The famous Arabic poet, statesman, and warrior, Abu Feras Hamdani
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 8th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 357 AH, the famous Arabic poet, statesman, and warrior, Harres bin Sa’eed, known popularly as Abu Feras Hamdani, passed away. He was a cousin and brother-in-law of the Hamdanid ruler of Aleppo and northern Syria, Sayf od-Dowlah, and was one of commanders in the campaigns against the Byzantine Empire.
He, like the rest of the Hamdanids was a devotee of the Ahl al-Bayt, and wrote his odes describing the injustices committed by the caliphs against the progeny of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He was once captured by the Byzantines and was freed four years later through payment of ransom. In another battle, he was injured and finally succumbed to his wounds.
The reputation of Abu Feras owes much to his personal qualities. Handsome in person, of noble family, brave, generous, and extolled by his contemporaries as “excelling in every virtue”, he lived up to the Islamic Arab ideal of chivalry which he expressed in his poetry.
His poems are popular till this day, especially the poems of his captivity, titled “Roumiyaat”, written during his captivity by Byzantines or eastern Romans. His diwan was edited with a commentary shortly after his death by his tutor and Iranian, the famous Iranian grammarian of Arabic language, Ibn Khalawaiyh, who lived in Syria at the Hamdanid court.