Jalal-Al-Din Mohammad of Balkh, a respected Persian Islamic scholar, fell in love with Shams, a dervish, and became Rumi (Molana). The inspiration for the transformation of an earthly love to love of the divine is repeatedly alluded to in Rumi’s mystical poetry up until his death in 1273.
Rumi’s predecessor, Ahmad Ḡhazālī, was a Persian mystic, writer, and eloquent preacher (c. 1061–1123 or 1126) who is best known in the history of Sufism for his ideas on love, expressed primarily in his work entitled Sawāneḥ.
Since God is both absolute beauty and the lover of all phenomenal beauty, Ḡazālī maintained, to adore any object of beauty is to participate in a divine act of love.
The Sawāneḥ opens with a description of the entry of Love and Spirit into the world of beings and the union between them that gives rise to the lover, by means of whom Love then aspires to return to its original solitude and oneness. This process of return and the difficulties that accompany it, metaphorically described, form the main theme of the book.
Love is depicted as a bird that flies into the world for a brief sojourn before returning to its nest. Love is experientially accessible to the lover who, beholding the beauty manifest in the beloved, strives toward union (vessal). Such union, however, does not end the process, for the duality of lover and beloved still remains.
Only when the lover fully transcends the beloved and becomes totally annihilated is Love’s return journey to its origin complete; then Love alone remains, in absolute unity and sanctity.
Enjoy this short video of Dr. Moradi on the Persian poet Hafiz, and the joys and suffering of love:
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Robert Moradi, M.D. is a Jungian Analyst and psychiatrist in private practice in Santa Monica, California. In addition to his clinical practice, he teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, UCLA School of Medicine, and at the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center.More Posts by Robert Moradi