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AL-RABI IBN ABU AL-ḤUḲAIḲ:

Jewish poet of the Banu al-Nadhir in Medina, who flourished shortly before the Hegira (622). His family was in possession of the fort Al-Kammus, situated near Khaibar. Like most of the Medina Jews, he took part in the quarrels between the two Arab tribes of that town, and was present at the battle of Bu'ath, 617, which took place in the territory of the Banu Kuraiza. Al-Rabi was a poet of note. He had a contest at capping verses with the famous Arabic poet, Al Nabighah, the latter reciting one hemistich, while Al-Rabi had to supply the next, keeping to the same meter and finding a rime. He has been credited with the authorship of other poems, but upon dubious authority. One of these poems used to be recited by Abun, the son of the Calif Othman. From its contents, however (it criticizes the folly of his own people), it seems more likely to have been written by one of Abun's sons, who bore the same name as Al-Rabi. It might, then, have been composed after the submission of the Banu Kuraiza. Al-Rabi's brother Sallam and his three sons were among Mohammed's most bitter opponents. An account of Al-Rabi can be found in vol. xxi. of the "Kitab al-Aghani," ed. Brünnow, p. 91. He is cited among the Arabic Jewish poets by Moses ibn Ezra in his "Kitab al-MuḦadharah" ("Rev. Ét. Juives," xxi. 102). Steinschneider can hardly be right in saying that he was a Moslem ("Jew. Quart. Rev." xi. 609, note 1), as the Arabic authorities are quite certain about his Jewish origin.

Bibliography:
  • Nöldeke, Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Poesie der alten Araber, pp. 72 et seq.;
  • Hirschfeld, in Rev. Ét. Juives, vii. 152, 299.
H. Hir. G.
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