Mantiq Al-Tayr is the First Prominent Art Work of Iranian - Islamic civilization
11 شهريور 1390 14:19
During the fourth set of lectures on Attar Hassan Bolkhari (PHD) said: among the works of Attar two books are prominent, the first one is “Mantiq Al-Tayr” (The Language of the Birds) or (The Logic of Flight); and the other one “Tazkirat-al-Ulia” (a kind of hagiography) which is a prose masterpiece. In expressing the birds’ flight towards the Phoenix, “Mantiq Al-Tayr” is considered indeed the first significant artwork of Iranian and Islamic civilization.
IBNA: Dr. Hassan Bolkhari reviewed the mystical description of “Haft Shar-e-Eshq” i.e. (The seven Cities of Love) in the works of Attar during the fourth set of lectures on Attar. This session was held in the Book City Cultural Center on Wednesday evening (August 10).
During this session it was discussed that in Attar’s “Mantiq Al-Tayr”, a group of birds begin a mysterious trip towards the Kaf Mountain in order to find a king. Hoopoe, the birds’ leader explains to the other birds about Demand, Love, Wisdom, Disdain, Monotheism, Wonder and Perish which are indeed the seven homes of the “Love Trip”, or “Haft Shar-e-Eshq” :” The seven Cities of Love” as well.
Continuing his speech Bolkhari said: In the realm of mysticism, those who reach the virtue of realizing divine service have shouldered the mission to talk. This is contrary to their aptitude, in other words If a mystic is left alone, he will be retreated, since God bless you in the cloister. Plurality or better to say being among others, brings sometimes so much contamination that the might tear down the spirit of mystic from darkness and corruption.
He added: secluding is the essence of Sufism. But the question here is why Attar-who is indeed a Sufi-, does write “Mantiq Al-Tayr”? The answer is that he had learned Mantiq Al-Tayr by himself and in this field he had acceded to the wadi (valley) of demand. That is why those who read the book “Mantiq Al-Tayr” whole heartedly, they will realize its language as well. While reading in this way, what is so important is to achieve a "Demand" and becoming a "Demander" means that he has intended to “Go”.
Bolkhari noted: In the history of culture and literature of Iran, two beits are attributed to Rumi. One of them is where he has renamed the Attar’s "Seven-Wadis “, in to the" Seven Cities of Love” and has said: “the seven-cities of love were toured by Attar / we still are bending over an alley, "and this is another beit:" Attar is a soul and Sana’i is his two eyes / we go after Sana’i and Attar.”
He added: I have not seen these two beits in the Diwan of Shams or in Rumi's Masnavi. Aflaki or Ahmad Sepahsalar has probably brought these two meanings to describe the virtues of Rumi. But we know definitively that Rumi met Attar. Once the Balkh caravan went to Mecca and then Konya, young Rumi met Attar and Attar gave the book entitled: “Asrar-Nama (Book of Secrets)” to him. However, such a meeting has taken place. The highlighted presence of Sana’i and Attar among the disciples of Rumi is also undoubted. Be based upon these two evidences, those two beits can be considered serious and real ones.
Bolkhari said: two books are prominent among the works of Attar. The first one is “Mantiq Al-Tayr” and the other one is “Tazkirat-al-Ulia” which is a prose masterpiece. In expressing the birds’ flight towards the Phoenix, “Mantiq Al-Tayr” is considered indeed the first significant artwork of Iranian and Islamic civilization. The Phoenix of Avesta should not be ignored and also the seven animates mentioned in Avestan and Pahlavi texts and said that they could meet Ahura Mazda through co-questioning; are all in a sense similar to the story of Attar ; Simurgh/ Phoenix is one of these seven animates as well.
He continued: In the Iranian and Islamic civilization however, birds’ leaving the land and flying towards Phoenix, is something old and frequent. Before Attar, we had several “Resalat Ul-Tayrs "( the treatises on flight) such as dissertations of Najm Razi, Ahmad Ghazali, Avicenna which was translated by Sheikh Eshragh. However, it seems that “Mantiq Al-Tayr” is a term specifically used by Attar. Although Khaghani has also a work entitled “Mantiq Al-Tayr” and this term is not new, the Attar’s development of birds’ leaving and “Going the Way” is unique and exclusive.
He noted: I say it according to the comparative study of all the dissertations written on birds’ travel in the Islamic civilization. In this arena, “Mantiq Al-Tayr” of Attar seems has relied on its ancestors’ legacy and has used them all to perfection.
Attar’s Seven Cities of Love in “Mantiq Al-Tayr”
Dr. Bolkhari added: It is after several questions and answers that the Seven Cities of Love is mentioned in “Mantiq Al-Tayr ".The birds then departed towards Kaf Mountain and "Hoopoe" serves as their guide and leader. The birds raise many questions and Hoopoe answers them in wisdom. I am astonished by the creative mind of Attar which led him to talk about the barriers of the journey from the birds’ tongues so scholarly that if we don’t hear the answers of hoopoe to them, we will give right to the birds that bring the excuse to travel.
Then, pointing out to the poetries of this masnavi; the scholar said: once on behalf of a bird Attar says: "Another one said Hey; pathfinder / Our eyes became exhausted from goggling the endless Valley/ The journey is like a punishment /how many miles is the WAY hey pal?". . . This bird refers to the hardships and difficulties of the “WAY”. Then the Hoopoe answers: " It (the Hoopoe) said: We have seven intercepted Wadis /After passing all the Wadis there will appear the Gate /No one came back from the way/ No one knows about its length accordingly/ When no one came back from the long distance/ How can one inform you; impatient/ When they all were lost there / How they can bring news to aware you; full/. . . .
He continued: Attar then explains the “Seven Wadis” as follows: " the Wadi of demand is the beginning one / Then it follows by the Wadi of love/then the third one is the Wadi of wisdom / Wadi of disdain is the fourth / The Wadi of pure monotheism is the fifth /then the sixth is the horrid stunning Wadi/ Wadi of poverty and death is the seventh / after passing through these ones ,you may lost the ability to continue/you will go astray ; may lose the Way and you will get thirsty and never find even a drop of clysma (Qulzum) water to drink.
Bolkhari continued: Ahmad Ghazali has two epistles one of which is attributed to him absolutely entitled: "Resalt Ul- Tayr” i.e. the treatise on flight. But the other one which is called "Bahr ul-Haqiqat”/the Sea of Truth; is said that is not written by him. There is no doubt that Attar had seen "Bahr ul-Haqiqat”. Four trips have been mentioned in this book, two acquisitive trips and two intuitive ones. Seven Seas are also mentioned which are as follows: Wisdom, Glory, Monotheism, Piety, Divinity, Beauty and Observation. It seems that "Bahr ul-Haqiqat”" and "Resalt Ul- Tayr” have been effective on the advent of the seventh house of “Mantiq Al-Tayr ". The reason lies under the similarities of the starting words of these papers with the words in Attars’ “Mantiq Al-Tayr ".
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