Yes. They were Muslim rulers, and they drank wine. And the people knew it.
But most importantly, their court poets wrote about love. And someone, somewhere down the line, felt compelled to write the poems down, and then rewrite them when the papyrus fell apart and paper became common. And so now we're left with volumes and volumes (only parts in English, sadly) of poems like this:
You pages, pour me out a potion
Pour me to drink her soft, sweet kisses
I suffer drought; its healing draught
Is drinking from her moist fresh lips.
The smiling corners of her mouth are brilliant as chamomile;
Her speech is like embroidery, a mantle with embroidery
Lodged in the core and kernel of
My heart, she is insatiable.
She said to me: 'I'll meet with you a few nights hence.'
But day and night will wear away, and nothing new will come myw ay.
She is content without me; my
Portion is sighs to gnaw a heart of steel.
~ Bashshar ibn Burd, medieval Islamic poet
Beautiful. And the images. *shiver*
This one made me chuckle:
Of all garments
God blast the veil
it hides the young
and masks the vile
to urge us on.
God blast the veil.
~ Dhu'l-Rumma (696?-735?) (I.E., a LONG ass time ago.)
And one that is anonymous:
I have left my mistresses and wine behind
and love's delirium. and have abandoned myself to my Lord.
My pleasures were long-lasting
but now He firmly holds my hand
within His law.
Today, wine is a crime,
are against His law;
but when I remember
this and that ... and your smile,
I must leave my Lord behind for ever.
Makes you wonder what transpired in those dots, eh?
And after at least a thousands years, I can feel the anguish and love the author must have felt. And because of his words, he and I are connected. (In a weird "transcendence of time and space" sort of way, I guess.)
If only I could travel back and hear the music sung late at night, while the caliph sat behind a curtain with his women, drinking and laughing. None of the music survived the ages. The lyrics and instruments, yes, but the Arabs had no way of marking musical notes, so when the singers died, and their songs were forgotten, they disappeared. What would happen if we lost our sheets of music collected the past 500 years, and then today's musicians died. Our grandchildren wouldn't know a tenth of what had been sung or played. The world would be silent.