Category: Issue 81

Men of Faith


By Peter Valentyne

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, director Xavier Beauvois’s film Of Gods and Men is based on the true story of a group of Cistercian monks who lived a monastic life of prayer and service in Algeria from 1993 until 1996, when they were kidnapped and then killed by radical Islamic insurgents.

Archives Issue #81


In Issue 81 of SUFI the theme is Divine Love. Here we explore what many would argue is the most confounding human emotion, love, and the mystery of its divine manifestation. Divine Love lies at the heart of spiritual practice; it is an experience that continues to enrich those who are touched by it, whether they belong to a school of mystical teaching or not. But explaining the experience of Divine Love can be difficult; words falter in its presence. It is also elusive, veiled from our ordinary perception, but then suddenly revealed in the words of a parable, the shades of light in a photograph, the silences between lines of poetry. This edition of SUFI attempts to lift the corner of the veil and share glimpses of Divine Love through art and writings, including a meditation on the legendary lovers, Layla and Majnun; a discussion of mystical eroticism in the Christian and Hindu traditions; reflections on higher love expressed through the internet, photography, film and calligraphy; and Coleman Barks’ observations on the poetry and importance of the great Indian poet and mystic, and Nobel Laureate in Literature, Rabindranath Tagore.


DIVINE LOVE Discourse by Alireza Nurbakhsh, Read entire discourse>

TAGORE’S GITANJALI An Introduction by Coleman Barks

LOVE, PASSION & DIVINITY Interview with Judith Ernst and Vasudha Narayanan by Llewellyn Smith

THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF LOVE – Rumi’s Use of Moving Colors and Shapes in the Divan-i Shams by Fatemeh Keshavarz

LAYLA AND MAJNUN: LOVE IS FIRE AND I AM WOOD – A Sufi Allegory of Mystical Love by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

RAHMANDOTCOM Narrative by Dani Kopoulo


TURNING TO HAFIZ The Art of Figural Calligraphy by Jila Peacock Read entire article>


THROUGH THE LENS OF LOVE In Search of Mystical Love on Film by Peter Valentyne
Monsieur Ibrahim (2004)
Bab’Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2008)
Circle of Iron / The Silent Flute (1978)

BOOK REVIEWS by David Paquiot and Kenneth Avery

The Tangles Braid: Ninety-nine Poems by Hafiz of Shiraz, translated by Jeffrey Einboden and John Slater
Abu Al-Hasan al-Shushtari: Songs of Love and Devotion, translated and introduced by Lourdes Maria Alvarez


I say Haqq Haqq, Cry Hu Hu by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh
Who are You? by Chris Hoffman
From Rumi’s Mathnawi translation by Alireza Nurbakhsh
Unseen by Jeni Couzyn
Vespers by Margaret Chula
Epiphany by Jo Going
Ruach by Emily Wilmer
When My Beloved Lifts a Cup of Wine by Hafiz translation by Jawid Mojaddedi
Love is a Searing Flame by Rob Sternau
The Visitation of Divine Love by Mary Ann Eiler






(Front Cover Artwork by Greg Spalenka,

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Featured Poet: Jo Going

JO GOING’s poem ‘Epiphany’ was originally printed in our Divine Love Issue of SUFI (81). Jo’s book of poems and paintings, “Wild Cranes,’ won the Library Fellows Award and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Turning to Hafez


by Jila Peacock

I was born in Tehran to an English mother and Iranian father, and, although English was my mother tongue, my first written language was Persian, which I studied from the age of seven at my Iranian primary school. I remember being introduced at that time to snippets of Ferdousi in my first textbooks, to Sa‘di, my father’s favorite poet, and Edward Fitzgerald’s translations of Khayyam, which my mother would always recite by heart. My introduction to Hafiz came much later in life.

Divine Love

by Alireza Nurbakhsh

The first time I read Rumi’s story of Moses and the Shepherd, I was struck by the fact that the shepherd was much closer to God than Moses even though the shepherd’s conception of God was not even remotely plausible. Years later, when I revised this story, it appeared to me that Rumi had unravelled a deep mystery of divine love; in order to love God, one does not need to have a correct conception or description of God; what is required is a burning heart.



by Dani Kopoulos

In this issue of Sufi, Dani Kopoulos presents an original slant on Love, Passion and Divinity through the ultimate internet dating experience. Dani Kopoulos is a writer and teacher living in New York City. She received her MA in Creative Writing from the New School University in New York and her BA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

(Photo ©

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