Islamic literature is rich, varied, and abundant, as befits the literature of a civilization which once controlled an empire as great as that of the Romans. In Aspects of Islamic Civilization, A. J. Arberry has chosen and translated passages from the most highly regarded works of Islamic literature in order to illustrate the development of Islamic civilization from its origins in the sixth century to the present.
This anthology is made up of selections from Arabic and Persian writers who have given world renown to Islamic literature—such as Hafiz, Sa'di, Jalal al-Din Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn al-Farid, Avicenna, Ibn Hazm—and from such works as the Koran, the Masnavi, and the Moorish Anthology. It is an invaluable collection of sources for anyone interested in the Moslem world and a fascinating volume to browse in.
Mystical Poems of Rumi
Jalal al-Din Rumi University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress PK6480.E5A72 2008 | Dewey Decimal 891.551
My verse resembles the bread of Egypt—night passes over it, and you cannot eat it any more.
Devour it the moment it is fresh, before the dust settles upon it.
Its place is the warm climate of the heart; in this world it dies of cold.
Like a fish it quivered for an instant on dry land, another moment and you see it is cold.
Even if you eat it imagining it is fresh, it is necessary to conjure up many images.
What you drink is really your own imagination; it is no old tale, my good man.
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–73), legendary Persian Muslim poet, theologian, and mystic, wrote poems acclaimed through the centuries for their powerful spiritual images and provocative content, which often described Rumi’s love for God in romantic or erotic terms. His vast body of work includes more than three thousand lyrics and odes. This volume includes four hundred poems selected by renowned Rumi scholar A. J. Arberry, who provides here one of the most comprehensive and adept English translations of this enigmatic genius. Mystical Poems is the definitive resource for anyone seeking an introduction to or an enriched understanding of one of the world’s greatest poets.
“Rumi is one of the world’s greatest lyrical poets in any language—as well as probably the most accessible and approachable representative of Islamic civilization for Western students.”—James W. Morris, Oberlin College
Rumi, who wrote and preached in Persia during the thirteenth century, was inspired by a wandering mystic, or dervish, named Shams al-Din. Rumi's vast body of poetry includes a lengthy poem of religious mysticism, the Mathnavi, and more than three thousand lyrics and odes. A.J. Arberry, who selected four hundred of the lyrics for translation, calls Rumi "one of the world's greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism."
"An excellent introduction to Rumi, the greatest mystical poet of Islam. . . . Rumi's scope, like that of all great poets, is universal—reaching from sensuous luxuriance to the driest irony."—Sherman Goldman, East-West Journal
Rumi, who wrote and preached in Persia during the thirteenth century, is one of history’s most celebrated mystics. His vast body of poetry includes a lengthy epic of religious mysticism, the Mathnavi, and more than three thousand lyrics and odes. A. J. Arberry, who selected four hundred of the lyrics for translation, calls Rumi "one of the world's greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism." Arberry’s authoritative translation is one of the few done directly from the original Persian.
A. J. Arberry (1905-69) was professor of Arabic at Cambridge University.