Defining Islamic Literature

By Rahmah Ahmad Osman.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study is a study in the sociology of literature, taking as a case the emergence and the development of the notion of al adab al Islãmî or Islamic literature. The focus is on the conceptual thinking underlying Islamic literature as a discourse in Malaysia and the Middle East. The term “Islamic literature” consists of two fundamental components, “Islamic” and “literature”. It is the questions surrounding these two components that a major part of this study will address. In order to understand the concept of Islamic literature, an appropriate understanding of the nature and characteristics of both Islam and literature within Islam is inevitable. This calls for an understanding of the Islamic world-view, which is presented in this study. This study looks at the fundamental question whether Islamic literature should give priority to its religious or its literary properties. The concept of aesthetics in the Islamic literary tradition is also presented in this study. This study observes the development of the concept of an Islamic literature throughout the history of the Malay and Middle Eastern Muslims. An analysis of the discourse in the Middle East is chosen as the basis on this study, which then concentrates on the discussions surrounding various aspects and developments of Islamic literature in the Malay Archipelago. Islamic literary frameworks that illustrate the Malay Islamic identity are discussed in detail. Only towards its conclusion the study will look comparatively at some aspects of the Islamic literature discourse. In its essence, Islamic literature is a method of writing literature, which is incumbent on each individual Muslim writer. Islamic literature draws its inspiration from TawÍîd. It springs into existence from the world-view of a Muslim, adaptable to all time and all ages.

Keywords: Islamic Literature, Islamic Worldview, Development, Islamic Literary Framework

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 11, pp.133-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 619.229KB).

Rahmah Ahmad Osman

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Arabic Language and Literature, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, The International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

I was born in Singapore in 1965. I am currently a Malaysian citizen. I am married with 3 children. I obtained my B.A. in Arabic Language &Literature from Al Azhar University (1990), my M.A. from Univ. of Jordan (1997) and Ph.D from SOAS, Univ. of London (2003). I joined IIUM in 1991. I lecture on comparative literary studies, Islamic literature and Arabic Poetry texts. I am also the advisor to the Arabic Debate Club at IIUM. My published works include, 2006 (Vol. 14, Number 1)Intellectual Discourse- Islamic literature and Sastera Islami: A Conceptual Comparison, February 2003 (Issue 7)Al Haj Magazine- Al Adab fi Maliziya: ‘Ainun ‘Ala Al Sharq wa Ukhra ‘Ala Al Gharb, December 2000: Beberapa Aspek tentang wacana Sastera Islam di Timur Tengah- Suatu Perbandingan (Towards Establishing A Correct Understanding of Islamic Literature Through Observation of The Aspects of the Arabic Islamic Literature), article published in Dewan Sastera, Kuala Lumpur. March, 1999: “Sayyid Qutb dan Sastera” (Sayyid Qutb and literature), article published in Dewan Sastera, Kuala Lumpur.

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