The Moon Over Muzdalifah: Nazik Al-Malaika's Poetic Image of Hajj Rituals Using A Semantic Formalist Approach

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

Artworks analysis in periods was influenced by surrounding factors like the author’s life and political, social, and cultural situation, which can affect the analysis of the original text and structure. The emergence of Russian formalism at the beginning of the 20th century in literary criticism was the end point of that extroverted approach and the beginning of text research away from its margins. In this case, both the external factors and contexts and the structural components of the work should be used for a better understanding. Formalists tried to free the text from peripheral issues by focusing on the structure of the literary work and its centralization and to find out the text’s message by examining its governing order. Therefore, the distinction of the work of art from other works should be found in its connection with the outside world, the artist, and the audience and in the form of the work itself. Formalists believed that the criteria for evaluating the literary and artistic aspects of the work should be found in the literary text. This research used the formalist approach to analyze the ode of the Iraqi poetess Al-Qamar Al Muzdalifah. In this ode, the poetess tried to depict the image of Hajj rituals and its high epistemic themes in an artistic and thought-provoking tableau of three perspectives in harmony with the spiritual journey of the pilgrims in this spiritual journey. The conscious use of verbs in processing Nazik's idea of Hajj is noteworthy. Verbs express vivacity, dynamism, and transformation, transformed in line with pilgrims' inner and intellectual transformation. The verbs are first absent (he and they), then change to the addressee (you), and finally to speech (I and we). Pilgrims experience this transformation process in Hajj rituals as strangers to each other at the beginning. Then, they communicate and then join and unite. The poetess arranged the poem’s structure to represent the unique transformation that occurs in the Hajj rituals. Pilgrims from all over the world gather in the land of revelation and prophecy, alien from each other and far from the truth of pure Muhammadian Islam. Then, these people join together in these rituals and regain their lost identity. The rites end when the large groups of pilgrims return to their lands as a single and conscious body with common goals and pains. In this descriptive-analytical study, the ode is divided into three parts, and each part is analyzed based on the theory of Russian formalists. The authors studied the words and imagery of the poet using the defamiliarization technique to bring highlights to the reader's eyes based on aesthetic principles. Formalist analysis of the ode shows that the poetess tried to eliminate the reader’s habit and give a new and updated interpretation of the ancient ritual of Hajj by lexical and expressive defamiliarization. Pilgrims go from self-loss and alienation to self-belief and familiarity in a journey of knowledge and reach a common understanding with their fellows. Ultimately, they return to their land as a united nation until another season and visit. Conceptually, the flow of verbs in the ode aligns with the cognitive evolution of Hajj. Nazik used defamiliarization, metaphorical, and virtual images in her imagery. In the alienated images, Hajj goes beyond a set of religious, imitative, and inherited rituals and becomes a spiritual, human, and social opportunity as a salve for the concerns and sufferings of contemporary man. Therefore, the poetess linked the distant past and present reality to show that the Hajj ritual is not a parrot-like imitation of the beginning of Islam and has a deep connection with the spirit of our time. Considering the significant contribution of the humanitarian dimension in this ode, humans, the female element, nature, and dark and light colors play a prominent role in the depictions. Nature is not lifeless, soulless, and devoid of intelligence and understanding. The moon is mystic and beautiful, with lots of secrets. Pebbles either smile or evoke the scent of the Prophet's footsteps. Continuous questions and calls created a heated and dynamic atmosphere.

Research in Arabic Language and Literature, Volume:15 Issue: 2, 2023
87 to 102  
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