Manifestations of religious individualism in Kharijite poetry



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This dissertation deliberates manifestations of religious individualism Kharijite poetry during the Umayyad era, AD. 661 to 750. The opening chapters discuss various inadequacies in the study of Umayyad poetry in general and Kharijite poetry in particular that often concentrate upon the perceived static nature of form and neglect significant changes that occur in the content and function of poetry. Chapters four and five examine aspects of Kharijite ideology that paved the way for the development of religious individual. Chapter six through ten discuss the various manifestations of this nascent religious individualism in Kharijite poetry. The dissertation argues that specific perspectival shifts that occur predominantly in elegy mark an important departure from Classical and Medieval Arabic poetry in general. In a significant number of Kharijite elegies, the poets' focus on the self replaced or superseded the ritualistic mourning for the martyr, the traditional subject of the elegy during this historical period. Elegy became increasingly a platform and vehicle for self examination, self-reflection and religious self-scrutiny. These characteristics signify the emergence of a nascent religious individualism in Kharijite poetry.