Three hundred and fifty years to the month since Paradise Lost was published, John Milton’s epic poem continues to cause controversy. An academic who taught it in Egypt has been accused, by her own university, of spreading “destructive ideas” that have disturbed “public order … in an anarchic call disguised as a comparative literature textual analysis”. Most strikingly, she is accused of “glorifying Satan”.
The 10,000-line poem, one of the most influential in English literature, displays the vanquished Satan’s attempt at revenge as he journeys through the universe towards Eden to tempt Adam and Eve, before all three are punished by God. But Milton’s portrayal of his most striking character isn’t what the Egyptian authorities think it is. While we may certainly feel sympathy for him and even admire his ambition, we also see his obvious and fatal flaws, not least entering a face-off against God that even he admits is unwinnable.
[TOP RATED COMMENT 135 votes] Muslims believe in Satan’s existence more than any other group today. Belief in his day-to-day impact remains a part of popular culture, which links the devil to sinning, anger, nightmares and, in more remote regions, black magic and exorcism. Many Muslims still enter rooms with their right feet and eat with their right hands so the devil doesn’t join them.
[2ND 121] This is quite a good article. It shouldn’t be in the guardian
[3RD 80] Organised religion and authoritarian regimes seek to destroy free thought as free thought destroys organised religion and authoritarian regimes.
Liberal thought is under threat in many parts of the world.
[4TH 64] “Why Arab Muslims love Paradise Lost – and their leaders hate it”
I thought generalising about muslims was wrong?
[5TH 58] Is there an Arabic translation of the Age of Reason by Thomas Paine available?
[6TH 55] So, Arab Muslims love Paradise Lost? I wonder how many have read it?
Islamic scholars have a dim view of religious figures being portrayed in any way which challenges the basic tenets of their own faith. Too many Muslims continue to be raised to display blind obedience to their God and the words of the Prophet.
This underpins their whole world view and is part of the reason why Muslim countries have struggled to introduce successful democracies – a system not based upon blind obedience to a higher power such as a dictator. [Guardian Cif] Read more