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Title: Sufi poetry in Somali : its themes and imagery
Author: Mohamed, A. Y.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1977
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Somalia has been a Muslim country probably for over a thousand years and has a well developed Sufi movement which plays an important social role and has been a stimulus to creativity in the field of poetry composed both in Arabic and in Somali. Somali Sufis have always regarded Arabic, the sacred language of Islam, with great love and reverence, yet they have found it unsuitable as a means of reaching wider audiences, since only a limited number of Somalis can fully understand it. Inspired by the desire to communicate their spiritual fervour and their knowledge of Islamic doctrines to everyone, Somali Sufis have composed oral poetry in their mother tongue and used it as a form of religious instruction and praye'r. The appeal of their poetry to Somali audience lies in the cultural syncretism which it represents. Its themes are taken from the universal teaching of Islam and from Sufism while its imagery is predominantly drawn from the natural environment and traditional culture of Somalia. Furthermore, it follows the pattern of versification used in secular alliterative poetry, which is totally unaffected by the Arabic models of scansion. The secular alliterative poetry has a long tradition and is a living all-pervasive force in Somali culture; Somali Sufis have thus used a well established channel of artistic communication to convey their spiritual message. Their success has been considerable and their poetry in Somali, far from waning under the impact of the modern age, has been increasing in its popularity even in recent years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available