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Rumi and the Communion of the Saints

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19:00- 20:30


Reza Shah-Kazemi

If we take seriously what Rumi says about the Mathnawi in his own introduction to this epic poem, we will see that Rumi is claiming to be akin to the empty flute which he describes so evocatively in the opening lines of the poem. Rumi can be seen as a hollow instrument through which the spirit of divine inspiration produced the celestial melody which the Mathnawi is. It is this emptiness of egotism, or this complete self-effacement, which, among other things, characterises the saints, the ‘friends’ of God.

In this lecture, an attempt will be made to understand Rumi’s claim that ‘the oneness of the saints is indeed delightful’. His description of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin will be the point of departure for this exploration of the notion of the essential unity of the saints in the mystical context of Sufi Islam.

This lecture will take place in the Sarah Fell Room , which is located on the 1st Floor of Friends House. Friends House is located in the heart of Euston, directly opposite Euston Station, and a stone throw away from King’s Cross and St Pancras International Stations.

This lecture is part of the Bagri Foundation Open Programme at The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, which aims to develop Asian arts courses at The School.

Reza Shah-Kazemi

Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. He has written several books in the field of comparative religion and Islamic Studies, including The Other in the Light of the One: The Universality of the Qur'an and Interfaith Dialogue (Cambridge: ITS, 2006); and Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2006); and is currently working on a volume of collected essays entitled: Muslim Perspectives on Christian Mysteries: The Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Trinity (London: The Matheson Trust, forthcoming).

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