The Persian provinces produced some of Islam's greatest scholars and poets: Nizami (died 1203), Hafez (died 1390), Saadi (died 1292) and the 10th century Samanid figures Avicenna and Omar Khayyan. Iranians love Sufi poets. Many of great "Persian" poets and literary figures were in fact Tajiks from Central Asia.
Omar-Khayyám (1048-1123) was a Persian mathematician who enjoyed drinking and writing fatalistic poetry. He is famous in the West for his Rubiayat, or quatrains, but he was best known in his time as a mathematician and astronomer. Omar-Khayyám wrote: “I sometimes think that never blows so red/ The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled." “Rubaiyat of Mar Khayyam” was a popular book in the Victorian era. Produced by an American expatriate Elihu Vedder, it was filled with images of skulls, owls and lizards set to Omar verse.
In the early 20th century, Charles F. Horne wrote: “The name "Hafez" means "strong-memoried," and was given as a phrase of honor to the poet when, as a young boy, he recited the entire Qur'an by heart. He was born at Shiraz, in southern Persia, in 1325, and died there in 1389. Hafez was one of the world's greatest masters of lyric verse. Both he and Jami are Sufis, but in a very different mood. The Sufism of Hafez is like that of Umar Khayyam, i.e., Hafez confines himself so wholly to the praise of wine and love, that questions arose whether he was always thinking about the joys of the spirit. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed.,”The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East”, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol.VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 103-107 *]
“Sadi was named by a brother poet the "nightingale of the groves of Shiraz." He was also noted in his lifetime as a religious teacher, though he never claimed to be inspired by any higher wisdom than the human intellect. The first work of this remarkable man was the "Bustan," which means the fruit-garden, or orchard. The book contains the fruits of the author's long experience, his judgments upon life, illustrated by a vast store of anecdotes. *\
“Jami, the last of the great classic poets of Persia, was born at Jam, near Herat, in 1414 and died in Herat in 1492. He essayed every form of literature and achieved success in each. From childhood he was welcomed everywhere as a marvel of brilliancy. He himself wrote that he never found a master who knew more than he. When we seek for the work which best represents this universal genius, we find it perhaps in his chief love-tale, which follows below. This mingles Nizami's romantic touch with Jalal's Sufism and the fire of Hafez. It is Jami at his highest note. *\
Websites and Resources: Islamic, Arabic and Persian Literature
Islamic and Arabic Literature at Cornell University guides.library.cornell.edu/ArabicLiterature ; Internet Islamic History Sourcebook fordham.edu/halsall/islam/islamsbook ;
Wikipedia article on Islamic Literature Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Arabic Literature Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Persian Literature Wikipedia ; Persian literature at Encyclopædia Britannica britannica.com ; Persian Literature & Poetry at parstimes.com /www.parstimes.com ; Arabic Poetry web.archive.org ; Arabic Poetry from Princeton princeton.edu/~arabic/poetry ; Thousand and One Nights wollamshram.ca/1001 ; 1001 Nights fairytalez.com ; Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Burton, gutenberg.org ; Islamic Stories islamicstories.com
Paul Halsall of Fordham University wrote: “ The poet Nizami (1140-1203 CE), forms the favorite romantic reading of Persians even today. He is the chief teller of love tales for his people. He wrote five long poetic books, commonly called "The Five Treasures." Among these the "Khosru and Shireen," here quoted, is generally regarded as his masterpiece. Khosru Parviz lived A.D. 590; he was a prince of exalted virtues and great magnificence; he fought against the Greek emperors with success, but was at last defeated by Heraclius. [Source: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook, sourcebooks.fordham.edu]
He is said to have married a daughter of the Greek Emperor Maurice, named Irene, called by the Persians Shireen, or Sweet. Ferhad's history forms a tragical episode in this romance. He was a sculptor, celebrated throughout the East for his great genius, and was daring enough to fix his affections on the beloved of the King. The jealousy of Khosru was excited, and he lamented to his courtiers the existence of a passion which was so violent as not to be concealed, and which gave him great uneasiness. He summoned Ferhad to his presence, and commissioned him to execute a work which should render his name immortal—to clear away all impediments which obstructed the passage of the great mountain of Beysitoun. He commanded him, after having done this, to cause the rivers on the opposite side of the mountain to join.
Labors of Ferhad by Nizami
On lofty Beysitoun the lingering sun
looks down on ceaseless labors, long begun:
The mountain trembles to the echoing sound
Of falling rocks, that from her sides rebound.
Each day all respite, all repose denied—
No truce, no pause, the thundering strokes are plied;
The mist of night around her summit coils,
But still Ferhad, the lover-artist, toils,
And still—the flashes of his axe between—
He sighs to ev'ry wind, "Alas! Shireen!
Alas! Shireen!—my task is well-nigh done,
The goal in view for which I strive alone.
Love grants me powers that Nature might deny;
And, whatsoe'er my doom, the world shall tell,
Thy lover gave to immortality
Her name he loved—so fatally—so well!...
What raven note disturbs his musing mood?
What form comes stealing on his solitude?
Ungentle messenger, whose word of ill
All the warm feelings of his soul can chill!
"Cease, idle youth, to waste thy days," she said,
"By empty hopes a visionary made;
Why in vain toil thy fleeting life consume
To frame a palace?—rather hew a tomb.
Even like sere leaves that autumn winds have shed,
Perish thy labors, for—Shireen is dead!"
He heard the fatal news—no word, no groan;
He spoke not, moved not, stood transfixed to stone.
Then, with a frenzied start, he raised on high
His arms, and wildly tossed them toward the sky;
Far in the wide expanse his axe he flung
And from the precipice at once he sprung.
The rocks, the sculptured caves, the valleys green,
Sent back his dying cry— "Alas! Shireen
In the early 20th century, Charles F. Horne wrote: “The name "Hafez" means "strong-memoried," and was given as a phrase of honor to the poet when, as a young boy, he recited the entire Qur'an by heart. He was born at Shiraz, in southern Persia, in 1325, and died there in 1389. Hafez was one of the world's greatest masters of lyric verse. Both he and Jami are Sufis, but in a very different mood. The Sufism of Hafez is like that of Umar Khayyam, i.e., Hafez confines himself so wholly to the praise of wine and love, that questions arose whether he was always thinking about the joys of the spirit. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., “The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East”, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol.VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 103-107]
In Praise of His Own Verses
The beauty of these verses baffles praise:
What guide is needed to the solar blaze?
Extol that artist by whose pencil's aid
The virgin, Thought, so richly is arrayed.
For her no substitute can reason show,
Nor any like her human judgment know.
This verse, a miracle, or magic white—
Brought down some voice from Heaven, or Gabriel bright?
By me as by none else are secrets sung,
No pearls of poesy like mine are strung
Persian Song by Hafez
Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck enfold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarkand...
Oh! when these fair perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display,
Each glance my tender heart invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destined prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New luster to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where Nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrowed gloss of art?
Speak not of fate:—ah! change the theme,
And talk of odors, talk of wine,
Talk of the flow'rs that round us bloom:
'Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless pow'r,
That ev'n the chaste Egyptian dame
Sighed for the blooming Hebrew boy:
For her how fatal was the hour
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!
But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage)
While music charms the ravished ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay, and scorn the frowns of age.
Feast of Spring by Hafez
My breast is filled with roses,
My cup is crowned with wine,
And by my side reposes
The maid I hail as mine.
The monarch, wheresoe'er he be,
Is but a slave compared to me!
Their glare no torches throwing
Shall in our bower be found;
Her eyes, like moonbeams glowing,
Cast light enough around:
And well all odors I can spare,
Who scent the perfume of her hair.
The honey-dew thy charm might borrow,
Thy lip alone to me is sweet;
When thou art absent, faint with sorrow
I hide me in some lone retreat.
Why talk to me of power or fame?—
What are those idle toys to me?
Why ask the praises of my name?
My joy, my triumph is in thee!
How blest am I! around me, swelling,
The notes of melody arise;
I hold the cup, with juice excelling,
And gaze upon thy radiant eyes.
O Hafiz!—never waste thy hours
Without the cup, the lute, and love!
For 'tis the sweetest time of flowers,
And none these moments shall reprove.
The nightingales around thee sing,
It is the joyous feast of spring.
Mystic Ode by Hafez
In wide Eternity's vast space,
Where no beginning was, wert Thou:
The rays of all-pervading grace
Beneath Thy veil flamed on Thy brow.
Then Love and Nature sprang to birth,
And Life and Beauty filled the earth.
Awake, my soul! pour forth thy praise,
To that great Being anthems raise
That wondrous Architect who said
"Be formed," and this great orb was made.
Since first I heard the blissful sound
To man My Spirit's breath is given;
I knew, with thankfulness profound,
His sons we are—our Home is heaven.
Oh! give me tidings that shall tell
When I may hope with Thee to dwell,
That I may quit this world of pain,
Nor seek to be its guest again.
A bird of holiness am I,
That from the vain world's net would fly;
Shed, bounteous Lord, one cheering shower
From Thy pure cloud of guiding power,
Before, even yet, the hour is come,
When my dust rises toward its home.
Earthly And Heavenly Love by Hafez
A being, formed like thee, of clay,
Destroys thy peace from day to day;
Excites thy waking hours with pain;
Consumes thy sleep with visions vain.
Thy mind is rapt, thy sense betrayed;
Thy head upon her foot is laid.
The teeming earth, the glowing sky,
Is nothing to her faintest sigh.
Thine eye sees only her; thy heart
Feels only her in every part.
Careless of censure, restless, lost,
By ceaseless wild emotions tossed;
If she demand thy soul, 'tis given—
She is thy life, thy death, thy heaven.
Since a vain passion, based on air,
Subdues thee with a power so rare,
How canst thou marvel those who stray
Tow'rd the true path are led away,
'Till, scarce the goal they can descry,
Whelmed in adoring mystery?
On the cupbearer gazing still,
The cup they break, the wine they spill.
From endless time their ears have rung
With words, by angel voices sung;
"Art thou not bound to God?" they cry;
And the blest "Yes" whole hosts reply.
Divan by Hafez
I: "Ala ya ayyuha's-Saki!"—pass round and offer thou the bowl,
For love, which seemed at first so easy, has now brought trouble to my soul.
With yearning for the pod's aroma, which by the East that lock shall spread
From that crisp curl of musky odor, how plenteously our hearts have bled!
Stain with the tinge of wine thy prayer-mat, if thus the aged Magian bid,
For from the traveler from the Pathway no stage nor usage can be hid.
Shall my beloved one's house delight me, when issues ever and anon
From the relentless bell the mandate: A Tis time to bind thy litters on"?
The waves are wild, the whirlpool dreadful, the shadow of the night steals o'er,
How can my fate excite compassion in the light-burdened of the shore?
Each action of my froward spirit has won me an opprobrious name;
Can any one conceal the secret which the assembled crowds proclaim?
If Joy be thy desire, O Hafiz,
From Him far distant never dwell.
"As soon as thou hast found thy Loved one,
Bid to the world a last farewell."
II: Thou whose features clearly beaming make the moon of Beauty bright,
Thou whose chin contains a well-pit which to Loveliness gives light.
When, O Lord! shall kindly Fortune, sating my ambition, pair
This my heart of tranquil nature and thy wild and ruffled hair?
Pining for thy sight my spirit trembling on my lip doth wait:
Forth to speed it, back to lead it, speak the sentence of its fate.
Pass me with thy skirt uplifted from the dusty bloody ground:
Many who have been thy victims dead upon this path are found.
Bustan by Sa'di (1184-1292 CE)
In the early 20th century, Charles F. Horne wrote: “Sadi was named by a brother poet the "nightingale of the groves of Shiraz." He was also noted in his lifetime as a religious teacher, though he never claimed to be inspired by any higher wisdom than the human intellect. The first work of this remarkable man was the "Bustan," which means the fruit-garden, or orchard. The book contains the fruits of the author's long experience, his judgments upon life, illustrated by a vast store of anecdotes. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., “The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East”, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol.VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 103-107]
In the name of the Lord life-creating!
The Wise One speech-creating within the tongue!
The Lord, the giver, hand-seizing!
Merciful, sin-forgiving, excuse-accepting!
A King such that whosoever turned away his head from His door
Found not any respect at the doors to which he went,
The heads of kings, neck-exalting,
Are at His court, on the ground of supplication.
He does not instantly seize the froward;
He does not drive away with violence those excuse-bringing.
And though He becomes angry at bad conduct,
When thou didst return He canceled the past circumstance in the book of sins.
The two worlds (this and the next) are like a drop in the sea of His knowledge;
He sees a crime, but in mercy covers it with a screen.
If a person seeks a quarrel with his father,
Doubtless the father becomes very angry.
And if a relation be not satisfied with a relation on account of bad conduct,
He drives him from before him, like strangers.
And if the clever slave is not of use,
The master holds him not dear,
By power, the Guardian of high (sky) and low (earth),
The Lord of the Court of the day of reckoning (Judgment day).
The back of a person is not free from obedience to Him (it must bend);
On His word there is not room for the finger of a person (in slander).
The ancient doer of good, good-approving;
With the reed of Destiny, in the womb, picture-painting.
from the east to the west, the moon and sun
He put into motion; and spread the firmament on the water.
One can attain to the Arab poet, Suhban, in eloquence;
But one can not reach to the substance of God without equal.
Because the immature ones have on this road urged the steed of thought,
At the words "la ahsa," they have wearied of the pace.
One can not gallop a steed in every place,
Places there are where it is proper to cast the shield.
And if a traveler becomes acquainted with the secret of God
They will shut on him the door of returning to the world.
In this banquet of the mystery of God they give a cup of the wine of the love of God to that one,
To whom they give a draught of senselessness that he may not utter the mystery of God.
The wise man fears this sea of blood the mystery of God,
Out of which no one has taken the bark of his life.
Of this hawk, the eye is sewn up blind to the knowledge of God;
Of the holy man, the eyes are open to the knowledge of God; and feathers of light to the world burned.
No one went to the buried treasure of Karun;
And if he found a way, he found not a way out of it.
If thou art a seeker, who over this ground of the knowledge of God dost travel,
First thou shouldst pluck up the foot of the steed of returning;
Shouldst reflect, in the mirror of the mind;
Shouldst acquire purity by degrees.
Possibly the perfume of the love of God makes thee intoxicated;
Makes thee a seeker of the Covenant — "Am I your God?"
With the foot of search thou dost travel to that place;
And thence thou dost fly with the wing of the love of God.
Gulistan by Sa'di (1184-1292 CE):
“Chapter I: Of The Customs of Kings I: I have heard of a king who made the sign to put a captive to death. The poor wretch, in that state of desperation, began to abuse the king in the dialect which he spoke, and to revile him with asperity, as has been said; whoever shall wash his hands of life will utter whatever he may harbor in his heart: "When a man is desperate he will give a latitude to his tongue, Like as a cat at bay will fly at a dog" —- "at the moment of compulsion when it is impossible to fly, the hand will grasp the sharp edge of a sword." The king asked, saying, "What does he say?" One of the Viziers (or nobles in attendance), and a well-disposed man, made answer, "O my lord! he is expressing himself and saying, "Paradise is for such as are restraining their anger And forgiving their fellow-creatures; and God will befriend the benevolent."
“The king felt compassion for him, and desisted from shedding his blood. Another nobleman, and the rival of that former, said, "It is indecorous for such peers, as we are, to use any language but that of truth in the presence of kings; this man abused his majesty, and spoke what was unworthy of him." The king turned away indignant at this remark, and replied, "I was better pleased with his falsehood than with this truth that you have told; for that bore the face of good policy, and this was founded in malignity; and the intelligent have said, 'A peace-mingling falsehood is preferable to a mischief stirring truth': Whatever prince may do that which he (his counselor) will recommend, it must be a subject of regret if he shall advise aught but good."
“They had written over the portico of King Feridun's palace: "This world, O brother! abides with none. Set thy heart upon its maker, and let him suffice thee. Rest not thy pillow and support on a worldly domain which has fostered and slain many such as thou art. Since the precious soul must resolve on going, what matters it whether it departs from a throne or the ground?"
“II: One of the kings of Khorassan saw, in a dream, Sultan Mahmud, the son of Saboktagin, a hundred years after his death, when his body was decayed and fallen into dust, all but his eyes, which as heretofore were moving in their sockets and looking about them. All the learned were at a stand for its interpretation, excepting one dervish, who made his obeisance, and said: "He is still looking about him, because his kingdom and wealth are possessed by others!—Many are the heroes whom they have buried under ground, of whose existence above it not one vestige is left; and of that old carcass which they committed to the earth, the earth has so consumed it that not one bone is left. Though many ages are gone since Nushirowan was in being, yet in the remembrance of his munificence is his fair renown left. Be generous, O my friend! and avail thyself of life, before they proclaim it as an event that such a person is not left."
“III: I have heard of a king's son who was short and mean, and his other brothers were lofty in stature and handsome. On one occasion the king, his father, looked at him with disparagement and scorn. The son, in his sagacity, understood him and said, "O father! a short wise man is preferable to a tall blockhead; it is not everything that is mightier in stature that is superior in value: "A sheep's flesh is wholesome, that of an elephant carrion. Of the mountains of this earth Sinai is one of the least, Yet is it most mighty before God in state and dignity. Heard thou not what an intelligent lean man said one day to a sleek fat dolt? An Arab horse, notwithstanding his slim make, is more prized thus than a herd of asses."...
“XI: A dervish, whose prayers had a ready acceptance with God, made his appearance at Baghdad. Hojaj Yusuf (a great tyrant) sent for him and said: "Put up a good prayer for me." He prayed, "O God! take from him his life!" Hojaj said, "For God's sake, what manner of prayer is this?" He answered: "It is a salutary prayer for you, and for the whole sect of Muslims.—O mighty sir, thou oppressor of the feeble, how long can this violence remain marketable? For what purpose came the sovereignty to thee? Thy death were preferable to thy tyrannizing over mankind."
“XII: An unjust king asked a holy man, saying. "What is more excellent than prayers?" He answered: "For you to remain asleep 'till mid-day, that for this one interval you might not afflict mankind."—I saw a tyrant lying dormant at noon, and said, "This is mischief, and is best lulled to sleep. It were better that such a reprobate were dead whose state of sleep is preferable to his being awake."
“XIV: One of the ancient kings was easy with the yeomanry in collecting his revenue, but hard on the soldiery in his issue of pay; and when a formidable enemy showed its face, these all turned their backs. Whenever the king is remiss in paying his troops, the troops will relax in handling their arms. What bravery can be displayed in the ranks of battle whose hand is destitute of the means of living?
“One of those who had excused themselves was in some sort my intimate. I reproached him and said, "He is base and ungrateful, mean and disreputable who, on a trifling change of circumstances, can desert his old master and forget his obligation of many years' employment." He replied: "Were I to speak out, I swear by generosity you would excuse me. Peradventure, my horse was without corn, and the housings of his saddle in pawn.—And the prince who, through parsimony, withholds his army's pay can not expect it to enter heartily upon his service."—Give money to the gallant soldier that he may be zealous in thy cause, for if he is stinted of his due he will go abroad for service. So long as a warrior is replenished with food he will fight valiantly, And when his belly is empty he will run away sturdily.
“XV: One of the viziers was displaced, and withdrew into a fraternity of dervishes, whose blessed society made its impression upon him and afforded consolation to his mind. The king was again favorably disposed toward him, and offered his reinstatement in office; but he consented not, and said, "With the wise it is deemed preferable to be out of office than to remain in place.—Such as sat within the cell of retirement blunted the teeth of dogs, and shut the mouths of mankind; they destroyed their writings, and broke their writing reeds, and escaped the lash and venom of the critics."—The king answered: "At all events I require a prudent and able man, who is capable of managing the State affairs of my kingdom." The ex-minister said: "The criterion, O sire, of a wise and competent man is that he will not meddle with such like matters.—The homayi, or phoenix, is honored above all other birds because it feeds on bones, and injures no living creature."
“A Tamsil, or application in point.—They asked a Siyah-gosh, or lion-provider, "Why do you choose the service of the lion?" He answered: "Because I subsist on the leavings of his prey, and am secure from the ill-will of my enemies under the asylum of his valor." They said: "Now you have got within the shadow of his protection and admit a grateful sense of his bounty, why do you not approach more closely, that he may include you within the circle of select courtiers and number you among his chosen servants?" He replied, "I should not thus be safe from his violence."—Though a Gueber may keep his fire alight for a hundred years, if he fall once within its flame it will burn him.—It on one occasion may chance that the courtier of the king's presence shall pick up a purse of gold, and the next that he shall lie shorter by the head. And philosophers have remarked, saying, "It is incumbent on us to be constantly aware of the fickle dispositions of kings, who will one moment take offense at a salutation, and at another make an honorary dress the return for an act of rudeness; and they have said, That to be over much facetious is the accomplishment of courtiers and blemish of the wise.—Be wary, and preserve the state of thine own character, and leave sport and buffoonery to jesters and courtiers.
Joseph and Zuleika (1470) by Jami (1414-1492)
In the early 20th century, Charles F. Horne wrote: “Jami, the last of the great classic poets of Persia, was born at Jam, near Herat, in 1414 and died in Herat in 1492. He essayed every form of literature and achieved success in each. From childhood he was welcomed everywhere as a marvel of brilliancy. He himself wrote that he never found a master who knew more than he. When we seek for the work which best represents this universal genius, we find it perhaps in his chief love-tale, which follows below. This mingles Nizami's romantic touch with Jalal's Sufism and the fire of Hafiz. It is Jami at his highest note. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., “The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East”, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol.VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 103-107]
Zuleika, the daughter of Taimus, King of Mauretania, beheld in a dream a figure of such extraordinary beauty that she became immediately enamored of the glorious vision, and sank into a deep melancholy, fruitlessly longing for the unknown object. This dream was three times repeated, and the last time the beautiful apparition named Egypt as the land of his abode. He is indeed Joseph, or Yusuf, of the Old Testament, and Zuleika is to play the part of Potiphar's wife. The following is abridged by L. M. Costello.
The ravens of the night were hushed,
The bird of dawn began his lay,
The rosebud, newly awakened, blushed
To feel the touch of springing day,
And bade the roses round unveil,
Roused by the warbling nightingale.
The jasmine stood all bathed in dew;
Wet were the violet's lids of blue.
Zuleika, fairer than the flowers,
Lay tranced—for 'twas not sleep that stole
Her senses, through the night's still hours,
And raised new visions to her soul.
The heart unfettered, free to rove,
Turned toward the idol of her love.
No—'twas not sleep, 'twas motionless,
Unbroken thought, repressed in vain;
The shadow of the day's distress,
A frenzy of remembered pain.
But, 'midst those pangs, what rapture still;
The same dear form is ever there;
Those eyes the rays of Eden fill
And odors of the blest distill
From every curl of that bright hair!
His smiles!—such smiles as houris wear
When from their caves of pearl they come,
And bid the true believer share
The pleasures of their sacred home.
See, on his shoulder shines a star
That glows and dazzles as he moves:
She feels its influence afar,
She gazes, worships, hopes—and loves!
At this period, while her mind is absorbed by the one engrossing idea, an embassy arrives in Mauritania from that very country, Egypt, the land of all her hopes, soliciting the hand of the princess for the Asis, or grand vizier of Pharaoh, an offer which she unhesitatingly accepts, being secretly convinced that her visionary lover and her proposed future husband are the same. She accordingly departs for Egypt, with a splendid and numerous retinue, and makes a magnificent entry into Memphis, under the escort of the Asis Potiphar, or Kitfir, himself, who comes to meet his bride. Curious to discover his identity, she anxiously seizes an opportunity of peeping through the curtains of her litter, but is filled with grief and dismay on finding a totally different person from the lovely image of her dreams. She thus exclaims, on hearing the acclamations which announce the arrival of the Asis, when he first comes to meet her, before she has yet made the discovery fatal to her peace:
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018