The book, Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia, is an account of an Englishwoman, who lived for eight years in parts of Persia and Turkish Arabia. The book provides a systematic history of navigation, commerce, and other discoveries, which occurred during the series of journeys made by the woman in parts of Turkish Arabia and Persia. During these navigations, there were many interactions with different individuals of diverse lifestyles, religions, customs, economies, governance systems, and socio-cultural organizations.
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The article helps to develop a full picture of navigation history and travel from an individual of England in regions that practiced Islamic religion and culture. In addition, the article presents observations made by the individual, which include the diversity in the environment and health, as well as the different practices performed by the people living in the areas covered. It is against this context that the paper analyses the book, Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia, in terms of religion, customs, environment, economy, socio-cultural practices, health, and governance systems.
Socio-cultural practices of communities living in areas such as Isfahan in Persia displayed a number of practices. For instance, people of Persia were herders and kept livestock such as cows and camels. Another observation that the article outlines is that the people in areas like Kerman and Isfahan in Persia practiced agriculture and exported cats to India. The author highlights that the people from these communities used tools such as iron tools, axes, knives, hatchets, and nails. Furthermore, individuals from Persia and Turkish Arabia possessed good artistic skills and engaged in various artistic activities (Hume-Griffith 12). The artistic skills possessed by Persian and Turkish Arabians emerged from their interactions with people in Mesopotamia, who experienced early civilization.
Persian and Turkish Arabians valued festivals and used them to social events for meeting extended families. During events like funerals and weddings, individuals of the regions could travel long distances in to avail themselves at these events. Additionally, people from Persia and Turkish regions had a mixture of cultures that ranged from pre-Islamic, to post-Islamic cultures. Before the influence of Islamic culture, the people of the Persian and Arabian communities had different cultural practices.
However, after adopting an Islamic religion, the individuals started practicing a culture that depicted some aspects of the Islamic religion (Hume-Griffith 25). The Islamic religion that Persian s and Arabians practiced discouraged unmarried people in the society from engaging premarital sex, a value aimed at encouraging good behavior among the youth. As a result, individuals from areas like Persian and Turkish Arabia advocated for unity, cooperation, and peaceful co-existence with each other.
The society lived in units controlled by religious leaders and elders, who played the role of advisors. The society valued kingship, and thus, the king was the supreme ruler of the societies such Persia, Turkish Arabians, and East Arabia. The king ruled over the dominion with the assistance of religious leaders and elders. The natives usually valued and respected religious leaders to the extent that they looked at them as sacred and holy beings as was the case with prophet Mohamed the prophet. In addition, individuals from these regions appreciated their history, and hence, possessed very good memories concerning their past lineages and kingships.
According to Hume-Griffith, people from regions such as Kerman and Isfahan experienced various religious conflicts that concerned Christianity, and Islamic religions (2). Another observation presented in the article is that some of the individuals had high value on their religious leaders. The extent of value on religious leaders and prophets was evident with the reference given to some of their descendants like Ali the son of Mohamed known as the lion of God.
According to the article, the weather of the regions like Persian and Turkish Arabia was a bit warmer than that of England. The warm weather usually attracted swarms of locusts during springtime just before the harvesting season (Smith 144). Therefore, people from these islands cultivated crops and kept animals such as cows, camels, and mules. The larger part of Persia and East Arabia has topography with undulating and gently rolling plains. Regions such as Kerman and Isfahan have extensive sand dunes and shrubs that define the most extensive part of the region in the Persia and Turkish Arabia. Another type of vegetation that was present on the mainland during the time was the acacia and thorn grasses. The vegetation facilitated herding, which was one of the main sources of food for the Kerman and Isfahan communities.
In the article, some of the findings made during the series of navigations include the fact that a significant number of people from Persia and Turkish Arabia practiced Islamic religion. The people of the islands believed in Islam religion and practiced various principles provided by the holy book known as the Holy Quran. The communities believed that Mohamed was the prophet sent by God and the son of Mohamed Ali had the name, the lion of God. Therefore, the people of Persia and Turkish Arabia valued the prophet and his descendants greatly (Hume-Griffith 12). Moreover, the article outlines an observation that Sunni was the dominant form of Islamic religion practiced in Persia followed by Shia. Persians living in areas like Kerman and Isfahan believed that God, Allah, sent Mohamed to save the world from criminal activities and lead them in the right path.
According to the article, people of Kerman and Isfahan in Persia used a diversity of herbs and animal products believed to be medicinal. Individuals believed that some plants were medicinal, and thus, used them in treatment of diseases (Smith 152).
Additionally, people of regions like Turkish Arabia and Persia thought that diseases owed their emergence to the evil spirits, who haunted people and came from the underworld. Herbal doctors and religious leaders performed treatment and healing procedures on the sick or ailing individuals of the society. Since the people of these areas lived in warm areas, they contracted diseases linked to desert and semi arid conditions. Diseases such as fever, flu, and cold were major occurrences in the communities in Turkish Arabia and Persia. Another observation made was the fact that since mortality was high, communities living in Persia and Turkish Arabia advocated for the high birth rate ad polygamy to counter the mortality rate.
Although the economy of the island was not highly pronounced, it relied on plants and domestic animals. People of Persia and Turkish Arabia practiced herding of animals like camels, mules, and cows and cultivated crops. The community individuals in Persia and East Arabia planted crops for primary consumption, but others exchanged the crops with other products that they did not have. Moreover, the people of the Persia and Turkish Arabia used products such as ornaments, beads, clothes, and looking glasses in exchange for the products that they lacked (Hume-Griffith 50). Persians and Turkish Arabians exchanged linen and beads majorly with iron tools from blacksmiths and treatment services from herbalists. The article explains that the people from places like Kerman and Isfahan in Persia had high regard for products such as ornaments and linen since they used them as items of exchange with other products.
Analysis of Observations
The observation of the author, who was a woman from England, has its basis on the regions she covered during her journey. These observations do not represent the correct situation on the ground since it was a sample of the population. The author describes Islamic religion as the main type of religion practiced by Persians and Turkish Arabians, an aspect that is different from her homeland England where people mainly practiced Christianity. The author is right since she explains her observations at the time she was in the region, regardless of misrepresentations that occasioned in the article. The article explains the observations she made during her journeys in East Arabia, Persia, and Turkish Arabia.
The article presents a historical perspective of how the people of Persia, Turkish Arabia, and East Arabia lived and undertook their activities during past ages. The article presents a systematic overview of the journey the woman undertook and her interactions with the natives in various parts of the world, including regions like Kerman and Isfahan in Persia. Social practices, cultural practices, governance, environment, religion, health, and economy are some of the aspects that the source covers, as the author gives her perspectives on what she encountered in these aspects. The lifestyles of people living in Turkish Arabia and Persia are inclined to Islamic values and principles. Thus, the article brings to the fore the experiences and observations made by the author during her journey around parts of Persia, Turkish Arabia, and East Arabia.
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Hume-Griffith, ME. Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia: an Account of an Englishwoman’s Eight Years’ Residence amongst the Women of the East. New York: Read Books, 2007. Print
Smith, William. The Voyages of Captain James Cook. London: Oxford University, 2007. Print.