Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period (The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature)
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Originally published in 1983, The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature was the first general survey of the field to have been published in English for over fifty years and the first attempted in such detail in a multi-volume form. The volumes of the History provide an invaluable source of reference and understanding of the intellectual, literary and religious heritage of the Arabic-speaking and Islamic world. This volume begins its coverage with the oral verse of the sixth century AD, and ends with the fall of the Umayyad dynasty two centuries later. Within this period fall major events: the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the founding of the Islamic religion, the great Arab Islamic conquests of territories outside the Arabian Peninsula, and their meeting, as overlords, with the Byzantine and Sasanian world. Contributors to this volume discuss an array of topics including the influences of Greeks, Persians and Syrians on early Arabic literature.
way of Spain, and until quite recently the symbols used in the western Islamic areas were virtually the same as the medieval European ones. But in the eastern parts of the Islamic world, those symbols have been subjected to subsequent modification of form, which has led to the perceptible difference between the modern European symbols and those currently used in modern Arabic. 26 BACKGROUND TOPICS i.e. sheets of paper pasted together, not the modern manufactured product) covered with a thin
forthrightness, directness and simplicity of the bedouin. An ideally conceived bedouin, imaginary though he be, exists forever in the Arab soul. Ibn Qutaybah's able description of the qasidah style30 should be read against this background, as he says that the Arab poet began his qasidah by mentioning the camping places (so as to make this a means for alluding to the loved one) because the nomadic people were camp-dwellers, and then the mention of the loved one would bring the poet nearer the
decree? He was a man and you were men. Fahm know, had they encountered you in battle, as booty they would have fallen to you. As soon as they heard a sound of him, they were like to abandon their veiled women to him. Guests and seekers after charity knew, when the sky was overcast with dust, the north wind blowing, And suckling women had abandoned their babes and the eye saw no wet in any cloud, That you were rain-giving spring and support to those who come seeking you out [as guests]. By day,
if these pre-Islamic documents have been "improved", this does not in itself militate against their authenticity. Al-RazI read this treaty in the San'a' Jami' Mosque with a shaykh, but he does not state that it was the original copy. That such 39 40 RazI, San1 a, ^S. Serjeant, " T w o tribal law cases", 160. PACTS AND TREATIES 13 I an alliance took place could quite well be the case; the authenticity of the document itself seems dubious - and the question must be asked as to the script in
ordinances, must come under suspicion with regard to its authenticity. Its pattern and explicit, uncomplicated style recall the Fiscal Rescript of 'Umar II (see p. 151 below), but it could be a remodelled paraphrase. 57 58 59 Atiya, Arabic manuscripts, 25, nos 695, 696. Tritton, Caliphs, 233. Hamldullah, Majmu'at, 376-8. DOCUMENTS OF MUHAMMAD S LIFETIME 141 MUHAMMAD'S LETTERS TO FOREIGN MONARCHS AND GOVERNORS Early historians have preserved texts of letters60 purporting to be written by