The long panegyrical zajal of Ibn Quzmaan

by Michel Sleiman


SUMMARY: Bearing in mind the ideal contained in alqaSiidah almurakkabah aTTawiilah (a poly-thematic poem, with more than twenty bimembral lines, according to Bencheikh, 1975, 1989), an ideal which was valid during the IX and X centuries AD; and also bearing mind Ibn Quzmaan’s recommendation that a good panegyric should be longer than six abyaat (see the introduction to his diiwaan) I will try to show, as I did in my doctoral dissertation (USP, 2002), that such ideals in poetry could also be found in XII century Andalusi, at least taking into consideration a partial sample of qaSiid, written in the classical register (diiwaan al’a9mŕ attuTiilii), as well as, and especially, the long zajal panegyric, which make for diiwaan ibn quzmaan’s most representative compositions.


The statistical research of patterns in rhyme, stanza, metrics, themes and the recipients of that zajal suggests that such regularities can be viewed as reactions to the numerous variations to be observed in the muwashshaHaat of the period. In the same perspective, the comparison to genuinely Andalusean poetic forms seems to indicate that, in Alandalus, the Quzmaanian zajal, with its clearly neo-classic traits, is a result of a similar unfolding in Oriental poetry vis-ŕ-vis the work on the part of muHdathuuna. Such parallel between East and West, we are led to believe, proves the “9aruuD accentual” thesis right, thus making it clear that the coming into being, as well as the development of stanzaic Andalusi poetry correspond to internal evolutions inside a long-standing tradition of Arabian poetry.



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