Sufi Way - Content - Thematic Material

Thematic Material

As expected from a poem of such length, "the Poem of the Sufi Way" covers many different themes and draws on many different backgrounds. As Michael Sells writes in the Preface to Umar Ibn al-Farid: Sufi Verse, Saintly Life:

"The poem of the Sufi Way" is a microcosm of Islamic tradition at the time of Ibn al-Farid. A preliminary list of central themes of the poem would include the following: the famous lovers of classical Arabic poetry; key themes and passages from the Qur'an and from the hadith, the stories of the Qur'anic prophets; the stories of the four "rightly guided" Caliphs; mystical interpretations of Qu'ranic passages and motifs that grew out of these interpretations, such as the pre-eternal covenant; worlds of esoteric science (alchemy, astrology, divination, numerology); the psychology of Sufi states of altered consciousness; the stations of Muhammad's mi'raj, or the mystic in his or her journey to the divine beloved; and interpretations of key mystical concepts such as fana'--the passing-away of the human self in mystical union with the divine.

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