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Splitting the Moon: A Collection of Islamic Poetry

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In a culture with few if any written traditions, reciters—known as rawis in Arabic—committed to memory the poetry and songs of their poets, some of them hundreds of lines long, and recited them at public assemblies and private gatherings.

I behold the green expanse of the sky and the sickle of the new moon: I was reminded both of my life's field and of the time of reaping. originating around 500 bc, it is also considered to be fundamental to the development of pre-Islamic poetry. In his preface, Hayward professes his hope that his poems "have captured at least some of the colour, verve and pathos of today's Islamic world". Persian poetry originates in the modern-day countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Tajikistan, and Pakistan, along with some areas in India during the tenth century.By seeing through his eyes, my eyes have been opened to the quiet beauty of this peaceful, loving and dignified religion. Waddah al-Yaman, now the national poet of Yemen, was also executed for his verse, but this was probably due to his over-familiarity with the wife of the caliph Al-Walid I. The tradition continued in a slightly modified form as zajal, in which two groups 'joust' in verse, and remains a common style in Lebanon. A good example of a western poet is Umar Ibn Abi Radi'a, who was born in 644 CE and was Mecca's most celebrated poet. If a steamer leaves with my friends on sea or land, why should I direct my complaints to the camels?

The themes also moved from desert-life to city-life, reflecting the changed style of living common at the time. According to legend, inside the Kaaba at Makkah prior to Muhammad once hung seven long pieces of Coptic linen with seven pieces of poetry written on them in gold known as the Mu’allaqat— meaning “The Suspended Odes” or “The Hanging Poems”—a septet of qaṣīdahs representing the finest works of seven of the greatest early Arab poets.An important doctrine of Arabic poetry from the start was its complexity, but during the period of court poetry this became an art form in itself known as badi`. I no longer have any taste for love songs on dwellings which already went down in seas of [too many] odes.

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