To what extent do Adab and Falsafa form part of the Islamic religious tradition?
Adab means discipline and training. It also detonates the good breeding and refinement that results from training, so that a person who behaves badly is “without abad” (de adab). Adab is the respect or deference one properly formed and trained shows to those who deserve it. The term was first encountered by the Western visitor to South Asia in its form as a greeting: “Adab!” – “my respects!” In other contexts, the plural of this form generally defines rules or codes of behavior. In many modern Muslim languages, adab has come to be used exclusively for literature – a derivation, presumably, from some original sense that literature conveys proper knowledge for the cultivated. This report will strictly concentrate on Adab as a form of literature. From pre-Islamic poems to the contemporary novel, literature written in Arabic spread over fourteen centuries, numerous continents, and countless local cultures and contexts. Although Arabic literature began during the Jahiliyah, Islam has had a profound influence on its development. The Qur’an itself is a literary masterpiece, and to the present day Islamic texts form a large part of the rich textual ancestry of the Arabo-Islamic world and continue to play a major role in the development of contemporary literature. The Adab was so important for Muslims that they even formed a place where people that were interested in the literature could gather together to discuss it called Majlis, literally “place of sitting.” The most celebrated writer in Islamic history was al-Jahiz. Over twenty-five years of his research on Islamic culture he acquired a great knowledge of its history and poetry. He studied Qur’an and Hadith very carefully. The most famous book of his is Kitab al-Hayawan (The Book of Animals in English). In the book he talks about how environment influences animals. He was one of the first to develop the...
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