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Khuṭba The Evolution of Early Arabic Oration

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Chapter Summary

The Arabic orations under study in this paper form an important and perhaps unique set of materials for the study of this genre in its largely oral stage. Using a broad sampling of early khutba texts, this paper examines the evolution of its types and characteristics, focusing on the two centuries of the pre-Islamic, early Islamic, and Umayyad periods; the paper makes a brief foray into the subsequent Abbasid period, when the term came to denote solely the ritual sermon delivered with the prayer on Friday and the two Eids. The khutba was a preeminent genre of early Arabic literature, with diverse functions. The characteristics of the early khutba—particularly its style, but also its setting and structure—reflect its overall literary purpose: convincing the audience of the validity of a course of action, a mode of behavior, a way of thought, or a type of belief.

Keywords: Abbasid period; Arabic orations; evolution; Khutba; Umayyad periods



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