Imru' al-Qais

Imru' al-Qais

Ameru' al-Qays, or Imru'u al Quais, Ibn Hujr Al-Kindi, Arabic (امرؤ القيس بن حجر بن الحارث الكندي), was an Arabian poet of the 6th century, the author of one of the "Muallaqat", an anthology of pre-Islamic Arabic literature.

He is the son of Hujr, the last king of Kindah which is part of the present Republic of Yemen. He was born around 501 and died around 544. His mother was Fatmah bint Rabi’ah, the sister of Kulib and Al-Muhalhl, two of the well known Arabic tribe leaders. Even though he was raised in luxury as a result of being the son of the king, he suffered because he was deprived from ruling after his father’s assassination. That is why Arabs called him al-Malek-al-Delleel or the Shadow King.

He loved wine to such an extent that when he was informed of his father’s death during drinking, he shocked every one around him by his response when he said “Tonight is for drinking and tomorrow we will see what the matter is.” ( Alyooma Khamr, Ghadan Amr)It is believed that he avenged his father, although their relationship was not good enough.

He wrote passionate love poetry, and is believed to have invented the Qasida, or classical Arabic ode. His verse was intensely subjective, like much of the poetry of the pre-Islamic period. He is believed to have been assassinated by Emperor Justinian I, who sent him a poisoned cloak, after al-Qays had an affair with a princess at his court.

His poems are contained in Wilhelm Ahlwardt's "The Divans of the six ancient Arabic Poets" (London, 1870), and have been published separately in William McGuckin de Slane's "Le Diwan d'Amro'lkats" (Paris, 1837); a German version with life and notes in Friedrich Rückert's "Amrilkais der Dichter und König" (Stuttgart, 1843). Many stories of his life are told in the Kitab al-Aghani, vol. viii. pp. 62-77.

See also

* Arabic literature



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