The Oriental Sources of Courtly Love


This paper singles out three key theoretical, oriental perspectives on love that have been, to a greater or lesser degree, recognized by scholars as sources for western courtly love notions: Ibn Hazm's Tawq al-Hamama (The Dove's Neck Ring), Ibn Sina's Risala fi 'I- 'lshq (Treatise on Love), and the general Sufi outlook, particularly in the works of Ibn Al-Arabi and Rumi. While chivalry, the forms and features of Arabic music and Arabic poetry, Arabic poetic themes and specifically the expressions and concepts of love in poetry have long been studied as the. main Arab/Islamic contributions to courtly love, no detailed study of this relationship at the theoretical level has so far been done. Such a study, particularly of the ideas of thinkers like Ibn Sina , Ibn Al-Arabi, and Rumi will serve to illuminate not only western works explicitly devoted to the topic, but also a key trend in the western conception of love generally, as well as the whole genre of tragic romance in modern western literature.


Abdulla al-Dabbagh