Arab poet (c. 915 – 965)

Abu at-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Mutanabbi al-Kindi (915 – 23 September 965) was an Arab poet. He is considered as one of the greatest poets in the Arabic language.


  • إذا رَأيْتَ نُيُوبَ اللّيْثِ بارِزَةً فَلا تَظُنّنّ أنّ اللّيْثَ يَبْتَسِمُ
    وَمُهْجَةٍ مُهْجَتي من هَمّ صَاحِبها أدرَكْتُهَا بجَوَادٍ ظَهْرُه حَرَمُ
    رِجلاهُ في الرّكضِ رِجلٌ وَاليدانِ يَدٌ وَفِعْلُهُ مَا تُريدُ الكَفُّ وَالقَدَمُ
    وَمُرْهَفٍ سرْتُ بينَ الجَحْفَلَينِ بهِ حتى ضرَبْتُ وَمَوْجُ المَوْتِ يَلْتَطِمُ
    الخَيْلُ وَاللّيْلُ وَالبَيْداءُ تَعرِفُني وَالسّيفُ وَالرّمحُ والقرْطاسُ وَالقَلَمُ
    • When the lion bares his teeth, do not
      fancy that the lion shows to you a smile.

      I have slain the man that sought my heart's blood many a time,
      Riding a noble mare whose back none else may climb,
      Whose hind and fore-legs seem in galloping as one,
      Nor hand nor foot requireth she to urge her on.
      And O the days when I have swung my fine-edged glaive
      Amidst a sea of death where wave was dashed on wave!
      The desert knows me well, the night, the mounted men
      The battle and the sword, the paper and the pen
  • He asks from men all that he has in himself, though even lions would not claim to match that.
  • Wounded and fleeing, heroes passed you by, while your face remained bright and your lips, smiling.
    You surpassed the bounds of courage and understanding, until people claimed that you knew the unseen.
    To you belongs the praise for these pearls I pronounce; you are the giver, I the arranger.
    Oh, Sword never sheathed, whom none can doubt and from whom there is no refuge.
    Blessed are warfare, glory and eminence; blessed are your subjects and all of Islam, for you are safe!
    • From the poem "To Sayf Al-Dawla"
    • Here 'Sword never sheathed' refers to 'Sayf Al-Dawla', whose name is a laqab meaning 'Sword of the Dynasty'.[3]
  • Whenever you honor the honorable, you possess them. Whenever you honor the ignoble, they rebel. [citation needed]
  • If all women were like as the one we have lost,
    Then women would be preferred to men.
    For the feminine gender is no shame for the sun,
    Nor is the masculine gender an honor for the crescent moon. [citation needed]
  • One does not attain everything he wishes for.
    Winds blow counter to what the ships desire.
  • Those with intellect suffer in bliss with their intellect, and the ignorant live blissfully in misery.

A Young Soul


[4], [5]

  • A young soul in my ageing body [...]
    Hard biter in a toothless mouth is she.
  • Without hardship everyone would prevail.
  • Glory in hardship, sloth in comfort lies.
  • Defiantly live, or in honour die, Midst slashing blades and banners flying high.
  • A charger's saddle is an exalted throne, the best companions are books alone.
  • Beautiful women, as experienced men know,
    Are but darkness wrapped in dazzling light aglow.
    A life of friv'lous youth and worried age,
    Its futile course to futile death will flow.

Quotes About Al-Mutanabbi

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