Thursday, June 15, 2017

Islamic Literature: Adventures of Hamza

Check out the Adventures of Hamza at this Freer Sackler online exhibit.

The Hamzanama is a collection of stories about Hamza, the uncle of the prophet Muhammad, who travels the world with other heroes spreading the teachings of Islam.

The stories were a part of Persian literature and a favorite of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. According to William Dalrymple in a review of the 2008 exhibit, the stories are the equivalent of the “Iliad” and Odyssey” of medieval Persia" and are "a rollicking, magic-filled heroic saga."

But today, Dalrymple notes, the stories are essentially "extinct as an oral tradition."  The exhibit and a recent book about the stories introduces Western audiences to the stories.

You can read the first chapter the Adventures of Hamza here. It was included in Dalrymple's review of the book by Ghalib Lakhnavi and Ghalib Lakhnavi.

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