The good, the bad, and the ugly: Allegiance and authority in the poetical discourse of Muḥammad's lifetime

Johanna Marije Coster


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    This dissertation studies the poetry of contemporaries of Muḥammad as a source for the historiography of early Islam. The poems can contribute to the research on this period: in their compositions Muḥammad’s contemporaries express their vision of the world, of their group, and of themselves.
    In this dissertation I study the compositions attributed to three poets: two from the same tribe as Muḥammad, and a third of unknown descent. All three are considered as “professional poets” en as three of the best poets of their time. In the dissertation I translate, contextualise, and analyse the compositions of these three poets.
    The poets I study are so-called circumstantial poems: in these compositions, usually quite short, the poet reacts to a certain situation with which the poet and/or his group were confronted in the recent or more distant past.
    Besides poems that, on their own or in combination with other poems or sources, present additional or divergent information on what we know based on Muslim tradition, the analysis of the poetical corpus as a whole can offer insights into the historical and social context of the prophet Muḥammad and his early followers. The compositions not only are a depiction of the feelings and emotions of the individual poet but also of his worldview. This worldview surpasses the individual experiences and is an expression of the collective voice of the group with which the poet identifies himself.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • von Stuckrad, Kocku, Supervisor
    • Boekhoff-van der Voort, N.A., Co-supervisor, Externe Persoon
    • Borg, Gerard, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning18-apr.-2019
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-034-1384-6
    Elektronische ISBN's978-94-034-1385-3
    StatusPublished - 2019

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