Sufi Aesthetics
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Sufi Aesthetics argues that the interpretive keys to erotic Sufi poems and their medieval commentaries lie in understanding a unique perceptual experience. Using careful analysis of primary texts, Cyrus Ali Zargar explores the theoretical and poetic pronouncements of two major Muslim mystics, Muhyi al-Din ibn al-'Arabi (d. 1240) and Fakhr al-Din 'Iraqi (d. 1289), under the premise that behind any literary tradition exist organic aesthetic values. The complex assertions of these Sufis appear not as abstract theory, but as a way of seeing all things, including the sensory world.

The Sufi masters, Zargar asserts, shared an aesthetic vision quite different from those who have often studied them. Sufism's foremost theoretician, Ibn 'Arabi, is presented from a neglected perspective as a poet, aesthete, and lover of the human form. Ibn 'Arabi in fact proclaimed a view of human beauty markedly similar to that of many mystics from a Persian contemplative school of thought, the "School of Passionate Love," which would later find its epitome in 'Iraqi, one of Persian literature's most celebrated poet-saints. Through this aesthetic approach, this comparative study overturns assumptions made not only about Sufism and classical Arabic and Persian poetry, but also other uses of erotic imagery in Muslim approaches to sexuality, the human body, and the paradise of the afterlife described in the Qur'an.



Publié par
Date de parution 22 mai 2013
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781611171839
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 15 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,3150€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Sufi Aesthetics
Studies in Comparative Religion Frederick M. Denny, Series Editor
Sufi Aesthetics
Beauty, Love, and the Human Form in the Writings of Ibn Arabi and Iraqi
2011 University of South Carolina
Cloth edition published by the University of South Carolina Press, 2011
Ebook edition published in Columbia, South Carolina, by the University of South Carolina Press, 2013
22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
The Library of Congress has cataloged the cloth edition as follows:
Zargar, Cyrus Ali.
Sufi aesthetics : beauty, love, and the human form in the writings of Ibn
Arabi and Iraqi / Cyrus Ali Zargar.
p. cm. - (Studies in comparative religion)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-57003-999-7 (cloth : alk. paper)
1. Sufism-Doctrines. 2. Aesthetics. 3. Perception (Philosophy) 4. Ibn
al- Arabi, 1165-1240-Criticism and interpretation. 5. Iraqi, Fakhr al-Din
Ibrahim, d. 1289?-Criticism and interprtation. I. Title.
BP189.3.Z36 2011
297.4 167-dc22
ISBN 978-1-61117-183-9 (ebook)
Series Editor s Preface

1 Perception according to Ibn Arabi: God in Forms
2 Perception according to Iraqi: Witnessing and Divine Self-Love
3 Beauty according to Ibn Arabi and Iraqi: That Which Causes Love
4 Ibn Arabi and Human Beauty: The School of Passionate Love
5 Iraqi and the Tradition of Love, Witnessing, and Shahidbazi
6 The Amorous Lyric as Mystical Language: Union of the Sacred and Profane
Selected Bibliography
Index of Qur anic Verses
Index of Traditions
General Index
Series Editor s Preface
This study addresses Sufi mystical poetry within the conceptual universe of the poets themselves, which is a world of aesthetic awareness rooted in love and connected to ontology and humans in relation to divine reality. The author addresses love and beauty as understood and celebrated by two great Sufi poets who created their art in a most productive era of such discourse. Of particular significance is the author s straightforward treatment of erotic verse, which is a major emphasis of Sufi poetry animated by profound adoration of the human form as a foundation of their aesthetics.
This book is grounded in a profound mastery and understanding of the Arabic and Persian texts of the Sufi poets studied, as well as the vernacular secondary sources within this discourse. Specialists will value this study as a major contribution to literary theory. It is also accessible for thoughtful readers to appreciate, whether in academic settings that encompass mysticism, Islamic studies, and literature courses or among the general reading public, which includes large numbers worldwide who love to learn about Sufi mysticism both for intellectual stimulation and personal enlightenment.
Frederick M. Denny
The following book considers closely the writings of two thirteenth-century Sufis, Muhyi al-Din ibn al- Arabi and Fakhr al-Din Iraqi. Patience is the reader s only prerequisite, for a study of the aesthetics of vision and the human form in the complex thought of these mystics often requires extensive explanation until we can finally reach the interpretive heart of the matter toward the end of the book. If you, like me, have long marveled at the human experience of beauty, then I hope you enjoy, as much as I did, discovering a perspective that is so distant yet so insightful and relevant.
A Note about Readings
I have avoided a biography of either Ibn Arabi or Iraqi, mainly in hopes of relative brevity, but also in recognition of the efforts of others in this regard. In English, Julian Baldick, William C. Chittick, and Peter Lamborn Wilson have considered closely the life of Iraqi, and Claude Addas s carefully researched biography of Ibn Arabi has been translated from the French, among others who have concerned themselves with one or even both of these mystics.
For an astute overview of Ibn Arabi s ontological and cosmological insights, one can refer to the writings of William C. Chittick, since I have concentrated on one particular aspect of this worldview and, thanks to his efforts, can avoid reiterating what would have to be a long discussion. I also have been able to avoid a broader discussion of aesthetics as founded in classical Sufi thought, on account of the accomplishments of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Titus Burckhardt, and others. There are other important and related topics, such as sama , the Sufi practice of audition, and wine imagery, that are intimately connected to the thematic and historical contexts of this book yet covered only briefly herein because of limitations. Again, I refer inquisitive readers to the bibliography for resources.
Text Editions
As for the most relevant primary texts, the edition of Ibn Arabi s Fusus al-Hikam I have used corresponds to the A. E. Affifi edition, printed in Beirut in 1946, here reprinted in Tehran in 1991, although all page numbers correspond. The edition of al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah used throughout this book is the one published in 1997 in Beirut by Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Islami. It is a reprinting of the Dar Sadir edition, based on the Bulaq edition published in Cairo in 1911, which is often cited in studies of Ibn Arabi. Unfortunately the Dar Sadir edition is no longer in print or in the market, so those introduced more recently to Ibn Arabi often do not have ready access to it. In order to make citations accessible to most, I have cited both versions but have placed the more available Dar Ihya edition first in every instance and have included its line number. The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq cited throughout was also published by Dar Sadir in 1961, which I have favored mainly because of its conformity with the commentary and a dearth of more authoritative, carefully edited versions. The edition of Ibn Arabi s commentary on his Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, the Dhakha ir al-A laq, Sharh Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, is that of Muhammad Abd al-Rahman al-Kurdi (Cairo, 1968), an edition used by Michael Sells, Chittick, and others. Sometimes, however, the edition of Tarjuman al-Ashwaq published by Reynold A. Nicholson in 1911 seems to have been more discerningly edited than the Dar Sadir edition-such instances are indicated in the endnotes.
As for Iraqi, the main text used throughout for the author s complete works is a critical edition published as a second edition in 1382 shamsi-hijri /2003-4 by Nasrin Muhtasham. This is, as far as I know, the most recent edition of Iraqi s collected works, and the editor has carefully compared fifteen manuscripts, eight of which pertain to Iraqi s diwan. This edition is referred to as Kulliyat. Despite its strengths, because of difficulties inherent in editing Iraqi s collected works, this text has been complemented by two other editions. For the Lama at, this study makes use of Muhammad Khwajawi s 1992 critical edition as a second reference. For all other instances, a reprinting of Sa id Nafisi s revised edition of Iraqi s collected works has been employed; this edition is cited as Diwan. Important textual variances are indicated in the notes.
All translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.
Diacritical Markings
I hope that the lack of diacritical markings does not confuse anyone, but diacritics serve a somewhat strange purpose anyway, since those who understand them usually do not need them. In case there are some ambiguities, the index and bibliography both include diacritical markings. In such instances, the markings I use correspond to those of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, with a few minor adjustments; most notably, I add an h to words ending in ta marbutah and prefer a long i and one y for the -iyya ending suggested by IJMES. Also, because many of the authors quoted here use Arabic terms and phrases in Persian contexts as part of an Arabic-Persian Sufi vocabulary, I have transliterated all Persian names and words using Arabic consonant and vowel transliteration equivalents, except, of course, when the consonants in question do not exist in the Arabic alphabet.
This book would not have been possible without the guidance and generosity of others. I thank Augustana College for its New Faculty Grant and continued support. I must mention and thank Hamid Algar, whose encouragement helped this project blossom and whose erudition continues to inspire me. It is to him that this book is dedicated. I owe appreciation to James T. Monroe for all his advice and kindness. Moreover, my sincere gratitude extends to Wali Ahmadi, William C. Chittick, Omid Safi, Sarah Skrainka, Dawud Salman, and everyone else who helped this work flourish within the context of other voices. I should acknowledge, furthermore, all those scholars of Sufism and Ibn Arabi, classic and contemporary, whose years and even decades of research, having built a framework of study, often go too easily unnoticed. Thanks are due to Mohammad-Javad Shabani and Ali Qasemi for their help in reconfiguring the two diagrams that appear in chapter 1; to my editors for their care and sensitivity with this text; to Munir Shaikh for painstakingly preparing the general index; and to my friends at the Augustana College Thomas Tredway Library, especially those at Interlibrary Loan, for their proficiency and indefatigability. I am grateful to every student I have had at Augustana College for teaching me how to (try to) explain the unusual. I thank my wife for her love, my mother for her encouragement, and my brother for his skepticism. I thank my children for their always-equipped comic relief and their unquestioning affection. I owe to my father

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