Iran News ...


06/15/08

William Chittick: Sufism has fascinated me the most

TEHRAN, June 15(Mehr News Agency) -- "Sufism has fascinated me the most", said the U.S. Islamologist William Chittick in a ceremony held in his honor at the Iranian Society of Cultural Works and Luminaries (ISCWL) here on Saturday.

Several Iranian scholars attended the ceremony and made short speeches about Chittick and his works.

Chittick was next who delivered a short talk and elaborated on how he became familiar with Sufism, Islamic studies and Persian language.


William Chittick delivers speech during a ceremony held to honor him at the Iranian Society of Cultural Works and Luminaries in Tehran on June 14. (Mehr/Sara Sassani)

He later expressed his pleasure over such programs held in his honor and stated, "I did not expect such a warm ceremony. We are not having such events in the United States. I am happy to see my old friends here once again. I love Iran and it is a pity I can not come to Iran more often. Iran is a garden whose fruits we are using."

He continued, "When I was a student, I did not know which course to continue, but after the various trips I made to Japan and several other countries I began to study history at the American University of Beirut and I encountered the issue of Sufism.

"I later attended the sessions by the philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr and found out I don't know much about Sufism. Here in Tehran I studied Persian literature with masters Badiozzaman Foruzanfar, and Jalaleddin Homaii and became familiar with Iranian and Islamic mysticism and philosophical thoughts," he went on to say.

He later pointed to his memoirs of how he managed to learn Persian street talks, and then his years of activities in correction of mystic texts. Chittick left Iran before the Islamic Revolution)

Chittick also referred to his good memoirs of staying in Iran where he met his wife professor Sachiko Murata. (Murata is a professor of religion and Asian studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where Chittick works.)

He concluded that in the United States not much attention is paid to the professors of courses like Islamic studies and for example the professors of nuclear physics are honored and awarded instead.

Chittick, 65, is currently professor of religious studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is author of over 20 books on Islam, philosophy, and Persian literature.

Some of his publications include "The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (1983)", "The Psalms of Islam (1988)", "The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-Arabi's Cosmology (1998)", "Sufism: A Short Introduction (2000)", and "The Heart of Islamic Philosophy: The Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Baba Afzal Kashani (2001)"

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