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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
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Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2012.2.05

Fahd Mohammed Taleb Al-Olaqi


Marlowe’s Tamburlaine (1589) is a great Elizabethan Oriental play. Marlowe’s reference to the Qur’ān and the Prophet Muhammad is remarkable in two parts of the play. Marlowe calls it the ‘Turkish Alcoran’ to attack the Turkish pride in affronting it. How­ever, to burn the Qur’ān, Marlowe denigrates it, and unfairly falsifies the Prophet Muhammad. Marlowe’s hero Tamburlaine identifies the Qur’ān as an enemy of the Elizabethans. Tamburlaine’s burning of the Qur’ān is a sign of Christian power and victory. The Qur’ānic biblioclasm on London stage was bizarre. The huge flames and vaunting speeches of Tamburlaine show an earthly hell for Muslims in the East with no limits. Tamburlaine asks the Prophet Muhammad to take his revenge just to mock him. The Qur’ān has been frequently and badly misunderstood in Europe. This derogatory treatment betrays Marlowe’s lack of understanding Islam. Though several performances of the play, recently, replace the copies of the Qur’ān by irreligious books, the English Christian Tamburlaine is literarily known as the Qur’ān burner in the English literature.


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