Comparative Literature | In Praise of the Prophet Muhammad:two Mantle Odes
C200 | 1117 | Prof. Stetkevych


Second Eight Weeks Only

Satisfies COAS Requirements for AHLA , Cultural Studies and Intensive
writing.  Requires registration in COAS W333

This course is designed to introduce American students to the literary
traditions of the classical and medieval Islamic world. "The Two
Mantle Odes" refers to two renowned poems of praise delivered to the
Prophet Muhammad. The first, by Ka'b ibn Zuhayr, is a classical ode
that was recited to the Prophet during his lifetime (7th c. CE); the
second, by al-Busiri, is a popular (Sufi) poem that was recited to the
Prophet in a dream (13th c.). In the first case, the Prophet presented
the poet with his Mantle, which later came into the hands of the
caliphs at Baghdad as a symbol of their authority. In the second, the
poet, after seeing the Prophet in a dream, awoke miraculously cured of
the semi paralysis that afflicted him, and the poem came to be
credited with conferring both physical and spiritual blessings. The
course examines the literary and religious culture that produced these
works, ranging from pre-Islamic poetry and the Qur'an to Sufi poetry
and the 1001 Nights, and the means through which these poems were
transmitted and perpetuated in the Islamic world through the
centuries-commentaries, imitations, translations, expansions and
manuscripts. It investigates as well the mythic and symbolic
dimensions of these poems and their lore, and the Sufi performance
traditions and the talismanic properties that came to be associated
with al-Busiri's Mantle Ode.
All required course materials are in English. Students who can work
with Islamicate languages (Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili,
etc.) will have the opportunity to do so.