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Kerzenvergleiche in der arabischen Poesie des 10.–14. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. article

Werner Diem

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 173 (2023), Issue 1, Page 45 - 75

In the pre-modern Arab world, the candle was the preferred means of lighting. When in the course of the 10th century ce the ekphrastic poetry came into fashion, the description of the candle was soon one of the more popular topics of this genre. Additionally, the candle served in poetry as a secundum comparationis, which is the theme of this contribution based on poetry from the 10th–14th centuries ce. Apart from some verses dealing with the inanimate nature and animals, the candle comparisons served to describe people in all of their phenomena: the body and its parts, emotions such as grief and love, social behavior, status and religion.


Religiöse Vorstellungen im frühen Islam (Papyrus Heidelberg A 506) article

Werner Diem

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 172 (2022), Issue 2, Page 303 - 325

While the large size of Arabic papyri is documentary and reflects administration, business and private life, literary papyri are the exception. Some outstanding literary papyrus rolls from the Heidelberg Papyrus Collection were published by the late Raif Georges Khoury. Less spectacular, but no less interesting is the Heidelberg papyrus leaf from the late 8 th or early 9th century ce presented here which bears witness to Muslim religious ideas in the formative period of Islam. Recto of the papyrus contains pious invocations of God, many of them consisting partly or wholly of Qurʾānic quotations, while verso as well as the last lines of recto contain reminders of the Prophet Muḥammad about religion and everyday life transmitted by Abū Hurayrah (d. 678 ce). All of these traditions, written in suggestive language, can be found in a collection of Abū Hurayrah traditions cited by the mystic Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240 ce) without isnād in the last chapter of his Meccan Revelations, which means that he must have used a similar but probably more extensive collection of Abū Hurayrah traditions of this kind. It is this Abū Hurayrah collection which Ibn al-Ǧawzī (d. 1201 ce) in his Book of the invented (traditions) among the traditions ascribed to the Prophet Muḥammad declares non-authentic due to the doubtfulness of the isnād, citing only the first seven traditions, which, however, exactly correspond to those of Ibn ʿArabī’s text. Obviously the Abū Hurayrah traditions of the Heidelberg papyrus are part of a collection an extended version of which was available to Ibn al-Ǧawzī and Ibn ʿArabī four centuries later.

This article is written in German.


,,Wie der Amboß des Schmiedes“. Vergleiche aus dem Umfeld des Schmiedes in der altarabischen Poesie research-article

Werner Diem

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 170 (2020), Issue 1, Page 61 - 76

As in many societies, blacksmiths played the role of outsiders in pre-Modern Arab society. On the one hand, they belonged to the lower strata of society, while, on the other hand, they enjoyed a certain reputation since they forged iron by means of fire. The fascination of Arabs of pre-Islamic and early Islamic times for the tools and work of the blacksmith is attested by comparisons found in Arabic poetry. Those comparisons, which are dealt with in the present paper, concern the anvil, the hammer, the bellows, the file and the whetstone, as well as the noise produced during forging and filing, the flying sparks caused by forging, and other phenomena. Many comparisons concern the camel and its body parts, but they also extend to other animals and to humans.

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