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Early Women Writers

‘Inān bint ‘Abd-Allāh



‘Inān bint ‘Abd-Allāh


MD Iraq


d. 841


ʿInān was the first poet to become famous under the Abbasids and was said to be the most gifted poet of her generation. ‘Inān was born a muwallada (daughter of an Arab father and slave mother) to ‘Abd-Allāh. The major male poets of the time would seek her out in her master’s house where they would recite their verses to her and have her pass judgment. She was notorious for her immoral behaviour characterized with a high degree of promiscuity and grossness of discourse which kept her in the public eye. She maintained a public correspondence with her lover and public figure Abu Nuwas which was often salacious and overtly sexual. She possessed wit and used her poetry as a subversion of religious expression. ‘Inān also bore Harun al-Rashid--the fifth Abbasid Caliph--two sons as his concubine.


"If my days,
You have awakened by your words,
I am preoccupied by one I do not love,
He weeps, so I weep out of compassion,
O my two companions lovers have no cocks"




Courtesan Poems, Love, Correspondance with poet Abu Nuwas

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