Al-Nabigha

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Al-Nabigha (Arabic: النابغة الذبياني / al-Nābighah al-Dhubiyānī; real name Ziyad ibn Muawiyah; c. 535 – c. 604), was one of the last Arabian poets of pre-Islamic times. "Al-Nabigha" means "genius" in Arabic.

His tribe, the Banu Dhubyan, belonged to the district near Mecca, but he himself spent most of his time at the courts of Hirah and Ghassan. In Hira he remained under Mundhir III, and under his successor in 562.

After a sojourn at the court of Ghassan, he returned to Hirah under Numan III. He was, however, compelled to flee to Ghassan, owing to some verses he had written on the queen, but returned again about 600. When Numan died some five years later he withdrew to his own tribe, where he became known as Elias from the land of Bishara ( ذؤّوب الياس من أرض البشارة) (as described by al Maqrizi).

The date of his death is uncertain, but he does not seem to have known Islam. His poems consist largely of eulogies and satires, and are concerned with the strife of Hirah and Ghassan, and of the Banu Abs and the Banu Dhubyan. He is one of the six eminent pre-Islamic poets whose poems were collected before the middle of the 2nd century of Islam, and have been regarded as the standard of Arabic poetry, these poets have written long poems comparable to epic poems, these poems were known as Mo`allakat معلقات since they were hung on the walls of the Kaaba for every one to admire and read . Some writers consider him the first of the six. Al-Nabigha is also known to be the person who gave the poet Al-Khansa her name.

His poems have been edited by Wilhelm Ahlwardt in the Diwans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1870), and separately by H. Derenbourg (Paris, 1869, new edition from the Journal asiatique for 1868).

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