By Margaret Larkin
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This exhaustive and but spell binding research considers the lifestyles and paintings of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), frequently considered as the best of the classical Arab poets. A innovative at middle and infrequently imprisoned or pressured into exile all through his tumultuous lifestyles, al-Mutanabbi wrote either debatable satires and whilst hired by way of one in all his many consumers, laudatory panegyrics. using an ornate type and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi used to be one of many first to effectively circulation clear of the ordinarily 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)
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.
Al-Mutanabbi was a Wunderkind. His obvious natural talents were matched by a studious personality, and he became famous for his prodigious memory. In a primarily oral scholarly culture, the ability to memorize texts – not just poetry, but also diverse scholarly treatises – was highly valued, and the medieval sources provide numerous anecdotes about people with impressive memories, including al-Mutanabbi. On one occasion, tradition has it, al-Mutanabbi was in a bookseller’s shop when the owner of a treatise by the philologist al-Asma‘i came in to arrange to sell the book.
Shortly after his encounter with Mu‘adh, after his fame had spread among the Bedouin, al-Mutanabbi led the tribes of the Samawah region of the Syrian desert in a series of raids. Later, the disruptions expanded to Salamiyyah, northeast of the Syrian city of Hums. Finally, the Ikhshidid-appointed 64 governor of Hums, Lu’lu’ al-Ghuri, sent out an army against the tribes, and al-Mutanabbi was captured. He spent two years (934–936) in prison, and was released only after a jailer took pity on the now gravely ill man and transmitted a poetic appeal from him to the new governor, Ishaq Ibn Kayghulugh.