh that his flanks nearly collapsed. published in 1905. “Yes. It was as if I had entered a grave to visit the dead. is prefaced with an ¯ ¯ assertion that its justification was not the narrative or the exercise of the imagination. I heard no servants chattering. “O shadow that raises its eyes to heaven. my honour. no bells ringing. an educated young man who ¯ ˙ comes to the village of his birth only on vacation. being attracted to Zaynab.

And his example was quickly followed by other writers. the most celebrated being Mahmud Taymur (1894–1973) who early in his career used “the ¯ ¯ ˙ Egyptian Maupassant” as a pen-name. and romantic ideals that had penetrated the elite. already established in other genres. Each of these subsequently produced other novels built round their personal experiences. The novel. then as a book in 1929. such as al-Mazinı’s (1890–1949) Ibrahım the ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Writer in 1931 recounting the hero’s relations with three women of different character and status. Historical novels projected modern ´ values into the past. and love stories spun webs that stirred the aching heart even if they did not always accord with the conventions that still ruled family life. who now produced novels with a strong autobiographical element. for it triggered no immediate development. being translated into English as An Egyptian Childhood then into many other world languages. Well-suited to the needs of journals and allowing the writer to assume different viewpoints and priorities at different times. which assumes a consistent underlying world view and demands powers of sustained and unified invention for which the Arabic literature of the past offered few models. and often escapist effusions. Underlying them all were 137 . although the bulk of it is a lively description of the disorderly but amiable household in which he spent some of his teens. Most of the fiction produced in the 1930s and early 40s reflected the combination of nationalist. The genre was given a powerful fillip when Taha ¯ ¯ ˙ Husayn published serially in 1926–27.THE GRAFTING It was in fact well ahead of its time. and Tawfıq al-Hakım’s (1898–1987) ¯ ¯ ˙ The Return of the Spirit in 1933. the title of which is meant to emphasize the author’s participation in the 1919 uprising against British rule. It was not until the 1920s that competent short story writers came to the fore. ˙ a touching account of his early days as a blind boy in an Upper Egyptian village. democratic. idealistic. and was the first piece of modern Arab literary writing to gain international recognition. He was later to add two more autobiographical volumes. the short story quickly became a favourite vehicle for political and social affirmations as well as for romantic. the poor were sympathetically depicted as victims of oppression. This was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. had a more chequered history.

I was like someone hypnotized by another. But the Second World War showed that Britain and France were not all-powerful. Literature was pervasively politicized. But for ¯ ¯ ˙ the avant-garde. Not that the perceptions of the previous generation have disappeared: Stories of heroic resistance to oppression continue to be exploited. hopes. commitment. the impact of life registered in me not directly but through the medium of books. loves and hates being generated in him by the hypnotist”. feelings. It portrays a Western-trained doctor who sets up practice in a poor quarter of Cairo. his opinions. emotions. It is a call for a partnership – but scarcely an equal one – between East and West.THE GRAFTING secularist assumptions. as his patients believe in the curative power of the oil taken from a lamp in the near-by mosque. he finds it effective to draw on their beliefs as well as on his medical training. realism. Ignorant provincial clerics could be derided. but faith is hardly ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ever brought into the plot as a positive force. as in Taha Husayn’s autobiography. he and ¯ ¯ many of his contemporaries were recording experiences which they genuinely believed were their own whereas they were derivative: “In my youth. As al-Mazinı was to admit in his The Story of a Life. fears. Yahya Haqqı’s ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ (1905–93) The Saint’s Lamp published in 1944 is a partial exception. in which the reputedly quiescent peasants are made to take up their cudgels and resist the exactions of the local Pasha and of the corrupt agents of the Government. socialism became the loudest clarion calls. the most ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ impressive of which was Egyptian Earth (1953). And whereas it was nineteenth century European romanticism that had dominated the 1930s. that there were other models to choose from and act upon – models from Eastern as well as Western Europe. Even al-Manfalutı has remained in print. With independence came a heavier sense of responsibility than when the occupier could be blamed for all that was wrong. and increasingly from America. The standards to which the present-day Arab writers hold themselves are still those that have proved their efficacity in the 138 . fancies. as in a succession of novels and plays by as-Sarqawı (1920–87). increasing maturity and the spread of education shortened the time lag with which world movements or even literary fashions reached the Arab world. Religion and Science.

in 1988. the Nobel Prize for Literature. What is significant is that the leading novelists have turned their backs on blind imitation and escapism and taken to using all the literary resources known to them to probe genuine problems plaguing their society. including those of fellow-Muslims in Turkey or Iran. the first generation fired by the patriotism of the 1919 uprising 139 . and they are used to good effect. the first Arab writer to make a name ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ for himself in the narrative genres alone. followed the fortunes of one family between the two Word Wars. A special court was convened under the presidency of Butrus ˙ Pasha Xalı. portraying a popular young pharaoh ¯ ¯ ¯ whose excesses cost him the support of his subjects.THE GRAFTING West. Mahmud Haqqı puts into the mouth of the ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ prosecutor a long speech in which he denounces Egyptians as a treacherous and ungrateful nation. It is an ironic application of the device long known to the Arabs as ‘the tongue of the condition’. and were set upon by the villagers of Dansaway with the result that one officer ˇ ¯ died. There is little that is distinctively Arab in their narrative techniques either. it is such techniques as “the stream of consciousness” or the polyphonic narrative that are being used. citing himself as an example of a traitor to a people who have reared him and raised him to a high position. The experiences of Oriental nations. Initially. and it passed savage sentences on a number of the ¯¯ villagers. Radubıs (1943). Instead. was read as an accusation directed at King Faruq. but it has had no sequel. but his second. It is by these that they measure the global culture in which they seek a dignified position. and three of his novels produced then. In his novel. now known as the Cairo Trilogy. get scant attention in Arab universities or Arab writing. In it he recounts somewhat fancifully what happened in 1906 when three British officers went shooting pigeons mindless of the fact that these are considered village property. he planned to write a series of novels on Ancient Egypt. He then turned to realistic ¯ ¯ depictions of life in the lower middle-class quarters of Cairo. How searching and far-reaching they have been may be judged by some of the high points in the career of Najıb Mahfuz (1912–). That an indigenous one might have been developed is suggested by an early clumsy novel entitled The Maid of Dansaway by Mahmud Haqqı ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ (1884–1964). and so far the only one to be awarded.

pursued by the police and their dogs. one may single out The Thief and the Dogs which enters into the consciousness of a criminal until. Ostensibly. but these soon fall into evil ways. Najıb Mahfuz has produced many more imaginatively con¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ structed and technically polished novels that. for the name is that of a cafe where some of the regular customers ´ periodically disappear and no one ever asks any questions for it is understood that they are political dissidents now in the hands of the secret police and at the mercy of a zealous. Almost at random. Jesus. but was published in book form in the Lebanon in 1967. Abd-al-Hakım Qasim ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö 140 . at least until he was well into his seventies. the last one being Islam as he would have it understood. patriotically motivated torturer. In The Seven Days of Man (1966). Nevertheless. Moses. Too many to be listed are other gifted writers who have contributed significant works. Al-Karnak (1974) is deceptively titled. the last divided between communism and Islamic revivalism. And The Journey of Ibn Fattouma (1982) takes one to imaginary lands representing different levels of culture. the novel was banned in Egypt. he is shot dead. although these also are in danger of being corrupted when they enter into an alliance with the politicians. except that the fugitive is a would-be socialist Robin Hood who keeps hitting the wrong target. it can be read as a thriller. and three chapters appeared before it was perceived that it was an allegory which has been interpreted in somewhat different ways. The author has since specified that it was the popular understanding of religion that he was attacking. and Muhammad attempt to bring back order ˙ and justice. it was another Cairene novel. Then in 1959 he startled the public by publishing serially in the daily al-Ahram a long novel which has been translated as Children ¯ of Gebelawi. hope is then placed in the scientists. but the core of it is that God is represented as a racketeer who leaves his fortune in trust for his descendants. but their success is only temporary. But among major themes struck one may stop briefly by at-Tayyib Salih (1929–) who in Season of ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Migration to the North (1966) explored the problem of cultural identity in terms of a Sudanese man’s association with three English women.THE GRAFTING against the British. have been above all uncompromisingly honest probes into problems of modern Arab society.

at odds with an unnamed but dreaded committee and ultimately left to “eat himself” – an idiom which means “to brood ineffectually in solitude”. But the officials are so lackadaisical and so intent on exchanging bawdy jokes that by the time the driver can move the vehicle again. he has to clamp it down while he has his papers checked. the strife between Muslims and Christians which from 1975 until 1990 tore a Lebanon long idealized as the home of toleration and gracious living – have had loud reverberations in the literature. And Yusuf Idrıs ¯ ¯ (1927–91). was such a master of the short story that he could in “an Affair of Honour” portray an innocent and charming young village girl traumatized and soured by the indelicate process of having her virginity ascertained. ö Ö ö ö 141 . at-Tahir Wattar (1936–) set ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙˙ his story in a brothel to parallel aspects of life in an authoritarian and exploitative society. the major historic events that have shaken the Arab world in the second half of the twentieth century – the Algerian war of liberation. the men have suffocated. It features in many works that are concerned with other issues as well. He hides them in the tank where they can breathe as long as the lid is left open. Sun -Allah ¯ ˙ Ibrahım (1937–) portrayed his hero. So has the incessantly bleeding wound of Palestine. and he could in others fire broadsides alike at reactionary religious leaders and illiberal military governments. In The Committee (1981). however. Needless to say. and he abandons their bodies in a garbage dump. and Sahar Xalıfa (1941–). He and several others named here have been in jail more than once. who has been searching in ¯ ¯ vain for an honest leader. notably in the novels of Halım Barakat ¯ ¯ ˙ (1936–). ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ But the most direct and effective representations in fiction have been by Xassa Kanafanı (1936–72). at the border. Jabra Ibrahım Jabra (1920–94). In his Men in the Sun (1963) three Palestinians reduced to homelessness and penury pay the driver of a water tank vehicle to smuggle them into Kuwayt. a man of many talents.THE GRAFTING (1935–90) chronicled the gradual disintegration of a Sufi brotherhood. In The Whore’s Wedding (1978). He made his mark not by vehement denunciations of Israeli misdeeds but by measured representations of the inadequacy of Arab leadership and the insufficiency of Arab solidarity. a prominent member of the Popular ¯n ¯ ¯ Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was killed in the blast of a car bomb.

229–30. has deepened the distress resulting from the frustration of many Arab hopes and left Arab writers somewhat disoriented. Events are interpreted in line with ideologies of foreign origin. fragmented novels of such as Ilyas Xurı (1948–). The title may be roughly translated as ‘Honoured Lady’. Wasıni l. 142 . has elicited no positive response from the e lite.THE GRAFTING The international scene is also very much in Arab writers’ line of vision. the movement has been ´ largely ignored. and it has not served us well. Let us try to find renewed guidance from the past. Kawabata – a novel in the form of a letter addressed to the Japanese novelist who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1968 – the communists involved in the Lebanese civil war insisted on calling their opponents “bourgeois” rather than “Christians”. 42–3. or else it has been roundly condemned. 74. the collapse of the Soviet Union. such as space exploration. but it has also gained a following among some layers of the educated. which has been gathering enough momentum to affect social and political life.” By the spokesmen of the elite. unwilling to abandon their ultimate hopes but no longer certain that they are on the right road to attaining them. In Algeria where it has asserted itself too violently to be dismissed as an irrelevancy. Hence the latest uneasy. especially after the disastrous 1969 “six day war” with Israel. In turn. The quotations that follow are from pages 75. however.A raj (1954–) for one puts into the mouths of ¯ ¯ characters in his Sayyidat al-Maqam 1 (1995) comments that carry ¯ wide implications even for the teachings of classical Islam. They bewail the fact that after independence the politicians who mistrusted thinking men created “a socialist country run on capitalist charters” but blame them mainly for opening the door to “blind locusts that devour what is green and what is dry” and Ö ö ö Ö 1 Published in Cologne by al-Kamel Verlag. ¯ ¯ ¯ One force welling up from deep within the society. It is Islamic ´ fundamentalism. It had never lost its hold among the common folk. It is as if these said to themselves: “We have tried to be pale imitations of Westerners. As is admitted by a character in Rasıd ad-Da ıf’s (1945–) ˇ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Dear Mr. and 157. however. and their communism seemed to them validated by the Soviet Union’s successes in realms of no immediate relevance.

Among our first concerns. the title of which may ¯ ¯ ˙ be translated as “Sundry Tidings from the Afterlife”.” An even more radical departure from traditional Islam is to be found in a novella by Abd-al-Hakım Qasim. however. The basic rule is not a set pattern superposed on the intellect.THE GRAFTING that never weary of repeating the same judgments for more than fourteen centuries. The protagonists rail repeatedly against selfappointed “guardians of intentions” whose motto is “an ignorant man is a reliable man”. By picking sentences from here and there and ignoring in whose mouth they are placed. The competitive struggle 2 Published with another novella entitled “al-Mahdı”. therefore. but from creation’s desire to abide by a basic rule. 1995. Its most significant feature. the author takes advantage of the Islamic belief that immediately after burial the dead are interrogated and punished by two angels called Nakir and Nakır. without objecting to being buried.2 In this. but the angels’ explanation of the basis on which judgment is to be made. ¯ ¯ ¯ Both are translated – not accurately throughout – by Peter Theroux in Rites of Assent. Philadelphia. must be how to understand instinct. Temple University Press. but it acquires a new compelling power deriving from the fact that the basic rule reinforces instinct instead of emasculating it. This compelling power results not from an authority’s imposition. so that “we are like a dead man who is resurrected then returns to his original burial ground. it is itself the subject of intellectual consideration. but protesting vehemently against being buried in anything but his original tomb. It is every being’s desire – beginning with the most primitive forms of life – for survival and evolution. one may summarize the author’s thesis in his own words: Ö Canonical Law is one of the matters that have to be clarified. and who inveigle impressionable young men into becoming bullies ready to liquidate all the “enemies of God”. 143 . Daru t-Tanwır. 1984. and then presents the whole of his dialogue with the two angels. The novella rapidly sketches the life of an ¯ ¯ unnamed individual. Beirut. The Law thus loses its power to compel. is not what the dead man has to say for himself.

which then corrects itself. The theatre To an even greater extent than the novel. The hallowing of texts and the belief in miracles are the inevitable consequences of fear – the fear of losing the moment when Law and instinct are in perfect conformity. and some Egyptian guests were present on occasion. distorted form of this instinct. Thus does authority pass into the hands of the social element most knowledgeable about the Law and least respectful of it. but his work was continued first by his brother Niqula ¯ ¯ 144 . The Law is thus a formulation of instinct realized in glorious moments of human history. a Lebanese merchant called Marun an-Naqqas ¯ ¯ ¯ˇ (1817–55). and the entertainment was largely sung. The French who came to Egypt with Bonaparte had plays performed for their entertainment. with members of his family as performers. to a subjugating authority. including Sidyaq. but the theme – influenced by Moliere’s L’Avare but not closely following its plot ` – was scarcely operatic. and in 1847 he put on The Miser in the courtyard of his own home in Beirut. The condemnation of murder and of harmful action is the essence of every law. That is the golden age of every prophecy: the Law actualizes the genius of human thought. until it reaches perfection in the human being whose survival and evolution is conditional upon the survival and evolution of others. He died after he had produced only two more plays. into the hands of those who transmute it from thought to holy book – that is to say. when prophethood is the obverse of the Law. who determined to “pour European gold into Arab moulds”. It was opera rather than what he called “prosa” that had fired his imagination. saw plays and mused on Arab themes that ¯ might be treated dramatically. And it was one such traveler to Italy and France. Arabic drama is indebted to European models. This seems marvelous until it leads to investing the Law with holiness and prophethood with miraculousness amid the cheering of the believers. and prophethood actualizes the genius of the individual human. Arab travelers in Europe ˇ too. and the conformity of instinct and law is complete.THE GRAFTING for survival is the primitive.

was a daring one for a Jew to present. and their stars – including al-Qabbanı ¯ ¯ himself. It was with one such that he returned to Egypt. but one of them. took the boldest initiatives but found it most profitable to function in Egypt. Most of those that have survived are rather slight humorous playlets. in the theatre as in journalism. he studied acting at the Paris Conservatoire from 1904 to 1910 and gained practical experience with French troupes. By 1867. He then formed a short-lived troupe of his own which included two Jewish actresses. In 1876 Salım an-Naqqas transferred his troupe – which also ¯ ¯ˇ included actresses – to Alexandria. the Egyptian Salama Hijazı ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ (1852–1917) – were singers. but their performances were mainly musical entertainments framed in a dramatic plot. Between 1879 and 1872 he put on thirty-two short pieces of his own composition. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Until the first World War. and Shakespeare. one hiving from another. translated by Farah Antun (1874–1922) and ¯ ˙ ˙ Othello. His example was followed by other Lebanese Christians who. and the most famous of all. however. both of whom ¯ added quite a few translated or adapted plays to the repertoire. The Co-Wives. and they sometimes recruited local talent for the minor parts. It opened in 1912 with a repertoire which included Oedipus Rex. so Rigoletto was presented instead. This and several ¯ ¯ ˙ ö ö ö ö 145 . but when the troupe returned to France he stayed behind to form his own. Jurj Abyad (1880–1959). The first valiant attempt at classical theatre was made by another Lebanese residing in Egypt. The first Muslim to form a troupe was the Damascene Abu-Xalıl al-Qabbanı (1841–1902) who also migrated to Egypt.THE GRAFTING (1825–94) then by his nephew Salım (1850–84). Italian and French companies were invited to perform. a fine Opera House was built and Aida was commissioned for its inauguration but was not ready in time. a number of such troupes functioned in Egypt. and a year later as part of the celebrations for the opening of the Suez Canal. translated by Xalıl Mutran (1872–1949). on the troubles of a man in a polygamous marriage. Financed by ˙ the Khedive. It was Egypt. Jacob Sanua apparently acquired some theatrical experience in this way. that offered by far the better scope for such endeavours. Their repertoires seem impressive for they included masterpieces of Corneille. performing in French. Racine. Cairo had a theatre in the Azbakiyya quarter.

the most hard working 146 . an adaptation of Francois Coppee’s Le Coupable. but neither did anyone attempt to investigate it or define it. That the link existed no one questioned. and by the long standing association of pubic performances with despised folk activities. The other contributor to the live theatre was Najıb ar-Rıhanı ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ (1891–1949). but whose common sense rooted in basic realities eventually gets the upper hand. On the other hand. his best known being Sons of the Rich. Each was associated with a prominent stage personality. and the actual author’s name seldom acknowledged. whereupon he rises in his seat and confesses in a stentorian voice that the guilt is his. This led to a long line of comedies increasingly sophisticated. the theatre was in the grip of actormanagers who either wrote. or bought scripts that then became part of their stock in trade. and as she unfolds her story he realizes that she was once an innocent young woman that he seduced. Yusuf Wahbı (1898–1982) was a man of means and an actor ¯ ¯ endowed with a great presence and a powerful voice. commissioned. and increasingly earnest in their social criticism. he developed the character of Kiskis Bey. As late as in the 1920s. Oddly. the other was literature – or was it? The issue was clouded both by the fact that the live theatre favoured the vernacular form of the language. until the 1930s the connection between performing plays and writing plays was rather ragged and indeterminate. The texts were seldom published at the time. Between the two World Wars. He founded his own theatre in 1923 and almost to the end of his life he was immensely successful mainly in melodramas. but he had a long career as the foremost Arab tragic actor. ¸ ´ in which an eminent judge has a woman of the streets brought before his bench. The one was entertainment. two more lines of theatrical activity were opened which were to prove themselves financially selfsustaining. From bi-lingual music-hall skits which derived their humour from misunderstandings between people who did not speak the same language. ˇ ˇ a villager of some standing in his own ambit who is easily imposed upon when he first comes to the big city.THE GRAFTING other similar ventures which he launched alone or in partnership with others proved financially precarious.

yet he was never associated with the live theatre. ¯ ¯ ˙ In a memoir entitled The Prison of Life. but these he ¯ˇ considered trivial and even after their authorship had been disclosed he did not have them published under his name. notably The Fatherland by Abd-Allah an-Nadım (1843/4–96) were school ¯ ¯ productions. He translated into Egyptian vernacular ¯ ¯ ˙ verse six of Moliere’s comedies. although they are seldom performed in their entirety. He shared the interests of eager young men who went through the pages of La Petite Illustration searching for summaries of plays that had appeared in Paris. however. or an original composition. were both published and performed. but without achieving great popularity. A mark of some importance was made ˙ by the rather scholarly Farah Antun who applied himself to the ¯ ˙ ˙ problems of writing for the theatre and some of whose plays. The most highly regarded dramatic texts were those performed by Jurj Abyad. three of Racine’s tragedies. a formula that obscured whether it was a translation. They would then try to sell it to a theatre owner or manager for a lump sum. He also wrote a two-act comedy of his own. He secretly associated with people active in the theatre. an adaptation. These they adapted to suit the conventions of a society that did not allow unrelated young men and young women to mingle freely. and ` three untraceable Italian plays. Then between 1929 and 1932 ˇ the most highly regarded poet at the time. he was stage-struck from an early age.THE GRAFTING purveyor of theatrical texts in the nineteenth century was Muhammad Utman Jalal. No one made a reputation primarily as a playwright. The final admission of drama into the literary canon. and they would label the resulting text “from the pen of” So-and-So. who were scarcely considered respectable. is indissolubly associated with the work of Tawfıq al-Hakım (1898–1987). translated or original. In Paris where he was sent to study law he discovered that drama was a prestigious art form that commanded the attention of Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö 147 . Al-Hakım himself wrote – under a ¯ ˙ pseudonym – six such plays for the Ukasa brothers. Ahmad Sawqı (1868– ¯ ˙ 1932) published four historical dramas and one comedy in classical Arabic verse whose literary status was indubitable. al-Hakım recounts how. ¯ ˙ although he was the son of a judge who wanted him to follow in his footsteps. A few nineteenth century original “plays” mentioned in the sources.

His first effort was The People of the Cavern. Pygmalion. Praxa – all of which have a ¯ bearing on a favourite theme of his: the incompatibility of what he called the Real and the Actual. but it turns out that she has been misunderstood and is really a patroness of the arts. and the purport is that once physical needs are supplied. It was written in 1928. He wrote several more of what he termed “cerebral” plays – ˇ Sahrazad. The setting is an imaginary heavenly body on which humans discover they need neither food nor air to survive because they are like batteries constantly recharged by contact with the ground. at least not before a public insufficiently grounded in the material on which he drew. A prime example is The Perplexed Sultan in which a Mamluk who ¯ has acceded to the throne is found to be unqualified to rule because he was not properly manumitted. He came back home determined to write intellectually satisfying plays. In this he followed ¯ the fortunes of three men who take refuge in a cavern in order to escape the tyranny of a pagan king. first published in 1933. based on the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus to which there is a brief reference in the Qur an. But he also wrote some seventy plays remarkable for their variety and inventiveness. He therefore has himself sold by auction on the understanding that his new owner would then free him. and waken three hundred years later to find themselves in a changed world which ought to be more favourable to them but to which they are so ill-attuned that they return to the cavern. His familiarity with stage business showed in the piquant situations and ingenious plots he devised. A Journey to To-Morrow has another elaborate plot serving a constant priority of his. the setting seldom being contemporary society. and they seldom were. Oedipus King. They fall asleep. and chosen for the inaugural performance of the newly created National Troupe in 1935. He claimed that these were not intended to be staged. the title of which is derived from a piece of folk nonsense verse and the plot is a bewildering sequence of events involving a twice married man and ö 148 . His readiness to experiment resulted in The Tree Climber. although the denouement was sometimes arbitrary. and is bought by a reputed brothel-keeper who insists that he spend one night in her establishment. and what others would term the Ideal and the Real.THE GRAFTING eminent literary critics. it is Art that becomes mankind’s supreme priority.

renouncing self-indulgence. ‘the ¯ ¯ Flutterers’ has a Brechtian quality. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. This has been much discussed as the first absurdist play in Arabic. indeed it can be read as a political statement. The pleasure of ignoring Suffering and Mankind. But the revolutionaries who brought him to power are now the establishment and want no change. whose exposition of Mankind’s ¯ ¯ attachment to a master-to-servant relationship in al-Farafır. A sampling of their extensive and challenging creations should include Salah Abd-as-Sabur’s (1931–81) free verse play The ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Tragedy of al-Hallaj. although he continued to profess that Egypt’s spirit. The name of the next generation of dramatists is legion. was unquenchable. decrees that for the sake of equality his subjects must all wear clothes that feature black and white stripes. in which the two marriages refer to the revolutions of 1919 and 1952.THE GRAFTING a green lizard in a tree. having attained absolute power. They hanker for the vilest of all pleasures. however. but the author maintained that it was absurd only on the surface. Another play of his tells of a revolutionary leader who. they drown his voice with a recording of a previous speech of his affirming the ö 149 . Of a different temper but no less far-reaching in his concerns and sympathies was Yusuf Idrıs. translated by Khalil I. the first of which al-Hakım considered a true ¯ ˙ resurgence of Egypt’s ancient spirit whereas he came to see the second as a costly failure. It is a powerful and moving evocation of the ordeal to which the tenth century mystic was subjected. so when he addresses his public to promulgate the new order. And as they step up to asceticism.S. In time. but its distinctive emphasis is most explicit in the words ascribed to a minor character who starts with a reference to the distinctive cloak worn by Sufis: Ö Does the cloak prevent us from awareness of oppression? Or from withstanding the oppressor? Or from diverting evil from our weaker brethren? Do you not see some aspirants who revel in the garment. symbolized by the green lizard. he realizes that life has become drab and decides to proclaim that all colours are to be lawful. Semaan as Murder in ¯ ˙ Baghdad to suggest a parallel with T.


opposite. The title of the play, il-Muxattatın, is a pun, for it may ¯ ˙˙ ˙ mean either ‘the striped’ or ‘the planned’.

Unlike novelists and dramatists, Arab poets had behind them an immensely powerful tradition to sustain them as they encountered new challenges. Besides, it is arguable that when cultures meet, the literary genres that concretize concepts in the guise of interacting lifelike characters are more readily assimilated than those that remain at an abstract level. The fact is that Arab poets were slower to learn from European models than were the prose writers. During most of the nineteenth century, there were those who recorded the wonders of Western technology, as did Salih Majdı (1822–81), making use of the legend ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ of a magnificent city whose inhabitants were exterminated by God (kamil/a ı): ¯ ¯ ¯


Is this a city above the unplumbed waters Moving with greatest beauty and magnificence? Or is it Iram reappearing, with its pillars Fashioned of bright silver? Or is it the pleasure steam-boat, its line extended By the lord of the land, the most favoured of all?


And there were those who drew the moral that the superiority of Europeans called for emulation, not submission – as did Mahmud ¯ ˙ Qabadu (1815–71) (tawıl/muhu): ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ They planted the lofty tree of civilization – its branch Mathematics, and natural science its stem. So in its shade they had a resting place Whose keep had means to counter all assaults. ... Sons of the faith, is it befitting that they excel us In a glory whose proudest reach was once our own? I swear: the one laid down in dust is not so dead As one who, capable of wealth, appears resourceless!



But in giving tongue to the themes that had long been the concern of poets, the standards of the preceding centuries remained in ˇ¯ ˇ honour. When Sakir Suqayr (1850–96) praised a fellow scholar with the words (mutaqarib/ar): ¯ Lofty his status, clear his eloquence, Smooth his tongue, prolonged his contemplation, Unsullied his fingers, pious his heart, Ascending his destiny, lasting his mark, his craftsmanship can be fully appreciated only when the original is transcribed: ¯ ¯ Ö Aliyyu l-maka¯ni jaliyyu l-bayani Taliyyu l-lisani maliyyu l-basar

˙ ˙ Naqiyyu l-banani raqiyyu l-janani ¯ ¯ Raqiyyu z-zamani, baqiyyu l- atar. ¯


There was no impetus then to translate European poetry. Muhammad Utman Jalal’s verse translations of La Fontaine and ¯ ¯ ˙ of several plays had little bearing on lyrical poetry, especially as most of them were in the vernacular. More intriguing is a fragment of Boileau’s L’Art Poetique which he rendered in the rajaz metre, ´ traditionally reserved for didactic texts. What gives it some relevance is that in relaying Boileau’s advice to the budding poet to study the works of great predecessors, Muhammad Utman Jalal ¯ ¯ ˙ substituted Arab poets of the past for Boileau’s French masters, and the exemplars he chose belonged not to the immediately preceding age but to a period of purposeful achievement extending from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries. It was in fact the instinct of the most gifted poets of the late nineteenth century who felt the need for an energetic new departure to turn not to foreign models but to predecessors of proven quality and energy. And because they remained within the bounds of their heritage, they quickly achieved a high level of fluency and sophistication. Keenly aware of the problems of their day, sensing also that it was no longer a munificent prince but a restive public that they





needed to address, these neo-classicists often composed oratorical pieces that were in fact declaimed at public meetings and were labeled “platform poetry”. Thus al-Jawahirı’s (1900–1997) bitter ¯ ¯ “Lullaby for the Hungry” begins (kamil/amı): ¯ ¯ ¯ Sleep, you hungry populace, sleep – May the gods of food watch over you! Sleep, for if you cannot get your fill Of wakefulness, then of sleep. Sleep to the cream of promises Mixed with the honey of words. Sleep and you shall be visited by the maidens Of dreams under the wings of darkness. To light you, you shall have a disc-like loaf As round as is the full moon, And you shall see your spacious hovels All paved with marble. Sleep and you shall be healed – how good it is For one to sleep through great calamities! So conscious were they of current issues that some of their compositions resembled editorials or newspaper reports in verse. Thus Hafiz Ibrahım (1872–1932) recorded a demonstration ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ mounted by women during the 1919 Egyptian uprising against the British (kamil/nah): ¯


The fair ones emerged in protest, and I Went to observe their muster. ... Like asters they came out, Shining in the dark. ... Marching in dignity, Their hair laid bare, When lo! An army approached, The reins of horses loosened, And soldiers with their swords Aimed at their necks –



Canons and rifles, Swords and lances Horses and horsemen Encircled them. Their weapons that day Were roses and sweet basil. Two armies clashed for hours That age the unborn, And the women waned For might is not theirs; They fell back and scattered Back to their homes. So may the proud army find joy, Having won and prevailed! ˇ The most accomplished of the neo-classicists was Ahmad Sawqı. ¯ ˙ He claimed to have been influenced by European poetry for he had resided in France and Spain and translated Lamartine’s “Le Lac” although this translation has been lost. His enormous poetic output included innovations, such as narrative poems, some addressed to children. He also composed some verses in the vernacular. But it was in the classical Arabic tradition that he found an authentic and resonant voice. Nature provided scope for his lyricism, as in this fanciful description of the moon rising over water (mutaqarib/ ¯ ab):


May we be ransom for a guest awaited Who has appeared in wondrous guise, His harbingers make mountains quiver As passion causes flanks to quiver. With glitter he adorns the seas: Theirs are the cups and his the bubbles. He lights the highlands as he ascends, He lights the plains as he regresses. From the sea he reached us in a barque Of silver, its oars of gold. We mused: This might be Solomon had he not died, Or Pharaoh were he borne by stars,


sophistry! Your conquest by the sword came after conquest by the pen. When all the worthy had come to you of their own will. Nor was their throne above the clouds. and given miraculous power. Arabs. He made his deepest mark. Or Joseph if he had not aged. Including warfare with all its sureties. . But no! These were not crowned with light. You also raised whole generations of the dead – For ignorance is death. 154 . but when recounting the Prophet’s role in history he showed himself painfully aware of the polemics raised by Christians concerning Holy War and of the irony that it was they who now held military superiority. The sword took charge of the unknowing and the rabble. One such was an imitation of al-Busırı’s “the Mantle” ¯ ¯¯ ˙ which runs to 190 lines and acknowledges its indebtedness by adopting the same metre and rhyme as the original. using “ignorance” in the Islamic sense of not having received a divine revelation (basıt/mı): ¯ ¯ ˙ Your brother Jesus addressed a corpse. and Islam. he addressed his words to the Prophet. For if you counter evil with gentle measures you are left Resourceless. With sentiments that few in the nineteenth century would have disowned. One may then raise from ignorance or from the tomb. but meet it with its like and it is cauterized. however. he came to life. You taught men everything they did not know.THE GRAFTING Or Chosroes with his fire unquenched. Mere ignorance.. in resounding odes – some in direct imitation of great predecessors – celebrating current or historical events and designed to defend or glorify Egypt. They say that you waged war though God’s apostles were not sent To kill or to shed blood.. He kept to its succession of themes. dream-like delusion.

and there were voices urging a parallel development in poetry. You granted Muslims a good start. Xalıl ¯ Mutran (1872–1949) proclaimed his intention of innovating ¯ ˙ without offending against past standards. and Muhammad. Like the neo-classicists. Incarnate in Jesus. ¯ And day by day re-echoed.THE GRAFTING You called them to a struggle that gave them mastery: On war is cosmic and international order founded. ö Yet by then Western models had penetrated prose writing. he spoke out on contemporary issues as when he addressed the British concerning censorship laws (ramal/ra): ¯ Break the pens! Will breaking them Stop hands from carving stone? Lop off the hands! Will lopping them Stop eyes from looking daggers? Put out the eyes! Will blinding them Stop breaths from rising in a sigh? 155 . And we but muster the plights of shattered people. however. And he ended with this invocation on behalf of the Prophet’s nation: With him. of which az-Zahawı (1863–1936) said (ramal/ad): ¯ ¯ It was preached to mankind By Moses.. Recited in the Qur an. There were other voices at the time. . But yesterday some thrones were raised.. ˙ Revealed on the Mount. and others tottered Which but for missiles would have been unnotched. that played down religious differences in the interest of Arab brotherhood as arRusafı (1875–1945) urged. Jesus. The partisans of Jesus have mustered shattering devices. o Lord. Complete Your favour and grant them a good ending. or more widely still in deference to ¯ ¯ ˙ Beauty.

however. where they do not always sit comfortably. so it was the poetry of late English Romantics that they translated and emulated. started in 1887 and published in 1913.Aqqad especially ¯ preached a literary creed derived mainly from Hazlitt and other nineteenth century English critics. It will relieve us of you. or of one hue Delightfully blended. Al.Aqqad (1889–1964). Her fairness tinted. and he was soon followed by many who not only subjected contemporary production to such Western criteria as “the organic unity” of a poem but also searched for their applicability to the classical heritage. This was. a monumental work in every sense of the word. A sample of their soul-searching is in a poem entitled “Perplexity” by Abd-ar-Rahman Sukrı (basıt/ıhı): ¯ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Ö Ö Ö Ö 156 . such as this description of a child (mujtatt/ajı): ¯¯ Light-spirited she steps As lightly does the sandgrouse. The first two published a collection of critical articles which they entitled ad-Dıwan. More lastingly influential and particularly assiduous both in precept and example were three – al. An imposing literary achievement in the early twentieth century was Sulayman al-Bustanı’s (1856–1935) translation of the Iliad ¯ ¯ ¯ into Arabic verse. Unceasingly fluttering Like mercury aquiver.THE GRAFTING Choke breaths – that is your utmost. What they had in common was that – unlike ¯ ¯ most writers of their time – the foreign language they mastered was not French but English. so we thank you! But his also are gentle intimate pen-portraits. ‘the Tribunal’. so the three are usually linked together ¯ ¯ as the Dıwan school. Bi-coloured. al¯ ˇ ukrı (1886–1958) – who befriended Mazinı. and Abd-ar-Rahman S ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ one another in 1909 and for a while pooled their efforts. her form An ivory statuette.

To Arabic literature he contributed innovations both in form – as in his many prose poems – and in mood and theme. they are perfume. Making light of what is coming. ¯ who in the last ten years of his life wrote only in English.. I spend my life with my own soul a stranger. The Romantic stream was generously fed from afar by Lebanese emigres to the United States. but gaining enthusiastic admirers for his lush imagery and glossy diction. One among many was Mıxa ıl Nu ayma (1889–1989) who in fact returned to the ¯ ¯ ¯ ö Ö 157 .THE GRAFTING I am surrounded by a sea of Yours. To those who wish it they are wine. unknown to me And by a wasteland whose confines I cannot see. . These were mostly Christians. Their high priest was Jibran (1882–1931). And forgetting what is past? The Syro-American poets were numerous and productive. Loosen Your hands. And of empty space your quilt. awkwardly spelling his name “Gibran Kahlil Gibran”. and as such they fitted easily into a Western environment and readily absorbed its dominant tastes and perceptions.. With the clusters overhanging Like golden constellations? To the thirsty they are springs. notably in The Prophet. as in this poem which is in one metre (xafıf) but rhymes in couplets: ¯ Have you. They are honey. Have you made of grass your bed. covering a wide range of themes involving the emotions. My soul is like a lute within Your grasp. of an afternoon. now known as the Syro-American ´ ´ school. And round me is a universe of unreached ends. and free some of its songs. To the hungry they are food. Sat like me among the vines. for he was often sententious but he could also lightly sing his delight in Nature.

Initially at least. In shaded humility. We and our dead alike have filled the world with stench. in finely crafted stanzas. no kin. as-Sabbı ˇ ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ (1909–35). Literary journals brought out spring numbers celebrating the revival of nature even in Egypt where nature never dies and spring is a season of dust storms. who are we? No fatherland.THE GRAFTING Lebanon in 1932. the inglorious state to which the Arabs had descended. It became fashionable for a while to invoke the Greek gods sometimes appropriately as when an important publication took the name Apollo. And lighting candles. no neighbour! Whether sleeping or waking. The closing lines are: Brother. But the period was one of impotence and frustration for the Arabs. but sometimes also in contexts that betrayed little acquaintance with anything but the names. So bring a shovel and follow me to dig another trench In which to bury our living. The two main pillars sustaining neo-classicism in Egypt. died in 1932. emerged as a talented poet whose promise was cut short by a very early death. Ahmad ˙ ˇ Sawqı and Hafiz Ibrahım. our garment is shame and disgrace. All through the 1930s and early forties Arab Romanticism was in full spate. Already by the late 1920s ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ so many factors favouring Romanticism had come together that a young Tunisian born in an oasis and knowing no foreign language but influenced by al. so that the agony to which Ibrahım Najı (1898–1953) ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ gave tongue had wider reverberations than in individual souls (xafıf/ im): ¯ ö ö 158 . but not before he had sung in a multirhymed poem utterly at variance with Islamic ritual: ö ö Ö In my spacious heart Which life has erected There I uttered a prayer Burning incense Is a temple to beauty By visions and fancy. it was undeniably derivative.Aqqad and the Syro-Americans. His service in the United States army at the end of the first World War and the honours rendered to its dead stung him into bemoaning.

And Alı Mahmud Taha (1902–49) addressed an idol he had himself ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ compounded out of every kind of beauty he could find (xafıf/qı): ¯ ¯ Ö The star bears witness what magnificence I drew from it. In the ugly reality lay the justification for his desire to seek a realm “beyond the clouds”. ascending to the subtlest notions. Oh. The vine bears witness how much of its fruit I pressed. 159 . And my throat foreswears the water springs. The bird bears witness how many of its songs I poured. when shall the clouds remember the wastelands? Mercy. The sea bears witness that I left in it no pearl Worthy of your brow. astray. o Mother. Perchance I shall find mercy in the womb of night. perplexed. But then he turns to Nature and says: I am. The founts of hope have dried. The land bears witness that I left no laurel Unculled from the leafy mantle of the spring. upon your hearing. befitting it. Flood me with error! Take the lights away. Discernment is my foe. and there remains not even The flicker of a dream in sleeping eyes. like wine. what limpid sheen. and he gave escapism its ultimate formulation in a multi-rhymed poem (ramal): Bring me my lyre and leave me to imagination! Let me drink fancy! Beguile me with the absurd! Abandon truth to those who want it. o ye Heavens! My mouth is dry.THE GRAFTING Alone am I in the wilderness. I cast it as a creator does who loves Art. How many cups I filled out of my cruse. the maker of a smiling hope In the semblance of a visioned morrow.


And I looked for life in it, but was denied The throbbing of life in my creation. But by the late 1940s there were signs of impatience with such escapes into unreality. When in 1947 Luwıs Awad (1915–90) ¯ ˙ published his translations of Prometheus Unbound and of Adonais, he also pointed out that the idealistic Shelley who was much admired by the Romantics was also a committed political reformer. And the new mood found expression in a radically new form of expression, soon to be known as “free verse”. Within months of each other, two Iraqi poets, as-Sayyab ¯ (1926–64) and Nazik al-Mala ika (1923–), published poems that ¯ ¯ retained the basic metric units of classical Arabic prosody but in lines of unequal length and either unrhymed or following no set rhyming pattern. The innovation sparked a long and often violent controversy, but it was soon adopted by some all over the Arab world, and although traditional verse forms are still practised, it is free verse that has virtually become the norm. The effect of the new prosody has been far-reaching, for it has put an end to all that went with the imposing rhythm and resonant rhyme of the self-contained end-stopped line. And along with the formal change came a keen awareness of new models and new needs. Initially, the dominant influence was that of T. S. Eliot, and especially of The Wasteland. In his poetry, as-Sayyab and others ¯ read a sweeping condemnation of Western civilization. This may not have been Eliot’s intention, but if his style with its fractured images reflected the disruption of values experienced by Europeans as a result of the first World War, it also suited the experience of the Arabs buffeted by the Great Powers and faced with the dissection of Palestine. Eliot was not to remain their sole literary mentor. At least among the avant-garde, every new voice that was raised in English or French, or even in Russian or in Spanish, had its echoes in Arabic, and with a shorter time lag than in the past. Above all, with increasing awareness of their responsibility for their own fate and with greater maturity, the Arab poets did not remain imitators. The standards and the patterns may have been derivative, but they were





applied to genuine Arab predicaments with stringency and sophistication. Rather than trace once again the forces, trends, and issues encountered in the works of prose writers, it may be most useful here to round up a few fragments of how Arab poets of the second half of the twentieth century have given tongue to their experiences as individuals, as social beings, and as members of the human family. Intensely personal is as-Sayyab’s recall, while harassed by ¯ poverty and ill-health, of early days in his native village by the river Buwayb. One of his images seems to derive from the legend of the Inchcape Bell. The other is of a fixture in every poor Arab home: a large water jar, porous so that the water exuding from it cools the contents by evaporation, the excess draining into a bowl beneath, the drops falling in with a ‘plop’ that the name of the river seems to reduplicate: Buwayb. . . Buwayb. . . Bells of a tower lost at the bottom of the sea. Water in the jars, and sunset in the trees. And the jars ooze bells of rain Whose crystal melts into a moan: “Buwayb, o Buwayb”. And in my heart a yearning darkens For you, Buwayb, My river, sorrowful as rain. Al-Bayyatı (1926–99) depicts the culturally uprooted Arab as “a ¯ ¯ Traveler without Luggage” and uses appropriately disjointed language: Within me a soul is dying. Like a spider, My soul is dying. And on the wall The light of day. It sucks my years and spits them out as blood, the light of day.



Not for my sake was it ever made, this day. The door is closed. It never was, this day. I shall be! No use! I shall always be from nowhere. I have no face, no history – from nowhere. Nizar Qabbanı (1923–98) was in his day the most widely read ¯ ¯ ¯ poet, mainly because his diction was always luminously simple and musical. During the first half of his career he sang of hardly anything but love. His “Coffee-cup Reader” has an ub rhyme ¯ occurring at irregular intervals: She sat – and fear was in her eyes – Pondering my upturned cup. She said, “Do not grieve, my son, But love is your written doom. He dies a martyr, Son, Who dies for faith of the beloved. Your cup is a fearsome world, And your life is none but ventures and wars. You shall love often, very often, You shall die often, very often. You shall love all the women on earth, And come back a defeated king!” But then he turned to political themes, and in a denunciation both of modern tyranny and of outworn values, he assumed the role of a man accused of murdering a religious leader; rough-handled by the forces of the State, he confesses: In killing him I killed All the cockroaches that mutter prayers in the dark, All the idlers on the pavements of dreams. In killing him I killed All the parasites in the garden of Islam, All who seek a sustenance From the emporium of Islam. In killing him I killed – O worthy masters! –



All those who for a thousand years Have been fornicating in words. Of a different temper, highly innovative and subtle to the point of obscurity is Adunıs (1930–) whose pen-name reflects not the ¯ ¯ Romantics’ shallow interest in Greek gods but a later fascination with myths of death and resurrection. Part of a poem entitled “The New Noah” reads:


If time was to begin all over again And water flooded the face of life And the earth shook and God hastened Requesting of me, “Noah, save The living!” I would not heed God’s words. I would roam in my ark Clearing pebbles and mud from the eyes of the dead. I would open out their depths to the flood. I would whisper in their veins that we Are back from the wilderness, out of the cave, That we have altered the firmament of years, And that we sail undeterred by fear, And do not listen to the words of God. And in another poem is his summing up of an era: A coffin wearing the face of a child A book Written in the entrails of a crow. A monster stepping up holding a flower. A rock Breathing in the lungs of a madman. This is it. This is the twentieth century. As for the plight of Palestine, it encapsulates so many of the Arabs’ frustrations that it has figured in the anxieties of many an Arab poet. But Palestine has its own poets who have eloquently recorded their agonies and their hopes, without sparing themselves or their


It was in journalism. alone! Be our only Metaphor above the singers’ abyss. Be not broken. that the temptation was strongest to adopt the language of everyday speech. you break us and destroy our temple. we ask you to be faithful. with its need to reach as wide a readership as possible. Be not victorious. We who idle And sleep on horseback. Be a shadowy phantom. . Like other Muslim poets. If you are broken. . including as-Sayyab. he uses the figure of Jesus as ¯ the epitome of sacrifice. so the priests may continue To ply their trade. And if Victorious. Be suspended In between. radical changes in the literary medium have been resisted. . Come forth! Step up. Be faithful! . Be faithful To the beautiful myths. Therefore Be dead-alive and alive-dead. This latest poem is in spurts of four to six lines echoing the rhythm and the rhyme of the Qur anic verses which tell of the birth of Jesus (19:1–40) but it ignores the Qur anic teaching that Jesus was not crucified. Be faithful to the progeny and to the mission. Prominent among them is Mahmud Darwıs (1941–). you break us. We were carpenters gifted In the making of crosses. Parts of it read: ö ö Which heavenly favour shall we deny? Who but you Shall make us triumph? Who but you shall liberate us? You were born on our behalf. Take up your cross and rise Above the Pleiades. His reaction ¯ˇ ¯ ˙ to the bloodletting which has already stained the beginning of the twenty-first century is a poem entitled “The Sacrifice”. You were born of light And of fire. The literary medium Despite the new directions and purposes adopted by Arabic literature in modern times. . .THE GRAFTING leaders for their failures and for the besetting sin of self-deceit. Abd-Allah an-Nadım who had been ¯ ¯ renowned as a master of ornate prose adopted a much simpler style Ö 164 .

and the uneducated in the colloquial. But dramatists with literary pretensions and fiction writers were ill at ease when putting words into the mouths of ordinary people in contemporary situations. a text which can be read as either ¯ ˙ classical or colloquial Arabic. An early solution adopted by Mıxa ıl Nu ayma in a play and by al-Mazinı in his ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ novels was to make the educated speak in the classical idiom. This he termed “the third language”. ¯ he cast a few articles dealing mostly with matters of concern to women in the form of dialogues entirely in the vernacular. In the end. Except in one sizeable area. and in an exchange of questions and answers between characters of different social status it could be ludicrous.THE GRAFTING in the first short-lived newspaper that he launched in 1881. The one area in which the vernacular has secured a foothold is the dialogue of plays and fictional narratives. but remaining strictly within the limits of classical Arabic syntax. But he soon abandoned the experiment – although some of the readers’ letters he published favoured it – and reverted to his earlier practice of using a vocabulary and constructions close to the colloquial. the use of any of the vernacular forms of the language raising no eyebrows. the issue has been settled by default. Only since the 1950s have a few indisputably ungrammatical usages – such as omitting case endings in proper nouns – come to be not sanctioned. especially in comedies and dramas with a contemporary setting. Its acceptance in the live theatre was inevitable if only because performances could be attended by the unlettered. This is what has come to be known as modern standard Arabic. Bolder attempts at giving the vernaculars a rightful place within the literary canon have been individual and sporadic. al. either by journalists or by literary prose writers. using peculiarities of the script to disguise the difference between various forms of Arabic but allowing the producer to stage the play in any form he chose.Ustad. Muhammad ˙ ö ö Ö 165 . Then in 1892 in another paper that he founded. A stir was created in 1956 when al-Hakım published ‘The Deal’. ‘the Professor’. or even by European residents whose patronage was at one time not insignificant but who seldom learned classical Arabic. but passed over in silence. an-Nadım’s formula has not been ¯ significantly stretched since. This was no gain in verisimilitude. for speech is not a marker of class in the Arab world. but this was only a typographical device.

Purists who can thole no departure from classical norms have not died out. have remained an oddity. Hence the vehement denunciation three quarters of a century later of the colloquial as linguistic heresy and of any argument in its favour as the work of colonialists. Zionists. But to this is added what is virtually a new genre: caustic political satire in verse. In 1942. Already in November 1892 one of the contributors to the controversy roused by an-Nadım’s linguistic experiments. It includes non-classical verse compositions. Luwıs Awad wrote a book-length memoir of his student ¯ ˙ days in Cambridge University in the vernacular. specifically to prove that it was adequate for the discussion even of subtle intellectual issues. Its pioneer was Bayram at-Tunisı (1893–1961) who ¯ ¯ Ö ö 166 . There is a growing recognition of not one but two literary streams in addition to the canonical one. but when it appeared many years later. such as Michel Trad (1912–) who is credited ¯ ˙ with considerable originality.THE GRAFTING European ¯ ¯ l’s verse Ö Utman Jalatragediestranslations ofwell sustainplays. it laid him open in 1964–65 to prolonged attacks in which he was described as “a tool in the hands of missionaries and colonizers for the elimination of the Arabic language”. To the linguistic argument surveyed in an earlier chapter has been added a political one: the classical language unifies the Arabs. who signed himself only ¯ Ahmad. and communists! The final position is neither entirely self-consistent nor clearly definable. was warning that European schools in the East were ˙ intent on killing Oriental languages. Mahmud Taymur who at one time ¯ ¯ ˙ believed that the vernacular was certain to become the standard literary medium had to demonstrate his ability to handle the higher form of the language by publishing the same play in two versions. It has its celebrities. including some of Racine’s which could a classical rendition. Having by then launched himself into an academic career. It was at first denied publication on political grounds. One of these is called “vernacular literature” and has largely inherited the indeterminate status of what used to be classed as hazl. he said he had no cause to continue his linguistic experiment. including some metrical innovation. now collectively called zajal. He was eventually elected to the Academy of the Arabic language pointedly on the strength of his publications in the classical. the vernaculars divide them.

They are often loosely spoken of as folk poets. Fate!” Dating back to 1920 is a strophe which picked up the rumour that the newborn prince who was to become King Faruq was conceived out of wedlock: ¯ ¯ The goose was slaughtered before the wedding. whereas satirical verse in the same idiom is unlikely to feature in a comparable work on poetry. He dogged Egypt’s royal family with a strophic poem which he expanded over the years. And you live on and eat the beans! Needless to say. and with the educated public they are immensely popular. It is an indication of the arbitrariness of the literary canon that satirical plays in the vernacular are included in any general study or survey of Arabic drama. It became a subject of academic study in the second half of the twentieth 167 . including at one time two satirical ones of his own. this moves the satirist to offer this “madman’s” suggestion: ö ö ö ihna nmut l-lah ¯ öw˙ intusibusˇnaw ta¯klubil-ful ˙ ma tıu ¯ ¯ ¯ Ö Leave us to die of eating meat. marmar ya zaman marmar. ¯ ¯ literally “Embitter. but it is to the political consciousness of the educated that they address themselves. is ¯ circulated in cassettes but is also increasingly finding its way into print. The other non-canonical stream is the folk literature. It had a catchy but almost untranslatable refrain. embitter” but conveying something like “Do your worst. When the scandalous woman came to be married. o Age. A sample of his irony occurs in a song which recounts that “a responsible source” has declared that the cheap brown beans that are often all that the masses can afford are more wholesome and nutritious than meat. both at-Tunisı and Najm fell foul of the government ¯ ¯ of their day. usually sung by his associate Sayx Imam. The lane was opened before the appointed day.THE GRAFTING published extensively in various periodicals. I said: “Restrain your tongue! Let lassies find cover!” At-Tunisı has been succeeded by Ahmad Fu ad Najm (1929–) ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˇ whose material.

3 In other respects. A word of caution must first be addressed to those who first venture on to this sea. A partial exception has been the Arabian Nights. It may serve as a gauge of what is to be found in other regions. The live theatre. 168 . itself a venture of dubious status. and the most that can be offered here is a brief and tentative sketch of the range and character of folk artists’ activities in one country: Egypt. even though he claimed to be entirely the ¯ ¯ product of a village upbringing. was first to exploit some of its material. Arabic and Middle Eastern ¯ ¯ Literatures. When these dip into folk material. it is often but not always true that the folk poet is a singer who composes orally and whose performance is shaped by his contact with a live audience. Thus Mustafa Ibrahım Agag who died ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙˙ during the 1930s and who was much respected by performers even a generation later was a traditionally educated man who made a living as a clerk in the Cairo railway yards but who had his voluminous output printed in cheap booklets or taught directly ö Ö 3 See my “Folk Themes in the Work of Najıb Surur”. For example. The fact is that there are performers who do not compose and composers who do not perform.THE GRAFTING century. 2 (July 2000). as did Marun an-Naqqas in his ¯ ¯ ¯ˇ second play. but it remains largely in the hands of folklorists rather than literary critics. more than any other native source. and as a hint of what may have existed but gone unrecorded in previous centuries. This is true even of such as Najıb Surur (1932–78). it has supplied themes for new creations by canonical writers of undoubted status. pp. Since then. 3. It is that what has been established as normative in European folk literature is not necessarily true of its Arab counterpart.Ahram on 3 September 1949 – because of the interest taken ¯ in it by Europeans. ö Folk literature This is as yet an uncharted sea. the folk literature has remained almost entirely beyond the pale. 195–204. its literary qualities have had a measure of recognition. they naturally breathe their own priorities into it. Mainly – as Taha Husayn admitted in an article published ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ by al.

Of the epic cycles known to have existed. in fact. They do not have a standard text to follow. who had had to go into hiding for ten years ¯ because of his participation in the rebellion that led to the British 4 ¯ ¯ti Ahmad Amın. of whom there are hundreds. in words of their own or of their informants’ coinage. entire episodes are sung in quatrains following the rhyme scheme aaaB cccB dddB. The main outlet for the folk artists is at religious festivals. and Ahmad Rusdı Salih. Two authors4 assert that an-Nadım. All this may suggest that it would be easy to insert new elements. but neither the poets nor their audience would favour the invention of new incidents in what they take to be history.2 pp. These feature songs in praise of the Prophet. Fununu l. including the celebration of the birthdays of holy men. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ 1956).Ada wa t-Taqa ¯di wa t-Ta abıri l-Misriyya. The catalogue of ascertainable facts is far from complete. the only one still alive is the Hilaliyya. in another tradition strongest in the south of Egypt. Qamusu l. ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö 169 . one episode at a time. 72–91. Da ˇ ¯ ¯ ˇ ˇ ¯ru-l-Fikr. There are. all of which propagate distinctive perceptions and attitudes among the masses and make their mark on many folk literary genres.THE GRAFTING to performers. They learn the “facts” as history and recycle them. but it is impressive. There are some indications that he was in a position of some authority in a guild of folk performers.Adabi s-Sa bı (Cairo. of which no trace is now left It follows that it is also often but not always true that a song is never sung in exactly the same form twice. What this means is that there is an imposing ¯ number of singers who specialize in it. performers who sing nothing but religious songs. The performance may consist of a number of monorhyme songs with brief spoken transitions and introductions. But accompanying religious festivals are fairs at which caterers and entertainers of all kinds try to sell their wares. (Cairo. ¯ ¯ ¯lı ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ 1953). Arab folk artists rely on memory to an extent that Westerners – who sit through concerts at which the soloist performs without a scrap of paper before him – find it difficult to credit when the currency is words. v. the recitation of traditional poems including some in classical Arabic. etc. At the core of such celebrations are ceremonies held by Sufi brotherhoods. and the recounting of edifying stories.

but they have been supplanted by the radio. and two others who had been similarly involved. but by a display of ready wit in the Syrian. they are used semi-professionally especially by women who build up a repertoire in order to gain entry to harems where. Basim le Forgeron et Harun er-Rachıd. cast their experiences into verses – in the case of the latter two. one Syrian and one Egyptian. ˆ 1888). but if they circulated pieces that could be remoulded to fit in with traditional characters or incidents. with food and wine in the Syrian. Within this framework. the use made of them by later performers is now impossible to detect. It is difficult to see how this could be done if there was ¯ no fixed text. but each ordeal ends with Basim making ¯ more money than he had ever done before. 170 . Brill. the story-teller obviously allowed himself a great deal of leeway for the successive steps taken differ considerably in the two versions.THE GRAFTING occupation of Egypt in 1882. It is an amusing story of a blacksmith called Basim whom the Caliph delights to plague by ¯ banning his trade. And they part ways more substantially in the ending: Basim gains ¯ the Caliph’s favour thanks to the intervention of a female jinn in the Egyptian version. Shorter narratives of many kinds are of course part of the lore that ordinary people pick up and exchange. The two versions differ in one recurrent detail: Basim celebrates each success with food and ¯ hashish in the Egyptian version. A sample of a long narrative of the kind embodied in the Arabian Nights was recorded in the nineteenth century5 in two versions. (Leiden. He would also exploit opportunities for humour: at one point the Egyptian version has Basim acting as a court messenger and ¯ warning a troublesome woman that the judge might exile her to Minyit-id-Durrag. who found steady employment in some coffee-houses. and then every successive trade to which Basim ¯ turns for a livelihood. Story-telling also had its professionals. having established a congenial atmosphere. Like commercial travelers’ jokes. ten thousand verses – to be incorporated in the Hilaliyya. they can then sell some wares and broker marriages. which it is easy to surmise was the location in ¯ which the story was being told. ˆ ˆ ˆ 5 Comte Carlo de Landberg.

an ¯ ¯ eminent Sufi whose name indicates that he was from Murcia. to be its muezzin. This would make him not a guide but an obstruction on the true path. “in its mother’s eye.THE GRAFTING These stories are not all naive. men’s thoughts would turn not to devotion but to wonder at the man who heard the angels. buffoons and masked characters continued to perform at popular festivals and processions throughout the nineteenth century. he said. people admire a woman for her beauty or a man for his cleverness when these qualities are unearned boons from God. The story is that he was a very rich man who built a mosque and assigned a black slave of his. such as “Be patient with the vile one: either he’ll shift or a calamity will come and shift him”. overtaken rather than subsumed by developments of Western inspiration. the monkey is a gazelle”. One. so that his timing was the true one whereas others depended on their imperfect senses to estimate the position of the sun that determines when the prayer is to be held. ‘the Ruby of the Throne’. One that I heard from a cook starts with a historical character: Abu-l. Why had he not revealed this before? Because. Yaqut (which means ‘ruby’). but he offered no excuse until he was on his death-bed. although his shrine is in Alexandria. His master agreed.Ars. has a ö Ö Ö ö 171 . The folk theatre has virtually died out. but judged that after his death it would be good for men to know of his miraculous gift. and in his slave’s honour he built another mosque which bears his name: Yaqut-al. His master repeatedly reproved or castigated him. or – recalling the cruelest method of execution to signify that one has nothing more to fear – “the man impaled can curse the Sultan”. Had his own boon been known. then whenever his voice was heard from the minaret. for example. There are indications that before this happened. But worshipers ¯ ¯ accused Yaqut of carelessness because the timing of his calls to ¯ ¯ prayer was sometimes different from that of other muezzins. ˇ ¯ ¯ There is also an abundance of tangy proverbs.Abbas al-Mursı. The text of some live “plays” by one Ahmad al-Far dated 1909 shows them to be no more than a ¯ ˙ succession of scenes bearing little relation to one another and laced with a great deal of gratuitous vulgarity. He then told his master that he had been privileged to hear the call to prayer sounded by the angels round the throne of God.

of Sohag. of the Sudan. 1860). pp. he names these as the battle of Massawa. (London. 172 . which all were agreed to attribute to the actor whose part the author had not inserted. May one infer that some of the folk performers had been brought in to eke out the programme with an item from their repertoire? A shadow theatre is said to have continued to function in Cairo in the early twentieth century. It was a husband befooled by his wife. These are described in some detail by these same Europeans. . including some which made fun of Europeans. 2.THE GRAFTING soldier flirting with a girl and boasting of the battles he has fought. and no author has claimed or been given credit for it. They include: A short farce occupied the interval between the second and third acts. and the ex-Mufti judged it to be so. . No Arab source mentions this farce. That there were somewhat worthier activities may be surmised from earlier references to farces performed by live actors.6 He did not know much ˇ ¯ Arabic. but his observations are valuable. a very grave case. taking the most vivid interest in its progress and repeatedly informing the one party of the proceedings of the other. . notably by Edward Lane (1801–76) in his immensely valuable and often reprinted Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. until it was eventually closed by the 6 David Urquhart. 178–180. The Lebanon (Mount Syouria). and of one of the main streets in Cairo where he bared his bottom for people to abuse him until dawn. by observing from the window at the side the lady and her lover while the Mufti from the Salle d’Orchestre commented vigorously on the guilty nature of the proceedings of the one and the extreme imbecility of the other. vol. The roars of laughter which these cross purposes produced conferred on the farce unbounded success. The husband at last is undeceived. An intriguing snippet of information comes from a Scottish traveler who saw Marun ¯ ¯ an-Naqqas’s second play in Beirut in 1850. written between 1833 and 1835 although not published until later. of Bulaq.

gnomic poetry mainly bewailing the uncertainties of life and the unreliability of kinsfolk and friends. One was transcribed by Edward Lane between 1833 and 1835. A man carrying an elliptical-shaped box approximately five feet wide on his back and a trestle in his hand would stop wherever he found space. In the realm of folk songs there is an embarrassment of riches. There are not a few set songs of long standing. but also of love songs. not shadows projected on a screen. There were also shows of the Punch-and-Judy type known as ¨ aragoz. so there is an abundance of devotional poetry. Every folk performance starts with calling down blessings on the Prophet and his kin. the entire physical and social setting is transformed. so that the second line becomes “Your walking ˙ by the sea is a delight”. And your lips are sugar-sweet. as 173 . ‘the ¯ ¯ ˙ world box’. and known to the foreign community as ‘the panorama’. a popular form of entertainment was a kind of peep-show called sandu¨ id-dinya. You wear tinseled cashmere. then in return for a small fee he would let a customer stand at each of three peep-holes. As Alexandria is famous for its magnificent beaches. Your walking on rugs is a delight. During my childhood in Egypt in the 1930s. Ö This is still sung nowadays with only one change: the word furs has ˇ been replaced by bahr. open out the trestle and balance the box on top.THE GRAFTING authorities who deemed its performances to be excessively pornographic. but unlike the Turkish ¯ karagoz from which the name derives these featured visible ¨ puppets. What they would see was a fore-runner of the comic strip: on a canvas stretched between two rollers was a succession of pictures illustrating some story – it might be an episode of the Hilaliyya – which he would recount while reeling the ¯ canvas from one roller to the other. Its opening quatrain reads: ö ö Ya banat Iskindiriyya ¯ ¯ Masyikum a l-furs-ı xiyya ˇ ˇ Tilbisu l-kasmır bi-tallı ˇ ¯ ¯ Wi s-safayif sukkariyya ˇ ˇ ¯ Girls of Alexandria.

Somewhat more formal is the quatrain with alternating rhymes. hilw in-nabı wi hilw-ı ra¨ abıh ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ya ma huwwa badr il-budura ¯ ¯ min yom gubra ıl ra¨ a bıh ¯ ¯ ¯ min sabi sama fagg-ı nurah ¯ ¯ Fair is the Prophet. or subtracted at will. usually in threes. A god who favours His creation. a favourite especially for gnomic motifs. advantage is also taken of peculiarities of pronunciation in different dialects to achieve the pun. Early examples are all monorhyme quatrains in the ¯ basıt metre – aaaa – the unit being what would be a hemistich in ¯ ˙ 174 . whereas gemination. as in this opening song in which the pronunciation is sometimes distorted to facilitate the rhyme: ¨ ¯ ¯ ö awwila kalamı¯ b-azı¯kur allah ilah l-xal¨ -ı rad ¯ ¯ örafa Öis-samaö min ˙fo¨ allah ¯ ¯ Ö öÖ ¯ ¯ ¯ wi b-ismu huwwa basat il. added. Of verse forms too there is a great variety. semi-vowels. even at the cost of abrupt changes of subjects. the mawaliya. ‘flower’: the coining of polysyllabic punning rhymes. and glottal stops may be altered. ö Ö ö ö The distorted pronunciation noted here gives a very mild foretaste of a highly prized form of artistry called zahr. now almost always called ¯ ¯ the mawwal. From the day that Gabriel took him aloft From seventh heaven his light burst forth.THE GRAFTING well as work songs. vowels. children’s songs. This feature occurs whenever and wherever a poet chooses to display his skill. and nonsense verse. but it is most intimately associated with the verse form inherited from previous centuries. in which only the basic consonants are readily recognizable. And by His name he spread out the land.aradı ˙ ö ˙ With my first words I mention God. from above He set it high. fair to observe – The ultimate of full moons is he. They start with what is almost a game: the poet picks an easy rhyme and rapidly intones as many short verses as come readily to his tongue. He raised the heavens.

ana ¨ ult-ı ya gamıl fen il-widd wi gamalak [gamılak] ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ I said. unzur li halı siyabı a l-gasad marra [marra] ¯¯¨ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Consider my state: My clothes slip over my frame uyunak kama n-nibl-ı guwwa l-gism-ı alasanak [ ales ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ˇ sannak] ˇ Your eyes are like darts in my body – why the assault? min husn-ı hazzı fı sa t il-hazz wi gamalak [ga malak] ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙˙ ˙ ˙˙ Luckily. Although poets feel free to vary the patterns and even take liberties with the metre. Here is one transcribed as sung but with the standard pronunciation of the distorted words added between square brackets: bustan habıbı tarah manga ala l. or by a tercet sharing a new rhyme in which case the last line will also have within it an echo of the new rhyme. so that these augmented rhyme schemes may be represented as: aaaxa aaa zzz (z)a aaa bcbcbc zzz (z)a.ıdan ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ My beloved’s garden has yielded mangoes on the boughs. “Fair one. or finally by the further addition between the two tercets of a sestet of alternating rhymes. ill ana ta ban ba¨ a li zaman ala sanak ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˇ¯ For I am long afflicted over you. acknowledge ˙me with but one look. at an auspicious moment came an angel. ihabi ahsab ana suftuh alal ıdan [ ala l. ana ¨ ult-ı ya gamıl ra ı lı bi n-nazar marra ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ I said. xallani atsan w ana wa¨ if alal ıdanı [ alıl addanı] ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ He left me thirsty: as I stood ailing.ıden] ¯ ¯ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ My boon. “O fair one. But rhyme schemes have since been elaborated by the addition between the last two verses of an unrhymed line.THE GRAFTING classical prosody. is that I spied him on both annual feasts. I reckon. he passed me by. many a self-contained lyrical song is built on either of the latter two rhyme schemes. where are your affection and your kindness?” Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö 175 .

zzz (z)a and the most ambitious or pretentious poets use zahr throughout. also ¯ known as il-Girgawı because he was born in Girga. ¯ ¯ ¯ The deed is still sung in dozens of versions. by her brother Mitwallı. they are fitted into the mould of a mawwal. The climax recounts how the hero has traced his sister to ö 176 . tarrif gamalak [gimalak] wi mitharram alal ıdanı [ ala lli ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ adanı] ¯ ¯ ¯ Hobble your camels: You are excluded from those who oppose me. mostly Qur anic stories retold. in which a woman who has strayed from the strict path of virtue is slaughtered by her father or her brother. ¯ stretched either by using the seven. More commonly. The versification may be very crude: a succession of stanzas with plain rhymes each followed by a simple refrain. including some indicating tension between Muslims and nonMuslims.or the thirteen-line rhyming pattern as a recurring stanza. . or legends and miraculous deeds connected with the Prophet. in which ya xi conveys ‘o my ¯ ¯ ¯ brother’. some as extended mawwals and others in plainer metrical forms.THE GRAFTING lafat yi¨ ul-lı ana mahsub fı gamalak [gamm-ı malak] ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ He turned and said. who had become a prostitute. a deed that the law of the land does not entirely condone but that earns the perpetrator the admiration of his peers. an Army Sergeant-Major. in Upper Egypt. or by adding sestets with new alternating rhymes between the two tercets of the thirteen-line mawwal: ¯ aaa bcbcbc dedede fgfgfg . The themes most abundantly served are religious ones. But by far the most popular of these are stories of so-called “honour crimes”. however. “I am reckoned among your possessions.” ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Most revealing of the common people’s values are narrative songs that usually run to about two hundred lines and form the climax of a performance. Contemporary occurrences are also recounted. One consists of a ¯ succession of punning monorhyme tercets separated by a simple refrain: ya xi mitwallı ya Girgawı. The most ˇ ¯ celebrated was the murder in 1925 of Safıqa. .

wi ¨ al dı law kan alıla minzorha [mın yizurha] ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ wi ja sarı talaf minzorha [manzarha] ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ wi azal il-gitta min zorha ¯ He said. Good people. knife in hand. ¯ The doors of the dwelling are locked behind him. He who rejects it may lawfully be killed. done his duty after reminding himself that she commands no one’s respect.THE GRAFTING a brothel. then asks for public recognition: mitwallı da ragil tagıl u sakkın [sakin] ¨¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ warah biban il-bet sakkın ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ata bi xadabu f ıdu s-sakkın ¯ ¯ ˙ Mitwallı is a staid and quiet man. He who accepts the Faith rejoices. “A wound in my heart I have assuaged. “If she was ill. as in this quatrain which refers to the Prophet’s ascension to the heavens (Qur an 53:6–17) on al-Buraq. Indeed the fact that ‘g’ is the realization in different dialects of different phonemes of classical Arabic is exploited by aficionados of zahr for punning purposes. clear a way for me!” ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Noticeable in this ballad is that the performer freely mingles the phonetic features of two different dialects. He comes in anger. ¯ The angels to the Fair One came. wi tala il-balakona b sikkintu ¯ ˙ yigul garh fı galbi sikkintu [sakkintu] ¨¯ ¯ ¨ ˙ ya nas wassa u-li sikkintu [sikka ntu] ¯ ¯ He went out on the balcony with his knife Saying. who would visit her?” Quickly he disfigured her And severed the corpse at the neck. a beast often ¯ ¯ depicted as a winged horse with a human head: ö ö ö ö lelt il-buraq in-nabı sarr [sara] ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ il-malak li z-zen gat lu ¯ ¯ illi aman ala d-dın sarr ¯ ¯ w illi kafar hallı gatlu ¨ ˙ On the night of the Buraq the Prophet journeyed. Ö 177 .

what sets the two apart is that the traditionally educated are the most unyielding in their reverence for the classical language. one with a degree from a modern university and one a graduate of the religiously conservative university of al. The second retains basically Islamic traditions and values. It has ensured a higher quality than might have been expected in a largely illiterate society. It is a great deal closer to the second group than to the first: it shares its belief-system albeit in a crude form. The third is the one that produces and consumes folk literature. It has provided cultural if not political unity over a vast area. it is numerically the majority. if he takes trouble with dictionaries. Two schoolteachers. As for the Westernized elite. and from reality. The first group is now the elite. and a good deal of its literary raw material is drawn from what used to be standard books several centuries ago. and those who have had virtually no schooling. at present. ö 178 . have access to the literature of the past sixteen centuries.Azhar may be deemed to belong to the same social class. Not until it was carried to excess and been married to a sense of social and inborn superiority did it isolate the literature from the perceptions of the common people. those who have had a traditional Islamic one. it holds the initiative in cultural matters and ´ determines what the literary canon is to be. The relevant distinctions to be made are between three groups: those who have had a Western or Westernized education. but their literary predilections are vastly different. but hardly any moderation regarding the relation between the sexes. and its own attitude to the masses is benevolent rather than sympathetic. fit into one picture? The terminology relevant to Western societies’ division into economically determined classes fits awkwardly into this context. It is even arguable that it has lent to the regional vernaculars a measure of stability. the canonical and the folk. What price elitism. very few of its ´ new values have trickled down to the masses – some elements of national pride when it does not clash with religious loyalties. then? ´ The Arabs’ attachment to the classical language has ensured an impressive continuity in that a person of modest education can.THE GRAFTING Coda Do the two realms of literary expression.

the means was simply knowledge. and he wrote (tawıl\bu): ¯ ¯ ˙ Ö Ö Having reached fifteen. In 1912. In the eyes of the intellectuals who were seizing the initiative. To trifle and enjoy the pleasures of life? 179 . They took this body of Western knowledge to be firm and selfauthenticating. and assumed that anyone who had access to it would come to share their priorities. Muhammad Husayn Haykal ˙ ˙ (1888–1956).THE GRAFTING The new elite differs in that it set out not to be elitist. who ¯ ¯ ¯ rose to be Morocco’s nationalist hero. Muhammad Abduh is ˙ reported to have told his followers that they need only control education for ten years to form a new generation that would bring about the desired reforms. is reported to have gathered his friends together when he was fifteen to ask them whether he would serve his country better as a theologian or as a man of letters. It meant well. What first ´ ´ shaped its consciousness was the pressure exerted upon the Arab world mainly by Britain and France. In most instances. it seemed more obvious than ever that the way to counter them was to emulate them. this was no more than a pipe-dream. In the 1930s. so they had only to widen the circle of the educated to ensure unanimity of views and collaboration for the common good. The results were desirable. and Muhammad Sabrı ¯ ˙ ˙ suggested that the motto for Egypt should be “Work in the Darkness of Hope”. both of which professed substantially the same values and seemed consequently to ensure enviable power for their government and well-being for all their citizens. am I yet to play. distant as the goal might be. schoolboys in their middle teens gave serious thought to their future roles as leaders. who was a prominent politician as well as a man of letters. The generation that reached maturity then had a ready-made model for a programme of action that would benefit all. opposed a law that would have banned the seizure of small farms on the ground that it would work to the detriment of those who knew what it took to bring about the scientific and financial progress of the nation. when the dominance of the European powers was at its highest and most extensive. Allal al-Fası (1910–74). but there were those who actively and effectively dedicated themselves to it. In 1922.

Forces that restrict their zeal – foreign rule. . Whether in the name of Islamic reformism or nationalism or democracy or socialism. One result is that most modern Arab writers view themselves principally as reformers. . illiberal government – are vigorously dissected. One must make allowance for the mentality of these people. But flaws or retarding factors that arise from within the constituency with which they identify or that they have taken under tutelage tend 180 . he commented: These peasants whose eyes have been eaten away by pus since childhood and whose perceptions have been untended under successive rulers of all races cannot be relied upon to exercise judgment or discrimination . denounced. A literature that aims mainly at entertainment is not for them. . as witness the fact that no detective novel writer has emerged amongst them. The result was paternalism. the assumption was always that it was for those who knew to act for the good of those who did not. as moulders of the future.. or satirized. often at no small cost. popular as such works are in translation. the extent of their perceptions.THE GRAFTING I have a lofty vision and a haughty spirit That seeks a place atop the Milky Way. It never entered their calculation that even when instructed the many might adopt different priorities. yet to find Its way to the life that it must have. their mental capacity – or else let these perceptions be raised to the level of modern laws. It was for the enlightened to act on behalf of the benighted until these in turn saw the light.. Even less did it occur to them that the many might be consulted. The most strident expression of this paternalism is in a novel by Tawfıq ¯ al-Hakım (1898–1987) based on his experiences as a prosecutor in ¯ ˙ a rural area and translated as “The Maze of Justice”. Noting how bewildered villagers were by a law that took so little notice of reality that it fined them for drinking unfiltered water when no other was available. And mine is an ill-starred nation. that their bards might be given a hearing.

THE GRAFTING to be downplayed or ignored. television. Radio. Is it only a matter of time ´ before the good intentions of the few are realized and the gap between the learned and the common folk is eliminated? There has been progress. and the cassette reach out to ever wider circles and bring some of the creations of the elite even to non-readers. and the new elite ´ 181 . Education is constantly being extended. The old elite acquired the maqama ´ ´ ¯ and the multi-rhymed verse forms when it lent an ear to the folk artists. performing in modest cinema halls serving a wide area. It is a fact that many men with an advanced education of a Western type have no choice but to marry an illiterate woman brought up to uphold traditional values. but it has not been even or continuous. And a reader who depends on the literary writings of the elite would scarcely gain any understanding of the ´ resurgence of Islam as a political and social force. yet one looks in vain for novels or plays that investigate the kind of family life that ensues. and I can recall that in the 1930s and 40s even peasants would trek on foot from surrounding villages to be stirred by a spectacle that might not come their way again for several years. they enriched each other. The common folk owe their belief system and probably their taste for verbal games to the old elite. chronologically developed stories of earlier generations? Yusuf Wahbı used to take his melodramas on ¯ ¯ provincial tours. Perhaps also the old elite playing literary games in its ivory ´ tower could not have been so conservative. and in the few instances in which it has been touched upon – as in Taha Husayn’s The Call of ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ the Curlew or Yahya Haqqı’s (1905–93) “The Postmaster” in the ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ collection entitled Blood and Mud – it has been to bring out the pathos of the situation. Do the experimental plays of to-day reach out beyond a public of connoisseurs in the big cities? And are the artists content with a succes d’estime and becoming impatient with the less perceptive? ` And on religious and gender issues. is the chasm being bridged? On the few occasions when the literatures associated with different social strata interacted. The persistence of “honour crimes” still glorified by folk poets is seldom probed. Are novels using such sophisticated techniques as the stream of consciousness and the flashback as readily understood by the half-educated as were the straightforward.

the witness of the folk artist complements. It remains true that for a rounded view of Arab literary creativity and of the forces that animate Arab society. if the folk literature had not been there to cater for the needs of the many. ´ 182 . and illumines that of the elite. balances.THE GRAFTING rushing headlong into modernization could not have been so innovative.

The fullest literary history covering all periods is the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature. 1966. William and Norgate. also pre-modern: Arberry. Brill of Leiden. 1907. Ilse. Lichtenstadter. Also dealing with the entire period but in a different arrangement is Roger Allen’s The Arabic Literary Heritage: The development of its genres and criticism. 1963. Berkeley. Cambridge University Press. 1930. Introduction to Classical Arbic Literature. all but the penultimate – the one dealing with the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries – have appeared.. Twayne. Charles. Lyall. The second edition is now in progress. Handy and of more immediate relevance is the Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. University of California Press. 2 vols. 1921. Literary History of the Arabs. James T. 1974. Translations of Ancient Arabic Poetry: chiefly pre-Islamic. published by Cambridge University Press and begun in 1981. Monroe. 1965. 183 . And some anthologies in translation. Cambridge University Press.J. but still useful are: Gibb. Arabic Poetry: a Primer for Students. Arthur J. Of its seven projected volumes. London.BIBLIOGRAPHY The supreme work of reference on all topics concerning Islam is the Encylopaedia of Islam. 1930 (first published 1885). There are no recent surveys of pre-modern literature. edited by Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey and published in London and New York by Routledge in 1998.R. 1974. Nicholson. Reynold A. Arabic Literature: an Introduction. Hispano-Arabic Poetry. Oxford University Press. New York. Cambridge University Press. 1998. published by E. Hamilton A.

The Arabian Epic. Bloomington. 1987. El-Shamy. Denys. Johnson-Davies. Brill. Pierre. Popular Narrative Ballads of Modern Egypt. 1922.K. Denys. 1983. Indiana University Press. 1987. Arabic Short Stories. Salma Khadra (ed).BIBLIOGRAPHY Nicholson. Lyons. An Introduction to the History of Modern Arabic Literature in Egypt. American University in Cairo Press. R. Live Theatre and Dramatic Literature in the Arab World. Moreh. 1993. 1992. Oxford University Press. Anthologies of modern literature abound. Folktales of Egypt. No single work covers all aspects of Arab folk literature. Cambridge University Press. A Short History of Modern Arabic Literature. Chicago. Translations of Eastern Poetry and Prose. Among the most inclusive are: Jayyusi. Modern Arabic Poetry: an Anthology. Under the Naked Sky: Short Stories from the Arab World. Edinburgh University Press. 1995. Modern Arabic Drama: an Anthology. Cambridge University Press. London. 184 .A. S. London. Edinburgh University Press. 1989. and Roger Allen (eds). Oxford. but the following will fill some gaps: Cachia. Modern literature has been surveyed in the following: Badawi. 1980. Hasan. Cachia. Curzon Press. Indiana University Press. Jayyusi. 1984. 1995. 3 vols. Johnson-Davies. Malcolm C. Brugman. Mustafa M. Pierre. Hasan. Bloomington. 2001. Clarendon Press. Columbia University Press. J. Quartet Books. Shmuel. Folk Traditions of the Arab World: a Guide to Motif Classification. 1994. An Overview of Modern Arabic Literature. El-Shamy. University of Chicago Press. New York. 1990. 1995. Leiden.

82. Also excluded are rulers and other public figures who did not actively affect literary developments. Names that occur only in footnotes or incidentally in a quotation are not included in the Index. 87 Abd-al-Hakım Qasim 140. 53. Arab authors identified in the text by a string of names are listed under both the first and the last separable items. ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Jacob ˙130 ¯ ¯ ¯ öAbu-Nuwas al-H¯asan ibn-Hani53.INDEX The diacritics. 147 adab ˙ öAdam 66. 70 al. al-. an article occurring at the beginning of a title is ignored. In English and in French too. Rabi a 68 Ö ¯b Ishaq 130¯ Ö öAdı¯ nı¯ös =˙ ¯ Alı¯ Ahmad Sa ı¯d 163 öAdu Ö ö ˙ ¯ Ö “Affair of Honour” = Haditatu Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ö ˙ ˇ Saraf 141 Agag. also ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ known as ibn. 158 ¯ ˙ ö ö 185 .Udayya 18 Abu-Fira al-Ha ibn. Mustafa Ibrahım 168 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙˙ ¯ Ahmad al-Far 171 ˙ Ahmad Faris as-Sidyaq 128–9. Ahmad ¯ ¯ ¯ öAbu ö ˙ 145 . do not affect the alphabetization. 71 145. ˙ Abraham 93 ˙ Abu-Bilal Mirdas ibn-Hudayr. and its variants in which the ‘l’ is assimilated to the next consonant.Atahiya Isma ıl ibn-al¯ ¯ ¯ Qasim 35. Abbasid (dynasty) 16. al-Marrar = Ziyad ¯ Öibn-Munqid ibn-¯ Amr 25¯ Ö al.Abbas al-Mursı 171 ¯ Abu-l. 52. 29. ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ˙ 144 Ahmad Fu ad Najm 167 ¯ ˙ ˇ Ahmad Sawqı 36. ¯ ¯ 169 Abd-Allah ibn-al-Muqaffa 26 ¯ Abd-Allah Salım al-Ya ¯ 125 ¯ ¯ ¯zijı Abd-al-Malik (Caliph) 28. Jurj öAbyad28.Adawı. 153.Abi-l Ala ¯s ¯rit ¯ ¯ al-Hamdanı˙ 60 ¯ ¯ Abu-Hayya at-Tawhıdı 75 ¯n ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙¯ Abu-l. although used to distinguish different Arabic phonemes. 50–52 ¯ Abu-Nazzara Zarqa = Sanua. 33 Abd-ar-Rahman Sukrı 156 ¯ ˇ ¯ ˙¯ Abd-as-Sabur. Salah 149 ¯ ˙ ˙ Muhammad 110. 143 ¯ ¯ ˙ Abd-al-Hamıd al-Katib 29. 98 ¯ ¯ ˙ Abd-Allah an-Nadım 147. ö= ˙ Abu-n-Nawwas 47–50. Also ignored when occurring initially (and always printed in the lower case) are the article. 179 ˙ Abduh.Adawiyya. 147. ö 119 ¯ -Tamma öAbu-Ta ı¯ 54¯ m Habı¯b ibn-öAws ˙ at ¯ ˙ ö¯ ˙ -Xalıl al-Qabbanı. 164–6.

171. badı iyyat 107–9. Qasim 126 ¯ ¯ Amr ibn-Kultum 8 ¯ Andalusia. Luwıs 160. 7. 147 ¯ ˙ ˙ Apollo (journal) 158 al. 51 ˇˇ ¯ al-Bayan wa t-Tabyın 73 ¯ ¯ Baybars (Sultan). 109. 74. Farah 145.Attar. 173 Banu. 118 Anselmo de Turmeda 100 ˇ Antara ibn-Sadda al. 142 Alı ibn. 82. 122. 128 Badı az-Zaman al-Hamadanı.Alı ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Husayn 99 ˙ Awad. 168.S. Abbas Mahmud 131. ˙British throughout Ch. 66. 42–3.A la 117 ¯ ¯ Barakat. ¯ ¯ ¯ 128 Banu-Hilal = Hilalis = Hila ¯ ¯ ¯liyya 44.Axanı ¯ ¯ ¯ 51 “boyette” = xulamiyya 48 ¯ Brecht. 115 Alı Mahmud Taha 159 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Alı.Absı. Abd-al. American(s). 170 ¨ aragoz 173 ¯ al. Dawud = al-Minawı 116 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙˙ L’Avare 144 ö Ö ö Avicenna = Ibn-Sına. 22.Ahram (newspaper) 129.Abus 111 ¯ ˙ Britain. JacquesHenri 133 “Blood and Mud” = Dima un wa ¯ Tın 181 ¯ ˙ Boileau-Despreaux. az-Zahir 116 ¯ ˙ ˙¯ al-Bayda ¯. pl.Ubayd 56 ¯ ¯ ˙¯ al-Buraq 177 Ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö 186 . 7 al-Buhturı.Abı-Talib (cousin and ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ son-in-law of the Prophet) 16. Abu. also: ¯d ¯ Antar 1. 125. 10. 96. 144 “Book of Poetry and Poets” = Kitabu s-Si ri wa s-Su ara 8. 123. ¯ 168 Aida (opera) 145 ajam 31 Aladdin = Ala -ad-Dın 81 ¯ ¯ Alexander. 141. 129. 21 ˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ “Book of Songs” = Kitabu l. 169–70.Udra 24 ¯ al-Barajundı. 129 Allal al-Fası 179 ¯ ¯ ¯ amatory prelude = nasıb 4. Abd-Allah ibn. ¯ Baramika 35 ¯ ˆsim le “Ba ¯sim the Blacksmith” = Ba ˆru Forgeron et Ha ˆ n er-Rachıd 170 ˆ Bassar ibn-Burd 26–7. ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 156. 87–101. Abd-al-Wahhab 161 ¯ ¯ ¯ Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Muhammad (founder of ¯ ˙ Egyptian dynasty) 124. 116. 128.Ayyam 137 al. 80–1. 18. U. Halım 141 ¯ ¯ al-Barbır. Xyat ibn-Xawt 20 ¯ ˙ ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö badı 40. 133 ˙ badı iyya. 107. ¯ 120. 173 Algeria. Nicolas 151 ´ Bonaparte. 167 ¯ ¯ al-Bayyatı.Astarkuwı.INDEX Ö ö al.Atilu l-Halı wa l-Muraxxasu ¯¯ ˙¯ ¯ ˙ l-Xalı = “the Unadorned ˙ Bejeweled and the Underpriced Revalued” 109 al. 43. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Abu-l-Fadl Ahmad ibn-al˙ ˙ Husayn 38–40. 116 Antun. Wasını 142 ¯ ¯ ¯ Aristotle 38 “Armanusa the Egyptian” = ¯ ¯ Armanusa l-Misriyya 134 ¯ ¯ ˙ Arnold. Bertolt 149 “Bringing a Laugh to a Scowling Face” = Nuzhatu-n-Nufus wa ¯ Mudhiku-l.Umar ¯wı 32 ˙ Bayram at-Tunisı 166. 99 Alexandria 116. 168 ¯ ˙ ¯ al. 134. Abu-t-Ta ˇ ¯ ¯hir ˙ ¯ ¯ Muhammad at-Tamı˙mı 96 ¯ ˙ al.Aqqad. 145. 75–7. 115. ´ 124. 113. Matthew 72 Arsanyus al-Faxurı 128 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ L’Art Poetique 151 ´ al. 103. Legend of 88. 8. 35. 158 Amın. Andalusian(s) 35.Axtal. 158 Arabian Nights = Thousand and One Nights 43–4. ¯ 82–3.A raj. ˙ Ahmad 105 ¯ Barmecide(s) ˙= Barmakı. 53. 120. al-Walıd ibn. 125. Napoleon 103. 157. 128. 140.A. Algerian 125. 81–2. 58 ¯ America. 138.

Pierre 145 Le Coupable 146 ´ Le Courrier d’Egypte 129 Crusades.S. Damascene 16. 97 ¯ “Epistles of the Brethren of Purity” = Rasa ilu Ixwani s-Safa 100 ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Europe. 34. 121. 99. 61. 54. 29. 145. 82. “the Mantle” 106–7. 129. 138–40. 154 al-Bustanı. 141. Sulayman 155 ¯ ¯ ¯ Butrus al-Bustanı 125 ¯ ¯ ˙ Byzantine(s) 13. 147 ¯ ˙ ˙ al-Farazdaq. 111. Ahmad 171 ¯ al-Farafır ˙ ¯ ¯ =”the Flutterers” 149 al-Farahıdı. 160 ´ L’Emile 99 En Marge des Vieux Livres 131 England.Ard 138 ˙ Eliot. 31. Saraf-ad-Dın Muhammad ¯ ¯ ¯¯ ˇ ˙ ˙ 106–7. ö ö ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ad-Da ıf. Hammam ibn-Xalib ¯ ¯ 19–20 Faris as-Sidyaq. 154. Rasıd 142 ˇ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Damascus. 7 “An Egyptian Childhood” = al. 70. 62.Uqba 22 ¯n Durayd ibn-as-Simma 2 ˙ ˙ Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö al-Far. 145 Dante 78. Francois de Salignac 132 ¸ ´ France. 145. ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ˙ 144 al-Fası. 116. T. 116 Öö ö Egypt. 149. Egyptian(s) 43. rasa il 72 ¯ ¯ “Epistle of Familiar Spirits and Demons” = Risalatu t-Tawa i ¯ ¯bi wa-z-Zawa ¯bi 97 “Epistle of Forgiveness” = Risalatu¯ l-Xufran 77–8. 55. 87. French 43. Kawabata” = Azızi ¯ s-Sayyidu Kawa ¯ ta 142 ¯ba ¯ La Decade 129 ´ Dervish(es) see also Sufism 70. 125. Mahmud 164 ¯ˇ ¯ ˙ ¯ Dawud al. 128. 44. European(s) 43. 125. Alexandre 133 Du-r-Rumma. 84 al-Faxurı. 116. Antoine 81 “Gazette” = al-Waqa i u ¯ l-Misriyya 129 Gibran ˙Kahlil Gibran = Jibran Xalıl ¯ ¯ Jibran 157 ¯ Gog and Magog 88 Greece. Cairene 111. 100 Darwıs. 73. 97. 140. English 128. Ahmad 128–9. 158. 103. Butrus 125 ¯ ¯ ˙ al-Bustanı. 137. 103. 82 Cairo. 60. 142. Greek(s) 29. Arsanyus 128 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Fenelon. 129. 160 Epistle(s) = risala. 84. 65.Ahmad ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 21 Farah Antun 145. Crusaders 77. 100. 116 Directorium Vitae Humanae 100 “Discourse of Isa ibn-Hisam” = ˇ¯ ¯ Hadıtu Isa bni-Hisam 133 ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Disputa del Asno 100 Divine Comedy 100 Dıwan School 156 ¯ ¯ Du-l-Himma 116 Du-l-Majaz 2 ¯ Dumas. al-Xalıl ibn. 33. Xayla ibn.Attar = al-Minawı 116 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ “The Deal” =˙ ˙as-Safqa 165 ˙ ˙ “Dear Mr. 55. and throughout Ch 7. 29. 154 al-Busırı. 116.INDEX al-Burda. 90. 172 “Cairo trilogy” = at-Tulatiyya 139 ¯ Call of the Curlew” = Du a u-l¯ Karawan 181 ¯ “Children of Gebelawi” = Awladu ¯ Haratina 140 ¯ ¯ ˙ Christian(s) 22. 163 öÖ 187 . 118 ¯ ¯ ˙ Fatimid(s) (Dynasty) 82. Allal 179 ¯ ¯ ¯ “the Fatherland” = al-Watan 147 ˙ al-Fath ibn-Xaqan 96. 100 and throughout Ch 7 Frank(s) 82 ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Galland. 157 “Co-Wives” = id-Darriten 145 ¯ ˙ “The Committee”˙ = al-Lajna 141 Coppee. 84. and throughout Ch. 156. ˙90. Francois 145 ¸ ´ Corneille.Ayyam 137 ¯ “Egyptian Earth” = al. 129.

Gustav von 45 Guillaume IX 100 Hafiz Ibrahım 151. 111. William 156 Hazzu l-Quhuf fı Sarhi Qasıdati ¯ ¯ ˇ ¯ ˙ Abı-Saduf = “Shaking ˙ the of ¯ ˇ ¯ ˙¯ Skull-Caps” or “Stirring of the Yokels” 114 Hebrew 101 Hijazı. 165.Umar ¯ Ahmad 88 ˙ Ibn-al. Zayn-ad-Dın Umar ¯ ¯ 108 Ibn-an-Nabıh. Badı -az-Zaman = ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Abu-l-Fadl Ahmad 38–40. Abu-l-Fadl ¯ ˙ Muhammad 71–2 ˙¯ Ibn-al-Farid. Umar 68–70. 9. Kamal-ad-Dın 108 ¯ ¯ ¯ Ibn. 118 ˙ ¯ Ibn-Daniyal. Mahmud 139 ¯ ¯ ˙ Haqqı. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ 107–110. 133˙ Hamda ¯ (dynasty) 60 ¯nı ˙ Haqqı. 38. 43. 181 ya ¯ ˙ al-Harırı. Sala ¯ ¯ ¯ma 145 ˙ al-Hilal (journal) 125.Alı 41. known as Jamal¯ ˙¯ ad-Dın 105. ¯ ˙ 180 Halım Baraka 141 ¯ ¯t ˙ al-Hallaj. 118 ¯ Ibn-Sına Abu. hazlı 50. 169–70.Abd-Rabbih. 99. 82–3.Ahmad 58. 134 ¯ Hilalı(s) = Hilaliyya =Banu-Hilal ¯¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 44.Alı (grandson of ¯ ˙ the Prophet) 83 Husayn. 118. 97. 147–9. ¯ ˙ ˙ 89. Ubada 93 ¯ ¯ ¯ Ibn-al-Mu tazz. Abu-l. Abu-Muhammad ¯ ˙ Abd-Allah ibn-Muslim 8. Usama 77 ¯ Ibn-Nubata al-Misrı. 158 ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ¯ al-Hakım. ˙Abu-Muhammad al¯¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ Qasim ibn. 100 ö Ö Ö Ö öÖ ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö ö ö öö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö ö Ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö Ö ö 188 . 120 Ibn-Katır.Alı ¯ ¯ ¯ ibn-Salama 51 Ibn-Hazm. 114. 130. Muhammad Husayn 136. 43. ˙ ˙ 179 Hayy ibn-Yaqzan = “Alive son of ¯ ˙ Awake” 44. ¯ha ˙ 137. 91–3 Ibn-Rasıq al-Qayrawanı. ¯ ¯ ˙ Avicenna 99 Ibn-Sudun. Abu-l¯ ˙Abd-al-Malik Qasim Xalaf ibn¯ 87 Ibn-Bassam as-Santarını. Yah˙ ¯ 138. 84. Ta ¯ 11n. Alı ibn. Victor 55 al-Husayn ibn. ˙ 75–7. Abu-l-Qasim ¯ Hibat-Allah 109. 33.Abd¯ ¯ al-Malik 36. 118 ˙ hazl. 37. 118 Hugo. 127 ¯ ˙ Harun ar-Rasıd (Caliph) 35 ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ Hassan ibn-Ta ¯ ¯bit al. 119. Tawfıq 138. 181 ˙ ö ö ö Ö ö Ö ö ö Ö Ibn. 119 ˇ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˇ Ibn-Suhayd. 131. Abu-Bakr ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Muhammad. Ima ¯ ¯d-ad-Dın Isma ıl ¯ ¯ ¯ F13 Ibn-Munqid. 119. 173 al-Hillı. ¯ 21. Safiyy-ad-Dın 36. Abu-l-Hasan Alı ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Basbuxawı 111–4. Ibrahım ibn. 110 Ibn-al-Fuja˙ a.Abbas ¯ Abd-Allah 40 ¯ Ibn-al-Wardı.Amir Ahmad ¯ ¯ ˙ 97–8. Abu-Bakr ibn. 72 Ibn-Quzman. 166 ¯ Hazlitt.Alı ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Hasan 1 ˙ Ibn-Sahl al. 90. Husayn ibn-Mansur 67. Abu.Isra ılı al.Arabı. Abu-l-Hasan 117 ¯ ˙¯ ˙ˇ Ibn-Bas˙kuwal al-Qurtubı.Ansarı 17 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Haykal. Muhyi-d-Dın Abu¯ ¯ ¯ Abd-Allah 70 ¯ ˙ Ibn-ar-Rumı.Isbılı.Amıd. 168. 84–5 ˙ ¯ Ibn-Darraj al-Qastallı. ¯ ¯ Muhammad 89 ˙ Ibn-Harma. Abu. 116. Ahmad ¯ ˙ ˙ ibn-Muhammad 89 ˙ Abu-l-Qasim Ibn-Hani . Sams-ad-Dın ¯ ˇ ¯ Muhammad 44. Qatarı 18 ¯ ¯ Ibn-al-Kinanı 99 ˙ ¯ ¯ ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö Ibn-Ma -as-Sama . Abuˇ ¯¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯ Ishaq Ibrahım 93–5 ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ Ibn-Sana -al-Mulk.INDEX Grunebaum. Abu.Abbas 55 ˙ ¯ Ibn-as-Sabbax. 77. 121 Ibn-Qutayba. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ 149 al-Hamadanı.Alı al-Husayn = ¯ ¯. Abu-l-Hasan Alı ¯ ¯ ¯ ibn-al. Abu-lˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ Hasan 88.

Jules 131 ˆ lisa ¯n-al-hal = “the tongue of the ¯ ˙ condition” 52. Najıb 37.Isfahanı 71 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˇ Imam. Indian(s) 29. Edward 172. Italian(s) 104. 147 Izz-ad-Dın Abd as-Salam as¯ ¯ Sulamı 42 ¯ ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö jidd. ¯ ¯ ˙ 147. 140–2. 166 ¯ ˙ Lyly. Jesus. 151. 95 ¯rijı ¯rij al-Kumayt ibn-Zayd 22 kurraj 87 Kutayyir Azza = Kutayyir ibnAbd-ar-Rahman al-Mulahı 16. Abu. 173 Lebanon. 119 Magog 88 Mahdi. 37. as-Sarıf 117 ¯nı ˙ ˇ ˇ ¯ Jurjı Zayda 134–5 ¯ ¯n ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö Ka b ibn-Zuhayr 17. 144–5.Utman Amr ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ibn-Bahr 35. Muhsin 81 Mahfuz. 149–50 ¯ ¯ Iliad 44.Isha Ibrahım ¯ ¯q ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 90 Ibn-Xaldun. 79.Atiyya 19–20 ¯ al-Jawa ¯.˙ 77–8.Isfaha ¯. 24 Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Jabra Ibra ¯m Jabra 141 ¯hı ¯ ¯ jahil. Xawa 18. Abu-Bakr Muhammad ¯ ˙ ˙ 44. Abu-l-Faraj 51 ¯nı ˙ al. 145 Jibran Xalıl Jibran 132. 72–4. ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ 22. Muhammad ibn-Yusuf ¯ ˙ 90 Ibn-Zaydun. Sayx 167 ˙ ¯ Imru u-l-Qays 5. Xassan 141 ¯ ¯ ¯ karagoz = ¨ aragoz 173 ¨ ¯ “Karnak” = al-Karnak 140 Kerbela 83 Kharijite(s) = Xa ¯. 58. 98 ˙ Jalal. 12. Abu-Zayd Abd-ar¯ ¯ Rahman 42.Arik al-Xattı 19 ¯ ˙˙ al. Muhammad Utman 133. 19 al-Jahiz. 80. 84. 65. ˙Muhammad Mahdı ¯hirı ¯ ˙ 151 al-Jazza Abu-l-Husayn 105 ¯r. 166 ¯ ˙ “Maid of Dansaway” = Adra u ˇ ¯ ¯ Dansaway 139 ˇ ¯ Ö Ö ö Ö öö Ö ö 189 . Yusuf 141. 82 ¯ ¯ ¯ Isa ibn. ¯ 97. Sun ˙-Allah 141 ¯hı ¯ ˙ Ibra ¯m al-Mawsilı 79 ¯hı ¯ ˙ Ibra ¯m Najı 158 ¯hı ¯¯ “ Ibrahım the Writer” = Ibrahımu ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ l-Katib 137 ¯ Idrıs. John 120 Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö al-Ma arrı. 106 Ka ba 4 Kafur al. 70. 139–40 ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ ˙ Mahmud Darwıs 164 ¯ˇ ˙ ¯ Mahmud Haqqı 139 ¯ ˙ ¯ ˙¯ ¯ ¯ Mahmud Qabadu 150 ˙ ¯ Mahmud Taymur 137. 124. Alphonse de 153 Lane. Hafiz 151. 140. 129. 100. 166 Jamıl ibn-Ma mar = Jamıl Butayna ¯ ¯ 24–5 Jarır ibn. Adıb 130 ¯ ˙ Italy. 18. Abu-l. 139 Luwıs Awad 160. 144. 157 ¯ ¯ ¯ ö ö Ö Ö Labıd ibn-Rabı a 6 ¯ ¯ La Fontaine.Isfaha ¯. 64 India. 164 Jew(s). Jewish 59.Ixsıdı 61–2 ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Kalıla wa Dimna 29. jiddı 111 ¯ John of Capua 100 Journey of Ibn Fattouma” = Rihlatu bni-Fattuma 140 ¯ ˙ ˙˙ “Journey to To-Morrow” = Rihlatun ila l-Xad 148 Abyad 145. 117 ¯ ˙ Ibn-Zamrak. 156. 16. Ja ¯ ¯hiliyya 15.INDEX Ibn-Tufayl. 6. the Messiah˙ 59. Jean de 151 Lamartine.Ala Ahmad ¯ ¯ ibn. 128–9. 158 ¯hı ¯ ˙ Ibra ¯m. 100. 100 ¯ Kanafanı.Abd-Allah 63–6. 155 Ilyas Xurı 142 ¯ ¯ ¯ Imad-ad-Dın al. 158 Lemaıtre. 99 Ibn-Xafaja. Abu-l-Walıd Ahmad ¯ ¯ ˙ 89–90 Ibra ¯m. 58. 154–5. Imad-ad-Dın 71 ¯nı ¯ ¯ ˙ Isha ¯q. Abu. 147 Jurj ˙ al-Jurja ¯. Lebanese 125.

Abu-l¯ Qasim 42. 96. 91–3 Moreh. 100. ¯ ˙ ˙ 133 al-Muxattatın 150 ¯ ˙˙ ˙ Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö an-Na ¯bulusı. ˇˇ ¯ ˙ 93–6. 13 ¯ “Murder in Baghdad” = Ma satu-l¯ Hallaj 149 ¯ ˙ Murder in the Cathedral 149 al-Mursı.Aryaf ¯ ¯ ¯ 180 al-Mazinı. ¯¯ ¯ 117. Abu-l. ¯ ¯h 169 an-Nahlawı 108 ¯ ¯ Najı. 90. Moses 100 Majdı. 125. 109. 13. 104. Muhammad 127.Abbas 171 ¯ ¯ Musaylima (false prophet) 72 Mustafa Ibrahım Agag 168 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙˙ al-Mutanabbı. 43. 110. 127. 84. mu allaqat 2n. 140. 165 Mecca. 116. Christopher 120 al-Marrar al. 43. ˙101. 96. 129 Muhammad al-Muwaylihı 127. 172 ¯ ¯ ¯ˇ Maspero. 165 Muhammad wa Su da 99 ¯ ˙¯ mujun 50. 53. 174–6 al-Mawsilı. ¯ ˙ ˙ 133 Muhammad Husayn Haykal 136. mamalık 104. maqamat 40. 164–6. Abd-al-Xanı ibn¯ ¯ Isma ıl 108. 116. 45. Ibrahım Abd-al-Qadir ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 137. 116 Monroe. 168. Abd-Alla 147.Adawı = Ziyad ibn¯ ¯ ¯ Munqid ibn. Gaston 43 ´ Maupassant. 118 al-Muwaylihı. 113. poem of the” = al-Burda 106–7. 138. 133. 53. 91–3 ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö ö ö ö Ö Morocco 121. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙˙ ˙ 138 Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians 172 “Mantle. Nazik 160 ¯ al-Malaqı. 15. 90. 139–40 ¯ ˙ ammad Surur 168 Najıb Muh ˙ ¯ ¯ ˙ ö Ö Ö Ö ö 190 . Ishaq 109 ¯ ˙ ˙ ¯ Mayy Ziyada 131 “The Maze of Justice” = Yawmiyyatu Na ibin fi l. Salih 150 ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ Majnun˙ Layla = Qays ibn-al¯ Mulawwah 24 ˙ ¯ al-Mala ika. ˙ ˙ 179 Muhammad ibn-Muna ¯dir 18 ˙ Muhammad Sabrı 179 ¯ ˙ Muhammad ˙ Utman Jalal 133. pl. 134. 108. 156. ¯ ¯ ˙ 147. 155 mu allaqa. ˙Ibrahım 158 ¯¯ ¯ ¯ Najıb ar-Rıhanı 146 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙¯ Najıb Mahfuz 37. 101. 147 Mongol(s)_ 103. see the Prophet ˙ Muhammad Abduh 119. 112. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin ` 144. Meccan 2. 4. 120 ¯ ¯ an-Nadım. Abu-t-Tayyib ¯ ˙ ˙ Ahmad ibn-al-Husayn 34. 89 ˙ al-Mu tamid ibn. 17. 15 ¯ Muhammad. 115. 121 ¯ mutayyam. 154 maqama. 109. Xalıl 145. 91. 109 ¯¯ mawaliya = mawaliyya = mawwal ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 35–6. 131 “Men in the Sun” = Rijalun fi ¯ s-Sams 141 ˇ ˇ Michel Trad 161 ¯ al-Minawı = Dawud al. 111. mutayyamun 25 ¯ Mutran. 128. Ibrahım 79 ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯ al-Mawsilı. 179 ˙ Muhammad Alı [founder of ¯ ˙ Egyptian dynasty] 124. 151. ¯ ¯ ¯ 75–6. 44. James T.˙ 56–63.INDEX Maimonides. 4. Guy de 137 mawalı 19. muwassahat 35. 179 Moscati. 155 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˇˇ muwassah. 148 al-Ma mun (Caliph) 29 ¯ al-Manfalutı.Amr 25 Marun an-Naqqas 144.Udayya. 118 mukaddı 71 ¯ mumis 84 ¯ muru a 12.Abbad. 181 Marlowe. 33. Shmuel 83n. Abu˙-Bilal 18 ¯s ¯˙ ¯ “The Miser” = al-Baxıl 144 ¯ Mıxa ıl Nu ayma 157–8 ¯ ¯ ¯ Moliere. Mustafa Lutfı 135.Attar 116 ¯˙ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Mirda ibn. 114. Sabatino 31 Moses 12. Umar 96 ¯ ¯ mamluk.

103 “Relief after Hardship” = al-Faraju ba da s-Sidda 75 ˇ ˇ “The Return of the Spirit” = Awdatu-r-Ruh 137 ¯ ˙ ¯ ¯ Rifa a Rafi at-Tahtawı 128. 68.Umr 147 ö ö ö ö Ö Rabi a al. 12. Yusuf ibn-Harun 89 ¯dı ¯ ¯ ¯ Rasıd ad-Da ıf 142 ˇ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Reconquista (Christian reconquest of Spain) 87. 151 ¯¯ ¯ ar-Rama ¯. 82. Nizar 162 ¯ ¯ ¯ qasıda. 166 ar-Radiyy ibn-al-Mu tamid 90 Radubıs 139 ¯ ¯ ˙¯ ar-Rafi ı. 132 ¯ ¯ Rigoletto 145 ˙ ˙ ˙ ar-Rıha ¯. 34. 74. 110. 70. 27. 65. 80–2. 87. 148. 116. 32. 163 Paul et Virginie 133. 58 ¯ Nasıf al-Yazijı 127 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Nazik al-Mala ika 160 ¯˙ ¯ News of the World 129 Niebuhr. 154. 53 ˙ ˙ ¯ ˙ rajaz. 109. 31. 100. 8. 123. 17. 155. 115. 165 ¯ ¯ ¯ Nuzhatu-n-Nufus wa Mudhiku-l¯ ˙˙ Abus =”Bringing a Laugh to a ¯ Scowling Face” 111 ö ö ö Ö Prolegomena to Ibn-Xaldun’s ¯ History = al-Muqaddima 42 Prophet (the) = Muhammad 12. 177 The Prophet 157 Provencal 100 ¸ Punch and Judy 173 Pygmalion 148 Qabadu. ¯ Sunnite 16 Othello 145 Ottoman(s) 104. 120. 117. 155. 56. 21. 134. 148 Orthodox Muslims = Sunnı. 160. amatory = nasıb 4. 9. 131. 52. Jean 145. 15. Palestinian 126. 82. 147. arajız 21. 75. 87. 109. Persian(s). 164. 106. 17. 16. 126 Nu ayma. 33. 58 ¯ “The Prison of Life” = Sijnu-l. Iran 13. 177 Qurays 15. 124. Ma ¯ n 144. ˙Ahmad Abu-Xalıl ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 145 Qabbanı. 168. 31. Najıb 146 ¯ ¯nı ¯ “The ˙Ring of the Dove” = Tawqu ˙ l-Hamama 97 ¯ ˙ Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö 191 . 93. 87. 140. 95. Karsten 116 an-Niffarı. 13. 73 ˇ ö ö Ö Ö ö Ö ö ö ö Oberammergau 83 Odyssey 44 Oedipus 145. 142 North Africa(n) 16. Salım 145 ¯ˇ ¯ nasıb = “amatory prelude” 4. 57. urjuza. 28. Mustafa Sadiq 37 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ rahıl 6. qasa id 4. 17. 100. 169. 35. 89. ¯n. 139 La Petite Illustration 147 “Poem of the Way” = Nazmu-s˙ Suluk 69 ¯ Poetics (Aristotle’s) 38 Praxa 148 Prelude. Muhammad ibn.Abd¯ al-Jabbar 66˙ ¯ Niqula an-Naqqas 144 ¯ˇ ¯ ¯ Nizar Qabbanı 162 ¯ ¯ ¯ Noah 163 Nobel Prize 139. 141. 135 “The People of the Cavern” = Ahlu-l-Kahf 148 “The Perplexed Sultan” = as-Sultanu l-Ha ir 148 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Persia. Ahmad Fu ad 167 ¯ ˙ an-Naqqas. 70. 93. Mahmud 150 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Qabbanı. 15. 8. 173. 75. ˙ 16. Abd-al-Hakım 140. 104.INDEX Najm. 125 Palestine. 174. 26. 16. 143 ¯ ¯ ˙ Qasim Amın 126 ¯ ¯ Qatarı ibn-al-Fuja a 18 ¯ ¯ ˙ Qays ibn-al-Mulawwah = Majnun ¯ ˙ Layla 24 ¯ Qur a Qur anic 11. 121. 72. Niqula 144 ¯ˇ ¯ ¯ an-Naqqas. 176. 21.Adawiyya 68 ¯ Racine. Mıxa ıl 157–8. 28. 176. 83. 50. 88. 43. 53 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Qasim. 108. 172 ¯ˇ ¯ru an-Naqqas.

109. 42. 158 ¯ as-Saxawı. 153. Sufism 66–71. Abd-as-Rahman 138 ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˇ Sawqı. ¯ ˙ 114. 116–8. Sir Walter 133. Izz-ad-Dın Abd-as-Salam ¯ ¯ ¯ 42 ö ö ö ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö 192 .Ishaq Ibrahım ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯bi ¯ ˙ ibn-Hilal 71 ˙ ˙ ¯ Sabrı. pl. Abd-ar-Rahman 156 ¯ ¯ ˇ Sukrı Suqayr 151 ˙ ¯ ˇ Sulamı. 116. 171 ˇ Sukrı. Abu. 136 “Season of Migration to the North” = Mawsimu l-Hijrati ila s-Samal 140 ˇ ˇ ¯ Semaan.INDEX Robinson Crusoe 99.atlal 48 ¯ ¯ ˙ Stephenson. 147. 149 “Seven arts” 36. Taj-ad-Dın 115 ¯ ¯ ¯ Sufı. 133 Rousseau.˙ Muhammad ibn. asraf 115 ˇ ¯ ˇ ¯ as-Sarıf al-Jurjanı 117 ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ as-Sarqawı. Yusuf ibn-Muhammad ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯˙ ˙ 114. 110. Qutb-ad-Dın 117 ˇ ˇ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ as-Sirbını. Spanish see also Andalusia(n) 35.Ayyubı ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ 84 Salah Abd-as-Sabur 149 ¯ ¯ ˙ ¯˙ ˙ Salama Hijazı 145 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Salih. 149. Muhammad 179 ¯ ˙ as-Safadı. 160 “Standing over the ruins” = al-wuqufu ala l. Ahmad Faris 128. 110. 20.Aybak 108 ¯ ˙ ¯ ˇ˙ ˙ Safıqa and Mitwallı 176 ¯ ¯ Safiyy-ad-Dın al-Hillı. 129. 111. ¯ ¯ ˙ 141. Ahmad 36. 109. Robert 125 “Stirring of the Yokels” = Hazzu-lQuhuf 114 ¯ “Story˙ of a Life” = Qissatu Haya ¯h ˙ ˙˙ 138 as-Subkı. Xalıl ibn. 21 ˇ ˇ¯ ˇ ¯ as-Sırazı. 61 ¯ ¯ ˙ Sayf ibn-Dhı-Yazan 116 ¯ ˇ Sayx Imam 167 ¯ ˇ¯ as-Sayyab. 83 as-Sidyaq.Abbad.Insani s-Sab a 140 ¯ ¯ The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus 148 Shadow theatre 44. ¯ 164 Sayyidatu-l-Maqam 142 ¯ Scott.Abd¯ ¯ ar-Rahman 119 ¯ ˙ ˙ ö öö ö ö ö ö ö Ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö Ö ö ö Ö Ö Sayf-ad-Dawla al-Hamdanı 60. 80. 104. Percy Bysshe 160 ˇ¯ Shiah. Khalil I. 118 ˇ¯ Sah-Na ¯meh 44 Sahar Xalıfa 141 ¯ ˙ ¯h as-Sa ib ibn. su ara 2. 118 Solomon 59 “Sons of the Rich” = Awladu-d¯ Dawat 140 ¯ Spain. 118 “The Seven Days of Man” = Ayyamu-l. Abu-l-Qasim 158 ˇ ˇ ¯bbı ¯ as-Sa . 105. 161. sa ir. Abu-l¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ¯ sim Isma ıl 71 Qa ¯ ¯ ˇ Sahrazad 148 ¯ “The Saint’s Lamp” = Qindılu ¯ Ummi-Hasim 138 ¯ˇ sa ir: see si r ˇ¯ ˇ ˇ¯ ˇ Sakir Suqayr 151 Saladin = Salah-ad-Dın al. 107. Jacob = Ya qub Sanu 129. William 145 “The Shaking of the Skull-Caps” = Hazzu-l-Quhuf 114 ¯ ˙ Shelley. 115. Badr Sakir 160. ¯ ¯ ˙ 145 Sanusı(s) 123 ¯ ¯ as-Saqundı. 153. Shiite = Sı a 15. at-Tayyib 140 ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙ ¯ ˙ alih Majdı 150 S¯ ˙ ¯˙ Salım an-Naqqas 145 ¯ˇ as-Sanfara 3 ˇ ˇ ¯ sandu¨ id-dinya 173 ¯ ¯ ˙Sanua. 110. Abu-l¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ Mahasin 26. Salman 120 Ruzbıh = Abd-Allah ibn ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Muqaffa 29 Ö Ö Ö Ö as-Sa az-Zarıf = Muhammad ˇ ˇ ¯bb ¯ ˙ ˙ ¯ ˙ ¯ ¯ ibn-Sulayman at-Tilimsanı 104 sabbaba 2 ¯ as-Sa ¯. Jean-Jacques 99 Rum = Byzantines 35 ¯ ar-Rusa ¯. 172 Shakespeare. ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ˙ 144 si r. Abu-l-Walıd Isma ıl ˇ ˇ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 96 sarıf. 84. Ma ruf Abd-al-Xanı 155 ¯fı ¯ ¯ ˙ Rushdie. 169.

Ahmad ¯ ˙¯ ˙ ˇ Sams-ad-Dın 117 Xalıfa. 132 ¯wı ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ ˙¯ ¯ at-Tanuxı. 168.A raj 142 ¯sı ¯ Wattar. 131. 21. Abu-Hayya Alı ¯ ¯ ¯n ¯ ¯ ˙ ibn-Muhammad˙ 75 ˙ Taymur. 181 ˙ Tahir Wattar 141 ¯ ¯ ˙ ˙ at-Tahta ˙ ¯. 80–1. at-Ta ¯ ¯hir 141 ˙ ˙˙ “weeping˙ over the ruins” = al-buka u ala l. ¯ ¯ ˙ 180 at-Tawhıdı. Michel 166 ¯ ˙ “The Tragedy of al-Halla = ¯j” Ma satu-l-Hallaj ˙ ¯ ¯ 149 ˙ “The Tree Climber” = Ya Tali a-sˇ ¯ ¯ ˙ ˇ Sajara 148 Tripartite ode 4. 18. 138. Mahmud 137. Syrian(s) 13. 139. 139 ¯ ¯ ˙ Trad. 89 “Unadorned Bejeweled and the Underpriced Revalued” = ¯ al. 138. Yusuf 146. 147–9. 15 as-Suyutı. 165 ˙ Ö ö at-Ta alibı. 84. 166 ¯ ¯ at-Tayyib Salih 140 ¯˙ ˙ ˙ “Tears” = ˙al. 181 ¯ ¯ Wahhabı. 180 “the tongue of the condition” = lisanu-l-hal 52. 9. Rifa a Rafi 128.INDEX Sulayman al-Bustanı 155 ¯ ¯ ¯ Sun -Alla Ibra ¯m 141 ¯h ¯hı ˙ “Sundry Things from the Afterlife” ¯ = Turafun min Xabari l-Axira ˙ 143 Sunnı. 119 Wahbı. 173 ¯da ¯ ¯ ÖUba ibn-Maö-as-Samaö 93 Ubayd-Allah ibn-Qays ar¯ Ö Ruqayyat 23–4 ¯ udrı 24. 115. 4.Alı al-Muhassin ¯ ¯ ˙ ibn. Sahar 141 ¯ ˙ ö 193 . Ö ö Abu-l-Qasim ¯ Ö Saraf-ad-Dı¯n¯ 68–70.Abd 7 t˙arıqa 70 ¯ ˙Tawfıq al-Hakım 137. 104.Ustad 165 ¯ Utman Jalal.˙ Abarat 135 ¯ Telemaque 132 ´ ´ “The Thief and the Dogs” = al-Lissu wa l-Kilab 130 ¯ ˙˙ Thousand and One Nights = Arabian Nights 43–4. 53 Ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö Ö Ö Ö Ö ö ö ö Ö ö Ö Vandal(s). 105. Muhammad 133. 79 ¯ Ö Uka ˇa brothers 147 ¯s ÖUka 2 ¯z ÖUmar ibn. Arnoud 111n. ¯ ¯ 147. Muhammad ibn. 123. 158. Jalal-ad-Dın Abu-l-Fadl ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 108.Alı 75 ¯ Tarafa ibn-al. 160 Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö al-Xafrı. Alı Mahmud 159 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙¯ ¯ ˙ Taha Husayn 11n. 127. Wahhabism 123 ¯ ¯ Walla bint-al-Mustakfı 89 ¯da ¯ Wa ¯nı al. 124. 119. ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ 167 Turk(s). ˙115 Syria. 81. 170 Syriac 29 Syro-American(s) 157–8 Ö ö Troubadour 100 tufaylı 76 ¯ ˙at-Tunisı. Sakir 151 Surur. Abu. 83.Abı¯-Rabı¯ a 22 ˙ ÖUmar ibn-al-Farid. Abu-Mansur Abd-al¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ˙ Malik 75 Taha. 48 ¯ ¯ ˙ “The Whore’s Wedding” = UrsuBaxiyy 141 World War(s) 126. 37. 110 ˙ ö ˇ Umayyad (dynasty) 16. 26. 28. Turkish 104.atlal 4.Atilu l-Ha ¯ wa l-Muraxxasu ¯lı ˙ l-Xalı 109 ˙ ¯˙ ¯ urjuza: see rajaz ¯ Usama ibn-Munqid 77 ¯ al. 146. 23. Turkey. 22. 165. 145. Najıb Muhammad 168 ¯ ¯ ˙ “Suspended odes” = mu allaqat ¯ 2n. vandalos 87 “Views” = an-Nazarat 135 ¯ Voltaire = Francois-Marie Arouet ¸ ˙ 65 Vrolijk. 56. 139. 87. ˙ 137. 151. Mahmud Bayram 166. 116. Sunnite(s) 16 ¯ ˇ ˇ¯ Suqayr.

16. 100. 95 ¯ ¯ ¯ xarja 95. Abd-Allah Salım 125 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Yazijı.Atik 19 ˙ ˙¯ ¯ al-Xazalı. 149–50 ¯ Yusuf Wahbı 146. xattı 106–7 ¯ ˙˙ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Xattı.Ars 171 ˇ ¯˙¯ ˙ al-Yazijı.Abı-Sulma 5. Muhammad Najıb 136 ¯bilı ¯ ˙ xarıb 21. 155 ¯ ¯n ˙ al-Xara ˙ ¯.Ahmad al-Farahıdı 21 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Xalıl Mutra 145. 181 ¯ ¯ Ö Ö ö Ö ö Ö Ö ö ö az-Zahawı. Abu-Hamid ¯ ¯ ˙ Muhammad 67 ˙¯ ¯ al-Xubarı. xawarij = Kharijite(s) 18. 109.INDEX al-Xalıl ibn. Jamıl Sidqı 155 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ zahr 173. 176–7 ˙ zajal 91–3. 166 Zanata 83 ¯ Zaydan. ¯ ¯ 17. Jurjı 134–5 ¯ ¯ Zaynab 136 Ziyada. Mayy 131 ¯ Zuhayr ibn. 10.˙ ˙ Isa ibn. 52 ¯ xarijı. 98 ö Ö 194 . Ilyas 142 ¯ ¯ ¯ al-Xuwarizmı. 96.Abbas ¯ ˙ 38–40 ö Yahya Haqqı 138. 110. Abd-Allah Xalaf ibn¯ Muhammad 110 xulamiyya = “boyette” 48 ¯ ˙ Xurı. Abu-Bakr ¯ ¯ ¯ Muhammad ibn-al. Nasıf 127 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ Yusuf Idrıs ˙ ¯ 141. 181 ¯ ¯ Yaqut-al. 109 Xassan Kanafanı 141 ¯ ¯ ¯ Xatt. 27.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.