The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Umayya's poems: anything interesting?

Some of the poems of Umayya bin Abi'l-Salt are generically Arab. Others are indeterminately religious. I care about the Qur'an and Arab history. So, that limits my interest in these poems to those with parallels to the Qur'an.

I'd spotted #38 (in Schulthess's enumeration) as immediately important, given that it praises Jesus and Mary by reference to sura 19. This is exactly what Tarif Khalidi would want for his book The Muslim Jesus . . . except that, even so, I'm not all that certain that a Muslim wrote it(!).

On the other side of things, we have #34, whose latter part relays a version of the Thamud story that lieth outside the sura 7/11/26 Prophetic-Cycle.

So: any others?

Sch. took #24 from Tabari's tafsir on the Throne Verse (Q. 2:255), al-Qayyûm; there are additional attestations in Thalabi's Bayan and in Ibn Hayyan Andalusi's Bahr al-Muhit. It is in the form of epigram, classic Arabic rajaz. I see it as something to put alongside the graffiti at Sde Boqer (as Q. 2:255 parallels Walid's now-lost inscription at the Damascus Mosque). Here's your para-Qur'anic Indeterminate Monotheism. Robert Hoyland would like this. Judith Koren would love it. [UPDATE 12/31: A full-fledged project.]

Also I'm looking into #28 (on the Flood) and #31 (on Sodom - actually called Sodom here). They each seem to parallel sura 11. #28 cites "Judi". This is a name-check; this is the poet telling his audience that he is a believer in sura 11 (and not a plagiarist). And since here we have a Prophet, here we have something aligned with the Prophetic Cycle - here we have a Qur'anic-style poem. I'm expecting similar for #31.

posted by Zimri on 16:12 | link | 0 comments

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