Defining Sufi Poetry


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. I believe this can also be the function of Sufi poetry. As the Sufi remembers God in her/his whirling, attaining a state of bliss, so the Sufi poet is expressing that bliss in words which in turn become a conduit of the divine. Poet and word are as one in the poem acting as a channel here, in the same way that dancer and dance are one in the whirling. This illustrates the ongoing task of the Sufi that has a metaphysical basis and is therefore timeless but which seeks to 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.

This is the first entry of a new page, Poesis of Love: An Exploration of Sufi Poetry
which I have put here to let you know about the page. You can access the page from the top. I have just started so there is not a lot there yet but I plan, inshallah, to update regularly.

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2 thoughts on “Defining Sufi Poetry

  1. Thank you for the links. I will certainly go and take a look.
    I also intend to look at contemporary Sufi poetry in this work and there is a flowering Sufi poetry blogosphere out there.

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