The famous Arabic poet, Mutanabbi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 24th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 354 AH, the famous Arabic poet, Ahmad bin Hassan Kufi, known by his penname “Mutanabbi”, was killed near Baghdad during an encounter with highway brigands at the age of 51. Gifted with sharp intelligence and wittiness, he started writing poetry as a nine-year old. Among the topics he versified were courage, the philosophy of life, and the description of battles.
Many of his poems were and still are widely read by Arabic speakers. His great talent earned him respect from many political leaders of his time, and he praised kings and emirs in return for money and gifts. He joined the court of Sayf od-Dowla in Aleppo and during his 9-year stay in Syria versified his most famous poems. There was great rivalry between him and many of the scholars and poets at Sayf od-Dowla's court, including the latter’s cousin and brother-in-law, Abu Firas al-Hamdani. Mutanabbi lost Sayf od-Dowla's favour because of his political ambition to be a governor. He had no other choice but to leave Aleppo for Egypt to join the court of Abu’l-Misk Kafur. Here also he failed in his political ambitions and after his ridiculing of Kafur in satirical odes, he left for Iraq, where he was killed.