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Hikayat Abi al-QasimA Literary Banquet$
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Emily Selove

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402316

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402316.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

The Cosmic Crasher

The Cosmic Crasher

Chapter:
(p.135) 5 The Cosmic Crasher
Source:
Hikayat Abi al-Qasim
Author(s):

Emily Selove

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402316.003.0006

This chapter delves deeper into Ab016B l-Qāsim's status as a microcosm, reading him as representing the paradoxical joining of the opposite figures of Satan and the Prophet Muḥammad. It shows that the trickster figure and the holy man often blend into one another, for example, in the Maqāmāt, in portrayals of wise fools, and inmystical Sufi literature, as well as in other literary traditions influenced by ancient Greek Cynicism or by Neoplatonic thought. It discusses Al-Jāḥiẓ's Book of Living, and its representation of man as a microcosm, composed of both high and low elements, and of good and evil qualities. It also describes man's similarities to other animals, like monkeys and donkeys, as described in the Ḥikāya, and the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’. It concludes by arguing that like the Qur'ān, and other great works of literature that have been misunderstood and criticised as being incoherent and garbled, the Ḥikāya creates a new world with its microcosmic language.

Keywords:   microcosm, Satan, mystical literature, Cynicism, Book of Living, Qur’ān, wise fools, Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, donkeys

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