I have been trying to read “Leo The African” by Amin Maalouf. I really like this writer’s style. He attracted my attention with “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes”, and now he is doing it again with this novel. The begining of the novel is a little bit boring, talking about Hassan El Wazzan’s childhood, his family, their departure from Granada in the 15th century. Later on the story gets better and better when they moved to Fez, and he started to travel in Africa. Later on he will move to Cairo, then will be captured in Rome, but I didn’t reach this part yet.
Here are some of my favorite parts, I will post more insha allah when I finish it:
“When a man is rich, whether in gold or in knowledge, he must treat the poverty of others with consideration.” p. 37
“Sometimes it is necessary to disobey The Most High to obey Him more efectively.” p. 76
“Many men discover the whole world while seeking only to make their fortune. But as for you, my son, you will stumble on your treasure as you seek to discover the world.” p. 187
“…Abu Khamr used to complain that the Muslim lands produced fewer books than they used to, and that they were mostly repetitions or summaries of older books. On that your father and your grandfather always agreed; in the first centuries of Islam, he would say bitterly, one could hardly count the treatises on philosophy, mathematics, medicine or astronomy. The poets themselves were far more numerous and innovative, both in style and in content.
In Andalus too intellectual activity was flourishing, and its fruits were the books which were patiently copied and circulated among learned men from China to the far West. And then came the drying up of the spirit and of the pen. To defend themselves against the ideas and customs of the Franks, men turned Tradition into a citadel in which they shut themselves up. Granada could only produce imitators without talent or boldness.” p. 37
to be continued