Poetry as a Source for the History of Early Islam: The case of (al-)ʿAbbās b. Mirdās
We expect poetry to be poetical, an expression of emotions, meditative and the like. It seems unusual to even consider the value of poetry as a historical source, but given the characteristics of early Arabic poetry this objective becomes less farfetched: Arab poets used their poetic compositions sometimes as the media of the time, to state publicly their points of view and their deliberations. By studying these we come across motivations, reflections of discussions and considerations of the options that these individuals had. For an era of turmoil like the beginning of Islam we can hardly come closer to the persons who witnessed it than reading and interpreting their own words.
Keywords: Ancient Arabic poetry, early Islam, genesis of religions in context
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