Sunday, January 07, 2007

shaykh homie

I'm currently in the middle of reading The Sufis by Idries Shah. In some (traditional Muslim/Sufi) circles, Shah is highly criticized because he takes the position that one can be Sufi without being Muslim. For him Sufism is a reality which existed eternally and in particular, it predates the birth of Muhammad (saaws) on the Arabian Peninsula. In other circles, Shah is also criticized for his involvement in witchcraft and magic. (This is detailed a little in the Wikipedia article). Personally I would not go along with Shah's definition of "Sufism" but it isn't difficult to read the book while keeping in mind that when Shah says "Sufi" he is merely talking about something different from what I mean when I say "Sufi". In any case, in the book's Introduction (by Robert Graves) I found an interesting passage which I felt like sharing, especially since it resonated with something I've blogged about before. Graves writes:
The court fool of the Spanish kings with his bladder stick, his motely clothes, cock crest, jingling bells, simple wisdom and utter disrespect of authority is a Sufi figure. His jokes were accepted by sovereigns as having a deeper wisdom than the most solemn advice of eldest concillors.

Sound familiar? This is Homie the Clown, a figure with a very old pedigree. In an earlier post "homie don't play that" we already saw some Spanish and Afro-Latin precursors to Homie. But in terms of the blog, I thought it was a fascinating coincidence that Graves would describe the same figure as a Sufi as well. Very Grenada-esque.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Personally I would not go along with Shah's definition of "Sufism" but it isn't difficult to read the book while keeping in mind that when Shah says "Sufi" he is merely talking about something different from what I mean when I say "Sufi"."

and this is what makes you such an open-minded learner!

Bin Gregory said...

His jobes were

Shouldn't that be jibes?

My favorite Shah book is that one about the Afghan-Russian war, Kara Kush. Pure fiction, but lots of fun from back when where there were good guys to root for.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

actually it was "jokes" not "jibes" but thanks for noticing it so I could make the correction...

And rabfish.. thanks for the complement : )