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"Afternoon Lesson"


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July 07, 2020, 11:23:26 am N. Truth Seeker: InshAllah, vaccine will come but might take a bit of time.
July 07, 2020, 11:22:43 am Heba E. Husseyn: Exactly ... !
July 07, 2020, 11:22:10 am Zeynab: World stuck in a pandemic desperately needs a vaccine.
July 07, 2020, 11:21:18 am N. Truth Seeker: lol true.
July 07, 2020, 11:20:59 am N. Truth Seeker: Very soon it will be neck deep.
July 07, 2020, 11:20:23 am Heba E. Husseyn: Dr. Fauci in US says country is knee-deep in pandemic.
May 30, 2019, 06:15:49 am Zeynab: Alhudulilah, yes sister Ruhi.  Time flies in this fleeting world.  May Allah The Almighty accept our hard work in the permanent world.  That's the real success.
May 30, 2019, 03:43:58 am Ruhi_Rose: Jumaa-tul-widaa (farewell to Ramadan) tomorrow Friday 31.  How time flies!  Ya Allah, keep us close to Your mercy.
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Author Topic: "Afternoon Lesson"  (Read 163 times)
Zeynab
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« on: December 13, 2019, 03:45:19 pm »




Thanks for viewing this Sister Ruhi.  You did well by posting it at our Writing Board.

I had given a brief description in one of our Pinterest boards, Islamic History Illustrated - the Golden Age - day-to-day life in the golden era.  But unfortunately Pinterest is going through an upgrade process and nearly all the image descriptions I had drafted with much research and care have been pulled down.  A few descriptions might still show up randomly, but most are gone Sad   But InshAllah, I hope they will be restored in future.

Talking of the background settings as well as the event .. ..

This watercolor painting illustrates one of the prettiest non-fancy middle age room decors ever.  Window architecture with that geometrical woodwork pattern and the broad sill is remarkable, absolutely grand.   So are the simple and neat furnishing and wall tiles, though the couch looks too high to be in conformity with Middle Eastern style of furniture.   Also the teacher placing some of his books on the floor, coming in with his shoes instead of leaving them at the door, and the casual posture of the ladies at such an occasion are not culturally authentic.  

It's basically about home schooling very common in Muslim households back in the middle ages.  Home tutoring in addition to attending schools was no rarity among many cultures in the past eras for boys.  But what makes the culture conveyed in this piece of art quite special is its allusion to the predominant practice of female home schooling in average as well as upper class Muslim homes.  This indeed was rampant in the Middle East but comparatively a rarity back then in Europe, South Asia and the Far East. 

In a nutshell, the idea is truthfully historical but the style of portrayal needs to be corrected just a bit. 

Modern Western history books and websites on medieval Middle Eastern women, their culture trend and their choices aren't substantially documented.  This includes the works of many 'Muslim' authors as well who are fed with the same fodder as their counterparts in the Western academia.  To a large extent, myths and figments of the minds of oriental historians, social scientists and artists - deeply influenced by the contents and style of the Arabian Nights tales - didn't do too good a job separating facts from folklore.  Women were depicted in three basic categories:

-  The homemaker wife, never seen nor heard of.

-  The ravishing amorous ladylove who met and stole the heart of some eligible prince in a passionate setting.   This category is often overly focused on a relatively small segment of old time Arabic literature (poems and stories) with a socially sexist approach and themes lingering around female sexuality. 

-   Lastly, the most notoriously creative legend, the "harem," supposedly filled with half naked slave women huddled together in some fanciful part of a wealthy household like dogs in a kennel to serve the mood-swing carnal desires of the menfolk.   One of the shittiest spoofs ever in the field of laid-back history!

The prime reason for such black & white depictions arose from the fact that medieval Muslim households culturally adhered to unwavering privacy rules for both men and women.   Some chroniclers and practitioners of art such as portraitists, watercolorists, landscapists etc. who travelled to the Middle East and acquired information of household cultures and lifestyles based on hearsay from friends, colleagues and fellow travellers reproduced their conceptual thoughts in the form of writings and illustrations.  Either through words or images, these concepts leaned much toward exaggerations and purple-proses.    The perspective started as a typical ahistorical nostalgia that misunderstood cultural history and later developed into a permanent stereotype.  Sadly, the stereotype remains until the present even in scholastic circles.  "Tenets of the Islamic faith" is persistently viewed as a reason for the lack of information on private lives of Muslim women which foreigners had a difficult time gathering.  Furthermore, this baseless presumption is interpreted as a 'negative implication on the lives of medieval Muslim women.'    In reality, quite the opposite honestly.   Literacy rate and the quest for productive education even among the wealthy Middle Eastern Muslim women has undoubtedly dipped in the modern era owing to distractions from oil wealth interfering with cultural priorities and of course the rise of Wahabism, the single biggest enemy of the era of Islamic Renaissance.  In the middle ages when both these negative aspects were absent, plenty of Muslim women of the region were tirelessly on the forefront.  One such example out of many is that of Fatima al-Fihri in a lengthy stretch of history when Western women were barred from higher education, even basic home schooling was uncommon within the middle class. 


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