Convergence and Divergence between the Arabic ʿUdhrî (Chaste) Love and Platonic Love: A Comparative Study

Ahmed Thnaybat, Hussein Zeidanin


The study explores the Udhrî ghazal as a classical literary phenomenon in the Arabic poetry; and it seeks to correlate it with Plato’s theories of love in The Symposium. The issues the study raises are: history of the Udhrî love, factors leading to its emergence, impact of Islam on the Udhrî poets, and stages of the Udhrî narrative based on classical Arabic poetry and prose. The study controverts the claims associating the Udhrî ghazal with Islam due to the profound discrepancies between Islamic teachings and the practices and behaviors of the Udhrî poets. It as well reviews the theories of love Plato introduces in the Symposium for the purpose of estimating their manifestations in classical Arabic prose and impact on the Udhrî ghazal. The beginnings of Udhrî love go back to the pre-Islamic era during which poets, such as Antara Al-Absi, frequently combined the motif of chaste love with other related topics in their poems. Yet, the Udhrî ghazal flourishes in the Umayyad age during which poets tackled Udhrî love as an autonomous motif and subgenre. The study further questions the various possible factors, i.e. political, religious, environmental and social, modernists believe have led to the evolution of the Udhrî ghazal in the Islamic age and the Umayyad age. 



Udhrî love, Platonic love, Islam ,Modernists, Ghazal

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