Arabian Nights Essay, Research Paper Her name is Shahrazad, and her idea is, to either save the land and the people of the king s vow, or perish in the attempt. She defies her father, the grand vizier, who doesn t want her to die, and asks him to make an offer to the king of her hand. The king eagerly accepts but, makes sure all parties understand that, he intends to fulfill his vow of killing his bride in the morning.
Arabian Nights Essay, Research Paper
Her name is Shahrazad, and her idea is, to either save the land and the people of the king s vow, or perish in the attempt. She defies her father, the grand vizier, who doesn t want her to die, and asks him to make an offer to the king of her hand. The king eagerly accepts but, makes sure all parties understand that, he intends to fulfill his vow of killing his bride in the morning. The grand vizier is sure that his daughter is going to die but the clever Shahrazad has a very ingenious plan in her mind. On the night of the wedding, she asks that her sister be allowed to come and say goodbye. After they consummated the marriage, Shahrazad s sister asks her to tell a story so the night could pass faster. With king s permission Shahrazad begins telling her first story. When the day brakes, the story is not finished, and Shahrazad, asked the king if he would spare her life so she could continue the story the next night. The king’s curiosity makes him postpone the fulfillment of his vow until the next morning, for the purpose and with the hope of hearing that night how the story ends. Shahrazad continues telling the stories every night, stopping at dawn, without telling the end of the story. When Shahrazad is finally finished the king decides to spare her life and makes Shahrazad his queen. The Arabian Nights is a wonderful book that tells us a lot about the Middle Eastern culture, history, and religion. The story happens at a point in time, which is known as the Golden Age . The Golden Age was a period of extraordinary intellectual activity in all fields: science, technology, literature, biography, history, and linguistics. Scholars, for example, in collecting and reexamining the sayings and actions of the Prophet – compiled immense biographical detail about the Prophet and other information, historic and linguistic. During the Golden Age Muslim scholars also made important and original contributions to mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and chemistry. They collected and corrected previous astronomical data, built the world’s first observatory, and developed the astrolabe, an instrument that was once called “a mathematical jewel.” In medicine they experimented with diet, drugs, surgery, and anatomy, and in chemistry, isolated and studied a wide variety of minerals and compounds. Important advances in agriculture were also made in the Golden Age. They preserved and improved the ancient network of wells, underground canals, and waterwheels, introduced new breeds of livestock, hastened the spread of cotton, and, from the Chinese, learned the art of making paper. The Golden Age also, little by little, transformed the diet of medieval Europe by introducing such plants as plums, artichokes, apricots, cauliflower, celery, fennel, squash, pumpkins, and eggplant, as well as rice, sorghum, new strains of wheat, the date palm, and sugarcane. This remarkable time in Middle Eastern history is portrayed so well in the book by explaining in detail the wealth, education and strong religious beliefs of the people of that time. The book also contains a lot of elements of the Middle Eastern culture and religion that are very real even in today s society. One of the main points that are portrayed in this book is adultery. The story starts with the adultery of the king s wife and continues in different stories in the book concentrating on the adultery of women. This is probably a result of the adultery of women being a forbidden fruit, which rarely happens in this society. I decided to do some more research on this topic and compare my findings with adultery in other religions. Both the Christian and Muslim religions reject the existence of adultery in society. In the Old Testament days the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. What follows is a description of the sentence for the sin of adultery: If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbor – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. It is repeated, in the same vein in the book of Deuteronomy chapter: If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death…
This was God’s law before Christ who when he came, embodied God’s love for mankind. And since he preached love and forgiveness to all people, he forgave the woman who had been caught in adultery and whom the people wanted to stone – in accordance with the law. But God wanted to give this woman another chance, an opportunity to start over. After forgiving her, Christ told her to go on her way but to “sin no more”. Although it seems as if adultery is forgiven, the Bible warns categorically against this sin. In fact it orders us to ‘flee adultery’ and to ‘boycott the corrupt one in our midst’. In the case of the man who had committed adultery with his father’s wife – God did not forgive him. On the contrary, he was angry with him and ordered the church to excommunicate him. There are many other examples where adultery is forbidden in the Christian faith. The words of Jesus Christ himself tower above all the rest. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter five, we read: You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. These words, are meant to put an end, not only to physical adultery but the spiritual and mental as well. What does Islam have to say on this subject? Prophet Muhammad has said in many places that adultery is one of the three major sins. However, the most interesting story is that of a young man who went to the Prophet. This man asked for permission to fornicate because he could not control himself. The Prophet dealt with him with reasoning and asked him if he would approve of someone else having illegal sex with his mother, sister, daughter, or wife. Each time the man said ‘no’. Then the Prophet replied that the woman with whom you plan to have sex is also somebody’s mother, sister, daughter, or wife. The man understood and repented. The Prophet prayed for his forgiveness.We know that adultery is forbidden in Islam. The Koran in various instances condemns this ugly act and addresses the believers with warnings and threats against it. But in this case the punishment of the parties is unequal: the man’s is limited to a public whipping while the woman has to be imprisoned until death. This law was later abolished to just eighty strokes for the man and one hundred strokes for the woman. But this law is not enforced in all Islamic countries. For instance, Egypt – a large Islamic country sentences the woman to a prison term ranging from six months to three years. This inequality between man and women is presented very well in The Arabian Nights . The stories seem to concentrate only on the woman s adultery while the men s becomes insignificant and unimportant. It also suggests that men are more virtuous than women are by presenting the women as treacherous, conniving and constantly willing to betray. It is hard to believe, after finding out so much about the Middle East and Islam that this could be true. It is clearly a case of wishful thinking by people who lived in a highly restricted society that forbids male and female association of any kind that produced this kind of thinking. Although I am not saying that adultery committed by women is impossible, I believe it is highly unlikely considering how conservative the society was.
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