Arab Culture and Beliefs

The Islamic faith had taken roots in the 6th century AD in Saudi Arabia and spread out into the surrounding regions. The Islamic rulers were trained in the art of warfare, astute statesmen and able administrators6. They ruled with an iron hand but they were fair in their dealings7. They were patrons of literature, arts, science and philosophy8. Trade, education and military expeditions were high on their agenda and they carried out these in the best tradition9 and vision the newly found religion propagated and expounded10 (Saudi Arabia: Culture).
Hence, given the ideal state of affairs storytellers flourished11. These bards were thoroughly familiar with the fallacies and foibles of all men from at all levels12. They were either trained in the art of storytelling or were motivated13 enough to stir up their imaginations to arouse interest and maintain it through mentally manufactured plots which they narrated before gaping, awe-struck audience14. Which audience will resist the temptation to hear accounts of rags to riches episodes15 couched with mysterious events, adventures, gallant heroes, beautiful women, eccentric rulers, scheming villains, strange beings and beasts, and rounded up with the most unlikely and profound endings.16
The Arab culture of medieval times provide the fantastic backgro…
The Arab culture of medieval times provide the fantastic background of valor and wealth, innocence and greed, intrigue and deceit, ogre and jinn, and a rich variety of oriental charm and chicanery17 to embellish the Arabian Nights with the unique touch and brand of a world where the interplay of facts and fiction18 gave both an aura of invincibility and supernatural powers to perform the impossible.19
The Arabian Nights tantalizingly reflect the heydays of Arabia’s past glory20 when
11,12,13,14,15 Saudi Arabia: Culture
16,17,18,19,20 The Arabian Nights

the Arab world was a world centre for learning, science, arts and philosophy21. The advent and spread of Islam in the Arab world22 and beyond happened in the times the Arabian Nights came to be written and told23. Possibilities exist for
some of the stories to have been given a makeover of the Arab culture and beliefs24 to make it more acceptable to the regional masters and citizenry15. It is also possible that many of the stories originated25 from one of the countries with whom Arabia had economic and cultural ties like India26.
The stories resonate with the culture and ethos of these places where the Islamic rulers had dominion including the countries the Arabs did business with27. What distinguishes the Arabian Nights from other folklores is the way metaphysics28 is incorporated to highlight ordinary life and situations with supernatural aliens and incidents29. The stories of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sindbad the Sailor, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp30 are some examples of