Aida Gasimova

Aida Gasimova is a professor of Arabic Literature at Baku State University. Her research interests cover a wide range of topics within Classical Arabic Literature, Arabic short picaresque stories – so-called maqamat, poetry of al-Mutanabbi, Mental-Spiritual State of pre-Islamic Arabs, Qur’anic Symbolism in Azeri Turkic Sufi Poetry. 

In 1998 she was awarded “Abdulaziz Saud al-Babtin’s prize for grandchildren of Imam al-Bukhari”. In 2013 she was granted Open Society Foundation’s Global Faculty award and held two years visiting scholarship at Duke University. In 2016 she held Library research fellowship at California State University, Sacramento. She is currently working on two projects “Qur’anic Symbolism in Depiction of the Facial Features in Azeri Turkic Sufi Poetry” and “Mental-Spiritual State of pre-Islamic Arabs”. She has numerous academic publications in several languages (Arabic, Russian, English and Azeri Turkic) including articles in prestigious peer-reviewed European academic journals and participated in international conferences and workshops.

 

Droit du Seigneur in Adab Tradition

Lord’s right of the first wedding night has been a focus for much Western European historiography. Celebrated movie “Brave heart” by Mel Gibson once again directed attention to the odious privilege of governing classes to deprive ordinary men, particularly those of captivated nations from the right to spend the first wedding night with their brides. The institution is called by different terms: Jus primae noctis, jus cunni, jus junnagu, jus coxea locandae in Latin, droit du seigneur in France, cullage, cuissade in Spanish. There has been much controversy in European scholarship about the origin and peculiarities of such a right, its existence in different countries of the medieval Europe.  European scholars enumerated different sides of the custom, its social roots, its connection with the ancient beliefs, superstitions and traditions, its reflecting violations of women’s right in despotic regimes. Nevertheless, medieval Arabic tradition which maintains considerable amount of khabar on droit du seigneur are still out of the scholarly discussion. The present paper aims to analyze passages related to the lord’s right in the adab books by al-Jahiz, Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani, al-Qazvini and others, as well as commentaries on the classical poetry which maintain poems connected with droit du seigneur. My first acquaintance with the tradition shows two groups of khabars about  the topic. The first group of khabars revolves around practicing the custom in relationships between the legendary tribes Tasm and Jaddis, to be more precise, aroundthe king of Tasm‘Amliq, “whose reign has been based on oppression, harassment, bad behavior and injustice,” as al-Isfahani describes it. The plot of the khabar includes some interesting moments as a disguising of a man, the brother of the bride into bride’s attire, and his killing the despotic ruler. The second group of the legends is related to the khabars of the legendary Jewish knight of Yathrib -- Fityun. The paper aims to explore sources of these legends, that requires comparative analysis with the traditions of neighboring nations, particularly with the ancient Mesopotamian, Jewish and Greek texts which appear to be directly related to the custom.  Throughout the paper the role of khabar and sh‘ir will be discussed in contouring frameworks of adab.