Travelers of Al-Andalus


Travelersof Al-Andalus

Travelersof Al-Andalus

Werner’sarticle talks of the context under which the poem ‘The Ring ofDove’ was written. The article sheds light on the life of theauthor of that particular piece. His name was Ibn Hazm and the timeof writing, he was 28 years (Werner, 2015). The ring of dovedominantly places love as the main topic. Ibn talks of the act ofloving and being loved (Werner, 2015). The article describes theunique style employed by the author. The ring of dove bridged the gapbetween European and Arab literature. Most of the author’sliterature was based on his own personal tragedies rather thanfiction (Werner, 2015). The article further seeks to address theapproaches taken to bring out the topic of love from the moralphilosophy, social psychology, matters of the spirit, religion to thepractical ones of the body. It confirms that the book is the mostcited together with other forms of writings that shared the samestyle.

Thearticle explains that the literature was known as Muhashashali anArab name meaning cummerbund. Also that Ibn Hazm’s literaturetranslated into Western languages in Al-Andalus, Arab East and theChristian Court in Toledo (Werner, 2015). This particular literaturewas commonly cited alongside other like-minded work of the GreekPhilosopher Plato and the Roman poet Ovid. Most notably piece writtenby Ovid was ‘Art of Love’ (Werner, 2015). This piece was writtenin the same instructive purpose. All these work Werner notes, wasaccompanied by musical instruments like the flute, tambourine and thehand drums. Ibn Hazm’s literature was far different from the otherpreceding work by the pre-Islamic poets. Unlike them, he praises thesupremacy of reciprocated love. Often their work talked more aboutthe unattainable remote love (Werner, 2015).

Thisarticle gives the family history of Ibn. He was of Hispanic origin,born in Cordoba in the year 994. It was a large Arab family. Hisfather was a man of letters and skilled in navigating the politicalaffairs of Caliph Hisham 11 (Werner, 2015). This skill enabled himattain an office in Vizier and the family had to move closer to hisplace of work. That office granted him privileges of luxury andwealth. Most of Ibn’s childhood years were spent in the city ofMadinat al-Zahra. Here, he spent most of his time amongst the women.It was then that he started developing a sensitive female perspectiveon life. As a result, it became a basis and birth of his literarywork.

Asa young adult, Ibn was known to be impressionable, clever, but proneto melancholy (Werner, 2015). He was educated in the high traditionsof Greek sciences and readings from the classical Arabs. His companywas predominantly intellectuals who belonged to the aristocracy. Theywould often talk about literature and matters to do with theology.These friends would later offer him protection from politicalpersecution (Werner, 2015).

Ibn’sfather was dismissed from his post in 1031. This was after there wasan unstable political environment. There were a series of internalstruggles and revolts. As a result the people experienced uncalledfor betrayals, murders, rebellion and dismissals. He was forcefullystripped off his privileges as a result. The city of Cordoba wasseized and invaded by the Berber, an army from North Africa. Homeswere demolished, families were scattered and many killed. Thissituation made Ibn to sink into depression and self-imposed exile inAlmeria. Almeria did not turn to be good for him as he was arrestedmany times and forced into involuntary exile (Werner, 2015).

Allthese unpleasant experiences pushed Ibn to write more abouteverything. His particular piece ‘The ring of dove’ was writtenabout love. It is about loving and being loved despite the fact thathe had not experienced it in his life. Scholars have accepted thatArab literature was formally underestimated. Ibn’s works standsunique because of the balance of rumination and personal reflection.His poems are of a personal history and are engaging to the readers.In the article, the ring of dove has been described as the perfectblend of the sacred learning and profane delectation by an Englishtranslator A.J Arberry (Werner, 2015).


Werner,L. (2015). Travelersof Al-AndalusPrint edition of Aramco, New York