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Qutbuddin, Aziz K. (2009) Tahmid: A literary genre? A study of the Arabic laudatory preamble with a focus on the Fatimid-Tayyibi tradition. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis follows the emergence and development of Tahmid, the Arabic laudatory preamble, as a literary genre in the Arabic tradition: a genre that imaginatively presents the distinct worldview (weltanschauung) that its author embraces and a genre that not only features as a standard introduction for an infinite number of texts, but is also, in and of itself, a rich source of meaning. The dissertation proposes a literary approach for unearthing its depths of knowledge, termed the 'relational approach'. This approach identifies and focuses on the various relations and associations, highlighted and evoked by a Tahmid despite its usual conciseness, which are the source of its vitality. Drawing upon a broad range of samples, the study also delineates the common characteristics and trends of the Tahmid tradition as a whole, and focuses on its distinctiveness and significance in Fatimid-Tayyibi literature ('Fatimid-Tayyibi' refers to Ismili Musta'lian Tayyibi Shiites in Fatimid Egypt as well as their spiritual successors in Yemen and India, commonly known as the Da'udi Bohras). Following the introduction, the thesis is structured on a chronological basis in three parts. Section-I (chapters 1-3) traces the development of Tahmid from its origins to maturity as a distinct genre in Arabic prose. Section-II (chapter-4), building on the literary-history presented in the previous section, presents a methodology for the analysis of Tahmid and applies it to a selection of examples. Section-III (chapters 5-7) focuses on the unique characteristics of Fatimid-Tayyibi Tahmids and presents an analysis of a number of examples. The section ends with a case-study of a Tahmid in one of the Fatimid-Tayyibi Da'i Syedna Taher Saifuddin's (d. 1385/1965) risalahs. The question posited in the title of this thesis, 'is the Tahmid a literary genre?' is answered in the Conclusion. An appendix of Tahmids referred to in the thesis and illustrative samples, especially from the Fatimid-Tayyibi manuscripts, accompanies the dissertation in a separate volume.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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