Volume 5 (2003-4)
Edited by Joseph Norment Bell
Bayan Rayhanova, Mythological and Folkloric Motifs in Syrian Prose: The Short Stories of Zakariyya Tamir (Adobe Acrobat 6.0 PDF file, 168 kB, pp. 1-12)
Abstract: The interest of Arab authors in ancient forms of artistic thinking has grown considerably in recent times and is revealed in different ways: through ethnographical studies, literary adaptations, the publication of legends and myths, and the inclusion of mythological and folkloric material in modern narrative texts. The present paper is an attempt to analyze Zakariyya Tamir's short stories, which are among the most outstanding products of Syrian literature, and to reveal the function of well-known motifs such as the motif of the bewitched place, the motif of the quest for treasure, the motif of the miraculous birth, and others in his works.
Tamima Bayhom-Daou, The Second-Century Ghulat : Were They Really Gnostic? (Adobe Acrobat 6.0 PDF file, 356 kB, pp. 13-61)
Abstract: This paper questions the suggestion of our sources that gnostic currents had already appeared among Shi'ites by the early second/eighth century. It contends that gnosticism did not surface in Shi'ism until the third/ninth century and that our information on its existence among second-century Shi'ites is the result of retrospective ascription to groups and individuals who, on account of their (real or alleged) messianic beliefs, had already been identified by moderate Imamis as ghulat. That information would have served to distance Imamism and its imams from gnostic teachings by associating those teachings with repudiated figures from the past. The paper examines evidence showing that in his work on firaq Hisham b. al- Hakam (d. 179/795) was not aware of the existence of gnostic ideas in Shi'ism. Other examined evidence also shows that references to gnostic ghuluww are conspicuous by their absence from sources on Shi'ism that are datable to before the third/ninth century.
John Hunwick, "I Wish to Be Seen in Our Land Called Afrika": 'Umar b. Sayyid's Appeal to Be Released from Slavery (1819) (Adobe Acrobat 6.0 PDF file, 178 kB, pp. 62-77)
Abstract: While Muslims were forbidden to enslave Muslims, in Africa, in battles between Muslims and non-Muslims, sometimes the latter captured Muslims, and sold them to European/American ship crews, who were seeking slaves to take across to America and sell, since Americans could use Muslims as slaves. 'Umar b. Sayyid (or, more likely, Sa'id ) was captured in Futa Toro in 1806/7, exported, and sold as a slave in South Carolina. Later he was bought by the brother of a subsequent governor of North Carolina and lived with both of them for some thirty years. ' Umar had learned Arabic in Africa , but as an aging slave forgot some of the rules of the language. Nevertheless, in 1819 he wrote an Arabic document, translated below, in which he quotes many parts of the Koran and seeks return to his homeland in Africa. The Koranic passages surround his statement: ?I wish to be seen in our land called Afrika?. However, he was forced to stay in America until he died in 1864, long after writing an Arabic autobiography.
Reuven Snir, Modern Arabic Literature and Islamist Discourse: "Do Not Be Coolness, Do Not Flutter Safety" (Adobe Acrobat 6.0 PDF file, 387 kB, pp. 78-123)
Abstract: With the rise of Islam, Arab civilization was given a defined ideological and cultural framework within which it could develop. Islam, as a system of symbols, represents the most significant factor in the explanation of Arab cultural, intellectual, and literary history since the seventh century. Arabic literature was never wholly a religious one, but since the revelation of the Qur'an, the various activities in the literary system generally occurred within the borders defined by Islam and were guided by a cultural heritage that seemed nearly as sacred as the religious law. Islam and, more specifically, the Qur'an, was also predominant in consolidating principles that ensured, according to most Arab intellectuals in the twentieth century, that modern Arabic literature could only be a direct extension of the classical literature. The dominance of Islamist discourse in the literary system during the last century was reflected through censorship and banning of books for religious considerations and for the harm they might do to public morality. Nevertheless, Arabic literature witnessed during the second half of the previous century a strong trend towards separation from its strict Islamic moorings in order to follow its course as a completely secularized literature. This trend has found its manifestation in both the interrelations of the literary system with other extra-literary systems as well as on the level of the texts themselves. (The term ?Islamist? is used here to refer to the cultural activities and the discourse of the religious circles; conversely, the terms ?Muslim? or ?Islamic? are applied to general religious and traditional cultural phenomena).
Hassan Bashir, Iran and Political Modernisation in the Nineteenth Century: Parliamentarianism, Constitutionalism and Feminism in the Newspaper Sur-i Israfil (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 PDF file, 250 kB, pp. 124-47)
Abstract: The Constitutional Revolution in I ran (1906-11) was of momentous significance for the evolution of various social and political concepts that were mainly rooted in Western ideologies. During the period of this revolution the face of Iran was changed. The flourishing of free and autonomous newspapers was one of the main features of the period. The contribution of these newspapers to the social and political development of Iran and the modernisation of the realm was more obvious than that of other factors that were changing the traditional society of the country at the beginning of the twentieth century. Sur-i Israfil , the most influential and independent newspaper of the time, played an essential part in the process of modernisation. This article attempts to examine the role of the newspaper by analysing relevant texts published in it during the period and identifying the elements they mediated that were important to the process of change.