THE SPEECH OF THE BIRDS - Concerning Migration to the Real (Mantiq al-Tair) by Farid al-Din Attar
THE SPEECH OF THE BIRDS - Concerning Migration to the Real (Mantiq al-Tair) by Farid al-Din Attar
THE SPEECH OF THE BIRDS - Concerning Migration to the Real (Mantiq al-Tair) by Farid al-Din Attar
THE SPEECH OF THE BIRDS - Concerning Migration to the Real (Mantiq al-Tair) by Farid al-Din Attar

THE SPEECH OF THE BIRDS - Concerning Migration to the Real (Mantiq al-Tair) by Farid al-Din Attar

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P. W. Avery Mantiq al-Tair is one of the masterpieces of Persian literature of which a complete and annotated translation into English is here presented for the first time. The text revolves around the decision of the birds of the world to seek out a king. Their debilitating doubts and fears, the knowing counsel of their leader the Hoopoe, and their choice of the Simurgh as king, is in reality an allegory of the spiritual path of Sufism with its demands, its hazards and its infinite rewards. The poem contains many admonitory anecdotes and exemplary stories, including numerous references to some of the early Muslim mystics such as Rabi’a aVAdawiyya, Abu Sald ibn Abi `I-Khair, Mansur al-Hallaj and Shibli, amongst others. `Attar’s work remains one of the world’s major testaments to the possibility of the fulfillment, or, in a term used by mystics, the fruition of the human spirit— it is above all, as is Sufism as a whole, of an intensely humanistic nature. Not “humanistic” in the sense sometimes given to this word nowadays, but in the sense of mysticism being an intensely personal matter. Peter Avery has not only given us a precise and moving translation, but also ample annotation providing much information to fill in what `Attar would have expected his readers to know. The result is a fascinating insight into a remarkable aspect of Islam: the world of the ecstatic love and ultimate sacrifice of the Persian mystics who, in their wise discernment of the true meaning of life, relinquish all for All


AUTHOR: Farīd ud-Dīn Attār
BINDING: Hardback
PAGES: 368
PUBLISHER: Suhail Academy


Abū Hamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221; better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn and ʿAttār of Nishapur, Attar means apothecary), was a poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. He wrote a collection of lyrical poems and number of long poems in the philosophical tradition of Islamic mysticism, as well as a prose work with biographies and sayings of famous Muslim mystics. The Conference of the Birds, The Book of Divine, and Memorial of the Saints are among his best known works.


Born May 15, 1923, in Derby, England; died October 6, 2008. Middle East scholar, educator, translator, and author. Avery had two passions in life—the culture and history of modern Iran and the classical Persian poetry of times past and present. He was able to pursue both fields of study in his long career. Avery discovered the Persian language as a soldier in India during World War II. After the war he spent several years in Iran and Iraq, first as an employee of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, then as a teacher at the Iraqi Royal Military College and Staff College and the Baghdad College of Arts and Sciences. His tenure in the Middle East occurred during a period of modernization and relatively tolerant cultural freedom, and he took full advantage of the opportunity to observe and interact with members of the literary circles that thrived in cities like Baghdad. In 1957 Avery returned to England as a lecturer in Persian at Cambridge University, a position that he held until 1990. He also served the university as a dean of King's College, a director of the Middle East Centre, and a member of the editorial board of the multi-volume collection The Cambridge History of Iran. Avery was decorated an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2001. His contributions to the study of Persian culture in the West were recognized when the government of Iran bestowed upon him the Farabi Award in 2008. Avery's interest in poetry spanned the centuries and resulted in several well-received translations, from the modern The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam (1979) to the fourteenth-century poetry in The Collected Lyrics of Háfiz of Shíráz (2007). Avery was often acknowledged as an expert on the history, politics, and culture of the Middle East. His publications in this field include Modern Iran (1965), The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 7: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic (1991), and The Spirit of Iran: A History of Achievement from Adversity (2007).

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