Sufism: Rumi and Other Sufi Leaders Struggle for Inner Peace
Prof Nargis Virani, Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the New School University, and others
Nargis Virani is Assistant Professor of Arabic at The New School, University Liberal Studies.
She received her MA in 1991 and her PhD in 1999 in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University, and also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from London University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Bombay University. During the course of her Arabic Studies she studied at many prestigious institutions in the Muslim world such as the University of Jordan in Amman, the Bourguiba Institute in Tunis, and al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. At al-Azhar she studied the Qur’an with the Shaykh of al-Azhar and holds a shahadah (certificate) and an ijazah (permission to teach the Qur’an). Her areas of specialization are Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Language and Literature, Islamic Intellectual Thought, and Sufism. Her doctoral dissertation entitled ‘I am the Nightingale of the Merciful Macaronic or Upside Down?’ analyzed the Mulamma’at, the mixed-language poems, in Rumi’s Diwan. In this work she proposes that ‘speaking in many tongues’ be looked at as a brilliant linguistic strategy employed by the mystic to fashion an imaginative form of apophatic discourse. She is currently converting her dissertation into a book which will also include a translation into English of all of Rumi’s multilingual verses in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Greek, and Armenian. Dr Virani’s second book project is tentatively entitled, ‘Qur’an in Muslim Literary Memory’. She hopes to analyze the use of the Qur’an by a variety of ‘litterateurs’ from secular, religious, and mystical backgrounds.
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