Three Shadow Plays by Muhammad Ibn Daniyal. Poetry & Literature. Author: Paul Kahle Year: ISBN: Language: English Paperback. While Ibn Daniyal is known to have entertained powerful men with his humor and antics, inchding the sultan al-Ashraf Khalil (r. ) and the emir Sayf. Badawi believed that Ibn Daniyal’s plays played an essential role in the formation of Arabic drama. He analysed three of them: Tayf alkhayal, ʻAjib wa-gharib.

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Yet to say that there is no system of explanation for the world is itself absolutist; even to come to a conclusion that both sides of a philosophical issue are wrong requires either an inherent under- standing of what is wrong or an inherent understanding that right cannot be known-both are value systems. Several possibilities arise from such an investigation. The references are “humaza lumaza” What results from this technique is an ambiguous and middle-ground morality, one that is defined negatively.

They provide an interesting con- trast to the values of the puppets: Conclusions Finally, it must be mentioned that libn DiiniyBl, in his own work, hints at -not only the aim of his own humor, but also the aim of humor in general.

DIr Bay f i t liTibica waNashr,pp.

There is, and indeed must be, a claim to higher knowledge in order to expose and make humorous the flaws of other systems of belief or ways of thought. For truly he has exceeded the limits! Only in modern times has the importance of these plays, indeed even their existence, been known even to specialists in the scholar world, East or West. Although much involved in military affairs, Khalil also headed a brilliant court, in which Ibn Daniyal was the prominent literary figure.

The first character to appear, Tayf al-KhayBl himself, tells us that, now that he has repented and has taken leave of his companion Emir Wi l, the once morally decadent environment of Egypt has met with severe reform: Perhaps these plays are best left to the disembodied shadows, floating across a curtain— without names, without agendas, and without the burden of identity politics.


As profane as it may seem, the play is laced with verses from the Quran, the language of Sufi mysticism, and common Islamic allegorical themes. Khartoum University Press,pp.

Muḥammad ibn Dāniyāl

Curzon Press,pp. The Mamluk ilkhnnid War, Cambridge: Here U m m Rashid’s husband, seeking to molest a young boy at the faqih’s school, invites the faqih to his home and persuades him to drink liquor, in order to get the faqih out of the During this temptation, the faqih is concerned only with his reputa- tion as a representative of piety and religion: There is some confusion in the text regarding the nature of the bride’s offspring, whether he is her son or her grandson, but-when Everett K.

Cambridge University Press, Here Iblis claims that, “I lead without [seeking] recompense ajr or fee ujra ,” playing on the Qur’anic injunction to rhe Prophet Muhammad: He returned to supporting himself by writing panegyric poems to celebrated less exalted sponsors—lower-level political, merchants, friends, and religious leaders. It as a part of the duet scene, itself a kind of Agon in which the pleas for satisfaction from the smitten lover, are rejected by the attractive youth.

First As Shadow, Then As Farce: An Evening with Medieval Puppeteer Ibn Daniyal – ArabLit

Al-Safadi himself would probably have called it faniyal epistle risiila. Use of the vocative to refer to this revered saint, thought to be buried in Cairo, marks the faqih ‘s speech “ya sittana” ; he calls on the saint, it seems, when religious reputation and his immoral desires come into crisis, since he uses this vocative in both exam- ples mentioned above.

First comes a so-called hermaphrodite named Nacissus, in fact a homosexual man who extols his lifestyle and compares a relieving bowel movement after copulation to giving birth. We now move into the part of the play, which in placement and organization exactly corresponds to the Aristophanic episodes, offering a succession of minor characters, like the priest, the poet, the soothsayer, the inspector and the salesman who in turn visit and hope to exploit the newly founded avian city in The Birds.

The faqih’s affiliation with popular religious expression can also be seen in his considerable devotion to the ” For a description of the MarnlGk hajj ceremonies, see Popular Culture in Medieval Cairo, pp. Fortunately, there is another possible line of connection which seems much more promising.


It becomes clear, then, that the play aims its satire at moral extremes. Throughout the course of the play we have seen the poet represent himself in many of his characters, an idea put forth by al-Wathiq.

Three Shadow Plays by Muhammad Ibn Daniyal | The E J W Gibb Memorial Trust

The play expressly depicts and mocks the campaign undertaken by Sultan al-Ziihir Baybars r. Yet Ibn DBniy5l maintains his ambiguity, implying as well that the play might be meant only for entertainment, since it serves as “relief from the weariness of that which is serious” and since such philosophizing is followed by a list of nonsensical truisms and nun sequiturs “he who pays back his debts is honest” and “passive sodomy is a disease of the effeminate”.

The House of Wisdom: The play then is celebratory in the most negative sense of the word: Genre and Form Before any discussion of Ibn Daniyal’s satiric method can take place, the ‘ question of genre must be addressed.

Muhammad al-Wathiq offers the later and more convincing time span of AHcorresponding to the reign of Ijusiirn al-Din L5jin al-Mansuri, a sultan depicted negatively in Ibn Daniyiil’s poeuy. The 3aIp-i Mamliiks, also called the Babiya, were an dabiyal group of Mamldc soldiers to which Baybars belonged. He has become more pow- erful than the Pharoah [in the story of Moses]. In rhe Vicinity of the Righreous: More important, it shows that moralists-who should be concerned with self-reflection-instead direct the scope of their judgment outward, looking scrupulously into the harmless acts of others, a mark of hypocrisy, since they fail to see their own foolishness.

Next come is a series of episodes, short scenes involving only one or two minor characters each, usually showing the effects of the outcome of the Agon. Ibnn word of them has spread, however, and the first book-length study of Ibn Daniyal in English appeared inalso with a translation of one of his three plays.