Friday, 26 July 2013

The Poem of Imru al-Qays- The Nasib

Firstly, an introduction and a summary: This poem, written by Imru al-Qays, is one of the Mu'allaqat poems which was hung on the inside of the Ka'aba in Makkah.  Arabian poetry had a strong tradition, going right back to the Nabataeans.  Though Imru al-Qays was the first of the Mu'allaqat poets, he took influence from those who had come before him.  There were three in particular who may have been an influence over the young Arab prince.  One was Zuhayr ibn Janab al-Kalbi, a well-known poet and a drinking companion of his father's.  Another was Amr ibn Qami'ah, a member of his father's retinue and possibly the tribe's poet (sha'ir).  He later joined Imru al-Qays and accompanied him until his death.  A third possible influence was Abu Du'ah al-Iyadi, to whom Imru al-Qays was a reciter (a poet's disciple who would learn all of his poems).  The poem begins with Imru al-Qays finding the ruins of his lover's camp in the desert.  They have long since moved on to find greener pastures, and the poet is left grieving.  He then begins to remember what went on in the past.  He was once in love with a girl named Unaizah, who came from a rival tribe, and sought in vain to marry her.  One day, he was watching from afar as her tribe was passing in a camel caravan.  Watching from a distance, Imru al-Qays saw Unaizah and the women go off to a pool, and remove their clothes and begin bathing naked.  He then ran up to them, sat on their clothes, and so demanded that they had to come out of the pool naked to get them.  The other girls obliged, but Unaizah remained in the water.  Many hours passed, and soon the girls began to complain of cold and hunger.  Imru al-Qays immediately displayed the famed Arabian hospitality, and slaughtered his own riding camel, roasting it on a fire.  After having a cheerful conversation, Imru al-Qays found himself without a camel.  Unaizah agreed to let him use hers.  He next describes his relationship with Fatima, who was from a tribe at war with his own; and from here goes on to describe hunting and a chase in the forest, and eating the game which had been pierced with javelins.  Suddenly, he returns to the present as a thunderstorm and violent rain causes his companions to seek shelter.  The poem then ends.

The Nasib- or first part of the poem

The poem begins like this:

"Stop, oh my friends, let us pause to weep over the remembrance of my beloved.
Here was her abode on the edge of the sandy desert between Dakhool and Howmal.

The traces of her encampment are not wholly obliterated even now.
For when the South Wind blows the sand over them the North Wind sweeps it away.

The courtyards and enclosures of the old home have become desolate;
The dung of the wild deer lies there thick as the seeds of pepper.

On the morning of our separation it was as if I stood in the gardens of our tribe,
Amid the acacia-shrubs where my eyes were blinded with tears by the smart from the bursting pods of colocynth."

The poem, like many of the other examples from Arabian poetry, is called the qasida (sometimes translated as 'ode'). It begins with a part called the nasib. The nasib is the prelude to Arabic poetry, and is often erotic in nature (similar examples can be found in Canaanite and in Akkadian poetry). The poem itself is very song-like, recalling the typical rhythm found in Arabian and other Middle Eastern music. This poem too begins with a nasib, and it contains a motif called the atlal, which is where the poet describes his sense of loss as he comes across the abandoned camp of his love in the desert.

The nasib is also a kind of invocation. The divide between sacred and secular poetry can sometimes be blurred. While most of this poem is speaking about Imru al-Qays' earthly love (a mortal woman), in the nasib he invokes a kind of heavenly beauty. This is a goddess, namely the goddess of beauty, Al-Uzzah. She is invoked in the beginning of the poem as a form of reverence or incantation to the divine before beginning the qasida. In this nasib, he mentions the acacia groves where he stood, and the acacia is associated with Al-Uzzah. Therefore, he is invoking the goddess of beauty for beginning his long poem about his earthly love.

He halts, and asks his companions to look at the camp. He uses natural imagery, speaking of how the South Wind and the North Wind (both considered deities) are working to preserve the memory of the camp. He compares and contrasts things the way he remembers them to the way they are now. The imagery of desert animals and of wilderness brings to mind desolation and ruin, which was brought upon the fertile love which once existed between the poet and his lover.

What happened was that his lover's clan had to leave in search of greener pastures, and the women went along with the men. He now doesn't see her anymore since she has moved elsewhere in the vast expanse of Arabia.

Finally, comes the za'n, or fade-away. This is a dramatic end to the nasib. Imru al-Qays uses the metaphor of a bursting pod of colocynth which made his eyes blinded with tears. Colocynth or bitter apple was used by the Arabs to induce abortions. This is contrasting with fertile and sexual imagery, and shows the poet's bitterness and sorrow.



    The gospel plan salvation is not difficult to understand if you simply read it as God inspired it. Just read the Bible and believe it.

    The Scriptures only get hard to comprehend when men distort, pervert, and misrepresent the clear teachings of the Bible. Man's opinion can and does make if difficult for many to understand God's plan of salvation.


    Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    1. Who believes will be saved.
    2. Who is baptized will be saved.
    3. Who does not believe will be condemned.

    It is not difficult to understand.

    John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

    1. If you do not believe Jesus is the Son of God you will die in your sins.

    There is nothing complicated about that statement.

    Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    1. Repent in order to have your sins forgiven.
    2. Be baptized in order to have your sins forgiven.
    3. After repentance and baptism you will receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit Himself.

    There is nothing unfathomable presented here.

    Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    1. You must acknowledge Jesus as Lord to be saved.
    2. You must believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead to be saved.

    Nothing mysterious about that.

    Galatians 3:26 You are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

    1. Through faith in Christ Jesus you can become a son of God.

    Nothing troublesome in that statement.

    Galatians 3:27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    1. Men become clothed with Christ by being baptized into Him.

    There is nothing confusing about that.

    Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith---and this not from from yourselves, it is a gift of God.

    1. We are saved because of God's grace. No man earns his salvation.
    2. We are saved through faith.
    3. The gift that God gives is salvation.

    There is nothing enigmatic found here.

    Acts 2:47 .....And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    1. The Lord and only the Lord adds to His church.

    Nothing inexplicable in that.

    Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'

    1. Saul was still in his sins until he was baptized in water.

    You do not need a degree in theology to understand that.

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    1. Whoever believes in Jesus can have eternal life. Salvation is available to all who hear the gospel.

    There is nothing difficult about that.

    1 Peter 3:20-21...were saved through water. 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also---not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    1. Water baptism is essential to salvation.
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    3. Without the resurrection of Jesus no one could be saved.

    You do not need a masters in education to understand that verse of Scripture.

    Is the gospel difficult to understand? No it is not. The gospel plan of salvation is only made complicated when presented using man-made traditions.

    1. FAITH: John 3:16
    2. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
    3. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9
    4. WATER BAPTISM: Mark 16:16





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