Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz
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Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz
عبد الله بن المعتز
Governor of Arminiyah
In office866 – 867
PredecessorAl-Abbas ibn al-Musta'in (863–865)
SuccessorAbu'l-Saj Devdad
Born861
Samarra, Abbasid Caliphate now Iraq
Died17 December 908
Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate
BurialIraq
RelativesAl-Muntasir (uncle)
Al-Mutamid (uncle)
Al-Muwaffaq (uncle)
Al-Mu'tadid (cousin)
Names
Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz ibn al-Mutawakkil ibn al-Mu'tasim ibn Harun al-Rashid
DynastyAbbasid
FatherAl-Mu'tazz
MotherFatimah Khatun bint al-Fath ibn Khaqan
ReligionSunni Islam
OccupationArabic poet
Author (the author of the Kitab al-Badi)
Politician
Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz (Arabic: عبد الله بن المعتز‎‎, romanized​ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Muʿtazz​; 861 – 17 December 908) was the son of the caliph al-Mu'tazz and a political figure, but is better known as a leading Arabic poet and the author of the Kitab al-Badi, an early study of Arabic forms of poetry. This is considered one of the earliest works in Arabic literary theory and literary criticism​.​[1]
Persuaded to assume the role of caliph of the Abbasid dynasty following the premature death of al-Muktafi​, he succeeded in ruling for a single day and a single night, before he was forced into hiding, found, and then strangled in a palace intrigue that brought al-Muqtadir​, then thirteen years old, to the throne
Contents
1Life
2Works
2.1Editions
3See also
4References
5Further reading
Life[edit]
Born in Samarra as a prince of the imperial house and the great-great-grandson of Harun al-Rashid​, Ibn al-Mu'tazz had a tragic childhood in the byzantine intrigues of the Abbasid caliphate. His grandfather, the caliph al-Mutawakkil​, was assassinated when Ibn al-Mu'tazz was only six weeks old. These events ushered in the nine-year Anarchy at Samarra. Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz's father, al-Mu'tazz 13th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate​, came to power in 866, but in 869 was also murdered. The boy was spared the purge of the palace by fleeing to Mecca with his grandmother Qabiha.
Upon returning to Baghdad soon after, he distanced himself from politics and lived the hedonistic life of a young prince. It was during this time that he wrote his poetry, devoted to the pleasures with which he was so familiar.
After reigning from 5 April 902–13 August 908, the 17th Caliph, Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz's cousin Al-Muktafi​, died. Vizier al-Abbas ibn al-Hasan al-Jarjara'i wished to install Al-Muktafi's thirteen-year-old brother Al-Muqtadir on the throne, clearly intending to be the power behind the throne himself. Despite his reluctance, Ibn al-Mu'tazz was persuaded by the opposition to assume the caliphate instead, in the hope that he would put an end to the intrigues that had plagued the dynasty for decades. He was crowned on 17 December 908, but was overthrown the same day. He fled the palace in Baghdad and hid with a friend, but was found on 29 December and strangled.​[2] Almost prophetically, he had once written as a poet:
A wonderful night, but so short
I brought it to life, then strangled it.
And another:
خل الذنوب صغيرها وكبيرها ذاك التقى.
واصنع كماشٍ فوق أرض الشوك يحذر ما يرى.
.لا تحقرن صغيرةً إن الجبال من الحصى
Abandon sins, big and small – that is piety.
And be like the one who walks on a thorny path, he is cautious of what he sees.
Do not belittle the small sins; truly mountains are made of pebbles
Accordingly, Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz was succeeded by the young Al-Muqtadir, who is accounted the 18th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Works​[​edit​]
Al-Mu'tazz's Kitab al-Badi, composed in 274 when he was 27, laid the groundwork for future studies of poetry by Arabic scholars.​[3] Its title can be translated as 'the book of the new style', and 'takes its name from its polemical aim, namely to show that the style of the poets called "modern" (​muḥdathūn​), such as Bashshār b. Burd (d. 167 or 168/784-5), Muslim b. al-Walīd (d. 208/823), or Abū Nuwās (d. between 198/813 and 200/815), is not so very "new" and that none of its features was not anticipated in the Quran, the traditions of Muḥammad and his companions, and old poetry.'[4]
In the estimation of Charles Greville Tuety,
Ibn Al-Mu‘tazz is the spontaneous poet, akin in temper to Abu Nuwās. Free-ranging in his choice of subject, he is noted for newness of approach in handling his themes. What makes him essentially new, however, lies on another plane and is not immediately apparent: Carried along by his bold and sensuous imagery, we are satisfied that it is so, until, on pausing, we suddenly glimpse the perspective beyond.​[5]
Editions​[​edit​]
There are two main editions of Al-Mu‘tazz's dīwān: Muhammad Badī‘ Šarīf (ed.), Dīwān aš‘ār al-amīr Abī l-‘Abbās ‘Abdallāh b. Muḥammad al-Mu‘tazz​, Dahā’ir al-‘Arab (Cairo: Dār al-Ma‘ārif, 1977-78) and Yūnus Ahmad as-Sāmarrā’ī (ed.), Ši‘r Ibn al-Mu‘tazz: Qism 1: ad-Dīwān'; Qism 2: ad-Dirāsa​, two parts in four volumes (Baghdad: Wizārat al-I‘lām, al-Ǧumhūrīya al-‘Irāqīa [Iraqi Ministry of Information], 1978). Of the two, the latter is more reliable, but at times the former offers better readings.​[6]
Another edition is
ديوان ابن المعتز [Dīwān ibn al-Mu'tazz], ed. by عبد الله بن المعتز‎ (دار صادر‎ [Dar Sader] [n.d.]).
See also​[​edit​]
Al-Mufawwid
References​[​edit​]
  1. ^ van Gelder, G. J. H. (1982), Beyond the Line: Classical Arabic Literary Critics on the Coherence and Unity of the Poem, Brill Publishers​, p. 2, ISBN 90-04-06854-6
  2. ^ Charles Greville Tuety (trans.), Classical Arabic Poetry: 162 Poems from Imrulkais to Ma‘arri (London: KPI, 1985), p. 80.
  3. ^ F. Krenkow, 'Four Anthologies of Arabic Poetry', The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 2 (1936), 253-70, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25201286 (p. 254).
  4. ^ Pierre Lacher, 'Arabic Linguistic Tradition II: Pragmatics', in The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics​, ed. by Jonathan Owens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 185-212 (p. 197).
  5. ^ Charles Greville Tuety (trans.), Classical Arabic Poetry: 162 Poems from Imrulkais to Ma‘arri (London: KPI, 1985), p. 79.
  6. ^ Nefeli Papoutsakis, 'Ibn al-Muʿtazz the Epigrammatist: Some Notes on Length and Genre of Ibn al-Muʿtazz's Short Poems', Oriens, 40 (2012), 97-132 (pp 100-104).
Further reading​[​edit​]
Caliphs of Baghdad
(749–1258)

Caliphs of Cairo
(1261–1517)
[B] indicates ephemeral caliphs recognized in the city of Baghdad only
Old
Namara inscriptionPre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions
Pre-Islamic
Abu Layla al-MuhalhelAdi ibn ZaydAfira bint 'AbbadAl-Fāriʿah bint Shaddād​Al-Hujayjah​Al-Ḥurqah​Al-Khirniq bint BadrAl-ShanfaraAl-Nu'man ibn Humaydah'Alqama ibn 'Abada'Amir ibn al-TufaylAmr ibn KulthumAntarah ibn ShaddadAl-A'shaHarith ibn Hilliza Al-YashkuriHatim al-TaiLabīdLaila bint LukaizMahd al-Aadiyya​Mu'aqqir​Al-Nabigha​Imru' al-QaisSamaw'al ibn 'AdiyaTarafaUthman ibn al-HuwayrithZuhayr bin Abi SulmaZuhayr ibn JanabAktham ibn SaifiAl-Munakhal
Classical
Early Islamic
Abbasid era
Bint al-MahdīIbn al-AhnafIbn al-Mu'tazz​Abu Firas al-Hamdani​Abu Tammam​Al-Mudabbir​Abu'l-Qasimbal-Maghribi​Arib al-Ma'muniyya​Al-Asma'i​Ahmad al-Tifashi​Abu-l-'Atahiya​ibn al-'Amid​Al-Hamadani​Baha' al-din Zuhair​Bashar ibn Burd​Buhturi​Al-Busiri​Al-Isfahani​Al-Fath ibn Khaqan​Al-Hariri of BasraIbn al-FaridIbn al-RumiIbn Duraid​al-Zajjaj​Abu Mansur al-Azhariibn al-Mahdiibn al-Mudabbir​Al-Ma'arri​Marwan ibn Abi Hafsa​Al-Mutanabbi​Abu Nuwas​Al-Jahiz​Shāriyah​Al-Armanazi​Aban al-Lahiqi​Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani​Rabia of Basra​Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz​Yunus ibn HabibAbu Nasr al-Jawhari​Al-Farahidi​Al-Shafi‘i​Ibn al-Muqaffa'​Al-Mubarrad​Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur​Safiyya al-Baghdadiyya​Al-Zahiri​Abu Muhammad al-AnbariIbn al-AnbariIbn QutaybahDik al-Jinn​‘Inān​Abu Ahmad MonajjemIbn Bakkar​Al-Sarī al-Raffā’​Al-Suli​Niftawayh​Al-Tughrai​Laylā bint Ṭarīf​Al-Tha'alibi​Al-Daylami​al-Tawhīdī​Al-Sharif al-RadiIbn Hayyus​Al-Raghib al-Isfahani​Sharif al-MurtazaAl UyuniYaqut al-HamawiAl Suhrawardi Al-Hallaj​Usama ibn MunqidhIbn al-Qatta' al-SiqilliIbn al-ShajariIbn al-NafisIbn 'Adlan
Al-Andalus
and Maghreb
Mamluk era
Ottoman era
Modern

Nawal El SaadawiNaguib MahfouzYusuf IdrisSonallah IbrahimAhlam MosteghanemiMahmoud DarwishAdunisMuhammad al-MaghutNizar QabbaniAbbās al-AqqādMustafa Wahbi al-TalSaid AklFayeq Abdul-JaleelSinan AntoonIbrahim TuqanEmile HabibiGhassan KanafaniGhada al-SammanAbdul Rahman MunifAl GosaibiEchebbiHanna MinaColette KhourySaadallah WannousZakaria TamerTayeb SalihLeila AboulelaIhsan Abdel QuddousAlaa Al AswanyMohamed ChoukriLeila AbouzeidMohammed BennisAbdellatif LaabiMohamed Said RaihaniWaciny LaredjTahar DjaoutAlifa RifaatAli DouagiYoussef RzougaSalah JahinAmal DonqolAhmed Zaki Abu ShadiHasan TawfiqIbrahim al-Mazini al-JawahiriSafa KhulusiNazik Al-MalaikaAhmed Matar​Al-Bayati​al-Sayyab​Saadi YousefIbrahim NasrallahElia Abu MadiOmar Abu RishaYusuf al-KhalMourid BarghoutiJabra Ibrahim JabraSamih al-QasimFadwa Tuqan
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Categories: 861 births908 deaths9th-century Arabs10th-century Arabs10th-century Abbasid caliphs9th-century Arabic poets10th-century Arabic poets9th-century Abbasid caliphsPeople from SamarraPoets of the Abbasid CaliphateBaghdad under the Abbasid CaliphateSons of Abbasid caliphs
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