Temptation: Arabian Nights and Days
Temptation: Arabian Nights and Days
The Adventures of Ugr the Barber
He was a poor, greedy, lustful man.
After twenty years of being with his wife, he snapped. He cheated on his wife two times .
"With Ugr's accustomed abandon he applied himself to the drink, the food, and the women"(108).
"Nevertheless he was careful to lest his desire for the young slave-girl should compromise him, while she herself, encouraged him, though hiding behind an excess of wariness"(109).
He couldn't stop and wanted more, no matter the consequences.
"His desire for love increased an he did not cease to crave for affluence. [. . .] This was a love stronger tan the first, and made stronger still by its hopelessness: a love that was condemned by secrecy, sorrow, and pain."(114-115).
"O Lord, how he loved women! were it not for his poverty, Fattouha would not have remained his sole wife during all that life of his"(106).
Shariyar, as Ugr's punishment of stealing the necklace and wealth from elite, was to give all that he had back.
He was tempted to steal a necklace because he was poor and a greedy man.
"He gathered up not knowing what to do with it"(110).
Ugr the Barber is an example of the strongest temptations that there is; lust, power, money.
Ma'rouf the Cobbler
Ma'rouf chose goodness, kindness, compassion, instead of his desire for power, his temptation of money and ruling. For that reason alone he became governor.
The genie then appeared when Ma'rouf was having a good life, prospering. Ma'rouf asked what he wanted and he response was shocking to the good man.
Instead of thinking of killing a soul he chose to flee from the town to save himself and wife as well as the people. Even though he tried to escape immediately, he was caught by the chief of police who the genie warned about Ma'rouf and his lies.
The poor not happy with the execution because even though Ma'rouf had no power, he helped them when no one else did. They protested for his salvation.
No matter how much money Ma'rouf had he always thought of the poor, he never became arrogant, cruel, and the moment he was asked to kill to keep his power he chose to not do it but leave forever. The peole knew he was good man and for that reason the Sultan chose him to be governor of the city and move the current one to another quarter.
"'Ma'rouf is innocent.' 'Ma'rouf is compassionate.' 'Ma'rouf must not die.' 'Woe to those that do him harm.'"
Ma'rouf confessed that he did not have any powers and was sent to execution. The poor who Ma'rouf helped were heartbroken.
"[Ma'rouf] rushed home and ordered his wife to put on her cloak for going out, and he made his money into a package"(205).
"'Kill Abdullah al-Balkhi and the madmen,' said the [genie]. Overcome by terror Ma'rouf said dejectedly, I am incapable of killing an ant' [. . .] [The Genie said to him] 'People do not feel safe from you and would welcome your ruin [. . .] You will soon be called upon to perform a miracle in front of them and if you fail- as you must- they will pounce on you like tigers'"(204)
When Ma'rouf was approached by the governor questioning whether he wanted to be one as well, Ma'rouf gently declined the idea and the governor was relieved. Although, Ma'rouf realized his sway on people, declared for a thousand dinars, money.
He was given the money, people were acknowledging him and he was becoming famous. When he became a rich man, instead of being tempted with all the money and glory he helped his people.
"He induced the governor to provide for their livelihood and to show them care and respect so that smiling faces replaced those one lined by hardship"(200).
When given the ability of levitating without any sort of explanation he thought it was all a dream. He tried to do it again at his house, but nothing happend.
Realizing that he knew nothing of this power, "He told himself that he should allow things to proceed as God willed"(197).
People praised him but he was unsure of his power that only appeared in front of crowds or people and told Ugr, "Remember, Ugr, that I am one of God's obedient servants"(198).
He was a lower class to the bone. He mentioned at the Cafe of Emirs, drunk, that he found Solomon's ring.The people did not believe him and declared to him to prove it. And because of the genies he levitated. The genies in that moment chose Ma'rouf to "gift" him and make him their next victim.
The Grievers: Shahriyar
Shahriyar left his city to gain wisdom because he believed he wasn't cut out to be a leader anymore so he left to seek for salvation from his corruption.
He then came upon a rock that all the former men who were corrupted were grieving on. They soon left and Shahriyar went to investigate.
"Underneath the rock an arched entrance revealed itself"(223). He entered the passage and found paradise.
"Shahriyar found himself in a city not of human making: in beauty, splendor, elegance, cleanliness, fragrance, and climate"(125).
He had all the women, food, and freedom. Paradise.
He walks by a gold door with a diamond key. Although he was warned not to go in the door, not to open it.
Temptation is a funny thing. Having something you can't have is seen by Shahriyar for he had everything he ever wanted and yet he still wanted more.
"One day his resistance weakened and he submitted to a secret call. Seizing an opportunity when the servants were not attentive he turned the key"(227).
"The door closed and there appeared before him a giant more terrible than anything he had seen. Pouncing upon him, the giant lifted him up like some little bird between his hands"(227).
From there he was returned to the ground, gone was the paradise he lived in.
"the desert, the night, the crescent moon, the rock, the men, and the continued wailing. Shahriyar and his stick and the polluted air of the city" (227).
"'Mercy! Mercy!' he screamed from a wounded hear and brought his fist down on the rock several times until the blood flowed from it. [. . .] HIs back became bowed and he became old"(227).
Shahriyar was tempted to have something he could not see or have. He had everything but yearned for more and even if he was warned not to go through he still went.
Every rich and poor man fell for Anees Al-Galees. Her beauty was admired by all men.
The rich men believed they could have her for they were rich! The poor though, had no money therefore how could they keep her?
"Anees al-Galees was a fascinating sorceress, loving love, loving wealth, and loving men. No object of desire slaked her thirst and she was ever demanding more."(134-135).
All she wanted to do was bankrupt the men and how could the men stop themselves from a temptress.
The first to fall was Husam al-Fiqi. Master Sahloul said "'Nothing destroys a man like his own self,' 'And no one can save him like his own self' said Sahloul enigmatically"(135).
What he is saying is that all men have the free will to do as they wish. The millionaires and the poor can be the villain or the hero to their own story.
Anees al-Galees made an appointment to all millionaires to tick them by shaming them all. She told them to get naked so they could play, but tricked them one by one saying her husband was coming. She told them to go in the cupboard and locked them in there and when she sold them in the market they would be seen.
The madmen discovering what she did was unfazed by her and exploited her. She then melted with no aid since she was only made.
The madman saved the governors, but still gave them a taste of shame, humiliation, and despair by freeing them naked. Everyone saw as the night became day.
"Something like heavy slumber swept over her. Her nerves grew slack. She let the forward movement of change sweep on. The features of her face began to melt and spread out until they became a mass of swollen dough.
The governors, the rich men all believed they could keep Anees by bribing her. They wanted her, craved for her. She tricked them all because they all needed to learn a lesson of shame and knowledge that they were not invincible.
The poor men had more to lose so they did not go after her or waste their money on her but the millionaires were all taken by her and bribed her for love.
She is a genie in disguise seen as a gorgeous women, testing men with her body to steal from them just because the genie can.
The Cap of Invisibility: Fadil Sanaan
Fadil Sanaan was a man who wanted to murder the corrupt governors.
Before he was tempted with having power and invincibility, he was a good man who wanted the best for his people. He was relaxing in a still well when approached by a non believing genie in disguise.
The cap of invisibility was then given to him as a gift, but with a price.
Fadil used the cap to his advantage, stealing, pranking people, causing a brawl, all because he could. Until he saw a prison warder known to torture people. His blood boiled and he wanted revenge. He was so tempted to use the cap to kill someone so evil that he couldn't hold it in.
Fadil felt exhilarated once he did he killed the man until it was known that he killed his twin brother who was an innocent blameless man.
In the story, another form of temptation was shown from Fadil that led to his corruption. He was was tempted by the power of invisibility and used that to his advantage by raping two women.
Even though he was a good man from the start, temptation can make people do things they normally would never do. It can make people want things they would usually never have. If not for the cap of invisibility, the non-believing genie, Fadil would still be a good man.
"He was both the slave of the cap and its owner, as well as the prisoner of darkness and nothingness"(191).
In the end he realized his mistakes, but it was too late for the Angel of Death came for him.
"[t]he doctor said, 'The substance of what I understood was that they had both dreamt that night that he had assaulted them, then it became clear to them that there were certain traces left behind that showed conclusively that the dream had been a reality'"(188).
"When he was sure there were no passerby he put on the cap and vanished from sight. [. . .] Having forgotten the pledge to himself, he drew out the knife [. . .] [and] aimed a deadly blow at his neck"(184).
"I shall do with it as my conscience dictates,' [fadil] said, his face radiant. 'Do anything except what your conscience dictates,' said the [genie].