Agency of the Self and the Uncertain Nature of the Beloved in Persian Love Mysticism: Earthly, Ethereal, Masculine, or Feminine?

Main Article Content

Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh

Abstract

It seems that the controversies over the nature of the beloved in classical Persian mystic poetry (also known as Sufi poetry) as an earthly or ethereal phenomenon would never end. Those in favor of the celestial reading of it consider their counterparts to be narrow-minded. The adherents of terrestrial love, though, see mystical readings dogmatic and outdated, prevailed by traditionalists. The topic gets even more complicated when one takes into account the attitudes in the medieval Muslim world toward pederasty, shāhid-bāzī, on the one hand, and the Divine Feminine /Masculine Beloved, on the other hand, and, thus, the gender of this beloved. The present article explores the beloved in Persian classical mystical poetry via five different but related approaches: historical, philosophical, translational and comparative, linguistic and poetic, and, ultimately, developmental. The study concludes that an essentialist reading of the beloved in Persian love mystic poetry would create numerous problems, and that the spirit of Persian classical poetry in this regard is the spirit of uncertainty with a certain purpose: it is the manifestation of the self-poet’s agency, choosing one’s object of desire without explicitly revealing it and, thus, living one’s own life of choice without fearing the threads of religious fundamentalism.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Vali-Zadeh, Mahdieh. “Agency of the Self and the Uncertain Nature of the Beloved in Persian Love Mysticism: Earthly, Ethereal, Masculine, or Feminine?”. Teosofi: Jurnal Tasawuf dan Pemikiran Islam 12, no. 1 (June 2, 2022): 22–42. Accessed November 29, 2022. http://jurnalfuf.uinsby.ac.id/index.php/teosofi/article/view/1868.
Section
Articles

References

“Mysticism in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 7 Mar. 2009. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arabic-islamic-mysticism/

‘Amīnī, Sūdābih. “Meeting the Human of Rumi [Dīdār bā ‘Insān-i Mowlānā].” ‘Iṭṭilā‘t. 2014.

Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford University Press, 2003.

Bayānī, Shīrīn. Friend of Two Hundreds Creeds [Damsāz-i du Ṣad Kīsh]. Tehran: Jāmī, 2005.

Chittick, William C. “The Spiritual Path of Love in Ibn al-‘Arabi and Rūmī”, Mystics Quarterly 19, No. 1, 1993. www.jstor.org/stable/20717149.

Cooper, John M. et. al. Plato: Complete Works. Hackett Publishing, 1997.

Ḥāfiẓ. Dīvān-i Ḥāfiẓ, Including 43 Translated Qazals. Tehran: Zarrīn-u Sīmīn, 1999.

Hillmann, Micheal. “The Translatability of Hāfez’s Love Ghazals,” International Journal of Persian Literature 3, 2018.

Ingenito, Domenico. Beholding Beauty: Sa‘di of Shiraz and the Aesthetics of Desire in Medieval Persian Poetry. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2021.

Khurramshāhī, Bahā al-Dīn. Ḥāfiẓ-Nāmih Vol. 1. Surāsh, Tehran: 2017.

Lewisohn, Leonard. “Principles of the Philosophy of Ecstasy in Rūmī’s Poetry” in The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition. Bloomington: World Wisdom Inc., 2014.

McGinn, Bernard. The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century, Vol. 1. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2004.

Mowlavī (Rumi). Dīvān-i Shams [Kullīyāt-i Shams-i Tabrīzī]. Tehran: ‘Ābān Publication, 2009.

Ṣāḥib-Zamānī, Nāṣir. The Third Script. ‘Aṭāīī, Tehran: 2008.

Sa‘dī Shīrāzī, Rose Garden [Gulistān]. ed. Sa‘īd Nafīsī. Tehran: Foroughī Books, 1962.

Schimmel, Annemarie. My Soul is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam. New York & London: Continuum, 2003.

Schimmel, Annemarie. The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi. New York: State University of New York Press, 1993.

Sedaghat, Amir. “Le soufisme de Roumi reçu et perçu dans les mondes anglophone et francophone: Étude des traductions anglaises et françaises.” [Rūmī’s Sufism received and perceived by the English and French-speaking worlds: A Study of Translations]. 2 vols (PhD diss., Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, 2015), ch.3, 117-154. Available at: https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01579400/document.

Taylor, Charles. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Harvard University Press, 1989.

Vali-Zadeh, Mahdieh. “The Aesthetic of Desire and the Feminine Path of Individuation: The Case of Forough Farrokhzad.” Anthropology of the Middle East 16, No. 2, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3167/ame.2021.160206.

Virani, Shafique N. “Persian Poetry, Sufism and Ismailism: The Testimony of Khwājah Qāsim Tushtarī’s Recognizing God.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Series 29, no. 1, January 2019. DOI: 10.1017/S1356186318000494.

Zarrinkoob, Abdol-Hosein. “Persian Sufism in Its Historical Perspective.” Iranian Studies 3, No. 3/4, 1970. www.jstor.org/stable/4310072.

-----. In Search of Sufism in Iran. Tehran: Amir Kabir Publication, 1980.