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[LITERATURE
ARABIA

circumstances of the poet’s life were altered. Poetry depended on patronage, and that was to be had now chiefly in the court of the caliph and the residences of his governors. Hence the centre of attraction was now the city with its interests, not the desert. Yet the old forms of poetry were kept. The qasīda still required the long introduction (see above), which was entirely occupied with the affairs of the desert. Thus poetry became more and more artificial, until in the Abbasid period poets arose who felt themselves strong enough to give up the worn-out forms and adopt others more suitable. The names of three great poets adorn the Omayyad period: Akhtal, Farazdaq and Jarīr were contemporaries (see separate articles). The first was a Christian of the tribe of Taghlib, whose Christianity enabled him to write many verses which would have been impossible to a professing Moslem. Protected by the caliph he employed the old weapons of satire to support them against the “Helpers” and to exalt his own tribe against the Qaisites. Farazdaq of the Bani Tamīm, a good Moslem but loose in morals, lived chiefly in Medina and Kufa, and was renowned for his command of language. Jarīr of another branch of the Bani Tamīm lived in Irak and courted the favour of Hajjāj, its governor. His satires were so effective that he is said to have crushed forty-three rivals. His great efforts were against Farazdaq, who was supported by Akhtal (cf. The Naka’id of Jarīr and al-Farazdaq, ed. A. A. Bevan, Leiden, 1906 foll.). Among many minor poets one woman is conspicuous. Laila ul-Akhyalīyya (d. 706) was married to a stranger. On the death of her lover in battle, she wrote numerous elegies bewailing him, and so became famous and devoted the rest of her life to the writing of verse. Two poets of the Koreish attained celebrity in Arabia itself at this time. Qais ur-Ruqayyāt was the poet of ‛Abdallah ibn uz-Zubair (Abdallah ibn Zobair) and helped him until circumstances went against him, when he made his peace with the caliph. His poems are chiefly panegyrics and love songs (ed. N. Rhodonakis, Vienna, 1902). ‛Umar ibn Abī Rabī‛a (c. 643-719) was a wealthy man, who lived a life of ease in his native town of Mecca, and devoted himself to intrigues and writing love songs (ed. P. Schwarz, Leipzig, 1901-1902). His poems were very popular throughout Arabia. As a dweller in the town he was independent of the old forms of poetry, which controlled all others, but his influence among poets was not great enough to perpetuate the new style. One other short-lived movement of the Omayyad period should be mentioned. The rajaz poems (see above) had been a subordinate class generally used for improvisations in pre-Mahommedan times. In the 7th and 8th centuries, however, a group of poets employed them more seriously. The most celebrated of these were ‛Ajjāj and his son Ru’ba of the Bani Tamīm (editions by W. Ahlwardt, Berlin, 1903; German trans. of Ru’ba’s poems by Ahlwardt, Berlin, 1904).

With the establishment of the Abbasid dynasty, a new epoch in Arabian poetry began. The stereotyped beginning of the qasīda had been recognized as antiquated and out of place in city life even in the Omayyad period (cf. Goldziher, Abhandlungen, i. 144 ff). This form had been ridiculed but now it lost its hold altogether, and was only employed occasionally by way of direct imitation of the antique. The rise of Persian influence made itself felt in much the same way as the Norman influence in England by bringing a newer refinement into poetry. Tribal feuds are no longer the main incentives to verse. Individual experiences of life and matters of human interest become more usual subjects. Cynicism, often followed by religion in a poet’s later life, is common. The tumultuous mixture of interests and passions to be found in a city like Bagdad are the subjects of a poet’s verse. One of the earliest of these poets, Muti‛ ibn Ayās, shows the new depth of personal feeling and refinement of expression. Bashshār ibn Burd (d. 783), a blind poet of Persian descent, shows the ascendancy of Persian influence as he openly rails at the Arabs and makes clear his own leaning to the Persian religion. In the 8th century Abu Nuwās (q.v.) is the greatest poet of his time. His language has the purity of the desert, his morals are those of the city, his universalism is that of the man of the world. Abū-l-‛Atāhiya (q.v.), his contemporary, is fluent, simple and often didactic. Muslim ibn ul-Walīd (ed. de Goeje, Leiden, 1875), also contemporary, is more conservative of old forms and given to panegyric and satire. In the 9th century two of the best-known poets—Abū Tammām (q.v.) and Buḥturī (q.v.)—were renowned for their knowledge of old poetry (see Hamasa) and were influenced by it in their own verse. On the other hand Ibn ul-Mo‛tazz (son of the caliph) was the writer of brilliant occasional verse, free of all imitation. In the 10th century the centre of interest is in the court of Saif ud-Daula (addaula) at Aleppo. Here in Motanabbī (q.v.) the claims of modern poetry not only to equal but to excel the ancient were put forward and in part at any rate recognized. Abū Firās (932-968) was a member of the family of Saif ud-Daula, a soldier whose poems have all the charm that comes from the fact that the writer has lived through the events he narrates (ed. by R. Dvořák, Leiden, 1895). Many Arabian writers count Motanabbï the last of the great poets. Yet Abū-l-‛Alā ul-Ma‛arrī (q.v.) was original alike in his use of rhymes and in the philosophical nature of his poems. Ibn Fārid (q.v.) is the greatest of the mystic poets, and Busīri (q.v.) wrote the most famous poem extant in praise of the Prophet. In the provinces of the caliphate there were many poets, who, however, seldom produced original work. Spain, however, produced Ibn ‛Abdūn (d. 1126), famous for the grace and finish of his style (ed. with commentary of Ibn Badrun by R. P. A. Dozy, Leiden, 1846). The Sicilian Ibn Hamdīs (1048-1132) spent the last fifty years of his life in Spain (Diwān, ed. Moaçada, Palermo, 1883; Canzoniere, ed. Schiaparelli, Rome, 1897). It was also apparently in this country that the strophe form was first used in Arabic poems (cf. M. Hartmann’s Das arabische Strophengedicht, Weimar, 1897), and Ibn Quzmān (12th century), a wandering singer, here first used the language of everyday life in the form of verse known as Zajal.

Anthologies.—As supplemental to the account of poetry may be mentioned here some of the chief collections of ancient verse, sometimes made for the sake of the poems themselves, sometimes to give a locus classicus for usages of grammar or lexicography, sometimes to illustrate ancient manners and customs. The earliest of these is the Mo‛allakat (q.v.). In the 8th century Ibn Mofaddal compiled the collection named after him the Mofaddalīyāt. From the 9th century we have the Hamasas of Abū Tammām and Buḥturī, and a collection of poems of the tribe Hudhail (second half ed. in part by J. G. L. Kosegarten, London, 1854; completed by J. Wellhausen in Skizzen und Vorarbeiten, i. Berlin, 1884). The numerous quotations of Ibn Qutaiba (q.v.) in the ‛Uyūn ul-Akhbār (ed. C. Brockelmann, Strassburg, 1900 ff.) and the Book of Poetry and Poets (ed. M. J. de Goeje, Leiden, 1904) bring these works into this class. In the 10th century were compiled the Jamharat ash‛ar al Arab, containing forty-nine poems (ed. Būlāq, 1890), the work al-‛Iqd ul-Farīd of Ibn‛ Abdi-r-Rabbihi (ed. Cairo, various years), and the greatest work of all this class, the Kītāb ul-Aghāni (“Book of Songs”) (cf. Abulfaraj). The 12th century contributes the Diwān Mukhtarāt ush-Shu‛arā’i with fifty qasīdas. The Khizānat ul-Adab of Abdulqādir, written in the 17th century in the form of a commentary on verses cited in a grammar, contains much old verse (ed. 4 vols., Būlāq, 1882).

Belles-Lettres and Romances.—Mahomet in the Koran had made extensive use of saj’ or rhymed prose (see above). This form then dropped out of use almost entirely for some time. In the 10th century, however, it was revived, occurring almost simultaneously in the Sermons of Ibn Nubāta (946-984) and the Letters of Abū Bakr ul-Khwārizmī. Both have been published several times in the East. The epistolary style was further cultivated by Hamadhāni (q.v.) and carried to perfection by Abū-l‛Alā ul-Ma‛arrī. Hamadhīni was also the first to write in this rhymed prose a new form of work, the Maqāma (“assembly”). The name arose from the fact that scholars were accustomed to assemble for the purpose of rivalling one another in orations showing their knowledge of Arabic language, proverb and verse. In the Maqāmas of Hamadhāni a narrator describes how in various places he met a wandering scholar who in these assemblies puts all his rivals to shame by his eloquence.