Transposing Metaphors and Poetics from Text to World

The Theo-Poetics of Lāhūrī’s “Mystical Commentary” on Ḥāfiẓ’s Love Lyrics

In: Journal of Sufi Studies
Axel Marc Oaks Takacs Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ USA

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This article examines the use of Sufi lexicons (iṣṭilāḥāt) through the relatively unknown Mystical Commentary of the Love Lyrics of Ḥāƒiẓ by Abū al-Ḥasan Khatamī Lāhūrī. It resituates the iṣṭilāḥāt within the context of the philosophical-Sufi tradition, engaging theories of metaphor, imagination, poetry, and imaginaries from Ricœur, Castoriadis, Lakoff and Johnson, and Caputo. Rather than employing the iṣṭilāḥāt to produce a static correspondence between poetic terms and metaphysical realities, Lāhūrī’s theo-poetics transposes the metaphors and poetics of the poems into metaphors and poetics of this phenomenal world. This reading challenges previous criticisms of Sufi commentaries, particularly on the dīvān-i Ḥāfiẓ. The critique that the application of iṣṭilāḥāt disembodies or allegorizes the poetic images is challenged when they are interpreted within the philosophical-Sufi tradition. Contrary to literary criticisms of iṣṭilāḥāt, the poem is not merely a formal suitcase for mystical meaning; rather, poetics, the poem’s content, and theology create a nexus of interpretation for Lāhūrī.

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