Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn Saʿīd

Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn Saʿīd (died 1163) is best known as a poet, and lover of Ḥafṣa bint al-Ḥājj ar-Rakūniyya (c. 1135-1191).


Abū Jaʿfar is said to have been taught by, amongst others, the twelfth-century poet Ibn Khafāja. He served as a prominent court secretary for the Almohad governor of Granada, Abū Saʿid ʿUthmān. "Unfortunately for Abū Jaʿfar, his powerful boss also fell in love with Ḥafṣa, and our poet's position in the ensuing love triangle seems to have forced him to flee Granada." Joining Ibn Mardanīsh's rebellion against al-Muwaḥḥid rule in al-Andalus, Abū Jaʿfar was captured and in 1163 executed.[1]


An example of Abū Jaʿfar's poetry, as translated by A. J. Arberry, is 'Wine, my Love':[2]

Ho, bring her hither, happy boy,
For in her presence is my joy,
But (and does love need further proof?)
I grieve when she remains aloof.
I speak upon the wine: when she
Departs, the bowl weeps bitterly,
But when the glass beholds her near
It broadly smiles for the good cheer.


  1. Ross Brann, 'He Said, She Said: Reinscribing the Andalusi Arabic Love Lyric', in Studies in Arabic and Hebrew Letters: In Honor of Raymond P. Scheindlin, ed. by Jonathan P. Decter and Michael Chaim Rand (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press LLC, 2007), pp. 7-16 (at p. 8).
  2. Moorish Poetry: A Translation of ’The Pennants’, an Anthology Compiled in 1243 by the Andalusian Ibn Saʿid, trans. by A. J. Arberry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953), p. 100. For the original see El libro de las banderas de los campeones, de Ibn Saʿid al-Magribī, ed. by Emilio García Gómez (Madrid: Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, 1942).

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