Kurdish poetry by Saladin’s brother

 Introduced by Yasin Aziz:

Ibn Khalikan

Ibn Khalikan

These two short poems were written in Arabic by Buri Taj al Din Ayyubi (1161 – 1183 AD) who was the youngest brother of Saladin Ayubi and a well-known poet. They were published in the next century by Ibn Khallikan in his ‘The Obituaries of Eminent Men’ – also known as his ‘Biographical Dictionary’ – which was translated into English in the nineteenth century by Mac Guckin de Slane. I have re-written them into their poetic forms, along with several other Kurdish poems from this period of Middle Ages Islam.

When Saladin’s forces surrounded Aleppo in 1183, 22-year-old Buri Taj al Din Ayyubi was wounded in battle and taken back to Damascus where he died a few days later. The day he died, Aleppo surrendered. Sultan Saladin said, “Aleppo wasn’t easy to capture, it cost me the life of my brother.”*

Here are extracts from two of Buri’s poems:

For a Young Maid

Oh, whenever you are around, you display the art of beauty

I am so sad, wretched, burdened with distress or nearly dead

How beautiful that black mole on your rosy cheek

Between your eyelashes a mysterious force does make me feel so weak.

However I try to be strong, loving you caused me so much distress

I am still hoping to grab your hand at least for once,

then I will be relieved so much even if it was a mistake.


For a Slender Maid

When you have a spear in your hand

It is just like your waist so slender

Your glances like a thrusting spear, I am inflicted with pain

You put away your sword and spear

in your presence I am so weak

So effective are your glances, I’m nearly perished.


*From Ibn Khalikan’s ‘Biographical Dictionary’, Part 2, page196. Published in 1898

Yasin Mahmoud Aziz is from Halabja and lives in the UK.  He is the author of ‘Dum Dum Castle’ and two books in Kurdish and he is planning several more books.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

One Response to Kurdish poetry by Saladin’s brother
  1. Tim Upham
    August 5, 2013 | 04:23

    With all the things I knew about Saladin, I did not know his brother was a poet.

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