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3 Youthful Pleasures and Repentance

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Chapter Summary

Affluence is necessary to enjoy youthful pleasures, whose privileged source for Arab men is women. Pre-Islamic poets established the basic modes of pleasures that were available to men of all ages who could afford them. Hoary poets, unable to wean themselves off women, adduced ingenious arguments to convince them of their preserved vitality. The two holy cities of Mecca and Medina were the cradle of Islam. The binary opposition of the sacred and profane can be seen to have been operating in the two cities and in other contexts. Lexicographers define ladhdha (pleasure) as the contrary of alam (pain). This chapter presents a spectrum of portraits of Ḥijāzī and Umayyad young men enjoying the pleasures of love, poetry, music and singing, wine, and food. If youth is the season of indulgence, old age is the time for repentance.

Keywords: Ḥijāzī; Arab men; Hoary poets; lexicographers; Mecca; Medina; pre-Islamic poets; repentance; Umayyad young men; youthful pleasures

10.1163/9789004278950_005
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