Arabic sha’ir شاعر, pl. shu’ara. Poetry, shi’r شعر.
Surah xxxvi. 69: “We have not taught poetry, nor was it proper for him, it is but a reminder and a plain Qur’an.”
Surah 40, 41: ” Verily it is the speech of a noble apostle; and it is not the speech of a poet.”
الم نشرح لكا سدرك و وضعنا عنك وزرك
Alam nashrah laka sudraka
Wa waza’na ‘anka wizraka.
“Have we not opened thy breast for thee?
And taken off from thee thy burden?”)
هل انت الا اصبع دميت وفي سبيل الله ما لقيت
Hal anti illa isba’un damiti?
Wa fi sabili ‘llahi ma laqiti.
“Art thou anything but a toe covered with blood?”
“What has happened to thee has been in the road of God.”
Arabic scholars (see Kashfu Istilahati ‘l-Funun, in loco) divide the Arabic poets into six periods:-
(1) Al-Jahiliyun, those in the time of ignorance, or before Islam, such as the ancient Arabic poets Zuhair, Tarafah, Imru ‘l-Qais, ‘Amr ibn Kulsum; al-Haris, and ‘Antarah.
(2) Al-Mukhzaramun (lit. “spurious “), those born in the time of ignorance, but who embraced Islam, as Labid and Hassan, whose names occur in the traditions.
(3) Al-Mutaqaddimun (lit. “first “), those who were born in the time of Islam, of parents who were converts to Islam, as Jarir and Farazdaq.
(4) Al-Muwalladun, those who were born of true-born Muslims, as Bashar.
(5) Al-Muhdisun, the third generation of Moslem poets, as Abu Taminam, and Bukhtari.
(6) Al-Muta’akhkhirun (lit. ” the last “), all succeeding poets.
The Mutaqaddimum, the Muwalladun, and the Muhdisun, correspond with the Ashab,. the Tabi’in, and the Tabi ‘Tabi’un, or the the first generations of Muslims.
There are seven poems of ancient Arabia, who are known in history as the Mu’allaqat or “suspended,” because they had been in turn supended on the walls of the Makkan temple. They are also known as Muzahhabat, or the “golden” poems, because they were written in gold. The names of their author are Zuhair, Tarafah, Imru ‘l-Qais, ‘Amru ibn Kulsum, al-Haris, Antarah, and Lahid. The last of the seven embraced Islam. It is related that Labid had posted up in the Ka’bah his poem, beginning:
الا كل شي ما خلا الله باتل
Ala kulla sha’in ma khala ‘llaha batilu.
‘Know that everything is vanity but God.”
But that, when he saw the first verses of the Suratu ‘l-Baqarah (ii.) of the Qur’an posted up he withdrew his verses and embraced Islam. Muhammad repaid Labid with the compliment that the words,’ “Know that everything is vanity but God,” were the truest words ever, uttered by a poet. (Mishkat, book xxii. ch. x.)
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam