- Life and legacy of Imam al-Shafi’i
- Arabic prosody
- Understand oral poetry
- Improve translation skills
- Be able to read meter of any given poetry piece
Most famous for his role in Islamic law, Imam al-Shafi`i was also a poet of great skill and regard. Although the Imam never wrote a work on poetry per se, much of his poetry can be found in biographical works and works on Arabic literature and he has always been known and revered as a priceless contributor to the Arab literary tradition.
Poetry – shi`r in Arabic – comes from the word “to feel.” It’s not just about making words rhyme, it is about exploring the depth of the human heart. Through this class, you will learn how one of the great saints in Islam and great scholars of this Umma reacted to life: how he dealt with heretical beliefs, the struggles of poverty, treacherous friends, sadness, afflictions and falling in love; you will hear his prayers to Allah, see his respect of the scholars of his age, and his advice to Muslims, seekers of knowledge and passersby.
Hear the words of someone who mastered the Arabic language and then became a reference point of it. Learn and be able to use simple Arabic prosody so that you can hear the music and rhythm of Arabic – the language of Paradise – rhythms that our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his companions would have heard and known.
Although this class covers reading literature for its own benefit, it also serves as a stepping-stone to a fuller study of pre-Islamic and classical Arabic poetry. This is because students generally find poetry, with its subtle use of language and references to strange and foreign experiences, too difficult of an approach. Most of the poetry covered in this course will actually be quite accessible so students will make this first jump into Arabic literature with the confidence that is actually something within their capabilities. Many of Imam al-Shafi’i’s aphorisms will also be read for their eloquence and wisdom.