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Longing For The Homeland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns itself with the issue of exile, imprisonment, and the return journey home. Shakwā al-Gharīb belongs in the genre of the medieval prison-writings that are an intimation of the tribulations of the soul in the material realm. "Letter 98" justifies the significance of the homeland in ʿAyn al-Quḍāt's defense treatise. The Iraqi caravan, by implication, takes ʿAyn al-Quḍāt's current jailers from Baghdad to Hamadhān. Plato and Avicenna had a formative influence on medieval Islamic thought in general and on ʿAyn al-Quḍāt's intellectual milieu in particular. The chapter reviews Plato's trilogy on death where it concerns similar subjects in ʿAyn al-Quḍāt. Qiṣṣat al-Ghurba al-Gharbīya is an allegory for the descent of the soul into the world of matter and its departure from this realm. The exile of the story is the narrator/protagonist who describes his voluntary departure from the spiritual realm.

Keywords: ʿAyn al-Quḍāt; homeland; Plato's trilogy; Qiṣṣat al-Ghurba al-Gharbīya; Shakwā al-Gharīb



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