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Abu Al Tayyeb Al Mutanabbi statue in Baghdad

The tenth century poet Abu Al Tayyeb Al Mutanabbi is one of the greatest world poets, who wrote in Arabic. His poems are riddled with similes, metaphors and different linguistic techniques of the Arabic language. Al Mutanabbi is known for being the most prominent poet at the court of Saif Al Dawla, a strong ruler of the Hamdanid dynasty in northern Syria, at the time. Despite the rich praise poetry Al Mutanabbi composed for Al Dawla, the latter was hungry for more. Their growing proximity was envied by competing artists and courtiers, who at some point succeeded in spoiling the duo's great camaraderie. In response, Al Mutanabbi composed this poem reproaching Al Dawla for buying the the ill-wishers' conspiracy, all the while, boasting about his own honesty, magnanimity, courage and gallantry in the most superb of Arabic forms.

Al Mutanabbi is known as the man who was killed by his own poetry. The repercussion of his poem written in Al Dawla's criticism proved to be fatal to him. Dozens of armed men took Al Mutanabbi by surprise one day, who attacked and killed him.

He was attacked while he was with his son and servants. It is said that although he did manage to run away, one of his servants' called out to him, and asked him to be true to one of his verses which said:

"Horsebacks, dark nights and vast deserts well know me... and so do the sword, the spear, and the parchment and the quill."

Upon being reminded, Al Mutanabbi, in order to remain true to his poetry, returned to fight, until he was killed.


You can listen to Al Mutanabi's poem on courage, in Ahmad Towaiq voice on O's podcast


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