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By Margaret Larkin

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This exhaustive and but mesmerizing examine considers the lifestyles and paintings of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), usually considered as the best of the classical Arab poets. A progressive at middle and infrequently imprisoned or pressured into exile all through his tumultuous existence, al-Mutanabbi wrote either arguable satires and while hired via one in all his many consumers, laudatory panegyrics. utilizing an ornate sort and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi used to be one of many first to effectively circulation clear of the frequently inflexible kind of Arabic verse, the ‘qasida’.

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Additional info for Al-Mutanabbi: The Poet of Sultans and Sufis (Makers of the Muslim World)

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But before we take a look at the frustrations and adventures of al-Mutanabbi’s 45 early career, we need to paint a clearer picture of his background, his education, and the social and political environment that shaped him. 46 47 48 49 GROWING PAINS 50 ORIGINS AND EARLY FORMATION The Iraqi city of Kufa had had a long history of religious and political dissent by the time Abu’l-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Ju‘fi al-Mutanabbi was born there in 915 CE. Since its brief stint as caliphal capital under the fourth caliph, ‘Ali, the city had been a stronghold of Shi‘ite support.

The tripartite ode, still the dominant poetic form, usually opened with an amatory prelude with the customary stopping at the abandoned campsite of the lost beloved, usually followed by a journey section in which the poet’s mount was painstakingly described. The catalogue of travails encountered during this journey over harsh terrain was meant, in the ‘Abbasid ode, as an incentive to increased generosity on the part of the patron who had commissioned the work. The traditional praise section of the pre-Islamic ode was retained during the ‘Abbasid era in the form of exaggerated praise of the patron, in which his tribal origins were elaborately vaunted.

A similar instance of tweaking the conventions occurs in the description of the poet’s camel. In this poem, the novelty is that the mount is not a camel, but rather the poet’s feet, his only means of transportation, and he likens the parts of his sandals to the various parts of the camel and its appurtenances. The flavor of this section, where the poet describes himself as running as fast as the wind, is reminiscent of the poetry of the sa‘alik – or “outlaw” poets – who vaunted their ruggedness, speed, and ability to face the elements alone.

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