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New to Penguin Classics-a transcendent selection of poetry from the early Islamic era.
Written from the ninth to the twentieth century, these poems represent the peak of Islamic Mystical writing, from Rabia Basri to Mian Mohammad Baksh. Reflecting both private devotional love and the attempt to attain union with God and become absorbed into the Divine, many poems in this edition are imbued with the symbols and metaphors that develop many of the central ideas of Sufism: the Lover, the Beloved, the Wine, and the Tavern; while others are more personal and echo the poet’s battle to leave earthly love behind.
These translations capture the passion of the original poetry and are accompanied by an introduction on Sufism and the common themes apparent in the works. This edition also includes suggested further reading.
Poetry has been the most powerful vehicle for conveying Sufism-the mystical dimension of Islam-from the early flowering of mystical Islam in Baghdad to the later heights it reached through Jalaluddin Rumi (d. 1273) and Jami (d. 1492). Starting with the writings of eighth-century mystics, this anthology moves through the twelfth century with Ibn Arabi in Spain and Ibn Farid of Cairo, then onto the Maghrib prayer of Abul Ala Al Maari, Aynul quddat Hamddhani of Persia, Yunus Emre of Turkey in the fourteenth century, and many others, culminating in the early twentieth century. The result is a soaring collection of verse from across the Islamic world and over centuries of inspiration.