The prophetic encomia—panegyrics dedicated to the prophet Muhammad—are one of the most often recited forms of Arabic poetry up to today and are grounded in a cultural milieu where hagiography, competitive circulation of narrative and counter-narratives, rituals and esoteric practices, and educational institutions have a role in its formation. The unifying of the classical erotic poetic with the postclassical devotional created out of the encomium a vehicle that encapsulated palpable memory, nostalgia, and aspirational ideal for a greater past and beloved subject and successfully left a lasting cultural imprint. Against a general disregard for the postclassical tradition as one of decadence argued by Arab modernists, I join the ongoing effort to debunk the myth of premodern decadence as interrogated by Muhsin al-Musawi’s two-part article “The Republic of Letters: Arab Modernity?” by considering the role of the postclassical prophetic encomia’s amatory prelude—a convention from the classical Arabic ode—as a site of continuity and innovation. Within specifically the famous Qaṣīdat al-Burdah (trans. The Mantle Ode) by Muhammad ibn Sa'īd al-Būsīrī (d. 693/1294) and the badī’iyyāt modeled after the Burdah in meter and rhyme initiated by Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥillī (d. 750/1349), the prelude takes a significant poetic turn replacing the classical abandoned desert campsites of the Arabic ode with the city of Madīnah. Operating as a unifying repository of the medieval Islamic Republic of Letters, the amatory prelude continued to perform its classical function as a liminal space but innovatively transformed that space for the reading/listening public as a collective reimagining of the Beloved as Muhammad and the abandoned desert campsite as the City of the Prophet outside of the discursive borders of the imperial.