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The poet ‘Umāra al-Yamanl

‘Alwash, Jawād A. (1967) The poet ‘Umāra al-Yamanl. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Abū Muḥammad ‘Umarā ibn ‘Alī was born in the Yemen in 515/1121. He studied jurisprudence at Zabid (531-535 A.H.) then he taught Shāfi ‘ī Jurisprudence there. While on pilgrimage to Mecca in 538/1145 he met the Queen al-Ḥurra of Zabid and became one of her close friends. He began trading between Aden and Zabid in 538 A.H., and became rich, famous, and a friend of Ibn Saba’ (the Dā’ī of Aden), his Vizier Bilāl b. Jarīr and his secretary al-‘Abdī. He was sent by the Prince of “al-Haramain” (Qāsim b. Hāshim b. Falita), on a mission to the Fatimid Caliph (al-Fā’iz) in Egypt in 549 A.H. So successful was his mission that the Prince of al-Ḥaramain sent him on another mission in 551 A.H. He went to Egypt and settled there, living happily until Saladin ended the Fatimid Callphate in 567 A.H. when ‘Umāra was involved in a plot to replace the son of the last Fatimid Caliph on the throne. The plot was betrayed and ‘Umāra was executed on 2 Ramaḍān 569/6 April 1175) (Chapter 1 Part I P. 28-78). 2. ‘Umāra had a good character, so that most people liked and respected him. He was a faithful and pious Moslim, so that he seemed proud of his religion. He belonged to Shāfi’ī sect by birth, education and in his way of thinking; so it was said that he was a fanatic of sunna,. He was one of the most learned of the people of his time. He studied jurisprudence, Tafsīr, Hadith, Ḥistory, Arabic literature and language. Then he wrote many books in addition to his “Dīwān”: al-Nukat al-‘Aşriyya, Tārikh al-Yaman, Shu‘arā’ al-Yaman, al-Farā’iḍ and Sīrat al-Sayyida Nafīsa. All this made him gain a good position in society (Chapter 2 P. 77-129). 3. ‘Umāra’s poetic talent was revealed in Adon by the help of al-‘Abdī, grew at Zabid, and his fame made complete in Egypt especially when he joined “Dīwān al-Shu’arā’” in the Fatimid Caliphate. So he became one of the greatest poets of his time until Saladin’s reign when he become neglected. (Chapter 1 Part II P. 131-159). 4. ‘Umāra was a panegyrist. He was expert in eulogy in which was most of his poetry, but he also wrote in most of the poetical themes common to this time; elegy opistolary-poetry, satire, love poetry, ascetic-poetry, descriptive-poetry and other themes. (Chapter 2 P. 160-230). 5. ‘Umāra constantly sought to express his ideas lucidly, so most of his poetry was understood by ordinary readers. Although his style was not distinguished, it was adequate, and his language was eloquent. He was fond of rhetorical figures (Badī’) which can be seen in most of his poetry. While he avoided strange rhymes and rare metres he wrote many "Urjāzas" and "Muwashshaḥs". (Chapter 3. P. 23I - 282). 6. ‘Umāra made use of some of his predecessors’ art, especially Abū Tammām, al-Buḥturi and al-Mutanabbī. Similarly some of his followers benefitted from his art. His poetic thought and descriptions reached a high level, and he won the admiration of Arabs everywhere. His importance, then, was as a poet who was able to recording his poetry the events which happened in his time, and he was one of the pioneers of "Muwashshaḥs" in the east. (Chapter 4. P. 283 - 318).

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1967
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:35

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