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.

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