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The Quran and the Thousand and One Nights

The diversity of the Islamic culture is vividly depicted in many literary works. An incomparable embedding into Islamic heritage is presented in the Thousand and One Nights tales, also known as Arabic Nights, which have stirred the imagination of generations around the world for centuries. The account comprises 250 short interlinked stories that gradually reveal the events’ sequence (al-Musawi, 2009). Another most essential Islamic religious text is Quran which describes the revelations by God (Allah). This paper aims to identify how these two literature pieces proclaim similar values to be central in Islamic culture.

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Written by many authors over the centuries, the Thousand and One Nights depict the burgeoning urban Islamic culture in all its diversity and complexity. The stories deal with fundamental human life values, including love, hatred, mortality, and even spiritual matters implying the living in the words of good and evil. These themes partially coincide with those proclaimed in the Quran. Probably, one of the most vivid values revealed in both texts is the obedience of women towards their men, yet, regarding them as strong and powerful. In fairy tales, many of them are represented as slaves or concubines obeying the men who own them and yet show enormous strength in overcoming hardships (Ghabool & Ravansalar, 2016).

Scheherazade is the most striking example of this type of figure. In the Quran, men are referred to as protectors and women as supporters. Hence, a reader may observe that obedient and righteous wives serving their strong husbands present great importance in Islamic culture.

Additionally, both literary works discuss forgiveness’s notions claiming it to be a central value in a human’s life. The feeling of forgiveness is an essential attribute of the Creator, which implies the absolution of sins and the demonstration of it to each other. Believers in Islam and the Quran believe in people’s forgiveness because they know that any bad deed that a person has done to them was at the command of Allah, and who are they to doubt it.

The Thousand and One Night also questions the value of forgiveness, implying that good always overcomes evil. The theme developed in the majority of the frame stories where characters seek mercy and remission (al-Musawi, 2009). For instance, in one narrative, a merchant kills a genie’s child and faces execution; yet, three righteous travelers ask a genie to forgive a merchant in exchange for fascinating stories (Hoh, 2017). As a consequence, these two readings proclaim justice and forgiveness to be fundamental values.

In addition, both Islamic texts describe greed as a destructive human habit. The Holy Qur’an describes this phenomenon as dangerous and capable of enslaving a person if he pursues more than he has. The same idea is expressed in the Thousand and One Night, where the antagonists who seek the unattainable end up trapped in their vices (Hoh, 2017). However, those who wish to be rich because of virtuous intentions live happily.

In conclusion, it is necessary to state that Islamic heritage is tightly preserved in Islamic literature works. The Quran and the Thousand and One Nights primarily focus on fundamental human values, including women’s obedience, men’s righteousness, forgiveness, justice, and others. Both readings are vital for understanding of the cultural context and help trace how people’s perception was formed on the basis of the presented values.

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al-Musawi. (2009). The Islamic context of the Thousand and One Nights. Columbia University Press.

Ghabool, E., & Ravansalar, M. (2016). Imagology of Iranians in One Thousand Nights and One Night. European Journal of Language And Literature, 2(1), 74-80. Web.

Hoh, A. (2017). A Thousand and One Nights: Arabian story-telling in world literature. Library of Congress. Web.

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