Explaining al-Khansa’ in Delightful Stanzas


This book is a printed collection of the verse of Tumāḍir bint ʿAmr ibn al-Ḥarth ibn al-Sharīd al-Sulamīyah entitled Anis al-Julasāʼ fī Sharḥ Dīwān al-Khansāʼ (Explaining al-Khansa’ in delightful stanzas). Known to history as al-Khansā’ (she of the snub-nose or of resemblance to a gazelle), the author is regarded as one of the leading poets of late pre-Islamic Arabia. After meeting the Prophet Muhammad, who is said to have admired her poetry, she became a Muslim. Contemporary and subsequent appreciation of her poetry owed much to the power of her panegyric laments. Her two brothers were killed in tribal strife before her conversion to Islam. After her conversion, her four sons died in battle for the new faith. Her Diwan (Collected poems) has been reprinted numerous times. In a flowery introductory paragraph, the editor of this 1895 edition, Father Louis Cheikho, states that the poetry of al-Khansa’ “ignited envy in the souls of [male] Arab poets and lifted the heads of all women in pride.” Cheikho began his study of her work with an earlier compilation published in 1888. The importance of this edition lies not only in its presenting a more complete compilation of her poetry and of classical commentary on it; the book also offers an intimate look at the methods used by a prominent Orientalist in tracing lost manuscripts, critically comparing them, and providing commentary that elucidates the text with comprehensive historical, literary, and lexical references. Cheikho was a teacher of the distinguished Russian Arabist I.Y. Kratchkovsky, who wrote in his memoirs about his surprised delight and later disappointment at discovering that both he and his mentor were working on the same pre-Islamic Arab poet.

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Publication Information

Catholic Press, Beirut


Title in Original Language

أنيس الجلساء في شرح ديوان الخنساء

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Physical Description

256 pages ; 24 centimeters


  1. Farrin, Raymond, Abundance from the Desert: Classical Arabic Poetry (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. 2011).
  2. Kratchkovshy, I.Y. Among Arabic Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 1953).

Last updated: August 8, 2014