Islamic World: The Arabian Nights

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The Arabian Nights or Alf Layla Wa Layla is considered as the first fictional reference to Islam and Islamic world. Between 1704 and 1717, the French statesman Antoine Galland translated the Arabian Nights from Arabic into French, in twelve volumes. Later, translations –from Galland’s and not Arabic- into other European languages appeared. The exact date of writing the Arabian Nights is not identified, however, according to Robert Irwin and Muhsin Mahdi, the first reference to the Arabic version of the Nights appears in Cairo, and goes back to the fourteenth or fifteenth‐century. (MATAR).The Nights emerged in two versions: the Syrian and the Egyptian, which is called Bulaq. The Syrian version included the earliest stories of the Nights, whereas…show more content…
There are no differences between the three religions except in their invocations: “The Jew swears by Moses, Aaron, and Yashū‘ibn Nūn; the Muslim repeats that there is no power except in God almighty; and the Christian is on his way to tasbīh (evening prayer)”(matar)This difference neither reduces the important role each plays in the story, nor does it make them enemies. In addition, it does not make the Muslim majority assume ascendancy over the minority religions, and force them to convert. The Jew or the Christian in the story is not told in the trail, for example, that if he renounces his religion, he will be free. “All three share the same fears and uphold the same ethical commitment: none accepts that another should die for him, even if the other is of a different religion” (maher). Since women are used from the early ages as a tool to stress the defectiveness of the other religion, and since this motive is absent in the stories of the Syrian version of the Arabian Nights, Christian women in these stories are presented in the same manner the Arab Muslim women are presented, to the extent that their religion-either Christian or Muslim-is not stated in most of the
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