Cultivation of Lyricism by the Arabic Versemakers of Yoruba Extraction

Published: January 2020

Author(s): Mikail Adebisi Folorunsho

About Author(s): Department of French, College of Humanities and Culture (Ikire Campus), Osun State University, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria.

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Ikirun, the locale of this study, is a prominent town in Yorubaland in Nigeria. It is one of the centres of Arabic literary activities in sub-Saharan Africa. However, little attention has been paid to the role that the ‘Ulamā’(Arabic scholars) of this town played in advancing the cause of Arabic scholarship in Yorubaland. The paper, therefore, focuses on the literary genres of the Ikirun ‘Ulamā’ more generally and their lyrical verses more specifically. It is remarkable that the cultivation of these lyrical verses is not peculiar to the Arabic writings of Ikirun scholars as they feature in the Arabic literary productions of the other parts of Yorubaland.  It employs the contents analysis method to examine the genres of the writing of the ‘Ulamā’ in Ikirun. It argues that the Ikirun ‘Ulamā’ contributed significantly to lyricism with their works on panegyrics, threnody, satire, occasional poems and distress appeal. Apart from being a compass to researchers in Yoruba literary scholarship, the study provides information about the creativity of Ikirun‘Ulamā’. The information presented in the article showcases a significant aspect of the diverse genres of the literary productions in Yorubaland as well and establishes the status of Ikirun as a great centre of Arabic scholarship in Yorubaland.

Keywords: Arabic, , Ikirun, Lyricism,Nigeria, Poetry, ‘Ulamā’, Yoruba