Sufi Soul: Part 5

In the final part of this documentary, William Dalrymple visits Sufi orders in Morocco where the music is very ‘loud and exuberant’. Dalrymple calls it ‘a sort of spiritual music jazz’. Here we also see many female musicians who perform healing with music. Dalrymple also visits the Fez Festival of Sacred Music where musicians of all faiths participate. Youssou N’Dour, who also performs at the festival, is interviewed and expresses his belief that Sufi music can correct the present image of Islam.

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Yunus Emre and the Dervish Path

yunus2Yunus Emre was a great Sufi poet living in Anatolia in the fourteenth century at the same time as Jalaluddin Rumi. While Rumi wrote his glorious Mathnawi in Persian, Yunus Emre sang his poems in the Turkish vernacular of Anatolia. The following poem is about starting on the Sufi path. I love the humble humour with which Yunus speaks of himself.

Whoever is given the dervish path

May his posturing cease and may he shine.

May his breath become musk and amber.

May whole cities and homelands

gather fruit from his branches.

May his leaves be healing herbs for the sick.

May much good work be done in his shadow.

And among all the poets and nightingales

in the Friends garden,

may Yunus hop like a partridge.

Sufi Soul: Part 4

This is part four of the film, Sufi Soul, and William Dalrymple goes to the Pakistani province of Sindh to visit the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif. He was a poet-saint who died in 1752 and to this day his music is played every night at his shrine using a string instrument called the dambar which Shah Abdul Latif invented himself. Dalrymple also speaks to mullahs of a more recent movement influenced by Wahhabi ideas that are anti-music and anti-Sufi. However, a musician he speaks to says that the majority of the people of Pakistan understand their faith through Sufism, through its music, through dance, and true human interaction.

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Found in Translation: How a Thirteenth Century Islamic Poet Conquered America By Ryan Croken

A very thoughtful assessment of Coleman Barks translations of the poetry of Rumi put in the context of the climate in the USA of propaganda and militarism against Muslim countries. (Which will hopefully change with Obama). Click the link below to read the full article.
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The best-selling poet in America today could never have known that someday there would be such a thing as America. Born over eight centuries ago in what is now Afghanistan, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, a Sufi mystic, has traversed some rather astonishing cultural and temporal boundaries to become one of the most improbable leaders in American letters. A study of Rumi’s success, however, would not be complete without exploring the relationship between the poet and his most popular translator, Coleman Barks.

Poetically, this is significant. But politically, it is momentous. Although something may have been lost in his “translations,” something more priceless has been found: in this American Rumi we have acquired a dazzlingly cogent ambassador of a slandered religion and a most unlikely cultural bridge that could not have come at a better time.
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Sufi Soul: Part 3

Here is Part 3 of this beautiful film. Part 2 was in Turkey, now in Part 3, William Dalrymple visits Sufis in Pakistan where he says the sema is more raw, more elemental. Also showing the Qawwalis of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his nephew, Rahat.

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