Muʿallaqāt, Al-

      collection of seven pre-Islamic Arabic qasida (odes), each considered to be its author's best piece. Since the authors themselves are among the dozen or so most famous poets of the 6th century, the selection enjoys a unique position in Arabic literature, representing the finest of early Arabic poetry.

      Taken together, the poems of the Muʿallaqāt provide an excellent picture of Bedouin life, manners, and modes of thought. The idea of grouping together these particular poems is most commonly attributed to Ḥammād al-Rāwiyah, who was an 8th-century collector of early poetry. An often-repeated legend that originated in the 10th century states that the poems were written down in golden letters on scrolls of linen that were then hung, or “suspended” (muʿallaq), on the walls of the Kaʿbah in Mecca. It is by no means clear, however, that Ḥammād himself ever used the name Muʿallaqāt in referring to his compilation. Instead, he appears to have referred to it as the “seven renowned ones” (al-sabʿ al-mashhūrāt) or simply as “the renowned ones” (al-mashhūrāt). Most probably, the name Muʿallaqāt in this context is a derivative of the word ʿilq, “a precious thing,” so that its meaning would be “the poems which are esteemed precious.” All that can be said with certainty is that the name Muʿallaqāt appeared about 900 to distinguish the seven poems as a subset in a larger compilation of poems.

      The precise poems included in the Muʿallaqāt present another puzzle. The list usually accepted as standard was recorded by Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi and names poems by Imruʾ al-Qays, Ṭarafah (Ṭarafah ibn al-ʿAbd), Zuhayr (Zuhayr ibn Abī Sulmā), Labīd, ʿAntarah, ʿAmr ibn Kulthum (Amr ibn Kulthūmʿ), and al-Ḥārith ibn Ḥilliza. Such authorities as Ibn Qutaybah, however, count ʿAbid ibn al-Abras as one of the seven, while Abū ʿUbaydah replaces the last two poets of Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi's list with al-Nābighah al-Dhubyānī (Nābighah al-Dhubyānī, al-) and al-Aʿshā (Aʿshā, al-).

      Of the authors of the Muʿallaqāt, the earliest is Imruʾ al-Qays, who lived in the early part of the 6th century. The others belong to the latter half of that century. Zuhayr and Labīd are said to have survived into the time of Islam, but their poetic output belongs to the pre-Islamic period.

      The Muʿallaqāt odes are all in the classical qasida pattern, which some Arab scholars believed to have been created by Imruʾ al-Qays. After a conventional prelude, the nasib, in which the poet calls to mind the memory of a former love, most of the rest of the ode consists of a succession of movements that describe the poet's horse or camel, scenes of desert events, and other aspects of Bedouin life and warfare. The main theme of the qasida (the madīḥ, or panegyric, the poet's tribute to himself, his tribe, or his patron) is often disguised in these vivid descriptive passages, which are the chief glory of the Muʿallaqāt. Their vivid imagery, exact observation, and deep feeling of intimacy with nature in the Arabian Desert contribute to the Muʿallaqāt's standing as a masterpiece of world literature. The lively description of a desert storm at the end of Imruʾ al-Qays's qasida is a splendid example of such passages.

      However, it should not be thought that the poems of the Muʿallaqāt are merely naturalistic or romantic descriptions of Bedouin life; their language and imagery embody a complex system of ethical values passed from generation to generation through the poetry.

      English translations of Al-Muʿallaqāt include The Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia (1903) by Lady Anne and Sir Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and The Seven Odes (1957) by A.J. Arberry.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mu'allaqat — The Mu‘allaqāt (Arabic: المعلقات, [al muʕallaqaːt]) is the title of a group of seven long Arabic poems or qasida (singular qaṣīda, plural qaṣā id) that have come down from the time before Islam. Each is considered the best work of these pre… …   Wikipedia

  • Mou'allaqât — Mu allaqât Les Mu allaqāt (arabe : المعلقات), aussi écrit Mu allaqat, Mou allaqāt, voire mouallakats, sont un ensemble de poèmes pré islamiques. Leur nombre varie en fonction des auteurs : de six à dix, sept étant le plus fréquent. Ce… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mu'allaqat — Mu allaqât Les Mu allaqāt (arabe : المعلقات), aussi écrit Mu allaqat, Mou allaqāt, voire mouallakats, sont un ensemble de poèmes pré islamiques. Leur nombre varie en fonction des auteurs : de six à dix, sept étant le plus fréquent. Ce… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mu'allaqât — Les Mu allaqāt (arabe : المعلقات), aussi écrit Mu allaqat, Mou allaqāt, voire mouallakats, sont un ensemble de poèmes pré islamiques. Leur nombre varie en fonction des auteurs : de six à dix, sept étant le plus fréquent. Ce nom signifie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mu'allaqat — (en árabe معلقات) es el título de un grupo de siete largos poemas árabes o qasida compuestos en la época preislámica. Están considerados como el mejor trabajo poético de su época. El nombre significa Odas (o poemas) colgantes y la explicación… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mu‘allaqat — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mouallakats — Mu allaqât Les Mu allaqāt (arabe : المعلقات), aussi écrit Mu allaqat, Mou allaqāt, voire mouallakats, sont un ensemble de poèmes pré islamiques. Leur nombre varie en fonction des auteurs : de six à dix, sept étant le plus fréquent. Ce… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zouhaïr — Zuhayr Zuhayr, écrit aussi Zouhaïr, (arabe : زهير بن أبي سلمة) était un poète de l époque pré islamique ayant vécu de 530 à 627 après J. C. environ, en arabie. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Extrait 3 Référence …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zuhayr — Zuhayr, écrit aussi Zouhaïr, (arabe : زهير بن أبي سلمة) était un poète de l époque pré islamique ayant vécu de 530 à 627 après J. C. environ, en arabie. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Extrait 3 Référence …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tarafa — T̩arafa ibn al ʿAbd T̩arafa (arabe : طرفة) est le nom donné à un poète antéislamique, auteur d’une Muʿallaqa. Son vrai nom est ʿAmr b. al ʿAbd b. Sufyān b. Saʿd b. Mālik al Bakrī al Wā’ilī (arabe : عمرو بن العبد بن سفيان بن سعد أبو عمرو …   Wikipédia en Français

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