Sunset in the Gardens of al-Andalus
Abdu-Noor, M. Ikraam
Nebula, 2.1, March (2005)
The era of Muslim rule in Spain (early 8th century to 1492), the historical moment known in Arabic as al-Andalus, was an age of great poets and great patrons, when princes in cities like Seville and Cordova and Granada competed to attract the best writers of the day. The result was an era when poetry in Arabic was liberated from many of the constraints it had previously known, producing a timeless poetic legacy. Alongside the qaÒîda, the classical Arabic ode written in a single meter and a single rhyme, new genres of stanzaic poetry having multiple rhymes and complex meters appeared in the late 10th century: the muwashshaÌ in formal Arabic and the zajal in colloquial Arabic. Scholars are divided on the origin of these poetic forms. Some have argued that they developed from earlier Arabic stanzaic forms known in the Middle East, while others maintain that these forms were unique to al-Andalus and probably evolved from contact with non-Arabic forms native to the Iberian peninsula.