Famous researcher sheds light on history of Arabic poetry

Dr. Khursheed Ahmed Rizvi, a famous researcher, scholar, poet, translator and teacher on Friday spoke at length on ancient Arabic poetry.

He delivered his lecture at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences. He said that the history of Arabic poetic literature is missing, there is not a lot of information available about the past, maybe future researchers will find out about it. In Arabic poetry, long poems like epics were less common. In other languages like Masnavi consists of about sixty thousand verses, Shahnama of Ferdowsi, Mahabharata and Odyssey of Homer are also long poems.

Qaseedah, he said, is very common in Arabic poetry. It is used for all types of poems. Every year in Arabic ancient history there had been a fair in which poetry competitions were held.

Arabs usually wrote such qasidas and interpreted them in such a way that it would be difficult to find an example in other languages.

Apart from this, he said that Arabic poets usually start their poetry with ‘tashbeeb’ in which the story of the beloved, youth and beauty is depicted.

But the analogy in Arabic poetry is so strong that it cannot be matched or compared in Urdu or any other language. An Arabic poet likens generosity to the banks of the Nile, which are as long as the hands of the generous. giving another example, he Thread is used for connection in Urdu poetry while rope is used to show connection in Arabic poetry. He said that Urdu poetry borrowed a lot from Arabic poetry but the tragedy is that Urdu poets used Arabic expression timidly. As a result Arabic ideas lost their meanings.

Arabic language has an element of grotesque, he said which other languages missed.

While discussing the Quran and Arabic literature, he said that the poets scripts are nothing compared to the Quranic scripts. No matter how great the Arabic poets were, they were very short in comparison to the eloquence of the Qur’an. When the Holy Quran challenged the greatest Arabic poets to make a surah or even a single verse like that of Quran they failed altogether. Quranic text is unparalleled, he claimed.

Then, while talking about the style of Arabic poetry, he said that situations and events had a profound effect on Arabic poetry, just as there was a period of magic during the time of Moses and such miracles were constantly given to him. An antidote was presented in this way during the time of Jesus Christ because it was time of diseases and he was given the treatment of diseases like leprosy. In this way, eloquence was far-reaching among the Arabs, the scholars were very eloquent; they were very fond of their expression, even common people used to say poetry.

At the end of the lecture, there was a question and answer session in which different students and other scholars asked different questions.

Replying to a question, he said that Sufism is mentioned much later in Arabic poetry. It was applied long after the advent of Islam.

Javed Iqbal is a special correspondent covering the Punjab government with a particular focus on bureaucracy. He has unearthed a number of mega scams while working with leading media houses. He tweets @javedjahangiri and can be reached at javediqbal344@gmail.com.

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