Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study


Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

–Menonim Menonimus


Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

‘The Sacred Tree’ is an Arabic short story written by Muhammad al-Zafzaf (1929-2009), a Moroccan storyteller, novelist and critic. The short story deals with the theme of prejudice rounding a tree.

Once there was a tree on a hillock. The tree was called the tree of ‘Sidi Daud’. People said that the tree was planted by Sidi Daud on the hillock where he lived. Some people were of the view that the tree was planted by none but just appeared one day supernaturally. People also believed that the soul of dead Sidi Daud had migrated to the tree. People took to worship the tree. One day the government ordered to cut down the tree in order to set up a building there. A cordon of police was sent there and they set some labourers to cut down the tree. People of the locality came to the spot and began to oppose. They demanded that the tree must not be cut down as they worship the tree. If it is cut down then the soul of dead Sidi Daud might harm them. But the people who were set to cut down the tree were firm to enforce the order of the government. People began to oppose it vehemently. They began to hurl stones at the police. A police officer fell down being struck by a stone. Then the police began firing. Some ten people were shot down and the crowd of people began to disperse.

Thus the author has portrayed the prejudice and agitation rounding a tree. 

There are many characters. But the main character is the police chief who was adamant to execute the government order. He is a type of character as he acts like police with pride. Though he was dead there was no sign of sorrow on his face.  

The story is narrated in the third person as if the author was a spectator on the spot and describes as he saw the situation.

The structure of the story is an organic one. At the opening of the story, we see that people had gathered around a tree that was about to cut down after the government’s order. Here we guess that something unwelcome is going to happen. The story progresses with the public opinion rounding the cutting down of the huge tree. The story reaches its climax when the police chief is hurled down to death with stones by the crowd.

The setting of the story is the outskirt of the town. The author gives a vivid picture of the businessmen and women who were busy with their respective businesses. The author writes:

Some shopkeepers, greengrocers, spice merchants and other small traders left their goods in order to take shelter wherever they could. A few women who sold henna, herbs, locally produced soap and various magic paraphernalia such as rats’ tails, and crow’s heads, scattered in every direction, abandoning their wares on the pavement. The policemen approached their chief, who signaled to them to take him to one of the cars. One of the policemen was struck by the chief’s extraordinary strength of character when he saw him lying there, still smiling as though nothing had happened.

The Dialogue used in the story is appropriate to the characters and situation. 

The author has failed to express his philosophy of life directly but indirectly he makes us know that when the government goes against public opinion it always creates chaos and disturbance.

The Language of the story is simple and easy to comprehend though the author has used many complex sentences in the story. There is a touch of Moroccan trait in the construction of sentences in the story.

In maintaining the Qualities of a good short story as —unity of purpose, brevity, spontaneity and universality the author has succeeded somehow. 

 In Length, it is a short story of medium length.

In conclusion, it may be summarized that the short story entitled ‘The Sacred Tree’ is a story that portrays the theme of the prejudice of Moroccan society rounding a tree. Though the qualities of a good short story are not apparently present in the story yet it is a good story to be enjoyed. 0 0 0 Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study 

Read More: Izz al-din al-Madani Short Story ‘The Tale of the Lamp’-An Analytical Study

Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

N. B. This article entitled ‘Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study’ originally belongs to the book ‘Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Muhammad al-Zafzaf | The Sacred Tree | An Analytical Study

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period
Previous articleTayeb Salih | A Handful of Dates | An Analytical Study
Next articleT al-Hakim | Comic Elements in Diary of a Country Prosecutor
I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here