Bashar ibn Burd

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Bashār ibn Burd (714-783) (Arabic: بشار بن برد‎‎) nicknamed "al-Mura'ath" meaning the wattled, was a poet in the late Umayyad and the early Abbasid periods. Bashar was of Persian origin;[1][2] his grandfather was taken as a captive to Iraq, his father was a freedman (Mawla) of the Uqayl tribe. Some Arab scholars considered Bashar the first "modern" poet[3] and one of the pioneers of the badi' in Arabic literature. It is believed that[who?] he exerted a great influence on the subsequent generation of poets.

Bashar was blind from birth and said to have been ugly. He grew up in the rich cultural environment of Basra and showed his poetic talents at an early age. Bashar fell foul of some religious figures, such as Malik ibn Dinar and al-Hasan al-Basri, who condemned his poetry for its licentiousness. He exchanged Hija with several poets. being anti-Mu'tazili, he criticized Wasil ibn Ata, who by some accounts is considered the founder of the Mutazilite school of Islamic thought.

After the Abbasids built Baghdad, Bashar moved there from Basra in 762. Bashar became associated with the caliph al-Mahdi. Due to his libertinism, he was ordered by al-Mahdi not to write any love poetry. This ban was quickly breached and as a result, Bashar was charged with heresy and zendiqism, imprisoned and beaten to his death and his body was thrown into the Tigris river.[3]

Most of his Hija' (satires) is in traditional style, while his fakhr expresses his Shu'ubi sentiments, boasting the achievements of his Persian ancestors and denigrating the "uncivilized Arabs". The following couplet from Bashar demonstrates his admiration for Zoroastrianism (the religion of his Persian ancestors) over Islam by preferring prostration (Sajdah) towards fire (Shaitan like other jinn was created from smokeless fire) in lieu of soil (Adam's origin).[1]

الارض مظلمة و النار مشرقة
والنار معبودة مذكانت النار

Bashar ibn Burd was condemned as a heretic (Blasphemy) and finally executed by the Caliph al-Mahdi in 783.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zarrinkoub, Abdolhosein, Two Centuries of Silence, p. 286-287, 1999, ISBN 964-5983-33-6
  2. ^ ʻAbdolhossein Zarrinkoob (2016). Two Centuries of Silence) translated by Avid Kamgar (1st ed. 2016 ed.). Bloomington, USA: AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-52462-253-4.  pp 237,8
  3. ^ a b *Starkey and Meisami. Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Routledge, 1998
  4. ^ Ammiel Alcalay, After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine, University of Minnesota press, 1999, ISBN 0-8166-2155-1, Google Print, pp. 94.