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Literary Reflections

Developed by Leila Golestaneh Austin, Johns Hopkins University.

Islam has long provided a source of inspiration through which Muslims experience, understand, and guide their everyday lives. The readings for this theme can be seen as literary reflections on Muslim piety and communal concepts such as ethics, governance, knowledge, and identity. Each one reveals transformations in faith and identity, as Muslims living at different times and in different places have interpreted Islamic traditions to meet their distinctive cultural realities and spiritual needs.

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The Arabian Nights - Husain Haddawy (Translator); Muhsin Mahdi
Call Number: PJ 7715 .H33 2008
ISBN: 9780393331660
Publication Date: 2008-05-17
Now as sumptuously packaged as they are critically acclaimed- new deluxe trade paperback editions of the beloved stories. Husain Haddawy’s rapturously received translation of The Arabian Nights is based on a landmark reconstruction of the earliest extant manuscript version. Readers of this classic will also want to own Sindbad, a collection of four later stories associated with the Arabian Nights tradition, including “Sindbad the Sailor” and “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.”

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The Conference of the Birds - Farid Ud-Din Attar; Afkham Darbandi (Foreword by, Translator); Dick Davis (Foreword by, Introduction by, Translator)
Call Number: PK 6451 .F4 M2813 2011
ISBN: 0140444343
Publication Date: 1984-07-03
The acclaimed translation of a magnificent work of Persian poetry—now updated with new material Composed in the twelfth century in northeastern Iran, Farid Attar’s great mystical poem is among the most significant of all works of Persian literature. A marvelous, allegorical rendering of the Islamic doctrine of Sufism, it describes the pilgrimage of the world’s birds in search of their ideal king, the Simorgh bird, and the arduous journey they take to reach him. This masterly translation preserves the poem’s rhymed couplet form and nuances of language.

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Snow - Orhan Pamuk; Margaret Atwood (Introduction by)
Call Number: PL 248 .P34 K36513 2011
ISBN: 9780307700889
Publication Date: 2011-10-18
The Nobel Prize–winner’s second novel to appear in an Everyman edition is a spellbinding story of a poet seeking his lost love in a remote Turkish town riven by religious conflict and cut off from the world by a blizzard. Returning to Turkey from exile in the West, Ka is driven by curiosity to investigate a surprising wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head scarves in school. But the epicenter of the suicides, the eastern border city of Kars, is also home to the radiant and newly divorced Ýpek, a friend of Ka’s youth whom he has never forgotten and whose spirited younger sister is a leader of the rebellious schoolgirls. As a fierce snowstorm descends on Kars, violence between the military and local Islamic radicals begins to explode, and Ka finds his sympathies drawn in unexpected and dramatic directions.

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Dreams of Trespass - Fatima Mernissi
Call Number: CT 2678 .M47 A3 1995
ISBN: 0201489376
Publication Date: 1995-09-04
" I was born in a harem in 1940 in Fez, Morocco... " So begins Fatima Mernissi in this exotic and rich narrative of a childhood behind the iron gates of a domestic harem. In Dreams of Trespass, Mernissi weaves her own memories with the dreams and memories of the women who surrounded her in the courtyard of her youth - women who, deprived of access to the world outside, recreated it from sheer imagination. Dreams of Trespassis the provocative story of a girl confronting the mysteries of time and place, gender and sex in the recent Muslim world.

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Minaret - Leila Aboulela
Call Number: PR 6051 .B68 M56 2005
ISBN: 0802170145
Publication Date: 2005-08-19
In her Muslim hijab, with her down-turned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich families whose houses she cleans in London. Twenty years ago, Najwa, then at university in Khartoum, would never have imagined that one day she would be a maid. An upper class westernized Sudanese, her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. Then a coup forces the young woman and her family into political exile in London. Soon orphaned, and her only remaining family, her twin brother, in jail, she finds solace and companionship within a Muslim community. It is when Najwa meets Tamer, the intense, lonely younger brother of her employer, that she must test who she has become. For Tamer and Najwa find a common bond in faith and slowly, silently, begin to fall in love, a love that should not be. A novel about class, faith, and family, "Minaret" is an illuminating glimpse into a culture few westerners understand.

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