The Islamic Mentality among Wisdom and Philosophy
In Candide, by Voltaire, I like the part in the book when (Paquette and Girofle) stops at a roadside farm and the farmer kindly invites them to a pleasant dinner. He only has a small farm, but the old man and his family work hard on it and lives an acceptable existence. Candide finds the farmer’s life appealing. He, Cunégonde, and his friends decide to follow it, and everyone is satisfied by hard work in the garden. Pangloss suggests to Candide once again that this is the best of possible worlds. Candide responds, “That is very well put . . . but we must cultivate our garden” (Voltaire 118). I love this quote and I can describe many of things in common from Holy Qur’an. I’m going to write on the part between Candide and the old farmers with some of quotes and details regarding my opinion on it.
I quote these beautiful words which reflect good thoughts in Muslim wisdom. When Candide said to the old man that:
“He must a vast and magnificent estate,” the Turk replied “I only have about twenty-five acres” and said “I cultivate it with my children. Work keeps three great evils at bay: boredom, vice and want” (Voltaire 118).
There are a lot of great things within those words and I found it really interesting. Candide think that right happiness can only be found when he “cultivates his garden”. Candide has revealed that not only work with philosophy is enough to lead a productive life. Holding certain beliefs is one thing, but what counts are the actions that a person performs in one’s life. Candide's greatest lesson of all is the one he learns from the Turkish farmer, and it is the lesson that fulfills them all. Life is not about how well or how badly off you are, but it is about making the most out of yourself and the talents you have.
This is very similar words mentioned from Holy Koran and I quote some verses:
“And a sign for them is the dead earth. We have brought it to life and brought forth from it grain, and from it they eat. And we placed therein gardens of palm trees and grapevines and caused to burst forth there from some springs that they may eat of His fruit. And their hands have not produced it, so will they not be grateful? Exalted is He who created all pairs-from what the earth grows and from themselves and from that which they do not know” (Koran; Surat Ya-Sin, 33, 34, 35, 36).
The character Safie, in Frankenstein, is the daughter of a Turkish merchant. When Frankenstein’s creature sees her from his hiding spot, arriving at the cottage, he admires her “countenance of angelic beauty” (Shelley). That she has learned French appears obvious from the fact that she talks in a language different from the rest of the people in the cottage. By hearing Safie teach the other cottagers her new language, he learns French as well. Even though Safie, a Christian Arab, has barely escaped with her life from the Turks as a Christian in that part of the world, and potentially doomed to a life of privation with her father, has had to flee his company as well, her presence brings “happiness among [the cottage’s] inhabitants” (Shelley).
Both Candide and Frankenstein feature some strong commentary about the limits of logic and reason in guiding human decisions regarding morality and ethics. With only reason as one’s guide, it is possible to talk oneself into ethical quagmires, as the plots of both stories dictate. The peaceful emphasis of many of the doctrines of Islam can serve as a corrective to an inappropriate focus on logic; there are simply too many elements of human nature which logic cannot solve or even blunt.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. http://www.literature.org/authors/shelley- mary/frankenstein/
Voltaire. Candide. http://www.literature.org/authors/voltaire/candide/