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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ButuroviC argues that the plays of Ibn Dlniyiil react to a “tri- angle of contending forces-the Mamliiks, the Arab religious elite, and the plebs;” her con- clusion that Ibn DIniydil’s”goal seems to be testing the ways for their interaction” accords considerably with Palmeri’s theory of narrative satire. I found old familiar places unwelcorning and what was once there, gone.

A parallel parade of guests appears when al-Mutayyam throws open his doors and offers free food and drink. Unhappily, the possibility remains only a possibility, and not one that seems highly probable. IM At first glance, this understanding might seem humorously profound for what one would expect from WisB1, but considering the context of seriousness and repentance that surrounds it, the emir most likely makes this declaration as a statement on the story of his life.

The tongues of sinners were held still, and wine-bowls and wine-jugs were shattered.

Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. The reader or viewer must accept Ibn Daniyal’s satiric work as a complicated presentation of the issues at hand, one lacking manifest corrective intentions and thus indicating a subtler satiric aim.

While it may be obscene to a Manhattan audience, none of this would have been shocking to sixteenth-century Cairenes, for whom the professional farter, called zarratwas a familiar figure in street festivals. I scck forgivcncss frorn God, the Almighty, for such wicked habits, and I seek refuge with God, the All-Forgiving, frorn bearing the burdens of sin and acting as do the people of Hellfire. We can conjecture that Wi l’s self-righteous sentiment was embodied by hypocritical rulers who rose to power through 61 The phrase “qucban min al-aqfdb” literally means “pole among poles,” referring to the pinnacle of all spiritual ranks in most Sufi hierarchical schemes.

Marvin Carlson Editorial and Advisory Board: Also see the Qur’sn A11 other translations in this paper are mine unless otherwise indicated.

As profane as it may seem, the play is laced with verses from the Quran, the language of Sufi mysticism, and common Islamic dankyal themes. The tradition died out in Egypt, and if the karagoz was indeed its descendent, it became an important folk form, but never achieved significant literary obn As a result the plays of Ibn Daniyal, though preserved in a few archives, faded from the attention of scholars, both Eastern and Western who knew the shadow theatre only as a popular form, forgetting this exceptional author who raised the form to ibh literary heights.


Wisal’s religious w orldview is simple and even material; he lacks any qualities of careful introspection and judges only according to absolutes, absolute depravity or absolute piety. The shadow play’s form, to some extent, invites the use of mystical ter- minology one finds in Ibn DSniyBl’s play.

Muḥammad ibn Dāniyāl

The play’s ending, then, could almost daniyla read as a nec- essary apology. Deeply dismayed, Carlson offered the following: To tell Satan not to bother approaching Egypt because “in it reigns a just king” has superlatively ironic 76 “All of my nation will be absolved [on the Day of Judgment] except for those who divulge. Societies, whether Islamic or not, are always more com- plex than that which can be expressed danial a comprehensive and binary division.

In fact, if indeed the play were written during the reign of LFijin, then Baybars would certainly be a more prudent target than the living sultan, although the satiric message could be indirectly aimed at E j i n or even others, 92 Reuven Arnitai-Preiss, Mongols and Mamluh: Corruption can be found in all that is depicted, in both the official and the unofficial, both the moralists and the depraved, which, in the character of the faqih, find an appropriate nexus.

AI-Wathiq pre- sents Ibn Diiniyll’s plays as dramatic descendants of the maqama, see especially p. One detects, in Tayf al-KhayW’s monologue and throughout the play, a comic represen- tation of social animosity, a standoff between those trying to enforce a stricter moral code and those who freely ignore even the laxest interpreta- tion of the moral code.

This modified understanding of morality, although opposed to the self-righteous morality satirized in the play, cannot be disjoined from a wider Islamic discourse.

The Arab Aristophanes

The Agon section of this play is very highly developed, taking up the central third of the action. This unreal world is implied by the play’s title Tayf al-Khayul, danlyal literally means “Phantom of the VisionlImagination.

Al-Matba’a al- Kiithfilikiy a li-l-Abi’ al-Yaso’iyin,pp. AS to the extremes he presents can, in and of itself, be a moral statement.

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

The link between imposter dervishes and ironic uses of mystical vocabulary may explain much of what is seen in Tayf al-Khayal. Choric passages are not a feature of the shadow theatre, but the next scene serves a similar function. Oh people, our beloved shaykh, Lblls, has died! This shaykh gained a reputation for adultery with the wives of high ranking officials, and was accused of sodomy, finally earning himseff a life se-ntence in the Cairo citadel.


After all, the mocking of hypocrisy and ostentation implies that humility is good.

Wi l tells us that he butts harder than a ram, stinks more than a latrine, ibnn a greater sodomite danial Abo NuwBs, gambles, strips the dead in their coffins, backbites, and performs other serious acts of reli- gious transgression, three of w hich allude to specific Qur’Bnic verses, heightening the sense of sacrilege.

So bless this nuptial union oh Lord just as you blessed those unions I’ve had with neither a guardian present nor a judge. Although much involved in military affairs, Khalil also headed a brilliant court, in which Ibn Daniyal was the prominent literary figure.

See A History of Arabic Drama, p. English Paperback, p, H x W mm.

In he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens. Tayf al-Khayiil’s monologue quoted above, for example, can be compared to a similar passage by Ibn Dsniyiil found in the chronicles of the Egyptian historian Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn IySs d. It is certainly a play, but it reads like a maqdrna, especially since the play’s stage directions or producer’s notes are written in the same rhyming prose or saj’ that characterizes the maqama.

Studying Modern Arabic Literature: A number of scholars, but particularly P. Although Baghdad and Cairo were major centers of learning and repositories of classic texts in the middle ages, a significant portion of these texts came to them by way of Byzantium, perhaps the most important site of preservation of such texts, both in actual archives and as material continually taught in the Byzantine schools and studied by Byzantine scholars.

This describes his suffering and sleepless nights and detailing the beauties of his new love. University of Texas Press,p.

It seems that crucifixion and bisection lengthways or sideways were common during the reign of the Marnliiks. At the start of the play, after greeting his audience, Tayf al-Khayal presents what might be read as a modestly theoretical justification for the vulgarity and even playfulness of satire: