Classics of Arabic Literature: Best Books of Arabic Literature
Classics of Arabic Literature: Arabic literature basically refers to the mass of literary works written in the Arabic language and its derivatives, since about the sixteenth century. With lyricism and intense wisdom, Arabic books have always a cultural and aesthetic heritage. Here is a list of the best books of Arabic literature to experience this heritage.
Classics of Arabic Literature: Best Books of Arabic Literature –
- A Conference of Birds by Farid Attar
- The Rubai’yat by Omar Khayyam
- Shahnameh by Ferdowsi
- Season of Migration to the North by Tayeh Salim
- The Meadows of Gold by Masudi
- One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan Al-Shaykh
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
- In the Bazaar of Love by Amir Khusrau
- A Tale of Four Dervishes by Mir Amman
A Conference of Birds by Farid Attar
This story of a bird seeking the King, is a thinly veiled allegory for the human propensity to seek God. And akin to this bird, we are pumped up for the journey until we realize it demands relinquishing of our desires, fears and other worldly things we cling on to. This is a mesmerizing and deeply moving book, with a spiritual context.
The Rubai’yat by Omar Khayyam
This famous collection of classic poetry is a series of quartets by the great Omar Khayyam. It is available in several translations, but most notably the great writer F Scott Fitzgerald’s translation, sometimes called transcreation. These quartets hold immense wisdom, and through the use of extensive metaphors, it drives important lessons home.
Shahnameh by Ferdowsi
An epic story of fathers and sons, Ferdowsi’s pre-Islamic narrative is the national epic of Iran. Tracing the beginnings of the Persian empire and the various vicissitudes of the history of Persia, we follow a tragic family saga. At the heart of the narrative is Rustom, killed untimely by his son Sohrab.
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeh Salim
This classic Sudanese Arabic literature follows the protagonist narrator as he returns to his hometown from studies abroad. Here he discovers the enigmatic Mustafa, who takes him under his shade. Acting as a mentor to him, Mustafa leaves the protagonist with a shocking confession.
The Meadows of Gold by Masudi
This peerless collection of writing on Islam and its seat in the Middle east survives the ruin of Masud’s other classic writings. At it hearts, it is an ode to storytelling, because it dispenses spiritual wisdom through enigmatic stories about people of all types. It acts as a time capsule in modern times, teleporting readers to the magical world of a millennium ago.
One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan Al-Shaykh
This book is a collection of stories that a young queen Shahrazad tells her mad husband every night. Her husband, driven insane by the knowledge of his previous wife’s encounters with other men, vows to marry a virgin every day and kill her every night. But Shahrazad is witty – every night, she weaves a suspenseful story with her cliffhanger and reveals the end in the morning, prolonging her life by a day.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Notable writer Gibran’s magnum opus, this is a series of lectures that a parting prophet delivers to a village. Addressing questions of love, joy, work, marriage, children, leisure and bare necessities, this book is profound in its simplicity. It also reads like poetry, which is an added plus.
In the Bazaar of Love by Amir Khusrau
This is a selection of Persian poetry by the great fourteenth century Indian poet Amir bridges the deep divide between Hinduism and Islam. Equally appealing to Sufis, Hindus and radical Islamists, this poetry propounds love and spirituality. With its deep lyricism, this one is a must read, no matter which religion you belong to.
A Tale of Four Dervishes by Mir Amman
This book follows the king of Turkey who deserts his throne due to a lack of son to succeed him. In his wanderings, he meets four dervishes, three princes and a rich merchant, propelled towards Turkey by a spiritual force. In the wane hours of midnight, the dervishes speak about their adventures and spiritual longings, making for a conversation that rings through aeons.
Also Read: 8 Books to Make You More Charismatic