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From Praising Prophet Muḥammad to Praising The Christ, a Christian Version of The Sufi Muslim Poem al-Burdah

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Organizer: ABDULLAH ALSARHAN

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Al-Burdah of al-Buṣīrī (d. 1294-97/694-7) is an iconic poem that established a literal tradition of praising the prophet Muḥammad by following a specific form of poetry influenced by praising Arabic poetry and Sufism (THE GREAT INFLUENCE OF AL-Burdah is reflected in a long list of poems that were composed an imitation or a contrafaction (muʾāraḍah) of al-Burdah’s to praising the prophet; imitating its prosodic meter (al-Basīṭ), the rhyme (mī), and the thematic sections. Although al-Buṣīri directly criticises Christianity in his poem, a few Christian Arabic-speaking poets composed poems to praise Christianity and Christ using the concept of muʾāraḍah to imitate al-Buṣīrī’s Burdah; one of which is Nīqūlawus al-Ṣāyigh (d. 1756/1169).

Al-Ṣāyigh not only composed a muʾāraḍah of al-Burdah, but he also structured it as a badīʿiyyah; a structure that follows the rhetorical type of badīʿ (ornaments of style) in each line of the poem. Structuring a muʾāraḍah of al-Burdah in the form of badīʿiyyah was initially formed to praise the prophet Muḥammad by as it is noted in the earliest examples of such works i.e. the poems of Ṣafiyy al-Dīn al-Ḥillī (d. 1349/750), Ibn Jābir al-Andalusī (d. 1378/780) and Ibn ʿIzz al-Mawṣilī (d. 1387/789).

In this paper, I investigate how al-Ṣāyigh adopted a Sufi muslim well-established literal concept to express and praise his Christian faith by modifying the muslim indications in the poem, some of which fiercely criticise Christianity, and reusing the same Badīʿ style to fulfil his purpose.

 

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