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Arabian Nights The Original Story

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    Posted: 25 February 2006 at 10:48pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

assalamu alaikum

there a dew spelling mistakes in this, but otherwise a good.

Arabian nights 2000

The Lamp of Aladdin by Mahmoud Shelton

The story of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp has enjoyed a special popularity in the west and never more then recently through the recent made for TV mini series Arabian nights. In fact this culture’s attraction to the golden age of island persists in one from or another in the western imagination. There is no better opportunity to address the profound symbolism of this story thereby betraying the real identity of real modern retellings and their significance. Before doing so, it is important to recall the original storey, at least in its essence, particularly since it has been replaced in the modern imagination with something quite different

Islamic Sufi Account of ‘Aladdin

By means of sorcery, a magician from the far west determines that the most powerful treasure may only be obtained by a youth in china. This youth named Aladdin is the son of a widow for whom he does not provide, for he is without worldly vocation. The magician lures him away from his city, to reveal an entrance to a supernatural cave that the sorcerer is unable to enter. The magician provides the youth with a magic ring, and instructs the boy to retrieve an ordinary-looking oil lamp from its paradisal location in the cave. The youth not distracted by the fabulous wealth be must pass that would destroy him, achieves the lamp. When the boy refuses to relinquish the lamp before ensuring his safety, the sorcerer closes the cave entrance, leaving Aladdin to his fate.

Upon turning to his Lord for help, the youth is returned to his home and reunited with his mother by the assistance of the jinn servant of the magic ring In striving to dean and polish the lamp, the youth and his mother discover that the lamp is even more special than the ring, and with the assistance of one of the many jinn servants of the lamp they are provided with a rich provision. ‘Aladdin afterward takes the previous plates of that rich provision to die marketplace one by one, thereby gaining direct knowledge of the craft of the merchants, His mother gains an audience with the Sultan and secures his promise to marry his daughter, princess Badr ul-Budur, to Aladdin.

When the Sultan fails in his promise Aladdin seeks justice with the assistance of the servants of the lamp, and fulfills the extravagant conditions the Sultan demands for the wedding. Aladdin is thus provided with all that befits a princely station. He is married to Bath ul-Budur not only because of his wealth, with which he is generous, but more especially because of his perfect manners and knightly excellence, indeed, in his knightly vocation Aladdin becomes a defender of the kingdom with victory on the battlefield His fortune is overturned with t’ return of the magician, who substitutes a new lamp for ‘Aladdin’s old lamp of the cave, thereby stealing his palace and princess away to the far West, The jinn servant of the ring again comes to ‘Aladdin’s assistance as the latter washes in preparation Lot prayer. The sorcerer ultimately earns only a violent death as a pretender to ‘Aladdin’s noble station. After the return of ‘Aladdin’s rightful sovereignty in China, the magician’s evil brother is introduced, who murders a renowned saint named Fatima in her cave, and then assumes her appearance to gain the trust of the prince and murder him. The second magician’s evil plotting likewise leads to a violent end. Aladdin inherits the sultanate in proper succession.

Symbolic Retelling of Prophet Solomon’s Power

It is immediately apparent that the story relates above all a symbolism of light, with its lamp, a princess named ‘Full Moon of Moons” and an opposition between the illuminating Par East and the obfuscating Par West. Of course, the story’s Muslim audience would therefore be reminded of the Verse of Light from the Holy Qur’an that so often ornaments traditional mosques: Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. The simi1itde of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp.. (This lamp is kindled form a blessed tree an olive neither of the East nor’ of the West…(XXIV: 35)

Because of the story’s setting, the tradition enjoining the search for knowledge in China would likewise have dawned on the Muslim audience. In traditional Islam, “China” not only signified China proper, but also Eastern Turkistan, approximating today’s Xingjian. Knowledge of talismanic sciences was traditionally sought there What is more, and certainly not unrelated, is the general association of Chinas inner Asian borderlands with the prophet Sulaiman (as) (king Solomon, peace be upon him). Certain of its sacred mountains were called the “Thrones of Sulaiman”, atop which it was believed his flying court would alight. Many inner Asian rulers shared the name king of the world. The first Muslim Kashgaria, Satuk Bughra Khan, was ever said to be honored with his spiritual patronage.

Indeed Prophet Sulaiman embodies in Islam the ideal of 1 sovereignty that is evoked by the Inner Asian title “khan”. And while the Aladdin is appropriately concerned with the theme of ereignty its jinn servant makes the association with that prophet particularly clear (and these servants should not, of course, be confused with the disobedient jinn of the ‘Arabian Nights” imprisoned by Sulaiman in brass bottles). Even the loss and recovery of sovereignty that ‘Aladdin experiences recalls the traditional Islamic Stories told of Sulaiman Most significantly, his sovereignty and function was by virtue of a magic ring That the Muslim Aladdin and his magic ring should embody something of “Sulaimanic” inheritance is in keeping with the hadith: The knowledgeable ones are the heirs of the prophets — they leave knowledge as their inheritance; he who inherits it inherits a great fortune.

Significance of the Magic Lamp

If the magic ring symbolizes an inheritance from Sulaiman, it is not surprising that the lamp in its cave should symbolize a “Muhammadan” inheritance, for while the inviolable cave recalls the cave in which the Prophet Muhammad took refuge during the hijra (migration), misbah (lamp) and nur (light) are moreover names of the Holy Prophet. Whereas the lesser Sulaimanic inheritance is shared in a dubious fashion by the magician because of his dealings with jinn, the lamp is inaccessible to the magician, for innocence is the qualification for entering the cave. When ‘Aladdin returns to his house, the secrets of the lamp are opened only when it is cleaned and polished. The polishing of the lamp recalls the hadith of the prophet Muhammad, Everything has its polish and the polish of hearts is the remembrance of Allah. This association is not arbitrary, since it is made clear in the rerse following the aforementioned Verse f Light: (This lamp is found) in houses which Allah hath allowed to be exalted and hat His name shall be remembered there- ii… Certainly ‘Aladdin’s good fortune is connected to his piety, in accordance with he hadith of Salman al-Farsi,(blessings to him): Islam generates good fortune. Most significantly, possession of the lamp provides the youth who had no vocation — with knowledge specific to Muhammad (saw) . ‘Aladdin first acquires the knowledge of the merchant before he displays his knowledge of horsemanship in his knightly vocation, for while the Prophet of Islam (saw) was at first a merchant, his vocation was truly that of knightly striving.

The personality of Uways al-Qarani (blessings to him) should be mentioned here, for while it was ways who was prevented from visiting e Holy Prophet physically because of his duty to his mother, he was instead granted very special knowledge of the Prophet. Aladdin in a similar way is a dutiful son is granted a very special Muhammadan inheritance, symbolized by Lamp. What is more, although Uways al-Qarani is historically connected with en, the “uwaysi” method of spiritual instruction is especially characteristic of in Chinese Inner Asia.

The fulfillment of ‘Aladdin’s inheritance of ring and lamp - that is, his Sulaimanic and Muhammadan inheritance - is his marriage to Badr ul-Budur, or rather his union with light. While the full moon is her symbol for the Holy Prophet *, it because it is the completion of the moons, just as the Last Prophet the former prophets; so it most appropriately symbolizes the synthesis of prophetic inheritances. This fulfillment ponds to the formula nur ‘ala nur light upon light) from the aforementioned of Light, and it is therefore interest- it the term uniting “nur” and “nur” formula is “ala,” that is, the name youth in this story (‘Aladdin is properly ‘Ala al-din).

Concerning the inheritance, the magicians appropriately attack ‘Aladdin in a opposition to both its aspects. In place, the magician steals the sovereignty — palace and princess - of Aladdin; this outward aspect of ‘Aladdin’s nobility corresponds to the Sulaimanic inheritance. ‘Aladdin is reconnected to the magic of his ring — and therefore this inheritance – through piety. In the second instance, there first magician’s brother attacks and parodies the inward aspect of Aladdin’s station, symbolized by the saint in her cave. Her nobility of character corresponds to the Muhammadan inheritance, so it is significant that her name is Fatima, the name of the prophet’s (saw) daughter and inheritor. Both saint and lamp share the localization of the cave, and are therefore related; that the saint is feminine suggests a relationship to the reality of Badr ul-Budur

Contemporary Adulterated Version

In modern retelling of the story, the name Badr ul-Budur is almost invariably changed, thereby depriving the story of its illuminating fulfillment. Worse still are the portrayals of Aladdin not as an innocent youth but as a thief, rendering incomprehensible why only he could enter the inviolable cave; moreover he remain in there modern portrayals unreformed by the possession of the lamp. Indeed, the nobility that must accompany the owner of the lamp is predictably treated as an affectation and not as Aladdin’s true nature according to modern beliefs.

This of course, is precisely opposite to the meaning of the authentic story in which the youth, transformed by the nature of Muhammad (saw), must oppose those pretenders to his noble station who steal and affect the trapping of sovereign and of saint. Instead the modern version – or rather inversions – must dispose of the source of this affection of nobility so that the lamp must go and the jinn must be free from servant hood to the lamp. The implication of the disposal of the lamp is nothing less than the rejection of the “Light of the Heavens and the earth.”

The modern depictions of the jinn of Aladdin are especially brazen and troublesome, serving first an unreformed master (hardly better than a magician), then to be freed of servant hood altogether. How opposite is this from the authentic story, in which the lamp remains in the inviolable cave until it is retrieved by its trustworthy owner, who is turn would never abandon it, and the service of the jinn is thus reserved for the pious. This modern parody admits how the use of technology has been divorced from the guidance of piety, a seemingly insignificant consequence of which has been the inversion of the symbolism of Aladdin and his lamp

Yet this deliberate inversion is not without significance, and is very comparable to the magician’s exchange of the old lamp for a new one. Because of the new versions, Muslim’s and non-Muslims alike – and most unfortunately young people – have been deceived by an amusement that in a parody of a Golden Age of Islam, makes light of and ultimately scorns the light of the Holy Prophet (saw), instead of reminding how that light overcomes evil and prigs good fortune and the great treasure of knowledge. The Golden Age is really the appearance and acceptance of threat holy light. Light upon light, Allah guideth unto his light whom he will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories for Allah is Knower of all things (XXIV,35)

By Mahmoud Shelton
Published in the Muslim Magazine Vol.3 No. 3 Summer 2000




Edited by rami
Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2006 at 7:43am

The story you mentioned above is what we use to hear as kids.But when I watched the DVD I got the feeling that there are two different Alladin-and two different stories somewhat similar.

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