A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Samaw'al ibn Âdiyâ

Issue 16
Samaw'al ibn Âdiyâ

Hasan El-Shamy (USA)


The recently adopted concept and field of scholarship labelled "national memory (dhâkirat al-'ummah)" may be viewed as an euphemism or a personification of what is remembered of a social group's experiences concerning significant events that affect that group as a whole. The group may be the entire nation, or only a segment of it such as an ethnic, racial or religious category of the population as constituted by its individual members1. The issue is also one of cognitive learning involving such factors as motivation, retention and recall. All of these factors are components of the shared cultural traditions and the "folkloric behavior" of a social group2.

The article is based on a personal experience (i.e., +what is known in the study of folklore as+a "memorate")3 that took place around the years 1949-1953. It is an account of a portion of the writer's early life, and describes an urban boy's typical experience vis-à-vis a historical-literary character labelled "Al-Samaw'al ibn `Âdiyâ, al-yahûdiyy (i.e., Al-Samaw'al Son-of-¿Âdiyâ, the Jew)". During the latter part of the elementary or the early years of the secondary schools stages of education the government-provided textbook on Arabic literature (labelled mutâla¿ah/Reading) that included a poem and a brief description of a highly valued deed by the poet presently under discussion (as quoted in the title of the essay). Inevitably, the values expressed in this school reading passage was interconnected with how a pupil/"reader" perceived certain individuals of the Jewish faith in his/her immediate community. It is in this respect, that the account is a case of what is currently labelled: "national memory," and a constituent of the "modal personality" of the middle "white collar" social class4.

The Personal Side of the "National Memory"

The present writer comes from an urban middle class family in Egypt. Born in Cairo but raised in Zaqazîq, a provincial town in the easternmost part of the Nile Delta and capital of Sharqiyyah Province (currently, "Governorate"), northeast of Cairo. He attended a governmental primary school (grades 1 through 4: age 6-10), and secondary school (grades 1 through 5: age 11-16/17) in that town. Boys schools and girls schools were separate after the kindergarten (roadah).

The composition of the pupil population of these schools reflected Egypt's demographic composition to a great extent: the majority of pupils were of the Moslem faith, but there were always several Christian (Copt) students. Except for personal names (such as Mîkhâ'îl, Lûqâ, "Henary", "Wilyam", etc.) and minor visually-based traits (such as a tattoo of a cross on the wrist, or females wearing a cross-shaped piece of jewelry as necklace or bracelet), there were virtually no major differentiating qualities between Moslems and Copts. However, the curriculum required one class session labelled dîn ("Religion") to be taught once a week. During that period (usually under one hour), Copts left their usual classrooms and gathered separately in another room for instructions by a Copt teacher about Christianity. Meanwhile, Moslems and Copts lived side by side in residential districts determined largely by such factors as income, profession and level of education rather than religious affiliation or race.

The prevailing popular culture presented the Egyptian society at that time period as composed of individuals and groups belonging to the three "celestial [Semitic] religions (diyânât samâwiyyah): Islam, Christianity, and Judaism"5. Movies depicting normal social relations among the three religions were on display all over Egypt with titles such as "Hasan, Morqus, and Kohain/Cohain," and "Fâtimah, Marîkâ, and Rashail": titles that had names with high degree of social name visibility (i.e., stereotypical) representing Moslem, Coptic, and Jewish affiliations consecutively.


A "Jew" in the Social Urban Life

My personal knowledge of a "Jew" happened to be outside of the contexts of school and residential quarter. It was due to a technological factor having to do with an old radio set we owned. The set needed repairs often. It was my responsibility to carry it to the shop of khawâgah (Mister) E.K. He was the only person of the Jewish faith that I personally knew in the town of Zagazig. Along with his ability to repair that radio set, he was punctual: the dates he set for picking up the set were always kept and the fees he charged seemed reasonable. My father commented more than once on how honest and reliable Mr. E.K. was; he also explained his efficiency in terms of having a `blessed' hand6.

It was under these social and cultural conditions that the title of the reading textbook of the 1940s/1950s: "Qâla al-Samaw'al ibn ¿Âdiyâ al-yahûdiyy (The Jew, Al-Samaw'al Son-of-¿Âdiyâ Said)" became relevant and meaningful to me and to thousands of other pupils in Egypt and wherever else in the Arab World that the Egyptian school curriculum and its textbooks were adopted.

Introducing al-Samaw'al to pupils as "Jew" constituted a departure from the typical `heroic' characters associated with Islamic (or biblical) dogma such as Moses, Solomon, Job, etc. Such identification was also at sharp variance with other pre-Islamic poets included in textbooks, such as 'Imru' al-Qays "of Kindah", ¿Antar ibn Shaddâd "of Banû ¿Abs", or al-Nâbighah "of Banû Dhubyân," among others. These poets were identified by tribal (blood) affiliation. Typically, their poems were assigned as examples of fakhr (boasting), madh (praising), rithâ' (eulogy), hijâ' (lampooning/satire), wasf (description), karam (hospitality/generosity), nasîb (love), etc.

In the absence of the textbook mentioned, the exact contents of the passage concerned cannot be ascertained. However, what is certain is the fact that the passage was titled (or subtitled) "Qâla al-Samaw'al ibn ¿Âdiyâ al-yahûdiyy (The Jew, Al-Samaw'al Son-of-¿Âdiyâ Said: ...)". It is also certain that some sort of a report on why Al-Samaw'al composed that poem, titled ("'inna al-kirâma qalîlu/The Noble are Few"), was provided. The dominant theme for the qasîdah (ode) was al-wafâ' (fidelity/constancy)7, while the most memorable bayt (verse) was its lead line:

'idhâ al-mar'u lam yadnas mina al-lu'mi)irduhu,

 fa kullu ridâ'in yartadîhi jamîlu.

(If a man's honor is not defiled by wickedness,

then, any garment he may wear is beautiful)8


The Poet and his Fortress

Al-Samaw'al ibn-`Âdiyâ (d. ca. 560), is typically identified as a pre-Islamic poet of the sixth century A.D. His name is associated with a fortress (or a citadel) known as al-Ablaq (the Piebald), situated about 200 miles north of al-Madinah in Arabia. The site where that fortress stood must have been of considerable size for, as will be mentioned below, it was spacious enough to provide private quarters to accommodate guests who required seclusion on an open space (camp), as well as a public sûq (market) where neighboring tribes (or traveling caravans) could acquire goods they needed. Geographer Yâqût al-Hamawî (1179-1220) described al-Ablaq as

... the fortress of the Jew al-Samaw'al ibn ¿Âdiyâ, which is also known as `al-'ablaq al-fard (the piebald [and] the unique)'. It dominates [the region of] Taymâ' between Hejâz and el-Shâm [(the Levant Coast)]. It is situated on a dusty mound that contains relics of adobe buildings that do not betray what has been told about its [past] glory and invincibility9.

Similarly, Zakaryyâ ibn Muhammad al-Qazwînî, geographer and historian (1203-1283) was of the opinion that it was called al-'ablaq (the piebald) "due to its white and reddish color10." Maymûn ibn Qays al-'A¿shâ of Bahilah Tribe, the pre-Islamic poet (whose name signifies "night-blind"; c. 570-629) adopted in a verse a legendary claim that the building of the fortress harkens back to Sulaymân ibn Dâwûd (Solomon son of David)11. It is also reported that Arabs used to stop by Samaw'al's domain as guests, and because a market was held there where they acquired rations in that commercial facility12.

Arabic literary records characteristically identified al-Samaw'al as "yahûdiyy (a Jew)". Some added "al-Quraziyy" (of tribe of Banî Qurayzah)13. However, some modern studies cast uncertainty on his Jewishness. Stephen and Nandy Ronart, for example, present al-Samaw'al as "supposedly of Jewish descent14." The distinguished orientalist David Samuel Margoliouth reveals that "The père Cheikho is of course delighted with the chance of proving that Samau'al, like the rest of the pre-Islamic poets, was a Christian15." Other scholars question the existence of the person altogether and suggest that al-Samaw'al is a mythological entity (character). Margoliouth considers the issues of al-Samaw'al and his religion (faith) within a broader context that includes "Jewish Oral Traditions neglecting the supposed Judaism of Arabia." Thus, he writes

"The archaeologists profess to know of a Jewish king of Taima who ruled shortly before the rise of Islam. He has the Hebrew name Samuel, pronounced Samau'al, and that of his father or grandfather is given as `Adiyah, evidently identical with the `Adâyâh repeatedly found in the Old Testament16."

Margoliouth conducted careful inquiry examining the validity of the events constituting the Samaw'al account, and the concordance between certain aspects of the poem's contents and external events with documented validity. He concluded that "it is not quite certain that this Samau'al is a historical personage." He then takes the matter to a higher level of uncertainty and reports further that "H. Winckler resolves him into a sun-myth, as he does so many other personages.[...]17. However, Margoliouth mocked Winckler's solar mythological interpretation and dismissed his view as misguided to the extent that "the process of his reasoning is not worth reproducing." Yet, Margoliouth argues further, that the "proverb [associated with Samaw'al] might quite well have reference to the Samuel of the books which bear his name, since he (1 Sam. xii.3) made loud attestation of his honesty18." Here, it may be pointed out that Winckler was evidently a follower of the tenets of the solar mythological arguments in the tradition of Max Müller's School19. However, the absence of the basic theme of sacrificing one's own son in non-sacred oral traditions of the region tends to reinforce Margoliouth's conclusion dismissing the mythological hypotheses. (See data pertaining to Tale-type AT 516C, below).

The Refuge and the Siege

If poems presumed to have been composed by al-Samaw'al were not readily available to early collectors of the pre-Islamic poetic legacy, records show that two proverbial utterances have had continuous presence in both oral as well as literary/written Arabic traditions. These sayings are: "'awfâ min al-Samaw'al (More fidel than ...)", and "fî wafâ' al-Samaw'al or ka wafâ' ... (With fidelity as, or like, that of ...)", which stand as examples for this much praised Arabian virtue. (See also al-'A¿shâ's poem and consequent proverb below)20.

According to reports, historical circumstances brought together two Arab chieftains, each of whom was recognized as a tribal notable and an eminent poet, for an event that proved to be tragic for both: al-Samaw'al of northern Arabia and Imru' al-Qays ibn Hujr al-Kindî (i.e., "The Kindite", c. 501-544) of the south. Imru' al-Qays was a king's son and a womanizer, with drinking and daring sexual exploits +which  he publicized in his poems. His father ruled over the tribe of Banî 'Usd. During one of his drinking trysts he was informed that his father was overthrown and murdered by his own people. He declared: "Liquor (fun/frolic) today, action (resolve) tomorrow!" and continued on drinking. He tried to restore his kingdom but found no support among Banî 'Usd. He traveled with some companions northward to seek the aid of "Qaysar/Caesar", the Byzantine ("rûm") king, in Asia Minor. On their way, one of the companions of Imru' al-Qays' introduced him to al-Samaw'al who granted him refuge in his fortress (al-Ablaq). Before continuing his trip north, Imru' al-Qays entrusted five precious cuirasses/shields, weapons, money, and his daughter--named Hind21--to Samaw'al's protection. He requested that Samaw'al write to al-Harth ibn Shamr al-Ghassânî (a protégé of the Roman Caesar) to assist him reach Caesar and seek his military aid. Al-Samaw'al granted him that wish as well.

After Imru' al-Qays departed, his enemy, the king of al-Hîrah (al-Mundhir ibn Mâ' al-Samâ') learned of the presence of Imru' al-Qays's belongings at al-Samaw'al. He asked al-Samaw'al to deliver to him Imru' al-Qays's possessions. But al-Samaw'al refused. Consequently, al-Mundhir sent an army constituted of men from various tribes ('Iyâd, Tanûkh, among others) and laid siege to the fortress but could not overcome its fortifications22. Tragically, Samaw'al's young adolescent son, who was outside the fortress hunting, chanced to return during the siege and was captured. Ibn Zâlim held the lad and called al-Samaw'al:

Ibn Zâlim asked: "Do you recognize this [boy]?"

Al-Samaw'al answered: "Yes. He is my son."

Ibn Zâlim threatened: "Will you deliver to me Imru' al-Qays's belongings, or shall I kill the boy?"

Al-Samaw'al replied: "Do whatever you wish with him. I would not betray my dhimmah (sense of honor)23, nor surrender (betray) my protege (a person whom I granted protection).

Thus, the father chose to see his son die rather than to break his promise and fail his protégé (guest). Ibn Zâlim struck the lad's waist thus cutting him in twain and departed24. It is in this regard that al-Samaw'al composed his poem that starts with the words "¿Âdiyâ built for me a grand fortress ....," in which he declares:

wafaytu bi 'adru)i al-kindiyyi 'innî ●●●

 'idhâ-mâ khâna 'aqwâmun wafaytu

(I dealt faithfully with the Kindite's cuirasses, for, indeed, ●●●

when other folks betray, I remain faithful)

Hence the traditional Arab proverbial sayings "More loyal than al-Samaw'al)", and "Loyalty like that of al-Samaw'al)," (cited above).

This very account of the event triggered the emergence of another proverbial utterance in sympathy with, and for glorification of, al-Samaw'al, along with the moral of the need to follow his example. It is reported that upon hearing of this cruel incident forcing Samaw'al to choose between two painful outcomes, al-'A¿shâ  +was inspired to improvise ±d + a poem:

konn ka al-samaw'ali 'idh tâfa al-Humâmu bihi ●●● fî jahfalin ka-sawâdi al-layli jarrari

(Be like al-Samaw'al when al-Humâm besieged him ●●● with an immense army that resembled the [endless] blackness of the night)

khayyarahu khutatay khasfin fa qâl lahu ●●● 'a)ridhumâ hakadhâ asma)uhumâ hâri

He gave him a choice between two unjust plans. ●●● He [Samaw'al] replied describe them, so that I may hear them in anguish

fa qâla "thuklun wa ghadrun 'anta baynahumâ ●●● fa 'ikhtar wamâ fîhâ hazzun li mukhtâri"

He explained: "[Misery of] loss to death, or of betrayal! ●● Now choose: there is no fortuitous outcome for the chooser!"

fa shakka ghayra tawîlin thumma qâla lahu ●●● "'iqtul 'asîraka 'innî mâni)un jârî."

He [Samaw'al] thought briefly and replied, ●●● "Kill your captive for I will protect my neighbor!"


Consequently, the utterance, "'ikhtar, wa mâ fîhâ hzzun li-mukhtâri (Choose: there is no fortuitous outcome for the chooser)!" was coined as a proverb25.

Imru' al-Qays's mission to Caesar failed and he died on his way back to his homeland. According to some reports, he had an illicit sexual liaison with a princess in Caesar's court. This affair--it is argued--provoked Caesar into plotting his death by ruse: he bestowed upon him as a present a cuirass that was laced with poison. Upon wearing it, Imru' al-Qays's skin corroded into "soars" and fell off--a condition that is believed to have caused his death, and the nick name: "dhu al-qurûh (the One-with-Skin-sores26)." Upon learning of his protégé's death, al-Samaw'al delivered the belongings Imru' al-Qays's left in his trust to his heirs.


Samaw'al's Dîwân (Collected Works) as Commemoration

Whether actual or imagined, veridical/historical or fictitious (i.e., muntahal27), the relevance of "al-Samaw'al ibn ¿Âdiyâ" as reported here to the quest for "Shared Heroes in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam" remains viable. The issue is the perception of heroism attributed to an Arab Jew, or a Jew who is a hero to an Arab populace or to a significant category thereof. It is also the perception of "Conscientiousness and Fidelity as Heroic Qualities in Arab Traditions" rather than militancy, conquest and revenge as the  focus for + opposite traits for+ heroism.

Since the six century A.D., when the incident of Samaw'al "sacrificing" his own son for a noble cause was reported (or imagined--if one wills), a steady chain of Arab--Moslem and Christian (and, more recently, Jewish28)--scholars have expressed serious interest in al-Samaw'al and his "heroic" character. Speaking of Arab-Jews, Margoliouth notes that "Samau'al is the only one who has risen to a diwân, or `collected works'." He also reports that "[t]his collection was put together by the [Moslem] grammarian Niftawaihi (A.D. 858-935)," and that "a copy of that manuscript was discovered in Damascus by the meritorious Carmelite, Anastase of Baghdad, and published by the no less meritorious Jesuit, Cheikho of Beyrut, in 190929." Prior to Niftawaihi, Abû Tammam (d. 845), one of the most prominent Arab poets included al-Samaw'al's main ode ("'inna al-kirâma qalîlu/The Noble are Few") into the first section of his anthology titled al-Hamâsah, which constitutes the popular and most trusted collection of early Arabic verse30. Similarly, in the thirteenth century, the celebrated Iraqi poet Safiyy al-Dîn al-Hillî (1258- ca. 1350) composed a parody poem in the vernacular (folk) stanzaic format that reproduced in a creative manner al-Samaw'al's "The Noble are Few"-ode. (See App. # 1 and App. #3, below).

Modern students of literature, like their earlier predecessors, hold al-Samaw'al, his character and poetry in high esteem. The inclusion of al-Samaw'al's work in Arab elementary and high schools curricula (as mentioned above) reinforces this viewpoint. The editors of Samaw'al's dîwân group it together with that of the pre-Islamic ¿Urwah ibn al-Ward (d. 616 A.D.): Ibn al-Ward being the foremost of the sa¿âlîk-poets admired for their egalitarian and "socialistic" life philosophy especially concerning individual freedom, economic justice and "sharing" their own possessions with the needy. Thus, in 1964 Sâbâ wrote writes:

"Whosoever would review al-Samaw'al's poetry will sense sharaf (honor), 'ibâ' (lofty-mindedness/dignified pride), and absence of the [lowly] spirit of seeking rewards [monetary or otherwise] by resorting to the panegyric poetry [praising the rich and the mighty] .... Instead [of panegyric trend], he will find poetry motivated by a thrust towards majd (glory) and fakhr (outboasting) [by enumerating one's unique positive assets]."

Sâbâ concludes his description of al-Samaw'al "the Jew" by asserting that

"[t]hese are the character traits of the [true] Arab in his desert that evoke the spirit of ¿izzah (loftiness/dignity) and tabâhî (vaunting) of descent and social ties, strict observance of rules of honor, and generosity of giving31."

A salient trait shared by the two characters is fidelity to keeping one's word: al-Samaw'al "sacrificed" his son to keep a word of honor he gave to a protégé, while ¿Urwah surrendered ("sacrificed") his beloved wife (whom he had abducted) so as to keep a promise that was coaxed out of him while drunk32.


Fidelity and Jewishness in Broader Context

It would be relevant to ask whether this exaltation for the Jewish poet and his faithfulness to his values is confined to this case of choosing to lose ("sacrifice") his son over losing his sense of honor, or are there others? Instances of remarkable faithfulness to a promise, marital fidelity, religiosity, and manifestation of sense of honor by an ordinary Jew (who is not venerated as a "Moslem" prophet such as Moses, Solomon, David, Job, etc.) are recurrent in Arab and Islamic folk literature. For example, The Thousand Nights and a Night33 contains numerous instances illustrating the extent to which these values are appreciated and perceived to be part of being a Jew or Jewess (or an "Israelite")34. Among these the following may cited:

1. Island King/Pious Jewish Merchant:

In this story a son's fidelity to a promise (not to make an oath) given to his father--a pious Israelite--constitutes the moral core around which the tale coheres. Faithfulness causes the son to lose his wealth, flee his homeland, and suffer subsequent dispersement of his family. Through faithfulness to his principles, honesty and sound mercantile practices he becomes king of and island and the family is reunited35.

2.  Virtuous Jewess and Wicked Elders:

Two elder men try to seduce a pious "Israelite" woman and resort to treacherous means. She remains faithful to her principles. When their plots fail, they accuse her of fornication. The wisdom of Daniel (when just a young lad) reveals the truth. Fire from heaven destroys the two men36.

3.  Jewish qâdî and His Devout Wife:

An "Israelite" qâdî goes on pilgrimage and leaves his beautiful wife in the care of his brother. The brother tries to seduce her but she remains faithful to her vows. The brother accuses her of adultery and she is sentenced to death by stoning. She survives the stoning ordeal and is rescued. Again, a robber tries to seduce her but she remains faithful. Miraculously, she receives powers of healing. Her brother-in-law, who became sick, seeks her aid. He along with other sinners confess their evil deeds and are healed. She reveals herself and all are forgiven37.;

4.  Jewish Tray-maker and Temptress:

An "Israelite" who makes his living as a door-to-door vendor is subjected to seduction by a wealthy woman. He is miraculously saved when he jumps off the top of the woman's house. He and his wife receive divine rewards38.

5. Hunchback's Tale: Resuscitated:

Faithfulness to a sense of justice motivates a Jew, a Moslem and a Christian to confess to a murder each erroneously believes he committed, thus "sacrificing" oneself to "execution". Fortunately, the supposedly "murdered" person proves to be alive. All are three men are proven innocent39.

6. Nûr al-Dîn )Alî and Son:

In this tale the hero is saved through the honesty and truthfulness of a Jewish merchant40.


Ritualistic Sacrifice

In the sacred Abrahamic account both the father and son were ready to enact God's will. However the actual human sacrifice act was suspended by Divine intervention and the providing of an animal as substitute. This account seems to be the only case of human sacrifice to a higher supernatural entity in Arab traditions. As mentioned above, the concept of a sacrifice in its ritualistic sense is not involved in the Samaw'al account under investigation here. Yet, there is one salient case in the folk traditions of the Arab-World that involves human sacrifice in ritualistic context. The case in question recurs as an ordinary folktale (a Zaubermärchen) classified as Tale-type AT/(ATU) 516C, "St. James of Galicia. Amicus and Amelius41." In this tale the hero dies, and the life (or the blood) of the son of the hero's friend is required for the hero's resuscitation. The friend willingly offers his son for sacrifice, but the son is usually restored back to life (via one of several means). Thus, the potential for the existence of an association between the Samaw'al account in any of its various versions on the one hand, and the only known true folktale involving the motif of "sacrifice of son," on the other, should be considered.

Characteristically, the Aarne-Thompson Type Index (1961/1964) is woefully inadequate in dealing with Arab narrative traditions. It cites only three occurrences of the tale-type from Europe. None is given from the Arab World. Yet, numerous occurrences of the tale-type were already available in languages accessible to the European indexers, such as +French and German42 +.

       An examination of the nature of the theme of sacrificing one's own son for the benefit of a friend proves to bear no resemblance to the Samaw'al's "sacrificing" his son for the benefit of his protégé. Beside the main motif of "sacrificing" a son (W29.5§), the two accounts share no common episodes. Clearly, the folk narrative designated as Type 516C, and the Samaw'al account--be it an actual historical occurrence or a fictitious story--are not related. Consequently, the possibility of the Samaw'al account being unique and therefore is an actual occurrence as reported by those who retained it in their "memory" is lent some support. Meanwhile no support is detected for its being a "solar myth" dependent of recurrent mythical themes--as proposed by Winckler.



Fidelity and conscientiousness, as highly valued traits of character, have been maintained as part of the image of al-Samaw'al ibn ¿Âdiyâ as a "Jew" for nearly fifteen centuries. Starting in pre-Islamic time, this association has continued throughout the various phases of Arab and Muslim history--high and low, proud and humble--until the present time. Perhaps the assumption of the existence of "Anti Semitism"--with Jewishness as the sole identifying trait--among the Semitic Arabs needs to be reconsidered under more scrutinizing criteria. In this regard, it may be worthwhile to observe how street performers in Egypt +(such as jugglers and acrobats)+ address the issue of religious faith:

Before beginning a show, the performer addresses the spectators who form the circle around him (or her):

 "Mohammed is Prophet, Jesus is Prophet, and Moses is Prophet. And every one of you who follows a prophet should bless him."

Simple as it is, this practical suggestion takes into consideration the diversity of beliefs among the viewers and the importance of these beliefs. It calls for adhering to one's own faith and at the same time respecting the faiths of others43.


Lâmiyyah: 'inna al-kirâma qalîl

(Selected Verses)

Arabic transliteration--a sample (by El-Shamy)



1. 'idhâ al-mar'u lam yadnas mina al-lu'mi ¿irduhu

       fa kullu ridâ'in yartadîhi jamîlu


2. wa in huwa lam yahmil ¿alâ al-nafsî daymahâ,

       fa laysa 'ilâ husni al-thanâ'i sabîlu


3. tu¿ayyirunâ 'annâ qalîlun ¿adîdunâ,

       fa qultu lahâ: "'inna al-kirâmâ qalîlu"


4. wa mâ qalla man kânat baqâyâhu mithlanâ,

       shabâbun tasâmâ li-l-¿ulâ wa kuhûlu


5. wa mâ darrunâ 'annâ qalîlun wa jârunâ

       ¿azîzun, wa jâru al-'aktharîna dhalîlu


6. lanâ jabalun yahtalluh man nujîtuhu,

       manî¿un yarrudu at-tarfa wa huwa kalîl


7. rasâ 'asluhu tahta al-tharâ wa samâ bihi

       'ilâ an-najmi far¿un lâ yunâlu tawîlu


[7.1 huwa al-'ablaqu al-fardu alladhî shâ¿a dhikruhu

       ya¿izzu ¿alâ man râmahu wa yatûlu]


8. wa 'innâ la-qàwmun lâ narâ al-qatala subbatan

       'idhâ mâ ra'athu ¿Âmirun wa Salûlu


9. yuqàrribu hùbbu al-mawta 'âjâlunâ lanâ

       wa takrahuhu 'âjâluhum fa tatûlu




21. salî 'in jahilti an-nâsa ¿annâ wa ¿anhumu

       fa laysa sawâ'un ¿âlimun wa jahûlu


22. fa 'inna banî al-Rayyâni qutbun li qawmihim

       tadûru rahahum hawlahum wa tajûlu.


The Poem44

['Inna al-kirâma qalîlu]*


1      When a man's honour is not defiled by baseness, then every cloak

       he cloaks himself in is comely;


2      And if he has never constrained himself to endure despite, then

       there is no way (for him) to (attain) goodly praise.


3      She (was) reproaching us, that we were few in numbers; so I said

       to her, "Indeed, noble men are few.["]


4      Not few are they whose remnants are like to us-youths who

       have climbed to the heights, and old men (too).


5      It harms us not that we are few, seeing that our kinsman is

       mighty, whereas the kinsman of the most part of men is abased.


6      We have a mountain where those we protect come to dwell,

       impregnable, turning back the eye and it a-weary;


7      Its trunk is anchored beneath the soil, and a branch (of it) soars

       with it to the stars, unattainable, tall.


[7.1 huwa al-'ablaqu al-fardu alladhî shâ)a dhikruhu

       ya)izzu )alâ man râmahu wa yatûlu]]


8      We indeed are a folk who deem not being killed a disgrace, though

       `Âmir and Salûl may (so) consider it.


9      The love of death brings our term (of life) near to us, but their

       term hates death, and is therefore prolonged.


10    Not one sayyid of ours ever died a natural death, nor was any

       slain of ours ever left where he lay unavenged.


11    Our souls flow out along the edge of the swordblades, and do not

       flow out along other than the swordblades.


12    We have remained pure and unsullied, and females and stallions

       who bore us in goodly fame kept intact our stock.


13    We climbed on to the best of backs, and a descending brought

       us down in due time to the best of bellies.


14. So we are as the water of the rain-shower-in our metal is no

       bluntness, neither is any miser numbered amongst us.


15. We disapprove if we will of what other men say, but they disavow

       never words spoken by us.


16. Whenever a sayyid of ours disappears, (another) sayyid arises, one

       eloquent to speak as noble men speak, and strong to act moreover.


17. No fire of ours was ever doused against a night-visitor, neither

       has any casual guest alighting found fault with us.


18. Our `days' are famous amongst our foes; they have well-marked

       blazes and white pasterns;


19. And our swords-in all west and east they have been blunted

       from smiting against armoured warriors;


20. Their blades are accustomed not to be drawn and then sheathed

       until the blood of a host is spilled.


21. If you are ignorant, ask the people concerning us and them-and

       he who knows and he who is ignorant are (assuredly) not equal."


22. Surely the Banu 'l-Daiyân are (as a) pole for their people, their

          mills turn and rotate around them.



1. Sources: Abû Tammâm, al-Hamâsa (ed. Freytag), 49-54.

     J. W. Hirschberg, Der Divan des as-Samau'al ibn `Adijâ' (Cracow, I931), 21-3. Metre: tawîl For a full discussion and analysis of this celebrated poem see Hirschberg, op. cit.

2. The usual meaning of daim is "wrong, injustice"; here the intention is clearly "being unjust to oneself" in the sense of compelling oneself to endure intolerable hardships.

3. Presumably the taunt was shouted by a woman accompanying into battle the warriors of a rival tribe.

5. "Kinsman": or, "neighbour, protector". See Lane s.v. The line may also be construed (with mâ taken as interrogative) as a question.

6. The "mountain" is either to be taken metaphorically ("Our glory is so high that its summit cannot be scanned") or literally, as referring to the mountain- fortress of al-Ablaq (al-Fard), the famous redoubt of al-Samau'al.

8. `Âmir and Salûl are the names of rival tribes; see Encycl. of Isl.2 I, 441-2; Encycl. of Isl.1, IV, 119.

9. Sc. our warriors die young, those of our rivals live on into old age.

11. The commentator al-Tibrîzî explains the second half of this verse as excluding death by the dishonourable instruments of sticks and staves and the like.

12. For this use of sirr, see Lane 1338, col. 2.

13. A reference to the loins and wombs of the ancestors of the tribe.

14. A rain-cloud is a common simile for generosity. "In our metal": lit. "in our stock, handle".

16. For the form qa'ûlun see Wright, I, 135B.

17. The poet refers to the Bedouin practice of lighting a fire on the top of the nearest hill to guide night-travellers to the encampment and as a sign that hospitality was to be found there.

18. "Our `days'": i.e. the famous battles in which the tribe has engaged. The white parts of the noble horse describe the "outstanding" achievements.

20. A qabîl is a collection of men descended from various fathers; a qabîla is descended all from one father.

22. This verse is assigned by al-Tibrizî not to al-Samau'al, who was not of the Banu 'l-Daiyân, but to a certain `Abd al-Malik b. `Abd al-Rahîm al-Hârithî; see Hirschberg, op. cit. 23.


"Takhmîs qasîdat `'inna al-kirâmâ qalîlu'"

(The Noble are Few)


It is said that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." In Arabic literary traditions this practice is labelled nahj (i.e., to follow the course/style of ..., [serious] parody).

The Iraqi poet Safiyy al-Dîn al-Hillî (1258- ca 1350)--born in Hilla (Iraq), known for his panegyrics poems addressed at the rulers of his time. He also showed strong interest in forms of folk and popular poetry. An Instance of these forms is his creation--or perhaps more accurately: re-creation--of Al-Samaw'al's celebrated poem45.



       1          ____________________uh          ________________jamîlu

Hllî: khamsâwî-stanzaic

       1:         ____________________uh          ____________________uh

                   ____________________uh          ____________________uh




       2          ____________________ha          _________________sabîlu

Hillî: khamsâwî-stanzaic

       2          ____________________ha          ____________________lu

                   ____________________y            ____________________y




       3          ____________________nâ          _________________qalîlu

Hillî: khamsâwî-stanzaic

       3          ____________________nâ          ____________________nâ

                   ____________________nâ          ____________________nâ



Arabic transliteration

"Takhmîs qasîdat `'inna al-kirâmâ qalîlu'"

A sample (by El-Shamy)



1. Qabîhun bi-man dâqat )an al-rizqi 'arduhu ●● wa tûlu al-falâ rahbun `alayhi wa ¿arduhu wa lam yubli sirbâl ad-dujâ minhu rakduhu ●● 'idhâ al-mar'u lam yadnas mina al-lu'mi ¿irduhu fa kullu ridâ'in yartadîhi jamîlu

2. 'idhâ al-mar'u lam yahjib ¿an al-¿ayni nawmahâ ●● wa lam yughli min al-nafsi an-nafîsati             sawmaha 'udî¿a wa lam ta'man ma¿âlîhi lawmahâ ●● wa 'in huwa lam yahmil ¿alâ al-nafsî daymahâ, fa laysa 'ilâ husni al-thanâ'i sabîlu

3. wa ¿usbatu ghadrin arghamat-hâ Judûdunâ ●● fa-batat wa minhâ diddunâ wa hasûdunâ 'idhâ ¿ajazat ¿an fi¿ li kaydin yakîdunâ ●● tu¿ayyirunâ 'annâ qalîlun ¿adîdunâ,fa qultu lahâ: "'inna al-kirâmâ qalîlu."



*Note: the sign § indicates a motif or tale-type generated by Hasan El-Shamy.

1: Compare the Jungian concept of "Archetype"; see H. El-Shamy, "Archetype," in: , Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Forms, Methods, and History (Thomas A. Green, Gen. ed., ABCCLIO), pp. 36-39. Also see "AlLâshucûr al gamâcî wa alfolklore (Collective Unconsciousness and Folklore) [2]." In: AlMajallah, Cairo, No. 126, June 1967, pp. 2129.

One of the early designations of the concept of "national memory" is given in the distinguished historian Ahmad Amîn's Qâmûs .... under the label: "hâdithatân (Two Events)" that became part of the Egyptian national memory. The first involved kafâ'ah in marriage between a sharîfah woman and a non-sharîf man; the second was "Dinshiwây" and the world-wide reaction to the tyranny of the colonial British rule and its brutality in dealing with villagers accused of attacking british soldiers hunting pigeons in the village's fields. (pp. 150-152).

2: On memory, see Hasan El-Shamy, Folkloric Behavior: : A Theory for the Study of the Dynamics of Traditional Culture. (https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/8959).

3: A term introduced by the Swedish folklorist C.W. Von Sydow. The concept requires inclusion of a traditional component such as a folk belief for the personal narrative to qualify as folkloric. On the "Memorate," see Hasan El-Shamy, "Folkloric Behavior," p. {169}, 2010, p. 123. For examples from Arab traditional life, see by the same author: Folktales of Egypt, Chapter VI "Local Belief Legends and Personal Memorates," pp. 173-84.

4: Mot.: P751.3.0.1', IEffendis class (`employees', `muwazzafîn'): westernized.

5: Often referred to by the literati as Muhammadiyyûn, Masîhiyyûn and Mûsawiyyûn.

On the use of the word "Yahûdî", Sir Richard Burton explains that

"Yahûdî" which is less polite than "Banû Isrâîl" = Children of Israel. So in Christendom "Israelite" when in favour and "Jew" (with an adjective or a participle) when nothing is wanted of him. (Burton, The Arabian Nights. vol. 1, p. 210 n. 3.)

Clearly, the use of the word "yahûdî/yahûdiyy" as an adjective in the Arabic work under discussion here is highly complimentary.

6: barakàh is defined as "... a sacred entity, constituted of both efficiency and God's help, that is diffusible from its owner to other persons, objects, and acts." See El-Shamy, Religion Among the Folk in Egypt, pp. 185-86. Mot.: D1705', "barakah (blessedness): supernatural positive power residing in object, act, or person"; and D1706', "A person's barakah (mabrûk-person, blessed person)"; D1707.2', I"Blessed bodily organ (limb); D1707.2.1', IBlessed hand (arm)".

7: Mot.: W29', Constancy (wafâ').

8: Translated by El-Shamy. The English text here is slightly at variance with the one A. Arberry gives (see Appendix no. 1A, below).

     This verse is a recurrent cliché of the 'inshâ literary style. See Intro. to Hasan El-Shamy's Tales Arab Women Tell..., p. 10. (Cf. Mot.: Z1.0.1', "'inshâ-style literary composition: constituted mainly from copied (memorized) famous quotations."

9: Mu)jam al-bildân, vol. 1, p. 75. After Sâbâ: Introduction to Dîwânâ )Urwah ibn al-Ward wa al-Samaw'al (The Two Dîwâns of...) Dâr Sâdir: Beiruth, 1964, p. 68. Translated by El-Shamy.

10: After Sâbâ, p. 73.

11: Âthâr al-bilâd, p. 73. After Sâbâ, p. 68.

12: After Sâbâ, p. 68.

13: Sâbâ (p. 100) points out that Anastas the Carmalite differentiates between two Samaw'als: one Quradhiyy, and the other a Ghassanide. However, Sâbâ declares that "we do not know on what basis he [(Anastas)] relied in differentiating between two Samaw'als."

14: Concise Encyclopedia of Arabic Civilization I. The Arab East; II. The Arab West. Djambatan: Amsterdam, 1966). vol. 1, p. 462 (italics added).

15: David Samuel Margoliouth, The Relations between Arabs and Israelites prior to the Rise of Islam, (Oxford, 1924), p. 78.

16: Margoliouth, p. 71.

17: Margoliouth cites the reference as :"Winckler, in: n.#1 MVAG. vi. 262. p. 72 = [=Mitteilungen der vorder asiatischen Gesellschaft].

18: Margoliouth, p. 72. Italics added. For the "proverb", see n. 23, below.

19: For description and critique of the Solar Mythological School, see R.M. Dorson, "The Eclipse of Solar Mythology," in: Journal of American Folklore, vol. 68, No. 270, Myth a Symposium, Ed., T. Sebeok. (Oct.-Dec. 1955), pp. 393-416.

20: Salient motifs are: Z62, "Proverbial simile"; Z62.9.1', I"Proverbial comparisons (`bigger than', `smaller than', `bolder than', `softer than', etc.)"; W29', "Constancy [(wafâ')]"; W29.5', I"Man chooses to let his son (brother, father, etc.) be killed by captor rather than to break his promise (betray trust). (Al-Samaw'al)".

     Compare Tale-type 516C, below.

21: Sâbâ, p. 72.

22: Al-Harth ibn Zâlim (or--according to another report Al-Harth ibn Shamr al-Ghassânî) as its commander; see: Sâbâ, pp. 72-73. Margiliouth (p. 72) reports the commander of the army as "Persian."

23: Mot.: W37.8', Idhimmah: economic, political, governmental, conscientiousness and honesty.

24: The key motif in this account is: W29.5', I"Man chooses to let his son (brother, father, etc.) be killed by captor rather than to break his promise (betray trust). (Al-Samaw'al)";

It also incorporates the following motifs: R51.4.1', I"Hostage (captive) killed"; S265.1, "IHostages sacrificed".

25: See: Ibn )Âsim, AbuTâlib alMufddal, alFâkhir, No. 482, p. 302-3 (Cairo, 1960); and, C.A. Storey, ed. Pg. 245 (2nd ed. al-Fergânî, Cairo: 1982). Translation by El-Shamy.

     Mot.: J210, "Choice between evils"; J229.17', I"Choice between sins (religious)"; J229.17.1', I"Choice: breaking oneτs own oath (pledge) or breaking a friend's". The latter motif occurs in the story of "Bulûqiya," Alf laylah, vol. 3, p. 76.

26: Motifs: S111.6.1', I"Murder with poisoned shield (cuirass). Flesh (skin) of wearer falls off." It is a variation on Thompson's Mot. S111.6, "Murder with poisoned robe," which occurs in Tale Types: 314, The Youth Transformed to a Horse. (Goldner). [Hero in menial disguise wins battle]; 410, Sleeping Beauty. [Princess falls in magic sleep: disenchanted by prince]; and 709, SnowWhite. [Mother jealous of her daughter=s beauty]. All recurrent in the narrative traditions of the Arab World.

27: See Margoliouth, esp. p. 74, n. 1, data owed to "Mr. F. Krenkow," a specialist in early Arabic poetry.

28: Web Sources: Al-Samaw'al ('Samuel') ibn `Adia Modern Schools Secondary Schools Zion Conflict Israel Sectarian Conflict; and Moreh, Shmuel, "The Study of Arabic Literature in Israel".

29: Margoliouth, p. 76.

30: Margoliouth (p. 76) points out that several of the ode's lines are "spirited" and "have become proverbial". He notes that the poem is placed in "Courage" but actually should be seen as "Mufâkharah (outboasting)," pp. 76-77.

31: Sâbâ, p. 69.

32: For the story, see Karam al-Bustânî, Dîwânâ )Urwah ibn al-Ward wa al-Samaw'al (The Two Dîwâns of...) pp. 30-31. See also Ronart and Ronart, p. 548.

The key motifs in this historical account are: W37.0.1, "Man never breaks his word"; and

W14.8', I"Right to a woman (girl) surrendered or claimed as an act of gallantry". The plot is comparable to Tale-type 895B', Host Surrenders his Wife (Sister) to Guest. Guest fell in love with her unaware of her identity.

     Other salient motifs include: P477.1', I"The banished (sa)âlîk) value individualism highly"; K332.3', I"Consent (promise) secured from person when he is drunk";

K1397.4', I"Man tricked into divorcing his wife"; P529.2.2.1', I"Wife (bond-woman) abandons husband in spit of his merits"; T194', "Marriage by abduction (or raid)"; P529.2.2.1', I"Wife (bond-woman) abandons husband in spit of his merits"; and T145.', I"Lower status for concubine (slave-woman) among a man's wives".

33: Anonymous, 'Afl laylah wa laylah, 4 vols. (Cairo, Maktabat al-Jumhûriyyah al-)Arabiyyah, n. d.).

     In June 2006 a certain researcher e-mailed me asking for instances of "Anti-Semitism" in the Arabian Nights to be used in a project he was undertaking on that topic. I replied that I was not aware of any, and pointed the researcher to the texts cited below. To his credit, the researcher wrote back (7/10, 2006) expressing the view that these texts are indeed "respectful" of Judaism and the Jews. (S.B. -7/10, 2006).

34: On the use of "Jew" and "Israelite", see Burton's remark in n. 7, above.

35: Alf vol. 3, pp. 16-18; Burton vol. 5, pp. 290-94. Tale-type: 0912', "Do not Make an Oath." Dying Father's Counsel; and 938, Placidas (Eustacius). [Loses all in mishaps, then regains all].

36: Alf, vol. 2, pp. 286-87; Burton, vol. 5, pp. 97-98. Tale-type: 883', Innocent Slandered (Suspected) Female. (General); 926C, Cases Solved in a Manner Worthy of Solomon.

Key Motif: J1153.1, "Susanna and the elders: separate examination of witnesses [discredits accusation]"; Q552.1, "Death by thunderbolt as punishment"; Q552.13, "Fire from heaven as punishment".

37: Alf, vol. 3, pp. 10-11; Burton vol. 5, pp. 256-59. Mot.: V298', "The pious (as quasi-sacred persons)".

     Tale-type: 881, Oftproved Fidelity. [Woman successfully resists a series of cruel attempts to violate her]; and 712, Crescentia [the Faithhealer]. The slandered and banished wife is reinstated through her miraculous healing powers.

38: Alf, vol. 3, pp. 13-14; Burton vol. 5, pp. 264-69.

     Tale-type: 802C*, The Rooms in Heaven. [Palace in Paradise for the true believer]; and 620A',-cf., Benevolent (Hospitable) Lies and Malevolent (Miserly) Ones Become Truths. Also Cf./theme of Tale-type, 227, Geese Ask for Respite for Prayer. [They fly away]. [Here it involves humans].

39: Alf, vol. 1, p. 87; Burton, vol. 1, p. 260.

     Mot.: W37, "Conscientiousness"; and W37.5.1', I"At the execution (hanging, crucifixion), a Moslem, a Christian, and a Jew each declares that he is the culprit upon seeing the other about to be unjustly executed for it".

40: Alf, vol. 1, p. 69; Burton vol. 1, p. 211.

     Mot.: P770.0.2', "Bill of sale (contract)"; P715.1.1', AI"Jew as merchant (businessman)".

41: See Aarne, Antti, and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communications, No. 184 (Helsinki, 1964), p. 186.

42: It was also included in Victor Chauvin's encyclopedic work: Bibliographie des ouvrages arabes ou relatifs aux Arabes: publiés dans l'Europe chrétienne de 1810 à 1885, 12 vols. (Liége, 1892-1922).

     Subsequently, DOTTI (2004) lists 21 occurrences of this tale-type in the Arab World. These include ten (10) texts in European languages non of which were included in the AT Type Index.

Additionally, a sub-Saharan African text from Guinea, with obvious connections to North African traditions was detected in Klipple: p. 416‑‑under: "S268".

     These findings are included in the updating of the Aarne-Thompson index by Hans-Jörg Uther, The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communications No. 284. (Helsinki, 2004).

     The negative effects of the absence of Arab World narrative traditions from serious scholarship cannot be overestimated. See for examples Hasan El-Shamy, "Towards A demographically Oriented Type Index for Tales of the Arab World." In: Cahiers de Littérature Orale, no. 23: La tradition au présent (Monde arabe), Praline GayPara, ed. (Paris, 1988), pp. 1540, especially nn. 36-39.

43: El-Shamy, "Foreword" to "Folktales Told throughout the Arab World"‑‑the "Arabic section." In: The Tradition of Moses and Mohammed: Jewish and Arab Folktales, Blanche L. SerwerBernstein, ed., pp. 176-77.

44: *From: Arthur Arberry, Arabic Poetry. A Primer for Students. (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1965). pp. 30-33. Data in brackets "[]" are added by El-Shamy.

 45: Safiyy al-Dîn al-Hillî, Dîwân. After Sâbâ, pp. 93-99.


- Aarne,Antti, and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communications, No. 184 (Helsinki, 1964).

- Amîn, Ahmad, qâmûs al-)âdât wa al-taqâlîd wa al-ta)âbîr al-misriyyah (Dictionary of Egyptian Customs, Traditions and Expressions) (Cairo, 1953).

- Anonymous, 'Alf laylah wa laylah, 4 vols (Cairo, Maktabat al-Jumhûriyyah al-)Arabiyyah, n. d.).

- Arberry, Arthur. Arabic Poetry. A Primer for Students (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1965).

- Burton, Richard F., Arabian Nights: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. Vls. 1-10, (London, 1894).

- Bustânî (al-), Karam, Dîwânâ )Urwah ibn al-Ward wa al-Samaw'al (The Two Dîwâns of...). Dâr Sâdir: Beiruth, 1964.

- Chauvin, Victor, Bibliographie des ouvrages arabes ou relatifs aux Arabes: publiés dans l'Europe chrétienne de 1810 à 1885, 12 vols. (Liége, 1892-1922).

- Cheikho (Père), `Diwân al-Samaw'al' (Beirut, 1920)

- Dorson, R.M. "The Eclipse of Solar Mythology," in: Journal of American Folklore, vol. 68, No. 270, Myth a Symposium, Ed., T. Sebeok. (Oct.-Dec. 1955), pp. 393-416.

- Hamawî (al-), Yâqût, Mu)jam al-bildân, vol. 1 (Beirut, 19).

- Ibn )Âsim, AbuTâlib alMufddal, alFâkhir, )Abdal)Alîm alTahâwî, Ed. (Cairo, 1960)

- Margoliouth, David Samuel (1858-1940), The Relations between Arabs and Israelites prior to the Rise of Islam. (Oxford University Press: London, 1924)

- Qazwînî (Al-), Zakariyyâ ibn Muhammad, Âthâr al-bilâd. (Beirut, )

- Ronart, Stephen and Nandy. Concise Encyclopedia of Arabic Civilization I. The Arab East. (Djambatan: Amsterdam, 1966).

- Sâbâ, )îsâ. See: Dîwânâ )Urwah ibn al-Ward wa al-Samaw'al (The Two Dîwâns of...). Dâr Sâdir: Berouth, 1964.

- The Two Dîwâs of )ûrwah ibn al-Ward and al-Samawal. Dâr Sâdir and /Dâr Beyrouth, Eds.: Beyrouth, 1964.

- Shamy (El-), Hasan M. A Motif Index of The Thousand and One Nights. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).

_____, "Archetype," in: Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Forms, Methods, and History (Thomas A. Green, Gen. ed., ABCCLIO), pp. 36-39.

_____, "AlLâshucûr al gamâcî wa alfolklore (Collective Unconsciousness and Folklore) [2]." In: AlMajallah, Cairo, No. 126, June 1967, pp. 2129.

_____, Folkloric Behavior: : A Theory for the Study of the Dynamics of Traditional Culture. (https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/8959).

_____, Folk Traditions of the Arab World: a Guide to Motif Classification (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995)

_____, "Foreword" to "Folktales Told throughout the Arab World"‑‑the "Arabic section." In: The Tradition of Moses and Mohammed: Jewish and Arab Folktales, Blanche L. SerwerBernstein, ed. (Northvale: Jason Aronson Inc., 1994), pp. 171177.

_____, "The Story of ElSayyid Ahmad ElBadawî with Fatma Bint Berry,@ Part I, "An Introduction." In: Folklore Forum, vol. 10, No. 1 (1976), pp. 113.

_____, "Towards A demographically Oriented Type Index for Tales of the Arab World." In: Cahiers de Littérature Orale, no. 23: La tradition au présent (Monde arabe), Praline GayPara, ed. (Paris, 1988), pp. 1540.

_____, Types of the Folktale in the Arab World: A Demographically Oriented Tale-Type Index. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, September 2004).

- Uther Hans-Jörg, The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communications No. 284. (Helsinki, 2004)

Web Sources:

- Al-Samaw'al ('Samuel') ibn `Adia Modern Schools Secondary Schools Zion Conflict Israel Sectarian Conflict

- Moreh, Shmuel, "The Study of Arabic Literature in Israel"

All Issue