Among the poetic modes to persist since Islam's advent, hijāʾ, or classical Arabic invective poetry, pushes the limits of permissible art while preserving aspects of court culture not found elsewhere in the premodern corpus. The harshest pieces of hijāʾ have jeopardized its very status as a proper art form, its popular appeal notwithstanding. This essay sketches the ethical and aesthetic contours of hijāʾ in postclassical Arabic literature (ca. 1000–1400), including the motivations that occasioned it. It offers as a case study the hijāʾ of the foremost Andalusian minister, Lisān al-Dīn ibn al-Khat.īb (d. 1375). The poet-politician's terms of abuse shed light on Granada's political strains, and they jar with a tradition that proscribes calumny altogether and calls adherents to unite in virtue and piety, not sin and slander. In practice, Ibn al-Khat.īb's sharp tongue invited physical retaliation, which forced the man to scope the lands, in search of escape.