Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Mysteries in the West – Strange Rites

June 20, 2018

Mysteries in the West – Strange Rites

It is the night of Saturday, especially consecrated to a ritual which is awesome to us, faithfully followed by the devotees of a certain cult.

Two groups of twelve, dressed in colourful costumes, carry out complicated movements within an enclosed space. They at times respond to musical stimuli applied through a primitive instrument by a man of seeming authority who, with a few assistants, supervises their activity. Entirely surrounding the area devoted to the ritual, a congregation gives its responses. At times the people sing, sometimes they shout, sometimes they are silent. Some wield an instrument which gives forth a strange sound.

Much care has evidently gone into the planning of the geometrically designed arena. Around it are colourful insignia, flags, banners, decorations probably designed to raise the emotional pitch of the individual and the group. The atmosphere is eerie partly because of the abrupt changes in emotion. Their reaction to the ecstatogenic processes being enacted in their midst is so explosive at times that one wonders why they do not spill over into the sacred enclosure. Both joy and sorrow are manifested among the votaries.

Here a man writhes on the ground, another grimaces, sweat pouring from his face. One of the audience strikes himself, another his neighbour. The totem rises into the air, and is hailed by an awesome roar from the assembly … Then we see that blood has been shed.

We are observers at a floodlit association football [soccer] game …

[Idries Shah, The Sufis, pp. 232-3 with slight edits]

Advertisements

An Astronomical Aubade – Ibn Hani, Andalusian Poet

June 7, 2009

Magnificent composition by the author and fantastic translation by the late Prof. A.J. Arberry of Cambridge.

Astronomical Aubade – Ibn Hani

Islamic Astronomical Poetry (Powerpoint slides)

TALES OF THE WISE

June 7, 2009

A handful of lovely stories from Kitab al-Adhkiya’ by Imam Ibn al-Jawzi of Baghdad.  “The Learned Robber” at the end is hilarious!

TALES OF THE WISE

THE CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE OF THE QUR’AN

June 7, 2009

A must-read book by Imam al-Ajurri of Baghdad & Mecca (d. 360 H), especially for those who intend to memorise any or all of the Qur’an, or who have already memorised some or all of it.

THE CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE OF THE QURAN