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Thread: ARABIC Culture/Language Help

  1. #11
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by luinrina
    I've looked up and read quite some reference material on the Assassins (most powerful around the time of Saladin/Salahadin [no idea what's his real name in English >.>]). If I remember that correctly, the "usual" people have seen the capabilities etc. as something similar to witchcraft. Did they fear it to the point that Allah would let them burn in Hell if they followed it or even believed in it?
    The Hashashin themselves were an Islamic sect, though other Muslims certainly viewed them with dread and would probably have considered them heretical. As usual Wikipedia has a a pretty good article, though you should take anything you read about the Assassins with a large grain of salt -- there really isn't a lot of historically verifiable information about them, so much of what is "known" about them is myth and legend. (Kind of like ninjas in Japan.)

    And how is it today? Is witchcraft and wizardry seen as something demonic? How do you believe would a Muggle Muslim family treat a child that turns out to be a wizard/witch?
    Witchcraft is definitely considered Satanic in Islam. On the other hand, most Muslim cultures still practice witchcraft and observe many superstitious (originally pagan) rituals -- they just relabel it and pretend it's actually a prayer to Allah or something. (Note that Christians and Jews and, indeed, every major religion, does the same thing, but "witchcraft" is probably more common in Muslim countries, as more Muslims actually believe in it than in most Western countries.)

    A child who starts making objects fly, transforming things, and so on, would probably freak out a Muslim family. (Who wouldn't be freaked out?) How they'd react would depend on how strict their religious beliefs are as compared to how much they love their child. The reactions would probably range from rationalization (convincing themselves that these powers are a gift from Allah) to outright condemnation of the witch and outcasting, or even an attempt to kill him or her. (While certainly not true in all cases, I'm afraid the latter outcome would be much more likely if the child is a girl.)

    It depends a lot on where they are from, though. An educated family from one of the wealthier countries would probably react more positively than peasants from a poorer region.

  2. #12
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    Heya. I am a Muslim, but I dont live in Saudi Arabia. Still, I think that I can say a few things, because I have a fairly good idea about Islam.

    And how is it today? Is witchcraft and wizardry seen as something demonic? How do you believe would a Muggle Muslim family treat a child that turns out to be a wizard/witch?
    Witchcraft and Wizardry is still definitely considered demonic. A Muggle Muslim family might not accept it (especially in Saudi Arabia or those major countries). In there, they might treat them badly. I mean, suddenly seeing a normal kid making objects fly or explode would freak them out, duh. In my country, the rural people would think that the child is possessed by a ghost or spirit, whereas in the urban, they would think that it is some demonic force. (It is almost the same thing, but ghosts and demons are different.)
    They would never accept it. They wouldnt let the kid go to wizard school. The same can be said for Saudi Arabia, I think. Islam doesn't allow magic or witchcraft.

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  3. #13
    DarkAngel
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    It depends a lot on where they are from, though. An educated family from one of the wealthier countries would probably react more positively than peasants from a poorer region.
    Definitely. If the family is open-minded, they might accept it, reluctantly. I mean, there aren't too many people who follow religion religiously. I mean how many people out there are really serious religious people? The open-minded, not-so-serious, educated families would look at it more positively, thinking that the child probably has a gift, not a curse. However, in places like Saudi Arabia, where people are too serious, they are going to look at it negatively, and in rural areas, they'll be scared out of their wits.

  4. #14
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    Thank you both for the answers.

    Based on what you said, I have some more questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    The reactions would probably range from rationalization (convincing themselves that these powers are a gift from Allah) to outright condemnation of the witch and outcasting, or even an attempt to kill him or her. (While certainly not true in all cases, I'm afraid the latter outcome would be much more likely if the child is a girl.)
    Quote Originally Posted by majestic_ginny
    They would never accept it. They wouldn't let the kid go to wizard school.
    What would happen with the children? Could they leave the families and live with other outcasts in some outcast village? Or could the children run away from home to go to the wizarding school where probably 90% of the students are outcasts?

    What do you think would a rich and very open-minded (to the Western country cultures) family do with a witch as daughter?

    And what would a normal (normal on income, neither poor nor wealthy), (quite strongly) religious family do to an only son (no other siblings)?

    Do you believe that in a wizarding school, where the majority of the students are outcasts, the religious conflicts between Sunnis/Sunnites and Shi'ites would break out? Or can you imagine that the students would band together due to having lived through the same (running away to live)?

    Thank you again in advance for your help.

    ~Bine

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  5. #15
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by luinrina
    What would happen with the children? Could they leave the families and live with other outcasts in some outcast village? Or could the children run away from home to go to the wizarding school where probably 90% of the students are outcasts?
    That would depend on whether there are any adult wizards to help them, wouldn't it? If a kid suddenly manifests magic and her parents throw her out (or the villagers try to stone her), how would she know where to go? She'd be likely to think she was an abomination before God herself! But if this has been happening for a long time, then maybe the local wizarding school is used to rescuing the unfortunate children of superstitious Muggles.

    What do you think would a rich and very open-minded (to the Western country cultures) family do with a witch as daughter?
    If they are really open-minded, then I imagine they'd still be rather upset at the idea that their daughter is a witch, but they might be more receptive to someone like Dumbledore coming and explaining things to them.

    While witchcraft is Satanic in Islam, there are exceptions. For example, Solomon was supposedly a wizard, but Muslims regard him as a holy man. (In fact, if you are writing a fanfic set in the Muslim wizarding world, I'd suggest that Solomon would probably hold a status similar to what we see for Merlin in the Harry Potter books.) So a Muslim family could perhaps be convinced that some magic comes from God, and not the devil.

    And what would a normal (normal on income, neither poor nor wealthy), (quite strongly) religious family do to an only son (no other siblings)?
    Remember, what I said about rich-vs-poor families was only a generalization. I don't think you can say that a wealthy family will necessarily be more accepting, and a poor one less so. There are certainly very rich families that would still have a daughter who turns out to be a witch killed, and very poor, uneducated families that would still love their daughter too much to turn on her.

    That said, an average, religious Muslim family whose son becomes a wizard would probably present a real moral dilemma for them. It would depend a lot on whether anyone tried to explain it to them. If a wizard comes and tries to persuade them that wizards and witches aren't all evil and that magic isn't really all the work of the devil, they might listen. On the other hand, if the first person they go to is their local imam, and he tells them that their son is possessed by demons, then they'd probably be harder to convince after that.

    Do you believe that in a wizarding school, where the majority of the students are outcasts, the religious conflicts between Sunnis/Sunnites and Shi'ites would break out?
    Almost certainly. Especially with the state of the Muslim world today, it would take a very strong set of leaders to prevent such conflicts. If the students who have been there for a while are used to working with members of the other sect, and have gotten to know them, then tensions would probably ease, but they'd still have to keep dealing with new students coming in.

    (It should be noted, though, that Sunnis and Shias don't hate each other everywhere. In Iraq, before the U.S. invasion, they lived together peacefully in the same neighborhoods and even intermarried. Now, of course, things are very different.)

    Also note that the largest population of Shias (Iranians) are not Arabs, though they are Muslim.

  6. #16
    MithrilQuill
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    As for the whole sects thing, I'm always really, really skeptical when I hear about conflicts and such. There really aren't any serious differences in terms of the actual practice except for who each side thought should become the Khalifa (Calif) aftert the Prophet's death. I know most people nowadays don't even thin of themselves as being from one sect or another and that's not considered important to most people I know.


    Those types of problems are mostly political. So In Iraq I know there are some problems at the moment, but you have to remember that the groups have been living together and intermarrying for hundreds of years in Iraq. The problems arose first because of Saddam favoring one group over another, then because the Americans seemed to think there was some sort of inherent conflict and operated with that assumption. So it would definitely depend on the place and the politics. I really don't think kids would even know that there was a difference.


    As for the whole witchcraft thing I think you need to realize that the idea of how witchcraft works is completely different in the Harry Potter books and in the Islamic understanding of it. The prophet Solomon had powers because God put the Jinn under his control (ie he's not considered a wizard, but a Prophet with Miracles from God), that would be completely different from any normal person practicing witchraft. Just to be more specific in terms of what he could do he could control Jinns and also speak to and understand animals.


    In the Harry Potter series witchcraft isn't something that the child can help and it's much more definitive in someone's life. Witchcraft is considered bad in Islam because it causes some people to have power over others, it's used to hurt/deceive, etc. Also, there's a verse in the Quran which says that the Jinns who used to "listen" and find out stuff that would happen in the future and other secrets could not longer do that because they've been prevented by God and so they wouldn't be able to pass on that stuff to human beings. So it's considered a tool/art, not a power that you're born with, and it doesn't really apply/exist anymore.


    However, the others were right when they said that some people still cling to such things and they read fortunes in teacups and such. Actually, I've seen some very amusing story lines with old ladies trying to get curses made for them for one reason or another on Syrian TV shows. But again, it's only the superstitious who actually ever think of that sort of stuff as being remotely possible. And there are, of course, the people who make their livings off of convincing others that they can do that stuff...


    So as for your "what would the parents do/think". They would obviously be very freaked out. They'd consider it something that can be gotten rid of, not something that the kid is "born with" and I'm sure they'd try to figure out why that stuff is happening and how they can make it stop. So the initial reaction would be the Muggle reaction of disbelief/fear just with an added worry that the kid will go on to do something immoral. Afterwards, though, I don't know. Can you tell us where your characters are from? It's really hard to talk about a "typical Muslim" family, because that includes people from so many places and cultures. Even within Arab Muslims (and not all Arabs are Muslims by the way) there would be huge differences depending on where they're from.


    I doubt very much that the parents would allow anyone else to know about it, though, so they wouldn't be "outcasts", they'd just have to hide it and they might try to stop it.


    In my own writing I've written a fic (Deepest Darkness) where Hannah falls in love with a Muggle who originates from Bilad al-Sham (Syria/Lebanon/Palestine - I never specified which in the story). He wasn't religious at all at first, but he became more spiritual by the end of the fic. I didn't really have to deal with this whole practicing witchcraft issue, though, because the whole point of the fic was that Hannah finds out she had a very destructive power and decides to abandon witchcraft altogether (especially after her mother and then father's deaths) so she had already decided to live as a Muggle when they met. She did tell him, though, and even though she expected him - and the rest of their Muggle friends - to hate her for it they didn't.


    In another fic Rubbish Bins I have a minor character who is an Egyptian Wizard and I have it that they live much more closely with the Muggles (without the Muggles knowing they can do magic) than they do in England. So those wizards just use their powers as tools, they don't necessarily define their entire lives by it or live apart because of it. He's a really minor character, though, so again, I haven't explored this in great detail.


    So yeah, if you let us know which country your characters are from and a little more about them I think I can help more.

  7. #17
    Inverarity
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    Oh, I agree that Solomon's "magical" powers are not what we usually think of as witchcraft and wizardry. But that's in the real (mythical) world. If we posit a world (like Harry Potter) where wizards and witches are real, then it becomes quite likely that Solomon was actually a wizard -- or at least, that Muslim wizards would believe he was.

  8. #18
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    Thank you so much for the lengthy answers. They helped a great deal to get a better picture, and provided quite some parts where I can start with a plot.

    My ideas are those now:

    Right about now I've eliminated the idea of a school. It could come back though, not sure yet.

    The girl would be a Shi'ite, her family very open-minded. They love their daughter and wouldn't get rid of her. They even find someone who becomes her teacher. I thought of giving her some Seer abilities. Still, they won't talk about her abilities openly.

    The boy is going to be an Ismaelit (Shi'ite so, too). Though, his parents fear his magical abilities (not yet sure of what nature they are), and they throw him out after having tried a demon banning by the local imam. They want to have nothing to do with him. He then meets an old man (also magical) who teaches him, taking the boy with on his travels.

    I thought of setting the beginning of the story into the region of old Persia, which would make it either Iran or Iraq if I'm not mistaken. I tend to Iran more. Some middle-sized city near the Persian Gulf or something.

    Thank you so much for all your information so far. The plot bunny takes on new shapes here.

    ~Bine

    EDIT: Another question just occured to me. I've seen a documentation where it said that in some Muslim countries they're much more open towards women and wearing a head cloth. They've shown Muslim women that are dressed like western business women for example. Could my female OC be the same? Or do you think she would definitely wear a head cloth?
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  9. #19
    Inverarity
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    As MithrilQuill said, you really should decide which country your characters are from. The Muslim world is not a single monolithic culture. Egyptians, Iraqis, Saudis, Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese, etc. are not all the same. Asking how a Muslim family would behave is kind of like asking how a Christian family would behave -- well, is this Christian family American, English, French, German, Italian, Swedish...?

    Another thing to keep in mind is that even though most countries in the Muslim world are Arabic (but -- remember Iran and Indonesia, among others!), there are significant dialectal differences as well. The major dialects are Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Gulf, but there are many subdialects, and some are almost mutually unintelligible.

    Quote Originally Posted by luinrina
    The girl would be a Shi'ite, her family very open-minded. They love their daughter and wouldn't get rid of her. They even find someone who becomes her teacher. I thought of giving her some Seer abilities. Still, they won't talk about her abilities openly.
    Remember that Shiahs make up a minority in most Muslim countries (Iran being the exception). As MithrilQuill said, the distinction between sects doesn't usually come up unless the family is very devout (or living in an area where sectarian violence is common, like Iraq), but being Shiah would likely make her from a minority group (depending on which country she is from).

    I thought of setting the beginning of the story into the region of old Persia, which would make it either Iran or Iraq if I'm not mistaken. I tend to Iran more. Some middle-sized city near the Persian Gulf or something.
    Persia is Iran.

    Remember, Iranians are not Arabs! And Persian (Farsi) is not Arabic!

    Iraqis are Arabs. Iraqis speak Arabic (Iraqi dialect). And (depending on when your story takes place), keep in mind that Iran and Iraq fought a very bloody war not long ago.

    EDIT: Another question just occured to me. I've seen a documentation where it said that in some Muslim countries they're much more open towards women and wearing a head cloth. They've shown Muslim women that are dressed like western business women for example. Could my female OC be the same? Or do you think she would definitely wear a head cloth?
    Again, it depends on where she's from.

    In Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, it's quite common for women to dress in Westernized styles. Wearing a head cloth is seen as optional in those places (though there are fundamentalist Muslims who are pushing to make it mandatory). On the other hand, in places like Saudi Arabia or (again, not an Arab country) Iran, a woman out in public without covering could be arrested.

  10. #20
    MithrilQuill
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    I'm pretty certain that the only two countries which make the headscarf mandatory are Saudia Arabia and Iran. Then you have places like Turkey where they have laws against wearing it to Universities and schools, which is the other extreme. In most other Muslim countries it is (as it should be >.>) every woman's choice whether she will wear it or not and you can see a wide variety of styles and degrees of covering. The way that people wear the hijab can vary from place to place as well, depending on their specific culture.


    As for Iran, since you want your characters to be Persian, you can see a whole spectrum from those who wear a full black covering to those who wear tight jeans, makeup, and show their bangs. And even in Iran where they have to wear the scarf I'm quite sure your character could still be dressed in like a business woman with a suit and everything just with a scarf on her head and long pants


    So yeah, you seem to have chosen Iran as your setting if I'm correct which makes it really interesting, because there's so much history in terms of intellectuals and scientists as well as the religious history. The old man who travels around really has potential as well, so good luck with that. Unfortunately I can't help too much with the language or culture. Relligious-specific stuff, I could probably still help with unless you get into the specifics of the Ismaili beliefs/practices since I'm not familiar with that at all.


    I wanted to point out as well that you should probably pick a time period if you haven't already. It seems like the modern day setting is what you want, but just to make sure you should have a very clear idea of when this is set, because if you go back even a few years in that area the dynamics change a whole lot. This will also be important if you're doing flashbacks or even just having the characters discuss or discover the history of magic in their area. You mentioned something about "old Persia" I don't know if what you meant by this was just to specify the region or if you actually want to have some scenes in the past, so make sure you decide!



    /rant

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