The Diwan


Al-Waleed ibn Ubaidillah Al-Buhturi (821–97 AD; 206–48 AH) was a leading Arab poet who was born in Manbij, in present-day Syria, and lived in the early Abbasid dynasty. He was a companion of the Abbasid caliph, Al-Mutawakil, whom Al-Buhturi saw murdered before his eyes in 861. The violent incident weighed heavily on the poet’s psyche, sending him into self-exile and a period of seclusion. Often mentioned in connection with two other preeminent poets of the Abbasid era, Abu Tamman who preceded him and Al-Mutanabbi who succeeded him, Al-Buhturi is considered the most poetic of the three. While the poetry of the other two was more philosophical, Al-Buhturi’s was decidedly lyrical and emotional, prompting the literary critics of his time to dub his work “the necklaces of gold.” In addition to typical poems full of praise for the caliphs and emirs, Al-Buhturi’s work includes some of the most tender poetry on the theme of love ever written in Arabic. The title of the work refers to the term “diwan,” from the Persian word for writer or scribe, which has come to mean a collection of poems, usually by a single author.

Last updated: August 12, 2016