On becoming naught: reading the doctrine of Fana and Baqa in the Mathnawi of Jalal al-Din Rumi

Khan, Amina Kausar (2017) On becoming naught: reading the doctrine of Fana and Baqa in the Mathnawi of Jalal al-Din Rumi. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Notwithstanding the abundance of scholarship on Rumi’s Mathnawi, in the Western world; the nature of the Sufi doctrine of self-annihilation (fana) and subsistence in God (baqa), in the poem, is a neglected area of research. Often misunderstood, or reduced to simply being one of the many themes in the Mathnawi, greater emphasis is placed on the concepts of Love, Unity and Ecstasy, as the central message. Equally, Rumi’s intention that the Mathnawi should be used as a training manual, and the formal design of the poem in this regard, is generally overlooked. The focus of this research is to elucidate the core significance of the doctrine of fana and baqa, as Rumi’s heuristic method, which informs the overall structure of the poem. The research approach adopted combines close and synoptic readings of select passages from each of the poem’s six Books. The findings of this thesis show that the idea of self-effacement is the central feature and practice of the Mathnawi, informing every element of Rumi’s Sufism. There is a progressive movement over the course of the six books towards higher and higher states of annihilation and subsistence, with Rumi offering specific instructions to the wayfarer at every stage in the process. Fana and baqa is, therefore, the heuristic method of the Mathnawi, which can be followed to arrive at the mystical apex. Enhancing the understanding of the doctrine in Rumi’s epic, this thesis makes an original contribution to current scholarship. It is recommended that further research be made in this area, and that future discussions highlight dying to self as the essential feature of Rumi’s Mathnawi.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Rumi, Sufism, Persian, poetry, Islam, Mysticism, Sufi, Muslim, Mathnawi, Masnavi, spirituality.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Ridgeon, Dr. Lloyd and Gibson, Professor Mary-Ellis
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: miss amina khan
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8222
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2017 13:43
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2017 08:46
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8222

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