Sunday, 7 September 2008

Rumi's Daughter

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Rumi's Daughter
Rumi was one of the great mystical poets of all time, a vibrant figure whose unorthodox views on love still resonate today. Although little is known about his life, we do know that he lived in Anatolia, had an extraordinary spiritual friendship with a man named Shams, and brought an adopted girl, Kimya, into his family. This stirring novel is Kimya’s story—of how she finds herself drawn to the mysterious Shams, and how, by marrying him, her soul begins its true journey into fire. Set against the decline of the Byzantine Empire and the Mongol invasions, this tale of a tempestuous love affair combines all the timeless themes and passions of Rumi’s own verse.

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Kimya, a Forgotten Mystic
This review was originally printed in Sufi, 69, Spring 2006. It is reprinted here (in the astore) with permission from Alireza Nurbakhsh, editor of Sufi.

Rumi's Daughter is both a delightful and informative novel. It comes to us from Muriel Maufroy, French-born author and ex-journalist for the BBC World Service who currently lives in London. Partly imagined and partly factual, it recounts the life of Kimya, the adopted daughter of Maulana Jalalud-Din Rumi (1207-1273) who is known today both for his mystical love poetry written to his beloved God and the Sufi Order of the Whirling Dervishes founded after his death. Nothing is really known about Kimya's origins, and we know very little about her life in Rumi's household. Yet through her enchanting depiction, Maufroy lovingly evokes the spirit of a vivacious and ingenuous young girl. She brings to life this child of seven in all her innocence and simplicity as the girl awakens to a world of wonder and embraces the life of a mystic, even before she meets Rumi and Shams. This book is especially unique, in that it offers a glimpse into Rumi's life from the women's point of view, something which had not been done before.

It seems plausible that Kimya was born in an Anatolian village near Konya, that as a child she went into trances when she would black out and enter another dimension losing all track of time, and that her love for God was all-consuming, shaping what she became. As a young child Kimya frequently wonders, "Why am I alive? Where was I before I was born?" She appears to have been where Rumi and Shams are long before she meets them. Following one of her reveries she tells her mother sobbing, "I was somewhere where I was so happy ... Then it was all over." Maufroy writes, "And for a second it seemed the child had been touched by a beam of light." In turn, Kimya's Greek Christian mother Evdokia wonders how Kimya happens to be her child, and her Turkish Muslim father Farokh jokes whether perhaps she might be a witch. Both parents feel she does not "belong" to them.

Through this cross-cultural family, Maufroy gives us a flavor of the times in Anatolia when the Seljuk Turks ruled (1077-1308) the land, gently weaving historical facts in between her delightfully inspired fiction. She infuses the pages of her book with images that instruct: Farokh talks of nearby cities, Konya and Laranda, where his cousins used to visit and would return to tell stories about houses carved out of stone and "people speaking strange languages and wearing even stranger dresses." Kimya's father tells his inquisitive daughter of his nomadic childhood herding goats and sheep, bartering and selling milk, cheese, wool, and rugs, while living in tents made of felt, looking up to shamans for spiritual guidance, worshipping idols, and making offerings to the gods. In contrast, they now live in a stone house, work the land, and attend the mosque. Thus we learn about the landscape, inhabitants, and living conditions in the Taurus Mountains in the thirteenth century. Incidentally, Maufroy has traveled to Turkey on numerous occasions and even lived in a Turkish village in the area.

We also discover Konya and its many preachers: "Not only the Christian monks who tried to stem the rise of Islam, or the Franks on their way to Palestine, but all those beggars in disguise who came from the East and made their living from swallowing swords, spitting fire, or pretending to read the future." Indeed, thirteenth-century Anatolia was a place where many faiths were intertwined: Hellenic, Gnostic, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Pagan. And the region was layered in many cultures: Greek, Roman, Persian, Turkish, and Arab. One could hear Venetian, Saxon, or Frank, Greek or Persian, Turkish or Arabic spoken in the streets. We meet characters like Ahmed, a Persian youth from Konya, his friend Theophanes, a young Greek boy, or Father Chrisostom, a Christian priest and a friend of Kimya's family. Young Kimya wisely comments on this miscellany of peoples saying, "Perhaps one day everybody will speak the same language."

As already indicated, Maufroy cleverly embeds her sensitively inspired tale within much historical fact. For example, through the ruminations of Father Chrisostom we learn that in the villages "Islam and the language of the Turkomans were slowly supplanting Christianity and the Greek language. How unsettling it was at times to live in this land of Anatolia and the Taurus, pulled between the Byzantine and Persian empires!" We also become aware of the tumultuous times in which Kimya lived, when the Mongol hordes were invading the country: "It was not only the individual who was threatened, but whole ways of life with their unique forms and richness. One heard of libraries disappearing in blazes, of illuminated manuscripts torn to pieces, of works of art reduced to rubble."

But what the author really wants and succeeds to impress on us is her belief that, in the eyes of God, religious and gender differences are of little importance. We learn about Jalalud-Din Rumi as a preacher who accepts people of all faiths, and "even women," as his disciples, which leads to much gossip about the propriety of his tolerance and his unorthodox views. In fact, Rumi's second wife Kerra, whom we meet in this novel, was Christian. In the story Rumi is revered as Maulana, Our Master. Most importantly, we hear his own words, expressing the heart of his teaching: "Love for the Creator is latent in all men." The Greek priest Chrisostom also voices sentiments similar to Rumi's: "People have their faiths and God hears each one of them. Who are we to tell them how to talk to Him?" Thus, real-life characters and fictional ones blend together.

Kimya's story begins in 1239 when she is seven. Rumi would have been thirty-two years old that year, a young scholar and spiritual figure gaining recognition and gathering a following. Their lives converge when Kimya's parents, after much heart-wrenching contemplation, take the precocious young girl to Konya, where she can be taught by nuns in a convent. Instead, it is Kimya's fate to cross paths with Rumi, who invites her to live in his home with his wife and children. By that point, Kimya has already learned about Rumi and his teaching from Ahmed, who teaches her the precious Persian word, doost, meaning "the Friend"--"the one I Love", "the One I Long For."

It is with the sensitivity and compassion of a true believer that Maufroy evokes the exchange that might have transpired between Rumi and Kimya when they meet physically for the first time: "We have already walked a long way together," remarks Rumi to Kimya. And through Kimya, who is not even ten yet, we see Rumi: "From his whole being emanated a feeling of warmth and kindness, though his eyes looked sharp and alert." What follows in the rest of the novel after that point is both intense and a delight, as the author shows us through the young girl's eyes what Rumi the man might have been like, what might have transpired in his household day to day, and how he might have talked and behaved in everyday life.

It is thus that we meet Rumi's second wife Kerra, his grown sons Sultan Walad and Alaud-Din, his six-month-old son Alim, his friends Sadruddin Qonavi, Namj al Razi, Salah ud din Zarkob, and finally, his doost Shams of Tabriz, "the confidant of [his] soul." Approximately the last two thirds of the book follows Kimya as she matures beyond her years both psychologically and spiritually in a very short time. This part of Kimya's tale is grounded in more familiar territory for readers who already know the historical facts of Shams and Rumi's relationship, Shams's wondrous entry into Rumi's life in 1244, the jealousy that ensued among Rumi's followers, and Shams's heartbreaking disappearance forever only four years later. Kimya is barely fifteen when she enters into a marriage with Shams, her senior by at least three decades, who evokes emotions that are both exhilarating and devastating for anyone, let alone a child her age. Shams neglects her most of the time, instead spending his time with Rumi, locked in a room, without even food, for days and nights on end, lost in mystical conversation.

The historical Kimya was much pitied for having been neglected and for dying of loneliness and despair. This is not how Maufroy sees it, though. And this is another important aspect of this curiously powerful book. All along, the author indicates that too often our perceptions distort what really happens. We do not see reality; we interpret it according to our conditioning. This is particularly noticeable in Kimya's relationship with Shams, which to Maufroy, is much more than an arranged marriage or one of convenience. The relationship is also one of teacher and disciple. We witness Kimya's burning and her mystical transformation, as Shams allows her "almost at will to enter the place where her heart [is] content." The discrepancy between perception and reality is equally demonstrated in the parallel relationship between Rumi and Shams, which clearly remains incomprehensible to the onlookers. But the main theme in the novel is first of all the Sufi theme of love and separation. Early in the book one of the characters proclaims: "Love's task is to take us beyond the realm of separation. It has nothing to do with happiness here"--a statement which actually foretells Kimya's, and later on Rumi's story itself, as well as the very foundation of his teaching.

As a whole, this is an insightful novel that does not only interweave historical facts with a creative account of a young girl's experiences growing up in Rumi's household, but is imbued with Sufi thought and knowledge: "God's knowledge is as free as a bird and so is your soul." "There is a knowledge the mind knows nothing of". Such statements subtly draw the reader into the Sufi mystic's world and its language. "When Kimya left," Maufroy writes, "the sky was softening into a rose-tinted gold, as tender as God's whisper". It is this whisper from God that this novel manages to make us hear.

Müge N. Galin, Ph.D., from the Department of English at The Ohio State University, has written Between East and West: Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing (State University of New York Press, 1997), Turkish Sampler (Indiana University, 1989), and Fatma Aliye Hanim (Isis Press).

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Green Man, Earth Angel

One way of describing author Tom Cheetham is as a spiritual ecologist. Meaning that he sees no real separation between the material and the spiritual for God is present everywhere and speaks to us through all forms. This gives human beings a great responsibility to care for the planet and all creation, and more than that, to listen to it speaking. By way of the imaginal, the realm of the soul, we can see all things as mirrors of the divine and work towards cleansing our hearts to reflect the Numen.
Green Man, Earth Angel (editorial review) explores the central role of imagination for understanding the place of humans in the cosmos. Tom Cheetham suggests that lives can only be completely whole if human beings come to recognize that the human and natural worlds are part of a vast living network and that the material and spiritual worlds are deeply interconnected. Central to this reimagining is an examination of the place of language in human life and art and in the worldview that the prophetic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--presuppose. If human language is experienced only as a subset of a vastly more-than-human whole, then it is not only humans who speak, but also God and the world with all its creatures. If humans' internal poetry and creative imaginations are part of a greater conversation, then language can have the vital power to transform the human soul, and the soul of the world itself.

The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism (Product description): The first book in English to synthesize the remarkable work of Henry Corbin, the great French philosopher, Christian theologian, and scholar of Islamic mysticism. Corbin, a colleague of Jung's at Eranos, was one of the seminal influences on the development of archetypal psychology, especially through the idea of the "imaginal world." His work bridges the gap between the philosophy and theology of the West and the mysticism of Islam and provides a radical and unified vision of the 3 great monotheistic religions based upon the Creative Imagination. This book will be of special interest to those seeking to understand Islamic spirituality and the relation between spirituality and ecology and will also inform current interpretations of the politics of terrorism.

After Prophecy: Imagination, Incarnation, and the Unity of the Prophetic Tradition (Studies in Archetypal Psychology) (Product description): This book explores the status of religion in the Post-Prophetic Age, especially as seen through the eyes of the French Islamic scholar Henry Corbin. In lucid and simple prose, Cheetham explores the creative role of the imagination in the formative ground of the three great Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Corbin, engaging the soul of the world through the mediating power of the Imaginal is an act of love, a theme Cheetham expands through his analysis of such concepts as mystical poverty, contemplative knowledge, the luminosity of the earth, the theophanic vision, the Christ Angel, Incarnation, the divine sensorium, alchemical transformation, the spiritual humanism of Ivan Illich, Western iconoclasm, and the centrality of gnosis. This book offers a visionary alternative to the confusions of contemporary life. It speaks to believers and non-believers alike.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Lord of the Rings and the Esoteric Symbolism of the Abrahamic Faiths

Tolkien was a Roman Catholic and he delved deeply into the world of archetypes and symbols. Mahmoud Shelton demonstrates how Tolkien used many of these symbols in a distinctly Sufic, alchemical manner in the quest pursued by, and in the lives of, his characters. The mystical traditions of all three Abrahamic religions, while possessing their own distinct perspectives and practices, are nevertheless also very close in what one might term an Abrahamic symbolic pool which is shared by all three religions in varying alignments and semantic expressions, To speak in Sufi terms, the core of the quest is the journey of return to a realization of unity with the One. The path is love, the fuel is love, and the goal is love. Alchemy is the process of transformation that love effects.
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Alchemy in Middle-Earth: The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

Never before has the esoteric significance of the "Novel of the Century" been explained. At last its profound symbolism is made clear in light of the Hermetic tradition, establishing The Lord of the Rings to be the work of an illuminated imagination. Alchemy in Middle-earth traces J.R.R. Tolkien's motifs to unexpected connections with Scotland, the Middle East, and legendary Atlantis, and unveils the ancient wisdom in Tolkien's great work not only with the Alchemy of the past, but also with the living spiritual alchemy of Sufism. In the process, the mysterious relationship between the spirituality of Islam and Tolkien's Christianity is revealed, signifying nothing less than the completion of the Grail quest at the end of an age.

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Monday, 11 August 2008

A Sufi Novel by Irving Karchmar

This novel is written by Irving Karchmar who many of you may already know from his blog, Darvish. Exciting, informative, and uplifting, this is the kind of literature we need more of for everyone interested in the spiritual path.
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Master of The Jinn: A Sufi Novel

Here is a tale set on the Path of the Heart, a beautifully written mystical adventure wherein a modern-day Sufi Master sends seven companions on a perilous quest for the greatest treasure of the ancient world- King Solomon's ring. The legendary seal ring is said to control the Jinn, those terrifying demons of living fire, and in seeking it the companions discover not only the truth of the Jinn, but also the path of Love and the infinite mercy of God.

About the Author

Irving Karchmar, the author of Master of the Jinn, has been a writer, editor and publisher for many years, and a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order since 1992. He resides near New York City and is currently at work on his second novel, a sequel entitled Tale of the Jinn.

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Thursday, 7 August 2008

Speaking of Ibn 'Arabi

Speaking of Ibn 'Arabi and about the biography by Stephen Hirtenstein yesterday I thought I would continue to say more about the great Shaykh and include a few links and other books about his work. I have just added a new page in the Sufi Book Store which contains forty-two works by and about Ibn 'Arabi. Many of these translations and commentaries are written by academics who are also 'insiders'. In other words they don't just study him academically but are also striving to follow the path and put Ibn 'Arabi's words into action so they become a reality in their lives and not just words on paper. I have certainly noticed a difference between reading the work of those whose interest is purely academic and those scholars who are also practitioners of what they study. Not only is their scholarship excellent but it is as if they allow the baraka (blessings) to flow through and on to the page. If you read with an open heart and don't worry too much if you don't understand everything then there is certainly an effect on the reader that I believe is similar to listening to the music of a sama' (spiritual concert).

If you go to the Ibn 'Arabi Society website you will find a list of numerous articles and translations here on their index page.

They also have a podcast page where you can listen to papers given at their regular symposiums in the US and the UK.

Here, on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is a very good and thorough entry about Ibn 'Arabi.

Below are a few of the books you can find at the Sufi Book Store

And this is only a small selection of the feast available. Explore the links and set forth on a journey of discovery.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A book about the life and thought of Ibn 'Arabi

Ibn 'Arabi is also known as the Shaykh al-Akbar, the greatest Shaykh. He was born in Al-Andalus in the mid twelfth century and lived half his life there before travelling east. He wrote prodigiously and claimed never to write anything he had not experienced personally. His influence on the development of Sufism was immense. What I appreciate so much about this biography by Stephen Hirtenstein is the way he introduces the reader to the thought of Ibn 'Arabi and also describes the historical context in which he lived, wrote, and pursued his spiritual path. Many scholars see Ibn 'Arabi as being equally significant to our present day concerns alongside the work of Jalaluddin Rumi. To read this book is like stepping into the times of Ibn 'Arabi in Al-Andalus and bathing in his spiritual wisdom. Having lived in Andalucia I often had a sense of his presence in the places he had been whether in the mosque of Cordoba, the port of Adra, or under the mulberry trees in the Alpujarran mountains.
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The Unlimited Mercifier: The Spiritual Life and Thoughts of Ibn 'Arabi

The Unlimited Mercifier is a new appreciation of Ibn 'Arabi, clarifying the meanings and relevance of his life and thought. It serves as a thorough introduction for those new to his work, as well as providing food for contemplation and further study for those alre! ady familiar with his genius.

White Cloud Press, in a joint publishing effort with Anqa Publishing in the United Kingdom, presents the first in a series of books on the life and teachings of Ibn 'Arabi. Relatively unknown in the West until the 20th century, he has been revered by Sufi mystics ever since he first burst upon the Islamic world at the turn of the 13th century. He wrote over 350 books and treatises that are recognized as classics of world spirituality.

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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Where to buy black seed products

I had been using black cumin, also known as Kala Jeera, in Bengali cuisine for several years before I realized that it was the same seed that is so well known by Muslims as Black Seed and prized for its healing properties. I was delighted.

Sweet Sunnah are experts in the benefits of black seed and have a variety of medicinal and cosmetic products for sale.
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is phytotherapuetic (Herbal medicine ) and has been known to reduce your risk to illness and disease by strengthening your immune system and protecting your body’s most important organs. It is a wondrous herb that has been used for centuries throughout the world for its many therapeutic properties.
Our goal is to provide you with a wealth of information, products and gifts that support and promote natural healing.

Finally, Sweet Sunnah Black Seed Herbals has developed an expertise in two domains, Black Seed therapeutic and herbal medicine products and, in a lesser proportion, Black Seed natural herbal cosmetics. The development of these lines of products is simply the consequence of answering to the demand from many of our satisfied customers.

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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Mystical Dimensions of Islam

Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel was the first book I read about Sufism and I still have a great fondness for it. Annemarie Schimmel was a great scholar and also a practising Sufi. It is a beautiful and very thorough survey of Sufism, its history, its practices, and with special emphasis on Sufi poetry. This is an excerpt from the product description,

Mystical Dimensions of Islam presents, for the first time, a balanced historical treatment of the transnational phenomenon of Sufism—Islamic mysticism—from its beginnings through the nineteenth century. Through her sensitivity and deep understanding of the subject, Annemarie Schimmel, an eminent scholar of Eastern religions, draws the reader into the mood, the vision, the way of the Sufi in a manner that adds an essential ingredient to her analysis of the history of Sufism.

It is well worth having this book and reading it often.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Alternative Healing: The Sufi Way

For those interested in the art of Sufi healing you couldn’t wish for a more thorough and inspired work than this one by Shaykh Taner Ansari. It includes chapters on the spiritual being and the physical being with a list of ailments and appropriate remedies with verses from the Qu’ran and the Beautiful Names to be recited for each ailment. There is a section on diagnosis and another on the necessary preparation of the practitioner to move into a healing mode. The book was edited by Shaykh Kevin Germain (mentioned in a previous post on the sound of the universe). Shaykh Taner and his wife, Shaykha Muzeyyen, have been running workshops on Sufi healing in America, England, and Australia. I attended the workshop in London and benefited enormously from their marvellous sense of humour and sensitivity to the needs of all attendees. This book is a wonderful and very thorough accompaniment to those workshops but also stands alone as a potential bringer of great blessings to the attentive reader.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Sufi Musicians

For all those interested in Sufi music and Sufi ways of understanding and experiencing music there are some great articles over on Kevin's blog, Acoustics, Health, and Sufism
He is writing about a fascinating theory on the sound of the Big Bang, well worth reading, and his latest post is about a theory of his own on musical adab and the way in which musical intervals correspond to psychological states or attributes. These are then related to the Names of Allah. I believe it is true that music communicates in a way that language cannot, or it is a different mode of communication which works on the soul in subtle ways. The idea of a musical adab is enlightening.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes

Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes by Shems Friedlander is a book I first read when doing research for a dissertation on dance and the sacred in Islam. It is a beautiful book with many photographs of dervishes whirling and the story of how Sultan Walad, the son of Rumi instigated this particular form of sema after his father’s death in 1273. It was Sultan Walad who gave the Mevlevi Order its structure and contributed to the choreography of the sema with parts like the stately walk around the space before the whirling begins, and it is in the sema, as it has been danced for centuries, that the spirit of Rumi’s love and devotion has been carried down to the present time along with the great corpus of his poetry. In this book you will find the words of a twelve year old participant that express so aptly the power of the sema today. He says, “Sometimes, during the sema, it feels as if Mevlana is holding my hand. I begin to smile inside and my heart is warm, and later it is as if what my eyes see is different from before”

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Contemporary Sufi Poetry

If you do a Google search on Sufi poetry the results will most likely bring up a wealth of sites with information and examples of the masters of the art. Honoured and respected poets on the Sufi path who wrote about what they experienced and ‘tasted’ on the journey of return to unity with the One. It is a journey of longing and struggle in which all things are seen as the signs of God, including our own selves. Metaphors of love are commonly used in such poetry where the lover longs for union with the Beloved. We see this in the images of the nightingale singing to the rose or the moth drawn to the flame. There are many translations from the original languages in which this poetry was written, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, to English. Some of these translations are more like free interpretations attempting to capture the spirit of a piece for contemporary readers. For example, the thirteenth century Sufi poet/mystic Jalaluddin Rumi is one of the most widely read poets in the United States today. But what about Sufi poetry written today by contemporary students on the Sufi path?

Very little contemporary Sufi poetry is published for a mainstream readership. There appears to be little publishing interest in contemporary Sufi writing. Yet many of today’s dervishes, like Sufis of old, still feel compelled to allow words to flow and the recent phenomenon of the blog provides a structure for that expression. Try some of the following blogs for poetry from the heart written today. Just click on the titles.

Knocking from Inside

Poems from the Edge of the Continent

The Wandering Troubadour

The Court of Lions (collaborative poetry blog)

Daniel Abd al-Hayy Moore Poetry

Gathering of Thoughts

There are also publications of contemporary Sufi poetry. Here are some well worth reading from Daniel Abd al-Hayy Moore and Tiel Aisha Ansari

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Sufi Teaching Tales

Laughter and tears, adventures, struggles, and lessons to be learnt, all with the promise of treasure far greater than gold. These are some of the elements of traditional Sufi tales whose aim is often to break down accustomed ways of thinking and make you feel perplexed. Hidden within the words of what might seem like a charming folk tale are the moments of bafflement when habit is challenged and a door is opened to a clear view of reality. A little like the Koan and Zen teaching stories, allow them to work on you and shed light on our all too human failings. Here are a few good collections of such stories.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Rumi: Body and Voice

In the whirling dance of the Mevlevi Sufis the position of the hands indicates the function of the ‘friend’ in connecting heaven and earth. One hand is raised with palm upwards and the other is lowered towards the earth. This can also be the function of Sufi poetry. As the Sufi remembers God in her/his whirling, attaining a state of ecstasy, so the Sufi poet is expressing that ecstasy in words which in turn become a conduit of the divine. This illustrates the ongoing assignment of the Sufi that has a metaphysical basis and is therefore timeless but must be anchored in the physical world. While the Sufi longs for union it is love that gives rise to this longing, and love that is the fuel for the journey, love is its destination, and love demands the return to the created world, and yet fana fi Allah, union with the divine, is the ineffable, the unspeakable, so how does the one who has returned deal with this paradox, and how does the one who has not yet attained speak about it? The attempt, even compulsion, to do so despite the inadequacy of any words is the defining factor of Sufi poetry.

Jalaluddin Rumi was both a poet and a dancer. He heard the Name of Allah speaking through all sounds. The spirit moved the body to dance the joy of the heart. As Rumi says in the following:

My love for you intoxicated me and made me dance.

I am intoxicated and in ecstasy, what can I do?

I will render the thanks of earth and heaven,

For I was earth, He made me Heaven (1)

Rumi recognized the importance of the body as a sign of the Divine when he said that, “The body is fundamental and necessary for the realization of the Divine Intention”(2)

1) Cited by J. C. Burgal in, “Ecstasy and Order” in The Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism, ed. Leonard Lewisohn, Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications, 1992. p.65

2) Cited by Laleh Bakhtiar in, Sufi, London: Thames and Hudson, 1976, p.21)

Friday, 27 June 2008

Women and Sufism

Women have played an important role on the Sufi path and continue to do so today. The favourite teacher of Ibn 'Arabi, the greatest Shaykh, was Fatima bint Ibn Muthanna. Ibn 'Arabi speaks of her in his Ruh al-Quds alongside several other Sufi saints of twelfth century Al-Andalus. There are quite a few books written about, and by, Sufi women which you can find in the bookstore. Among these are Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure by Camille Adams Helminski in which she brings examples through history to the present day with excerpts of the writing of these women. There are also books on Sufi women of America, early Sufi women who lived before the tenth century, and works on Islam and gender from a theological and philosophical aspect. Click here to browse the selection.

Welcome to a Treasure Trove of Sufi Books and Music

Dear Friends and Readers,

Welcome to the Sufi Book and Music Blog. Step in and look around the many sections here that all relate to an aspect of Sufism. There are also DVD's of music from master musicians. If you know of any books that are not here then you are welcome to write and let me know so I can add them. The idea of this site is to bring together in one place as many books on the subject of Sufism as possible so that it is easier for you to discover what is available without doing long searches. So take your time and browse as you would in any library or book store. As I speak of the books available in the store so it is also an opportunity to look at different aspects of the Sufi path and the many friends who have trodden this path in the past and in the present day.