BooksPath Reviews

Dove's Necklace – Ibn Hazm

Posted in Religious by bookspath on March 1, 2007

”Tawq al­-hamamah” (The Dove’s Necklace) or (Ring of the Dove) In classical Arabic literacy, the dove was symbolized with being a symbol of love, or romance. The ring iiself refers to a necklace around the neck. In essence, it is he “necklace of love”. The book is meant to be a way to add adornment to your love. The work is inspired by ”’ishq” (defined by Hakim Bey as “crazed hopeless passion”), and treats equally of desire both for males and females but cautions the reader against breaking religious injunctions aad praises remaining chaste.

A Treatise on the Art and Practice of Arab LoveIbn Hazm’s psychology is subtly manifested in this book. He gives detailed description of love as an attribute and accident. Also, the different catagories of love, including: falling in love while asleep, falling in love through a description, falling in love at first sight, etc. The readers should keep in mind that much of material in this book is not something Ibn Hazm himself endorses, if it can be correctly attributed to him. Rather, he is merely scrutinizing scenarios from the lives of the people he knew or was told about – be they righteous or sinful. I must add, Ibn Hazm reconciles his stance towards this subject by devoting the last two chapters on purely orthodox and morally accepted chapters: “The Vileness of Sinning” & “The Virtue of Continence”. A word about the translator would be beneficial. Even though A.J.Arberry is eloquent in his English language, after all he is a doctor in literature, I must admit that he isn’t quite there in mastery of the Arabic language, especially classical Arabic, and specifically, that of Ibn Hazm’s time. A.J. Berry has tried his best, yet has made some mistakes in translation. This is especially seen when he translates the poems liberally for the sake of the rhyme in the English language. I personally believe he shouldn’t have done that. As one cannot make a poem rhyme in both languages. If it rhymes in Arabic, it won’t rhyme in English, due to obvious reasons. He took considerable liberties for that purpose. The result is: much of poetry loses its orginality, in terms of language, syntax and diction. Moreover, this work was translated in the 1940’s, some 60 years ago. Hence, the period of time might also be responsible for the odd English structures. I would really like a fresh new translation of this work due to this reason.

Reviewer: Ejaz Sheikh (Brooklyn, NY USA)

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