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Journal Article

Religious poetry from the Quranic milieu: Umayya b. Abī l-Ṣalt on the fate of the Thamūd

Nicolai Sinai
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Vol. 74, No. 3 (2011), pp. 397-416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41287978
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Religious poetry from the Quranic milieu: Umayya b. Abī l-Ṣalt on the fate of the Thamūd
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Abstract

Unlike most ancient Arabic poetry, the poems attributed to Umayya b. Abī l-Ṣalt treat subjects that are also prominent in the Quran, such as creation, eschatology, and episodes from Biblical history. The authenticity of this corpus has, however, been the subject of some controversy. After a critical survey of previous scholarship, this article examines one particular passage from the Umayya corpus dealing with the destruction of the ancient tribe of Thamūd, which, it is argued, is likely to be pre-Quranic. The article then proceeds to highlight the crucial differences, both in content and in literary format, that exist between Umayya's retelling of the Thamūd narrative and its earliest Quranic version, and concludes with a number of general remarks on the Quran's religious milieu as reflected in Umayya's literary output.

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