The Kasidah

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The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi is a long poem written by "Haji Abdu El-Yezdi," who is widely considered an invention by the true author, Sir Richard Francis Burton. In a note to the reader, Burton claims to be the translator of the poem, to which he gives the English title "Lay of the Higher Law." In notes following the poem, Burton claims to have received the manuscript from his friend Haji Abdu, a native of Darabghird in the Yezd Province of Persia. Describing Haji Abdu, Burton writes that he spoke an array of languages and notes that "his memory was well-stored; and he had every talent save that of using his talents."

The Sufi writer Idries Shah, in his book The Sufis, states that The Kasidah was a distillation of Sufi thought, and that "there seems little doubt that Burton was trying to project Sufi teaching in the West... In Sufism he finds a system of application to misguided faiths 'which will prove them all right, and all wrong; which will reconcile their differences; will unite past creeds; will account for the present and will anticipate the future with a continuous and uninterrupted development.'" (251-2)

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