Morality in the Guise of Dreams

A Critical Edition of Kitāb al-Manām, with Introduction, by Leah Kinberg


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This important Book of Dreams K. al-Manām by Ibn Abī al-Dunyā (d. 281/894), a compendium of 350 Muslim dream narratives in Arabic, is now critically edited for the first time. Although dream accounts are scattered throughout most genres of classical Arabic literature, K. al-Manām is the only extant treatise dedicated solely to this topic. With the aim to provide the pious Muslim with a code of behaviour, the book relates dreams that deliver clear messages, of the kind that can be followed with no need for interpretation. The scholarly introduction in English gives a survey of the contents of the Arabic text, emphasizing the unique features of the book, while concentrating on their contribution to practical ethics, and examines the role dreams play in various genres of classical Arabic literature.

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Leah Kinberg, Ph.D. (1977) in Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan. Teaches at Tel Aviv University and is Head of the Arabic Department at Levinsky Teachers College, Israel. Has studied the function of dreams in the Islamic world and the interaction between the present world and the world to come, and reconstructed two lost treatises of Ibn Abī al-Dunyā, Kitāb al-Mawt and Kitāb al-Qubūr (Haifa, 1983).
'L'importance de l'ouvrage est [...] considérable car Ibn Abī al-Dunyā y transmet des traditions visiblement bien plus anciennes que le moment de la rédaction. Bref, la lecture du Kitab al-Manām suscite des questionnements multiples et profonds, et il est heureux que l'accès à son texte puisse se faire par un travail aussi soigné, érudit et passionné que celui de Leah Kinberg.'
Pierre Lory.
All those interested in Islamic history, Islamic ethics, literary genres, as well as those who are involved with the topic of dreams: interpretation, psychology, popular usage and cultural function.
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