Summary Of Society In The Journey Of Ibn Fattouma

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Throughout The Journey of Ibn Fattouma, Qindil encounters many diverse societies, each with their own social divisions and distinctions. Using Qindil as a voice, Naguib Mahfouz is able to comment on the various social strata described in the novel, whether it be in Mashriq or Aman. As Qindil progresses on his journey, he is exposed to different and perhaps radical variations from the divisions seen in his homeland, and each system has both its faults and merits in the world, just like in real life. The question of social status has yet to be satisfactorily answered despite the best attempts from philosophers throughout the history of humanity, and Mahfouz examines the intricacies of these systems through the eyes of ibn Fattouma. As seen …show more content…
The homeland is mainly made up of farmers and peasants, with intermittent visits from merchants and nobles. Otherwise, the people of Qindil’s homeland are ruled ultimately by the Sultan, who is portrayed as equal among the people before God, but in reality has superior authority. This is seen when the Sultan orders his chamberlain to take Halima from Qindil, as the chamberlain is “incapable of refusing” (13) and is scared of challenging the Sultan’s authority. Afterwards, Qindil sets out on his journey, with the ultimate goal of reaching Gebel. His first stopping point, Mashriq, has a system that challenged Qindil’s previous experiences. Mashriq does not have a king according to Fam, but rather an overlord system with high value placed in religious leaders. The people of Mashriq are “[the overlord’s] slaves, they submit to his will in exchange for a sufficiency of subsistence and security.” (27) Most of the people in Mashriq are simple herdsmen, and there are few if any skilled engineers or workers in …show more content…
Immediately upon arrival, Qindil notes the differences between Haira and Mashriq, claiming that “civilization was, no doubt, to be found here” (53). Despite the stark differences between the two, Qindil eventually discovers that Haira worships their king as their god, a system that is again foreign to Qindil. Much like the previous two regions, power is ultimately vested in one man, or a few men in the case of Mashriq. Also like his previous experiences, there are slaves in the land of Haira. Qindil meets with a sage, who further explains the system of Haira. Haira operates mainly on the wealth of the elite, who fund the hospitals and schools and partially own the factories. This progressive system is quite similar to modern systems such as socialism, where wealth is mainly extracted from the wealthy, who share land ownership with the state (or in this case, the god-king). Despite this forward thinking system, Qindil is jailed for treason against the religious operations of the state, which he thinks is ridiculous. However ridiculous that may be, religious persecution and corruption is seen often in developing countries to this day. Twenty-some years later, Qindil finds himself on the road again, this time to Halba. Halba is described as a wondrous and exciting capital, and that wonder can be attributed mainly to the social system employed in the region. Unlike Haira and Mashriq, all religions are

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