Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi

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Fakhr al-dīn Ibrahīm ‘Irāqī (Persian: فخرالدین ابراهیم عراقی‎; 10 June 1213 – 1289), Persian Sufi master, poet and writer.

Biography[edit]

Often referred to as ‘Iraqi or ‘Araqi, he was born in the village of Kamjan near the city of Hamadan in Persia in 1213. During his lifetime he spent many years in Multan, (present day Pakistan) as well as Konya and Toqat in present day Turkey. He is known by many Sufis as a commenter on Sufi teachings, one of the great Persian poets, and an artist. ‘Iraqi is also considered to have reached an exalted station of spiritual realization within the Sufi tradition.[1]

Born in 1213, ‘Iraqi lived during the height of the revival of Islamic spirituality. ‘Iraqi was highly educated in both theology and literary disciplines and it is believed that he not only knew the Holy Qur'an, hadith, commentary and Islamic theology (Kalam), but that he also knew Persian and Arabic literature. By the time he was seventeen ‘Iraqi had learned all the sciences there were to teach, and had even begun to teach others.[2]

Soon after he began teaching he met a group of qalandars or wandering dervishes and decided to join them.[3] The group traveled to Multan where he would eventually be in the service of Baha-ud-din Zakariya who was the head of the Suhrawardiyya. Soon after he arrived in Multan he was betrothed to Shaykh's daughter and would have a son with her named Kabiruddin. ‘Iraqi would be in the service of Shaykh for a total of seventeen years during which time he continued to write poetry.[4]

After Shaykh's death ‘Iraqi left Multan and traveled first to Mecca and Medina and then towards present day Turkey. While in Konya where ‘Iraqi settled for a while he had the honor of meeting Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi and Jalaluddin Rumi, two of the best known Sufis of all time. ‘Iraqi would become good friends with Rumi however Quanwi would become a second Sufi master to ‘Iraqi who helped to shape him intellectually, as Shaykh shaped him spiritually. After Rumi's death ‘Iraqi moved to Toqat, also in present day Turkey.

As ‘Iraqi entered old age there was much upheaval in Toqat. The Byzantine Empire and Prince Kangirtay did not like ‘Iraqi because of the great influence he had over many of the people in Toqat, and the respect with which people honored him. And so, when Prince Kangirtay tried to have ‘Iraqi arrested he fled to Cairo. From there ‘Iraqi settled in Damascus where he would eventually die at the age of seventy-eight in 1289.[5]

‘Iraqi was both a member of the school of Persian Sufi poetry but also has been identified with the Ibn Arabian school of Sufism. However, ‘Iraqi was also a Gnostic who often spoke in the language of love. For him, as well as many other Sufis, love was realized knowledge. ‘Iraqi's writing Lama’at (Divine Flashes) fits into a genre of Sufi writings which expresses certain doctrines in the language of love.

As Shaykh Baha'uddin was dying, he named Fakhruddin 'Iraqi to be his successor.

When it became known that 'Iraqi had been named head of the Suhrawardi Order, some in the order became jealous and denounced him to the Sultan who sought to have 'Iraqi arrested.

'Iraqi fled the area with a few close companions, and they eventually made their way to Makkah and Medina. Later they moved north to Konya in Turkey. This was Konya at the time of Rumi. 'Iraqi often listened to Rumi teach and recite poetry, and later attended Rumi's funeral.

Although 'Iraqi was nominally the head (in exile) of a large and respected Sufi order, he humbly became the disciple of another Sufi master Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi, who also lived in Konya at the time. Qunawi was the son-in-law of the recently deceased Sufi philosopher Ibn 'Arabi. Although less known in the West today, Qunawi was perhaps the pre-eminent Sufi teacher in Konya at the time, even better known than his neighbor Rumi.

'Iraqi was deeply devoted to Qunawi and to the teachings of Ibn 'Arabi. It was a series of speeches al-Qunawi delivered on the esoteric meaning of Ibn 'Arabi's great works that inspired 'Iraqi to compose his own masterpiece of commentary and poetry named the Lama'at or Divine Flashes.

Works[edit]

Lama’at or Divine Flashes is the best known of ‘Iraqi's writings and was written during his time in what is now present day Turkey. A part of the ‘language of love’ genre within Sufi writing, it takes an interesting view on how one view the world. Unlike others before him ‘Iraqi viewed the world as a mirror which reflected God's Names and Qualities and not as a "veil" which must be lifted. According to (the late) Baljit Singh Ph.D an Indian Persian scholar and translator of SWANEH of Ahmad Ghazali and Iraqi's LAMMAT (The Flashes), "The style of Lammat is a simple, dignified, fluent & rich with Qur'anic verses and Arabic sentences. Its theme is ‘Divine Love’ and is written in the fashion of the Swaneh of Ahmad Ghazali. Iraqi explains in the Lammat, Ibn Arabi's Sufism through the love symbology." He quotes from Saed Nafisi's ‘Introduction’ to the ‘Kullyat Iraqi’-‘Generally it is accepted that Iraqi wrote Lammat following the ideas of Ibn Arabi, but Iraqi himself says differently. He writes in the beginning of the Lammat that he has written this book in the manner of ‘Swaneh’ of Ahmad Ghazali.’ Baljit Singh further refers to Dr Nasrullah Pourjavadi, a scholar on Ahmad Ghazali and writes, "It was Ahmad Ghazali who first of all saw the Divine as love and founded the Sufi Metaphysics of Love. Iraqi is said to have united Ahmad Ghazali to Ibn Arabi through his LAMMAT."[6]

The Lama’at has been translated into English, French and Swedish.

‘Ushshaq-namah (عشاق‌نامه) was, according to legend, written during ‘Iraqi's time in service to Shaykh and is dedicated to Shamsuddin Juwayni the vizier. While it has been attributed to 'Iraqi, it is almost definitely not his.[7] [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Massé, H. "ʿIrāḳī, Fakhr al-Dīn Ibrāhīm ʿIrāḳī Hamadānī." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Augustana. 3 April 2010 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-3585>
  2. ^ Chittick, William C. and Peter Lamborn Wilson. Fakhruddin 'Iraqi: Divine Flashes. New York: Paulist Press, 1982. Pg 34.
  3. ^ On the influence of the Qalandariyya on 'Iraqi, see Ashk Dahlén, The Holy Fool in Medieval Islam: The Qalandariyat of Fakhr al-din 'Araqi, Orientalia Suecana, vol.52, 2004.<http://www.ashkdahlen.com/index.php?id=142>
  4. ^ Zargar, Cyrus (2011). Sufi Aesthetics: Beauty, Love, and the Human Form in the Writings of Ibn 'Arabi and 'Iraqi. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-57003-999-7. 
  5. ^ Massé, H. "ʿIrāḳī, Fak̲h̲r al-Dīn Ibrāhīm ʿIrāḳī Hamadānī." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Augustana. 3 April 2010 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-3585>
  6. ^ Baljit Singh Ph.D: LAMMAT (The Flashes) by FAKHRUDDIN IRAQI, English Rendering, First Edition : June 2003, Publishers: Sikh Foundation, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7873-007-3, Pg 5-6.
  7. ^ Zargar, Cyrus (2011). Sufi Aesthetics: Beauty, Love, and the Human Form in the Writings of Ibn 'Arabi and 'Iraqi. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 96 and 194. 
  8. ^ Baldick, R. Julian (1973). "The Authenticity of 'Iraqi's 'Ushshaq-nama". Studia Iranica 2 (1): 67–78. 

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