ELEGY FOR LOST KINGDOMS AND RUINED CITIES IN HISPANO-ARABIC POETRY
Zubair Mohammad Ehsanul Hoque*
‘Elegy, in classical literature, was any poem composed of elegiac distiches, also known as elegiacs, and the subjects were various: death, war, love and similar things. The elegy was also used for epitaphs and commemorative verses, and very often there was a mourning strain in them. However in English literature, it is only since the 16th c. that an elegy has come to mean a poem of mourning for an individual or a lament for some tragic events.’ But the history of individual elegy in Arabic literature –whose first specimen probably belong to the century preceding the commencement of the Prophet Muhammad [SM] (500-622)-backed to the Jahilite era; where we find a woman, Khansa (575-664), lamented her departed brother, namely Sakhr, in mournful verses. Besides elegy for individuals, there emerged in Arabic poetry another kind of elegiac poem, which may be categorized as ‘elegy for lost kingdoms and ruined cities’. The history of ‘the elegy for lost kingdoms’ in Arabic literature can also be traced back to the Jahilite era; Al-Aswad ibn Ya‘fur (…-600) wept for the Mundhirs of al-Hira; Midhadh ibn ‘Amr, al-A‘sha (530-629) and Imra ul-Qais (500-540) also cried for the kingdoms of their forefathers. In the later periods, this branch flourished more steadily, as can be seen in al-Buhtari’s (821-897) elegy for Sasanid kingdom of Persia in his illustrious ‘Siniyyah’ and in ‘Amar ibn ‘Abd al-Malik al-Warraq’s elegy for Baghdad, when Tahir ibn Husain, the commander of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mamun’s (r. 813-833) army, destroyed the Abbasid capital during the time of civil war between the latter and his brother al-Amin (r. 809-813). The Iraqi city of al-Basra was mourned by the great Arab philosopher poet Ibn al-Rumi (835-896) when the Zanj rebel devastated the port city in between 870 and 883 AD.
the commencement of Muslim rule in
This branch of
Hispano-Arabic poetry is of great value, as it contains valuable historical
elements. In their elegies for the ruined cities and lost kingdoms the Spaniard
Arab poets registered several historic events which contributed much in
determining the fate of the Muslim states of
Elegy for ruined cities in Hispano-Arabic poetry
The elegy for spoiled cities
appeared for the first time in Hispano-Arabic poetry immediately after the
civil war which destroyed the capital of Umayyad
Elegies for devastated Cordova:
(Ar. Qurtuba), the Umayyad capital in
The poet Ibn Shuhaid (992-1035) was among the noble denizens of the destroyed Cordova. The misery and desolation which came upon Cordova and its inhabitants made him sad. So, in his poetry, he cried for his beloved city, splendors of which had gone. Ibn Shuhaid says depicting the state of the ruined city:
ما في الطلول من الأحبة مخبر فمن الذي عن حالها نستخبر
لا تسألنّ سوي الفراق فإنه ينبيك عنهم أنجدوا أم أغوروا
٭ There is no one in the abandoned encampments to inform us of the beloved ones, so from whom will we seek information about their condition?
٭ Ask none but separation for it is what removes you from them whether they go to the highlands or to the lowlands.
The poet added portraying the condition of Cordovans:
فلمثل قرطبة يقل بكاء من يبكي بعين دمعها متفجر
دار أقال الله عثرة أهلها فتبربروا وتغربوا وتمصروا
٭ For the weeping of one who weeps with an eye, the tears of which flow endlessly is not enough [to lament the loss of ] such as Cordova.
٭ [It is] a city such that [we pray] that God may forgive its inhabitants’ lapse, for they became Barbarized, mingled with Moroccans, and adopted the creed of Egyptians.
Ibn Shuhaid recalled the glorious grandeur of Cordova:
عهدي بها والشمل فيها جامع من أهلها والعيش فيها أخضر
والقصر قصر بني أمية وافر من كل أمر والخلافة أوفر
والزاهرية بالمراكب تزهر والعامرية بالكواكب تعمر
الجامع الأعلي يغص بكل من يتلو ويسمع ما يشاء وينظر
يا جنة عصفت بها وبأهلها ريح النوي فتدمرت وتدمروا
آسي عليك من الممات وحق لي إذ لم نزل بك في حياتك نفخر
٭ I was well acquainted with it when its state of affairs unified its people and life in it was green.
٭ And the palace, being the palace of the sons of Umayya, abounded in all things, while the Caliphate was even more abundant!
٭ And Madinat az-Zahira shone brightly with pleasure boats and al-Amiriyya was rendered flourishing by the stars.
٭ And the Great Mosque was packed by all those who recited and studied whatsoever they wished [of the Quran] as well as [those who] looked on.
٭ O paradise! Such that the wind of separation has blasted it and its people so that both have been destroyed.
٭ I am afflicted by death over you, and it is my duty to be so afflicted, for we did not cease to boast of you during your life.
Ibn Shuhaid, who had enjoyed free-entrance to Umayyad palaces, now compelled to leave his beloved Cordova with which his childhood memory was attached.
سلامٌ عليكم لا تحية شاكر ولكن شجي تنسد منه الحلاقم
لئن أخرجتني عنكم شر عصبة ففي الأرض إخوان عليّ أكارم
٭ A farewell said to you is not the leave-taking of a grateful man, but rather it is the grief with which gullets are obstructed.
٭ Indeed, if the worst of factions has expelled me from you, well, on earth there are brethren who will treat me generously.
At the time of departure it was very difficult for the poet to control his tears, which were about to flow, but he held back the tears so that the blamer might be choked:
ولما فشا بالدمع من سر وجدنا إلي كاشحينا ما القلوب كواتم
أمرنا بإمساك الدموع جفوننا ليشجي بما يطوي عذول ولائم
فظلت دموع العين حيري كأنها خلال مآقينا لآل توائم
٭ And when the secret of our sorrow that hearts conceal was disclosed to those who nurture a secret hatred for us, by means of [our] tears.
٭ We ordered our eyelids to hold back the tears so that the severe censor and the blamer might be choked by what was in them.
٭ Thus the tears of the eye remained perplexed as if around our tear ducts they were clusters of pearls.
Similarly, Ibn Hazm (994-1064), one of the close friends to Ibn Shuhaid and one of the greatest Islamic scholars of Muslim Spain, expressed his grief for overwhelmed Cordova when he stood at his sign-blotted houses:
بكّ علي قرطبة الزين فقد دهتها نظرة العين
أنظرها الدهر بأسلافه ثم تقاضي جملة الدين
كانت علي الغاية من حسنها وعيشها المستعذب اللين
فانعكس الأمر فما إن تري بها سرورا بين إثنين
فاغد وودعها وسر سالما إن كنت أزمعت علي البين
٭ Cry on pretty Cordova; for, she was overtaken by the sight of evil eyes.
٭ Time had granted her a delay, then demanded the whole loan at once.
٭ It reached the apogee of beauty and life was there sweet, yielding,
٭ Then things turned bad, so, you wouldn’t see happy couple anymore.
٭ So, say goodbye to her early in the morning and march safely if you have decided to leave.
for the Spanish city of
(Ar. Barbushtaru) is an ancient city on the river Vero, a tributary of
the Cinca, N.E.
of Saragossa (Ar. Saraqusta), in the approaches to the central
Cordova was the first city of
raid pushed the inhabitants of Bobastro to a bitter experience and brought an
unprecedented disaster on Muslim inhabitants of the city as well as of the
‘Being frightened we are addressing you, seeking refuge we are writing to you: our eyelids are ulcerated, our hearts are wounded, and our souls are in flames. It is happened because our enemy has surrounded us like the encirclement of necklaces with the nape; they fought till they won. O Muslims, alas! You saw the lamentable conditions of your coreligionist brothers, they were defeated on their wealth and families, swords pierced their bodies deeply, death captured them, injections of javelins mocked them, clamor and howling increased. Bloods were flowing on their feet, floods of rain were in all ways, and their heads were flying in front of them. Now there is no rescuer and protector, and ears become deaf by the clamor of children and the weeping of women. O Muslim community! Do you have any idea about the indescribable adversity of your coreligionists? Women and Children-compelled to be undressed- are driven to the places of slaughter, sometimes on their backs, other times on bellies, tied by ropes, bounded in chains and fetters. They are seeking help, but there are none to help them, they are shouting for food, but no food is supplied to them, they are crying for water, but is not given to drink, their dreams went stray and their delusive imaginations were wept out. O Prophet Muhammad! O Holy Quran!
This unprecedented disaster evoked the emotions of the ascetic jurist Ibn al-‘Assal. In one of his poems he depicted on an average what took place in Bobastro:
ولقد رمانا المشركون بأسهم لم تخط لكن شأنها الاصماء
هتكوا بخيلهم قصور حريمها لم يبق لا جبل ولا بطحاء
جاسوا خلال ديارهم فلهم بها في كل يوم غارة شعواء
باتت قلوب المسلمين برعبهم فحماتنا في حربهم جبناء
كم موضع غنموه لم يرحم به طفل ولا شيخ ولا عذراء
ولكم رضيع فرقوه من أمه له إليها ضجة وبغاء
وموصونة في خدرها محجوبة قد أبرزوها ما لها استخفاء
٭ The polytheists have thrown harms toward us, that never missed, and it was so fierce to make us deaf.
٭ Sacred palaces [of Bobastro] were torn apart by the strike of their horses troop, no hill or flatland remained intact.
٭ Enemies searched the houses [of the Muslims] and everyday they launched dreaded raids there.
٭ Hearts of Muslims spent the night filled with fear; since our protectors were cowards in the war.
٭ How many a place they ransacked, where no child, old man or virgin was pitied!
٭ How many babies, whom they have separated from their mothers, when they were crying for their mothers.
٭ Many protected and veiled women were dragged out in a way that no hide-out was left for them.
This poem obviously demonstrates the mental awakening of Ibn al-‘Assal for the significance of that catastrophe; since, he was aware of the place of disease which could be found in his verse: ‘Since our protectors were cowards in the war.’ Moreover, by virtue of his ascetic stand Ibn al-‘Assal referred what befallen on Bobastro to the misdeed of Muslims, as they did not abstain from committing big sins overtly. In the word of the poet: ‘Sins are disease’. We often face this kind of super-natural explanation of the causes of disasters in Hispano-Arabic literature.
of the seriously infected people by what occurred in Bobastro was Abu Hafs
‘Umar ibn al-Hasan al-Huzini, one of the friends of the ruler of
أ عباد حلَّ الرزءُ والقومُ هجعُ علي حالة من مثلها يتوقع
فلق كتابي من فراغك ساعة وإن طال‘ فالموصوف للطول موضع
أ عباد ضاق الذرع واتسع الخرق ولا غرب في الدنيا إذا لم يكن شرق
٭ O ‘Abbad! The calamity has come down and the nation is still sleeping instead of being worried.
٭ So, receive my letter which will claim some of your rest, if you think it too long then our condition deserves a long [depiction].
٭ O ‘Abbad! Our ability proved unable to stand before the attack of the enemy, and the rent is beyond repair; there will be no west in the world, if there is no east.
last verse is very significant; the poet warned his ruler friend that if the
In view of consequence, the
يأ أهل أندلس حثوا مطيكم فما المقام بها إلا من الغلط
الثوب ينسل من أطرافه وأري ثوب الجزيرة منسولا من الوسط
ونحن بين عدو لا يفارقنا كيف الحياة مع الحيَّات في سفط
٭ O inhabitants of Andalusia! Drive your riding animal; for, staying here is nothing but an error.
٭ Dresses start to tear from lower parts, but I see that of Andalusia has rendered from its middle.
٭ We are on run. How do we live in a basket with snakes?
here in a whitewashed position asking his tribe to leave their homeland;
Al-Maqqari (d. 1631), the
writer of ‘Nafh al-Tibb,’ preserved for us a long poem by an anonymous
poet, in which he bemoaned for
طليطلة أباح الكفر منها حماها‘ إنّ ذا نبأ كبير
فليس مثالها إيوان كسري ولا منها الخورنق والسدير
ألم تك معقلا للدين صعبا فذلَّله كما شاء القدير
٭ Toledo, unbelievers had trespassed its borders, verily it was a significant news.
٭ Weren’t you strong fort for religion. Then Almighty has degraded her in accordance to His will.
Unlike Ibn al-‘Assal, this unidentified poet encouraged his countrymen to take revenge from the enemy and called them to fight in the way of restoring their country:
وموتوا كلكم فالموت أولي بكم من أن تجاروا أو تجوروا
أصبرا بعد سبيٍ وامتحانٍ يلام عليهما القلب الصبور
٭ Die you all; for, death is better for you than being oppressed.
٭ Are you suggesting for patience after being captured and harassed, on which patient souls will be blamed?
When it became clear to him that a large majority of his co-religionist countrymen were not willing to fight against invaders and they rather preferred to remain in slavery than to wrestle for the freedom of their country, the poet attacked them with bitter ironical remarks:
كفي حزنا بأن قالوا: إلي أين التحول والمصير
أنترك دورنا ونفر عنها وليس لنا وراء البحر دور
ولا ثم الضياع تروق حسنا نباكرها فيعجبنا البكور
وظل وارف وخرير ماء فلا قر هناك ولا حرور
رضوا بالرق يا لله! ماذا رآه وما أشار به مشير
٭ It is sad enough that they said: ‘Where to shift and what is our destination?
٭ Shall we leave our lands and escape from it, although, we do not have any home across the sea?
٭ Neither there are any gardens, which excel in beauty, where we can wander early in the morning; hence, dawn-amusement will please us;
٭ Nor there is any stretching shadows and ripples of water; thus there is no cold or heat?’
٭ They became satisfied with slavery. What cowardice are their views and gestures!
Although the unnamed poet fell in deep frustration, he is not totally hopeless; he still has trust in God’s assistance:
ونرجو أن يتيح الله نصرا عليهم‘ إنه نعم النصير
٭ We hope that God will grant them assistance, He is the perfect protector indeed.
The whole qasida is easy, free from mannerism and fabrication, depending on simplicity and alternation among stimulation, agony, and narrative presentation. The poem, too, is free from ornamented pictures and in some cases it appears like a ‘piece of simple prose.’ Moreover, in some cases it seems to be a ‘section of history’ for its depicting reality.
The vicious invasion of ‘the Cid’ agitated one of the noble Valencians Abu ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alqamah al-Sadafi (...-509 H.), who registered this incident in a special volume namely ‘Al-Bayan al-Wadih fi al-Mulimm al-Fadih’ from which Ibn al-Abar, the writer of ‘al-Takmilah,’ and Ibn ‘Adhari, the writer of ‘Al-Bayan al-Maghrib’ took advantage.
After capturing the city,
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar burned many people including some distinguished
Valencians such as the revolutionist Valencian judge Ibn Jahaf and one of the
most famous Spanish Arab poets Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Wali al-Batti (.. —488 H.). The poet Ibn Khafaza (1058-1139), who passed his lifetime in
عاثت بساحتك العدي يا دار ومحا محاسنك البلي والنار
فإذا تردد في جنابك ناظر طال اعتبار فيك واستعبار
أرض تقاذفت الخطوب بأهلها وتمخضت بخرابها الأقدار
كتبت يد الحدثان في عرصاتها "لا أنتِ أنتِ ولا الديار ديار
٭ The enemy ravaged your courtyard, O my land, while destruction and fire erased your beauty.
٭ When spectators frequently visit you, their lesson and grief will surely lengthen.
٭ A land, whose inhabitants were tossed by the catastrophes when the destiny produced its destructions.
٭ The hand of adversities wrote in its courtyards: ‘You are not you and homes are not homes.’
assume that this poem was more-versed; none except these four lines are left.
Since, he was born and brought up of
The Cid then ruled
During the last
transformation of the grip of power,
The poet Abu al-Mutarrif ibn
‘Umairah cries for his beloved homeland
ألا أيها القلبُ المصرِّحُ بالوَجدِ أما لك من بادي الصَّبابة من بُدِّ
وهل من سُلُوِّ يُرتجَي لمتيَّمٍ له لوعة الصّادي وروعة ذِي الصَّدّ
يحنُّ إلي نَجدٍ وهيهات حرَّمَت صُرُوفُ الليالي أن يعود إلي نجد
ويا جبل الريَّان لا رِيَّ بعدما عَدَت غِيَرُ الأيام عن ذلك الوِرد
٭ Oh passion-declaring heart! Don’t you have any way to escape from expressing ardent love?
٭ Is any consolation expected for an enthralled poet, who has lot of pain for love and fear of being averted?
٭ He hankers to return to Najd (Valencia), but oh, misfortunes have forbidden him from going back to Najd.
٭ O luxuriant hill! No moistening was left after vicissitudes of fate had abandoned that watering place.
fall of the most cultured and most powerful petty
The poet started his Qasida with the philosophy of rise and fall:
لكل شيء إذا ما تم نقصان فلا يُغرّ بطيب العيش إنسان
٭ Everything declines after reaching perfection. Therefore, let no man be beguiled by the sweetness of a pleasant life.
This sagacity comes as the sap of bitter experience and sequestration of consecutive disasters. Since, life is not wholeheartedly untroubled for human being; its damages are sisters of its happiness, thus it tends to restless changes.
The poem is full of historical elements of destroyed kingdoms, to which the poet took shelter in order to make the hard conditions easy.
أين الملوك ذو التيجان من يمن وأين منهم أكاليل وتيجان
وأين ما شاده شداد في إرم وأين ما ساسه في الفرس ساسان
وأين ما حازه قارون من ذهب وأين عاد وشداد وقحطان
٭ Where are the crowned kings of Yemen and where are their jewel-studded diadems and crowns?
٭ Where are [the buildings] Shaddad raised in Iram and where is [the empire] the Sassanians ruled in Persia?
Other incident has some consolation,
but, what befallen to Islam in
وللحوادث سُلوان يسهلها وما لما حل بالإسلام سلوان
دهي الجزيرة أمر لا عزاء له هوي له أحد وانهد ثهلان
٭ For the accidents [of fortune] there is consolation that makes them easy to bear, yet there is no consolation for what befallen Islam.
٭ An event which cannot be endured has overtaken the peninsula; one such that Uhud has collapsed because of it and Thahlan has crumbled!
Al-Rundi bore agonizing pain and
hidden grief from successive fall of Muslim cities in
أصابها العين في الإسلام فارتزأت حتي خلت منه أقطار وبلدان
فاسأل بلنسية ما شأن مرسية وأين شاطبة أم أين جيان
وأين قرطبة دار العلوم فكم من عالم قد سما فيها له شان
وأين حمص وما تحويه من نزَهٍ ونهرها العذب فياض وملآن
قواعد كن أركان البلاد فما عسي البقاء إذا لم تبق أركان
٭ The evil eye has struck [the peninsula] in its Islam so that ]the land] decreased until whole regions and districts were despoiled of [the faith].
٭ Where is Cordova, the home of the sciences, and many a scholar whose rank was once lofty in it?
٭ Where is Seville and the pleasures it contains, as well as its sweet river overflowing and brimming full?
٭ [They are] capitals which were the pillars of the land, yet when the pillars gone, it may not longer endure!
Similarly, the poem contains some
valuable elements of the history of inquisition and alternation of religious
تبكي الحنيفية البيضاء من أسف كما بقي لفراق الإلف هيمان
علي ديار من الإسلام خالية قد أقفرت ولها بالكفر عمران
حيث المساجد قد صارت كنائس ما فيهن إلا نواقيس وصلبان
حتي المحاريب تبكي وهي جامدة حتي المنابر ترثي وهي عيدان
٭ The tap of the white ablution fount weeps in despair, like a passionate lover weeping at the departure of the beloved.
٭ Over dwellings emptied of Islam that were first vacated and are now inhabited by unbelief;
٭ In which the mosques have become churches wherein only bells and crosses may be found.
٭ Even the mihrabs weep though they are solid, even the pulpits mourn though they are wooden!
After that, al-Rundi aimed at his
key target seeking help earnestly from his coreligionists of the other shore
يا غافلا وله في الدهر موعظة إن كنت في سنة فالدهر يقظان
وماشيا مرحا يلهيه موطنه أبعد حمص تغر المرء أوطان
يا راكبين عتاق الخيل ضامرة كأنها في مجال السبق عقبان
وحاملين سيوف الهند مرهفة كأنها في ظلام النقع نيران
وراتعين وراء البحر في دعة لهم بأوطانهم عز وسلطان
أعندكم نبأ من أهل أندلس فقد سري بحديث القوم ركبان
كم يستغيث بنا المستضعفون وهم قتلي وأسري فما يهتز انسان
٭ O you who remain heedless though you have a warning in time: if you are asleep, time is always awake!
٭ And you who walk forth cheerfully while your homeland diverts you [from cares], can a homeland beguile any man after [the loss of] Seville?
٭ O you who ride lean, thoroughbred steeds which seem like eagles in the racecourse;
٭ And you who carry slander, Indian blades which seem like fires in the darkness caused by the dust cloud [of war],
٭ And you who are living in luxury beyond the sea enjoying life, you who have strength and power in your homeland,
٭ Have you no news of the people of Andalusia, for riders have carried forth what men have said [about them]?
٭ How often have the weak, who were being killed and captured while no man stirred, asked for help?
After being freed from seeking help and arousing zeal, the poet, finally, took refuge to incorporate the situation of the nation, comparing between two conditions: the condition of the Muslim of Andalusia before and after the calamity:
بالأمس كانوا ملوكا في منازلهم واليوم هم في بلاد الكفر عبدان
فلو تراهم حياري لا دليل لهم عليهم من ثياب الذل ألوان
ولو رأيت بكاهم عند بيعهم لهالك الأمر واستهوتك أحزان
يا رب أم وطفل حيل بينهما كما تفرق أرواح وأبدان
وطفلة مثل حسن الشمس إذ طلعت كأنها هي ياقوت ومرجان
يقودها العلج للمكروه مكرهة والعين باكية والقلب حيران
لمثل هذا يذوب القلب من كمد إن كان في القلب إسلام وإيمان
٭ Yesterday they were kings in their own home, but today they are slaves in the land of the infidel!
٭ Thus, were you to see them perplexed, with no one to guide them, wearing the cloth of shame in its different shades,
٭ And were you to behold their weeping when they are sold, the matter would destroy you and sorrow would seize you.
٭ Alas, many a mother and child have been parted as souls and bodies are separated!
٭ And many a maiden fair as the sun when it rises, as though she were rubies and pearls,
٭ Is led off to abomination by a barbarian against her will, while her eye is in tears and her heart is stunned.
٭ The heart melts with sorrow at such [sights], if there is any Islam or belief in the heart.
This is a brief account of the elegies of Hispano-Arab poets for their homeland.
Elegy for lost kingdoms in Hispano-Arabic poetry
Besides elegies for ruined
cities, there are found in Hispano-Arabic poetry some elegiac poems, where
poets mourned for overpowered kingdoms of Muslim Spain. This sort of elegy
emerged only at the late period of Muslim rule in
of Abbadid (Ar. Banu ‘Abbad) of
As we have mentioned
earlier, capitalizing the weakness of the central Umayyad government of Cordova
there emerged some short-lived states in many towns or provinces of Muslim
Spain under chieftains and kinglets called by the Arab Muluk al-Tawaif
(Sp. reyes de taifas). One of
them was the reign of Abbadid (Ar. Banu ‘Abbad) in
The Banu ‘Abbad (1023-91)
claimed descent from the ancient Lakhmid kings of Al-Hirah. Their Spanish
ancestor came as an officer in Hims regiment of the Syrian army shortly after
the conquest and the dynasty started in the person of a shrewd qadi of
‘Al-Mu‘tadid was a poet and patron of letters who improvised elegant ditties with his boon companions and enjoyed a harem of nearly eight hundred inmates. But his court was eclipsed by that of his son and successor al-Mu‘tamid (he who relies [upon Allah], 1069-91), “the most munificent, the most popular and most powerful of all party kings”. Al-Mu‘tamid possessed a sensitive and poetical soul and by dint of his justice and kindness he made his court the halting-place of sojourners, the rendezvous of poets, the direction toward which all hopes were turned and the haunt of men of excellence.’
The last days of al-Mu‘tamid
were so miserable. Being threatened constantly by the neighboring Christian
rulers such as Alfonso V1 of Leon and Castile and Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar ‘My Cid
the Challenger’ and forced by the malikit jurists (fuqaha) al-Mu‘tamid
compelled to invite Yusuf ibn Tashfin, the powerful leader of Moroccan
al-Murabits. Yusuf accepted the invitation. He marched unopposed through
After the kingdom had ruined
al-Mu‘tamid was sent to
Several poets, whose shelter was al-Mu‘tamid’s court, cried upon the dynasty of Banu-‘Abbad and its most powerful and most popular ruler al-Mu‘tamid. The most acrid elegy was composed by Ibn al-Labbana (...-1113/507), who had served as a court poet of al-Mu‘tamid as if his elegy were a scream from the deepest part of a grieved heart. The poem has not survived in its entirety, yet its fragmentary remains give evidence of a deep and silence devotion to al-Mu‘tamid, expressed with a gentle resignation to the blows of fate. The poet started with an account on the tragedy by depicting the vacuity of lairs from lions, dryness of udders and depletion of spring:
تبكي السماء بمزن رائح غاد علي البهاليل من أبناء عباد
علي الجبال التي هدت قواعدها وكانت الأرض منهم ذات أوتاد
عريسية دخلتها النائبات علي أساود لهم فيها وآساد
وكعبة كانت الأمال تخدمه فاليوم لا عاكف فيها ولا باد
يا ضيف أقفر بيت المكرمات فخذ في ضم رحلك واجمع فضلة الزاد
ويا مؤمل واديهم ليسكنه خف القطين وجف الزرع بالوادي
ضلت سبيل الندي بابن السبيل فسر لغير قصد فما يهديك من هادي
٭ The heavens weep with their morning and evening rain clouds over those excellent lords, the Banu ‘Abbad,
٭ Over those [lofty] mountains whose very foundations have been demolished, though the earth was endowed with pegs.
٭ They were a covert into which misfortunes intruded despite their snakes and lions in it
٭ And a Ka‘ba which hopes once served, yet today no one dwells in it, nor does any nomad [visit it].
٭ O guest, the home of generous deeds has become vacant so prepare to depart and gather together the remaining provisions for the journey;
٭ And O you who hoped to settle in their vale; the inhabitants have fled and the crops have withered in the valley.
٭ The road leading to generosity has misled the traveler, so journey to another goal, for no guide can guide you!
Ibn al-Labbana was the most faithful to his lord; hence the poet, by his impassioned elegy, followed al-Mu‘tamid and his family’s destiny from his removal to Aghmat to his death, which led some of his biographer to surname him by ‘Samwal al-Shu‘ara’. In the elegy we have just cited he gave the picture of Banu ‘Abbad’s removal to exile by a boat:
نسيت إلا غداة النهر كونهم في المنشآت كأموات بإلحاد
والناس قد ملأوا العبرين واعتبروا من لؤلؤ طافيات فوق أزباد
حُط القناعَ فلم تَستر مخدرة ومزقت أوجه تمزيق ابراد
حان الوداع فضجت كل صارخة وصارخ من مفداة ومن فادي
سارت سفائنهم والنوح يصبحها كأنها إبل يحدو بها الحادي
كم سال في الماء من دمع وكم حملت تلك القطائع من قطعات أكباد
من لي بكم يا بني ماء السماء إذا ماء السماء أبي سقيا حشا الصادي
٭ May I forget all but the sunrise on the river, when they, in the ships with sails unfurled [for the departure], were like corpses in their tombs,
٭ While the people filled the two shores and sadly gazed at [those] pearls floating on the foamy crests of the waves.
٭ The veil was lowered, for no secluded maiden concealed her face. Likewise faces were rent [in grief] as garments also were rent.
٭ The moment of farewell arrived and every woman and man cried out loudly, each one saying: ‘May I be thy ransom!’
٭ Their ships set sail accompanied by mourning, as though they were camels urged on by the song of caravan leader.
٭ How many tears flowed into the water, and how many broken hearts did those galleys bear away!
٭ Who will avail me of you, O Banu Ma as-Sama when the water of heaven refuses to quench the heart of one who thirsts [for you]?
Ibn al-Labbana not only composed some elegiac poems to mourn his lord but also cried upon the dynasty of Banu ‘Abbad in a diwan entitled ‘Saqith al-Durar wa Laqit al-Zahr’ (Dew of the Pearls and gathered Roses).
Besides ibn al-Labbana there were many poets, who in accordance to their truthfulness to the ‘Abbadid dynasty and its famous ruler al-Mu‘tamid, versified the agony and misery of their benefactor. We wish to present two of them: Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd al-Samad and ibn Hamdis (1058-1132).
As for Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd al-Samad, who was among the court poets of Abbadid, then he visited the sepulcher of al-Mu‘tamid at an Eid day in Aghmat, stayed there for a while, then fell to kiss its soil, and recited his famous Daliyyah (rhymed with Dal) to commemorate his memorable reminiscences with the last ‘Abbadid kinglet:
ملك الملوك أسامع فأنادي أم قد عدتك عن السماع عوادي
لما خلت منك القصور ولم تكن فيها كما قد كنتَ في الأعياد
أقبلت في هذا الثري لك خاضعا واتخذت قبرك موضع الإنشاد
قد كنت أحسب أن تبدد أدمعي نيرانُ حزنٍ أضرمت بفؤادي
٭ King of kings, are you listening; so that I can call you or enemies prevented you from listening [to my elegy]?
٭ When the palaces became free from you and you were not there as you had been at Eid days,
٭ Being loyal to you, I advanced to this soil and took your grave as the place of reciting.
٭ I had guessed that fires of sorrow, which burned my heart, might have eliminated my tears.
Recalling the ephemeral glory of Banu ‘Abbad, ibn ‘Abd al-Samad cried upon the splendor of his defeated lord in this long poem ‘in such a way that people gathered around him, jumped with fright, and stayed most of their day continuing their crying as well as encircling him like the roving of pilgrims.’
Ibn Hamdis is comparable with his two friends (ibn al-Labbana and ibn ‘Abd al-Samad) in depicting deep grief upon his benefactor. But he is distinguished from them by his optimistic view. Hence, he consoles his benefactor al-Mu‘tamid by what befallen to a lion when he is captured:
وقد تنتخي السادات بعد خمولها وتخرج من بعد الكسوف بدور
٭ Sometimes the chieftains become haughty after inactivity and the moons come out after eclipse.
But it did not take long before he had forgotten this optimistic feeling to notice that the incident of al-Mu‘tamid meant the nearness of Resurrection:
ولما رحلتم بالندي في أكفكم وقلقل رضوي منكم وثبير
رفعت لساني بالقيامة قد أتت ألا فانظروا هذا الجبال تسير
٭ When you have departed with generosity at your hand, and destruction shook your happiness,
٭ I have raised my tongue, ‘Resurrection has come; oh, do look! These hills will soon march.’
The two poets, Ibn al-Labbana and Ibn Hamdis, regarded the collapse of ‘Abbadid dynasty as the beginning of the resurrection and the end of lower world. In fact it is not actually poetic exaggeration, it rather indicates to the nature of their feeling to sudden changes-which they had never expected- as a result, a severe mental jolt striked them. Ibn Hamdis in another time stopped at this meaning at the beginning of a poem, in which he lamented al-Mu‘tamid: ‘He is alive’- ‘Verily, you are alive, deserve lamentation’. The poet said:
أقول واني مهطع خوف صيحة يجيب بها كل إلي الله داعيا
أسير جبال وانتثار كواكب دنا من شروط الساعة ما كان نائيا
٭ I am saying while running fast fearing of a shout, to which all people answer by praying to Allah [for good sake of Banu ‘Abbad].
٭ Driving of hills, scattering of stars-neared among the conditions of Resurrection which were far.
what those two faithful poets counted as the emergence of the conditions of
Resurrection was nothing except a minor change of human history. Yes,
al-Mu‘tamid, who had deserved elegy while living, died. However, Resurrection
did not occur. Both poets changed the direction of their life, finding new days
under the shadow of new benefactor; as for Ibn Hamdis, then he took shelter to
Banu Ziri in
Fall of Aftasid (Ar. Banu
At the time of the decadence of the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordova, Badajoz became the shining residence of the Aftasids (Banu al-Aftus), Berbers long settled in Andalusia, from the Miknasa tribe living in the Valle de los Pedroches, to the north-west of Cordova, who, from 1022 to 1094, reunited in a single important kingdom, the largest part of the north of the former Lusitania.
At the beginning of the 2nd
half of the 11th century the state of Banu al-Aftus became a regular
chase of the neighboring Christian kings of
The poet ibn ‘Abdun
(...-1134/529), a secretary under the Aftasid dynasty of
The poem creates a general
feeling of historical decline, for it shows that down through the ages,
everything has tended to perish. There is in it a strong sense of abandonment
and of powerlessness before destiny. Its handling of themes to depict the past
is almost archaeological in its erudition. The poet argues that the pagan
emperors, the great caliph of the east, and the kings of
هوت بدارا وفلت غرب قاتله وكان غضبا علي الأملاك ذا أثر
٭ [Time] hurled Darius down [from power] and notched the edge of [Alexander] his slayer’s sword; though the latter was a sharp, lustrous sword drawn against kings.
وما وفت بعهود المستعين ولا بما تأكد للمعتز من مرر
٭ It did not respect the oaths sworn in favor of al-Musta‘in nor the rope strands firmly twisted in favor al-Mu‘tazz.
This unit of the elegy of ibn-‘Abdûn is of great value as it contains valuable historical elements. But, in line with his contemporary Muslim men of letters Ibn-‘Abdun also referred the fall of Muslim as well as other dynasties to the treachery of time and fate which blockaded from understanding the original reasons of the collapse of the empires.
The 3rd unit of the poem of ibn-‘Abdun is the most sincere part of the elegy in which the poet lamented over his admired the Aftasid of Badjoz (v. 48-75). The poet excelled in portraying the despair and wretchedness of the people whose shelter was the court of Aftasid:
بني المظفر والأيام- لا نزلت- مراحل، والوري منها علي سفر
سحقا ليومكم يوما ولا حملت بمثله ليلة في غابر العمر
من للأسرة أو من للأعنة أو من للأسنة يهديها إلي الثغر
من للظبي وعوالي الحظ قد عقدت أطراف ألسنها بالعي والحصر
من لليراعة ومن للبراعة أو من للسماحة أو للنفع والضرر
٭ O Banu Muzaffar! Since time-may it not be inhabited!-is made up of road stations one days journey apart, and men are ever journeying because of it,
٭ May the day [of your death] be accursed among days, and may no night bears its equal in time to come!
٭ Who will [sit on] thrones and [manage] the reins [of government] and who will guide the lances of the frontier.
٭ [Who will wield] sword edges and spear points now that the tips of their tongues have been bound by speechlessness.
٭ [Who will ply] the pen? Who will be accomplished in every excellence? Who will be generous? Who will reward or punish?
أين الجلال الذي غضت مهابته قلوبنا وعيون الأنجم الزهر
أين الإباء الذي أرسوا قواعده علي دعائم من عز ومن ظفر
أين الوفاء الذي أصفوا شرائعه فلم يرد أحد منها علي كدر
كانوا رواسي أرض الله منذ مضوا عنها استطارت بمن فيها ولم تقر
كانوا مصابيحها فمذ خبوا عثرت هذي الخليقة يا لَلّهِ في سدر
كانوا شجي الدهر فاستهوتهم خدع منه بأحلام عاد في خطي الحضر
٭ Where is the majesty before which our hearts were awed and the radiant stars lowered their eyes in respects?
٭ Where is the heroic, disdainful pride whose pillars they set firmly upon foundation of power and victory?
٭ Where is the loyalty whose laws they purified so that no one ever drew turbid waters from them?
٭ They were stabilizers of God’s earth; since they have departed, it, along with its inhabitants, is sundered and unsteady.
٭ They were its shining lamps, yet since they have been extinguished all these creatures have stumbled about, by God, as if overcome by perplexity.
٭ They obstructed the throat of Fate and therefore its deceits beguiled them with vain delusions like those of the people of ‘Ad, delusions that came running at a fast pace.
And finally, the poet backed to depict his helplessness as well as of the people around the court of Banu al-Aftus:
من لي ولا من بهم إن أظلمت نوب ولم يكن ليلها يفضي إلي سحر
من لي ولا من بهم إن عطلت سنن وأخفيت ألسن الآثار والسير
من لي ولا من بهم إن أطبقت محن ولم يكن وردها يدعو إلي صدر
٭ Who will avail me-if he has not availed them-when [we] are oppressed by dire misfortune whose night time will never see the dawn?
٭ Who will avail me-if he has not availed them-when all laws have been forsaken and the tongues of traditions and histories have been silenced?
٭ Who will avail me-if he has not availed them- when trials flock in great numbers and their flow will never return whence it came?
Unnamed poet mourned for the whole Muslim Spain
paper will remain incomplete if we leave the bewail of an anonymous Andalusian
poet who cried for the glory of Muslim Spain and sought assistance not from his
Moroccan coreligionists-as other poets did-but from the Ottoman emperor. When
The poem is almost devoid of Badi‘ and constitutes a striking contrast with the elaborate and flowery odes of other Spanish poets. It is sincere and artless, in the elegiac tradition of al-Rundi. The fact that the educational tradition of classical Arabic had declined in later period of Muslim Spain is visible in its defects: abuse of stock phrases, which in this case are not metaphorically employed, and repetition of the same word in the rhyme foot, a defect condemned by medieval Arab critics. Yet its natural simplicity and the sincere sorrow it evokes raise it above the generality of political odes in Arabic.
Lines 1 to 8 contain an invocation to Bayazid on behalf of some slaves in al-Andalus, whose regretful state is piquantly sketched (L. 9-18):
سلام عليكم من عبيد تخلفوا بأندلس بالغرب في أرض غربة
أحاط بهم بحر من الروم زاخر وبحر عميق ذو ظلام ولجة
سلام عليكم من شيوخ تمزقت شيوبهم بالنتف من بعد عزة
سلام عليكم من بنات عواتق يسوقهم اللباط قهرا لخلوة
سلام عليكم من عجائز أكرهت علي أكل خنزير ولحم لجيفة
٭ Peace be upon you on behalf of some slaves who have remained in a land of exile, in Andalus in the west,
٭ Whom the swelling sea of Rum as well as a deep, gloomy, and fathomless ocean encompasses.
٭ Peace be upon you on behalf of some old men whose white hair has come to be torn from [much] plucking, after they have enjoyed a life of glory;
٭ Peace be upon you on behalf of some young girls whom the priest drives by force to a bed of shame;
٭ Peace be upon you on behalf of some old women who have been compelled to eat pork and flesh not killed according to ritual prescriptions.
غدرنا ونُصِّرنا وبُدِّل ديننا ظلمنا وعُوملنا بكل قبيحة
٭ We have been betrayed and converted to Christianity; our religion has been exchanged for another; we have been oppressed and treated in every shameful way.
This conversion immediately raises the question of apostasy which in Islamic law punishable by death. The burden is therefore on the Granadans to explain that their conversion was involuntary if they wished to obtain Muslim support. According to the doctrine of taqiyya which condones religious dissembling in cases of personal danger, a forced conversion was considered invalid, and therefore not a case of apostasy. Taqiyya was based on niyya or the ‘intention’ of the believer rather than his outward observance of the ceremonial law, and therefore the poet emphasizes the good intention of Granadans to remains Muslims in secret despite heir outward observance of Christianity. After having proclaimed the secret Islamic affiliation of the forced converts, the poet describes the treaty of surrender (L. 33-39). We wish to cite some verses which describe the conditions of surrender to show how easily the poet portrayed them:
علي أن نكون مثل ما كان قبلنا من الدجن من أهل البلاد القديمة
ونبقي علي آذاننا وصلاتنا ولا نتركنا شيئا من أمر الشريعة
إلي غير ذاك من شروط كثيرة تزيد علي الخمسين شرطا بخمسة
فقال لنا سلطانهم وكبيرهم لكم ما شرطتم كاملا بالزيادة
وأبدي لنا كتبا بعهد وموثق وقال لنا هذا أماني وذمتي
٭ On the condition that we were to remain like the Mudéjars before us, namely the inhabitants of the old territory,
٭ And that we were be allowed to remain in enjoyment [of the right] to call to prayer and [to celebrate] our ritual oration, while we were not [to be required] to abandon any of the prescriptions of the religious law;
٭ As well as many other stipulations, surpassing fifty by the number of five.
٭ Then their Sultan and grandee said to us: ‘What you have stipulated granted to you in more than its entirety.’
٭ Showing us documents containing a pact and a treaty, saying to us: ‘This is my amnesty and my protection over you.’
The terms of the treaty of surrenders, the poet shows, had been violated by the Christians (L. 40-55): they had forced conversion upon the new subjects, Cardinal Cisneros had burned all their books in a public auto da-fé, those who failed to attend Mass were punished, they were compelled to eat pork and to drink wine. From lines 56-66 their sorry state is further elaborated upon: their children were indoctrinated by the priests, their mosques had been turned into churches, the Muslims, now nominally Christians, were despised by their African brethren and could therefore not be ransomed with Muslim funds like captives, but had fallen into a state worse than slavery, for they were rejected by their co-religionists yet unacceptable to the old Christians.
فلما دخلنا تحت عقد ذمامهم بدا غدرهم فينا بنقض العزيمة
وخان عهودا كان قد غرَّنا بها ونصًرنا كرها بعنف وسطوة
وأحرق ما كانت لنا من مصاحف وخلًطها بالزبل أو بالنجاسة
وقد أمرنا أن نسبَّ نبينا و لا نذكرنه في رخاء وشدة
وقد بدِّلت أسماؤنا وتحولت بغير رضا منّا وإرادة
فآها علي تبديل دين محمد بدين كلاب الروم شر البرية
وآها علي تلك المساجد سوِّرت مزابل للكفار بعد الطهارة
٭ When we came under their treaty of protection, their treachery toward us became apparent for [he] broke the agreement.
٭ He broke the compacts he had deceived us with and converted us to Christianity by force, with harshness and severity.,
٭ Burning the copies of Quran we had and mixing them with dung or with filth.
٭ And they ordered us to curse our Prophet and to refrain from invoking him in times of ease or hardship.
٭ Our names were changed and given a new form with neither our consent nor our desire.
٭ Therefore, alas for the changing of Muhammad’s religion for that of Christian dogs, the worst of creatures.
٭ Alas for those mosques that have been walled up to become dung heaps for the infidel after having enjoyed ritual purity.
This leads to a fresh appeal to Bayazid (L.67-81) in which the poet suggests that the emperor retaliate by avenging himself on the Christians of the holy Land, and that he urge the pope to intercede with the Spanish sovereigns (out of politeness he mentions only Fernando) on behalf of the wretched Moriscos of Granada. It is significant that one of the strongest arguments in favor of religious tolerance is that under Muslim rule in al-Andalus, the Mozarabs ‘neither were converted from their faith nor expelled from their homes’ (L.79) in contrast with the intolerance policies of Spanish sovereigns.
From lines 82 to 95 the poet exposes the duplicity of Ferdinand and Isabella who had informed the Egyptian and Turkish envoys to their court the Morsico conversion had been entirely voluntarily: ‘Rather it the fear of death and of burning, that caused us to convert’ (L. 88), the poet says, invoking the doctrine of taqiyya. Then he enumerates the towns where atrocities had been committed by the Christians in putting down the first Muslim revolt of Las Alpujarras of Granada:
وسل بلِّفيقا عن قضية أمرها لقد مُزِّقوا بالسيف من بعد حسرة
ومنيافة بالسيف مُزِّق أهلها كذا فعلوا أيضا بأهل البشرة
وأندرش بالنار أحرق اهلها بجامعهم صاروا جميعا كفحمة
٭ And ask Belefique what was the outcome of their affair: they were cut to pieces by the sword after undergoing anxiety.
٭ As for Munyafa, its inhabitants were surrendered by the sword. The same was done to the people of Alpajurra.
٭ As for Andarax, its people were consumed by fire. It was in their mosque that they all became like charcoal.
96 to 105 contain a final plea for help. In them the poet implores Bayazid to
intercede so that the Moriscos could be allowed either to practice their
religion, or barring that, to leave
We have discussed this poem elaborately, as the significance of this poem is considerable. Its emphasis on intention and dissimulation shifts the seat of religion from ceremonial practice to inner observance. The poem also bears a great historic value, for it contains the conditions of surrender of the Moriscos under Spanish Christian rulers, then breaking of those conditions by conversion and torture. It also includes description of some massacres which were committed by the Christians in putting down the first Muslim uprising in some Granadan suburbs. The poem, too, indicates that the religious right was more important to Muslims than their personal facilities.
This is a brief account of the yelling of Hispano-Arab poets for their lost homeland and ruined kingdoms. This romantic poetry, which stands to enliven the lost prides, will remain as the strongest mournful picture of Hispano-Arabic literature, which was evoked by the blow of death. The problem, which pressed the Andalusian poet, was the problem of final destiny. In a domain of transformation, displacement and death, the Hispano-Arabic literature presented its greatest examples of philosophical elegy, yelling on lost cities, lament for bygone prides, and volatile friendships.
Professor, Department of Arabic,
 J.A. Cuddon, The penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (Penguin Books 1998), p. 253.
 cf. Reynold A. Nicholson, A literary History of the Arabs,
 Salih al-Shanti, Fi al-Adab al-‘Arabi al-Qadim, (Hâil: Dar al-Andalus 1997), pp. 161-62.
 cf. P.K. Hitti, History of the Arabs (London: Macmillan
1994), pp. 467-68; Shawqi Daif, Fusul fi al-Adab wa Naqdihi (
 Shawqi Daif, ibid; ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah al-‘Awwad, Al-Shi‘r al-Andalusi fi Zhilal al-Khilafah al-Umayyiah, pp. 184-87.
 Ihsan ‘Abbas, Tarikh al-Adab al-Andalusi: ‘Asr Siyadat Qurtobah (Beirut: Dar al-Thaqafah 1985), pp. 136-38.
 For the whole ode see Ibn Shuhaid, Diwan,
ed. Charles Pellat (
 Ihsan ‘Abbas, ibid, p.140 cited from Farhat al-Anfus by Ibn Ghalib.
One of the petty Muslim dynasties in
David Wasserstein, The rise and fall of the Party-kings
(Princeton: Princeton University Press 1985), p. 269; The Encyclopaedia of
Abbas, Tarikh al-Adab al-Andalusi: ‘Asr al-Tawaif wa al-Murabitin (
 Al-Humairi, Al-Rawd al-Mi‘tar (Cairo: Lignah al-Talif 1937), pp. 40-41.
 Tariq ibn Ziyad (d. 720/102) was a Berber origin Arab commander, who
led Muslim troops to
 Ihsan ‘Abbas, ibid, p.183.
 Al-Maqqari, Nafh al-Tibb, Vol. 6, p. 228.
 Khawrnaq is a place in
 Sadir is the famous palace of al-Nu‘man, the ruler of ancient Iraqi town al-Hira. [Luis Ma‘luf, ibid, p.298].
 Phoenician is an ancient
Semitic nation, who settled in
 Ihsan ‘Abbas, ibid, p. 187.
 Shawqi Daif, ibid, p.163.
 Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 16, pp. 580-81.
 The whole poem may be found in Al-Maqqari, ibid, Vol. 6, pp.232-34.
 Shaddad was a king of legendary people of Âd of Hadramaut who built a city called “many-columned Iram” (cf. Al-Quran 89:6).
 Âd is an ancient tribe, frequently mentioned in Quran. It was a mighty nation that lived immediately after the time of Noah, and became haughty on account of its great prosperity. The prophet sent to them, their “brother” Hud, was treated by them just as Muhammad (SM) was treated by the Maccans, and on this account they were, with exception of Hud and a few pious men, swept out by a violent storm. cf. Al-Quran 7:65; , 59-60; 26:123; 41:15; 51:41; 69:6.
 Qahtân was the ancestor of southern Arab tribes. His descendants are divided into two fractions: Himyar and Kahlan. His name is mentioned in Torah as Yaktan. [Luis Ma‘luf, ibid, p. 434].
 Uhud and Thahlan are mountains near Madina.
 Játiva (Ar. Shatibah) is an ancient
city, which stood towards the eastern part of
 Jaén (Ar. Jaiyan) is the capital of
Jaén province in
 The word used for ‘
 At the beginning of the 11th century there emerged in Muslim Spain some small states in many cities. The Arab historians called them ‘Muluk al-Tawaif’, while the Spanish writers mentioned them as reyes de taifas. David Wasserstein has mentioned the name of 38 taifa states or petty dynasties in Muslim Spain. Most of the petty dynasties were dethroned by the Moroccan Almorabits at the end of the same century. Some of the petty dynasties reached to the apogee of excellence in culture and civilization. [cf. David Wasserstein, ibid, pp. 82-116].
 P.K. Hitti, ibid, p. 538.
 cf. P. K. Hitti, ibid, pp. 540-41.
 For the whole ode see Ibn Khaqan, Qalaid al-iqyan (Bulaq 1866), p. 23.
 Ihsan ‘Abbas, ibid, p.192.
 Ibid, p.193.
 Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol.1, p.1092; Mahmoud Makki, ‘The Political History of al-Andalus’, The legacy of Muslim Spain, ed. by Saslma Khadra Jayyusi, (E.J. Brill 1994), pp. 56-57.
 The whole poem may be found in Al-Marrakushi, Al-Mu‘jib fi Takhlis Akhbar al-Magrib, ed. Muhammad Said al-Aryan and Muhammad al-‘Arabi al-‘Ilmi, Cairo 1949, pp.76-87.
 The banu Muzzaffar were the Aftasid dynasty of Badajoz to whom this elegy is dedicated.
 Alpujarras (Ar. al-Busharrat) was a mountainous district near Granada. The Moricos of the towns under this district took part in a revolt against the Christians in 1499. The revolt was crushed brutally in 1501. The Moricos of this region again took part in a revolt against the Christians under the leadership of Ibn Umayya and Abdullah b. Abbo in between 1568 and 1570, which was suppressed with the shedding of much Morisco blood by the Marquis and Don Jhon of Austria. [Encyclopædia of Islam, Vol. 1, p. 1343].
 Moriscos in modern historical terminology is used to refer (a) to those Spanish Muslims who under various degrees of duress, were, between 1499 and 1526, converted to Christianity and (b) to their descendants who continued to live in Spain until the Expulsion of 1609-14. [Encyclopædia of Islam, Vol. 7, p. 242].
 Mahmoud Makki, ibid, p.84.
 Lepanto is a large bay on the Greek cost of the Mediterranean, where a fleet of “the Holy League” fought against the Ottoman fleet in October 1571. The two exchanged blows evenly for a time, but European numbers and command finally prevailed. The Ottoman fleet was routed and scattered with most of its ships and men being lost (October 7, 1571). [Standford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 178 ]
 ‘Badi‘ is the art of complicated rhetorical ornamentation based on word play and alliterative sound effects, greatly cultivated by neoclassical poets such as Abu Tammam and al-Buhtari. [James T. Monroe, Hispano Arabic Poetry (University of California Press 1974), p.391]
 The full ode may be found in al-Maqqari, Azhar al-Riyad (Cairo, 1939), pp.108-115.
 Mudéjars (Spanish; in Catalan mudeixar), derived from the Arabic word المدجَّن or أهل الدجن, a term to designate the Muslim who, in return for the payment of tribune, continued to live in territories conquered by the Christians before the fall of Granada. [Encyclopædia of Islam, Vol. 7, p. 286].
 Belefique was a center of insurrection in Las Alpujarras. The Count of Cifuentes had its men massacred and its women sold as slaves. [James T. Monroe, ibid, p. 387].
 Munyafa is an unidentified site.
 In 1500 The Count of Lerin laid siege to the fortress of Laujar in Andarax. He used gunpowder to blow up a mosque where the Muslim women and children had sought refuge. [James T. Monroe, ibid].