Meaning of HAMASAH in English

an Arabic anthology compiled by the poet Abu Tammam in the 9th century. It is so called from the title of its first book, which contains poems descriptive of fortitude in battle, patient endurance of calamity, steadfastness in seeking vengeance, and constancy under reproach and in temptationin a word, the attribute of hamasah. The anthology consists of 10 books, containing, in all, 884 poems, mostly fragments selected from longer poems: (1) Al-Hamasah; (2) Al-Marathi, Dirges; (3) Al-Adab, Manners; (4) An-Nasib, Amatory Verses; (5) Al-Hija', Satires; (6) Al-Adyaf wa al-madih, Hospitality and Panegyric; (7) As-Sifat, Miscellaneous Descriptions; (8) As-Sayr wa an-Nu'as, Journeying and Drowsiness; (9) Al-Mulah, Pleasantries; and (10) Madhammat an-nisa', Dispraise of Women. The poems, taken from the works of Arab poets of all periods, from pre-Islamic times to about AD 832, are extemporaneous or occasional utterances, as distinguished from qasidas, or elaborately finished odes. They are short, direct, and generally free of metaphor. In compiling his collection, Abu Tammam chose hardly anything from the works of the most famous poets of antiquity; only the fourth book, an-Nasib, which contains the standard opening verses of many qasidas, is an exception. The Hamasah was compiled about 835 while Abu Tammam was staying at Hamadan (Iran). The excellence of its selection caused it to be said that Abu Tammam displayed higher qualities in his choice of extracts than in his own poetry. It is a storehouse of ancient material, and it became a fundamental work for poets seeking to acquire polish. It inspired many commentaries, which were enumerated by Hajji Khali-fa, the 17th-century historian and bibliographer. Al-Buhturi, a protg of Abu Tammam, produced another hamasah, much more elaborate and less appreciated; other anthologists followed him. A number of such works have survived; others are known only by title.

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