ARABIAN AND PERSIAN
B Y: F R A N C E S E G E N E V I E V E D . O R A C O Y
Found in the Middle East between the Persian Gulf
and the Red Sea. It borders Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait
to the north, Yemen to the south, and Oman, the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar to the east.
The country, which is divided into 13 provinces, is
composed primarily of desert. Each region has a
governor appointed by the king. With a land area of
about 1.96 million square kilometers (756,981 square
miles), Saudi Arabia is about one-fourth the size of the
continental United States. Riyadh, the capital, is
located in the central eastern part of the country.
A. ARABIAN GEOGRAPHY
Arabs originated on the descendants
of indigenous tribes and lived along
the Persian Gulf coast. Arabian
Peninsula is also the homeland of
Islam, the world's second-largest
religion. Muhammad founded Islam
there, and it is the location of the two
holy pilgrimage cities of Mecca and
A succession of invaders attempted to
control the peninsula, but by 1517 the
Ottoman Empire dominated, and in the
middle of the 18th century, it was
divided into separate principalities.
History Of Saudi
In 1745 Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab began
calling for the purification and reform of Islam, and
the Wahhabi movement swept across Arabia.
Wahhabis had been driven out of power again by the
Ottomans and their Egyptian allies.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is almost entirely the
creation of King Ibn Saud (1882–1953). A descendant
of Wahhabi leaders, he seized Riyadh in 1901 and set
himself up as leader of the Arab nationalist
movement. The Hejaz and Nejd regions were merged
to form the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, which
was an absolute monarchy ruled by Sharia.
Flag Of Saudi Arabia
Facts About “The Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia”
Capital : Riyadh
Religion : Islam
Economy : Saudi Arabia occupies
most of the Arabian Peninsula and is
the largest country in area in the
Middle East—but 95 percent of the
land is desert. Mountains running
parallel to the Red Sea slope down
to plains along the Persian Gulf.
Desert kingdom one of the
wealthiest nations in the world.
Cultures and Traditions
Pork is considered
unclean and is
prohibited. Lunch is
traditionally the day’s
Saudi Arabian women are
required, according to
Islamic law, to cover
their bodies in abaya
(black robes and face
coverings) as a sign of
respect for Muslim
Large, extended families
live together, and
Storytelling is another
favorite form of artistic
expression, but in
keeping with Islamic
law, guidelines govern
artists can’t make
"graven images.” Hand-
lettered Qurans are
considered sacred art
that’s to be respected
and kept safe for
Ramadan, the holiest season of the year and
• Adherence to traditional
dress varies across
• Traditional Arab dress
features the full length
(abayah, jilbob) and Veil
(hijab or chador).
Traditional flowing robes to blue
jeans, T-shirts and western
Headdress pattern might be an
indicator of which
tribe, clan, or family the
wearer comes from. However
this is not always the case.
A written Arabic literature began to be known with the
collect of Koran, the sacred book of Islam , in Arabia
in 17th century A.D. with the spread of the Islamic faith
into Asia, Africa and Europe, the Arabian language
soon became a major world language. Today it is read
or understood by hundreds of millions of People.
Even before the revelations of Muhammad were
collected in the Koran, however, the Arabs possessed
a highly developed poetry, composed of recitation
and transmitted from generation to generation. The
most famous examples are the elaborated odes, or
qasdahs, of Mu’allagat (“the suspended odes”),
beginning with those of Imru’ Alqais. These poems
reflected and praised the customs and values of the
desert environment in which they arose.
The structure of the Arabic language is well-suited to
harmonious word-patterns, with elaborate rhymes and
rhythms. The earliest known literature emerged in
northern Arabia around 500 AD and took the form of
poetry which was recited aloud, memorised and handed
down from one generation to another. It began to be
written down towards the end of the seventh century.
The most celebrated poems of the pre-Islamic period
were known as the Mu’allgqat ("the
suspended"), reputedly because they were considered
sufficiently outstanding to be hung on the walls of the
ka'ba in Makkah.
The typical poem of this period is the Qasidah (ode), which
normally consists of 70-80 pairs of half-lines.
Traditionally, they describe the nomadic life, opening
with a lament at an abandoned camp for a lost love. The
second part praises the poet's horse or camel and
describes a journey, with the hardships it entails. The
The history of Arabic literature is usually divided into periods
making the dynastic changes and divisions that took place
within the Islamic world.
A. Umayyad Period (A.D. 661-750)
Arabic prose literature was limited
primarily to grammatical treatise,
commentaries on the Koran, and compiling
of stories about Muhammad and his
The Umayyad poets, chief of whom were
Al-Akhtal and Al-Farazdaq, favored poetic
forms such as love lyrics called (Ghazals) ,
wine songs and hunting poems . These
forms the conditions of life and manners
found in territories conquered by Islam.
B. Abbasid Empire (750-1258)
In the early years of this empire, many forms were invented for
Arabic literature , which then entered what is generally regarded
it’s greatest period of development and achievement. It is certain
that the Persian influences contributed significantly to this
development. For example, translations from Persian , such as
those of Ibn al-Muqaff‘, led to a new refinement in Arabic prose
called adab, often sprinkled with poetry and utilizing rhyme prose
(saj’), the style of KORAN. The greatest masters of adab were
Al jahiz and Al Hariri.
An inventive type of folk
literature ,exemplified in
“The Thousand and One
Nights” (popularly known as
The Arabian Nights), drew upon
the recitations of wandering
storytellers called rawis.
Abu Nuwas was acknowledged as the foremost among the new
poets who used the Arabic language with greater freedom and
imagination. An expiremental tradition now vied with classical
traditions, some poets excelled in both traditions ; al-Maarri and al-
Mtanabi are regarded as the greatest among them. In Spain an
independent poetic tradition culminated in the exquisitive lyrics of
Ibn Zaydun and Ibn Quzman. The Romance Of Antar, closest
work to an epic in Arabic , was also written about this time.
C. Modern Period
During the centuries of Ottoman Turkish domination, Arabic
literature fall into decline. Not until the mid-19th century was it
revived by it’s intellectual movement known as Nahdah
(―reawakening‖), which originated in Syria and spread to
Egypt.From being imitative to Europeans, Modern Arabic
literature, both prose and poetry, has gradually freed itself from
centuries of neglect and has assumed it’s former place among the
world’s greatest literatures.
Outstanding among the recent Arabic
novelists, dramatists, and essayists:
• Tawfig al-Hakim,
• Nobelist NgaguibMahfouz, Taha Husayn
• Poets, Ihiya Abu Madi, Adonis , Ahmad
Shawqi, Abu Shadi and Abbas al Aqqad
Many other works have been translated
and are enjoyed by non-Arab
connoisseurs of literature everywhere.
Arabic writers of the past hundred years have been extremely
versatile. Most of their work is characterized by strong concern
for social issues.
Saj or “rhymed prose” is most striking characteristics feature of
the Arabic prose.
Consists of succession of pairs of short rhyming expression with
rhetorical and antithetical balance of sense of sense between the
pairs of expressions with a certain loose of rhythmical balance
not bound by strict metre.
The Khutbah or “formal written in rhymed prose style” is of great
antiquity. Turned out to be religious verses in the earliest time of
Most famous : Ibn Nubatah at-Farigi.
Arabic prose began in the latter days of the Umayyad Empire.
It exhibits use of the Khutbah style and more sophisticated and
fluent style derived from the literary traditions of Sasanian
Persian . The most celebrated work of Ibn Muqaffa, “Klila wa
Dimna” is translation from a Pahlavi version of the Indian fable,
D. GOLDEN AGE OF ARABIC PROSE
Studded with names of brilliant writers such s the essayist al-Jahiz
and Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi and the critic Ibn Qucaybah. It was
also during the period that the works of Abual-‗alaal-Ma‘arri
become popular with his letters in Saj and the Risalat al-Ghufran
which pictures a visit to the other world.
Mora, instructive and assuring anecdotes, became popular too
and the most outstanding compiler of anecdotes was TANUKHI who
was responsible of
3 compiltions of anecdotes like:
Niswar al-Muhadarah ( The Table Of Mesopotamian Judge)
Mustajad (Anecodotes Of Generousity)
Farah Ba’d al Shiddah (Deliverance after Anguish)
These kinds of works led to a new literary form, the Maqamat
(Assemblies) , initiated by al-Hamadhani
Hamadhani’s Maqamat is a collection of short stories , mainly
picaresque, woven round the names of 2 fictious protagonists. Genre
was developed a century later by Al-Hariri.
There is not much evidence of written literature among
the Arabs before the Islamic period. Oral traditions, the
poetry of the North Arabs, particularly the Bedouin
tribes of the fifth and sixth centuries, are the most
outstanding in artistry and sensuousness of feelings.
Poetry was constructed in elaborate meters of which
sixteen are universally recognized.
All verses are divided into types:
Collection or Anthologies
All verses are divided into types:
1. Occasional Poems – Consisting 2 to 20 lines
whose themes are usually war and revenge and praise
of one’s own tribe.
Various genres fall to this are:
• Praising the dead; the most famous type was Kansa.
• The Odes or Quasida
• Was an elaborate ode usually of 60 to 100 lines
• Themes were usually about exploits of narrator, his old
passion, and descriptions of camp life in honor of his
patron. The oral transmition of poems lasted fot 350 yrs.
2. Collection or Anthologies – Al-Mu’allgqat, a group of
“3 KINDS OF COLLECTION‖
•Al-Mu-Allkat means “suspended” because these poems were
supposed to have been displayed by the Arabs on the Kaaba at
Mecca. These collections are ascribed to Hammed-al-Ravisya in
8th century A.D. by Amru Ul Kais “most illustrious of Arabian
poets”. Showed the nomadic life, views and philosophies,
visions and their dreams arising from such condition.
•Al hamasa is an anthrology compiled by poets
ABRETAMMAN about 836 A.D. Derive its’s name from
the beginning of books and poems. Themes were
usually about valor and constant battles, patience
when comforted reality , seeking vengeance ,pagan
rituals, myths, temptations, treasure and Arab
•Mujaddiyat is a collection of poems named after
MUFADDALIBN YA’LA who compiled them for the
future caliph Mahdt between 762 and 784. Showed
hospitality, charity, valor, faithfulness, lavish
entertainment, love for wine and love for chance.
In The first century after the death of Mohammed, IN 622
A.D. CALLED Umayyad period there were no outstanding
literary productions but, there were
4 NOTEWORTHY POETS:
The Kasidas a type of literature was
becoming stereotype but the vogue
of court poetry became popular.
Abbasid Period (750-1258)
New tendencies were favored and Arabic poetry became
popular. The classical tradition kept faith with the past ,
particularly desert poetry , with one modification – the
substitution for the old imaginative phrases of rhetoric types, a
fashion set by MUSLIM IBN WALKD followed by TAMMAN
and extravagantly exploited by MUTANNABI. Some critics
often call this period as The Golden Age up to 1055 A.D. and
1258 as The Silver Age. Poets become more original in their
crafts. Influenced by Hellenistic and Persian Art. The Golden
Age up to 1055 A.D. and 1258 as The Silver Age. Poets
become more original in their crafts. Influenced by Hellenistic
and Persian Art.
IBN ISHAQ – author of mohammed‘s life
Rabja of Bastra and Sufi poetess
ABU NUEVAS – greatest Arab lyricist
The famous MOKAMAT is attributed to HARIRI.
Of the popular prose romances, the most famous are The Ten Thousand and
One Nights, The Voyages Of Sinbad and The Collection of fables related to the
Greek Aesop, ascribed to LUQMAN.
After THE FALL OF BAGDAD (1258)
•After the fall of Bagdad, there was the ascendance of Mongol Turkish and
Persian influence and waning at it ebb but considerable historical and
biographical writings existed, like The Romance Of Antar, about a popular
Islamic hero, and finalization of The Ten thousand and one nights under the
Mameluke role (1250-1517) from Egypt.
•In 1282 IBN Khalikan made the first biographical dictionary.
•In 354 IBN BATUTA, traveler and biographer wrote about his travels in the
Gift Of Observers and The marvels of countries.
•In 1453, the Turks captured Constantinople, and by 1492 the Arab rule in
Spain had ended. After the defeat of Napoleon, HASSANAL ARRAI organized
European lectures. Then later, he became the rector of Al Azhar University in
Cairo. He rectored the western culture and ushered AN-NAHDA or the
Renaissance of Arabic culture.
Renaissance of Arabic Culture/AN-NAHDA
Marked by the introduction of new ideas and new methods, imitations,
and at the same time reform and development of traditional Arabic
Literature. The National reawakening or consciousness from 1880’s onward.
Egyptians were concerned with the scientific works,great names includes:
•BUTRUS AL BUSTANI in Syria
•AL TAHTAW ALI MUBARAK and ABDULLAH FIKRISAYYED in Egypt
•JAMALUDDIN – AL AFGHANI was the reformist and the orator of the period.
The openning of the SUEZ CANAL in 1869
The revolt of Arabian Pasha and the entry of British Troops t Egypt which
strengthened the Western influence.
Historical Novel “ Mohammed” by ABDUK ZIRPE ZAYDAN
Master of Modern Arabic prose “Al ANFALUTU” ,
In America the greatest poets among Arab immigrants are AMINAL RAYHANI
For the story writers, artists and philosophers are KAHLIL JIBRAN , and
writer of the NOTE America was MUHAILO NU-AGMA (influenced by
The Koran or Qur‘an (The Reading)
It is the sacred scripture of Islam. Muslims really acknowledge it as the
actual words of god revealed by Muhammad.
Contains 114 chapters or suras, arranged , except for the opening ,
approximately according to length, beginning with the longer chapters.
Termed as the glorious and wonderful, describes the absolute truth ,
healing mercy, light and guidance of God to people’s everyday lives.
Has a great contribution with the Arabian literature.
The Arabian Nights
Also called The Ten Thousand and One Nights, is a large collection of
stories , mostly of Arabian , Indian, or Persian origin, written in Arabic
between 14th t 16th centuries.
Introduced in Antoine Galland’s French translations.
English version is by the explorer SIR RICHARD BURTON, in complete
The frame story, Persian in origin, turns on the the woman hating
King Schahriah (Shahrazad), however, berguiles the King with a series
of stories for a thousand and one nights, withholding the ending of
each story until the next night. In this she saves her life.
The elaborately plotted stories , filled with intrigue, are folkloric in
origin. Three of the best known are the History of Alladin and the
Wonderful Lamp, The History of Sinbad, the Sailor and The History of
Ali Baba and The 40 Thieves.