Department of Arabic Language & Literature

University of Haifa

top heb
Prof. Ali Hussein
Associate professor
Eshkol Tower, Floor 15 Room 1513
Reception Hours: Monday: 13:00-14:00, Wednesday(by appointment only): 12:00-13:00
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Internal No.: 2075

Classical Arabic Poetry, especially: the poetry of the Hudhayl tribe, The Naqa’id (Flytings) poetry in the Umayyad era, Humor in classical Arabic poetry, the Badi’ (New) Style, and the rhetoric of the classical Arabic poetry.




 1. I am Ali Ahmad Hussein, an associate professor of classical Arabic poetry at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Haifa. I finished my doctoral research at the University of Haifa and my PHD thesis is about the poetry of the two Hudhailian poets, Abu Dhu’ayb al-Hudhali and his disciple Sa’ida b. Ju’ayya. I completed my post-doctoral research at Harvard University, supervised by the late professor Wolfhart Heinrichs. In the last few, I have been working on the development of the balaghah of Arabic poetry from its early stages in the 5th century C.E. until later Islamic periods (the 15th century). In the last few years, I, along with a university colleague from the Department of Information Systems are developing technology for analyzing the balaghah’s development in classical Arabic poetry. My last ISF granted research allowed me to study the development of humor in this poetry.
2. My classes are varied and include courses on: classical Arabic poetry, classical Arabic rhetoric, poetry according to Arabian grammarians, humor in classical Arabic poetry and Muslim philosophy (the epistles of the Brethren of Purity).
3. My main field of research is classical Arabic poetry: its rhetoric and the development of the rhetoric of this poetry, unique patterns in classical Arabic poetry, satire poetry (the naqaid genre) in the Umayyad era, and humor in pre- and early Islamic poetry. My two ISF projects deal with the development of rhetoric in classical Arabic poetry and the development of humor in this poetry.
The following is a selected list of my most recent publications:

1. Ali Hussein, The Lightning-Scene in Ancient Arabic Poetry: Function, Narration, and Idiosyncrasy in Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Poetry. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrasowitz Verlag, 2009. In the series Arabische Studien.
2. Ali Hussein, The Rhetorical Fabric of the Traditional Arabic Qasida in Its Formative Stages: A Comparative Study of the Rhetoric in Two Traditional Poems by Alqama l-Fahl and Bashshar b. Burd. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015. In the series “Abhandlungen fuer die Kunde des Morgenlandes.” Im Auftrag der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Editors: Sebastian Guenther and Florian Reiter. Volume 98.
3. Ali Hussein (ed.). Branches of the Goodly Tree: Studies in Honor of George Kanazi. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013. In the series: Arabisch-Islamische Welt in Tradition und Moderne. Editor: Raif Georges Khoury. Volume 10.
4. Ali Hussein, “The Rhetoric of Hudhalī Wine Poem.” Oriens 43/1-2 (2015): 1-53.
5. Ali Hussein, “Expiatory Humor in a Pre-Islamic Poem by Ilba’ b. Arqam.” Middle Eastern Literatures 21/2-3 (2018): 206-224.
6. Ali Hussein, “Elegy and Nasib in the Ancient Arabic Qasida: The Unique Structure of an Elegy by Ibn Muqbil.” Journal of Semitic Studies LXIV/2 (Autumn 2019): 507-533.