Studies in contemporary Middle Eastern politics tend to see, when Islamic elements are strongly involved as in the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Sunni or Shi'ite peculiarities in them. Hence, for example, the present Iranian regime is cosidered to be a Shi'ite theocracy, and the Sunni-Shi'ite rivalry is emphasized in the political tension in the Gulf region. But peculiarities can be discerned only in the framework of general characteristics. We cannot distinguish what is particularly Sunni from what is Shi'ite without knowing what is more commonly Islamic. This is much more so in the contemporary scene, where we cannot reduce Islamic elements to the historical Sunni-Shi'ite cleavage. This article deals with the Islamic political ideas which either are given substance in contemporary political movements or are potentially of political importance, so that we may understand what people in the Middle East intend to realize, before judging their behavior by conventional Western standards. After making a sketch of general Islamic political concepts through the works of present day Arab scholars of political science, Law and Islamic history, a comparison is made on two levels, using this sketch. Firstly, two ideologues who pointed to the Islamic government as "the governance of the jurist" are put together. In the Sunni world, Muhammad Rashid Rida, the moving spirit of the Manarists, constructed the theory of Khilafah al-Mujtahid (the Caliphate of the Jurist) in the 1920s, while it was put forward as Vilayat-i Faqih (the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult) by Ruhollah Khomeini in the Shi'ite milieu. Secondly, two "Islamic Constitutions" are examined closely: A Draft Islamic Constitution written by the Sunni 'ulama' in Egypt in 1978, and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, inaugurated in 1979, which is considered to reflect the Shi'ite tradition. Through these comparisons, many common characteristics are found. Among these are: the idea of the Divine Sovereignty; the human being as its trustee; division of the political power which stems from the Divine Sovereignty into Islamic Law and the 'Ummah (the community), hence the double structure of political power; the primary of Islamic Law and its practical bearer, the 'ulama'; emphasis on the unity of the 'Ummah and the anticolonialist tendency; recognition of the existence of plural states within the 'Ummah, provided they take a unified stand in international relations; emphasis on the Shura (Consultation), which is the basis for the idea of Islamic democracy. These common characteristics, or the similarity in general, would be explained by the fact that they all belong to the stream which manifests itself as "movements for the revival of Islam". These movements and their leaders try to reconstruct Islamic political ideas which would work in the contemporary world. This separates them from the traditionalists who attach themselves to classical issues including the Sunni-Shi 'ite differentials.
Comparing between two periods when Muslim=Copt conflict arose: 1906-19 and 1972-81, this article re-examines the rise and accommodation of the conflict that has been widely regarded to be the ethno-religious. The analysis of both cross-ethnic and intra-ethnic tension is conducted so as to delineate the transformation, not the primordium, of group identity in both communities. This article argues that the change in group identity took place in the course of socio-economic changes. In each period of concern, socio-economic transformations challenged the traditional political structure, and triggered the re-alignment of cooperation and conflict within as well as between the Muslims and the Copts. Although the "emergence" of conflict between the Copts and Muslims seems to indicate the symbolic importance of religion, the actual process analized in this article illustrates that neither community is monolithic. It was not nationalism/communalism but fundamentalism , both Islamic and Christian, that can attract the people whose interests were infringed under the new nation-state system.
In course of the early centuries of Arab rule Andalus had been steadily Arabicied and Islamicized. But even in the latter half of the ninth century the Arabs and the muwalladun, the Muslim indigenous people, had not yet lost their identity and hated each other. On the other hand the muwallad noblemen, who had concluded treaties with the Arabs at the time of their conquest, largely preserved their traditional prerogatives over their men and continued to rule their vast domains on condition that they should pay tributes to the Arab authority in token of the allegiance. Sometimes they stopped paying tributes and attacked cities, villages, and highways under the governmental rule. Under the rather strong rule of Hakam I and Abd al-Rahman II. helped by the foreign mercenaries and the muwallad noblemen incorporated in the governmental army, the Umayyads steadilv strengthened their rule over the muwallad noblemen and threatened their traditional status. Many muwallad noblemen reacted by taking arms against the Umayyads. Among them were Banu Qasi of Tudela, Banu Marwan of Merida, Daysam b. Ishaq of Tudmir, and Umar b. Hafsun of Reiyo. Umar succeeded in gainig support of his men and the indigenous people of the adjacent regions, both muwalladun and Christians, by appealing to their anti-Arab feeling. He armed them and settled them in the forts on tops of the mountains. Many other muwallad noblemen imitated him and allied with him. Thus Umar succeeded in founding a rather large state and even planned to supplant the the Umayyads for a while. On the other hand the Islamicization and the mingling of Arabs and muwalladun completed in the capital Cordoba and its environs. They had demanded the Umayyad amirs to respect Islam and shari a and even rioted against Hakam I. Later in the amirate of Abdullah the Umayyads succeeded in embodying themselves as Islamic State and began to gain the support of all the Muslims, both Arabs and muwalladun, Even Umar's muwallad men began to waver. Umar increasingly had to rely on the Christians. This is why he converted to Christianity. His conversion in its turn led to the defection of his muwallad men. After Abd al-Rahman III destroyed his state he took the title of the caliph, and thereby completing the Islamicization of the State.
In 1875, Nagamine Hideki, a teacher at the Naval Academy, made a Japanese translation of the 1001 Nights from G. F. Townsend's English version. This was the first translation of the 1001 Nights in Japan. Since Nagamine, a number of translations have appeared, among which two complete translations were well-known and wide-spread, namely the one made from R.F. Burton's and the other from J. C. Mardrus'. All of these, however, were not made from the original Arabic, but were retranslations made from different European languages. In addition, most of the translators in Japan were not orientalists, but literary men who had no knowledge of Arabic and Islam. Among them were famous writers like Kawabata Yasunari and Kikuchi Kan, though many of their translations had been limited to juvenile stories. In 1966, the first translation of the Nights from the original Arabic was made by the late Maejima Shinji, who was then a professor at Keio University and a pioneer orientalists in Japan. His translation is entitled "Arabian Naito" in Japanese after the famous English title and based on Calcutta II (Macnaghten), emended by Bulaq, Breslau, Cairo, Beyrut and some other editions, and supplemented by a few independent texts like that of L. Langres. An additional volume in 1985, which contains "Ala ed-Din and the Marvellous Lamp" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Robbers", is based on H. Zotenberg's and D. B. Macdonald's respectively. By 1983, twelve volumes had been published and, after his death in 1983, Ikeda Osamu, a professor of Arabic at Osaka University of Foreign Studies, succeeded him. Maejima's translation which renders the whole text, though still being published, is very faithful to Calcutta II edition. His style, when compared with his predecessors', seems to be simple, dry and slightly old-fashioned but, at the same time, charming and veryreadable. As for the accuracy of his rendering, it can be compared with that of Enno Littmann which is said to be the best translation of the 1001 Nights. This accuracy and faithfulness to the original makes his work suited not only for entertainment but also for scholarly use. Maejima's translation has rich and valuable annotations which occupy about 20 pages in each volume and cover a wide field of Arab-Islamic cultures. He also adds a good epilogue at the end of each volume. He expended 20-30 pages for epilogue to analyze the stories contained in the volume and the 1001 Nights itself, to compare the texts and translations of the Nights, and to explain Arabic history, literature, society, religion, folklore and so on. This epilogue is based on the latest studies in Europe, the United States and Japan, and therefore is the most outstanding feature of Maejima's work in the history of the translation of 1001 Nights.