Novel Layak Dibaca: Bayang-bayang Pohon Delima

Bayang-Bayang Pohon Delima

by: Tariq Ali

Penerjemah: Julkifli Marbun

478 hal.
Ukuran 13 x 20 cm
Terbit: Juli 2006
Harga: 54.900,00
Pernerbit Serambi

Bayang-Bayang Pohon Delima adalah salah satu dari tetralogi novel Tariq Ali yang mengungkap jejak peradaban Islam. Novel ini telah diterjemahkan dalam lusinan bahasa dan dianugerahi penghargaan Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Casto Prize untuk kategori Fiksi Bahasa Asing Terbaik yang diterbitkan di Spanyol pada 1994. Tiga karyanya yang lain: Kitab Salahuddin, Perempuan Batu, dan Sultan in Palermo.

Ali's "Shadow of the Pomegranate Tree" provides not only a great reading, but an extremely useful corrective to the general western misconception about Muslim society. His work while a fiction, has clearly been thoroughly researched. The openness, tolerance and cosmopolitanism of Islamic society during the Moorish period is clearly presented with accents and touches that ring true. While westerners are inclined to view Islam as a monolithic entity, Ali brings out the division and tension that existed within the societies of each period.

"Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree" is set in Spain after the fall of Granada. The story of the Banu Hudayl, a landed aristocratic family, the book explores the fateful decision that the Muslims of Spain had to make in the aftermath of the Reconquista. Shadows opens with the Muslim community having been recently shaken by the burning of their books on the order of Ximenes de Cisneros, Isabella's confessor. Sent to Granada to debate theology, Cisneros was verbally bested by the Muslim scholars. Defeated, he ordered all Muslim books to be destroyed two million manuscripts burned. "They set our culture on fire...The record of eight centuries was annihilated in one day", Umar the head of the Hudayl, laments. The only books to be saved from this wanton destruction were 300 medical and scientific works, spared by the petitions of Christian scholars who realized their superiority, and those books that the soldiers carrying them to the square discarded, judging the books' importance by their weight.

Cisneros, a man of the church is hell bent on destroying all vestiges of the Muslim society and culture in Granada. He sees force as the only way to win the conversion of the Muslims to Christianity, unlike his predecessor, who had given orders for the priests to learn Arabic and have Christian works translated. Yet his actions also have a personal element, as others whisper about his apparent Jewish features.

Cisneros cruelty is interestingly contrasted to the outlook of Don Ignio, the civilian governor of the Granada region, and a life long friend of Umar's. Don's entrouge consisted of Jewish and Moors, and he tells Umar "For me a Granada without them is like a desert without Oasis. But I am on my own" When Umar comments that the current situation would never have arisen had the Moors used the same tactics that the Christian were now employing, Dons's response is: "Instead you attempted to bring civilization to the whole peninsula regardless of faith or creed. It was noble of you now you must pay the price."

The reason I find this an excellent read is because Ali treats western history with the same thoroughness and brutal honesty, he demolishes the myth that the episode was a victory of one sort or the other of western society, simply by incorporating facts into the narrative. The triumphalism and sheer blood thirstiness of the Christian west is underscored most clearly in "Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree".
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