al-Farazdaq Biography | Poet
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FARAZDAQ [Hammām ibn Ghālib ibn Sa’sa’, known as al-Farazdaq] (ca. 641-ca. 728), Arabian poet, was born at Basra. He was of the Dārim, one of the most respected divisions of the bani Tamīm, and his mother was of the tribe of Ḍabba. His grandfather Sa’sa’ was a Bedouin of great repute, his father Ghālib followed the same manner of life until Basra was founded, and was famous for his generosity and hospitality. At the age of fifteen Farazdaq was known as a poet, and though checked for a short time by the advice of the caliph Ali to devote his attention to the study of the Koran, he soon returned to making verse. In the true Bedouin spirit he devoted his talent largely to satire and attacked the bani Nahshal and the bani Fuqaim. When Ziyād, a member of the latter tribe, became governor of Basra, the poet was compelled to flee, first to Kufa, and then, as he was still too near Ziyād, to Medina, where he was well received by Sa‘īd ibn ul-Āsī. Here he remained about ten years, writing satires on Bedouin tribes, but avoiding city politics. But he lived a prodigal life, and his amorous verses led to his expulsion by the caliph Merwan I. Just at that time he learned of the death of Ziyād and returned to Basra, where he secured the favour of Ziyād’s successor ‘Obaidallāh ibn Ziyād. Much of his poetry was now devoted to his matrimonial affairs. He had taken advantage of his position as guardian and married his cousin Nawār against her will. She sought help in vain from the court of Basra and from various tribes. All feared the poet’s satires. At last she fled to Mecca and appealed to the pretender ‘Abdallah ibn Zobair, who, however, succeeded in inducing her to consent to a confirmation of the marriage. Quarrels soon arose again. Farazdaq took a second wife, and after her death a third, to annoy Nawār. Finally he consented to a divorce pronounced by Hasan al-Baṣrī. Another subject occasioned a long series of verses, namely his feud with his rival Jarīr (q.v.) and his tribe the bani Kulaib. These poems are published as the Naka’id of Jarīr and al-Farazdaq (ed. A.A. Bevan, Leiden, 1906 ff.). In political life Farazdaq was prevented by fear from taking a large part. He seems, however, to have been attached to the house of Ali. During the reign of Moawiya I. he avoided politics, but later gave his allegiance to ‘Abdallah ibn Zobair.
The fullest account of his life is contained in J. Hell’s Das Leben Farazdaq nach seinen Gedichten (Leipzig, 1903); Arabian stories of him in theKitab ul-Aghāni and in Ibn Khallikān. A portion of his poems was edited with French translation by R. Boucher (Paris, 1870); the remainder have been published by J. Hell (Munich, 1900).