Ibn al-Ahnaf

Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Ibn al-Ahnaf, of the clan Hanifa, was a famous love poet. His family had emigrated to Khurasan, but probably returned to Basra before he was born (about 133/750). He began his career in Baghdad, where he became a favourite of Harun al-Rashid, whom he accompanied on campaigns to Armenia and Khurasan. His love poems (see ghazal), the only genre he cultivated, seem to have been in vogue among the ladies of the caliph’s harem, and were often set to music, but he was also highly esteemed by scholars and critics.

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