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The Qurʾan And The Prophet'S Poet: Two Poems

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Chapter Summary

Qurʾāic scholars have repeatedly deplored the absence of a body of literature engaged in direct interaction with the Qurʾā and thus fit to shed credible light on the way the latter was received, appropriated, and understood within Muhammad's lifetime. This chapter argues that the immediate historical context from which the Qurʾā emerged, and which it addressed, can be illuminated by recourse to the poetry contemporary with the Qurʾā. In order to illustrate this claim, two poems of Kaʿb b. Mālik - a Medinan poet who seems to have substantially contributed to legitimizing Muhammad's politics at Medina - will be discussed. The chapter concludes that the two poems by Kaʿb b. Mālik's are apt to convey an idea of the new perspectives on the Qurʾā that the study of poetry contemporary with it is likely to open up.

Keywords: Kaʿb b. Mālik; Muhammad's politics; Qurʾan



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