The Journey of the Soul in Attar and Langland

By Navid Saberi-Najafi.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 7, 2014 $US5.00

In both classical Persian and medieval European literatures, a number of poets and philosophers were interested in allegorizing the journey of the soul to Allah or to God. This essay examines two allegorical masterpieces: Attar of Nishapur’s “Manteq ut-Tair” and William Langland’s “Piers Plowman: The C Version.” Attar’s criticism of Christianity in the “Manteq ut-Tair” and Langland’s attacks on the Prophet have not received adequate attention to date. This essay argues that Attar advises humankind to take Christianity’s threat to Islam seriously on their Way to Allah, while Langland demonizes the Prophet of Islam and excoriates him for misleading mankind, impeding the spiritual growth of Christians and of humankind in general on their way to Truth. While both Attar and Langland degrade their opposite religion in the poems—Christianity, in the case of Attar and Islam, in the case of Langland—what is far more important is the fact that the attacks occur in poems whose central theme is the salvation of humankind.

Keywords: Attar of Nishapur, William Langland, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.27-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 484.438KB)).

Navid Saberi-Najafi

Ph.D Student, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California--Davis, Davis, California, USA

Navid Saberi-Najafi holds a B.A. in English language and literature from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran and an M.A. in English from the University of Idaho, U.S.A. He is currently an associate instructor and a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis, studying medieval English, Persian, and Arabic literatures. Navid Saberi-Najafi has presented conference papers at the following universities and academic venues in the U.S.: Ohio University, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the 2012 Hawaii University International Conferences on Arts and Humanities, and the International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. His most recent publications include a book entitled The Cross-Cultural Composition Class for ESL Writing Students: A Comfortable and Fruitful Learning Environment for ESL Students (2012) and an article titled “Edward W. Said’s Humanism: A Road to Enlightenment and Coexistence,” which appeared in The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies.