Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review - Republic of Rumi‏

Khurram Ali Shafique, author of The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality

We have the books from Allah..we have so many other Prophets and Sufis. But are we interpreting them clearly???
I read once that History is like an ocean in which every fisher caught fishes with his own net....every net is different in its breadth and depth....
And every fisher tries to caught a fish where no other fisher has gone...these fishers are like history writers....who have their own understanding or perception of every happening in the history and when the fisher set his shop on the side of the road....the customers who can be the reader...picked up the piece of fish which they think will amuse them....

In this way...reader...basically is the most ignorant of the actual ocean....

hmmm....but then when Allah granted the Joseph to interpret everything the way they are HE also granted Him wisdom and words and courage to speak up.

As we read that he sent back the people to first clear his position in front of his first master...than he courageously asked the king to grant him all the kingdom....which means that he was confident enough to take care of the kingdom on the basis of his interpretations....wisdom. And thus Joseph managed to come in contact with the common masses.

And nowadays to get in touch with common masses can be bit different.

There were times when people used to inspire by and literature...Sufi had his own way to communicate the interpretations and Poets had his own ways....

Nowadays...common masses are inspired by media...which can be TV or Internet....

Can we think that someday...we will find a courageous person who will take all the masses attention by his/her website....we will visit that website everyday and will nod our heads in yes to be completely agreed with his sayings...he, the "webmaster" would nurture our souls and will interpret the actual religion or faith to us?

Or...some newscaster will do the same...? sure give me so many questions and I am still in position of raising more...

I am so glad and happy to attend your workshop today and I must say thanks to you to give us the opportunity to open our brain to the reality.
I hope you best of luck with all your teaching and spreading the truth."


"The structure of the Garden of poetry of Iqbal is based on unity; therefore it remains non-contradictory in the whole journey of reader throughout the garden.

Joseph is the experience that we are getting at each and every moment we spent in the garden, left all information outside, so the purpose of journey through the garden seems to feel the importance of Joseph.

Since Garden has its own parameters that are different from outside world, so it might be possible that this is a metaphor used for inside world of humans. Since our inside world also has its own parameters, we also have our inner experience (that can be called as our Joseph) if only we could search Joseph inside..........and get out him from the well."

-----------------------------Urooj Malik

"I have gone through several journeys in my life of different kinds till now. However the journey through this Republic was in search of My Self. How surprised would you be if you come to know that there is a Republic where you are free in your choices? And the consequence of your choice at every stage throughout the journey enables you to reveal the secrets of yourself depending upon the choice you make? If, somehow, you feel that you have lost your path to continue your journey, the sign boards [in the form of people, characters, and wisdoms] help you to find your way. Once the secrets are revealed, you complete the journey of this Republic.

You are the Republic and the Republic is you!"

------------------------------------Komal Khan

":It was a very nice experience reading and understanding this book... One thing I would like to share is that this book had some of the things which I already knew or saw! How is it possible that my pray and Goethe's character's demand (about the point where there is only peace in this world) match? Although it's not in the book but we discussed it during workshops...

Likewise, it talks about time, history, stories, events, dreams and Joseph.

Studying about time has always interested me.... the book helped me to look at time with a different angle... past, present, future all with each other. It gives us different lens to look at history as well...

I always understood history as politics, so I always said it to myself "I m very bad at history. I hate it" but that's not the case. Everything we read and remember and look ahead is history.

Stories, events and dreams! What a unique combination this book gives us to learn! I still remember Sir Khurram saying (about Joseph's story) that Joseph saw dream at that time, which became an event of history (as it's in Quran), and now it has become a story for us. Applying this to current setup gives us new way to think about time... Dreams! I think that some dreams are destined to become events and then stories. That's what I've learned...

Joseph... I must say Joseph was the one who insisted me to enter in the garden. I remember the conversation I had with myself after knowing that Iqbal's poetry talks about Joseph as well.

Pretty long review but this book deserves it ."

---------------------------------Muhammad Rizwan Memon

"RR corresponds to a hetrocosmic nonlinear, antilogical construction of reality mediated through an exceedingly intricate and translucent text. The representation of reality is problematized by the strategic deployment of multiple narratives and highly coded forms of representation culled from a vast repertoire of sources and discourses as numerous as the Quran, Rumi, and Iqbal. The imagery and symbolism imbedded in the text appear to be fragmented, simulating a nonsymmetrical organic, unity.

The quintessence of the text resides in the power of conventions operating within it and must be appreciated in all their temporal and mystical particulars which are by no means a simple undertaking for both the writer of this text and the reader. The unusual predicament of a scholar/historian attempting a novel, a genre, which has traditionally blurred fact and fiction to present certain realism, is not without its inherent contradictions. Concurrently history writing itself involves the creation of facts out of seemingly unrelated events. The uneasy concurrence of the historical fact with fictive poetic intuition does call into question the nature of this synthesis/ alliance.

What are the normative features, ethical preferences and poetic license that the writer sanctions and the outcomes of this operation? The pragmatism demonstrated by the author in the taxonomy of numbers, spiritual realities is typically mimetic and redolent of sacred geometry. Occasionally the matrimony between matter [quantity] and spirit [quality] becomes pedantic, restricting the flight of intuition toward sensuous realms that transcend discursive modalities, language, and number. Notwithstanding the erudition of the author the structural underpinnings of the narrative become almost promethean, at times, piling the subtle layers of consciousness on a concrete grid.

The opening Chapters are prefaced on the tacit compliance of the reader to defer all previous notions about the nature of knowledge, cognitive processes and the recognition of phenomena contingent upon cause and effect. The exit and entry, inside/outside, within/without is clearly mapped indicating the changing spiritual terrain. The suspension of discursive knowledge coincides with inscribing and subverting of the conventions of traditional narrative. The greater narrative is punctuated by highly charged simultaneous narratives that remain autonomous and self contained almost passive and impervious but not opaque in their juxtaposition. For instance they do not overlap, sear, spill out or create flux in this complexity. They remain intact, mounting towards a crescendo that resounds with a unitary answer.

The intellectual abstinence from skepticism and duality as the primary condition for this state of knowledge denaturalizes the dominant notions premised by the modern cultural and political enterprise. An alternative strategy is prescribed that reconciles the soul of the state with the soul of the individual eliminating discord and supplementing it with intimacy. The most rudimentary form of self governance is governing oneself which is the matrix from which spring forth dominant political ideas, institutions, statecraft, education and all cultural expressions. The author lucidly makes visible Iqbal’s unequivocal negotiation of the tremulous region between religion and modernity. Moral and ethical judgment can be brought to bear upon all social transactions without succumbing to the dichotomies that arise from theories based upon human conflict.

Towards the end of the narrative the author inadvertently appropriates a significant utterance from the preface of the Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam.

‘A living experience of the kind of biological unity…. requires today a method today that is physiologically less violent and psychologically more suitable to a concrete type of mind.’

This incautious intercession leads to a precarious closure.

The avowal of a concrete type of mind as a [fixed] typology.

The resurrection of the concrete type of mind towards the end of the narrative despite the suspension of preconceived knowledge upon entering the garden.

The concrete type of mind is not denaturalized and all assumptions associated with it are sustained and hence the prescription.

The concrete type of mind I believe is not an intrinsic, essential, monolithic category/substance/phenomenon but the effect of a particular state of knowledge upon the human mind.

The endorsement for a physiologically less violent method [religious method] is arbitrary [value judgment].

Less violent, sanctions some degree of violence as permissible/legitimate.

The relation between religious method and violence is unclear and dangerous.

The espousal of love as the dynamic principal in the text is obliterated in the wake of this disclosure.

How is violence defined in this context? For instance hal, riqat , sema, kalam, wajd, kashaf ……Wahi

Does the principal of Noncontradiction apply to states of passion and states of violence? What is their respective etymology?

The nature and effect of religious experience cannot be initiated by man [who is liberated in the wake of such experience] Religious experience is deeply intimate and perfects the soul. It is not mans place to determine religious method now or at any moment in the future. Hence, determining the suitability of the method for any type of mind is the privilege of the One who has no equal. "

-------------------------------Sumaya Durrani

"Allama Iqbal and Mevlana Rumi were not only two mortal individuals who are part of history now, but they were also two very successful exponents of an Ideology that is alive and kicking and shall only increase in fervor as we near the end-game. “The Republic of Rumi” and the discussion sessions have provided me new insights into everyday issues and helped to resolve some conceptual conflicts that I had gathered over the years. The fact that the discussion sessions do not remain confined to Iqbal and Rumi, but permeate through to vast ranging everyday topics, such as religion, pop culture, cinema and current politics, is what makes them unique and captivating. The views, opinions and thoughts shared, have contributed to reshape my personality at some level for which I remain grateful to Khurram sahib, Abbas sahib and all the participants who have contributed generously. I only hope and pray that the connection rekindled with Iqbal and Rumi and their Ideology – nay, our Ideology, only grows stronger in all the participants and the society at large, and manifests itself as concrete, tangible change in the hearts, minds and lives of all.

What began as an experiment has now culminated as a lifestyle but this metamorphosis needs a congenial habitat to nurture it and ensure that it is self-sustaining. I wish and hope that the interactions continue indefinitely even if through modern-day communications tools."

- ---------------------------------------------- Adil Mulki

"RR is exactly a journey to evade all pre-conceived notions which was the baseline setting in our mind upon which we evaluate and order /classify priorities of life.

This reading was especially helpful in making us to orient ourselves and modify our scales of value. Not only in theme of literature but also in other domains of life.

The best thing in all these discussions and sittings is One thing and that was (I think) a conclusion of our all sittings, gatherings and meetings. That is “UNITY”. The harmony in all moves of Nation’s life is a sole remedy of all ills.

Not only this but this Saturday, when we completed our journey of RR, we came through the same conclusion.

“One of the profoundest verses in the Holy Quran teaches us that the birth and rebirth of the whole of humanity is like the birth and rebirth of a single individual. Why cannot you who, as a people, can well claim to be the first practical exponents of this superb conception of humanity, live and move and have your being as a single individual?”


The Garden of RR moves around this focal point through out its course. "

------------------------------------------------Hena Jawaid

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