Sunday, October 24, 2010

String of Pearls

Fadl Ashsha'ira (d.871) was a poetess of the Abbasid Period (750-1258). She was born in Yamama, Bahrain, and was raised in Basra, Iraq. She was sold by her brothers to a leading court secretary, who in turn, gave her to the Khalif Mutawakkil (821-861). She became one of the court's entertaining poets. According to the bibliographer Ibn Annadim (d. 1047) she had a diwan (collection of poems) of twenty pages. The following poem was written in response to the poet Abu Dhulaf (d.840) who hinted in a poem of his own that she was not a virgin and he preferred virgins, whom he compared to unpierced pearls:

إن المطية لا يلذ ركوبها
 ما لم تذلل بالز مام و تركب 
و الدر ليس بنافع أربابه 
حتى يؤلف للنظام بمثقب 

Riding beasts are no joy to ride until they're bridled and mounted.
So pearls are useless unless they're pierced and threaded.

(Source: Classical Poems by Arab Women - Abdullah Al Udhari)


Azra S. said...

Fascinating bit of info on her. Even more intriguing to find that more than 1000 years later in an age of "liberation" and "education", men (and their misogynistic / chauvinistic attitudes) haven't changed :P

desert demons said...

That's true as time goes we discover more and more that only ' the names and places have been changed' everything else remains as it did at 00:00:00. The greater point I should be making is that we never strive to change it often it's the women that allow the attitudes to continue.

Azra S. said...

Very true... was just telling someone that a lot of women in SA hate the way their husbands and mother-in-laws treat them... yet they rear their sons to be those men and eventually become just like / or even worse than their MIL's!