Ibn `Arabī and the Poets: Imitations and Replies

Denis E. McAuley

in Ibn `Arabī’s Mystical Poetics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659548
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743375 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

Ibn `Arabī and the Poets: Imitations and Replies

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This chapter examines how Ibn `Arabī responds to other poets, secular and Sufi alike. Poetic imitation has long been recognized as a way in which Arabic and Persian poets build on a tradition. In one case, Ibn `Arabī incorporates a verse from a predecessor with startling dramatic effect. In another, he copies his predecessor Al-Ḥallāj (d.922), thereby placing himself in a spiritual lineage while subtly implying that he has gone beyond his predecessors. In the final, longer poem, he adopts the metre and rhyme of the Mu`allaqa of the pre-Islamic poet Imru’ al-Qays, which is perhaps the most famous poem in Arabic. Mocking the secular frivolity of the Mu`allaqa, he develops his own manifesto, which portrays poetic inspiration descending on him as the Holy Spirit did on Mary.

Keywords: Ibn `Arabī; Dīwān; poetic imitation; Al-Ḥallāj; Mu`allaqa; pre-Islamic; Imru’ al-Qays; poetic inspiration; Holy Spirit

Chapter.  10449 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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