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The qaṣīdaᵗ (also spelled qaṣīdah; is originally an Arabic word Arabic: قصيدة, plural qaṣā'id, قــصــائـد; that was passed to some other languages such as Persian: قصیده or چكامه, chakameh, in Turkish: kaside) is an ancient Arabic word and form of writing poetry, often translated as ode, passed to other cultures after the Arab Muslim expansion. The word qasidah is still being used in its original birthplace, Arabia, and in all Arab countries.
The classic form of qasida maintains a single elaborate metre throughout the poem, and every line rhymes on the same sound. It typically runs from fifteen to eighty lines, and sometimes more than a hundred. The genre originates in Arabic poetry and was adopted by Persian poets, where it developed to be sometimes longer than a hundred lines.
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Arabic qaṣīda means "intention" and the genre found use as a petition to a patron. A qaṣīda has a single presiding subject, logically developed and concluded. Often it is a panegyric, written in praise of a king or a nobleman, a genre known as madīḥ, meaning "praise".
In his ninth century "Book of Poetry and Poets" (Kitab al-shi'r wa-al-shu'ara') the Arabian writer Ibn Qutaybah describes the (Arabic) qasida as formed of three parts:
- the nasīb: a nostalgic opening in which the poet reflects on what has passed. A common theme is the pursuit by the poet of the caravan of his beloved: by the time he reaches their camp-site they have already moved on.
- the raḥīl or travel section: a release or disengagement (takhallus), often achieved by the poet describing his transition from the nostalgia of the nasīb to contemplating the harshness of the land and life away from the tribe.
- the message of the poem, which can take several forms: praise of the tribe (fakhr) or a ruler (madīḥ), satire about other tribes (hija) or some moral maxim (hikam).
While many poets have intentionally or unintentionally deviated from this plan it is recognisable in many. From the Abbasid period onwards, two-part qaṣīda forms containing just a nasīb and madīḥ have been dominant.
After the 10th century Iranians developed the qasida immensely and used it for other purposes. For example, Naser Khosro used it extensively for philosophical, theological, and ethical purposes, while Avicenna also used it to express philosophical ideas. It may be a spring poem (Persian بهاریه, baharieh) or autumn poem (Persian خزانیه, khazanieh). The opening is usually description of a natural event: the seasons, a natural landscape or an imaginary sweetheart. In the takhallos poets usually address themselves by their pen-name. Then the last section is the main purpose of the poet in writing the poem.
Persian exponents include;
- Farrokhi Sistani, the court poet of Mahmoud Ghaznavi (11th century), especially his 'Hunting Scene' (in Persian: قصیده شکارگاه),
- Masud Sa'd Salman (12th century) who was wrongfully imprisoned on the suspicion of treason
- Anvari Abiverdi, (12th century) especially his petition for help against the invasion of Mongols
- Khaghani Shervani (12th century)
- and in the 20th century, Mohammad Taghi Bahar with his innovations in using the qasida for political purposes.
From the 14th century CE Persian poets became more interested in ghazal and the qasida declined. The ghazal developed from the first part of qasida in which poets praised their sweethearts. Mystic poets and sufis used the ghazal for mystical purposes.
The Urdu Qasida
The West African Qasida
A large number of religious qasā'id has been written in Arabic by the Sufi Shaykh Amadou Bamba Mbacke (1855–1927) from Senegal, West Africa. His qasā'id are poetically exploring the Qur'an and other learned texts, praising Allah and the prophet, and are considered – both in Senegal as well as in Morocco and other West African countries – as advanced and beautiful poetry. The qasā'id of the Shaykh are today still sung and recited actively by both Mourides belonging to the Sufi Tariqa Mouridiyya, as well as by members of other Sufi Tariqas in Senegal and throughout West Africa, especially the Tijaniyya. The original poetry works of Shaykh Amadou Bamba Mbacke are preserved in a large library in the holy city Touba, Senegal, which was founded by the Shaykh, built by his talibés (students) and considered to be the Capital of Mourides.
- Sufi poetry
- Urdu poetry
- The Kasidah, a 19th-century pseudotranslation
- Akiko Motoyoshi Sumi, Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literatures, 25 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 1.
- Akiko Motoyoshi Sumi, Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literatures, 25 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 1 n. 1.
- A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Introduction
- Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Vol. 1 Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings, eds Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, BRILL, 1996
- Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Vol. 2 Eulogy's Bounty, Meaning's Abundance, eds Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, BRILL, 1996
- Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (London, 1991) p12-13
- Wikipedia on Amadou Bamba and his poetry
- Books about Shaykh Amadou Bamba