Luzumiyyat: Breached Obligations and Debts
Abu al-ʻAlaaʼ al-Maʻarri

Luzumiyyat: luzum ma la yalzam, or Breached Obligations and Debts, is a selection of Abu al-ʻAlaaʼ al-Ma‘arri’s daring and defiant oeuvre, which includes more than 1,500 poems. Al-Ma‘arri (973–1057) was a blind poet and a rationalist philosopher. Al-Ma‘arri doubted every form of blind belief and challenged the social and political conventions of his day as well as the then current conventional form of Arabic poetry (“a force stale rhyme”). His verbal depiction in “The barbs of Time unswerving on us alight” became a reality, ironically, in 2013, when ISIS members shattered a sculpture of him in his birthplace, the Al Nouman Cave, south of Aleppo in Syria.


Translator: Leah Glazman | Translation Editors: Muna Abu Baker, Salih Ali Sawaed and Moa’taz Abu Saleh