During this second section of the class, we have covered various types of classical Arabic prose.

In one half of the class, we’ve covered: classical Arabic prose,

Epic literature, Romantic literature, and fables The class materials provided you with a survey of scholarly papers that discussed a wide range of genres. For example, you studied the acclimatization of the fable in Kalila wa-Dimna (كليلة ودمنة), that collection of Indian fables, translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Muqaffa ابن المقفع)) in the 8th century.

We have also covered four chapters of Ibn Hazm’s Tawq al-hamama. (The Ring of the Dove) and discussed topics of the heart examined from all possible vantage points—from moral philosophy to social psychology, from the most ethereal matters of the spirit to the most practical ones of the body, and, in religious terms, from the sacred to the profane—engraved his stamp on both Arabic and Western literary traditions far from his own life and times in 11th-century Al-Andalus.

The Ring of the Dove is the one Arabic work most cited in parallel to the Western canon—the Greek philosopher Plato, the Roman poet Ovid, troubadours in medieval France who strummed their lyrics on the lute (descended from the Arab ‘ud). One might also argue that it informs the Beatles in “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Elvis Presley in “Don’t Be Cruel (To a Heart That’s True)” and singers of countless similar boy-wants-girl pop confection


In your second paper exam, you will write an analytical essay focused on classical Arabic prose, specifically choosing one of these two works as the center of your analysis:

1-Ibn Hazm’s Tawq al-hamama. (The Ring of the Dove).

2-Ibn al-Muqaffa Kalila wa-Dimna (كليلة ودمنة), that collection of Indian fables.

You can link the work you choose to discuss to something you can relate to. The first priority of your essay is to identify and explain a single theme in the work; once you have identified the theme, you will need to connect it specifically to any materials you’ve read to date in this class.

Your essay should build an argument about the theme and its connection to the work(s) using detailed support cited from the material (quote and reference your sources), as well as from class discussions.

Your essay must reflect a clear understanding of the topic you choose, identify the significance of the theme you choose to address in context, and demonstrate your ability to form and articulate a logical argument within the constraints of MLA format, standard American English (grammar, spelling, punctuation) and ASU’s expectations for scholarly/academic :

Writing (length:1500+ words).

12 pt. standard font (Times) MLA format

Minimum 3 references (please review class materials and assigned readings)

 the second  Paper exam  is 10% (10 points

If you need some inspiration, here is a shortlist of themes (a few from the infinite number of possibilities): 

  • Fables in Classical Arabic Literature and the political context of Kalila wa Dimna.
  • Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ contribution to the translation movement supported by al-Mansur, the second Abbasid caliph.
  • Translation of works like Kalila wa Dimna as a proactive intellectual and literary movement that attempted to infuse Islamic culture with Persian elements (show the connections)
  • The Ring of the Dove as a Literary Foundation of, and influence in the study of, the art of courtly love
  • The Ring of the Dove as an example of representation of the Beloved in classical Arabic Prose.

What makes an ‘A’ paper?

Generally, papers receiving a grade of ‘A’ display the following characteristics:

Content: The topic is appropriate for the assignment and all the important points of the material are covered. It is apparent that the writer has understood and assimilated the material.

Structure and Organization: It is clear that the topic is well thought out and carefully developed with effective and appropriate supporting detail. The paper fully anticipates reader needs in terms of organization and presentation of information, and the formal elements of the introduction, body and conclusion are easily identifiable. A thesis statement is presented, developed, and supported with appropriate main and sub-points, and the flow of ideas is logical and fluid.

Mechanics: Correct grammatical structures are used throughout and there are no faults in spelling, punctuation or format/presentation. Sentences are clear and well-constructed, and mastery of the standard paragraphing technique is apparent. It is obvious that the writer has command of standard literary English as used in academic papers, and employs language that is appropriate for the topic, purpose, and reader.

Analysis: The paper synthesizes and interprets important points, constructs new ideas or perspectives on the topic at hand, or creatively articulates ideas in synthetic interpretive context.

PLEASE NOTE: The essay will be graded on the quality of writing – your ability to show/demonstrate an understanding of the writing in your analysis.

NOTE  late papers (i.e.: submitted outside class), will be NOT be  accepted

I wish you the Best of Luck.


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