Review: The Lost Fragrance of Infinity by Moin Mir

332pp, ₹595; Roli Books

A descendant of Hazrat Modud Chishti, one of the stalwart founders of the Chishti Sufi order, Moin Mir, born and raised in India, started writing below the affect of his grandfather, a scholar of Sufism. His first ebook, Surat: Fall of a Port, Rise of a Prince was a journey into his forefather’s quest to reclaim his inheritance of Surat from the British East India Company. The Lost Fragrance of Infinity is a novel which seeks to reclaim the essence of Sufism and introduce the reader to the infinite perfume of ishq-e haqeeqi or love for the divine, which is the one love price striving for.Today, Sufism is equated with a dargah the place qawwalis are sung, chadors provided, and the heady perfume of incense and roses pervades. Yet, Sufism, which is a rigorous moral self-discipline primarily based on meditative devotional practices and workout routines, is rather more than this. Through the love tales of the protagonist, Qaraar Ali, Mir takes us into the 18th century, the place conflicts, ambitions and intrigues prevail. Three magnificent empires which powered discoveries of new frontiers, not simply territorial but additionally in arts, literature and spirituality: the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal stand on the brink of destruction and with that the Old World order provides technique to the brand new and Europe begins pushing the boundaries. We look as much as the west, right now, for every part together with science and philosophy however it wasn’t all the time so. Interestingly, Leonardo da Vinci is described within the ebook because the Omar Khayyam of the west! We overlook the emphasis on data in Islam, and the nice corpus of literature written by the Sufis. This ebook serves as a reminder of the expansion and growth of science within the east.The romantic and non secular journey of Ali grew to become the trope for the Sufi quest for love and Ibn al-Arabi’s idea of wahdat ul wujud or Unity of Being. This advanced and intense inward journey makes the protagonist search inside for fulfilment. We observe his story of love and loss by way of Central Asia to Turkey and eventually to the olive groves of Andalusia, the place he finds love. Using symbolism and metaphors, Mir traces this inward journey, from the hero’s destruction of his ego to self-analysis and eventual realisation that the journey is about bettering one’s life by way of deeds of kindness (khidmat-e khalq) and sprucing one’s soul. The Quran is not only a rule ebook to impose on others however a information to endeavor a journey inside oneself and discovering inside peace.

Author Moin Mir (Courtesy the writer)

The prevailing image within the ebook is architectural. Architecture within the Islamic world was impressed by the sense that it’s sacred, and subsequently additionally a reproduction of the cosmos and the locus of the encounter of man and the Divine Word or Logos. Everything led to the ‘Oneness’ of the Divine: the sq. form mirrored the Holy Kaaba; the octagonal form referred to as hasht bahisht was impressed by the Divine Throne known as arsh, which is supported by eight angels; the dome was a reminder of the vault of heaven, past which is infinity. However, it’s not solely the flexibility to create however to revive that’s essential: Mir’s hero has the flexibility to revive not solely damaged tiles on tombs and mosques, palaces, and mausoleums, however as he finds his inside energy, when arithmetic, mysticism, love and artwork merge, he is ready to restore the non secular lives of his associates.Mir’s data of Sufism comes by way of within the hero’s non secular journey. There is a quick lapse in description of the heroine’s bodily journey, as she negotiates her manner by way of Shahjahanabad, the eighteenth century Mughal Fort and capital. Here, in a symbolic leap of creativeness she will be able to transfer round freely within the male part of the Red Fort and meet the hero with out being encumbered by restrictions or veils. Though spiritually potential since there isn’t a gender segregation of souls, it will have been bodily unbelievable again then. This novel will go a great distance in serving to the reader uncover the Sufi path and discover perfection in bodily and non secular relationships. Rana Safvi is the writer of, most just lately, Shahjahanabad: The Living City of Old Delhi.

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