Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures by Richard Foltz

By Richard Foltz

This booklet, the 1st of its sort, surveys Islamic and Muslim attitudes in the direction of animals, and human responsiblities in the direction of them, via Islam's philosophy, literature, mysticism and paintings.

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The foolish owner believes him and sets him free, only to see his actual donkey for sale at the marketplace the following day. 7 In other stories, humans really are turned into animals, as in the tale of the Fisherman and the Genie. In this story, a fisherman catches fish of four colors. " they reply. The scene repeats itself several times, to the astonishment of all at court. ), the scapegoat victims of a vengeful curse. 8 Likewise, the dervish in the Tale of the Porter and the Three Girls of Baghdad is turned into an ape by an angry genie.

23 Nevertheless, following the standard Qur'anic interpretation of his time, al-Jahiz accepts without question the received cosmic hierarchywhich places humans above all other animals, due to what he calls their capacity for reason and their "mastery" (tamkin). As an example of the kind of "moral lessons " that animals can offer to humans, al-Jahiz offers the story of the Qadi and the Fly, a tale about a highly respected judge who tries to retain his composure while being harassed by a fly as the courtroom looks on.

KALILA AND D[MNA Perhaps the best-known animal stories in Muslim societies are found in the Iranian translator Ibn al-Muqaffa's ninth-century rendering from Middle Persian to Arabic of Kalila and Dimna, a collection of animal fables which came to pre-Islamic Iran from India. 6 The general plot, connecting the various stories which occur as continuous digressions, follows the fortunes of two jackal brothers, Kalila and Dimna, at the court of the lion king. As in George Orwell's political allegory Animal Farm, the stories are really about people and politics and contain only Animals in Literature and Art 69 the barest and most superficial observations abont the traits of actual animals.

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