Poetry Collection of Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥilli


Scholars consider al-Hilli one of the leading poets of postclassical times, that is, the period following the fall of the Abbasid Empire in 1258. His Diwan (Collection of poems) is in 12 chapters, which cover a variety of personalities and occasions and recount in verse vignettes his travels with the Egyptian Mamluk ruler Qalāwūn (died 1290) on his campaign to Mardin in eastern Anatolia. The poems are preceded by an autobiographical note in saj’ (rhymed prose). Al-Hilli was a recognized master of all forms of classical and popular poetry as well as a theoretician of prosody and literary history. The present collection showcases the poet’s facility with numerous poetic forms and themes. The work was printed in Beirut in 1892 with support from Lebanese writer and journalist Nakhlah Qalfāṭ. It is not known who edited the text or what manuscripts were used in its preparation, but it seems likely that Qalfat, who had been a bookseller, might have financed publication because of his wide-ranging literary interests and appreciation for humor and satire, as many of the poems pertain to the enjoyments of life. The work was printed at al-Adab Press, which was owned by the teacher and author Amin al-Khuri. It is well printed, considering the irregularity of the stanzas and the need for careful vowel pointing.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Al-Adab Press, Beirut


Title in Original Language

ديوان صفي الدين الحلي

Type of Item

Physical Description

528 pages ; 20 centimeters


  1. Khayr al-Din Al-Zirikli, Al-A’lam (Beirut: Dar al-‘Ilm lil-Malayin, 1980).
  2. Margaret Larkin, “Popular Poetry in the Post-Classical Period, 1150−1850,” in The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Last updated: July 21, 2014