Taqiyya Umm Ali bint Ghaith ibn Ali al-Armanazi

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Umm ‘Alī Taqiyya bint Abi’l-Faraj Ghayth b. ‘Alī b. ‘Abd al-Salām b. Muḥammad b. Ja‘far al-Sulamī al-Armanāzī al-Ṣūrī (أم علي تقية بنت أبى الفرج غيث بن على بن عبد السلام بن محمد بن جافر السلامية الأرمنازية السورية), also known as Sitt al-Ni‘m (ست النعم) (born Damascus 505/1111, died, probably in Egypt, 579/1183-4), was a poet and scholar, the most prominent female student of Abū Ṭāhir al-Silafī, the leading educator in Egypt in his day. 'Several sources acknowledge her as woman of talent and wit, who composed qaṣīdas and short poems.'[1]

Taqiyya's husband was Fāḍil b. Ḥamdūn al-Ṣūrī (born Damascus 490/1097, died Alexandria 568/1172), himself a noted scholar; with him she had the son Abu’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī b. Fāḍil b. Ḥamdūn al-Ṣūrī (b. Ṣūr, d. 603/1206), who also became a noted scholar.

Among the few poems of Taqiyya's that survive is an epigram on wine the she sent to Al-Muzaffar Umar:

There is nothing good in wine, though a paradisial perk
It ferments the sane, bonkers his mind and instils in him a falling fear.

When al-Muzaffar responded that Taqiyya was speaking from experience, she composed a poem on war, to show that experience was not required to compose poetry on a theme.[2]


  1. ^ Delia Cortese, 'Transmitting sunnī learning in Fāṭimid Egypt: the female voices', in 26th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI 26), 12-16 Sep 2012, Basel, Switzerland, accessed from http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/13680/ (p. 14).
  2. ^ Classical Poems by Arab Women: A Bilingual Anthology, ed. and trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari (London: Saqi Books, 1999), p. 148.
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