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Sufism: The Heart Of Islam
By Sadia Dehlvi
Pages: 400; Rs. 695
ince Sadia Dehlvi has, by her own admission, quoted Annemarie Schimmel extensively in her book, let me lift the first paragraph from Schimmel’s Mystical Dimensions of Islam
: "To write about Sufism, or Islamic Mysticism, is an almost impossible task. At the first step, a wide mountain range appears before the eye—and the longer the seeker pursues the path, the more difficult it seems to reach any goal at all. He may dwell in the rose gardens of Persian mystic poetry or try to reach the icy peaks of theosophic speculations, he may dwell in the lowlands of popular saint worship or drive his camel through the endless deserts of theoretical discourse about the nature of Sufism, of God, of the world, or he may be content to have an all round glimpse of the landscape.... Only a select few will reach the farthest mountain on which the mythical bird, Simurgh, lives...to understand that they have reached only what was already in themselves." The para represents the essence of Sufism. Sadia quotes Rumi and Saadi and others she does not know. The distillate of Schimmel’s word-picture exists in many Urdu couplets which Sadia should know.
"Tha woh to rashke hoor-e-behesti hameen mein mir! Samjhe na hum to fahm ka apne qusoor tha." (That hoor from paradise was part of my being. I blame it on my utter lack of comprehension of the Ultimate Truth). Mir, like other great Urdu poets, has seen Simurgh.
Sadia’s next assignment should be to persuade Khushwant Singh to translate Sufi couplets of Urdu poets.