Kharja
(804 words)

The Arabic word kharja (exit), also referred to as markaz (central point), designates the concluding couplet (envoi) of the muwashshaḥ (Heb. shir ezor, girdle poem), an Arabic strophic genre of poetry that, along with the more vernacular zajal, originated in al-Andalus around the tenth century. The scansion of both muwashshaḥ and zajal departs in significant ways from classical Arabic prosody. Examples of Hebrew muwashshaḥāt, following Arabic models, are known from the eleventh century, and were probably in existence earlier. By the mid-twelfth century, Arabic and Hebrew muwashsh…

Cite this page
Esperanza Alfonso, “Kharja”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 17 August 2017
First published online: 2010



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