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Rumi and the Yearning for Faith

Name of the Speaker: Hamid Reza Tavakoli

Name of the Event: The 4th Sudden Resurrection Conference, 2011

Topic of the Event: Rumi and the Yearning for Faith

Organizer: Soroosh-e Mowlana Institute for Arts and Culture

Duration: 60 minutes

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Description

This speech was delivered at the 4th Sudden Resurrection Conference held on April 18, 2011, under the auspices of Soroosh-e Mowlana Institute for Arts and Culture.

In his speech, Dr. Tavakoli has talked about the concept of faith, which according to him is a notion of a very floating nature. He has raised questions about faith: What is the precise meaning of faith? What is the exact relation between faith and deed? Is faith rooted in experience or belief? Does faith have the capacity to be taught or learned?
He based his main argument on a very short story of “Gabr-e Zaman Bayazid (The Infidel in the Time of Bayazid)”. According to Tavakoli, in Rumi’s opinion, the sense of longing for true faith may exist in all people; however the presence of a figure like Bayezid is necessary to awaken this dormant faith.

One of the important points raised in this speech is based on the anecdote that as its main characteristic, faith can widely affects outside its domain. The importance of objective examples in this regard is also one of the points that can be taken from the story mentioned above. In Tavakoli’s opinion, there should always be an objective example or a real embodiment of faith, which we rarely encounter in religious society due to the distance that presently exists between the concept of faith and the believer. According to him, Qalandari literature, Magi’s customs and the tradition of reproach have emerged from this very thought. In Qalandari literature, we start to reconsider the demarcation between belief and disbelief, freeing ourselves from stereotypes and looking beyond the horizon, criticizing common belief and looking at disbelief and faith from a wider perspective, and finally, as the infidel of our story, noticing no difference between ourselves and the multitude of other believers. Faith in this perspective appears inaccessible and mysterious and anyone, who enters this realm, experiences a feeling of longing.

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