Sunday, October 14, 2012


"The Thousand and One Nights" became one of the most well known stories in the Arab world, which sort of bothers me given the fact that is was looked down upon by the Koran. The Koran looked down upon fiction considering it "lies" and therefore "The Thousand and One Nights" never really came to be considered as a classical Arabian literature, and was even banned by Arab governments due to the fact that it was considered "immoral". So given all this, how did "The Thousand and One Nights" become so well renowned among the Arabian population? One would intuitively figure that the work ceased circulation early on.


Austin Falk said...

Part of the reason that A Thousand and One Nights became so popular was due to the fact that it was a piece of literature created in Persia. Although people of Persia did practice Islam, they were able to get away with a lot more than Islamic people of other areas. The openness of the society of Persia led to many advances and different literature to be created. I believe that even though A Thousand and One Nights talks about things such as sex that the Koran is against, the Arabs still have a right to be proud of it as it was a work of literature created in Islamic Persia that really showed how advanced Persia was for the time.

Madeline Davis said...

I'm not really surprised that The Thousand and One Nights became as popular as it did, even though it went against the Koran. In the past few decades, countless powerful works of fiction have been banned for their questionable content (including going against religious teachings), yet those banned books are often among the most popular. Even in the past few years, we've openly read several banned and challenged books in the classroom (Catcher in the Rye, Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.) I know The Thousand and One Nights gained popularity in an entirely different time and culture, but I feel that the concept of modern banned books still applies - if people like it, they're going to read and support it, whether they're supposed to or not.

Ben Bonner said...

I think it has a lot to do with how tolerant Islamic society was back then. Until the 20th century, the Muslim world was fairly tolerant of other religions and philosophies as well as being more equitable with regards to gender. I therefore don't find it particularly surprising that The Thousand and One Nights became so popular because even though it wasn't theologically Islamic, it was still culturally Islamic. The repressiveness we find in many modern day Islamic countries seems to be a relatively recent development.