Arthur John Arberry

Arthur John Arberry (12 May 1905 in Portsmouth – 2 October 1969 in Cambridge) FBA was a respected British orientalist. A prolific scholar of Arabic, Persian, and Islamic studies, he was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. His translation of the Qur'an into English, The Koran Interpreted, is one of the most prominent written by a non-Muslim scholar, and widely respected amongst academics.[1][2]

Formerly Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt, Arberry returned home to become the Assistant Librarian at the Library of the India Office. During the war he was a Postal Censor in Liverpool and was then seconded to the Ministry of Information, London which was housed in the newly constructed Senate House of the University of London. Arberry was appointed to the Chair of Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, University of London 1944–47. He subsequently became the Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, his alma mater, from 1947 until his death in 1969. He is buried in Ascension Parish, Cambridge United Kingdom, together with his (by provenance Romanian) wife Sarina Simons/Arberry (1900-1973) whom he had first met in Cairo and then married at Cambridge in 1932.[3][4]

Arberry is also notable for introducing Rumi's works to the west through his selective translations and for translating the important anthology of medieval Andalucian Arabic poetry The Pennants of the Champions and the Standards of the Distinguished. His interpretation of Muhammad Iqbal's writings, edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar, is similarly distinguished.

Arberry also introduced to an English-speaking audience the work of Malta's national poet, Carmelo Psaila, popularly known as Dun Karm,[5] in the bilingual anthology Dun Karm, poet of Malta.


  • Translations of Muhammad Iqbal's works
    The Secrets of Selflessness
    Javid Nama
  • The Koran Interpreted
  • Muslim Saints and Mystics, A translation of episodes from the 'Tazkirat al-Awliya’ (Memorial of the Saints) originally written by Farid al-Din Attar.
  • The Seven Odes
  • Moorish Poetry: A Translation of 'The Pennants', an Anthology Compiled in 1243 by the Andalusian Ibn Sa'id, trans. by A. J. Arberry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953),
  • Mystical Poems of Rumi, Translated by A. J. Arberry, (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
  • Discourses of Rumi, A translation of Fihi Ma Fihi, (Samuel Weiser, New York, 1972)
  • Dun Karm, poet of Malta. Texts chosen and translated by A.J. Arberry; introduction, notes and glossary by P. Grech. Cambridge University Press 1961.


  1. ^ The Koran: Interpreted - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  2. ^ Mohammed, Khaleel (2005). "Assessing English Translations of the Qur'an". Middle East Quarterly. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links


Arberry may refer to:

Arberry (shrub), three species of dwarf shrubs

Arthur John Arberry (1905–1969), British scholar of Islam

Ascension Parish Burial Ground

The Ascension Parish Burial Ground, formerly the burial ground for the parish of St Giles and St Peter's, is a cemetery in Cambridge, England. It includes the graves and memorials of many University of Cambridge academics and non-conformists of the 19th and early 20th century. The cemetery encapsulates a century-and-a-half of the university's modern history, with 83 people with Oxford Dictionary of National Biography biographies. Among those buried here John Couch Adams, the astronomer, is unique in also having a memorial in Westminster Abbey.


Baklava (, , or ; [baːklavaː]) is a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the Levant, the Caucasus, Balkans, Maghreb, and of Central and West Asia.

Bayazid Bastami

Abū Yazīd Ṭayfūr b. ʿĪsā b. Surūshān al-Bisṭāmī (al-Basṭāmī) (d. 261/874–5 or 234/848–9), commonly known in the Iranian world as Bāyazīd Bisṭāmī (Persian: بایزید بسطامی‎), was a Persian Sufi, from north-central Iran. Known to future Sufis as Sultān-ul-Ārifīn ("King of the Gnostics"). Bisṭāmī is considered to be one of the pioneers of the concept of fanā, the notion of passing away in mystical union with the deity. The ecstatic sufi is one who openly expresses his love for the deity while neglecting social customs and consequences. Bastami, who was famous for "the boldness of his expression of the mystic’s complete absorption into the Godhead,". Many ecstatic utterances (shathiyāt) have been attributed to Bisṭāmī, which lead to him being known as the "drunken" or "ecstatic" (sukr) school of Islamic mysticism. One of these shathiyāts, "Glory to me" remains a huge controversy within Islam. Such utterance may be said to be "blasphemy, insanity," or as Bisṭāmī's followers would argue, Bisṭāmī has passed away with mystical union and the deity is speaking through his tongue. Bisṭāmī also claimed to have ascended through the seven heavens in his dream. His journey, known as the Mi'raj of Bisṭāmī is clearly patterned on the Mi'raj of the Prophet Muhammad. Bisṭāmī is characterized in three different ways: 1) a free thinking radical, 2) a pious Sufi who is deeply concerned with following the sha'ria and engaging in "devotions beyond the obligatory," 3) a pious individual who is presented as having a dream similar to the Mi'raj of Muhammed. The Mi'raj of Bisṭāmī seems as if Bisṭāmī is going through a self journey; as he ascends to through each heaven, Bisṭāmī is gaining knowledge in how he communicates with the angels (e.g. languages and gestures) and he the number of angels he encounters increases.

His grandfather Surūshān was born a Zoroastrian, an indication that Bastami had Persian heritage, despite the fact that his transmitted sayings are in Arabic. Very little is known about the life of Bastami, whose importance lies in his biographical tradition, since he left no written works. The early biographical reports portray him as a wanderer but also as the leader of teaching circles. The early biographers describe him as a mystic who dismissed excessive asceticism; but who was also scrupulous about ritual purity, to the point of washing his tongue before chanting God’s names. He also appreciated the work of the great jurists. A measure that shows how influential his image remains in posterity is the fact that he is named in the lineage (silsila) of one of the largest Sufi brotherhoods today, the Naqshbandi order.

Fellows of The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Fellows of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland are the individuals who have been elected by the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science literature and the arts in relation to Asia".

The Society was established in London in 1823 and received its Royal Charter from King George IV the following year. Since then, the Society has been a forum, through lectures, its journal, and other publications, for scholarship relating to Asian Studies of the highest level. The Royal Asiatic Society is the United Kingdom's senior learned society in Asian Studies, and is patronised by His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. At present the Society has about 700 Fellows, of whom half live abroad, and many of whom are highly accomplished and notable scholars of Asian Studies.


The ghazal ( Punjabi: ਗ਼ਜ਼ਲ, Urdu: غزَل ‬‎, Hindi: ग़ज़ल, Persian: غزل‎, Pashto: غزل‎, Bengali: গজল, Gujarati: ગઝલ,) is a form of amatory poem or ode, originating in Arabic poetry. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.A ghazal commonly consists of between five and fifteen couplets, which are independent, but are linked – abstractly, in their theme; and more strictly in their poetic form. The structural requirements of the ghazal are similar in stringency to those of the Petrarchan sonnet. In style and content, due to its highly allusive nature, the ghazal has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central themes of love and separation.

Gulistan (book)

The Gulistan (Persian: گلستان‎, also transliterated as Golestan "The Rose Garden") is a landmark of Persian literature, perhaps its single most influential work of prose. Written in 1258 CE, it is one of two major works of the Persian poet Sa'di, considered one of the greatest medieval Persian poets. It is also one of his most popular books, and has proved deeply influential in the West as well as the East. The Gulistan is a collection of poems and stories, just as a rose-garden is a collection of roses. It is widely quoted as a source of wisdom. The well-known aphorism still frequently repeated in the western world, about being sad because one has no shoes until one meets the man who has no feet "whereupon I thanked Providence for its bounty to myself" is from the Gulistan.The minimalist plots of the Gulistan's stories are expressed with precise language and psychological insight, creating a "poetry of ideas" with the concision of mathematical formulas. The book explores virtually every major issue faced by humankind, with both an optimistic and a subtly satirical tone. There is much advice for rulers, in this way coming within the mirror for princes genre. But as Eastwick comments in his introduction to the work, there is a common saying in Persian, "Each word of Sa'di has seventy-two meanings", and the stories, alongside their entertainment value and practical and moral dimension, frequently focus on the conduct of dervishes and are said to contain sufi teachings.


In Islam, i'jaz or inimitability of the Qur'an is the doctrine which holds that the Qur'an has a miraculous quality, both in content and in form, that no human speech can match. According to this doctrine the Qur'an is a miracle and its inimitability is the proof granted to Muhammad in authentication of his prophetic status. It serves the dual purpose of proving the authenticity of its divineness as being a source from the creator; and proving the genuineness of Muhammad's prophethood to whom it was revealed as he was one bringing the message. The concept of miraculousness of the Qur'an was understood as soon as it was revealed by Muhammed to the Arabs beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40 years of age. According to Sophia Vasalou, a contemporary scholar in theology, the reports about the Arabs' bewildered reception of the Qur'an is crucial in the argument. "The Arabs, upon hearing it, were lost for words in trying to classify it: 'is it poetry?' 'is it magic?' 'is it soothsaying?' they could not find a literary form to which the Qur'an corresponded" Vasalou adds.

Ila Tughat al-Alam

Ilá Ṭughāt al-‘Ālam (Arabic: الى طغاة العالم‎, English: To the Tyrants of the World), also known as Ela Toghat Al Alaam, is a poem written in the early 1900s by the Tunisian poet Aboul-Qacem Echebbi) during the French conquest of Tunisia.

It's also a song and a music video produced in the year 2002, during the second Intifada, by the Tunisian vocalist Latifa who sung the poem and dedicated it to Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush.

Legacy series

The Legacy series of essay collections was produced by Oxford University Press, from the early 1920s. It was aimed at Workers' Educational Association and university extension courses, and was an initiative of John Johnson.The more recent Appraisal volumes move away from general surveys, to include articles with a focus on the history of relevant literary topics.

List of book titles taken from literature

Many authors will use quotations from literature as the title for their works. This may be done as a conscious allusion to the themes of the older work or simply because the phrase seems memorable. The following is a partial list of book titles taken from literature. It does not include phrases altered for parody. (Titles taken from works by William Shakespeare do not appear here: see List of titles of works taken from Shakespeare.)


Mir-Khwānd (Mohammad ibn Khwāndshāh ibn Mahmud, written also as Mīr-Khwānd, Mirkhond, and other variants; 1433/1434–1498) was a noted Persian-language historian of the fifteenth century. He is known in Latin and Greek as Mirchond.

Ottoman cuisine

Ottoman cuisine is the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire and its continuation in the cuisines of Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, and parts of the Caucasus and the Middle East.

Placenta cake

Placenta is a dish from ancient Rome consisting of many dough layers interspersed with a mixture of cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves, then baked and covered in honey. Cato included a recipe in his De Agri Cultura (160 BC). Cato writes: Shape the placenta as follows: place a single row of tracta along the whole length of the base dough. This is then covered with the mixture [cheese and honey] from the mortar. Place another row of tracta on top and go on doing so until all the cheese and honey have been used up. Finish with a layer of the placenta in the oven and put a preheated lid on top of it ... When ready, honey is poured over the placenta. It derives from the Greek term plakous (Ancient Greek: πλακοῦς, gen. πλακοῦντος – plakountos, from πλακόεις - plakoeis, "flat") for thin or layered flat breads, and Andrew Dalby considers it, and surrounding dessert recipes in Cato, to be in the "Greek tradition," possibly copied from a Greek cookbook. A flowery description of plakous was left by the Greek poet Antiphanes (fl. 3rd century BC).A number of scholars suggest that the Roman dessert's Eastern Roman (Byzantine) descendants, plakountas tetyromenous ("cheesy placenta") and koptoplakous (Byzantine Greek: κοπτοπλακοῦς), are the ancestors of modern tiropita (börek or banitsa) and baklava respectively. The name placenta (Greek: "πλατσέντα") is used today on the island of Lesbos in Greece to describe a baklava-type dessert of layered pastry leaves containing crushed nuts that is baked and then covered in honey. Another variant of the Roman dish survived into the modern era as the Romanian plăcintă cake.

Through its Greek name plakountos, it was adopted into Armenian cuisine as plagindi, plagunda, and pghagund, all "cakes of bread and honey." From the latter term came the later Arabic name iflaghun, which is mentioned in the medieval Arab cookbook Wusla ila al-habib as a speciality of the Cilician Armenians settled in southern Asia Minor and settled in the neighboring Crusader kingdoms of northern Syria. Thus, the dish may have traveled to the Levant in the Middle Ages via the Armenians, many of whom migrated there following the first appearance of the Turkish tribes in medieval Anatolia.

Rashid al-Din Vatvat

Rashid al-Din Muhammad Umar-i Vatvāt (Persian: امیر امام رشیدالدین سعدالملک محمد بن محمد بن عبدالجلیل عمری‎) (d. 1182–1183) was a 12th-century Sunni Khwarezmian panegyrist and epistolographer. He was born in Balkh, (now modern-day Afghanistan).Served at the court of Khwarazmshah Kings, although he should not be mistaken for a later physician by the name Amin al-Din Rashid al-Din Vatvat. While serving as court poet, it was through him that Atsiz ibn Muhammad boasted of the end of the Great Seljuq empire.He also composed qasidehs, but his rhetorical work Hadā'iq al-sihr fi daqa'iq al-shi'r ("Magic Gardens of the Niceties of Poetry") is in prose.


Abu Muhammad Ruwaym bin Ahmad was an early Muslim jurist, aescetic, saint and reciter of the Qur'an. He was one of the second generation of practitioners of Sufism.

Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic

Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic is a title used at Cambridge University for the holder of a professorship of Arabic; Sir Thomas Adams, 1st Baronet (1586–1668), Lord Mayor of London in 1645, gave to Cambridge University the money needed to create the first Professorship of Arabic.The professorship was partly created to propagate the Christian faith "to them who now sit in darkness".

Soheil Afnan

Soheil Muhsin Afnan (Persian/ Arabic: سهیل محسن افنان) (b. 1904 - d. 1990) was a scholar of Philosophy, Arabic, Persian, and Greek whose intellectual works included translations of Greek texts into Persian as well as the publication of philosophical lexicons.

The Koran Interpreted

The Koran Interpreted is a translation of the Qur'an (the Islamic religious text) by Arthur John Arberry. The translation is from the original Arabic into English. First published in 1955, it is one of the most prominent written by a non-Muslim scholar. The title acknowledges the orthodox Islamic view that the Qur'an cannot be translated, merely interpreted.Khaleel Mohammed writes that "the translation is without prejudice and is probably the best around," while M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, himself a translator of the Qur'an, writes that:

Arberry shows great respect towards the language of the Qur'an, particularly its musical effects. His careful observation of Arabic sentence structure and phraseology makes his translation very close to the Arabic original in grammatical terms ... [however] this feature, along with the lack of any notes or comments, can make the text seem difficult to understand and confusingly unidiomatic.Originally published in two volumes, the first containing suras 1-20, the second containing 21-114, the text continues to be printed to this day, normally in one single volume.

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