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110 110 Examples of Early Rhymed Prose (Sajʿ) Not everything that rhymes is verse: only metrical, rhymed speech is considered poetry according to traditional Arabic opinion. Non-metrical, rhymed prose is called sajʿ. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times it was used for special occasions and genres: pithy sayings, maxims, proverbs, speeches of heightened emotion or for solemn occasions, and for the oracular, often enigmatic, mantic utterances of soothsayers and diviners (kuhhān, sg. kāhin). The early suras of the Qur’an also use rhyme or assonance that resembles the soothsayers’ sajʿ, and the Prophet took pains to make it understood that he was neither a poet (shāʿir) nor a soothsayer (kāhin). In the course of the Abbasid period polished and artful kinds of sajʿ were used by epistolographers, chancery scribes, and increasingly in other prose genres, notably the maqāmah; it is also widely used in book titles. In Arabic editions rhyming segments are often separated by full stops, even when the sentence runs on. This does not work in English, so I have used asterisks instead to mark these divisions in the pieces below where the sajʿ is imitated in translation. The mother of the pre-Islamic poet-brigand Taʾabbaṭa Sharrā, lamenting her son:330 ‫ت‬ � ْ‫ج�ز‬ � � ‫أ‬ � ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬� �ْ ‫و‬�‫ه‬� ‫ي‬ � � �‫�ذ‬ ٍ ‫د‬‫ا‬‫و‬��‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ ��‫ل‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ب�ا‬ �� ‫د‬‫و‬� ‫�ق‬ � �َ ‫ر‬ ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ �� ‫�ق‬�‫ل‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ب‬ �‫و‬��‫ر‬ َ ‫�ش‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ �� ّ ‫م‬� ُ‫�ب�ز‬ ‫س‬��‫ي‬ ��‫ل‬� � ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ ��‫ل‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫�ب‬‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫�اه‬‫ن‬ �‫�ب‬�‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬� �ْ ‫و‬�‫ث‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫�ا‬‫ك‬ � �� ‫ل‬� ‫ج‬ �� �‫�بر‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ ��� ‫�ذ‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ب�ا‬ �� ‫ب‬ �‫ر‬ ‫�ض‬ � � ‫�ت‬� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬�‫ي‬ ��‫ل‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ب�ا‬ �� wā-bnāh wa-bna l-layl * laysa bi-zummayl * sharūbun lil-qayl * raqūdun bil-layl * wa-wādin dhī hawl * ʾajazta bil-layl * taḍribu bidh-dhayl * bi-rajlin ka-th-thawl O son, son of the night * he is no coward taking flight * who drinks at noon bright * or sleeps at night * many a wadi full of fright * you crossed at night * shaking your coat’s hem (?)331 * with men like bees in a swarm. 111 111 111 111 Quss Ibn Sāʿidah Quss Ibn Sāʿidah (legendary pre-Islamic orator), preaching, and apparently foretelling the coming of Islam:332 … ‫ت‬ � ‫آ‬ � ‫ت‬ � ‫آ‬ �‫و‬�‫ه‬� ‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫ل‬�‫ك‬� � �� ‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ت‬ �‫ف�ا‬� � � ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫ن‬ �‫م‬�‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫ش‬ ���‫ا‬�‫ع‬ � ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬‫و‬�‫ع‬ �‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬‫و‬�‫ع‬�‫م‬ �‫س‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫٭‬ ‫س‬��‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ �‫ي‬ �� ‫أ‬ � ʾayyuhā n-nāsu smaʿū * wa-ʿū * man ʿāsha māt * wa-man māta fāt * wa-kullu mā huwa ʾātin ʾāt *… O people, hear * and be aware! * Whoever lives will die * whoever dies will disappear * and everything that will come to pass will come near! * A dark night * Constellations in the sky * Seas that rise * Stars that shine * Light and darkness * Piety and sins * Eating and drinking * Clothing and mounts for riding * How is it that I see people pass away * and not return? * Are they pleased to stay so they stayed away? * Or have they been abandoned so they went to sleep? * By the God of Quss ibn Sāʿidah: there is on the face of the earth no religion better than a religion the time of which has come, with its shade to protect you * and its moment has reached you * Blessed he who reaches it and follows it * Woe to him who opposes it * A prophecy about the ruler of Kindah (Central Arabia), Ḥujr ibn al-Ḥārith (father of the poet Imruʾ al-Qays) by ʿAwf ibn Rabīʿah, a pre-Islamic kāhin (soothsayer; first half of the sixth century):333 ‫ب‬ � ‫�خ‬ � ‫ص‬�� � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬�‫س‬�� ‫أ‬ �‫ر‬ ‫ق‬ � � ‫ل‬��‫ع‬ �‫ي‬ �� ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � � ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫ر‬‫�ب‬‫ر‬‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ � ‫ن‬ �� ‫أ‬ ��‫ك‬ � �� ‫ل‬�‫ب‬ ��� ‫�إ‬� ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ � ّ ‫ل‬��‫�غ‬ �‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬ ‫ر‬‫ي‬ �� ‫�غ‬ � ‫ب‬ � ّ‫ا‬� ‫ل‬�‫�غ‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫ه‬ � ‫�ص‬ � ‫أ‬� � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ك‬�‫ل‬��‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫ل‬��‫س‬��‫ي‬ � ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬�� ‫أ‬ � ‫ا‬ ً ‫�د‬ ‫�غ‬ � ‫ا‬ ‫�ذ‬ �‫�ه‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫ع‬ �‫ث‬ � ‫ن‬ ��‫ي‬ �� ‫ه‬�‫م‬�‫د‬ ‫ا‬ ‫�ذ‬ �‫�ه‬ ‫٭‬ mani l-maliku l-ʾaṣhab * al-ghallābu ghayru l-mughallab * fī l-ʾibili ka-ʾannahā rrabrab * lā yaʿlaqu raʾsahu ṣ-ṣakhab * hādhā damuhū yanthaʿib * wa-hādhā ghadan ʾawwalu man yuslab * 112 112 112 112 Prose Who is the fair-haired king * unvanquished, vanquishing * amidst camels like a herd advancing * his head unaffected by the clamoring * this one’s blood will be gushing * and this one will tomorrow be the first for plundering. Two fragments attributed to Musaylimah, the “false prophet” in the time of Muḥammad, who was active in Eastern Arabia and was defeated shortly after Muḥammad’s death (the texts sound like a parody of the Qur’an): ‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ �‫ر‬ ّ ‫ك�د‬ � � �‫ت‬ � ‫ء‬‫�ا‬‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬ ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � � ‫٭‬ ‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ط‬ �� � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ‫ك‬�‫ل‬��‫�ف‬�‫س‬�� ‫أ‬ �‫و‬�� ‫ء‬‫�ا‬‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ِ ‫ك‬‫ا‬� ‫ل‬�‫ع‬ � ‫أ‬ � ‫٭‬ ‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ �� ّ‫�ق‬�‫ن‬ �‫�ت‬� ‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫ي‬ � � ّ ‫�ق‬�ِ ‫ن‬ �� ‫٭‬ ‫ن‬ � ْ ‫ي‬ ��‫ع‬ � ‫�د‬‫�ف‬� ‫ض‬ �� � ‫ت‬ � ‫ن‬ ��‫ب‬ �� ‫ع‬ ‫�د‬‫�ف‬� ‫ض‬ �� � ‫٭‬ ‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ع‬ �‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫ت‬ � ‫ب‬ �‫ر‬ ‫ش�ا‬ ���‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � � ‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ḍifdaʿu bintu ḍifdaʿayn * niqqī mā taniqqīn * ʾaʿlāki fī l-māʾi wa-ʾasfaluki fī ṭ-ṭīn * lā l-māʾa tukaddirīn * wa-lā sh-shāriba tamnaʿīn *334 Frog, daughter of two frogs! * Croak! What are you croaking? * Your top half in the water soaking, * your lower half in the mud poking! * The drinker you rile not, * the water you soil not. * We have half the earth and Quraysh335 the other half, but Quraysh are a hostile lot. ‫ت‬ �‫ا‬‫�خ�ا�ب�ز‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫ح‬ � ‫ط‬ �� � ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫ح‬ �‫�ا‬‫ط‬ �� � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫�ا‬‫ح‬ � ‫م‬� ‫�ق‬ � � ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ ��‫ر‬‫ا‬ ‫�ذ‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬‫�ص�د‬ � ‫ح‬ � ِ‫ت‬ �‫ا‬‫�ص�د‬ �‫�ا‬‫ح‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬�‫ع‬ �‫ر‬ ‫�ز‬ ِ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ ��‫�د‬‫ب‬ �‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫�م‬‫س‬�� ‫و‬�� ً‫ة‬ ��‫ل‬� � ‫�ا‬‫�ه‬ ‫�إ‬ ‫٭‬ ‫�ا‬‫�م‬ ‫�ق‬�‫ل‬� � ‫ت‬ �‫�ا‬‫�م‬ ‫�ق‬ � � ‫ا‬� ‫ل‬�‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬‫د‬‫ر‬ ‫ث‬ � ‫ت‬ �‫ا‬‫د‬‫ر‬ ‫�ا‬‫ث‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ا‬‫ز‬ �‫ب‬ ��‫�خ‬ � wal-mubdiyāti zarʿā * wal-ḥāṣidāti ḥaṣdā * wadh-dhāriyāti qamḥā * waṭ-ṭāḥināti ṭaḥnā * wal-khābizāti khubzā *wath-thāridāti thardā * wal-lāqimāti laqmā * ʾihālatan...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814745113
Related ISBN
9780814770276
MARC Record
OCLC
859687281
Pages
496
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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