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al-Mutanabbi
Arabic: 'abū t-tayyibi 'ahmadi bni hussayn 'al-mutanabbi


(Kufa, Iraq 915- Baghdad 965) Arab poet, considered the greatest of the classical Arab poets.
al-Mutanabbi was educated in Damascus, but as chose to live among bedouins in the desert, with the tribe Banu Qalb. It was during his youth, when he participated in revolutioary movements, that he got his name, meaning "the one who wants to become Prophet".
During a period of imprisonment he started to compose his poetry. From 948 to 957, al-Mutanabbi worked closely with the Syrian prince, Sayfu d-Dawla, in Aleppo, and wrote a number of panegyrics for him. But as al-Mutanabbi was still politically active, he was eventually forced to flee to Egypt. Because he wrote satires that presented the court in a negative way, he had to move again, this time back to Baghdad in Iraq.
Later on he worked as a court poet in Shiraz. When he was without a patron, al-Mutanabbi was slain during a trip near Baghdad in 965 by brigands.
Using a flowery style, the ode, and an approach different from the traditional Arabic qasida, al-Mutanabbi emerged as the most important representative for the panegyrical poetic style.
This passage is taken from a poem written to Sayfu d-Dawla:
Glory and honour were healed when you were healed, and your pain passed on to your enemies. Light, that had left the sun, as if it was sick in its body, came back to it. By race, the Arabs are supreme in the world, but a foreigner will take part with the Arabs of good heart.





By Tore Kjeilen