By Margaret Larkin
This exhaustive and but enchanting examine considers the existence and paintings of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), usually considered as the best of the classical Arab poets. A innovative at center and infrequently imprisoned or pressured into exile all through his tumultuous existence, al-Mutanabbi wrote either arguable satires and whilst hired by way of considered one of his many consumers, laudatory panegyrics. applying an ornate sort and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi used to be one of many first to effectively stream clear of the typically inflexible kind of Arabic verse, the 'qasida'.
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Additional info for Al-Mutanabbi: Voice of the ‘Abbasid Poetic Ideal
And he never ceased his attachment to the grandiose image of himself as a great hero, reflected in some of the verses cited above. What religious or philosophical basis he actually offered for this behavior remains unclear. This is not surprising: during the ‘Abbasid era, secretaries had become important patrons of literature and arbiters of taste; some were themselves poets of merit. Understandably, the poems of this period do not have the rebellious voice of the pre-prison pieces. It is not true, however, as some scholars have suggested, that al-Mutanabbi’s personality virtually disappeared from his work, now that he was on good behavior in the hope of attracting a worthy and reliable patron.
Thinkers, and intellectuals of all types, were sponsored at Sayf al-Dawlah’s court: theologians, philosophers, philologists, astronomers, and poets. The latter two were to be perpetual thorns in al-Mutanabbi’s side during his nine years at the court of Aleppo. A self-fashioned champion of Islam, Sayf al-Dawlah had passion and bravery, alas, not always matched by tactical shrewdness, that had helped raise him to the status of hero in the minds of many. An ambitious Muslim and proud member of the Arab tribe of Taghlib, Sayf al-Dawlah was keenly attached to the traditional Arab values that al-Mutanabbi also admired: for example, Sayf al-Dawlah spent a great deal of money on ransoms for Muslims captured during battle.
In short, it was an intellectually dynamic environment,with a strong history of religious and intellectual independence, to which al-Mutanabbi would contribute dramatically. ThisYemenite origin was a source of pride to al-Mutanabbi and, pointing to the excellence and south Arabian origin of his renowned predecessors, Abu Tammam (d. 845 CE) and al-Buhturi (d. 897 CE), he even suggested that the Yemenites possessed an innate and unique talent for poetry. Little is known about the poet’s mother, who seems to have died very early in his life, for he was raised by his grandmother.
Al-Mutanabbi: Voice of the ‘Abbasid Poetic Ideal by Margaret Larkin