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Tarafa (Arabic: طرفة بن العبد بن سفيان بن سعد أبو عمرو البكري الوائلي‎ / ALA-LC: Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī), was a 6th century Arabian poet of the tribe of the Bakr. He was the half-brother or nephew of the elegist Al-Khirniq bint Badr.[1]

History of Death:-

Tarafa's bitter tongue was destined to cost him dear. Fatigued and disgusted by the rigid ceremony of the court, he improvised a satire in which he said:-

            "Would that we had instead of 'Amr
             A milch-ewe bleating round our tent"

Shortly afterwards he happened to be seated at table opposite the king's sister. Struck with her beauty, he exclaimed:-

                     " Behold, she has come back to me,
                       My fair gazelle whose ear-rings shine;
                       Had not the king been sitting here,
                       I would have pressed her lips to mine !"

' Amr b. Hind was a man of violent and implacable temper, Tarafa's satire had already been reported to him, and this new impertinence added fuel to his wrath. Sending for Tarafa and Mutalammis, he granted them leave to visit their homes, and gave to each of them a sealed letter addressed to the governor of Bahrayn. When they had passed outside the city the suspicions of Mutalammis were aroused. As neither he nor his companion could read, he handed his own letter to a boy of Hfra^ and learned that it contained orders to bury him alive. Thereupon he flung the treacherous missive into the stream and implored Tarafa to do likewise. Tarafa refused to break the royal seal. He continued his journey to Bahrayn, where he was thrown into prison and executed.[2]

One of his poems is contained in the Mo'allakat. His Diwan has been published in Wilhelm Ahlwardt's The Diwans of the Six Ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1870). Some of his poems have been translated into Latin with notes by B. Vandenhoff (Berlin, 1895).

References and external links[edit]

1- A Literary of Arabs By Reynold A. Nicholson, M.A.


  1. ^ G. J. H. Van Gelder, 'al-Khirniq (d. perhaps c.600)', in Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ed. by Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey, 2 vols (New York: Routledge, 1998), II 442.
  2. ^ 1 A Literary History of the Arabs by Reynold A. Nicholson, M.A.