Al-Muʾayyad al-Shīrāzī and Fatimid Daʿwa Poetry

A Case of Commitment in Classical Arabic Literature


Al-Muʾayyad al-Shīrāzī was a medieval Arabic-Islamic scholar and poet committed to the Fatimid religio-political ideology. Chief missionary for their Caliph-Imams, he founded the dynamic tradition of "Fatimid daʿwa (religious mission) poetry” that flourished after him for a thousand years through the succeeding Ṭayyibī daʿwa and continues to thrive today.
This study examines the manner in which al-Muʾayyad's mission informed the aesthetic rules, motifs, structures, genres, motives, addressees, and aspirations of his poetry. It analyzes the characteristics of al-Muʾayyad's verse that render it distinctive, above all, its use of a unique form of esoteric tāwīl-based religious symbolism—metaphor, in fact, as manifestation, where what appears to be metaphor is the theological reality of the Imam. This book features a large number of original translations.

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Tahera Qutbuddin, Ph.D. (1999) in Arabic Literature, Harvard University, is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Chicago.
All those interested in Arabic (particularly classical) literature, religious poetry, Fatimid, Ismaili and Islamic studies, medieval Near-Eastern history, and committed literature.
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