Fadl Ashsha'ira

Fadl Ashsha'ira (Arabic: فضل الشاعرة, d. 871 CE) was one of 'three early ‘Abbasid singing girls ... particularly famous for their poetry' and is one of the pre-eminent medieval Arabic female poets whose work survives.[1]

Life

Born in Yamama, Bahrain, Fadl was brought up in Basra, Iraq. Her brothers sold her to a leading officer of the caliphate, and he gave her to Caliph Al-Mutawakkil (r. 847-61). Fadl became a prominent figure in the court. According to Ibn Annadim, a bibliographer (died 1047), Fadl's diwan extended to twenty pages.[2]

Poetry

An example of Fadl's work, in the translation of Abdullah al-Udhari, is:

The following poem was written in response to the poet Abu Dulaf (d. 840) who hinted in a poem that she was not a virgin and he preferred virgins, whom he compared to unpierced pearls.
Riding beasts are no joy to ride until they're bridled and mounted.
So pearls are useless unless they're pierced and threaded.[3]

References

  1. Tahera Qutbuddin, 'Women Poets', in Medieval Islamic Civilisation: An Encyclopedia, ed. by Josef W. Meri, 2 vols (New York: Routledge, 2006), II 866, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2015-03-29..
  2. Classical Poems by Arab Women: A Bilingual Anthology, ed. and trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari (London: Saqi Books, 1999), p. 132 ISBN 086356-047-4; books.google.co.uk/books/about/Classical_poems_by_Arab_women.html?id=WniBAAAAIAAJ&.
  3. Classical Poems by Arab Women: A Bilingual Anthology, ed. and trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari (London: Saqi Books, 1999), p. 132 ISBN 086356-047-4; books.google.co.uk/books/about/Classical_poems_by_Arab_women.html?id=WniBAAAAIAAJ&.


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