The Narrator and His Double in al-Nashīdah by ʽAlāʼ ʽAbd al-Hādī: A Study of the Humorous Narrative in the Light of Mobility Theory

A Study of Humorous Maqāmah-like Narrative in the Light of Mobility Theory

  • Ahlam Ahmed Othman Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the British University in Egypt; Faculty of Humanities, Al-Azhar University, Egypt
Keywords: carnival, dialogism, humor, maqāmah-like narrative, mobility theory, philosophy of play


Al-Nashīdah (2003) by ʽAlāʼ ʽAbd al-Hādī (b. 1956) is a volume of prose poetry that combines multiple
genres including Sufi nonfiction, Arabic maqāmah, prose poetry, free verse, and rhymed verse. Mobility
characterizes both form and content of the humorous maqāmah-like narrative: the physical movement of
the narrator and his double parallels movement from one genre to another creating a postmodernist
narrative that takes the form of a journey. The narrator, who shows commitment to the tradition of
classical Arabic literature, and his double, who represents postmodernism, move in time and place to meet
first with Sufi writer, al-Niffarī, and then with different Arab poets, rhetoricians, theorists, and rulers.
Dialogism gives rise to different types of humor including wit, slapstick, wordplay, situational, and dark
humor. The journey, which apparently takes a traditional form, ends with the metamorphosis of the
narrator’s double and his fusion into the narrator, signaling the rebirth of the postmodern author. Through
this study, the humorous maqāmah-like narrative embedded in the poetic block will be analyzed in the
light of mobility theory to unravel the interchangeable situation between tradition and postmodernism.