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Born in Kuf in southern Iraq in 915 AH, his poetic abilities were fostered from an early age. He spent some of his boyhood with the Bedouin in the desert who were thought to speak a purer form of Arabic than the people of the cities. The Bedouin also cultivated the verse forms which had been developed in the centuries during which Islam spread beyond the confines of Arabia. This diwan is one of the chief literary works that make up the literary tradition of the Arabic language and the writings of Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe and Victor Hugo have been compared to Mutanabbi.