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AbstractAround the year 411/1021, blind author and controversial freethinker Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī (449/1057) wrote Risālat al-ṣāhil wa-l-shāḥij (The Epistle of the Horse and the Mule), a meandering prose work populated by animal characters who talk about Syrian society on the eve of the...
AbstractThe most famous piece of the collection of Rasāʾil written by the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ is probably the animal fable included in Epistle 22, known in its English translation as “The Case of the Animals versus Man before the King of the Jinn.” The complexity and thematic richness of the work...
AbstractThe first part of the article focuses on the opening and closing chapters of Sicilian born polymath Ibn Ẓafar’s (d. ca. 566 /1171) mirror for princes, Sulwān al-muṭāʿ, which are devoted to “trusting [God]” (tafwīḍ) and “self-denial” (zuhd) respectively, and analyzes the combination of...
AbstractScholarly attention to speaking animals in Arabic has focused mainly on the larger collections such as Kalīla wa-Dimna, the two sections with animal fables in Alf Layla wa-layla, and the lengthy, brilliant debate in Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ. Animal fables such as found in the Pañcatantra,...
AbstractIn early Arabic literature, ʿAnqāʾ Mughrib is the name of the quintessential mythical bird. The ʿAnqāʾ appears in a myriad of medieval sources of different genres: poetical, narrative, proverbial, scientific, philosophical, and mystical. This paper draws attention to the multiple ways in...
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