Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Aladdin

I published many articles on Arab cultures and last week I posted two on Pre-Islam Arab cultures and the original matriarchal society.

A few facts highlights the historical contexts.

First, it appears that the first time the word “Arab” was discovered in manuscripts was in 853 BC as a coalition of Arab tribes, Syria, and a few Israelite tribes in northern Palestine, who associated to counter an Assyrian incursion in the Levant.

Second, Arabic tribes extended to the desert region between the Euphrates and Tiger Rivers, to the vast stretch of land bordering the Red Sea, to Southern Palestine and Jordan, to the Sinai Peninsula, and to the lands bordering the Persian Gulf.

Third, the Arabic tribes languages and cultures were influenced by the urban civilization in Yemen, the various Persian Empires and India, and the various Western Empires of Greek, Roman, and Byzantium Empires before the advent of Islam.

Fourth, the dominant Empires at every period paid tributes to coalition of Arabic tribes in return of keeping the peace on demarcation borders, facilitating trade caravans, and for gathering intelligence on the enemy as advanced warning of changes in policies, and for joining in battles.

There is this passion for legal proceedings in the Middle East since time immemorial.

The “eye for eye” justice far predominant in the beginning until the principle of endemnization (money paid for the victim) proved to be more valuable in the long run.  Pre-Islam Arab tribes learned to give priority/ a higher weight to preventive justice resulting in preemptive banishment of members when behavioral trends of members endangered the peaceful coexistence of the tribe in its environment.

Behaviors judged to be of recurring tendencies that may harm the tribe and might involve it into unwanted clashes with other tribes were seriously dealt with.

For example, stealing was far harshly punished than crimes of passions on the ground that thievery is in the nature of frequent lapses,  while crime of passion is once in a lifetime. (Most probably, tribes kept “verbal statistics” on crimes of passion, and statistics speak louder).

With scarce resources and wealth, a tribe would figure out that it is to its advantage to banish troublesome members that might require the tribe to pay heavy compensations in camels and other life stock.

A banished member was not safe from retributions of “enemy” tribes when he was suspected of committing a crime, even if there are no evidences. The suspect would not take the risk of facing justice and he would flee the region, as far away as he could:  He is hounded down and brought to justice even if he fled to Syria or Iraq.

Many “Arabic” stories and myths were altered and recounted by bordering Empires since antiquity to fit the environment and culture.

After Islam, anyone with talents in poetry, music, singing, storytelling was claimed to be haunted by the appropriate genie who would recite during his dreaming periods the corresponding pieces.

You may hear about the genies Dalhan (a cannibal who appears in the form of a human mounted on a black camel) or Ghaddar (who enjoys torturing prisoners), or Hatif (an invisible who extends imprudent hints), or Shaytan (or Satan who reigns over fire), or Ifrit (who takes forms of animals), or Shiq (who has one arm, one leg, half a body and half a head) or Ghul and Qutrub (who prostitute one another), or Silat (who make you dance), or Sut (who makes you lie), or Scheherazade (who satisfies your desires).

In pre-Islam, the female warrior Goddess Uzza was the first to have imprisoned most of them genies in the outer space of “mountain Qaf ” that circled earth.

A few genies are still free to roam among us and Scheherazade is one of them.

Who is the Arabic Scheherazade who said: “When I tell a lie then, am I not restoring an ancient truth?”

Scheherazade had this habit of entering Bedouin tents and then encouraged them to tell her their dreams. Scheherazade continued to pervert men’s ambitions until she entered the tent of Aladdin from the tribe of Labwa (lioness).

Aladdin wanted to know all the stories and he kept lighting his candle and listening.  Aladdin’s tribe folded its tents but he remained listening to Scheherazade’s stories; and he got old but remained focused on hearing stories.

Scheherazade then realized that there are a finite number of stories and there is no first or last story since they follow a vicious circle of same stories with tiny alterations.

More myths in successive posts.

Note:   When you read about pre-Islam cultures of Arabic tribes you should keep in mind thousand of years of traditions and customs.

Pre-Islam Arabic cultures are lumped by the new emerging Islam as “Period of Ignorance (Jahilyya)”, meaning ignorance of the One and Unique God Allah.

Fact is, many Arabic tribes were already Christians or basically Jewish/Christians sects since they adopted most of the daily customs and mythical stories in the Jewish religion) what is labelled “heretic” Christians by Byzantium because they had dogmas different from the Byzantine Orthodox dogma.

Fact is, many Arabic tribes were Jewish; and many more believed in Mazda (the dominant religion in Persia.)

Fact is, most of the idols that Arabic tribes venerated were imported from Syria, Persia, and India.

Islam became the common denominator religion among Arabic tribes during the Prophet Muhammad life.

I might describe in successive series of  “pre-Islam Arabic cultures” a few of the poets and cultural customs .

Topics were mostly generated from “The enigma of Qaf” by the Brazillian Alberto Mussa who is Lebanese by origin.




March 2023

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