Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity

Ikhwan al-Safa

Posted Jan 16, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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The Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity
An Illustrated 10th Century Iraqi Ecological Fable

Ikhwan al-Safa - The Brethren of Purity
Translated by Rabbi Anson Laytner and Rabbi Dan Bridge, Illustrated by Kulthum Begum

The Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity is a Sufi work of 10th century Iraq. It was later translated into Hebrew by Rabbi Kalonymus, and then rendered into Latin for a Christian king. It is now translated from the popular Hebrew version of the Jews into English. Edited by a Christian and illustrated exquisitely by a Muslim woman from India under the patronage of a Saudi princess, this is a true interfaith and multi-cultural title!

In this fable, eloquent representatives of all members of the animal kingdom-from horses to bees-come before the respected Spirit King to complain of the dreadful treatment they have suffered at the hands of humankind. During the ensuing trial, where both humans and animals testify before the King, both sides argue their points ingeniously, deftly illustrating the validity of both sides of the ecology debate. The ancient antecedents of this tale are thought to have originated in India, with the first written version penned in Arabic sometime before the 10th century in what is now Iraq. Much later, this version of the story was translated into Hebrew in 14th century France and was popular in European Jewish communities into the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This English translation addresses environmental and animal rights issues with charming efficacy. How current this beautifully illustrated tenth-century tale is for both the young and old of today!

Fons Vitae is to be congratulated for making this work available in its current form…the cooperation of representatives from all the religions of the Abrahamic family in the preparation of the present book - reminds us of the basic truth that the most crucial problems of today are those which all authentic religious people face together…They have provided a book of value for experts on medieval thought as well as ordinary readers interested in reading a fascinating story of enduring spiritual worth and great current significance.
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University

Recommended by the Sierra Club

Price: $14.95
Category: Middle Eastern Studies/Literature/General (for all ages)
Pages: 170
Book Type: Paper
Size: 7 1/2 x 10
ISBN: 1887752706
10 Color plates of original illuminations, which were commissioned for this translation

From Fons Vitae Press