Badawi Al-Jabal


Badawi al-Jabal is the pen name of Muhammad Sulayman al-Ahmad, one of the greatest Syrian poets of the old school.

He came from a distinguished Alawite family. He was born in the village of Difa in the district of al-Haffah, in Latakia governorate in Syria.

to the compiler of his poetry, Midhat Akkash, his pen name was given to him by the editor of the Damascus newspaper Alif Ba, who agreed to publish the poetry under the pseudonym of Badawi al-Jabal, a reference to the bedouin headcovering the poet wore at the time.

Badawi al-Jabal practiced politics and poetry at an early age. As a nationalist, he joined the National Bloc, and later on the National Party. He was imprisoned by the French mandatory authorities in Syria, and in 1939 he sought refuge in Baghdad. While there, he taught Arabic at the University of Baghdad and also supported the revolt of Rashid Ali al-Gaylani against the British in 1941. When he returned to Syria the following year, he was apprehended by the French authorities.

He was twice elected to the Syrian parliament, in 1943 and 1947. In the 1950s, he became Minister of Health. The Arab-Israel War of June1967 and the Arab defeat influenced many of his poems. His poetry was also influenced by a mystical orientation. Selections from his poetry were published in Damascus in 1968 by Midhat Akkash. A full anthology appeared in Beirut in 1978 with an introduction by Akram Zuaytir.

References: Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. Columbia University Press, New York, 1987, p61. , بدوي الجبل