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The Mystical Musical Muwash-hat [meaning 'Veiled']

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The Mystical Musical Muwash-hat [meaning 'Veiled']

Practically all Ancient (and present-day mystic) Egyptian texts are written in a poetic format. One of the chief peculiarities of Egyptian (and Sufi) poetry is that they almost always contain, concealed beneath their literal meaning, an esoteric and spiritual signification. Examples are:

a. The ecstatics are called “spiritual drunkards”. The drunkenness of the mystics describes the ecstatic frame of mind in which the spirit is intoxicated with the contemplation of God, just as the body is intoxicated with wine.

b. Deep emotional love, which are allegorical representations of the yearning of the soul of man for union with the Divine, or its love of and quest for the highest type of spiritual beauty and goodness—an objective attained only when the mystical seeker has successfully traveled the Spiritual Path.

The theme of divine love is expressed in the strophic-type poetry known as muwashshah. Despite the “common” attribution to Andulicia as the origin of this poetry genre, the fact is that Ancient Egypt is the origin of this strophic-type of religious poetry.

The first country where the muwashshah appears is Egypt—and the date for the first evidence of its presence there is much earlier than has been generally assumed. The first and most prominent writing about the muwashshah was not by an Andalusian, but by an Egyptian, Ibn Sana’ al-Mulk, who lived in Egypt from 1155 to 1211. He wrote about the format for writing muwashshahat in his text of Dar al-Tiraz.

This Egyptian type of strophic poetry—muwashshah-is a group of rhyming phrases molded into a pattern that consists of strophes. The outstanding feature of the genre - the one to which it owes its name of muwashshah - is the regular alternation between two elements: lines with separate rhymes and others with common rhymes. Meter is not an essential feature.

The antecedents of the muwashshah were to be sought in the same strophic poetry known in Ancient Egypt as musammat, which is a poem of very simple metrical structure of several lines—usually three or four—with a common rhyme followed by one with a separate rhyme.

Musammat, is derived from Samaa, which, in Ancient Egyptian language, means to unite through sound/music, as mentioned earlier in several places of this book.


[An except from Egyptian Mystics : Seekers of The way by Moustafa Gadalla]


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