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Al-Gharīḍ Al-Yahūdī


AL-GHARĪḌ AL-YAHŪDĪ (early seventh century), poet, singer, and composer from *Medina in Arabia. Al-Gharīḍ al-Yahūdī is not to be confused with al-Gharīḍ (nickname meaning the fresh voice), one of the four great singers in the early Islamic era (d. 716). The biographical account of al-Gharīḍ the Jew is reported by the 10th-century author al-Iṣfahānī in his monumental Kitāb al-Aghānī ("Book of Songs"), which contains a collection of poems from the pre-Islamic period to the ninth century, all of which had been set to music. Al-Gharīḍ the Jew is described in this book as a Kohen descended from Aaron ben Amram and a member of the Jewish group living in Yathrib (i.e., Medina, the city of the Prophet *Muhammad). Al-Iṣfahānī mentions in the same context other Jewish poets belonging to the same group, but the very fact that he dedicated a special entry to al-Gharīḍ points to his artistic ability and reputation. Al-Iṣfahānī even reports that Muhammad was pleased with one of al-Gharīḍ's songs.


Al-Iṣfahānī, Kitāb al-Aghānī al Kabīr, 3 (Cairo, c. 1929), 116–117; al-Salawī, Idrāk al-ma'ānī, ms. 2706 of the Moroccan Royal Library, v. 21, f. 136–138; H.G. Farmer, A History of Arabian Music to the 13th Century (1929), 80–81.

[Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]

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