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Al-Motanabbi, with the real name of Ahmad Bin-Alhusein Bin-Alhasan Al-jaafi, was born in Koufa, in Baghdad in 915 A.D. in a poor house.

He ear acquired knowledge through different sources including formal and informal teaching places, and had tremendous self-education.

He lived as lots of poets lived during those times, praising rulers in the different small countries scattered around the region.

Pride and strength, as well as wisdom were characteristics of his poetry.

He was accused during his early professional era of claiming to be a profit, as a result of misinterpretation of one of his poems.

He was very ambitious, and was trying to hold a ruling position under the name of one of the major rulers then, but in vain.

He was killed close to his birthplace, while fighting for his life against envious adversaries who ambushed him in the desert in 965 A.D.


He was inflicted with fever in 959 A.D. while in Egypt, and was dissatisfied with the way the ruler treated him there, so he composed this poem describing his illness and suffering.

1)    And when the affection of people turned into deceit,

                I answered one smile with another.

2)    And started to doubt that I chose for a friend,

                For knowing he is just another human being.

3)    The enlightened people love each other based on loyalty,

                And the ignorant love judging by the good looks.

4)    And I even feel disdainful of my own brother,

                If he is not found to be one of the generous.

5)    And I am not satisfied in goodness cause,

               By being referred to a courageous generous ancestor.

6)    And I have not encountered a worse vice in humans,

               As the lack of perfection in those who are capable of it.

7)    I stayed in the land of Egypt so there is,

               No carriages ahead of me or behind me.

8)    And the bed has got bored with me,

               And I was before rarely bored with it even once a year.

9)    Short of income, sick at heart,

               With plenty of envy around, but still difficult to get

10)   Ill in the body, unable to get up,

               Very drunk without consumption of wine.

11)    And my visitor acts so shy,

               So she visits only at night.

12)  I prepare all the covers and pillows for her,

               But she refuses them and stays in my bones.

13)  My skin is unable to contain myself and her,

               So in turns she inflicts it with all kinds of pain.

14)   As if the morning drives her away,

               So she starts to cry with profuse tears.

15)  I anticipate her time without looking forward to it,

               An anticipation similar to that of an adoring lover.

16)  And her promise proves to be right but evil,

               As it will throw you into horrible sufferings.

17)   Oh, daughter of Time I have every possible woman,

               So how could you get to me through the crowd.

18)   You have wounded a frequently wounded man,

               Whose body has no place left for new swords or spears.

19)   I just wish I would be well again,

                Enough to hold reins and steer about.

20)    The physician tells me: you must have eaten something,

               And your sickness lies in your food and drink.

21)   And it is no where in his medicine that I am like a horse,

               Who has got ill by too much comfort and rest.

22)   Who was used to galloping in fighting fields,

               And running from one battle to another.

23)   So he was tied with a rope too short to graze around with,

               And he is neither in harness nor reign.

24)  But still if I get sick then my patience is not sick,

               And if my body has the fever then my will is still strong.

25)   And if I get cured then I won’t actually survive,

                But only escape one kind of death to meet another.


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