on fantasy, or fiction

Discussion in 'Smalltalk' started by Unbeknown, Mar 13, 2017.

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  1. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    brother, while I do not think you are wrong I do think we are approaching the issue from orthogonal directions and so it will be difficult to concur with everything.

    wa's salaam
  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Unbeknown and Noori like this.
  3. Yes but still how can you identify a correct metaphor up until you understand the Sufi terminology in the first place? So again, one travels, experiences then is MADE TO PUT PEN TO PAPER
  4. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    after searching high and low, I found a historical reference to khutan at last. See pdf-page #202 of this book. At-least, it seems to be the same place.

    in other contexts it is interpreted as an imaginary place - see note#14 here, which I might have misread.

    thanks to sidi Noori.
  5. Noori

    Noori Senior Moderator

    we cannot, but it is quite possible that an english speaking sufi, who has good command over sufi terms and concepts, may find some metaphors in english literature which he may use to explain to english speaking saliks.
  6. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    khutan is a district of Tartary famous for musk deers and mushk-e-khutan refers to this superior quality musk. I dunno how but it seems I mixed up the fictitious Tartaries with the very real Tartary which actually existed and thought that the phrase is a reference from legend.

    my bad. I apologize for the mistake.


    yes. there is sufficient material in urdu/persian/arabic already.

    I surely did not mean understanding/teaching advanced tasawwuf symbolism - like the "mantiq al-tayr" of shaykh fareed-al-deen or this.

    what I meant is creation of new symbols, more relevant for our times, for just the thing you said - better understanding.

    symbols/metaphors need not be arcane - in-fact they should not be - if the generality of people are to benefit from them.

    as I said earlier, it is everywhere in our books. Just look at the qasida mi'raj of alahazrat. one can ask, "why use all that imagery? Why not just say it all plain and simple and get done with it?" That's the whole point of a metaphor - to explain in a different, more elegant and evocative manner.

    I was just asking if we can bring in newer ones.

    hope that clarifies what I am trying to say/ask.
  7. Noori

    Noori Senior Moderator

    English fiction?

    actually Inwardreflection is right, our youth, and even those who are on the sufi path (slook) they do not need to know very complex cocepts of tasawwuf which only few can understand, and very few are those who can explain. Driving a new metaphor will only benefit if the concept is really understood very well.

    What we need is simple lessons for self purification without knowing the terms. I know sufies who pray tahajjd, fast almost every day, recite quran as much as they can, their eyes sheding tears as soon as they listen/recite quran and na'at, they stay away from all worldly desires but they don't know most of the sufi terminnology or even the names of sufi works. They practice more than focusing on theory.
  8. Noori

    Noori Senior Moderator

    fiction? Plz, explain.
  9. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was to use metaphors for learning/teaching spiritual matters.

    The books are full of them and they are in the hadith too, in-fact, even in Qur'an al-kareem.

    But usually they are based on the natural world - and in the terminology of the article I linked to - the vehicle are natural phenomenon. What I am talking about is metaphors from fictional world.

    To give an example, "mushk-e-khutan" is a metaphor taken from fiction/legend. It is commonly used in urdu poetry and alahazrat has used it too.

    he (raDyiAllahu'anhu) writes:

    shab zulf ya mushk-e-khutan
    ye bhi nahi, wo bhi nahi

    and then, the oft-quoted example of the mathnavi shareef....
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  10. Learn Spiritual matters first, then you can deduce what you need to. Who knows these matters until one travels the way through extreme hardship? Otherwise no point talking about this.
  11. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    was wondering if it would be injudicious or inappropriate or even disliked to borrow metaphor from modern or classical works of fantasy, to describe or refer to or contemplate about spiritual matters and religious rites?

    we know that symbolism played an important part in the diction of the sufiya and that was perhaps because it served multiple purposes which literalism alone could not satisfactorily address.

    a good read about metaphors and their genesis: Chapter 3, Studies in Analogy.

    there definitely is the side-effect of conferring on these fantasies more laurels than they are worth and also of them acquiring greater currency among muslims than they presently enjoy or is desirable, because of the possibility of the youth inadvertently absorbing some of the unwholesome notions and disagreeable influences that invariably come enmeshed with most of them.

    But if, as in some cases, they are already popular among muslims of a particular country/region or cultural or professional background - these metaphors could serve some of the purposes, even if to a limited extent, which symbolism serves(ed) in the books of tasawwuf.


    Personally, I feel that what one makes of the literature of any genre, especially, what we may call, open-ended fiction, depends on one's own persuasions, internal states and intellectual maturity. At least a few (many?) works out there are so open to interpretation and "positive selective reading" that one could make of them just about anything one wishes.

    Poe seems to agree, albeit in a less than flattering manner:

    Poe's observations are wonderfully borne out by this collection of essays.

    any thoughts?
  12. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    from two different corners of the world but complimentary or perhaps identical notions about fantasy. Maybe because they spring from teachings rooted in similar world views or maybe because they have an element of truth - even if strictly relative.




    the first article, although unintentionally, also sheds some light on one of the reasons as to why/how, at the time of partition, the brahmins came to hold the important positions which they did, whereas, the majority of the co-religionists of the erstwhile emperors of undivided India, found themselves filling largely unimportant and ineffective roles or none at all. There are a host of other reasons for the backwardness of Muslims in the post independence Indian society (another one of them, for example, can be adduced from some remarks in darymple's, "The Last Mughal"). Which shows how overly simplistic and even bigoted (deliberately planted by vested interests) is the view that all ills plaguing the community were wholly and solely a direct consequence of the choices and actions of the ulema who lived during the period. As if the masses were beholden to nothing and no one else but them and if, as a gedanken exercise, they are removed from the scene, the Indian muslims' progress unbends itself in a steeply rising curve for which only the sky is the limit!

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