A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

The Maqamat's Migration to Andalusia: "Maqamat al-Eid”

Issue 56
The Maqamat's Migration to Andalusia:

Dr. Muhammad Marini, Faculty of Nador, Mohammed I University, Morocco

"Maqamat (a set of short stories) al-Hamadhani" and "Maqamat al-Hariri" helped to establish an authoritative classic model that was present in all Maqamahs that appear in the history of Arabic literature. "Kidiyah” (begging) is a theme, and rhetoric phrasing and embellishment are tools that show linguistic and literary ingenuity in the form. “Maqamat al-Eid” by Ibn Marba’ al-Azdi deviates from the classical Maqamat art in both theme and form.

This can be attributed to the writer's involvement with Granada, where he lived, and portrayed and reflected cultural and social differences. The following are examples of deviations from the Eastern Classical Maqamah’s conventional construction: 

The traditions of Maqamat Al Eid have a local flavour because they are linked to Spanish folk celebratory traditions; it is part of what is known in Spain as the "corrida de toros”. According to historical research, this popular festivity began in the eighth century AH and has since grown into a unique type of bullfighting.

In Maqamat al-Eid, we meet characters influenced by the Granada folk milieu, such as al-Muwathq, al-Muhtasib, al-Amin, al-Shurti and other unique characters who are not usually found in the traditional Maqamat narration where the characters have stereotypical roles. Also missing is the conventional narrator, who, like the Prophetic hadith, narrates the events in the classical Maqamah with a straight chain of narrators. 

The narrator's role in Maqamat Al Eid is akin to that of a town crier making announcements at a marketplace: "Shakir Al-Ayyad and Zakir Fakhrul Kul Nadi (…) Hear from me a pleasant conversation...".

Maqamat Al Eid is full of colloquial terms that are proverbial in nature. These phrases stand out for their unique beauty, their allusion and their ability to condense meanings into a single phrase. This local language inspired Al-Azdi, which is why his Maqamat is so fascinating; it is a topic that has captivated researchers in both ancient and modern times. They dedicated work to the subject, including "The Common People's Proverbs in Andalusia" and "The History of Proverbs and Azajal in Andalusia and Morocco".

Language develops with different dialects and regional variations as a result of mixing with non-Arabs; according to Ibn Khaldun, "Whoever mixes with non-Arabs more, his language is farthest from the original Arabic tongue." 

The phenomenon of shifting away from one's standard native tongue manifests itself in a variety of ways, as illustrated by the following: The "hamza" is removed from nouns that end in "alif" and "hamza", and the hamza is changed to "ya" in some nouns. Nouns with diminutives are used. The "Tafil" morphological template dominated the usage of nouns. 

We also come across slang terms in the Maqamat Al Eid; this is not common in traditional Maqamahs that are known for their powerful vocabularies and intricate styles.

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