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Chapter Summary

As the brief analysis of Ashʿab's life and legend has shown, there was a historical Ashʿab who was a singer and entertainer. He made his way to success as a performer of what in his time was considered 'light' music and by dancing and occasional clowning and entertaining his patrons with witty remarks and catering to their playful instincts. Then, there was the legendary Ashʿab who became a convenient peg to hang all kinds of jokes on. The jokes which are preserved under Ashʿab's name can be divided into three main groups: the 'political' jokes the 'religious' jokes and, finally, the 'urban middle class' jokes. The Ashʿab legend, and the history of Muslim humor in general, reflects the historical development of Islamic society which passed from its worldly aristocratic stage via a politico-religious to an urban middle class one.

Keywords: Ashʿab legend; Islamic society; Muslim humor



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