In the early thirteenth century, in the Central Asian province of Balkh, Baha al-din Valad, the father of the poet we now call Rumi, is said to have delivered a sermon in which he confronted the ruling Khwarezmshah, ‘Ala al-Din Mohammad bin Takesh.1 As a throng of people listened to him preach, Baha al-din addressed the shah in the following manner: “Oh king of this transient realm, know and be aware—though you do not know and are not aware—that you are a sultan and I am a sultan. They call you Sultan of the Commanders and they call me Sultan of the Religious Scholars, and you are my disciple.”2 Baha al-din then warns the Khwarezmshah about the impending arrival of the Tatar armies and withdraws his family from Balkh to go to the capital of the Abbasid caliphate,...
Between Cynicism and Sincerity in the Study of Sufism and Politics
matthew b. lynch is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a visiting instructor in the Religion Department at Bard College. His dissertation, “A Persian Qur’an? Rumi’s Masnavi-e Ma’navi as Scripture,” examines Rumi’s main epic writing in the context of its production as well as for its contribution to debates in religious studies over what constitutes the sacred and canonical in Islamic traditions.
Matthew B. Lynch; Between Cynicism and Sincerity in the Study of Sufism and Politics. English Language Notes 1 April 2018; 56 (1): 237–240. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00138282-4337598
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