‘The Fire Does Not Disturb Us’

Navigating Love, Desire and Loss in the Qaṣīda Poetry of South Sinai Muzīna Women

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Author:
Matthew Ryan Sparks PhD Student, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel sparksandmcneill@gmail.com

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Abstract

This article examines the contemporary qaṣīda poetry of South Sinai Muzīna Bedouin women from an anthropological perspective, drawing primarily upon a history of emotions framework, as well as Bedouin ethnographic studies and Arabic literary criticism. The article argues that the composition and vocalisation of qaṣīda poetry in South Sinai is more than a performative art; it is a means of ‘navigating’ one's emotions as a woman in a patriarchal society where emotional expression for both men and women is deemed inappropriate. In the poetry of Nādiyyah and Umm ‘Īd, we gain insight into the subjective lived experience of Bedouin women in South Sinai, as they attempt to poetically express their desire, elation, grief and passion, while simultaneously demonstrating their ability to ‘control’ their emotional states.

Rise your head up, humble one,
We watered the fire when it was blazing,
the fire does not disturb us
(Irfa‘ rasak wa anta mālak gharūr
Tara saqina an-nār ḥayā mathaznā an-nār)
—Nādiyyah (South Sinai, Muzīna tribe)

Into the Desert with Faṭmah

On the night of 11 November 2020, I surreptitiously journeyed to the courtyard of Umm Salīm, in the Bedouin neighbourhood of Dahab, South Sinai. The sea breeze was blowing and it was cooler now at about 24 degrees Celsius; the smell of goats, dust, freshly cooking fish and rice permeated the area. I knew the protocol by now. I would wait patiently for my friend Faṭmah's signal (usually a small shout or a call of my name), then quickly amble downstairs and dodge herds of goats through unpaved streets of sand, framed by maze-like concrete and timber enclosures, until I found the door to Umm Salīm's garden. Here, we could meet without attracting too much attention; a ‘foreign’ man with a Bedouin woman would be quite an unusual sight anywhere in the world, but perhaps only marginally less so (if at all) in the Sinai Peninsula.

At this point, I had known Faṭmah for several years, she had introduced me to many of her family and friends, and she had been instrumental in helping me better understand Bedouin language, expressions, and the wedding songs and poetry that were rapidly fading into the realm of another age. Tonight, Faṭmah planned to introduce me to Umm ‘Īd, a renowned wedding singer and poetess among her tribe (the Muzīna). I scrambled through the back entrance into the house to soft cries of ‘Matthew, come quick’ in order to avoid the eyes of nosy neighbours. I watched the trail of Faṭmah's dress and headscarf disappear quickly across the threshold of the dwelling, and the unmistakable smell of khudarī – a wild form of tobacco grown in Sinai, smoked by the elderly Bedouin women – greeted me as I entered the main room and sat down.

Faṭmah seemed in a frantic mood, not unusual for her; she quickly obtained her phone and rushed out the door. ‘Just a minute, Matthew’ she said. Greeting me inside were Umm Salīm, Umm Faraj and Umm Ramaḍān. Umm Ramaḍān was the youngest of the bunch, sitting to the side in a pink dress and a black hijab; she was a middle-aged widow with a shy demeanour, but the spirit of a performer when the time arrived. Umm Salīm and Umm Faraj were much older, in their eighties, with weathered faces that appeared as strong and as immoveable as the mountains of Sinai. They both wore colourful red dresses and black būshiyya1 headscarves.

Their personalities could not have contrasted more, however; Umm Salīm was a bit of a jokester, a round face with kind eyes and a very animated, jovial way of talking that contrasted with her gravelly voice. On her legs were two solid silver anklets, about half an inch thick in diameter, which, she had told me the previous day, she received when she was a child, nearly 80 years ago. Umm Faraj, on the other hand, held herself with a strict regality evoking a bygone age; it was very obvious from her striking features, including delicate facial tattooing, that in her youth she must have been no less imposing of a figure. She held in her hands the shibbābah, a metal flute, resembling a pipe, on which she softly played a few notes, her gold and turquoise-ringed hands dancing across the length of the instrument.

As Umm Salīm brought in the tea, and the plumes of khudarī smoke filled the air, Faṭmah returned from her phone call to matter-of-factly state: ‘Matthew, I don't think we can make it tonight, we might not be able to get a driver and Umm ‘Īd is late’. I assured her that it was no problem and that we could, of course, reschedule, or if possible try to find another suitable location. ‘The desert is better, it's more quiet and peaceful and we have more privacy to play music’, Faṭmah frankly stated, adding, ‘we will see’. After a few anxious moments of pensive uncertainty, I heard the revving of a truck engine outside the house. ‘Umm ‘Īd is here!’ Faṭmah exclaimed, ‘you must meet her, she has an amazing voice, you will love to listen to her’. Faṭmah disappeared again briefly, and returned alongside the evening's guest of honour.

Umm ‘Īd was about five feet tall; her walk was laboured, but she was evidently not running short of strength in her old age, as she walked unsupported, slowly and steadily. Her face was uncovered, statuesque and adorned with a large golden nose ring that shone like the sun, bedecked with a single piece of turquoise. I shook her hand and introduced myself briefly, until Faṭmah quickly interjected, ‘OK Matthew, we're going, hurry quick, you have to wear this to come with us – for the driver, so he won't know’. Before I had time to gather my bag Faṭmah had grabbed my arm and was forcing me into an abaya, an Islamic dress designed to cover the body. ‘Sorry Matthew, but you have to be a woman to come with us’. Before I had time to object, the galābiyyah2 was thrust over my shoulders, and she began the process of wrapping my scarf around my head to cover my face.

That wasn't enough. Faṭmah quickly fetched a būshiyya from Umm Salīm and put it over my head. The transformation was complete. ‘Be careful! Don't mess it up! It is from Saudi!’ Umm Salīm's raspy voice echoed, as I, easily the tallest of the group, was led out, flanked by the entourage of women, all of us committed to my disguise as an elderly Bedouin woman, at least as long as we were visible to the driver and any passers-by in the town.

We hurriedly climbed into the back of the pickup truck (me first) to ensure that I didn't attract any undue attention, and were joined by a few of the village girls, as well as Umm Faraj and Umm Ramaḍān's daughters, keen not to miss out on what could potentially be an adventure, or at the very least, the curiosity of a 29-year-old American man dressed up as an elderly Bedouin woman. ‘Keep down, Matthew! Keep your face and body covered, hide your hands!’ Faṭmah told me as we hunkered down and the truck took off.

Our ride was a mixture of thrill and exhilaration, probably less so on my part, as it seemed that the elderly women were getting quite a kick out of me. The laughter was met with my stoic silence as I attempted to draw as little attention to myself as possible. After what felt like several hours, we finally arrived at the spot, a clearing in the desert just before the first checkpoint. When the car stopped, I awkwardly grabbed my bag and attempted to maintain my composure, at least until the driver left. After everyone descended, and the headlights of the driver faded into the distance, I was given the all-clear by Faṭmah to remove my disguise and get my recorder ready.

Umm Salīm, Umm Faraj and Umm Ramaḍān, with Faṭmah's help, prepared a fire in no time, and shortly thereafter, tea was on the boil under the spectacular night sky. The stage was now set, here in this carefully curated and gendered space, which I quite literally had to undergo a transformation to enter. I was enveloped in the intimate and emotive world of Bedouin women: their songs, stories, conversations and qaṣīda3 poetry would soon quickly define the space as one that was not only animated, but sustained by free emotive expression; a distinctly separate world from the sphere of day-to-day life and work. In short, here in South Sinai, I was experiencing the modern incarnation of poetic and emotive forms, and the spaces in which they were transmitted, with antecedents dating back to the pre-Islamic era.

The Anthropological Development of Feminine Emotional Communities in South Sinai

While the long history of the Arabic literary canon has its share of famous female contributors,4 the lack of material on the poetic expression, and by extension, emotional expression of women in the contemporary Bedouin societies of the Middle East has hindered research in this area. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of Bedouin women's lived experiences, habitus5 and poetised conception of love by analysing qaṣīda poetry conveyed to me by two Bedouin women, Nādiyyah6 and Umm ‘Īd, in intimate group settings between the summer of 2019 and the autumn of 2020.

Drawing upon the past analysis of Clinton Bailey and Lila Abu Lughod, as well as the important conceptual and methodological work done by Barbara Rosenwein and William Reddy in the ‘history of emotions’ subfield, with this article, I analyse the language used by both Nādiyyah and Umm ‘Īd in their self-composed qaṣīdas with the intention of defining the ‘emotives’7 and parameters of their larger ‘emotional regime’8 (Reddy 1997, 2001). I argue that the Bedouin women of Sinai, in many ways, form a distinct emotional community9 which shares norms with the larger emotional regime found in the broad Bedouin culture of South Sinai. However, the emotional community formed by these women differs from the larger regime in the range and degree of emotions expressed, particularly with regard to the concepts of desire and love, and uniquely, providing feminine advice for self-protection when dealing with men. Furthermore, I hope to further work done by Bailey and Abu Lughod in outlining the dominant themes found in the poetry of Bedouin women that characterise the socially prescribed forms of expressing emotion10 in the Bedouin communities of the South Sinai.

The Qaṣīda: Historical Background and Methodology of the Study

The qaṣīda11 genre of classical Arabian poetry traditionally consists of units of themed rhyming couplets of a single meter (usually 15–80 lines long), organised into three separately themed sections.12 The qaṣīda developed into a highly refined art form during the pre-Islamic jāhilīyah period of Arabian history; the three parts of the poem, the nasīb,13 the raḥīl and the madīḥ, reflect the challenges, values, emotions and culture of the nomadic desert life in which the qaṣīda emerged (Motoyoshi Sumi 2004).

The first two sections of the poem, the nasīb (remembrance of the beloved) and raḥīl (journey), present the dichotomy of a nostalgic, romanticised past and the harsh realities of the present, while the final section, the madīḥ (theme or purpose of the qaṣīda) can be panegyric, elegiac, philosophical, boastful or satirical in nature (Stetkevych 1993). Thus, although a highly regulated form of poetic expression, the qaṣīda also allows for a great variety of flexibility within poetic composition.

In the modern era, the qaṣīda continues to serve a social as well as an artistic function, which Bailey and Thesiger (2002) argue is especially prominent within the Bedouin communities of the Southern Sinai Peninsula. This is evidenced by the endurance of the qaṣīda as an art form throughout its long history, as well as its multifunctional nature. Firstly, the qaṣīda (and traditional Arabian poetry in general) was regarded as a form of sympathetic magic in the pre-Islamic era,14 and was considered to be an especially potent method of cursing one's enemies (Bailey and Thesiger 2002; Brown 2003). The anthropologist Smadar Lavie, in her work The Poetics of Occupation (1990) and using oral recollections of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula as her case study, demonstrates that the qaṣīda is in fact a form of organising and transmitting historical memory in a poetised form.

In Bailey's extensive studies of the qaṣīda poetry of the South Sinai and Negev Bedouin, he presents the idea that the qaṣīda serves as the primary mode of emotional expression within contemporary Bedouin communities, as it provides both an acceptable form and a means of emotional expression in a culture that has historically valued stoicism, which is deemed, especially among men but also women, as the proper habitus for the nomadic nature of Bedouin life in the desert (Bailey and Thesiger 2002).

But what of poetic expressions in the world of Sinai's Muzīna Bedouin women? How does gender within Bedouin society expand upon or define (or both) one's ability to express one's emotions, and what similarities can we find with studies of other Bedouin tribes in Egypt, such as Abu Lughod's study of the ‘Awlād ‘Alī’ in Veiled Sentiments (1986)?

The focus of this study is the analysis of the original qaṣīda poetry of two Bedouin women from the South Sinai Muzīna tribe: Nādiyyah and Umm ‘Īd. Both women consented to being recording performing their own qaṣīdas (as well as singing, dancing and playing the flute) with the understanding that the material would be used to document and conserve the Bedouin culture of South Sinai.

All of the poems presented here are original, orally transmitted and were performed for me – this documentation, as far as I am aware, is the only written record of them that exists at present. Traditionally these performances and disclosures are the province of women-only spaces: time spent with goats in the fields, weddings and all-female gatherings in the mountains or desert.15 My presence as a ‘foreign’ man in these circles would have been culturally unacceptable had it not been for Faṭmah, a close friend and research assistant of mine who was also of the Muzīna tribe. However, as the Bedouin do not consider foreign men to be truly ‘men’, there was some room for cultural transgression and code-switching on my part, which enabled me (via my relationship with Faṭmah) to spend more time in these intimate feminine circles. These records vividly illustrate the complex emotive life of Bedouin women in the Sinai, who use the qaṣīda to explore and express emotions in spaces that would otherwise not be permissible within the ‘emotional regime’ of broader Bedouin culture.

Nādiyyah's Qaṣīdas: Desire, Praise for One's Host and Dealings with Frivolous Men

Nādiyyah is a Muzīna woman living in Dahab, South Sinai. Her prowess as a poet is well known in local circles, and I was introduced to her as such by Faṭmah. When I first met Nādiyyah, she was not willing to perform for me, as her original poetry has a highly emotional subject matter: her poems reflect her desire for her unrequited love, a man from the neighbouring Tarabin tribe, and her highly subjective reflections on remaining unmarried and middle aged within the Bedouin society of South Sinai. While teaching an undergraduate class on qaṣīda in 2019, she consented to being recorded by Faṭmah and me for educational purposes. Her poems are beautiful and striking, in that they reflect in highly emotive language not only romantic desire, but also emotional control, faith, praise for the generosity of one's host and a satirical warning to young women about rebuking the machinations of young men.16

A Poem of Desire

This short qaṣīda portrays Nādiyyah's desire for the beloved using the imagery of a campfire17 that is leaping up, sparking and burning her feet. After acknowledging explicitly that she does enjoy the preciousness of her beloved, fanning the flames of her passion, she prays to God for the fire to diminish and not grow stronger, reflecting her active attempts to suppress and control her emotions as proscribed within the broader limits of emotional expression in Bedouin society.18 She ends her poem with a simple, almost religious image and on a slightly enigmatic note. She refers to work (grazing the sheep) and celebrating the feast in Jerusalem19 as means of diverting her attention to more practical and spiritual matters:

Hey there you, your preciousness is like music to my ears and it's the passion to my fire
A fire that troubles me while it meets my bare-naked foot
Oh dear lord I ask for a fire that smoulders, not blazes
How beautiful it is to graze the herd of goats, to celebrate the feast in Jerusalem20
(Yāllī ghalāk ṭarab wa wala‘ fī nārī
Nār t‘anī wa talaqī damī al ḥafiyyah
Ya āllāh nār taqṣar ma tanāqṣ
Ma aḥlā sarīḥ al-ghanim wa al‘īd ‘ala al-Quds)

In the social context of women's communities among the Bedouin of South Sinai, this poem makes several references to the lived experiences of the Bedouin women – specifically, the traditional feminine labour of herding sheep in the mountains all day, and the act of placing one's feet around the fire for warmth in the evening (Marx 2015). The balance between the comparison of the fire, which rises high to warm the poet's naked feet, inspiring ‘passion’ or wala‘, and the subsequent description, which returns to the realistic pastoral ideals of wandering with the herd and celebrating the feast in Jerusalem, demonstrates the strong fluctuation between desire and the control of it that we see in Nādiyyah's poems.

A Poem Praising a (Female) Benefactor and Her Father

This thematically rich poem begins with striking imagery, immediately invoking the day of judgement within Islam. This set-up is deliberate, as it is used to frame the rewards that her benefactor, and by extension the benefactor's father, will receive for foregoing riches and salvation to take care of Nādiyyah, whose broken heart and suffering is compared to an ‘empty house built over a graveyard’. The rest of the poem evokes the typical imagery of Islamic values, caring for the orphans of the world and providing food and drink to the poor. In this manner, the poem utilises the traditional ‘panegyric’ theme of qaṣīda poetry in order express the virtuous hospitality of its subject, who, interestingly (in terms of typical poetic expression), and as previously noted, happens to be female.

Between heaven and hell there is built the Sirat21 and a scale to weigh your deeds
If you wish to go to heaven, then wipe your hands upon the orphans22 heads with all the blessings
My heart is that closed house, built over the graveyard
And no one knows my heart's intentions except God who is in heaven
And the (female) owner of the new house, saved me when I got old
She rises fearlessly, yet not like the torrential flood, and my days now are ahead of me
As she resides in her simple house instead of going for the heavens
As the counting of the ages proves her virtues
And those that hold the clean cups are those that get the earliest prize
I make her some morsels and bread so she can feed the poor and the hungry
As for her father he is a kind man
And his words are a strictly balanced scale
Walking through his life with the worship of his Lord
Feeding guests and poor people
Overflowing large summer jars
That have filled me with water
And in a corral she milks her goat
In front of grazer pens
(Bayn al-jannah23 wa bayn an-nār mubinā ṣirāṭ wa mīzān
Kāna bidak trūḥ al-jannah masaḥ ‘ārūs al-yatāmī
Qalbī thā al bayt al ma‘qful mubinā min fawq ash-shishanī
Wa mā āḥad y‘alim ‘alim qalbī alā huwa al-rab al-fawqānī
Umm al-ḥalīl al-jadīd lmutanī fīl-ākhr zamānī
Taṭl‘a lā ṭaluww‘a al-sīl wa yawmī lḥaq qadamī
Tiskun fī balād umm al ‘aqad wa mish raīḥah rūs al-janān
Tinzil ma‘ ṣabāba al-‘aṣr wa taḥakum layyā al-barādī
Wa umm al-kabābī naḍīfāt marṣūdah ‘and al-barādī
Asawī lahā al-qaym waṣamal wa taṭa‘m faqīr wa jiyya‘ān
Yā abūhā yā rājal ṭayyib
Wa kalāmuh hayjah mīzān
Māshi bi‘abādah rabuh
Wa ṭa‘am aḍ-ḍīf jiyya‘ān
Wa yamla baraḍuh ziyyūr aṣ-ṣayf
Illī bilamaī amaliyyānī
Wa bizarībah taḥlib ma‘zāha
Wa qadām zarīb ar-ra‘ayyān)

This poem can be compared to the poems in praise of the host's hospitality found in Bailey and Thesiger's Bedouin Poetry of Sinai and the Negev (2002). The distinguishing factor here is that both the subject and the major object of praise are female. However, the poet additionally praises the honour of the object's father, describing him in terms of his piety, his honesty, and his hospitality and care for orphans and the poor (kafāla), which is considered to be a highly rewarded act in Islamic societies. (Rotabi, Bromfield & Lee et. al. 2017) The latter image is illustrated by his ‘overflowing’ (yamla) of the ‘summer jars’ (baraḍuh ziyyūr aṣ-ṣayf), which have quenched the poet's thirst. This act, referring to the practice of filling and refilling the communal watering pots found in the streets of many Middle Eastern cities, powerfully expresses his generosity towards his community. The poem ends again on a very mundane note, with references to women's traditional labour roles in Sinai. While herding is chiefly a female occupation, it can also be done by men; however, milking and caring for goats is definitely a female duty. This final reference to labour hearkens back to the ending of Nādiyyah's first poem, which again makes reference to herding goats.

A Warning Against Flatterers and Womanisers

In this poem, Nādiyyah creates a unique combination of the ḥikma and hijā’ (or ‘wisdom’ and ‘satire’) aspects of the qaṣīda, while also evoking an appeal to justice through speaking the truth (as she reminds the audience in the opening lines). The poem itself reads as a caution against ‘Faraj’, who represents men who use excessive flattery to entice women to do their bidding. In Nādiyyah's own poetic language, she describes this action as ‘contending’ with the house of ‘hyperbole’ or ‘exaggeration’, to use a more accurate translation of the term used in Arabic.

She also warns of men who womanise, in this case represented in the character of ‘Hillāl’, who is ‘counting’ the ‘weeping women’, although they themselves are figuratively ‘lying in the grave’ of misery. In a rebuke of their behaviour, Nādiyyah comments on how, while living in the ‘tent of the lovely girls’, they themselves were, in fact, ‘like wild deer, flying above the masses’. That is to say, they were aware of the situation and of the men's intentions, although the men perhaps did not realise it themselves. The image of wild deer, or ‘gazelles’ (more accurately translated) in the poem, is a common trope in Arabic poetry often used to describe beautiful women, which, as noted by Corinne Fortier (2018), casts the female poetic subject as a hunted, elusive and highly valued object in the male poet's gaze. Interestingly, here Nādiyyah inverts the metaphor in an almost ‘teasing’ manner, emphasising these qualities in herself and her female companions at the expense of Faraj and Hillāl.

The poem ends with an admonition to her audience not to dwell upon those who would seek to cause them harm, and to remove them from their lives, with the last line following as a sort of memento mori; a day will come when Faraj, Hillāl and men like them will also be figuratively and literally in the grave:

Rewarded is the individual24 who calls the wicked man wicked
And this life is cursed, laying waste to the easily swayed men
And it is true that opinions do not always agree, brothers may differ
But what I am telling you must melt like sugar in the water25
Don't you know oh Farajthat you are contending with the house of flattery?
We were like wild deer, flying above the masses26
When we were living in that tent, with the lovely girls
Hillāl27 is counting the weeping [women], and they28 all are laying in the grave
Don't you know oh Faraj that you are contending with the house of flattery?
We were like wild deer, flying above the masses
When we were living in that tent, with the lovely girls
Hillāl is counting the weeping [women], and they are all laying in the grave
Fend yourself29 against those who seek to harm you, and leave them behind abandoned
A day will come, when he30 himself will go under the soil
(Wa yanāl jawwād az-zamān ila yaqūl lil‘āyyib ‘āyyib
Wa ad-dunyā hadhī mal‘awnah wa tajtaḥ min ar-rajal thāyyib
Amā saḥīḥ bihabūb al-rāy wa bilikhwān ash-shaqāyyib
Amā al-kalām baynī wa baynak kas-sukkar fil-maya thāyyib
Mā antā khabār yā farāj tanāẓar dār at-tanāyyib
Kunna zay ghuzlān al-bar narkab min fawq ar-rakāyyib
Min niskun fī bayt ash-sh‘ar fīhu al-banāt al-ḥabāyyib
Hilāl y‘ad an-naḥeeb wa jamiyy‘ā taḥt at-tarāyyib
Mā antā khabār yā farāj tanāẓar dār at-tanāyyib
Kunna zay ghuzlān al-bar narkab min fawq ar-rakāyyib
Min niskun fī bayt ash-sh‘ar fīhu al-banāt al-ḥabāyyib
Hilāl y‘ad an-naḥeeb wa jamiyy‘ā taḥt al-tarāyyib
Illī biyaz‘al ḥayy bīh warīthu mārālah ghāyyib
Wa yawmā rāḥ yajīlahu waqt wa yadkhal taḥt al-tarāyyib)

Nādiyyah's poetry is characterised by a great spectrum of dynamic emotives, dealing with desire, honour and shame, spirituality, praise for one's benefactor and wisdom. It also contains strong satirical content, aimed at mocking the behaviour of lusty men of marriageable age who are seeking her attention and that of her friends. Nādiyyah paradoxically operationalises her poetic language to at once subvert cultural norms and to demonstrate her honour (or yanāl jawwād az-zamān, ‘gaining the reward of time’) by frankly calling out the dishonourable behaviour of men within the Bedouin community.

Furthermore, Nādiyyah speaks frankly of her desire (and her wish to control it), praises the generosity of her caretakers and rebukes the wiles of sweet-talking and womanising men, instructing other women to do the same. In the case of Nādiyyah we see that desire – or wala‘, meaning passion, but also attachment, love, fondness, penchant or predilection, made superlative in metaphorical form as nār, or ‘fire’ – is a permissible subject of poetry, as long as it is presented alongside a demonstration of one's ability to control said desire. Never within Nādiyyah's poetry is desire celebrated as an end in and of itself, and it is typically cloaked in metaphorical language. Details surrounding the subject of Nādiyyah's desire are not explicitly made clear here, and are perhaps deliberately left vague in keeping with cultural norms of modesty. However, based on her discussion of herding the goats, it is safe to say that the audience of this poem would have predominantly been other Bedouin women with whom Nādiyyah likely takes the goats to pasture.

Praise, as we see in Nādiyyahs's poetry, is reserved only for God and the pious (in the Islamic sense), here exemplified by her gracious hosts and benefactors, who perform the Islamic functions of taking care of widows and orphans, as well as the impoverished. This also translates into her poem concerning Hillāl and Faraj, as she calls out their character traits as an act of advising, but also, as noted in the first line, as an act for which she will be ‘rewarded’ at a future date.

It is also worth noting the manner in which Nādiyyah acknowledges the cleverness of the ‘beautiful girls’ living with her in the ‘tent’31 or ‘bayt ash-sha'ar’, who were able to see through the wiles of Faraj and Hillāl – a theme decidedly unique among qaṣīdas written by both men and women in its satirical admonition of ‘womanising’. In comparison, male qaṣīdas of South Sinai deal with similar themes, often taking on religious overtones, as well as praising the generosity of one's host or benefactors. However, it could be said that the emotional spectrum permitted for male expression is decidedly broader than that of women. The goals of the male poets are also quite diverse, ranging from historical transmission to expressions of desire, anger, religious feeling, praise and loss. The lengths of typical qaṣīda poems are also largely the same. The greater dividing characteristic between male and female poetry lies chiefly in the subjective lived experiences of Bedouin womanhood, which provide both the context for the speaker and much of the imagery. As such, women's qaṣīdas are an insight into both the lived reality and the emotional world of Bedouin women, as much as the male qaṣīdas provide insight into Bedouin male subjecthood. In Nādiyyah's poems, we see a woman who uses the language and values of Islam and Arabic culture (framed within the qaṣīda) to express desire, gratitude, praise and disapproval as a means of cultural commentary within her wider emotional community of women.

Umm ‘Īd's Qaṣīda: A Poem of Familial Separation and Grief

Umm ‘Īd is an 80-year-old Muzīna woman who resides mostly in Bir al-‘Uqda, where she has lived most of her life. She occasionally travels to Dahab to meet with her friends and family, including Faṭmah, and to attend weddings, at which she is renowned as a singer, dancer and performer – a highly valued and respected social role among both men and women of the South Sinai Bedouin (I was introduced to her as such by Faṭmah). Umm ‘Īd was at one time married to a wealthy and powerful shaykh of the tribe, who is now deceased. She has a son who left Bir al-‘Uqda to marry and seek work in the cities of Sharm ash-Shaykh and Dahab and from whom she is now estranged, implicitly due to his relationship to another woman or women, who are, in the words of Umm ‘Īd, influencing him to keep him away from his mother.

Although Umm ‘Īd only recited one qaṣīda for me, its raw emotive power struck a very different note than the fluctuation between desire and control, the feminine satirical wisdom and the praise for one's host that characterised the poetry of Nādiyyah. Thematically, by comparison, Umm ‘Īd's qaṣīda dealt with a very raw and tangible subject matter: her alienation from her still-living son, the pain of his memory and emotional distance, and the fragmentation of her house or family unit caused by his absence.

While the theme of the poem is absence, the poem does not use the Arabic words most commonly used to signify absence, such as ghayyāb, ‘inadām, fiqdān or shurūd. Instead, it uses a plethora of metaphors, including of the flight (ṭār) of the ‘beloved away from her heart’, the house which ‘echoes of goodbyes’ (as-salām ya‘alī ‘andkū fī ad-dār) and the ‘pillar of the house that has departed with the women’ (bikhāṭrī bilqay al-‘amūd wa biyimshī m‘a al-walāya). These metaphors powerfully convey the weight of the pain Umm ‘Īd feels in remembering her son, rather than forgetting him, in which case she ‘would find herself at peace in seeking hell’ (sahīt an-nār).

‘Remind Me of the Days I Have Forgotten’

In this quite heartbreaking poem, Umm ‘Īd, speaking to her estranged son, asks to be ‘reminded of the days’ she has tried to forget due to the pain of his absence. While not explicit, the second part of the first line seems to reinforce the idea that her son's irresponsible behaviour is somehow connected to his relationship with another woman; he is behaving in an undignified way in the eyes of his culture by neglecting his mother. In using paradoxical language, Umm ‘Īd reflects her emotional suffering, using the word ‘mawjuwa’ or ‘agony’; she also uses metaphorical language, stating that she would ‘find herself at peace in seeking the fires of hell’ (an-nār) if she allowed herself to forget the memory of her son. And yet his memory causes her pain and gives her no relief. In the final line, she poignantly reminisces that the ‘pillar’, meaning the support structure of her house, has left her along with the women that her son is chasing:32

Remind me of the days I have forgotten, with the dignity of a husband with high standards
Remind me of the days I have forgotten, and if time comes for us to be reminded of them, then it's past due, and at your house it only echoes of goodbyes,
And I swear if my beloved is hurt, I would be the one that's hurt, and if my beloved flew away from my heart, I would find myself at peace in seeking hell
Within myself I find that the pillar is leaving with the women
(Thakarnī ayām nāsīhā, bisharaf ‘alā jawz mut‘alā, thakarnī ayām nāsīhā
Wa inna ja'tkum waqt shūqakum fātkum wa aḥtār waqt as-salām ya‘alī ‘andkū fī ad-dār
Wallāhi inna tawj‘a ḥabibī sart anā al-mawj‘a wa inna ṭār ṭāb min
Khawāṭrī wa sahīt an-nār
Bikhāṭrī bilqay al-‘amūd wa biyimshī m‘a al-walāya)

In the case of Umm ‘Īd, who has been married and mothered children, the poetisation of love takes on an utterly unconditional and maternal form, while the severity of her emotional state is conveyed by her own use of paradoxical language in her qaṣīda. The act of remembering causes her pain, and yet she cannot allow herself to forget her son, even to the point of being willing to experience the suffering of hell. This attempt to describe something that one is feeling without having the ability to express it is precisely the type of ‘emotional navigation’ described by William Reddy in his works, reinforcing the idea that in these emotional communities of Bedouin women in South Sinai qaṣīdas are used to navigate and express complicated emotional states that they are otherwise prevented from exploring in their daily lives.

Qaṣīda Poetry as Emotional Navigation among South Sinai Bedouin Women

As the night in the desert wore on, Umm Faraj and Umm Ramaḍān began to recount tales of their childhood – notably including encounters with strange creatures, including Sinai leopards and djinns – with the evening culminating in a lively performance of traditional wedding songs and dances. Although I was known to all of the women as an oral historian and anthropologist, there to document their life histories, songs, poems and dances with their consent, it was made clear to me by Faṭmah that had I not been present, much of the ‘performance’ would have remained the same; in her own words, ‘this is how we have fun, we go to the desert, dance, sing and tell stories. We can relax here’. After sitting for about an hour and a half, we called the driver, and it was again time for me to don my improvised disguise. The ride back was as humorous for the women as it had been for them during the first trip. Upon arrival in Dahab, I quickly changed clothes in the garden and ushered myself out of the home, now the ‘foreign’ man again, both exhilarated and intellectually grappling with my understanding of the world I had so briefly been given a glimpse into.

These rich qaṣīdas, the living poetic tradition of South Sinai, characterise the emotional community of Bedouin women, who draw upon them to express their love on a spectrum that is at once social and affective, including grief, desire, romantic love and pious love. As seen in Reinventing Love? Gender, Intimacy and Romance in the Arab World (Fortier et al. 2018), out of the cultures of the postcolonial Middle East and North Africa, a new form of ‘romantic love’, distinct from the traditionally rigid social roles and marriage and courtship rituals of the region, has emerged, shaped predominantly by the social context, culture and media. For the Bedouin of South Sinai, including many of the women mentioned in this article, the strong patriarchal culture of the Sinai desert and tribal allegiances and affiliation remain the dominant factors determining the marriage options for women. Whereas for men, polygamy is still widely practiced and accepted, women are exclusively bound by marriage to one man, unless they choose not to marry, or are widowed or divorced. Contrary to the poetry of South Sinai Bedouin men, unless women's poetry concerns mourning or longing, it is quite rare for it to objectify a lover as an object of desire, as seen in the poetry of Nādiyyah. However, men are suitable subjects of praise, mourning or admonition, as seen in the other poems.

As much for Bedouin women as for men, romantic desire, as a powerful emotion, is to be controlled – hence its common poetic representation using the symbol of fire, the campfire being a near-daily phenomenon in Bedouin life that fittingly represents a powerful passion, potentially dangerous if uncontrolled. Pious love, including the love of God or of one's benefactor, is to be expressed boldly in a panegyric fashion. Loss of love or separation from a loved one is expressed without emotional restraint, using the language of physical pain, hell, death and the collapse of the house or the family unit.

These poems, naturally, bear several striking similarities to those composed by Bedouin men; however, in slight contrast to Bailey and Thesiger's (2002) statement that female Bedouin poets are more ‘free’ to emote, given the patriarchal nature of Bedouin society,33 I would argue that the qaṣīda, in the ‘emotional community’ formed by the Bedouin women of Sinai, largely still functions to structure and maintain the stoic habitus conducive to desert survival, albeit uniquely tailored to the feminine sphere and its social encounters: grazing pastures and mountainsides, the home, and weddings.

The imperative of controlled emotional expression, the disordering of which could potentially lead one to a loss of status, life or face within the harsh environment of the Sinai desert (Bailey and Thesiger 2002), is no less applicable to the men of this culture than the women; the differences between the qaṣīdas of men and women, then, figure primarily in emotionally navigating and adapting or responding to the lived experiences within the feminine world of the South Sinai Bedouin, and using them to inform women's social and communal relationships. As such, the qaṣīdas shared within this emotional community prioritise emotional navigation of loss, as well as desire and its control. There are several comparisons to be made between the qaṣīdas discussed here and the amorous poetry of the Mauritanian Moors discussed by Corinne Fortier (2018). The use of water in the latter as a metaphor for love contrasts well with the predominant use of fire as a metaphor among Bedouin women.34 Water is also referenced in the poetry of South Sinai Bedouin men, in which the male subject uses the metaphor of his well ‘running dry’ to describe his passionate pining over the loss of his lover (Bailey and Thesiger 2002). In this poem, simply titled ‘A Girl Met at the Well’ (ibid.: 67–68), the male speaker praises his patience, his endurance and his self-control, implying application of Fortier's observations from the poetry of Mauritanian Moors that men, in South Sinai Bedouin society, typically also express themselves as the active subjects of amorous desire. Although Bedouin women's poetry does in fact deal with desire, it is women's own emotions, represented either indirectly through affective language or through an abstract ‘beloved’, that are often the subject of the poetry.35 Furthermore, the poetry of South Sinai Bedouin women is also notably concerned with sharing advice about men and their dealings: it is no less important to warn young women of the importance of not falling for immoral men in South Sinai than it is anywhere else in the world.

As opposed to stories of smuggling, war, revenge and the satirical insulting of one's enemies, the qaṣīdas of Bedouin women are far more focused on the personal and the subjective, the home, the beloved and the inner self, in a poetic language that uniquely reflects the lived reality of Bedouin womanhood in South Sinai. Desire is the roaring flame of a campfire, to be quenched and controlled; the alienated son is a house (or tent) missing a support pillar; the heart of love unrequited is an empty house built over a graveyard; and the epitome of the gracious host is the daughter of the pious man who cares for the orphaned and unfortunate.

The intimacy of the setting in which the poetry is conveyed is also different from that of the male poets. Poetry among women is transmitted in the fields and mountains while they graze sheep, in intimate desert gatherings and at gender-segregated weddings. The qaṣīda tradition in the feminine sphere, then, takes on a new light; in a social sphere where women, especially the elderly, the unmarried and widows, are joined in a network of supportive relationships, friendship and kinship, the qaṣīda acts simultaneously to affirm socially proscribed methods of expressing emotion, to pass on valuable advice and to provide a sort of group therapy, involving emotional navigation for these women in an area and culture otherwise deprived of social and psychological support. It must also be said that these groups could potentially provide a means of challenging or navigating larger emotional norms, while still maintaining the traditional habitus of women within a South Sinai Bedouin community.

Conclusion

From these poems, as well as from the other samples of women's qaṣīdas collected in Bailey and Thesiger (2002), it is observable that much of the subject matter is characterised more strongly by the loss of love (either in the form of death, of men being away at war or of emotional distance from a relative) than by the celebration of desire or romantic longing for a partner.36 The trauma of losing a loved one, especially a male relative, could be amplified by the subsequent lack of security, social standing and income that such a loss would incur, making it a particularly common and powerful subject in the poetry of Bedouin women.

Of course, as we have seen in Nādiyyah's poetry, desire is not a taboo subject in the right circles, although the ingrained cultural value of demonstrating the ability to have ‘control’ over one's emotions seemingly remains. Furthermore, in these poems, men are not as a rule treated as faultless or the final arbiters of cultural authority; in Nādiyyah's final poem, we see that Bedouin women may also be instructed to rely on their own intuition and guile when dealing with men, lest they experience further heartache and misery.

From a broader analytical standpoint, these two women – both from the same tribal origin, albeit of radically different ages and experiences – form a part of the same ‘emotional community’ and ‘emotional regime’; they are permitted to express certain emotions within a cultural context, within certain times and spaces, and in a specific form – in this case, the qaṣīda. As Bailey and Thesiger (2002) have observed among the Bedouin of South Sinai – a culture which traditionally values stoicism in men – the qaṣīda permits women a somewhat greater space for emotional expression and (to borrow a term from William Reddy) for ‘navigating’ their feelings.

However, the subject matter of the qaṣīdas I collected was of an entirely different character than I had seen previously. While the qaṣīda poetry of men is no less societally conditioned than that of women, men's poetry is often ubiquitous in its presentation within collections and academic studies. Assumptions are often made that the values and expressions of men's qaṣīda poetry are equally applicable to Bedouin women. While this may be true insofar as possessing a stoic control over one's emotions is seen as preferable to being overly emotive in Bedouin society regardless of gender, these poems reveal a quite literally separate, if subordinate, world: in these spaces, Bedouin women are free to transgress against their emotional regime and reflect poetically upon their own lives, loves and losses, sharing wisdom and satirically commenting upon the behaviour of men – a necessary and subversive act in the staunchly patriarchal Bedouin society of South Sinai.

Notes

1

A sheer black fabric worn by women in some Islamic cultures, designed to cover the entire face but allow for vision.

2

A traditional one-piece, loose-fitting garment worn by both men and women (though more commonly men) in Egypt.

3

A classical form of Arabic poetry, to be explained in greater detail later in the article.

4

Al-Khansa (c. 575–646 CE) was a Saudi Arabian poetess, perhaps the best known among female poets of the period. She was one of the first converts to Islam, and is best known for the elegies (ar-rithā’) for her brothers Ṣakhr and Mu'āwiyyah, which were said to have made the Prophet Mohammed himself weep.

5

‘Habitus’ is defined by Pierre Bourdieu as ‘[s]ystems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them’ (1990).

6

All names have been changed here to protect the anonymity of my sources.

7

‘Emotional expressions’ as defined by William Reddy, specifically those conveyed through the use of language.

8

A ‘normative order for emotions’, and by extension, emotional expression in a given time period or cultural context, as defined by Reddy.

9

Communities built on shared ‘emotional norms’ and ‘valuations’, as described in Rosenwein (2007).

10

Or the emotional regime.

11

From an Arabic root (q ṣ d) meaning ‘intention’.

12

There has been a great deal of literature written on the formal elements of the qasida poem.

13

Historically, the nasīb was formalised and often expressed in the form of passing by the campsite of a lover to find that the individual has moved on elsewhere.

14

A type of magic based on imitation.

15

In the Bedouin societies of South Sinai and the Negev, the chief occupation outside of household duties for Bedouin women is shepherding – caring for (including milking and shearing) goats and sheep.

16

This is a decidedly feminist take on the traditional hijā’ (‘satire’) or ḥikma (‘wisdom’) to be shared with younger generations (or the listener of the poem).

17

Fires, for cooking, heat or making tea and coffee, are still a regular part of Bedouin life in South Sinai, whether they are made in the wilderness of the desert or within the courtyard or ventilated central room of the house.

18

Compare this highly controlled form of expressing romantic desire to the male-narrated ‘A Girl I met at the Well’ in Bailey and Thesiger (2002).

19

Again, a reference to religion.

20

See Marx (2015).

21

In Islamic belief, the Ṣirāṭ is a razor-thin bridge above hell that all people must walk across, as a test to divide the righteous from the wicked. The righteous pass safely, while the wicked fall into the pits of hell. See Malik (2017).

22

Another reference to Islam and the duty to take care of orphans, and one that is of course also self-referential to the poet's condition. See Rotabi, Bromfield & Lee et. al. 2017).

23

‘Heaven’ in Islam.

24

Here, Nādiah provides justification for her rebuke; it is righteous to call out a person's true nature if he is behaving immorally.

25

Completely dissolve, be in harmony. In other words, the audience must take it to heart.

26

A reference to the fact that the women living in the tent were aware of the games being played by Faraj and Hillāl. Implicitly, Nādiyyah accuses Faraj of being an insincere sweet-talker, and Hillāl of being a womaniser.

27

Again referring to another man, ‘Hillāl’, this is also a veiled reference to the ‘Hillāl’ or crescent moon which measures the months of the Islamic calendar.

28

Referring to the misery caused by Hillāl's womanising tendencies.

29

Here, Nādiyyah is returning to the advice given to the listener.

30

This is an indirect description referring both to men who seek to cause harm and implicitly to ‘Faraj’ and ‘Hillāl’.

31

Bayt ash-sha'ar’ is an antiquated Arabic expression that translates as ‘house of hair’, referring to the use of goatskin hides for creating the tents of the South Sinai Bedouin.

32

Compare this to the poems of grief and despair found in Bailey and Thesiger (2002).

33

And the added elements of honour and shame that are chiefly bound up in their status.

34

See Fortier (2018).

36

However, it might be argued that this is more the province of weddings, and thus wedding songs, dances and, of course, ‘dahieh’ – a folk dance practiced in south Levantine (Negev and Sinai), north Saudi Arabian, Jordanian, Syrian desert and some Gulf areas, designed to increase excitement before a battle or to celebrate a victory. Currently, it is most often performed at weddings and other festive occasions, and is experiencing a revival of sorts in the Israeli Negev.

References

  • Bailey, C. and Thesiger, W. (2002), ‘Poems of Expression’, in Bedouin Poetry: From Sinai and the Negev (London: Saqi), 1871.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1990), The Logic of Practice (Cambridge: Polity Press).

  • Brown, J. A. C. (2003), ‘The Social Context of Pre-Islamic Poetry: Poetic Imagery and Social Reality in the Mu‘Allaqat’, Arab Studies Quarterly 25, no. 3: 2950.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CNN Arabic (2015), ‘Hal t‘arif mā hiyya raqṣa ‘z'īr al-aswad wa ‘hadīr al-ābl’ aw ‘ar-rāb-al-badawī’ fī buldān al-‘arabiyya?’ [Do you know what is the dance of the ‘roaring lion’, the ‘thundering camel’ or Bedouin rap in Arab Countries?], 17 December, 2015 https://arabic.cnn.com/travel/2015/12/17/jordan-traditional-dance. (accessed 4 December 2010).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C. (2018), ‘The Expenses of Love: Seduction, Poetry and Jealousy in Mauritania’, in Reinventing Love? Gender, Intimacy and Romance in the Arab World, (eds) C. Fortier, A. Kreil and I. Maffi (Bern: Peter Lang), 4769

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C., Kreil, A. and Maffi, I. (2016), ‘The Trouble of Love in the Arab World: Romance, Marriage, and the Shaping of Intimate Lives’, The Arab Studies Journal 24, no. 2: 96101.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C., Kreil, A. and Maffi, I. (2018), ‘Introduction’, in Reinventing Love? Gender, Intimacy and Romance in the Arab World, (eds) C. Fortier, A. Kreil and I. Maffi (Bern: Peter Lang), 932.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lavie, S. (1990), The Poetics of Military Occupation: Mzeina Allegories of Bedouin Identity under Israeli and Egyptian Rule (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marx, E. (2015), Bedouin of Mount Sinai: An Anthropological Study of Their Political Economy (New York: Berghahn Books).

  • Malik, F. (2017), ‘Crossing the Bridge of Siraat’, Islamic Insights, https://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/crossing-the-bridge-of-siraat.html (accessed 4 December 2020).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Motoyoshi Sumi, A. (2004), ‘Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory’, in Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures 25, (eds) S. P. Stetkevych, R. Brann and F. Lewis (Leiden: Brill)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reddy, W. M. (1997), ‘Against Constructionism: The Historical Ethnography of Emotions’, Current Anthropology 38, no. 3: 327351.

  • Reddy, W. M. (2001), The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for The History of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

  • Rosenwein, B. H. (2007), Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

  • Rotabi, K. S., Bromfield, N. F., Lee, J. et al. (2017), ‘The Care of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Islam: Exploring Kafala with Muslim Social Work Practice with Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in the United States.’ In J. Hum. Rights Soc. Work 2, 1624. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41134-017-0027-2

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stetkevych, J. (1993), The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Contributor Notes

Matthew Ryan Sparks is a third-year PhD student in Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel, where he is currently documenting oral and life histories of the Sinai and Negev Bedouin. A lifelong storyteller, Matthew is an author, oral historian, research consultant and professional editor with years of experience working with various international publishers and clients through his firm, Sparks & McNeill LLC. His primary research interests are oral and life histories and the folklore of nomadic, Indigenous, subaltern and queer populations in his native Central Appalachia, the Middle East and North Africa. He is also interested in theology, religion and ethnobotany. Email: sparksandmcneill@gmail.com

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  • Bailey, C. and Thesiger, W. (2002), ‘Poems of Expression’, in Bedouin Poetry: From Sinai and the Negev (London: Saqi), 1871.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1990), The Logic of Practice (Cambridge: Polity Press).

  • Brown, J. A. C. (2003), ‘The Social Context of Pre-Islamic Poetry: Poetic Imagery and Social Reality in the Mu‘Allaqat’, Arab Studies Quarterly 25, no. 3: 2950.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CNN Arabic (2015), ‘Hal t‘arif mā hiyya raqṣa ‘z'īr al-aswad wa ‘hadīr al-ābl’ aw ‘ar-rāb-al-badawī’ fī buldān al-‘arabiyya?’ [Do you know what is the dance of the ‘roaring lion’, the ‘thundering camel’ or Bedouin rap in Arab Countries?], 17 December, 2015 https://arabic.cnn.com/travel/2015/12/17/jordan-traditional-dance. (accessed 4 December 2010).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C. (2018), ‘The Expenses of Love: Seduction, Poetry and Jealousy in Mauritania’, in Reinventing Love? Gender, Intimacy and Romance in the Arab World, (eds) C. Fortier, A. Kreil and I. Maffi (Bern: Peter Lang), 4769

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C., Kreil, A. and Maffi, I. (2016), ‘The Trouble of Love in the Arab World: Romance, Marriage, and the Shaping of Intimate Lives’, The Arab Studies Journal 24, no. 2: 96101.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fortier, C., Kreil, A. and Maffi, I. (2018), ‘Introduction’, in Reinventing Love? Gender, Intimacy and Romance in the Arab World, (eds) C. Fortier, A. Kreil and I. Maffi (Bern: Peter Lang), 932.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lavie, S. (1990), The Poetics of Military Occupation: Mzeina Allegories of Bedouin Identity under Israeli and Egyptian Rule (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marx, E. (2015), Bedouin of Mount Sinai: An Anthropological Study of Their Political Economy (New York: Berghahn Books).

  • Malik, F. (2017), ‘Crossing the Bridge of Siraat’, Islamic Insights, https://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/crossing-the-bridge-of-siraat.html (accessed 4 December 2020).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Motoyoshi Sumi, A. (2004), ‘Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory’, in Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures 25, (eds) S. P. Stetkevych, R. Brann and F. Lewis (Leiden: Brill)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reddy, W. M. (1997), ‘Against Constructionism: The Historical Ethnography of Emotions’, Current Anthropology 38, no. 3: 327351.

  • Reddy, W. M. (2001), The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for The History of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

  • Rosenwein, B. H. (2007), Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

  • Rotabi, K. S., Bromfield, N. F., Lee, J. et al. (2017), ‘The Care of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Islam: Exploring Kafala with Muslim Social Work Practice with Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in the United States.’ In J. Hum. Rights Soc. Work 2, 1624. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41134-017-0027-2

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stetkevych, J. (1993), The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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