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Scene from Conference of the Birds

Scene from Conference of the Birds

The Conference of the Birds is a mystical poem by the Persian poet Farid al-Din `Attar who is traditionally said to have died in 1230 CE (although modern scholarship asserts he could have died as early as 1190). `Attar also authored the Ilahinameh (“The Book of the Divine”), an extended poetic work combining theological, poetic, and mystical themes, and The Memorial of the Saints, a theological and literary tour-de-force recounting the words and deeds of earlier generations of Sufis.  

Conference of the Birds presents the adventures of a group of birds who travel to see the great magical Iranian bird-king known as the Simorgh. The poem is a metaphor for the Sufi or mystical Islamic search for God, as represented by the Simorgh. Many of the birds drop out along the quest, and at the end, only thirty (si) birds (morgh) remain to discover the true Simorgh: their own reflection in a mirror. In other words, `Attar argues the mystic point of view that God is our source to which humans strive to return and that source is found not outside of, but deep within the human heart.

Next Button Off Mausoleum of Farid al-Din ‘Attar

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