ʻAṭṭār and the Persian Sufi tradition: the art of spiritual flight

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I.B. Tauris, 2006 - Poetry - 355 pages
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Farid al-Din 'Attar (d. 1221) was the principal Muslim religious poet of the second half of the twelfth century. Best known for his masterpiece Mantiq al-tayr, or The Conference of Birds, his verse is still considered to be the finest example of Sufi love poetry in the Persian language after that of Rumi. This volume is the most comprehensive survey of 'Attar's literary works to date, and situates his poetry and prose within the wider context of the Persian Sufi tradition. Sixteen scholars from North America, Europe and Iran illustrate, from a variety of critical perspectives, the full range of 'Attar's monumental achievement. They show why and how 'Attar's poetical work, as well as his mystical doctrines, wielded such influence over the whole of Persian Sufism. They also shed light on why the epics and lyrics which declare his radical theology of love are still known by heart and sung by minstrels throughout Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and wherever Persian is spoken or understood.

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Contents

Attar Sufism and Ismailism
3
Narratology and Realities in the Work of Attar
57
Sufi Saints and Sainthood in Attars Tadhkirat alawliya
63
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About the author (2006)

Leonard Lewisohn is Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. He specialises in the study of Persian Sufism, and is the author of Beyond Faith and Infedility: The Sufi Poetry and Teachings of Mahmoud Shabistari (1995). Christopher Shackle is Professor of the Modern Languages of South Asia at SOAS in the University of London. Among his recent books are Ismaili Hymns from South Asia (1992), Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa (1996) and A Treasury of Indian Love Poems and Proverbs (1999).

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