The Shiites pp 47-52 | Cite as

Variations on the Esoteric Tradition in Poetry and Theosophy: Examples from Attar, Hafez, and Suhrawardi of Aleppo

  • David Pinault


Twelver Shiite dogma, it has already been noted, affirms a precise balance between the external and internal dimensions of Scripture. For the good of society as a whole, an individual’s spiritual insights into the hidden purport of sacred writ cannot take precedence over the law articulated in the literal text. Batin and zahir share equal validity.


Precise Balance Love Poem Ritual Prayer Divine Wisdom Bedouin Tribe 
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  1. 1.
    Farid al-Din Attar, Mantiq al-tayr, Ahmad Khoshnevis, ed. (Isfahan: Kitabkhaneh Sina’i, 1336 AH), 70–71.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shams al-Din Hafez, Diwan-e kamil-e Hafez-e Shiraz, ed. Timur Burhan Limudhi (Teheran: Matbu’ati Kawiyan, 1363 AH), 39.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The text of Khomeini’s poem is available in Michael Fischer and Mehdi Abedi, Debating Muslims: Cultural Dialogues in Postmodernity and Tradition (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), 451–452.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hermann Landolt, “Suhrawardi’s ‘Tales of Initiation’,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 107 (1987), 482.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    W. M. Thackston, Jr., trans., The Mystical and Visionary Treatises of Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi (London: Octagon Press, 1982), 84–85.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Henry Corbin, L’archange empourpré (Paris: Librairie Fayard, 1976), 170.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Thackston, op. cit., 26–34.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Thackston, op. cit., 35.Google Scholar

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© David Pinault 1992

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  • David Pinault

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