Qurʾānic Symbolism of the Eyes in Classical Azeri Turkic Poetry

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The paper examines the intertextual use of Qurʾānic text in the depiction of facial features, specifically in the Ṣūfī symbolism of the eyes in classical Azeri Turkic Ṣūfī poetry—the unique literary tradition which has not yet received its deserved attention in Western scholarship. First, the linguo-historical and geographical boundaries of this tradition are outlined, with a view to accentuating its position among other Turkic traditions. Then the roots of the widespread concept of the manifestation of the divine being and holy scripture in the human face will be traced from their origins in ancient physiognomy and mythology through into the teaching and philosophy of pre-modern Ṣūfī thinkers. The research reveals about fifty Qurʾānic motifs employed in the poetry of a pleiad of poets, Qāḍī Burhānuddīn (d. 800/1398), ʿImāduddīn Nesīmī (d. 820/1417-18), Mīrzā Jihān Shāh Ḥaqīqī (d. 871/1467), Niʿmatullāh Kishwarī (IXth-Xth/XVth-XVIth centuries), Ḥabībī (d. 926/1520), Shāh Ismāʿīl Khaṭāʾī (d. 930/1524), and Muḥammad Fuḍūlī (d. 963/1556), for the depiction of the eyes, a great portion of which is discussed throughout this paper. I argue that the richness and embellishment of the eye images like eye-god, eye-man, eye-heart, eye-murderer, eye-magician, eye-scribe are owing to the eye’s compound structure which include eyelashes, eyelid, pupil, sclera, as well as its function, motion, and associated elements like tears and glances.

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This article explores the poetry of Shah Ismāʿīl Safavī (d. 1524), the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran. Established as an important historical source by Vladimir Minorsky during World War II, the issues surrounding the poetic corpus of Shah Ismāʿīl have continued to attract the attention of historians of the Safavids. With examples from the earliest and most authentic manuscript, the idea of viewing this body of works as literary sources versus political propaganda is discussed in this article.
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Two main tendencies can be observed in the intertextual use of the Qur'anic text in the depiction of facial features in classical Azeri-Turkish Sū;fī poetry: first, features of divine beauty are compared with the writing of the Qur'an, its suras and ayas, and second, these features are juxtaposed with images drawn from Qur'anic narratives such as the account of Moses' encounter with the sorcerers or the story of Joseph. Research on the impact of the Qur'an on Azeri-Turkish Sū;fī poetry has until now mainly focused on the first tendency, particularly on revealing the secret meanings of symbols by using the numerical abjad system, whereas the second aspect - that of symbolic images derived from Qur'anic stories - remains relatively unexplored. With this in mind, this article will examine Qur'anic images utilised in the depiction of the face, specifically the influence of Qur'anic narratives upon the variations of Sū;fī symbolism of the curl in medieval Turkish Sū;fī poetry, with special reference to poetry in the Azeri vernacular. Although attention will be restricted mainly to Qur'anic stories, some consideration will also be given to pure Hurūfī trends.
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Turkic languages and dialects played a much more important role in Safavid Iran than is generally thought, while Azerbaijani Turkish in particular was widely spoken and written in Safavid Iran. It was not only the language of the court and the army, but it was also used in poetry, even by renowned poets who usually wrote in Persian. The Safavid shahs, many of whom wrote poetry in Turkish themselves, promoted its literary use. Also, Turkish was used in the court's official correspondence, for both internal and external affairs.
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Comment le soufisme a influence au XVII e siecle la litterature malaise : anthropomorphisme de l'expression du parallelisme entre microcosme et macrocosme et conception de l'homme et de l'Univers comme texte ; perception du chemin soufi et des principaux elements dans la transformation de soi en des termes anthropomorphiques ; correlation de ces elements avec le macro- et le microcosme et leur representation en tant que textes, qui permettent, une fois lus, une ascension spirituelle et incluent la structure psycho-somatique humaine
Cambridge Core - Islam - The Cambridge History of Islam - edited by P. M. Holt
Sometime in the last fifteen years of the twelfth century, the Shirvanshah Akhsatan made a request of the poet Nizami: Mīkhāham ke konūn be yād-e majnūn rānī sokhan cho dorr-e maknūn (48)1 I wish you now in Majnun’s recollection to speak poetic words like pearls of perfection
Abu-al-Mundhir Hisham ibn-Muhammad ibn-al-Sa'ib ibn- ABishr al-Kalbi, better known as ibn-al-Kalbi (d. A.H. 206 / A.D. 821-822),1 was a member of a distinguished family of scholars residing in al-Kufah, then one of the two intellectual capitals of the Muslim world. Like his father, abual- Nadr Muhammad,2 he addressed himself almost exclusively to historical and philosophical research in an age where the hadlth was the science par excellence. Not only Muslim interest in the life and usage of the Prophet, but also the desire of official Islam to stamp out all that belonged to the pagan days of Arabia, discouraged learned men from the pursuit of studies which related to the so-called Jahillyah days. According to the traditionists who were then in full control of the intellectual life of the community, Muhammad once said, "Islam destroys all that preceded it."3 The Prophet, undoubtedly, had in mind the pagan religions of his country; but his followers, in their zeal to establish the new faith, set out to eradicate everything which had its roots in the old order.
During the later Middle Ages, new optical theories were introduced that located the powerof sight not in the seeing subject, but in the passive object of vision. This shift had apowerful impact not only on medieval science but also on theories of knowledge, and this changing relationship of vision and knowledge was a crucial element in late medieval religious devotion. In Seeing through the Veil, Suzanne Conklin Akbari examines several late medieval allegories in the context of contemporary paradigm shifts in scientific and philosophical theories of vision. After a survey on the genre of allegory and an overview of medieval optical theories, Akbari delves into more detailed studies of several medieval literary works, including the Roman de la Rose, Dante’s Vita Nuova, Convivio, and Commedia, and Chaucer’s dream visions and Canterbury Tales. The final chapter, ‘Division and Darkness,’ centres on the legacy of allegory in the fifteenth century. Offering a new interdisciplinary, synthetic approach to late medieval intellectual history and to major workswithin the medieval literary canon, Seeing through the Veil will be an essential resourcetothe study of medieval literature and culture, as well as philosophy, history of art, and history of science.
The current ecological crisis is a matter of urgent global concern, with solutions being sought on many fronts. This book argues that the devastation of our world has been exacerbated, if not actually caused, by the reductionist view of nature that has been advanced by modern secular science. What is needed, the book states, is the recovery of the truth to which the great, enduring religions all attest; namely, that nature is sacred. The book traces the historical process through which Western civilization moved away from the idea of nature as sacred and embraced a world view which sees humans as alienated from nature and nature itself as a machine to be dominated and manipulated by humans. The book's goal is to negate the totalitarian claims of modern science and to re-open the way to the religious view of the order of nature, developed over centuries in the cosmologies and sacred sciences of the great traditions. Each tradition, the book shows, has a wealth of knowledge and experience concerning the order of nature. The resuscitation of this knowledge, it argues, would allow religions all over the globe to enrich each other and co-operate to heal the wounds inflicted upon the Earth.
In my Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library (pp. 69–86) I described, at what may have seemed rather inordinate length, a work called the Jāvidān-i-Kabīr, which aroused my interest in the highest degree. The interest of this work, as I there pointed out, is twofold: it embodies very remarkable doctrines, apparently akin to those of the Isma'īlīs or Shī'ites of the “Sect of the Seven”; and considerable portions of it are written in a peculiar dialect of Persian which certainly merits a fuller study. Concerning the author of this work, Faẓlu'llāh b. Abī Muḥammad of Tabrīz, called “al-Ḥurūfī,” we know little (except what may be gleaned from his writings) beyond what is contained in the brief notice of Ibn Ḥajar al-'Asqalānī (d. a.h. 852), cited by Flügel at pp. vii–viii of the preface to the second volume of his edition of Hājī Khalfa. “Faẓlu'llāh,” says Ibn Ḥajar, “the son of Abū Muḥammad of Tabrīz, was one of those innovators who subject themselves to ascetic discipline. Imbued with heretical doctrine, he finally produced the sect known as the Ḥurūfīs [from ‘Letters’] pretending that the Letters [of the alphabet] were metamorphoses of men, together with many other idle and baseless fancies. He invited the Amīr Tīmūr the Lame [Tamerlane] to adopt his heresies, but he desired to slay him. And this came to the knowledge of his son (with whom he had sought refuge), and he struck off his head with his own hand.
This article examines the four poems attributed to Shah Isma‘il Safavi that are included in the seventeenth-century genealogy of the Safavid dynasty, the Silsilat al-Nasab-i Safawiyya. The article includes translations and commentary on the four poems, offering insight into the religiosity and concerns both of Shah Isma‘il and the Silsilat's author, Husayn ibn Shaykh Abdal-i Zahidi.
Sūrat al-Najm (Q. 53) has received a comparatively generous amount of scholarly attention for two reasons: firstly, it is said to have been the original literary context of the so-called 'Satanic verses', and secondly, it includes the most elaborate Qur'anic account of a visionary encounter between the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an's divine speaker. While the debate around the Satanic verses has centred on the question of their authenticity, the vision account in Q. 53 is significant for the insights it provides into the Qur'anic understanding of prophecy and because its chronological relationship to another early Qur'anic allusion to a visionary experience of the Messenger, Q. 81: 19-23, has not yet been conclusively determined. The present article will revisit both issues in the course of a holistic reading of the entire sura, dealing first with preliminary matters such as the dating of the sura and redactional considerations, then looking at the text's overall structure and its main themes, and finally attempting a microstructural analysis of its most important sections in the light of relevant intertexts, both from within and without the Qur'an. سورة النجم نالت نسبياﹰ ﻻهتمام علمي كبير لسببين. اﻷول: ما يذكر من كونها السياق اﻷدبي اﻷصلي لما يدعى "اﻵيات الشيطانية" وثانياﹰ: أنها تشتمل على الرواية اﻷكثر ﺗﻔﺼﻴﻼﹰ لرؤية النبي ربه. وبينما يتركز النقاش فيما يتعلق ﺑ"اﻵيات الشيطانية" حول صحتها، فإن رواية الرؤية في سورة النجم مهمة لما تقدمه من ﺇﻳﻀﺎﺡ للفهم القرآني للنبوة، ولكون ﺍﻟﻌﻼﻗﺔ من حيث ترتيب بين ما في هذه السورة وبين إشارة قرآنية أخرى لرؤية أخرى للرسول في سورة التكوير آية 19 - 23 لم تحسم بعد بشكل قاطع . وسيقوم البحث الحالي بمعاودة دراسة المسألتين السابقتين في ظل قراءة كلية للسورة بأكملها، وسيتم ابتداءاﹰ التطرق لنقاط تمهيدية من ذلك تأريخ السورة واعتبارات تتعلق بكتابتها. بعد ذلك سيتم النظر إلى الهيكلية العامة للسورة ومواضيعها العامة ثم أخيراﹰ ستتم محاولة القيام بتحليل جزئي هيكلي ﻷهم أجزاء السورة في ظل نصوص أخرى ذات ﻋﻼﻗﺔ من القرآن ومن غيره .
In discussing the intricate and somewhat complex relationship between Shiʻism and Sufism, both in principle and essence or in their metahistorical reality as well as in time and history, we need hardly concern ourselves with the too often repeated criticism made by certain orientalists who would doubt the Islamic and Quranic character of both Shiʻism and Sufism. Basing themselves on an a priori assumption that Islam is not a revelation and, even if a religion, is only a simple ‘religion of the sword’ for a simple desert people, such would-be critics brush aside as un-Islamic all that speaks of gnosis (ʻirfân) and esotericism, pointing to the lack of historical texts in the early period as proof of their thesis, as if the non-existent in itself could disprove the existence of something which may have existed without leaving a written trace for us to dissect and analyse today. The reality of Shiʻism and Sufism as integral aspects of the Islamic revelation is too blinding to be neglected or brushed aside by any would-be historical argument. The fruit is there to prove that the tree has its roots in a soil that nourishes it. And the spiritual fruit can only be borne by a tree whose roots are sunk in a revealed truth. To deny this most evident of truths would be as if we were to doubt the Christian sanctity of a St Francis of Assisi because the historical records of the first years of the Apostolic succession are not clear. What the presence of St Francis proves is in reality the opposite fact, namely, that the Apostolic succession must be real even if no historical records are at hand. The same holds true mutatis mutandis for Shiʻism and Sufism. In this paper in any case we will begin by taking for granted the Islamic character of Shiʻism and Sufism and upon this basis delve into their relationship. In fact Shiʻism and Sufism are both, in different ways and on different levels, intrinsic aspects of Islamic orthodoxy, this term being taken not only in its theological sense but in its universal sense as tradition and universal truth contained within a revealed form.
Nine years ago, in the J.R.A.S. for January, 1898, pp. 61–94, I published an article entitled Some Notes on the Literature and Doctrines of the Ḥurúfi Sect. The materials for that article were chiefly derived from a manuscript of the Jávidán-i-Kabír (Ee. 1. 27) in the Cambridge University Library, and two manuscripts (Anciens Fonds Persan, 24, and Supplément Persan, 107) in the Bibliothèque Rationale at Paris, of which the former contained (1) the Istiwá-náma of the Amír Ghiyáthu'd-Dín Muḥammad b. Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad al-Ḥusayní, of Astarábád, composed shortly after A.H. 828 ( = A.D. 1425), (2) an allegorical mathnawi poem, and (3) a glossary of the dialect words used in the Jávidán-i-Kabir; while the latter contained another Huriifi treatise which appeared to be that entitled the MaḤabbat-náma. Thanks to information contributed by the late Mr. E. J. W. Gribb, I was also able to prove that the sect, which appears not to have taken root in Persia, the land of its birth, spread into Turkey, where it caused some commotion at several different periods, and suffered several fierce persecutions, amongst the victims of which (in A.H. 820 = A.D. 1417–18) was the bilingual poet Nesími, whose Díwán is not uncommon in manuscript, and was printed at the Akhtar Press in Constantinople in A.H. 1298 ( = A.D. 1881).
As the hereditary leader of the Safavid Sufi Order, Shah Ismail founded the Safavid dynasty in 1501. This study goes beyond Shah Ismail's historical legacy, however, to examine the pious and literary sources which have shaped a permanent place for him within the Alevi-Bektashi community, an Islamic sectarian minority in Turkey. Although Shah Ismail has received extensive treatment in both historical chronicles and modern historiography, this dissertation locates the development of his cult in the legendary versions of his life story. In this respect, the Turkish "Minstrel Tale" (hikaye) is fundamental to the transformation of Shah Ismail's significance in the sectarian context. This dissertation also traces the development of his pious significance through both the "authentic" poetic works of Shah Ismail, as contained in his earliest collections of poetry, as well as the poetry attributed to Shah Ismail by the Alevi-Bektashi. It is further demonstrated how the poetry attributed to Shah Ismail is integrated into ritual structures. Through the examination of these disparate literary genres, this thesis accounts for Shah Ismail's legacy as it transformed and endured within a pious context beyond his lifetime and beyond his empire.
Reprint. Originally published: London : Luzac ; Hartford, Conn. : Hartford Seminary Press, 1937. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Kennedy School of Missions in Hartford, 1935. Includes bibliographical references (p. 272-284) and index.
Polemon of Laodicea (near modern Denizli, south-west Turkey) was a wealthy Greek aristocrat and a key member of the intellectual movement known as the Second Sophistic. Among his works was the Physiognomy , a manual on how to tell character from appearance, thus enabling its readers to choose friends and avoid enemies on sight. Its formula of detailed instruction and personal reminiscence proved so successful that the book was re-edited in the fourth century by Adamantius in Greek, translated and adapted by an unknown Latin author of the same era, and translated in the early Middle Ages into Syriac and Arabic. The surviving versions of Adamantius, Anonymus Latinus, and the Leiden Arabic more than make up for the loss of the original. The present volume is the work of a team of leading Classicists and Arabists. The main surviving versions in Greek and Latin are translated into English for the first time. The Leiden Arabic translation is authoritatively re-edited and translated, as is a sample of the alternative Arabic Polemon. The texts and translations are introduced by a series of masterly studies that tell the story of the origins, function, and legacy of Polemon's work, a legacy especially rich in Islam. The story of the Physiognomy is the story of how one man's obsession with identifying enemies came to be taken up in the fascinating transmission of Greek thought into Arabic.
Muʾassasat ar-Risāla
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Ibn Jarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān fī taʾwīl al-Qurʾān, ed. Aḥmad Muḥammad Shākir (Beirut: Muʾassasat ar-Risāla, 2000), vol. 2, p. 404; Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm, vol. 1, pp. 138-53; M.B. Piotrovsky, Historical Legends of the Qurʾan (St Petersburg: Slavia, 2005), pp. 123-4.
Ṣūfī tradition explains this spiritual situation with a saying of Sahl at-Tustarī: "Glory be to Him, of Whose gnosis men have attained naught but the knowledge that they are incapable of knowing him
Ṣūfī tradition explains this spiritual situation with a saying of Sahl at-Tustarī: "Glory be to Him, of Whose gnosis men have attained naught but the knowledge that they are incapable of knowing him." Carl Carl W. Ernst Words of Ecstasy in Sufism. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985, p. 32.
Physiognomy in Islam
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Encyclopaedia of Islam
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Caferoǧlu, Ahmet. "Ādharī." Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd ed.
Polemon's Physiognomy in the Arabic Tradition In Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemon's Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam
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Chersetty, Antonella with Simon Swain, "Polemon's Physiognomy in the Arabic Tradition." In Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemon's Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam. Ed. Simon Swain Oxford: University Press, 2007, 309329.
The Five Divine Presences: From al-Qūnawī to al-QayṣarīOn the Cosmology of DhikrIbn Arabi The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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Chittick, William C. "The Five Divine Presences: From al-Qūnawī to al-Qayṣarī."Muslim World 72/2 (1982): 107-128. . "On the Cosmology of Dhikr." In Paths to the Heart: Sufism and the Christian East. Ed. James Cutsinger. Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2002, 48-64. . "Ibn Arabi." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward N. Zalta.
The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism Shambhala: Boulder & London Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn Arabī
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Corbin, Henry. The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism. Shambhala: Boulder & London, 1978. . Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn Arabī. Preface by Harold Bloom. Bollingen Series xci. Princeton: University Press, 1997.
In Ruzbihan Baqli. The Unveiling of Secrets, Diary of a Sufi Master
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Ernst, Carl W. "Preface." In Ruzbihan Baqli. The Unveiling of Secrets, Diary of a Sufi Master. Trans. Carl W. Ernst. Chapel Hill: Parvardigar Press, 1997. . Words of Ecstasy in Sufism. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.
Câvidān-Nâme (Dürr-i Yetîm Isimli tercümesi)
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Fazlullâh, Esterâbâdî. Câvidān-Nâme (Dürr-i Yetîm Isimli tercümesi). Ed. Fatih Usluer. Istanbul: Kabalcı Yayınlari, 2012.
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Feyzullayeva, Vəcihə, Füzulinin qəsidələri. Baku: Elm, 1985.
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Fuḍūlī, Muḥammad, Qəzəllər. In his Seçilmiş əsərləri. Comp. Həmid Araslı. Vol. 1. Baku: Azərbaycan ssr Elmlər Akademiyasının nəşriyyatı, 1958.
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Gandjeï, T. "Ismāʿīl i, His Poetry." Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd edition. Leiden: Brill. gasimova Oriens 43 (2015) 101-153
The Hair on my Head is Shining: Qurʾanic Imagery of the Curl in Classical Azeri-Turkic Sufi PoetryModels, Portraits, and Signs of Fate in Ancient Arabian Tradition-340. al-Ghazālī, Abū Ḥāmid. Mishkât al-Anwâr (The Niche for Lights) by Al-Ghazzali
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Gasimova, Aida. "Eyebrows." In Islamic Images and Ideas: Essays on Sacred Symbolism. Ed. John Andrew Morrow. Jefferson: McFarland, 2013, 169-183. . "The Hair on my Head is Shining: Qurʾanic Imagery of the Curl in Classical Azeri-Turkic Sufi Poetry." Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 15/1 (2013): 67-99. . "Models, Portraits, and Signs of Fate in Ancient Arabian Tradition." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73/2 (2014): 319-340. al-Ghazālī, Abū Ḥāmid. Mishkât al-Anwâr (The Niche for Lights) by Al-Ghazzali. Trans. William H.T. Gairdner. Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1924, reprinted 1952. . Love, Longing, Intimacy and Contentment (Kitāb al-maḥabba waʾl-shawq waʾluns waʾl-riḍā): Book xxxvi of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn).
Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society
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Trans Eric Ormsby. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2011.
A History of Ottoman Poetry
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Gibb, Elias J.W. A History of Ottoman Poetry. Ed. Edward G. Browne. Vol. 1,3. London: Luzac, 1904.
Istanbul: Varlık Yayınevi
  • Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı
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Gölpınarlı, Abdülbaki. Nesimî-Usulî-Ruhî. Istanbul: Varlık Yayınevi, 1953. . Hurûfîlik metinleri kataloğu. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1973.
Füzulinin sənət və mə'rifət dünyası
  • Nəsib Göyüşov
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Göyüşov, Nəsib Cümşüdoğlu. Füzulinin sənət və mə'rifət dünyası. Baku-Tehran: Surush, 1997.
Oguz-Turkomans In The Turks
  • Tufan Gündüz
Gündüz, Tufan. "Oguz-Turkomans." In The Turks. Ed. Hasan Celal Güzel, Cem Oguz and Osman Karatay. Vol. 1. Ankara: Yeni Turkiye, 2002, 463-476.
The Mystic's Kaʿba: The Cubic Wisdom of the Heart according to Ibn ʿArabī
  • Stephen Hirtenstein
Hirtenstein, Stephen. "The Mystic's Kaʿba: The Cubic Wisdom of the Heart according to Ibn ʿArabī," Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ʿArabi Society 48 (2010): 19-43.
Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, 1987. al-Kalbī, Hishām ibn Muḥammad [Хишам ибн Мухаммад ал-Калби]. The Book of Idols [Книга об идолах
  • Ibn Kathīr
Ibn Kathīr, Abū l-Fidāʾ. Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm. Vol. 1-5. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, 1987. al-Kalbī, Hishām ibn Muḥammad [Хишам ибн Мухаммад ал-Калби]. The Book of Idols [Книга об идолах]. Trans. and ed. V. Polosin. Москва: Наука, 1984.