Pakistan Research Repository

Picture in the Factual Poetry in Sudan from Islamic Point of View

BABAKR MUHAMMAD, MARKAZ AHMAD (2000) Picture in the Factual Poetry in Sudan from Islamic Point of View. PhD thesis, International Islamic University, Islamabad.

[img]HTML
29Kb

Abstract

This thesis deals with the realist dimension for the study of image in modem Sudanese poetry. This attitude developed in a period which is considered the richest and multidimensional phase of Sudanese poetry. Sudanese poets and specially the poets of socialist realism contributed towards modem Arabic poetry to demonstrate its uniqueness through their search for a new language and new themes. It subsequently led them to revolt against the classical structure of Arabic poetry. They turned towards pre-Islamic African heritage which was lying asleep in their intuition in their search for new language and new ideas to add a new source for modem Arabic poetry. The introduction of the thesis -Image in Realist Dimension in Modem Sudanese Poetry: a Stylistic Study- deals with the explanation of some of the basic terminologies such as imagination and its relation with the image, rhetoricians and critic's understanding of the term image both in classical and modem sense, stylistic study of the literary texts, and meaning of the term realism in poetry. As far as the relationship and between the imagination and the image and its function is concerned, it becomes clear during the study of the subject that poetic image is the creation and innovation of the imagination which has the potential to bring out new and varied ideas from the same object, analyzes it, decomposes it and again unites it according to the poet's own vision and thinking. In the same way, the image transmits imaginative ideas to the reader. Modem Arabic criticism has borrowed this understanding of the image from modem European critics. The Arabic lexicons do not refer to such a meaning of the term image as we have pointed out above. Rather these refer to the condition through which we get an image preserved and recorded in our mind either in state of being awaken or dream. The Muslim philosophers also paid attention to the explanation of term imagination in their works. They divide the perceiving force into two kinds: 1- Power that perceives the external objects with the help of five senses. 2- Power that perceives from within with the help of five powers namely phantasia, fantasy, imagination, illusion and memory. These five forces preserve the images of the objects with all the details which remain stored inside it. These objects, then, become the field where the imagination plays its role. The word imagination among the Muslim philosophers is associated with a derogatory sense of deception and exaggeration Hence the use of imagination, in their view, beautifies, decorates and embellishes the poetry. It is explained that for the comprehension of the term "imagination', Muslim philosophers depended on Aristotle's ideas that he presented in his book "al-Naft" and specially his discussion about the forces that perceive from the external as well as internal world and narration of the functions of each. In the same way, it is explained that this idea of imagination was transferred from philosophy to the rhetoric and criticism. The idea overshadowed the opinions of some of the literary critics and rhetoricians when they tried to explain the function of poetic imagination and its role in the formation of poetic image. The derogatory sense that was attached to imagination caused a degradation in the status of poetry among some of the critics and they looked down upon it with doubt and reservations. They considered it as false in the guise of truth. This attitude cannot generally be applied to all the critics and rhetoricians but it was the attitude of a minority of them. Some of them believed that we should not expect any factual statements from the poet and we should only enjoy with his new and innovative ideas because the field of illusions is vast open before him than the truth which is limited and can not afford imaginative treatment. About the meaning of image among the classical critics and rhetoricians, it is mentioned that sensualism was the most important tendency among the classical poets and critics for the understanding of the poetic image. Basically, the image depends upon the words that are comprehendible through senses, be these the words explaining some objects or some descriptions. So, a successful poetic image in their view is that in which the poet finds out the similarities between the two objects which can be understood by the senses. It is also mentioned that the classical critics and rhetoricians faced some problems while they wanted to analyze the poetic image from the point of view of similarity. Because they understood the metaphor on the basis of the idea of similarity and they tried to find out the similarities between the two objects whereas there was no point of similarity. This concept led them to consider the metaphoric image as the simile whereas in reality, there is no point of similarity in a metaphor. The purpose in structuring an image is not to explain an idea which cannot be comprehended by the senses, rather the purpose is to interpret a meaning which can not be interpreted without the image. On the other hand, the modern critics do not give any importance to sensualism in understanding the poetic image. The similarities between the two objects of the image are not paid any attention and specially the apparent sensual similarity is not searched for. The reason is that the poet makes his image of two objects which obviously have no similarity and the imagination of the poet creates a relationship between the two. The imagination has a vital role to play in the formation of such images. The power of imagination brings closer two very different objects and it finds out a relationship between though apparently there seems no logical relationship between the two. Indeed, the poet goes on to discover very subtle relationships with the help of imaginative power. An innovative poet catches the glimpse of the material world and recreates it according to his own spiritual and mental approach which eventually makes the image as an original and pure creation of his mind. Image in this modern sense is created by mixing the elements and objects having different qualities to form a new product which is distinct in its nature and properties from the earlier elements. The basic function of the poetic image, because of this, has become to present a picture of the inner microcosm of the poet. Secondly, it reveals the world view of the poet with all the minor details. In the light of the above understanding of the image, the modern criticism has offered a new definition of metaphor. The metaphor is a kind of relationship between the external world and the internal feelings and emotions of the poet. Such an understanding of the metaphor leads the poet to assign human features to non-living objects and it is done through borrowing those linguistic phrases which are used to express the conditions of human life and then applying them on material objects from the nature. Because of this definition, the metaphors is considered as one of the artistic devices which is used by the modem poet in the formation of his image which enriches the implicit and interpretive value. In the same manner, the method of stylistic study of the text is also explained. It is clearly stated that the stylistical study aims at the construction of language in a literary text. It is because a literary text is after all a linguistic text which has its own system and construction. We can not go deep into the meaning of a text unless we analyze its linguistic construction. It means that the literary critic pays more attention to the internal construction of the text more than the external elements also. We have mentioned the nature of relationship between stylistics and modem linguistic studies. It is explained that stylistic studies texts according to modem linguistic levels. The construction of the text mainly comprises the letters, words, sentences etc. In this situation, the role of the stylistic critic is to analyze what the poet has selected and which makes his text distinct from others keeping in view the stylistic features that appear in the text and those that, the phonological, lexical, syntactical and semantic deviations, the implicit value that these deviations have, parallelism in the text and the rhythm. The stylistic critics care about the title of the poems as it is the first step towards the understanding of the poetic text and the first signal that the poet transmits to the reader. Secondly, the context of a work throws light upon the meaning of that work through linguistic and social and civilizational usage. Regarding the concept of realism in poetry, it is explained that in the beginning it was considered the mere copying of the details of nature giving the kodak camera image of the reality and this was called as naturalism. This concept did not last for long, and the new concept was that realism is not photographic imitation but the creation in which poet's imagination plays the most vital role It is so, because the poet is not just a person who observes the objects, indeed he mixes his observation with his mental and spiritual build up. This kind of realism is known as realism of consciousness which means that the art is the creation of the inner-self of the poet and it reveals his specific view. The socialist realism is the most recent face of realism. The main concern of the artist is to highlight the clash of the classes. This realism voices the concern for the working class and the poet himself should be from the same class. The denouement should be the victory of the forces of the virtue and the defeat of the forces of the evil. The realist poet fulfils this responsibility through translating it to the poetic language itself. In the other words, we can say that the poet transfers the social problem into a literary problem which is to be solved through the changing stylistical features which form the text. On the basis of what we have discussed above, the critic should seek help in analyzing any text from the phonetical, morphological, syntactical, lexical, rhythmical and symbolical elements. These are known as the elements of style. The first chapter of the thesis deals with the realistic experiences in Sudanese poetry. It was necessary for us to mention the quite early realistic experiences in modem Sudanese poetry, three poets in this regard are chosen for discussion. They are Hussain Muhammad Mansoor, Jafar Hamid al-Bashir, Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Majzoob. The main emphasis of the discussion about them is on their connection with the romantic and the realistic perspectives. We have explained the most important indications that show their tendency towards realism. This is clearly evident by their avoidance of personal issues and their emphasis on political, intellectual and sociological problems of the society in addition to the optimistic spirit in some of their poems. On the artistic level, we find the early efforts in the variations of metre, rhyme and in free verse. After that we discussed socialist realism in Sudanese poetry. We have pointed out the influence of European and socialist culture upon the civilized Sudanese. The socialist culture was introduced to Sudanese intellectuals through the Movement of translation and through the direct contact with the socialist literature. The main role in introducing different literary doctrines and currents which had already taken the place romanticism was played by the contact of Sudanese intellectuals with Egyptians and other Arabs cultures. The main idea that was introduced in Sudanese poetry through this contact was socialist realism. This multi-dimensional intellectual and literary movement led the people have different views and opinions about their own heritage. One of the views was in favor of connecting the present with the best episodes of the history of evolutionary Arab culture and it would be done through awakening the heritage in the hearts of the people. Another view was in favor of ignoring the heritage and even blaming it that it is not helpful in solving the problems of modern age. Still another view is moderate one and favours the idea that the builders of the future of Arab world should look at their heritage objectively and should not abuse it at this critical juncture when the winds of change are already in the sky. In Sudan, the new generations of cultured intellectuals appeared who were influenced by the socialist realism and who were very clearly following the new ideas of progress and revolution. They composed poetry to express their socialist leanings which they had learnt from the European culture. This poetry indicates the rejection of present situation and reflects the great ambitions of the poets. They made the human being as the center of their attention thereby creating a bridge between the poet and the reader. The absence of this bridge results in the absence of intuitive and heart-felt association between the two. The masses are the starting point for a true, realist, and human poet. In this respect, a group of famous Sudanese poets is discussed. The poets include Jaili Abdul Rahman, Taj-us-Sir aI-Hassan, Mohi aI-Din Faris, and Muhammad Miftah al-Faitoori. They all lived in 1950's trying to portray the daily problems and sufferings, hopes and aspirations of the masses in their poetry. They also emphasized the social justice and the victory of the masses through revolution and change. They also found some critics on their side having the same views, appreciating such poetry which was borne from the suffering of the masses and giving the good news of a best future. In the 60's, there appeared new realistic style taking the line from their predecessors in the 50's and further developing and benefiting from it. In some of its dimensions, it resembles the cultural war in Sudan. It started because of the search for the principle which would connect the branches with the roots. In this direction, there appeared some radical groups calling for the need of the principles. One of them is the school of Jungle and the Desert which appeared in the University of Khartoum and comprised the students and the graduates of that university. They tried to find new poetic language, new themes, and the new poetic devices like symbol, myth and through consulting ancient African heritage which was intuitively present in their hearts. This was the essence of their poetic experience. The members of this school started analyzing the principles of Sudanese culture. One of their views is that the first acceptance of Arabic Islamic culture is because of its similarities with the local culture. Secondly, the tradition of mysticism in Sudanese poetry is not the result of the eastern influence, rather this tradition stems from African culture. Everything that is supernatural in Sudan is the result of the sleeping intuition which was inherited by the poet from African ancestors. All these tendencies are reflected in their poetry. From these new styles, also are the "Octoberian" who connected themselves with the public revolution in October 1964. The direct and indirect causes of that revolution are also mentioned and the role of leftist powers in supporting it is also pointed out. The influence that the Sudan is socialist party had in the ranks of workers unions which led the revolution, is also discussed. The policies of the new government were consequently in favour of the socialist camp. The targets of the realist socialism were the assurance of an intimate relation between the literature and the ideology of revolution, absolute victory of the ideology of the social revolution against all the other ideologies in the field of art and literature, and the response of the October poets towards this great incident was to provide body to the socialist soul. We have enumerated six poets belonging to the socialist realism who composed poetry for the revolution with different number of poems. The stylistic and artistic value of the poems is also discussed. The second chapter deals with the sources of the images. We have mentioned that in the socialist thought; which was followed by all these poets, the true representation of human life is the most basic issue. On the basis of this, the poet is required to portray life with all its details either beautiful or ugly, with all objective and subjective realities and with a view to awake the humanity in human beings and making the spirit of co-operation and human fraternity a natural phenomenon. From this point of view, the realist poets of Sudan paid attention to the immediate context Le Sudan and to the African and world context at large as a source for their images. Their images echoed different religious, artistic and mythological heritages. We find many effective human images in their poetry from Sudan. The local environment with all its elements, habits and customs of the people, different styles of their life, is present in their poetry. These are the images derived from the Sufi heritage and specially the circle of zikr with the movements and dances, colorful costumes and rhythm. The other source of image is mythological heritage. Yet another source of the image is the music filled with magic, foreseeing and mythology. In the context of Africa, it is explained that Africa enjoys a very strong presence in Modern Sudanese poetry, especially after the intellectual awakening of the new generation in Sudan along-with the retreat of the imperialism as a result of the movements for independence in many African countries at that time. The bravery and the heroism of the sons of Africa was sung in their poems. They also talked about the expression which was let loose upon the people by the apartheid policies emphasizing the strong relationship between Sudan and Africa. So, they extracted their images from the real lives of the African negros who were living a natural life not caring about their religious and legal boundaries and doing whatever they want. In the same manner, African tendency to interpret all the natural phenomena in terms of mythology has served as a source for the image in the poetry. The religious heritage has also been used as a source for the images. For example, they have benefited from the incidents of Maryam while she vibrated the date palm tree at the time of Jesus Christ's birth. More than one poet have used this scene form different perspectives. The incident of the murder of Habeel by Qabeel and sending of crow by God to teach the murderer the method of burying the dead body is also used by the poets. The Christian religious heritage is also used as a source for images. The story of the crucifixion of Christ is one of the important sources. Similarly, they have derived images from Hindu religious customs such as burning of the dead bodies with all the details of the scene as colour, smoke and the movement. As the religious heritage was used as a source for the images, in the same way, the Arab and international literary heritage as well as the folklore and mythological heritage was used as a source. For example, the character of Dorian Gray in a story by Oscar wilde and the myths of Prometheus, Medusa and Sisyphus are used as a source for the images. From the eastern heritage, the myth of sindbad and the legend of the Roc are also used. The third chapter deals with the stylistical study of the image. We have started firstly, with the images of movement and we have explained the influence of the Sufi tradition in the formation of the moving images. We have also mentioned the influence of African dancing rhythm upon the poets of realist dimension in selecting the words which connote movement, in the making of their images, according to the levels of stylistical study of a literary text which we have already mentioned in the introduction. Secondly, we have analyzed the symbolic significance of the image. In the beginning, the nature of symbolism and the relation of symbol with the image is discussed. It is explained that poetic symbol is shaped from the sensual and material reality but it does not stop there. It is further extended into emotional and spiritual reality which is abstract. The richness of African heritage in respect of mythology and symbols is also mentioned. The dimension of the return to African heritage as a source for images and symbols that was followed by the realist poets, was the result of the influence of modem European literature on modem Sudanese poetry. We have concluded this chapter with the discussion of mythical image. Firstly, the meaning of the myth is described. The role of imagination and symbols is also explained. Secondly, we have mentioned that the poet does not care about the minute details of the myth but he takes the essence which corresponds with the modern situation. Through this the myth shapes the symbolical and structural sides of the poem. We have given examples of the use of myth in the poetry of the realist poets. We have also analyzed stylistically all the images in this part of the thesis according to the methodology that we have followed in different stages of this thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:sudanese poetry, al-naft, sensualism, realism, naturalism, octoberian, sudanese culture
Subjects:Arts & Humanities (b) > Languages and Literature (b5)
ID Code:2644
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:17 Jul 2009 11:46
Last Modified:23 Aug 2010 12:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page