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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

354                  the Contribution to Islam
The famous «Ata' Allah al-Shadhili, founder of the Shadhili
tariqa, though born in Morocco, spent the greater part of his
active life in Egypt, where he died in 1258. Another well-
known Egyptian Sufi poet is Ibn Wafa', born at Cairo in 1357.
Mention may also be made here of the celebrated Sufi author
al-Sha'rani (or al-Sha'rawi), who was born at Fustat (old Cairo)
in 1492, and died at Cairo in 1565. Upwards of fifty of his
works are extant, including some reputed autographs.
In the field of belles lettres Egypt has also produced many
famous men. Court panegyrists in plenty there have been, many
of whose Diw&ns (collected poems) are still admired: most
famous among them perhaps, to English readers, is Baha' al-Din
Zuhayr of the Ayyubids (d. 1258), a selection of whose poetry
was published, with English verse-translations, by E. H. Palmer
in 1876. In modern times the poetic tradition has been revived,
though still the achievements in political verse (to us a strange
and almost despised genre) appear to outshine the more purely
subjective style of poetry. Barudi (d. 1905), a distinguished
politician in his day, is much applauded for a touching elegy
on the death of his wife, and for other poems. Hafiz Ibrahim
(d. 1932), called Toet of the Nile', was a mouthpiece of the
Nationalist movement, and much literature has been written
comparing his skill with that of the courtly Shawqi, Trince of
Poets'. Shawqi (d. 1932) was without doubt one of the most
original and fertile geniuses in the whole of Arabic literature;
and if any of his titles to fame is more deserved than the others,
it is his creation of the poetic drama in Arabic. Drama is a
genre unrepresented in classical Arabic literature, though the
popular farce or cshadow-play' has its roots in the Middle Ages.
Shawqi took familiar Arab legends—of the mad poet Qays and
his beloved Layla, of 'Antara the pre-Islamic bard—and cele-
brated chapters in Egyptian history—the conquest of Cambyses,
the romance of Antony and Cleopatra, the career of the Mamluk
*Ali Beg—and upon them constructed dramas which have