Arabic Poet Al-Mutanabbi: A Maslovian Humanistic Approach

By Razak, Ratna Roshida Abd | PSYART, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Arabic Poet Al-Mutanabbi: A Maslovian Humanistic Approach


Razak, Ratna Roshida Abd, PSYART


This paper is concerned with the Maslovian "real self" of al-Mutanabbi, a great poet of the Abbasid period (750-1258 AD). I have made an effort to discover the deeper aspects of al-Mutanabbi's personality, which constitute an important aspect of his artistic expression. The study I've undertaken here - a humanistic psychological approach to Arabic poetry - will deal with some general ideas about humanistic psychology and al-Mutanabbi's poetry. I will employ Maslovian theory to consider al-Mutanabbi as a self-actualizing person. This attempt is made to see how humanistic psychology can open the door to a new world in the study of Arabic poetry and help us to understand the greatness and insight of the works of al-Mutanabbi. In spite of his great poetic achievement, particularly during the Abbasid period, Maslovian theory reveals the poet to us as a complex and fascinating human being.

keywords: al-Mutanabbi, Abbasid, Maslow

url: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/journal/2007_razak01.shtml

Introduction

Abu al-Tayyib Ahamad Ibn al-husayn Ibn al-Hassan Ibn Murra Ibn Abd al-Jabbar known as al-Mutanabbi, a poet of the Abbasid era (750-1258 AD), occupies a place of supremacy in the annals of Arabic poetry. Readers of Arabic culture acknowledge that his Diwan (collection of poems)1 along with the Quran and the Maqamat (writings) of al-Hariri constitute the pinnacle of Arabic writing, all three venerated in the same way that English readers treasure the King James version of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. Most of his poems could be classified as poems of praise and satire and most were composed for and dedicated to his patrons. Al-Mutanabbi's work is still read and appreciated to this day in the Arabic speaking world. His poetry is considered unique in the history of classical Arabic literature and serves as the vehicle for his immortality.

Even though al-Mutanabbi has been the subject of a considerable number of studies from a variety of perspectives, in both the East and the West, not much attention has been paid to the humanistic aspect or to the psychology of the man himself, with the exception of a 1995 article by J.E. Montgomery entitled "Al-Mutanabbi and the Psychology of Grief." No great effort has been made to dig beneath the surface in order to examine his strong and forceful personality. Many modern studies of Arabic poetry have focused on al-Mutanabbi's verses, concentrating on the construction of the poems and the instruments employed by the poet to compose his polythematic poetry, while ignoring the man's psychological makeup (Van Gelder 5).

Arabic literature, in particular poetry, and especially during the Abbasid period, is a vast repository waiting for psychological insight. Jung comments that the most fruitful subject for the psychologist is the poet who has not yet committed to paper a psychological interpretation of his own character. The poet leaves ample room for the psychologist to analyze, examine, and interpret his poetry. According to Jung,

An exciting narrative that is apparently quite devoid of psychological exposition is just what interests the psychologist most of all. Such a tale is built upon a groundwork of implicit psychological assumptions, and, in the measure that the author is unconscious of them; they reveal themselves, pure and unalloyed, to the critical discernment. (Modern 178)

I have undertaken this psychological study of al-Mutanabbi in order to continue the efforts that have been made to examine the nature of artistic creativity, which is still one of the most ambiguous and incomprehensible issues in the realm of psychology. The various aspects of poetic creativity in general may also be applied to other art forms, for the arts have many features in common, emerging from one source, namely the human psyche. Jung acknowledges the intangible character of artistic creation:

Creativeness, like the freedom of the will, contains a secret. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arabic Poet Al-Mutanabbi: A Maslovian Humanistic Approach
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.