The Epistle of Forgiveness by Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī

It is regarded by the title of “one one of the most intricate and peculiar text that can be found in Arabic writing” ( Banipal Magazine), The Epistle of Forgiveness is a lengthy response by the prolific Syrian poetic and prose-writing, Abu l’Ala Al-Ma’arri (d. 449/1057) to a letter written by an obscure grammarian Ibn al-Qari. 

With a sharp irony, the Epistle of Forgiveness ridicules Ibn al-Qari’s hypocrisy and sycophancy through imagining that the day he died and landed with some difficulty to Heaven in Heaven, where he will meet famous poets and scholars who were famous in the past. Al-Ma’arri’s imaginative version of the story, Ibn al-Qari also glimpses Hell and talks to the Devil and a variety of heretics.

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Al-Ma’arri, a vegan, maverick and, often, as a heretic, seems to be mocking popular beliefs about the Afterlife. He introduces us to hypocrites poets princes, rebels, mystics and apostates, including a few quips about piety, belief in superstition, wine drinking as well as old age and various other subjects. 

This enthralling book is the first comprehensive translation of the masterpiece in any language, and which is all the more remarkable due to Al-Ma’arri’s elaborate and complex style as well as his usage of rhymed prose as well as his many obscure words and phrases. With a wealth of insightful commentary, humorous anecdotes and sardonic wit The Epistle on Forgiveness will be an imaginative work written by one of the revered writers of the history of classical Arabic literary works.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ NYU Press
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 584 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1479834947
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1479834945
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
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