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The literary expansion of Islam

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The core of Islam's rise to power.
  3. Illustrating the Qur'an's overwhelming impact.
  4. The primary poems of the Mu'allaqat.
  5. A prominent poet of the Bedouin narratives.
  6. Antar's prose.
  7. Romanticized image of pre-Islam.
  8. Characteristics of pre-Islamic poetry.
  9. Conclusion.

Editor G.E. von Grunebaum captures the crux of the Islamic expansion by stating that ?the civilization demonstrates its richness by being accessible from more than one vantage point? (1). In the process of examining the culture's overall effect, an aspect of Islam's ?richness? would be the literary influence behind its overwhelming spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The poetry of pre-Islamic Arabia is a clearly overlooked factor in the development of the Islamic and Muslim traditions. As the incorporation of Ancient Arabian poetry appeared throughout the scriptures of the Qur'an, one could question to what extend did the literary and linguistic aspects of pre-Islamic poetry contribute to the rise of Islam during the 7th century? Reaching its height during the 7th century, Arabic poetry contributed tremendous literary esteem to the rise of Islam as seen through the poetic styles of the ?Hanged Poems? by Antar, Imru-Ul-Quais, Zuhair and the stories of Thousand and One Nights. Embedded within the Holy Scriptures of the Muslim faith, pre-Islamic poetry serves as the literary and linguistic foundation of the Qur'an, which catapulted the teachings of Islam throughout the known world of its time.

[...] Therefore, the poetry of the Jahiliyah period is noted on different stylistic achievements that are known to specifically influence the literary development of the Qur'an. The traditions of the pre-Islamic Jahiliyah period were undoubtedly represented through the consistent themes of the culture's poetry. Development of this pre-Islamic poetry began with the nomadic Bedouin poets of the desert, who would function as the religious figures of their tribes (Esposito 33). As the Bedouins relayed the religious messages back to their people, they would formulate the words into poetry. [...]


[...] Thus, the arguments made by Iban Hazm and al-Ghazzali insist that Arabic poetry offers no support in the rise of the Islamic culture. However, there is no evidence to suggest that pre-Islamic poetry had either religious or pagan connotations (Ouyang 60). Analysis of pre-Islamic poetry, similar to its incomplete cipher, is also unclear in terms of its religious affiliations. The debate on the influence of pre-Islamic poetry on the rise of Islam is continuously debatable, yet there are sufficient distinctions that allow connections between the two literary factions. [...]


[...] Through his ?idealized imagery? of the desert, Imru-Ul-Quais offers a glimpse into the environment that will become the focal point of Islam (Allen 166). Settled within the treacherous conditions of the Arabian deserts, the Bedouin tribes were placed under tremendous pressure to coexist with the extremities of the natural environment. Nevertheless, as shown through Imru-Ul-Quais's poetry, the Bedouin tribes were greatly endeavored to their land and held much praise towards it. This sacred reverence for homeland carried on throughout the rise of Islam as the culture shifted toward the presence of Muhammad in Medina (13 May 08). [...]

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