Farid al-Din Attar
Farid al-Din Attar [d.617H - 1221 CE] 'alayhi al-rahmah wa'l-ridwan.
Great Persian Sufi Poet. Born in Nishapur, North
Eastern Iran. Known for Sufi epic poems narrating the souls progression
to inner perfection, as well as couplet poems, the most famous of which
is the Simurgh.
Wrote a widely read Sufi hagiography. His stories uphold the idea that
the release of the soul is attainable in life by eliminating the self,
that the universal soul is found within. Notable for lively
presentations full of anecdotes & didactic digressions.
'Attar's works fall within three categories. First
are those works in which mysticism is in perfect balance with a
finished, story-teller's art. The second group are those in which a
pantheistic zeal gains the upper hand over literary interest. The third
are those in which the aging poet idolizes the saint Ali. During this
period there is no trace of ordered thoughts and descriptive skills. One
of 'Attar's major poetic works is called Asrar Nameh (Book
of Secrets) about Sufi ideas. This is the work that the aged Shaykh
gave Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi when Rumi's family stayed over at
Nishapur on its way to Konya, Turkey. Another major contribution of
'Attar is the Elahi Nameh (Divine Book), about zuhd or asceticism. But foremost among 'Attar's works is his Manteq al-Tayr (Conference of the Birds) in which he makes extensive use of Al-Ghazali's Risala on Birds as well as a treatise by the Ikhvan al-Safa (the Brothers of Serenity) on the same topic.