Sensibilities of the Islamic Mediterranean
From the mountains of Lebanon to the shores of Turkey and North Africa, the Islamic Mediterranean has always been a dynamic cultural hub, where the stories and passions of East and West collide. In a sweeping survey spanning the first Arabic edition of the Thousand and One Nights to the novels of the 20th century, Robin Ostle pours through centuries of books, art and architecture to reveal what they tell us about the changing relationship between individual and society in this distinctive culture. In pre-modern literature, individuality was expressed through a series of comic subversions which, through their resolution, ultimately strengthened the social status quo. The great 19th century travelogues represented a more transgressive exploration of the boundaries of the self. This theme was continued in the cultural forms of the 20th century, with their emphasis on self-expression and emotional liberation, something increasingly defined in opposition to the state. ‘Sensibilities of the Islamic Mediterranean’ unravels the emotions, ideas and power relationships which make up the cultural fabric of this fascinating region.
Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel Nation State Modernity and Tradition
Considers the Arabic novel within the triangle of the nation-state, modernity and traditionWen-Chin Ouyang explores the development of the Arabic novel, especially the ways in it engages with aesthetics, ethics and politics in a cross-cultural context and from a transnational perspective.Taking love and desire as the central tropes , the story of the Arabic novel is presented as a series of failed, illegitimate love affairs, all tainted by its suspicion of the legitimacy of the nation, modernity and tradition and, above all, by its misgiving about its own propriety.
Studying Modern Arabic Literature Mustafa Badawi Scholar and Critic
Prior to the 1960s the study of Arabic literature, both Classical and Modern, had barely been emancipated from the academic approaches of Orientalism. The appointment of Mustafa Badawi as Oxford University's first Lecturer in Modern Arabic Literature changed the face of this subject as Badawi showed, through his teaching and research that Arabic literature was making vibrant contributions to global culture and thought. Part biography, part collection of critical essays, this volume celebrates Badawi's immense contribution to the field and explores his role as a public intellectual in the Arab world and the west.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY IN ISLAM
Islam, more than 1400 years after its revival by Prophet Muhammad is still misunderstood today. The traditional Islam practised today, is not the Islam of the Prophets, Abraham and Muhammad. It has been acutely syncretized with alien concepts of Paganism, Zoroastrian and Judeo-Christian. This book will attempt to explain some of the misunderstood verses using linguistics within its various contexts. Resorting to reason, Sense and Sensibility in Islam “sieves” out words and expressions of literalism from historicity. The resulting exegesis closely mirrors the message of the Quran as understood by the Pagan, Persian and the Judeo-Christian weltanschauung of the days of the Prophet Muhammad. The use of logic and context of the message is paramount. Arabic lexicons are frequently consulted and ancient metaphors revealed. Myths, legends, dogmas, miracles, superstitions, and historicity will be examined in the light of modern disciplines of archaeology and it sub-discipline of epigraphy, anthropology, cosmology and other scientifi c disciplines in deciphering and “teasing” out the message to its “original” rational intent. Contrary to popular perception, Islam is not a religion. It is in fact opposed to it, states Nazer. Traditional Islam today is a syncretic medley of traditions from Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian traditions. While Nazer attempts to separate Original Islam from this syncretism, he asks various pertinent questions on the origins of Prophet Muhammad; the rituals perpetuated in the name of Islam by the Pagan Meccans of the Omayyad Period and later Abbasside Zoroastrian Persians and question their authenticity through linguistics, common sense and unveiled metaphors from Arabic Lexicons. Like separating wheat from chaff, Nazer “teases” out ancient words and metaphors from commonly translated rituals in today’s Islam. What was the essence of the ancient faith, he asks? Did Abraham travel all the way to Mecca to found a faith on the ritual of prayers, or did he found a system of socio-economic reforms, which Muhammad followed, for later generations? Did Abraham build the Kaaba in Mecca? Did Mecca exist during Abraham’s time? What do the words Kaaba and Bakkah really mean? Was Bakkah the Mecca of today, or was it the Baca or Bekah of the Judaic religion? Nazer explains these words through linguistics from context and the answer may surprise many, including the followers of traditional Islam today. Finally, Sense and Sensibility in Islam examines whether Islam is compatible with Western democracy. Is Islam a democracy or an autocracy, allied to patristic bondage as practiced in Iran and Saudi Arabia? He comes to the conclusions that Islam is a set of social reforms that lead to peace, security and human rights for all.
Histories of the Middle East
Dedicated to their teacher, Abraham L. Udovitch, his students offer in this volume a chronologically, geographically and thematically wide range of papers united by an emphasis on a close reading of primary sources and the juxtaposition of different genres of narratives.
Islamic Gardens and Landscapes
"In the course of my research," writes D. Fairchild Ruggles, "I devoured Arabic agricultural manuals from the tenth through the fourteenth centuries. I love gardening, and in these texts I was able to enter the minds of agriculturalists and botanists of a thousand years ago who likewise believed it was important and interesting to record all the known ways of propagating olive trees, the various uses of rosemary, and how best to fertilize a garden bed." Western admirers have long seen the Islamic garden as an earthly reflection of the paradise said to await the faithful. However, such simplification, Ruggles contends, denies the sophistication and diversity of the art form. Islamic Gardens and Landscapes immerses the reader in the world of the architects of the great gardens of the Islamic world, from medieval Morocco to contemporary India. Just as Islamic culture is historically dense, sophisticated, and complex, so too is the history of its built landscapes. Islamic gardens began from the practical need to organize the surrounding space of human civilization, tame nature, enhance the earth's yield, and create a legible map on which to distribute natural resources. Ruggles follows the evolution of these early farming efforts to their aristocratic apex in famous formal gardens of the Alhambra in Spain and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Whether in a humble city home or a royal courtyard, the garden has several defining characteristics, which Ruggles discusses. Most notable is an enclosed space divided into four equal parts surrounding a central design element. The traditional Islamic garden is inwardly focused, usually surrounded by buildings or in the form of a courtyard. Water provides a counterpoint to the portioned green sections. Ranging across poetry, court documents, agronomy manuals, and early garden representations, and richly illustrated with pictures and site plans, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes is a book of impressive scope sure to interest scholars and enthusiasts alike.
Venice and the Islamic World 828 1797
From 828, when Venetian merchants carried home from Alexandria the stolen relics of St. Mark, to the fall of the Venetian Republic to Napoleon in 1797, the visual arts in Venice were dramatically influenced by Islamic art. Because of its strategic location on the Mediterranean, Venice had long imported objects from the Near East through channels of trade, and it flourished during this particular period as a commercial, political, and diplomatic hub. This monumental book examines Venice's rise as the "bazaar of Europe" and how and why the city absorbed artistic and cultural ideas that originated in the Islamic world. Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797 features a wide range of fascinating images and objects, including paintings and drawings by familiar Venetian artists such as Bellini, Carpaccio, and Tiepolo; beautiful Persian and Ottoman miniatures; and inlaid metalwork, ceramics, lacquer ware, gilded and enameled glass, textiles, and carpets made in the Serene Republic and the Mamluk, Ottoman, and Safavid Empires. Together these exquisite objects illuminate the ways Islamic art inspired Venetian artists, while also highlighting Venice's own views toward its neighboring region. Fascinating essays by distinguished scholars and conservators offer new historical and technical insights into this unique artistic relationship between East and West.
Knights of the Cloister
The Templars' and Hospitallers' daily business of recruitment, fund-raising, farming, shipping and communal life explored alongside their commitment to crusading.
The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World Volume Three
In this first of a massive three-volume work, Seta B. Dadoyan studies the Armenian experience in the medieval Islamic world and takes the reader through hitherto undiscovered paradigmatic cases of interaction with other populations in the region. Being an Armenian, Dadoyan argues, means having an ethnic ancestry laden with narratives drawn from the vast historic Armenian habitat. Contradictory trends went into the making of Armenian history, yet most narratives fail to reflect this rich texture. Linking Armenian-Islamic history is one way of dealing with the problem. Dadoyan's concern is also to outline revolutionary elements in the making of Armenian ideologies and politics. This extensive work captures the multidimensional nature of the Armenian experience in the medieval Islamic world. The author holds that every piece of literature, including historical writing, is an artifact. It is a composition of many elements arranged in certain forms: order, sequence, proportion, detail, intensity, etc. The author has composed and arranged the larger subjects and their sub-themes in such a way as to create an open, dynamic continuity to Armenian history that is intellectually intriguing, aesthetically appealing, and close to lived experiences.
The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World
In this first of a massive three-volume work, Seta B. Dadoyan studies the Armenian experience in the medieval Islamic world and takes the reader through hitherto undiscovered paradigmatic cases of interaction with other populations in the region. Being an Armenian, Dadoyan argues, means having an ethnic ancestry laden with narratives drawn from the vast historic Armenian habitat. Contradictory trends went into the making of Armenian history, yet most narratives fail to reflect this rich texture. Linking Armenian-Islamic history is one way of dealing with the problem. Dadoyan’s concern is also to outline revolutionary elements in the making of Armenian ideologies and politics. This extensive work captures the multidimensional nature of the Armenian experience in the medieval Islamic world. The author holds that every piece of literature, including historical writing, is an artifact. It is a composition of many elements arranged in certain forms: order, sequence, proportion, detail, intensity, etc. The author has composed and arranged the larger subjects and their sub-themes in such a way as to create an open, dynamic continuity to Armenian history that is intellectually intriguing, aesthetically appealing, and close to lived experiences.