The Image of Islam

Because of the vast exchange in almost every field of knowledge, the huge revolutionary progress in technology, vital attempts of globalization, efficient institutions of translations and researches, variety of communication means which was limited in the ancient times to narrated or written materials; the East and West witness a unique form of communication. Despite the wide knowledge of the East, there is still an interest in that world as a rich source open for modern authors, scientists, historians, artists, and academics around the globe. Such interests take many forms, for instance, researches, translated works from and into Arabic, e-books, documents, films, and specialized institutions.
Thousand and One Nights and Quran continue till today to inspire readers in the West who seek spiritual awareness, knowing about the other, or just for the sake of reading. For instance, Americans’ fascination with the poet, Rumi, is just one way in which Muslim literature and writing find a way for the West. He is a well-known name among modern poets. Rumi’s most celebrated work of poetry, the six-volume Mathnawi. The Iranians refer to it as the “Persian Quran.” It takes direct quotes from the Quran, and Rumi’s poems repeatedly refer to the Quran, as the “Zikr” and also refer to”Muhammad,” the Prophet. Rumi acknowledges that all his inspiration comes from the Quran and the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The West recognizes other Muslim poets who have also “sampled” the Quran, which is full of poetic lines like “He begets not, nor is he begotten” and “The mountains shall vanish, as if they were a mirage.” Both lines are from the popular English-language Quran translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
Arabian Nights: A Companion, is a book by Robert Irwin, a Professor of medieval history at the University of St. Andrews. He talks about the elements of the Arabian Nights in many Wester works. He says that Rumi’s poems are also a reflection of them, “and, in fact, two stories are virtually identical to stories in ‘Tales From The Thousand and One Nights.’ ”

A similar impact on the Western readers is found in another major Muslim poet whose books has a major impact in the United States, the Rubaiyat by Ghiyath al-Din Abu’l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami, known as Omar Khayyam. It was first translated into English by Edward FitzGerald in 1859, and then appears in a recent edition by St. Martin’s Press. In Islamic studies at American universities, Khayyam’s poems are studied side by side with Rumi’s poems, Thousand and One Nights, the Quran, and other writers, such as Naguib Mahfouz , or The Persian poets Hafez (whose full name is Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Hafez Shirazi) and Saadi (Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi).
Others modern literary writers broken through in the West are, Gibran Khalil Gibran, Abbas Mahmud Al-Aqqad, Tayeb Salih, Abdul Rahman Munif , and Salah Abd El-Sabur whose translated works are found in the following page: http://www.jehat.com/Jehaat/en/Poets/SalahAbd-al-Sabur.htm and many others.
It is important to notice that the close relation between the two worlds allows a greater number of female writers’ works to be read or published all over the world: May Ziade, Fadwa Touqan, Ulfat Idlibi, Alifa Rifaat, Hanna Mina, May Ziadeh, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, and many Algerian writers. There are also a number of significant female academics known in the West such as Zaynab al-Ghazali.
Regarding the Western poets’ image of the East, they differ greatly from their ancestors. In T. S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi, the poem is told in a dramatic monologue. All the images that he passes by throughout his journey are dark and frustrating, especially before the coming of the Christ. Surprisingly, the situation changes when he gets into the ” temperate valley.” Yeats sees the Orient as the source of all religions. His aim from the beginning is “Finding the place” which is largely different from “these Kingdom.” Therefore, he cites his wish at the end:”I would do it again.”
Undoubtedly, the East at the present time, especially after the events of 11th September, represents the Romantic, dreamy, and mysterious World no longer; but simply ‘another’ with goods as well as bads. Ironically despite the huge number of studies on the two worlds, yet they didn’t achieve a sufficient knowledge of the other on all levels. Attempts of harmonization seem still dominated by Rudyard Kipling’s famous saying: “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

1 Comment

  1. WELL,the image of Islam is well presented by the writer.But the writer should also write about the propagenda being developed of image of islam.Western countries and non muslim/islamic forces constantly harm islamic religion and we can experience now a days what have been done with iraq,afghanistan,libya,pakistan’s northern areas,kashmir or other islamic states and they convey the message that all this is a result of terrorism, but the truth is that these forces have initiated and muslims are called terrorists because they take revenge of their innocent people,relatives were being killed.The message is conveyed to the world by using media which they fully controlled.Islam says when your one muslim in trouble then entire muslim ummah is in trouble and you have to take stand to protect that muslim and cure him.

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