Gert Borg


Poetry by Arab women has often been neglected to a point, that many thought of it as hardly playing any role at all in the Arabic literary heritage, an exception being pre-Islamic marātī. This contribution tries to assess the importance of medieval love poetry by women in relation to Bauers far reaching conclusions about male love poetry in his Liebe und Liebesdichtung, etc. and its outline of Arab medieval "Mentalitätsgeschichte".The contribution that female love poetry offers to understand medieval Arab society is disappointing for two reasons:1. It is very much inspired by the everyday, almost banal vicissitudes that come with love;2. It hardly contains any wasf of the beloved, the means by which the poet(ess) might have been able to construct the necessary perspective to understand the emotional implications of love and passion and the intellectual reflection on it.


Edited by Gert Borg and Ed C.M. de Moor

In Islam the fascination for “the word” is as vigorous as in Judaism and in Christianity, but an extra dimension is, that the revealed text, the Koran, is considered to be verbatim the word of the Almighty Himself, thereby providing the Arabic language with just an extra quality. No wonder that throughout Islamic history the study of the word, the Koran, the prophet’s utterances and the interpretation of both, has become the main axis of knowledge and education.
As a consequence the intellectuals – and also the poets in Islamic culture - were thoroughly familiar with religious terms and the phraseology of a language which was highly estimated because of the divine origin with which it was associated. No wonder therefore, that allusions to religious texts can be found throughout Arabic literature, both classical and modern.
The subject of this volume is the representation of the divine in Arabic poetry, be it the experience of the divine as expressed by poets or the use of imagery coined by religion.