Passion Before Me, My Fate Behind

Ibn al-Farid and the Poetry of Recollection

By Th. Emil Homerin

Subjects: Religion, Islam, Sufism, Middle East Studies
Paperback : 9781438439006, 330 pages, July 2012
Hardcover : 9781438439013, 330 pages, December 2011

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Table of contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Plan of the Work
On Translation, Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Time
INTRODUCTION
Life
On the Sufi Path
Words of Love and Longing
Luminaries
1. MYSTICAL IMPROVISATIONS
Master Poet
Homage to al-Mutanabbī
Transformations
Riddles & Rubā‘īyāt
2. LOVE’S SECRETS
Tryst
Love Talk
Hymns of Devotion
Sun and Full Moon
“You Have Been Remembered”
3. JOINED AT THE CROSSROADS
The Changing Ode
Sacred Fire
Turn Aside at Tai
Holy Pilgrimage
“Greetings from Su‘ād”
4. THE BELOVED’S WINE
Blood-Red Wine
A Liberated Spirit
Two Intoxications
Drunk by a Glance
Immortal Wine
Wine of the Covenant
5. POEM OF THE SUFI WAY IN “T”-MAJOR
The Great Ode
Together Alone
Shifting Guises
Love’s Sweet Season
Spirit and Matter
Yesterday’s Tomorrow
Manifest Sites
Shadow Play
Poet & Guide
Covering Reality
Two Masters
CONCLUSION: THE POETRY OF RECOLLECTION
I but not “Me”
Content and Form
Beginning to End
Meditation and Recollection
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Explores the work of beloved Sufi poet Umar Ibn al-Farid and its context. Provides many translations of Ibn al-Farid’s poetry.

Description

Umar Ibn al-Farid (1181–1235), author of two classic works, the Wine Ode and the Poem of the Sufi Way, is considered the greatest Sufi poet to write in Arabic. In this study, these and other poems by Ibn al-Farid are considered within the context of Islamic mysticism, Arabic literature, and Sufi poetry. Th. Emil Homerin uncovers the literary and religious intent of these poems and their aesthetic and mystical content, showing them to be a type of meditative poetry. Indeed, Ibn al-Farid often alludes to the Sufi practice of "recollection," or meditation on God, to evoke a view of existence in which the seeker may be transformed by an epiphany of love revealing an intimate relationship to the divine beloved. Homerin provides elegant translations and close readings of Ibn al-Farid's poetry, highlighting the beauty of his verse, its moods, meanings, and significance within Islamic mysticism and Arabic poetry, where Ibn al-Farid is still known as the "Sultan of the Lovers."

Th. Emil Homerin is Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. His books include The Wine of Love and Life: Ibn al-Farid's al-Khamriyah and al-Qaysari's Quest for Meaning; From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint: Ibn al-Farid His Verse, and His Shrine; and Umar Ibn al-Farid: Sufi Verse, Saintly Life.

Reviews

"This is the major work on the mystical poetry of Umar Ibn al-Farid by the leading Western expert on Arabic Sufi poetry. Stylistically refined and polished, Homerin's translations of the extremely difficult medieval mystical poetry successfully convey the peculiarities of diction and the cultural and aesthetic richness of the original material. Together with the author's earlier studies, this will remain a definitive study of Ibn al-Farid's poetic oeuvre for years to come." — Alexander Knysh, author of Islamic Mysticism: A Short History