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    ICESCO Deputy Director-General Calls for Proper Attention to Sufi Poetry

    27 April 2024

    Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Deputy Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), called for giving proper attention to Sufi or mystical poetry, considering it a stream of Arabic poetry, in the same vein as Madeeh (eulogy of the Prophet Muhammad), noting that despite its importance in the lives of Muslims throughout history, it has not received the attention it deserves in the books of Arab literary history and public education.

    This came in a scientific paper titled “Sufi Poetry as a Translator of Divine Knowledge,” presented by Dr. Benarafa on Friday, April 26, 2024, at the scientific seminar of the World Poetry Festival program at the Faculty of Arabic Language affiliated with Al-Qadi Ayyad University in Marrakech. The festival is organized by the House of Poetry in Morocco, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, ICESCO, and the Marrakech City Council, as part of the celebration of the Ochre City as the capital of culture in the Islamic world for 2024, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

    After reviewing the major historical milestones of Madeeh poetry, Dr. Benarafa drew a clear distinction between Madeeh and Sufi poetry, emphasizing the characteristics of the latter and its prominent figures. He also indicated that Sufi poetry is an expression of States, Stations, Openings, Tastings, stages of spiritual education, and wayfaring. It may ascend and transcend, under the guidance of the realized ones among the Knowers (of Allah), until it becomes a purely mystical poetry, gravitating around the stages of true knowledge, and the levels of existence.

    The World Poetry Festival, held over three days under the theme “Marrakech: The Renewed Poem”, features broad participation of poets from Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Türkiye, Bahrain, Senegal, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Yemen, Mali, Djibouti, and Morocco.

    The festival’s agenda includes two scientific seminars, as well as a number of cultural, artistic, and educational activities at historical sites in Marrakech, in addition to the launching of two poetry competitions for students.

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