On the question of the origin of the two Andalusian Arabic genres of stanzaic poetry, muwashshaḥ and zajal, there is a large degree of consensus at present: they are further developments of the Eastern Arabian musammaṭ, a simpler form of stanzaic poetry. An origin in Romance forms is assumed at present only by few researchers.
The objective of the first part of this article is to give substantial evidence for the validity of the ‘Arabic theory’. I intend to show that a continuous line of development can be drawn from the musammaṭ to both of the Andalusian Arabic stanzaic genres. In the second and the third part, I intend to discuss—and to refute—the arguments proffered in favour of the ‘Romance’ (including the ‘Irish’) and other hypotheses.