another dose of Arab poets

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Ibn al-rumi was poisoned by Caliph Mu’tadid’s vizier, who dreaded his satires.The minister suborned a servant who served the poet with a poisoned biscuit. When Ibn al-rumi had eaten it, he perceived he had been poisoned and rose to depart. “where are you going?” said the minister.”whither you have sent me”. “Very good”,replied the vizier,”present my duty to my father”.“I am not on my road to hell!” answered the poet.

😆 that’s my poet!

Thabit ibn jabir was surnamed Ta’abbata-sharran (one who carries evil under his arm) because he carried a sharp knife with him.He was a robber; he could run down the very gazelles.in his poems, he mentions his adventures with the ghouls and how he saw them with their two eyes set in the middle of a hideous head, like a cat’s, their splitup tongues and mishappen legs.

Abu wahab, a man of Thaqif, who was a coward inspite of his inches met the famous runner one day,when he himself was wearing a handsome cloak. He inquired how it was that he could overcome every one, though he was short and slight and stunted. “It is my name’,replied the brigand.”when I meet a man,I say ‘I am Ta’abbata-Sharran’, then his courage melts away and he gives me whatever I demand.”

The questioner proposed that he should buy the other’s name, the price to be the gorgeous cloak and the right to bear the surname Abu wahb; the bargain was struck, and the purchaser gave up his new garment, receiving rags and tatters in exchange.

But the poet went from tribe to tribe singing, “though we may have exchanged names, who will give Abu wahb my patience in adversity, my indomitable courage in the face of all misfortunes?”

Bloody cheater!

Famous everywhere for his unbounded generosity is Hatim, of the tribe of Tai. If he found any one to share his food he would eat, otherwise he threw it away. Once His father sent him to herd the camels. On reaching the pasture, he found 3 riders who were 3  poets, Abid bin al-abras, Nabigha and Bishr ibn Abi khazim, on their way to King Numan. Hatim immediately slaughtered 3 camels for them. Abid said, “We desired no entertainment save milk, but if thou must needs charge thyself with something more, a single youg she-camel wuld have sufficed us”. Hatim replied, “That I know, but seeing different faces and diverse fashions I thought ye were not of the same country and I wished that each of you should mention what you saw, on returning home.” So they spoke verses in praise of him and celebrated his generosity and hatim sad,” I wshed to bestow a kindness upon youy but your bounty is greater than mine. I swear to God I will hamstring every camel in the herd unless ye come forwad and divide them among yourselves”. The poets did as he desired and each man recved inety-nine camels. When Hatim’s father heard of this he came to him and asked, “where are the camels?” “O my father”, replied Hatim, “by means of them I have conferred on thee everlasting fame and honour that will cleave to thee like the ring of ringdove and men will always bear in mind some verse of the poetry in which we are praised.this is thy recompense for the camels”. On hearing these words his father said, “By God I will never dwell with thee again”. So he went forth with his family and hatim was left alone.

WTH?!  Such generosity prompted by a craving for fame? I mean ok, I understand if people find the idea of being famous for beauty, brains, riches or honesty inviting. but fame for generosity? *gulp* sounds like a double-edged sword to me, constantly living up to lofty expectations of so many people…you are bound to disappoint, nahin?

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